Mr. Preyss, 46, does so as Toy Craze partner, and president of Playground Advertising, his Chagrin Falls, Ohio-based ad agency, which plots the advertising and grass-roots marketing strategy behind the latest "must-have" collectible of the 5-to-12-year-old set.
Toy Craze markets and distributes the miniature collectible plastic figures in the U.S.
"We time the marketing to match the school year," he says. "When we get the coolest kids in a school hooked, the game just takes off."
Mr. Preyss orchestrates the "Play the Craze" $3 million marketing effort with Crazy Bones teams that hand out the toys at events in malls and schools. Events are supported with TV commercials, which expanded this year to spot cable.
"It's not the TV, but it's when we get down on the floor and play with the kids that it really catches on," says Mr. Preyss.
Crazy Bones sales topped $3.5 million in 1998, but already projects sales of $20 million in the U.S. this year. Outside the U.S., Crazy Bones rakes in $300 million in sales.
Mr. Preyss is sure the Bones have legs. Limited-edition Bones, collection boxes, apparel, book are planned.
Also, he is building in burials (or retirements) of some Bones. So Bones like Bone Jour and Rapper, will soon make way for Ma Kettle, a pot; a toothpaste tube called Squeeze; and Swirly, the toilet bowl.
With that kind of kid-savvy-marketing, Crazy Bones are sure to shake, rattle and