Monday 25 May 2020

Merchandising from Starting Point to Bulk

When you're running around, always busy, you may feel like you need eight arms like an octopus.

Octopus Energy certainly have been busy and that's in large part to their promotional toy Constantine, an Octopus.

During the early days of promoting Constantine as a giveaway to their customer base it was working well using an independent machinist making the plushies by hand.

And the early days worked well.

In fact the campaign took off, it went very well.

“Our octopus toys (also known as Constantine) were initially handmade by a lady in Wales... However, as we grew, the demand for our octopus toys also increased and understandably this quickly became way too much for one person to handle. With that in mind, we began searching for a new supplier and came across Custom Toys UK. One of the most important things to us when considering a new supplier was that we wanted to make sure we were working with a supplier who could ensure high ethical standards and meet all toy licensing rules and regulations. Thankfully, Custom Toys UK do just that”.

While Custom Toys UK can also do small batch runs of merchandise, it had become clear that their ability to adapt to popular campaigns would provide the level of scope and support that Octopus Energy required.

Christian at Custom Toys explained that this was a slightly unusual case as Octopus Energy had already got a character that they wanted supplied to them.

"Most people don't know where to start when trying to create a character so stop short of developing those ideas for a marketing campaign, Octopus Energy had already developed a solid brand idea"

It is more common that a customer would work with a designer at Custom Toy UK to come together and create a character.

The five strategic steps to consider to embark on your own custom toy are:

1. Who's it for? Which audience are you trying to attract?
2. What do you hope your toy will achieve?
3. Where will it be used?
4. Do you have branding guidelines that you would like followed?
5. Sketch out a few ideas with a designer and work with them for a while as you get to know your custom toy

Octopus Energy successfully developed Constantine from a set of illustrations so much of the design phase could be omitted, this saved a few days in the early stages of the process.

Constantine the Octopus made her debut appearance for a TV ad. Then, ever since the debut, Octopus Energy have been getting requests from viewers for their very own Constantine.

Demand has been strong.

Teaming up with Custom Toys UK meant that the demand can be met.

With a character that popular, the next area to get right was the quantities, ensuring stock levels for the twelve weeks that an order typically takes to fulfill. Balancing supply and demand is completely possible and a customer can order the exact amounts that they require.

It's gone well, As Jess Hunter, Marketing Executive at Octopus Energy says,

"The octopus family continues to grow with help of Custom Toys UK"

And the unexpected benefits of adding a character toy to the marketing campaign continues to this day?

"People absolutely love the toys and love to share images on Twitter and Instagram.... The amount of hype we get from them has done wonders for our brand"

Perhaps there’s more Constantine merchandise to come?

Following the five strategic steps to creating your own branded custom toy is certainly worth a look for anyone wishing to promote their offering. Perhaps you already have an idea? Or, maybe teaming up with the right supplier will help deliver similar results to Octopus Energy.

For more information visit or call 01304 806 960.

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