The 15th Annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on February 13 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. The evening event, which kicks off the North American International Toy Fair, will include a cocktail networking reception with hors d’oeuvres and dinner, followed by the awards ceremony.
Over the course of the event, presenters will announce the TOTY winners in 12 categories, as well as the People’s Choice Award, which is based solely on consumer votes, and the overall Toy of the Year Award, which is selected by mass and specialty retailers, journalists, and Toy Industry Association (TIA) members. The winners will be chosen from more than 600 products submitted for consideration during the open call for nominations this fall. Voting is currently open for all TOTY finalists at www.toyawards.org. [Read More...]
Madame Alexander will debut a special limited edition Disney’s Frozen Elsa doll at FAO Schwarz in New York City. Designed using the iconic, 21-inch Madame Alexander Cissy doll, the new collectible Elsa features detailed costuming and is decorated with 5,000 hand-applied Swarovski crystals.
She also holds a Swarovski crystal snowflake in her hand, and snowflakes adorn Elsa’s platinum braided hair.
Orders can be placed by calling FAO Schwarz at (212) 644-9400, x3043. Each doll is custom-made for a suggested retail of $5,000.
Next year’s entire line of Lincoln Logs, part of the K’NEX family of brands, will be manufactured in the U.S. by Pride Manufacturing in Burnham, Maine. Following industry trends, Lincoln Logs production was moved overseas during the mid-20th century. K’NEX, which licenses the brand from Hasbro, has been manufacturing Lincoln Logs since 1999.
Pride Manufacturing, the world’s leading supplier of wooden golf tees and related golf accessories, met K’NEX’s requirements for a wood manufacturing facility that could match the precision and detail required for Lincoln Logs. All sets come with a storage container for clean-up, are intended for kids ages 3 and up, and will be available next fall.
Imports Dragon has added five new members to its Toronto sales team following the successful expansion of its Caillou and Johnny Test product lines in the U.S. market, as well as the continued success of its Shopkins, The Trash Pack, and The Zelfs product lines.
The new additions to the sales team will be working under the leadership of Renee Lochhead, director of sales, who has more than 16 years of experience and joined the Import Dragon team this past July. Other additions include Danny Machado, who has more than 13 years of experience working at Wal-Mart, and Blake Turvey, who has more than 14 years of managerial and corporate development experience.
Gail Benham, Jason Kiss, and Tyler Patriquin round out the new sales team that will be working out of the company’s Mississauga headquarters.
Day 6 Sports Group (Day 6) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) have joined for the re-launch of Backyard Sports, a series of digital games starring kid versions of popular professional sports stars.
Backyard Sports, which originally debuted in 1997, will be released in mobile game form for smartphones and tablets. A roster of new professional sports stars will join the Backyard Sports team and will be enhanced by in-game power ups and never-before-seen features.
Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has joined forces with Day 6 Sports Group as the face of the Backyard Sports Basketball line and is the first NBA player to sign an endorsement deal with the franchise. Backyard Sports NBA Basketball will be released next spring.
A real-life sibling rivalry exists between Disney’s Frozen Elsa and Anna products—with one sister clearly winning. According to a Wall Street Journal article published last month, Disney marketing executives expected the sisters to be equals in popularity. As such, they were caught off-guard by the overwhelming preference for Elsa, who outsells Anna in dolls, toys, costumes, and other items. Disney, in response, makes sure to keep Elsa items in-stock at stores: For example, about 10 percent more Elsa dolls are stocked than Anna ones at Wal-Mart, according to the same Wall Street Journal article.
To help combat the Frozen sibling rivalry, companies are selling dolls with both sisters, and sales data from last holiday season shows that girls want to play with dolls or role-play with costumes featuring both characters. In turn, companies such as Jakks Pacific, as well as retailers like Toys “R” Us, are making and selling products, respectively, that involve the two sisters. [Read More...]
Dramaforum recently announced that Petra’s Planet user registrations have surpassed 1,000,000. Petra’s Planet is a free-to-play browser-based virtual world that allows children to play games, chat, and explore world cultures in a safe online environment. Currently, to celebrate this milestone, children who visit Petra’s Planet will be able to participate in a special, week-long Player Power [...]
Activision Publishing Inc. has delivered the top two selling console retail releases of the year the U.S., as well as the No. 1 kids video game franchise of 2014, based on retail sell-through, according to the NPD Group. In only its first month of release, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is already the top-selling console game of [...]
As reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), on December 13, the U.S. Senate passed an omnibus appropriations bill to fund government operations through next September. The bill included $123 million in funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is the amount the agency asked for in its budget request for next year. [...]
GUEST OP-ED: Deck the Halls, Not Your Customers: Tips for Handling Customer Complaints This Holiday Season
For the customer service sector, the holiday season is crunch time. With more shoppers, more sales, more shipping, more advertisements, and more product demand, there’s (so much) more potential for something to go wrong. At the same time, shoppers’ expectations are never higher. They don’t just want to check every item off their lists; they [...]
Everybody loves Lego. But naturally, not everyone loves it in the same way. For some, what they find most appealing is the look of the bricks, which can capture the shape of an object—whether we’re talking about the Empire State Building or the Batmobile—while retaining an element of whimsy. For others, what makes Lego so [...]
December 4, 2014 By Deanna Atkins
In a perfect world, toys would be toys and there would be no grand toy judge to pound his or her gavel and declare which ones are for boys and which are for girls–okay, that doesn’t actually happen, but rarely do kids get to decide which toys they want to play with before it’s already [...]