[3 minutes]


Go to Gate flashes on screen. Ten minutes, at most, to grab something for the kids to make up for missing the weekend on the business trip. Need something they’ll like, something that shows we know and something they’ll remember. Must be safe and sturdy; could well end up in the cabin bag that’s still facing plenty of abuse before it gets home.

The confectionery category aisle stands to attention, gleaming eagerly. Pressed for time, will that expensive entertainment licence be too seductive? Will the clever toy mechanic catch the eye? Will the oversize brand character shout loudest? Does the quality make the grade within a few seconds of scrutiny? Does the gift really add the value they’re looking for? Does it tell a big story? Will it get that hug back home or a merely bemused glance?

Travel retail is both elegant and brutal. A place where global super brands vie for new customer relationships with resplendent gifts, fencing ultra-competitive conditions and travellers under increasing duress. It is the perfect channel for innovation and standout success, but also holds plenty of pitfalls for getting it wrong. Behind the sheen, brand teams face hard and practical truths to get the right gift into the right hands, on budget and on time.

For confectionery, the mantra is simply make ideas work. And make them work hard. Whether the investment is an expensive character licence or building around the core brand idea, solutions need to deliver the right experience for the end user and the right (competitive) exposure within the channel.

Success for confectioners targeting parents buying for kids in Travel Retail hinges on play value. Play value isn’t solely the play-experience delivered by the gift, but a number of attributes it needs to carry. How much does the idea amplify the core brand appeal (brand truths)? How is this gift going to connect with the hearts and minds of the end consumer? Is the idea escapist, imaginative or educational? Can the intrinsic gift carry the whole story or do we need to amplify the appeal with digital content extensions? Without the costly intellectual licence, can we leverage the right play scenario out of the brand itself?

It’s the old adage, but creativity is key here. Not simply the gift concept itself, but how the opportunities are leveraged out of the brand and channel. How viable are new brand characters? How can we amplify core brand attributes, including colour and packaging? What can be channelled through digital extensions to fire up our consumer’s imagination and also engage our purchaser? Can we take a new approach with portion control – enhancing the product’s reward status? What does regionality offer – and how does it build our footprint in the channel?

Value Engineering is equally critical. The concept may be compelling, with some fantastic play extensions, yet the product still needs to meet fierce challenges to make it to the channel on time and on budget.

Hunter provides tailored development, manufacture and supply of award-winning products for global brands, offering start-to-finish expertise.

We take brand agency and direct client concepts into designs that are practical, cost-effective, offer high value engineering, deliver high play value and are safe for children.

We take control from the initial concept, managing safety and legal criteria, including Design Hazard Evaluation (DHE) for technical drawings and prototyping. We build the supply chain around a Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) to steer the project through pre-production sampling and intervention testing. Whilst we protect the original play value, we get the right product into channel, with exacting delivery.

So when that frantic purchaser arrives ten minutes before the boarding call, the original concept is there, creating the cut-through the brand team desired, built around the quality befitting the brand, the end-user and the buying occasion. Whatever the reaction it receives and however big the hug might be, Hunter ensures it’s delivered perfectly.