J Walter Thompson is to handle toy manufacturer K’Nex’s 15m global business.
K’Nex, a construction toy which competes primarily against Lego, was launched in the early Nineties and now has a turnover of about $40m (25m) in the US alone. It was launched in the UK in the autumn of 1994 and consists of 39 colour-coded components which allow children to build big models by snapping the parts together.
The company aims to sell the toy in more than 36 countries by the end of next year. K’Nex now sells in 22 countries.
K’Nex Industries produces the toy in the US, while K’Nex International is a joint venture between K’Nex Industries and toy company Hasbro. K’Nex International operates outside the States. JWT London will work on the full account and its advertising will run in both Europe and the US.
JWT in the UK worked on the account when K’Nex first launched here. The account had fallen dormant, however, to the extent that earlier this year the agency pitched for the rival 6m Lego toy business, including Legoland. But JWT later withdrew from the pitch after its client Madame Tussaud’s, which owns Alton Towers, said Lego created a conflict. The account was evenually won by BMP DDB.
K’Nex claims part of the reason for its appointment of JWT is the agency’s research programme, The Kids Panel, which it says allows the agency to keep up with the latest trends in the market. No other agency pitched for the business.