German doll manufacturer trawls for UK marketing chief

Europe’s largest doll manufacturer, Zapf Creation is looking for its first UK marketing chief.

The German-based company, which set up an office in the UK last year, says it will spend &£2.5m on marketing in the UK this year, including &£1m on TV advertising.

The UK marketing manager will be responsible for planning and overseeing the whole marketing strategy for existing and forthcoming products in the UK and Ireland.

“The business has changed so much in the past two months. Before we used distribution agencies, but we now have offices in the UK, France and the US, as well as Hong Kong and Spain,” says UK general manager Andrew Laughton.

“The toy industry is a very marketing-led business and in line with this expansion it was decided that we needed to employ a marketing manager to co-ordinate our UK strategy.”

The UK is the company’s largest export market and accounted for 20 per cent of its global turnover in 2000.

Zapf Creation produces a range of battery operated dolls including the life-like Baby Born doll which comes with a birth certificate and eats, drinks, cries and wets her nappy.

The company, which is listed on the German stock exchange and last year had a gross turnover of &£90m, is this year launching a range of rag dolls called Maggie Raggies for children under the age of three. This follows the company’s recent US success with the Chou Chou range.

The spring launch will be backed by a TV ad campaign created by Italian agency Diaframa. Media buying in the UK is to be handled by Carat.

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