Sweet Suite 2016

Hasbro Launches Companion Pets for Seniors

unnamed-2Hasbro has launched the new Joy for All brand with its first product line Companion Pets. The first product in the line is Joy for All Companion Pet Cat, an animatronic pet designed to reach a new demographic this year.

The Companion Pet Cat is Hasbro’s first foray into products designed specifically for seniors. Inspired by consumer feedback, extensive consumer research with older adults and their caregivers nationwide were considered during the development of Companion Pets. [Read More...]

Global Toy Sales Rise Seven Percent

Toy industry sales are up 7 percent overall (January-September 2015) across 11 global markets, according to The NPD Group. Russia, Mexico, and Poland show growth that surpasses established markets, with double-digit growth through the third quarter of this year.

Russia is showing the fastest growth among the markets that NPD tracked globally. Despite the country’s high inflation, Russian consumers are spending more money on toys and are buying more of them. The largest super-category in Russia is building sets, which has been growing 50 percent faster than the rest of the toy market. [Read More...]

TIA Reveals Finalists for 2016 TOTY Awards

TOTYlogoThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) has kicked off the holiday shopping season with the announcement of 84 finalists for the 2016 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY).

Between now and January 17, consumers can visit www.ToyAwards.org to vote for their favorite toy picks in each of the 12 categories to win exclusive prizes. Winners will be announced at the TOTY Awards ceremony as the beginning of the 113th North American International Toy Fair[Read More...]

Things Remembered Teams Up with Melissa & Doug For Holiday Collection

Things Remembered has collaborated with Melissa & Doug to carry a line of personalized products, ranging from toys, games, and arts and crafts.

Things Remembered will offer 10 items available for customization, including the Melissa & Doug Fire Truck, Stacking Train, Unit Block on Wheels, Alphabet Truck, Xylophone, and Wood School Bus Play Set. The collection at Things Remembered will range from $17 to $20 and is available in stores and online.

You’re a Box Office Hit, Charlie Brown!

unnamed-1The Peanuts Movie launched in the U.S. this past weekend to box office success. The film earned $45 million over its first weekend, and will roll out globally to 100 countries over the next six weeks.

Digital efforts leading up to the movie launch included the PeanutizeMe website. To date, more than 6 million characters have been created. The Wah Wah machine brought the iconic Peanuts “adult voice” into the digital age. There is also a designated Peanuts Movie Sticker Pack on Facebook.

Peanuts has also invaded the toy aisle, where the property hasn’t had much presence in the past, with Just Play’s Happy Dance Snoopy leading the charge. Peanuts Worldwide/Iconix Entertainment recently announced that Peanuts shorts based on the strip will be on air in the U.S. on Cartoon Network and Boomerang.

This December will mark the 50th Anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and consumers can expect to see special events surrounding this milestone, including a new TV special hosted by Kristen Bell airing on ABC focusing on the enduring power of the original special. In additional news, Snoopy will fly in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Peanuts gang will star in Macy’s holiday windows, and Snoopy will serving as Macy’s 2015 Holiday Ambassador.

Imports Dragon Launches Quebec’s First Toy Festival

Toyfest: The First Toy Festival in Quebec (CNW Group/Imports Dragon)Imports Dragon is launching Toyfest, the first toy festival in Quebec, to take place from December 4 to 6 at Place Forzani in Laval. Designed for children of all ages, this festival supports Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada.

The event will be open to the public, so families can interact with brands such as NHL, Shopkins, Caillou, Johnny Test, and more. Kids’ favorite mascots will be at the festival, in addition to interactive games, face painting, arts and crafts, and more.  [Read More...]

Harris-Sachs LLC Brokers Puppy In My Pocket Licensing Deal

Jim Sachs, partner of Harris-Sachs LLC, has announced a partnership between Pamson Pacific Enterprises Corp. Ltd. and Puppy In My Pocket. Pamson Pacific’s grant of rights includes a spring/summer line of toys, including bubble toys, chalk toys, and jump ropes among other seasonal items for kids. Pamson is scheduled to introduce the line at the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair and the New York Toy Fair in January.

Sakar Celebrates The Peanuts Movie with Themed Tech, Accessories

snoopyheadphonesSakar International has expanded its collection of branded products based on the Peanuts comic strip with a new line of youth electronics, audio products, mobile accessories, and musical instruments. The line features characters Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, and more, with updated artwork the match the style of the 3-D computer-animated comedy, The Peanuts Movie.

Developed under license with Peanuts Worldwide, the new product include earbuds, kid-safe headphones, smartphone and tablet cases, light-up message boards, binoculars, flashlights, a dance mat showing Snoopy doing his happy dance surrounded by his gang, and more. The products will be available at Target and Toys “R” Us[Read More...]

The Chicago Toy & Game Group Announces 2015 TAGIE Award Recipients

ChiTAGThe honorees for the eighth annual Toy and Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards are in and will be presented at the TAGIE awards gala on November 20 at the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. This year, the awards ceremony has a storytelling theme, and excellence will be recognized in The Hassenfeld Family Humanitarian Award, In Memoriam, and Lifetime Achievement Award categories.

The Hassenfeld Family Humanitarian Award will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago for their contribution to empower at risk youth. The In Memoriam Award will honor Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin, the co-founders of Wham-O, who also created the Hula Hoop and the Frisbee. The Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Richard Maddocks for his toy inventions. [Read More...]

Build-A-Bear Workshop, Spin Master Partner for Craft Activity Line

build a bear logoBuild-A-Bear Workshop Inc. and Spin Master Corp. have partnered to make, market, and distribute a line of craft activity products. Spin Master will also allow children to stuff their furry friends from home to introduce another dimension to the Build-A-Bear Workshop experience. The line will launch in multiple markets next fall with plans to rollout globally in 2017.

The Spin Master agreement comes on the heels of several outbound licensed product deals for Build-A-Bear Workshop signed in North America, including Clever Cookie iced and mini cookies; Chasing Fireflies premium children’s clothing and costumes; a Jakks Pacific Inc. co-branded MiWorld playset assortment, and more.

American Girl Launches “Together We Make the Holidays” Campaign

American GirlAmerican Girl is launching several new charitable programs as part of its “Together We Make the Holidays” giving campaign. The first part of the campaign is ”Get a Friend. Give a Friend,” where American Girl will match any 18-inch doll purchase with a second doll donation. Working with the Children’s Hospital Association, the doll donation will be distributed to thousands of girls receiving care in the Association’s 200 U.S. hospitals. This initial campaign will take place from November 6 to 30. [Read More...]

Skylanders Goes Full Speed into the Holidays

unnamed-3To kick-start the holiday season, Activision Publishing Inc. is offering a special holiday Skylanders SuperChargers character, Missile-Tow Dive-Clops. The character is a heavily armored deep sea explorer who slows enemies with candy-coated missiles and an eye out for evil. The character will be available in Europe in late November, and in the U.S. and Canada on December 2, first at GameStop and EB Games, respectively. [Read More...]



Fat Brain Toys Celebrates 13th Birthday with New Website

Fat Brain Toys is celebrating its 13th year in business by rolling out a new and innovative online shopping experience with access to more than 7,500 of the best educational toys on the planet. The new website combines 13 years of expertise into a unique design that includes larger images, streamlined navigation, and new functionality.


Plumzi, American Greetings to Bring Care Bears Interactive Appisode to Apple TV

Plumzi and American Greetings Entertainment have partnered to bring a free Care Bears Appisode, Care Bear-A-Thon, to the App Store for Apple TV. Fans of Care Bears can now interact with their favorite characters on Apple TV as they progress through the story using the touch surface and motion-sensing capabilities of the Siri Remote. 

Imperial Toy Launches New Website

Imperial Toy has launched a new and improved website, www.imperialtoy.com. “Redesigned for ease of use, the new website has been in the planning and development phase for the last six months,” says Tim Nolan, president, Imperial Toy. “The site was explicitly designed to keep navigation and functionality simple, providing consumers, specialty stores, mom-and-pop shops, and [...]

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First Data Lady

Same Card, New Tricks: Using Gift Cards to Go Beyond the Basics

By Euphemia Erikson, First Data The holiday season is once again approaching, and this year, retailers are not leaving any tactics on the table as they begin strategizing creative ways to boost customer traffic. Starting Black Friday and continuing past Christmas, retailers will turn to door busters, flash sales, deep discounts, and shockingly early store openings to drive [...]


Q&A with Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG

Marek Jankowski, president of Baby Care Magazines International, recently spoke with Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG, about the growth of Spielwarenmesse eG, toy fairs throughout the international community, and more. Marek Jankowski: I remember us talking a few years ago. You mentioned that every year there are 200-250 companies queuing to exhibit at Spielwarenmesse. [...]


The Lowdown on Doll Hunting: Doll Collecting in the Age of Social Media

This article first appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of The Toy Book. Doll collecting may be as old as the industry itself, but the newest generation of collectors is armed with video cameras, vlogs, and thousands of YouTube subscribers. They call themselves doll hunters.

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