Competition Showcases Student Toy Designs

March 18, 2009 - News Release

In the year that the Barbie doll celebrates its 50th birthday, University of Guelph students will put their creative and marketing skills to the test at the 2009 Next Generation of Toys competition March 24.

This year marks the first time students from family relations professor Susan Chuang’s infant development course will join students from marketing professor Vinay Kanetkar’s management in product development course. Working in teams, the students have put classroom theory into practice setting up new companies, designing toys for children aged two and under, and developing marketing plans as well as corporate branding and mission statements.

Everyone is invited to come out – and bring the kids – as about 60 student companies showcase their wares for the public in Peter Clark Hall March 24 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Refreshments and light snacks will be provided. The event is sponsored by The Bookstore.

“It’s very exciting,” said Chuang. “I never know what’s coming until the day of the presentations. Toys play a very important role in stimulating a child’s development, and a lot of research and planning goes into making sure that a toy is developmentally appropriate. The competition is a great way for the students to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it in the real world.”

A panel of professors will judge the toys. Members of the public are also encouraged to provide their feedback: audience favourites will receive the Children’s Choice awards.

Kanetkar said the competition is challenging and rewarding for his students, most of whom are in fourth year and thinking about what’s in store for them in the business world after graduation.

“This competition takes them through all the steps necessary to create a new product, design and build it, and bring it to market,” he said. “There are three things a new product should do for a company. First, it should make money. It should satisfy customer needs, and it should offer something that nobody else is doing in the marketplace. That’s how I’m going to grade these projects.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt at Ext. 53338, or Barry Gunn, Ext. 56982,

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1