American Girl Launches Charitable “Shine On Now” Campaign

American Girl is launching  Shine On Now, a new charitable campaign that encourages girls to give support to other girls in need. The company hopes to donate $1 million in clothes, dolls, books, and money to Kids in Distressed Situations, National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions, National Wildlife Federation, and Save the Children.

Starting June 28, girls can become American Girl Ambassadors at shineonnow.com; ambassadors will receive a free, downloadable tool kit with tips and ideas for fund-raising, volunteering, or donating to the four charities. On July 13, visitors to the website can contribute 100 free stars a day to eventually reach 1 million stars. If 1 million stars are collected, American Girl will donate its maximum gift of $1 million.

American Girl will also be launching a new virtual campus, Innerstar University, with a variety of games, quizzes, and other activities. Access to the online world comes with each 18-inch My American Girl doll.

Hasbro Denies Potential Company Sale

Despite rumors that Hasbro was holding preliminary talks with private-equity firm Providence Equity Partners, Hasbro stated that it is not having any discussions with any firm regarding the sale of the company. Hasbro did confirm that it had been approached by a private equity firm regarding a transaction. The company said that its board of directors decided not to pursue any deal.

Vivid Signs on for Moshi Monsters Toys

Mind Candy, the global developer and publisher of the free-to-play online game Moshi Monsters, has signed a master toy licensing deal with Vivid Imaginations. Vivid will launch Moshi Monster-branded toys across the UK, North America, Australia, and New Zealand starting next January. The initial toy line will include miniature collectables and plush soft toys. Vivid will support the brand with TV advertising, online marketing, PR, and a fully-integrated promotional plan for the Moshi Monsters fan base.

New VeggieTales DVD to be Released in October

Big Idea Entertainment has announced a new VeggieTales film, VeggieTales: It’s a Meaningful Life, which will be released October 2 to Christian retail stores and October 5 to the general market. The new movie will include a new original song from Grammy and Dove Award winning artist Steven Curtis Chapman entitled “Meant to Be,” and a new Silly Song entitled “Goodnight Junior.”

The launch for the movie will be supported by a comprehensive marketing and advertising campaign with licensing and promotional partners that include Burger King, McDonald’s, Chuck E. Cheese, Denny’s, KFC, Gymboree, Gund, American Greetings, Show Hope, Family Life, and more.

The story focuses on Stewart (Larry the Cucumber) and his opportunity to change the past, ultimately exploring life’s lesson of being content. Bonus features on the DVD will include director’s audio commentary, art gallery, a parent’s guide by Family Life, “Goodnight Junior” Silly Songs Sing-along, a Visit the Train Museum with Larry feature, an interview with Steven Curtis Chapman, and the “Meant to Be” music video.

Care Bear Products to Launch in Korea this Fall

American Greetings Properties is launching a licensing program for its Care Bears brand in Korea this fall. Working with Korean licensing agent Asiana Licensing Incorporated (ALI), the upcoming Care Bears merchandise will target kids, juniors, and babies.

Seh-A will develop stationery, pens, and notebooks for the brand, while Forever Times will create watches and hair accessories. American Greetings and Asiana will also expand the program across other major categories, including apparel. Next month, ALI will feature the Care Bears at the Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival, held from July 21–25 at COEX in Seoul, Korea.

Sustainable Product Showcase to Feature 250 “Green” Products

Nearly 250 “green” products have passed the application process and will be displayed in the SustainAbility: Design for a Better World exhibit returning to the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF), August 14-19 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Accepted products were required to have eco-friendly production processes, exclude certain types of environmental pollutants, and have socially responsible, philanthropic or fair-trade oriented business practices.

The 250 accepted products come from 133 companies and include tableware, stationery, personal accessories, juvenile products, and home décor. The exhibit is located in the Javits Center’s North Concourse near the entrance to the Accent on Design exhibit.

Before the Fair opens on August 14, several products within the exhibit will receive NYIGF’s “Degrees of SustainAbility” distinction, indicating the product and producer’s level of earth-friendly production and materials. Additionally, the display will be complemented by educational programming, which includes the “It’s Easy Being Green—Just Ask the Experts!” panel, held August 16 from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Retailers will also have the opportunity to vote for the most innovative, environmentally responsible products found within SustainAbility display, and winners will receive Eco Choice Award in three categories: “Most Innovative,” “Most Sensitive Use of Materials” and “Most Sellable.” The awards, sponsored by NYIGF and GREENRetailer, will be announced at the conclusion of this year’s NYIGF.

Child’s Play Communications Hosts “Dinner’s On Us” Event

Child’s Play Communications has announced a dinner event planned to precede the annual BlogHer Convention held in New York City August 6-7. “Dinner’s On Us” will be held August 5 and is planned to be a more intimate gathering to allow 100 leading mom bloggers and 10 sponsors the opportunity to network. The event will also feature the first Bloganthropy awards, which will recognizes bloggers who have used social media to support good causes.

The dinner will be Child’s Play Communications’ fourth event for mom bloggers. Sponsors to date include Nickelodeon, Toyota, Cuisinart, Giddy Up, K’NEX, Baby Boom, Hershey’s/Kraft, Backyard Safari Outfitters/Zillionz, and The California Strawberry Commission. For additional information, visit http://www.childsplaypr.com/DinnersOnUs/.

Juno Company Announces Rising Stars National Competition

The Juno Company is launching Rising Stars Search, a national competition for children 8 years old and younger. Participating children will sing, dance, and perform to Juno Baby music for a chance to win three days and two nights in San Francisco, an appearance in an upcoming Juno Baby production, and other prizes.

The Rising Star Search is part of Juno Baby’s One for All bus tour in celebration of Juno Company’s partnership with the National Head Start Association and the One for All program. For every Juno Baby product purchased, the company will donate a music education DVD to a child in need, with the ultimate goal of distributing one million DVDs.

The One for All bus tour will include Emmy Award-winning orchestral music, meet and greet with the Juno character, photo opportunities for kids to have his or her photo taken with Juno Baby characters in their world using green-screen photo technology, and adventures with musical instruments.

Children can download Juno Baby songs and register for the event at www.junobaby.com. A list of stops on the bus tour can be found here.

Toy Industry Foundation Recognizes New “Power Players”

The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) has recently recognized iToys, Inc. and USAopoly as “Power Players,” in honor of their ongoing support of The Toy Bank.

iToys, Inc. has donated to the program every year since its inception in 2003. Most recently, the company contributed 10,000 toys for foster children across the company in TIF’s Do-Good-Stuff-a-Thon.

USAopoly also donates to the Toy Bank annually and most recently contributed to a Play Comforts event in May. TIF and national partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America Military Services distributed toys to thousands of military family members in San Diego, including a donation of games from USAopoly.

LIMA to Host Webinar on Tween and Teen Marketing

On July 14, the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) will host a new webinar about Millennials, “Marketing to Teens & Tweens: Insights, Strategy, and Tactics.” The webinar will be hosted by Bill Carter (above), co-founder and partner of the marketing agency Fuse Youth Marketing.

The webinar, to be held 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. EDT, will aim to help licensors and licensees learn strategies and tactics for capturing tweens and teen’s attention, as well as building their trust and loyalty.

The webinar is free to current LIMA members, and $99 for non-members. Registration will be accepted until 5 p.m. EDT on July 13. To register, click here.

Photo credit: www.fusemarketing.com