Sinking Ship Launches Dino Dan Website

Sinking Ship Entertainment has launched the official Dino Dan website, dinodan.com, in the U.S. The website features a virtual dig site where users have to search for hidden fossils that unlock new dinosaurs and can be used in games throughout the website. The educational content was co-developed with the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Sinking Ship has also launched an Official Dino Dan Facebook page. Additionally, through its distribution partnership with Breakthrough Entertainment, and a license agreement with Musictoday, a Live Nation company, Sinking Ship has launched the official Dino Dan Webstore. Musictoday will handle Dino Dan online merchandise orders, customer service, special promotions, and sales opportunities. New merchandise, including Dino Dan branded T-shirts, hoodies, headwear, room décor, bumper stickers, and water bottles are now available for sale.

StinkyKids Creator to Host Event at FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue

On Saturday, September 10, starting at 1 p.m., StinkyKids fans are invited to a special event at FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue in New York City. At the event, fans will be able to purchase the brand-new StinkyKids book, StinkyKids See a Full Moon, and meet the brand’s creator, Britt Menzies. Menzies will host a story time and will autograph new books purchased by attendees. StinkyKids characters are playful, curious tykes who learn to make right choices through their innocent childhood mistakes and gain valuable life lessons.

Innovation First Labs Unveils New Hexbug Back-to-School and Holiday Products

Innovation First Labs, Inc., creator of Hexbug Micro Robotic Creatures, unveiled its new back-to-school and holiday line up. Hexbug Micro Robotic Creatures are expandable and customizable robotic bugs.

Hexbug Larva is the new addition to the Hexbug family. The robotic bug slithers forward on smooth surfaces, mimicking real larva. The bug also reacts to its environment and can instinctively change direction when it senses an obstacle in its way.

The Nano Hive Habitat Set is the first transportable environment that allows Hexbug Nano architects to customize their design within a Habitat Set system. The set features a ramp, multiple levels, and a floor that has attachment points so children can pop in their choice of accessories.

The updated Nano Habitat Set features the Construct System, including modular parts and accessories. The floor of each Hex Cell has attachment pegs so children can personalize it to their liking. The Hex Cell also features removable walls so cells can be connected to one another to create different environments.

The company is also releasing limited-edition, holiday-themed Hexbug Nanos. For Halloween, the zombie Nano is decked out with coffin-shaped packaging and a glow-in-the-dark exoskeleton. For Christmas, the Holiday Ornament Nano comes with reindeer antlers and is packaged as an ornament.

Photo Credit: Kmart.com

“Absorbent: A SpongeBob Exhibit” Set to Open in Moscow

SpongeBob SquarePants is headed to Moscow, announced Nickelodeon Russia, a unit of Viacom International Media Networks. “Absorbent: A SpongeBob Exhibit” is a modern art exhibition presented by Nickelodeon in partnership with Beeline. This exhibit will be free of charge for visitors, and will run September 16 through October 2 at the Flacon Design Plant in Moscow.

“Absorbent” is Russia’s first interactive SpongeBob exhibition. Visitors will experience how the Nickelodeon character has influenced fashion, culture, and modern media. In addition to the fashion and art installations, the exhibit will include a multimedia zone.

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Ubisoft to Release New Titles in Time for the Holidays

Ubisoft is introducing new titles for the holidays, including Just Dance 3 and Rocksmith.

Just Dance 3 is the latest title in the Just Dance video game series, which allows players to dance along to their favorite tunes. The game features more than 40 new tracks, upgraded features, and new modes.

The Dance Crew multiplayer mode allows a player and a friend to let loose simultaneously. Also, now players can compare their scores with other dancers to  see who is topping the leaderboard. The game also features background changes that give the game dynamic environments. The Just Sweat mode is upgraded with workout plans and even more playlists. An exclusive Kinect feature gives a dancer the chance to belt out their favorite verse of a song for more points.

Rocksmith is the first video game that plugs into any real guitar and features gameplay that automatically adjusts to the player’s skill level. The music library is large and includes everything from classic bands to current artists. Some of the featured tracks are by performers such as The Animals, The Black Keys, David Bowie, Interpol, Nirvana, and The Rolling Stones. A bundle, including the game, an Epiphone Les Paul Junior guitar, and the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable, is also available. Rocksmith, for PS3, Xbox 360, and PCs, is set to be released this fall.

Most Americans Believe Smaller Companies Have Better Customer Service

Four in five Americans (81 percent) believe that smaller companies place a greater emphasis on customer service than large businesses, according to a new report by the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer. The survey, exploring attitudes and preferences toward customer service, was conducted in the U.S. and nine other countries.

According to the report, 73 percent of respondents said they would be willing to spend more time with a company that they believe provides excellent customer service and 70 percent of Americans are willing to spend an average of 13 percent more money with companies they believe provide excellent customer service. This is up from last year, when 58 percent of Americans said they would spend an average of 9 percent more with companies that deliver greater service.

Overall, most Americans (60 percent) believe businesses haven’t increased their focus on providing good customer service and 26 percent believe companies are actually paying less attention to service.

When there is poor customer service, 78 percent of respondents said they bailed on the transaction. Three out of five Americans (59 percent) said they would try a new brand or company for a better service experience and two out of five Americans (39 percent) said that, in anger, they have threatened to switch to a competitor.

The Second Annual “The Next Big Give” Contest

Dallas Market Center, home to the Toy Industry Association’s Fall Toy Preview, has launched its second annual The Next Big Give contest, a national search for specialty retailers that are giving back in their communities through volunteering, raising funds, or donating goods. Retailers may nominate themselves or be nominated by a manufacturer, a sales representative, or customer. The application is available at www.dallasmarketcenter.com/give, and the deadline is December 9.

On January 9, 10 finalists will be announced. The final two winners will be crowned on February 14 and will receive a complimentary trip to March Market in Dallas (March 22-25), including round-trip airfare from anywhere in the continental U.S. and a three-nights hotel stay.

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Jakks Pacific to Acquire Moose Mountain Toymakers

Jakks Pacific, Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire Hong Kong-based Moose Mountain Toymakers Limited, manufacturer of sports arcade products, foot-to-floor ride-ons, tents, soft play environments, arcade pinball games, and wagons.

Jakks Pacific will acquire all shares of Moose Mountain’s stock and its affiliate, Moose Mountain Marketing, Inc. The business includes licenses for characters and brands. The transaction is scheduled to close in the third quarter of 2011, subject to third party approvals and other customary closing conditions.

New Wind-Up Pens Convert to Racers

California Creations is introducing wind-up toy pens, Z Writers, this fall. The new toys will be available in four different styles: Robots, Rockets, Race Cars, and Jets. Z Writers will join California Creations’ line-up of more than 200 wind-ups. The pens will be available nationwide for $9.99.