Bandai is the Japanese company that brought Power Rangers and the
Tamagotchi virtual pet to the UK. At the end of last year, the company
launched the Yomega X-Brain yo-yo in Japan. This proved highly popular
as the yo-yo’s unique clutch-mechanism technology makes tricks easy to
perform. In August, Bandai UK approached its retained agency, The Wright
Partnership, to launch the product to the British market.
To make the Yomega X-Brain yo-yo the market leader and ensure sales of
the product reached 300,000 units. As many believed the yo-yo craze had
already peaked, Bandai was keen to elevate yo-yos from a playground
craze to sport performance status.
Initially, The Wright Partnership approached opinion formers, such as
broadsheet journalists and the style press, with details of the
X-Brain’s smart technology. As the product was aimed at the
skateboarding age group, the agency was particularly keen to steer clear
of appearing to force-feed its target audience.
To help position the yo-yo among performance sports and maintain sales
in the future, The Wright Partnership brought over the Yomega X-Brain
world champion and a performance team from Hawaii. The team visited
journalists to measure them up for yo-yos and teach them a few simple
tricks. At the beginning of September, the official launch event was
held at The Castle, a climbing centre in north London, and featured a
performance by the Hawaiian team.
The Wright Partnership followed this up with a regional media tour of
cities including Manchester and Bristol. This tied in with the Bandai UK
Yo-Yo Championships which culminate this month in the BBC’s Big Bash at
PR activity successfully hit the extreme sports media and extended out
of the ’toys’ ghetto into the mainstream national news. Coverage
included full page features in most of the national dailies and
broadcast interest ranged from BBC 1’s Tomorrow’s World to Channel 4’s
The Wright Partnership estimates that to date the campaign has gained
over 750 items of media coverage with more interest expected to be
generated by the Bandai Yo-Yo championship finals later this month.
The sales target of 300,000 units has already been exceeded by 300 per
cent and Bandai predicts the one million mark will be reached well
This campaign fired the imagination of both the national and regional
media and the general public alike. It is especially impressive that, in
what was considered a waning market, the Yomega X-brain has far exceeded
its sales target and become the market leader.
Rosie Bayles, Bandai UK marketing director, says her company is
particularly pleased with the results in view of the number of other
yo-yos on the market. ’The Wright Partnership took full advantage of the
product’s new technology and explained to the media how the X-Brain is
different and will drive the yo-yo phenomenon further,’ she says.
According to Bayles, the X-Brain is only one yo-yo in the Yomega range
and the company now plans to begin promoting the more advanced
Client: Bandai UK
PR Team: The Wright Partnership
Campaign: The UK launch of the Yomega X-Brain yo-yo
Timescale: August to November 1998
Budget: pounds 15,000 for the launch party