The Toy Industry Association has nominated WizKids LLC for the Marketing Campaign of the Year Award based on the campaign for its science fiction collectible miniatures game, MechWarrior: Dark Age.  The other companies nominated for the marketing award are all major toy industry players with major resources (Mattel, Hasbro, Disney), but the Toy Industry Association chose WizKids because of the company's innovative approach in promoting brand awareness and product longevity through its 5,000 volunteers, participating retailers, website and other activities.  WizKids Executive V.P. Martin Stever noted, 'This nomination truly represents the work of hundreds of individuals who contribute to the promotion of MechWarrior.  Our efforts range from classic and web-based marketing and advertising efforts to the incredible Approved Play program developed by our Community Development department and the amazing cooperation of thousands of retail and volunteer partners.'


So far MechWarrior: Dark Age has sold more than four million figures within the first three months of its release, and over 4,500 MechWarrior gaming events take place at participating retail locations every month.  In nominating WizKids, the Toy Industry Association is paying homage to the key trend in contemporary retail gaming -- the increasingly important expansion of in-store gaming events (see 'The Ins and Outs of In-Store Gaming, Part I, Part II, & Part III).  With thousands of in-store events scheduled each week for its various games (Mage Knight, Marvel HeroClix, MechWarrior, and DC HeroClix), WizKids has consistently demonstrated a mastery of this all-important method of creating a community of players and making retail stores the hub of shared activity.