Report of 66th Spielwarenmesse Shows Increase in Exhibitors, Visiting Countries, and More

SpielwarenmesseegSpielwarenmesse eG has released a report summarizing the results of the 66th Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg. The total number of exhibitors was 2,857, up from 2,748 during the prior year. International exhibitors totaled 2,051 and represented 67 countries, up from 1,951 exhibitors and 61 countries during the previous year. The top five countries based on number of international exhibitors were China, Great Britain, Hong Kong, the U.S., and France. [Read More...]

Jakks Pacific Secures Worldwide Master Toy Agreement for The Smurfs

jakks_logoJakks Pacific Inc. has secured a licensing agreement with Lafig and Sony Pictures Consumer Products to produce toys and related products based on the Smurfs franchise, including the classic Smurfs brand and the upcoming Smurfs feature film premiering in August 2016. The worldwide master toy agreement includes the rights to produce figures, play sets, plush, and more.

Jakks Pacific’s new Smurfs toys will be available at retailers nationwide this fall.

Q&A with Simha Kumar, President, Sports and Fitness, Children’s Entertainment, Sears Holdings

Sears.Kumar,SimhaThe Toy Book (TTB): How are you engaging consumers in-store to drive sales?

Simha Kumar (SK): Kmart is focused on offering the most-desired toys, affordably and conveniently. We feature top licensed toys and hundreds of Kmart exclusives—whether purchasing in-store, buying online and picking up in-store, or having them shipped directly home. [Read More...]

The Art of the Brick to Feature Lego Sculptures Inspired by DC Comics

TheArtoftheBrick,DCComicsWarner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), on behalf of DC Entertainment, is collaborating with The Art of the Brick to create a contemporary art exhibition featuring large-scale sculptures, inspired by DC Comics superheroes and super-villains and made entirely out of Lego bricks. The new exhibition, The Art of the Brick: DC Comics, created by artist Nathan Sawaya, will feature Sawaya’s take on the breadth and depth of the characters and stories from DC Comics’ 80-year history, told through his Lego lens. [Read More...]

Oldies but Goodies: Some of the Biggest Toy Brands of Yesteryear Are Making a Comeback

DebbieDunnHeadshotby Debbie Dunn, Licensing, Marketing, Promotions, & Mom Expert, GennComm LLC

What’s old is new again, and vintage brands are expected to be the biggest hits in the toy aisle for this year. Many of these brands have reinvented themselves in modern ways with digital entertainment content to reach today’s savvy kid consumer, yet they still offer the same trusted attributes that parents–and even grandparents–knew and loved. [Read More...]

PlayCon 2015 Speakers to Include UK Specialty Toy Store Founder

HyattGaineyInnovative business research and trends related to youth, play, and technology will be shared at the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) upcoming educational and networking conference, PlayCon 2015, schedule to take place from April 29 to May 1 at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz. Attendees who sign up by February 28 will receive PlayCon’s early bird registration rate. [Read More...]

COMMENTARY: At Toy Fair 2015, Classic, Low-Tech Play Is Alive and Well

Crayola Cling Maker, from Crayola

Tech toys that make you feel cooler than Marty McFly were in abundance at the North American International Toy Fair this week, such as robots that imitate your movements and a Segway-like device that tracks your thoughts. But not all of the toys at the Jacob K. Javits Center were reminiscent of what Captain Kirk probably played with as a child. There were also some stellar construction sets, high-quality hand puppets, and wooden toys that make you say, “wow.” Classic play is not dead, and not all quality toys require a microchip. Some of the most innovative new products for kids feature little to no tech at all. Here are our favorite low-tech new toys from Toy Fair: [Read More...]

New Super Mario amiibo Sets Gold Standard

NOVEL_ura_0613On March 20, Nintendo will launch the Super Mario amiibo—Gold Edition, a gold-colored Mario figure that arrives on the same day as the Mario Party 10 game for the Wii U console. The new gold-colored Mario is compatible with multiple games that support the amiibo line of figures.

Mario Party 10 features a new amiibo Party mode that players can only access by tapping their compatible amiibo figures on the Wii U GamePad controller to bring them into the game as customizable board pieces. Players can also save items to their amiibo and use them strategically.

At launch, the Super Mario amiibo—Gold Edition will be sold exclusively at 3,000 Wal-Mart stores in the U.S.

TIA Launches 2015 Toy Industry Financial and Operating Benchmark Study

TIAThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) will again partner with Industry Insights Inc. to conduct a confidential Toy Industry Financial and Operating Benchmark Study, which will enable toy companies to see how their numbers compare to companies of similar size, category, and distribution channel. [Read More...]

Funko and Marvel Announce Variant Cover for Marvel Collector Corps Debut

Funko,MarvelAvengersFunko has announced a variant cover for its Marvel Collector Corps debut box, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, which ships in April. The variant will highlight the first edition of Marvel’s new series, Guardians Team Up Meet the Avengers, and will be exclusive to Marvel Collector Corps. [Read More...]

Jelly Jam and Kids Preferred to Launch The Moodsters Exclusively at Target

The MoodstersJelly Jam Entertainment has partnered with Kids Preferred to launch The Moodsters, a new line of toys and books designed to teach kids the fundamentals of feelings.

The Moodsters consist of five lovable detectives—Coz, Lolly, Snorf, Razzy, and Quigly—who come to the rescue whenever their friends, Zach and Zoey, have a feelings emergency. The stories and toys teach simple strategies to build social and emotional intelligence skills in young children. [Read More...]

The Lego Group’s Strong 2014 Led by Global Growth

legoworldmapLast year, the Lego Group enjoyed revenue growth of 15 percent year over year on a local currency basis, excluding foreign exchange impacts. Revenue increased by 13 percent to DKK 28.6 billion (USD $4,349,545,486) compared to DKK 25.3 billion (USD $3,847,850,941) in the previous year, while the year’s operating profit increased to DKK 9.7 billion (USD $1,475,318,881) compared to DKK 8.3 billion (USD $1,262,184,735) in the previous year, an increase of 16 percent. Net profit was DKK 7.0 billion (USD $1,064,493,150) compared to DKK 6.1 billion USD $927,777,853) in the prior year, an increase of 15 percent. [Read More...]

Q&A with Ben Gadbois, Global President and COO, Spin Master Ltd.

SpinMaster.BenGadboisThe Toy Book (TTB): Which toy categories do you expect to expand in 2015? Which do you expect to contract?

Ben Gadbois (BG): While it isn’t a category itself, robotic technology is advancing the toy industry in revolutionary new ways. Toy robots are nothing new to the market, but over the past few years we are seeing more innovative integration of robotics, allowing kids to do incredible things. From our trainable, voice-recognizing dog, Zoomer, to the autonomous, fiercely independent Zoomer Dino, toys are coming to life and great new play patterns are emerging. This year, we are fusing the latest technology and robotics with the iconic Meccano brand (known as Erector in the U.S.) with our latest robot, Meccanoid G15 KS. Meccanoid embodies the core values of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and empowers children by acting as a fun and engaging way to learn about coding, robotics, and engineering. As society advances, so do our toys, and there is a new thirst in the market as consumer behavior shifts toward products that can be both fun and educational. [Read More...]

COMMENTARY: Toy Fair 2015 Shows Off Toymakers’ Tech-Savvy Side

The Meccanoid G15 KS, from Spin Master

We all know that kids are more tech-savvy at the age of 2 than most of us will ever be. Living in the digital age comes instinctively for kids, and the fact that they have the ability to understand and use technology so early on lets toy manufacturers create some really, really cool tech toys for kids of all ages. Below is a roundup of favorite tech-y playthings from North American International Toy Fair, in no particular order:
[Read More...]

ToyBacker Launches First-Ever Crowdfunding Site Dedicated to the Toy Industry

ToyBacker.com LOGOToyBacker has launched toybacker.com, the first crowd-funding site dedicated solely to the toy industry. The site will serve as a hub for creative toy innovators of all types to share their ideas, gather funding, and bring their products to fruition with the financial support of the consumer. [Read More...]

News

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Jakks Pacific Reports Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results

Jakks Pacific Inc. reported results for the company’s fourth quarter and full year ended December 31. Net sales for the fourth quarter were $254.0 million, compared to $137.7 million reported in the comparable period last year. Reported net income for the fourth quarter was $2.8 million, or $0.11 per diluted share. This compares to a [...]

Deal Reached to End Severe West Coast Port Backlog

Multiple sources report that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year labor contract, ending several months of back-ups and delays at 29 West Coast ports. The deal was reached with the assistance of U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and [...]

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North American International Toy Fair Still Largest Toy Show in Western Hemisphere

Last week’s 112th North American International Toy Fair—the largest toy marketplace held in the Western Hemisphere—opened its doors to nearly 25,000 global play professionals. Owned and operated by the U.S. Toy Industry Association (TIA) in partnership with the Canadian Toy Association (CTA), Toy Fair 2015 grew in size and scope over the previous year, with [...]

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Articles

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Q&A with Sharon DiMinico, Founder and CEO, Learning Express

The Toy Book (TTB): How are Learning Express retailers engaging consumers in-store to drive sales? Sharon DiMinico (SD): Every month, our stores publish a full calendar of events to draw people into the store. We engage, we entertain, and we have product demonstrations. We also offer classes, costumed character appearances, and featured guests (silhouette artists, [...]

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Q&A with Willie Wilkov, Chief Marketing Officer, Tomy International

The Toy Book (TTB): Which licenses do you anticipate will be key drivers in 2015? Willie Wilkov (WW): 2015 is a big year on the license front for Tomy. We are proud to have the opportunity to work with Disney on two new Disney•Pixar movie properties–Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur– as well as the new Disney [...]

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Q&A with Carter Keithley, President and CEO, Toy Industry Association

The Toy Book: What challenges are currently facing the toy industry and how is the Toy Industry Association (TIA) addressing them? Carter Keithley: Over the past several years, our industry has done a tremendous amount of work to maintain and strengthen our robust safety standards. Nonetheless, the toy industry continues to be confronted with spurious [...]

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