Elemental Path taps Diffusion for new IBM Watson-powered toy

CogniToys, which are the first toys to harness IBM's Watson supercomputer technology, are educational products that allow children to ask questions and receive direct responses.

NEW YORK: Smart-toy developer Elemental Path has brought on Diffusion in the US to help launch its CogniToys line, which is powered by IBM Watson.

Diffusion began working on the account last month following a competitive review, said agency president Ivan Ristic.

CogniToys, which are the first toys to harness IBM’s Watson supercomputer technology, are educational products that allow children to ask questions and receive direct responses in the moment. The dinosaur-shaped toy connects to IBM Watson for answers, rather than offering a limited number of pre-programmed phrases as other products do, explained Ristic.

Aimed at four- to seven-year-olds, CogniToys enable kids to have "more of a conversation" with the toy rather than a question and answer session, Ristic added. The technology also analyzes what children are talking about with the toy dinosaur, which helps parents know what their kids are interested in.

In addition to launching CogniToys’ Kickstarter campaign last month, which surpassed its $50,000 goal in under 24 hours and has since exceeded $240,000, Diffusion is handling media and influencer relations for the toy line.

The agency is engaging parenting and consumer media, as well as influencers and bloggers, to build buzz leading up to the product’s debut during the holidays, Ristic said. This summer, Diffusion will work with media on holiday gift guides, and closer to the holidays the firm will prepare a social media campaign.

The toy, which is expected to be about $100, will first be available for purchase only online, with the potential to be sold in some retail locations next year.

Five Diffusion staffers are working on the account, but Ristic said the number will increase closer to the holidays.

The initial contract is for one year, and budget information was not disclosed.

New York-based Elemental Path is an IBM business partner and an active member of the Watson Developer Cloud community, which offers services to create cognitive apps.

This story was updated on March 11 to correct the target demographic of the toys, which is four- to seven-year-olds, and the Kickstarter launch, which took place last month.

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