Bryan Stockton Resigns as Chairman and CEO of Mattel, Christopher Sinclair Named Chairman and Interim CEO

logo_Mattel logoChristopher A. Sinclair has been named the chairman and interim CEO of Mattel, effective immediately. The company also announced that Bryan G. Stockton has resigned as Mattel’s chairman and CEO and resigned from the board of directors. [Read more...]

Rubie’s Expands Its Dress-Up Line with Marvel, Minions, and More

Imagine by Rubie’s, a toy division of Rubie’s Costume Company Inc., is expanding its offerings with new products and accessories. Available for children in separates and box sets, every unique ensemble provides kids the opportunity to dress-up as their favorite character 365 days of the year.

[Read more...]

Entertainment One Launches Peppa Pig Magazine, Expands U.S. Toy Program

PeppaPigMagEntertainment One Licensing (eOne Licensing) has partnered with Redan Publishing Inc. for a bi-monthly publication based on Peppa Pig. Fun To Learn Peppa Pig Magazine will launch this month at major retailers throughout the U.S., including Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Kroger.

Based on the animated TV show airing daily on Nick Jr., Fun To Learn Peppa Pig Magazine, for children ages 2 to 7, showcases the adventurous and loveable little pig along with her brother George, Mummy Pig, and Daddy Pig. Every issue will feature 36 pages of Peppa-themed activities designed to reinforce early learning skills as well as fun and inventive crafts projects, puzzles, product giveaways, and more.

In addition, a host of new licensed products are slated to make their retail debut in the spring. Better Toyz will offer a range of licensed sporting goods, including ball pits and tents, play balls, skates, scooters, kiddie pools, and skateboards. Fiesta Toys will produce an assortment of Peppa Pig plush and toys for the amusement park channel, from plush novelty hats and peek-a-boo pillows to Rolley bags and backpacks.

COMMENTARY: Nintendo Is Game for Playing in the Toy World

amiibo.largerversionSince the 1980s, Nintendo has always seemed to be the “family-friendly” choice in video games. With wholesome characters such as Mario and Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, and Toad, and bad guys that make you laugh more often than they scare you (except for Bowser in the original Super Mario Bros. game on NES—he was straight up scary), Nintendo has always given off a welcoming, family-friendly vibe, with games available for kids of all ages, and systems and controllers that are intuitive rather than intimidating.

Despite knowing this—and being a Nintendo fan my whole life—it still caught me a bit off-guard when Nintendo announced that it would be launching amiibo, which are action-figures designed to connect and interact with compatible games. “By holding the amiibo over your Wii U GamePad, you’ll open up new experiences within each corresponding game,” reads the Nintendo website. [Read more...]

Jeffrey Dunn Named President and CEO, Sesame Workshop

sesame-workshopVincent Mai, chairman of the board of trustees of Sesame Workshop, announced today the appointment of Jeffrey Dunn as president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, effective September 29. Dunn, formerly the president and CEO of Hit Entertainment, will succeed Mel Ming, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Dunn currently serves as a 2014 Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University with a focus on media and education. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Hit Entertainment from 2008 until 2012. Before joining Hit, Dunn served as group COO of the Nickelodeon Networks group and the president of Nickelodeon Film and Enterprises, where, among other things, he built Nickelodeon’s international networks business and oversaw the growth of Blue’s Clues, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Dora the Explorer into three of the world’s largest licensed property brands.

LeapFrog’s New LeapBand Is Available Now

LeapBandThe LeapBand, a wearable activity tracker from LeapFrog designed for kids ages 4 to 7, which encourages active play and healthy habits through interaction with a personalized virtual pet, is now available both online and at retail.

The LeapBand activity tracker gets kids moving and having fun with 50 different activities and challenges, tracking kids’ physical moves so the more active a kid is, the more points they earn with their virtual pets. As kids earn points through active play, they can unlock additional games, challenges, levels of play, and virtual rewards for their on-screen pet.

LeapBand has an aspirational fit-band style that is designed with kids in mind, and high-tech features including a built-in accelerometer, a high-resolution color screen, a rechargeable battery, and a water-resistant design. [Read more...]

Exclusive Pics from 2014 Licensing Expo

Licensing Expo, the annual meeting place for the global licensing industry, occurred last week in Las Vegas. The exhibitors included a number of the top toy companies, which were on-hand showing off upcoming play products and making announcements about new licensing deals.

Check out this exclusive gallery, which features lots of the licensed toys that we’re all sure to be excited about in the months ahead. [Read more...]

MGA Appoints Anne Gates as President

MGA Entertainment (MGAE) has appointed Anne Gates as president. Gates joined MGAE in early 2014 and MGA says she has proven to be a strategic and creative leader for the company’s portfolio of family entertainment franchises. In her new role, Gates will oversee all of MGAE’s global businesses and operations.

“Having Anne Gates as president will allow me to innovate and work more closely with the MGAE team on a vision for an exciting future, while Anne handles the day-to-day operation of the business. Anne and I will work very closely together to take MGAE to new heights,” says Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment. “Her incredible determination and proven performance in systematically growing businesses, paired with her exceptional management and entertainment experience, will help position the company for continued growth and leadership in the toy and entertainment world.” [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Bath Time Is Play Time in My House

I’m a lucky mom (for many reasons), but in the context of this post I’m lucky because my kids love taking baths. It’s one less thing to fight about. However, the reason they don’t mind cleaning up is that it’s fun. It’s not the getting clean part they enjoy (Lena has tried to make me forget about that portion of the experience many times), but the playing. Entertaining a 4-year-old in the tub is very different from distracting an 8-month-old, but bath toys have come a long way since I was a kid (plastic cup and Dawn dish soap, anyone?), and I’ve got a whole array of toys to get the job done. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: AllerMates Help Keep Kids with Allergies Safe

As the mother of a preschooler with a newly discovered sesame allergy, I am somewhat unfamiliar to the world of epi-pens and the importance of teaching a young child to speak up for themselves in a potentially lethal—but seemingly innocent—situation. It’s scary to be told your child has a serious allergy, and that the next seed to cross her lips could cause her throat to close up. While nut allergies are a known condition that can trigger anaphylaxis with tongue swelling and the inability to breathe, sesame allergies are a somewhat new, albeit growing phenomenon. As a parent, it’s my job to keep my children safe, and to make sure that no matter where my daughter is or whose care she is in, she will not be in danger.

allermates.wristbandMy daughter’s pediatrician recently stressed to me the importance of teaching Lena to always ask whether there is sesame in any food she is given, and to always ask a parent or teacher if it’s okay for her to eat. However, she is 4 years old, and new to this allergy herself. She does not understand the potential consequences of eating sesame, and it is extremely difficult for her to remember and be held responsible for something so serious.

allermates.medcaseThis is why I was so enthusiastic when I was contacted by AllerMates, and introduced to the company’s expanding line of products for kids with food allergies. [Read more...]