Toy marketing boss jumps ship

Vivid Imaginations, the toy company that has just toppled Hasbro as the UK’s number-one boys’ toys manufacturer, has lost its marketing director.

Andy Cooper, who helped to found the company when he joined in 1994, has left to become a marketing consultant. He is still working with Vivid on a freelance basis.

Cooper will not be replaced directly – his job has been shared between Chris Jones and Barlie Kidwell, two marketers already at Vivid. Kidwell is handling Vivid’s in-house brands, such as Sindy, Michael Owen Soccer Games and Thunderbirds, while Jones is looking after Vivid’s distributed brands, including current best-selling brand Spider-Man.

Vivid chief executive Nick Austin says Cooper’s departure was prompted by a desire to “go back to his roots” and spend more time in the West Country. He says: “It was a very sad departure, because Andy was one of the founding fathers of Vivid. But although we’ll miss him, we can still borrow part of his brain.”

Cooper, who was unavailable for comment as Marketing Week went to press, had been Vivid’s marketing chief for the past four years, and helped to build its marketing team. He was instrumental in bringing brands like Sindy, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet into the company’s portfolio.

Austin claims the strong sales of Spider-Man toys, tying in with the hit movie, have propelled Vivid into the top spot for boys’ toys, ahead of Hasbro’s Action Man, which has dominated the sector for the past ten years. Other strong brands in the Vivid portfolio include Lord of the Rings and X-Men.

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