An Interview with Judd Zebersky

July 10, 2017

By Richard Gottlieb 


Judd Zebersky is the CEO and founder of Jazwares, Inc., a leader in the licensed products industry with rights to several of the top global entertainment properties worldwide. After obtaining his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts, Mr. Zebersky went on to pursue his Juris Doctor at the University of Miami. Mr. Zebersky traded in his career as an attorney to start a consumer products company with an emphasis on making top-notch toys. Mr. Zebersky founded ‘Jazwares Cares’ which has donated hundreds of thousands of toys to children in need. 

Richard:

You recently won the prestigious "Owler 2017 Top Rated CEO Award".  You are obviously doing something right so can you tell our readers how you and Jazwares are handling a year of soft retail sales and multiple store closings?

Judd:

Jazwares has always been focused on delivering beautifully designed and reliable product at a great value. With that said, we are continuously seeking to innovate and listen to our customers because kids’ wants are always changing. More importantly, great product comes from great people and I believe that our team members at Jazwares are second to none.

Richard:

Those who produce traditional, physical toys are facing a generation of children who live in a world without clear borders between what is “real” and what is “virtual”. How do these children play and how does Jazwares develop toys for them?

Judd:

Kids navigate seamlessly between the physical and digital worlds and enjoy playing in both spaces. We believe that parents prefer their children to maintain a healthy balance between online and offline play. We are known for bringing properties that exist in the digital space to life. These products are typically designed in a way that complement the digital content.

Richard:

And while we are on the subject, how does Jazwares market to these children and their parents?

Judd:

We speak to kids and parents through social media as well as traditional advertising. But, product is king. We know that the best form of marketing comes from great product, leading to loyal customers. This will remain true regardless of how kids consume content.

Richard:

Let’s talk about advertising. When we grew up, television was king for toy companies. How does the advertising landscape look today and tomorrow?

Judd:  

Our advertising efforts differ depending on the brand. In some cases, we find that traditional types of advertising, such as TV ads, are still important when coupled with a carefully curated digital campaign. However, we are now more and more focused on bespoke digital advertising campaigns for every property in the Jazwares arsenal.

Richard:

The end user has never had so much power. They can pick and choose when and how they want to be entertained and their social network comments on a product can have an impact on how manufacturers design their products as well as how a toy performs at retail.  How does Jazwares cope/ take advantage of / survive in this kind of a bottoms up world?

Judd:

We love the fact that fans have a voice. The paradigm shift in media consumption and comments from fans where pulling content through streaming as opposed to traditionally pushing content through traditional TV networks, allows Jazwares to absorb data and hear unfiltered opinion resulting us to understand the intricacies of a property better. Indeed, an engaged community provides great authentic feedback and in many respects guides us in development decisions.

Richard:

When you look down the road, what is the toy industry going to look like in 20 years?

Judd:

I think that there will always be a vibrant physical toy business. Parents and kids will always look to physical play as an important activity. However, the constantly changing landscape of media consumption, tastes, and social media interaction will all play major factors in how we identify what brands and/or products will work. Change is good and adaptation to this change is necessary for survival.