Our good friend and Toy Insider Co-Editor Reyne Rice appeared on Huffington Post’s HuffPost Live discussion “Toymakers Should Create Gender-Neutral Toys.”
According to Autism Speaks, an autism science and advocacy organization, autism affects one in 88 children and “is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.” To help fund much-needed research, Cleveland, Ohio-based game manufacturer Heartland Consumer Products, LLC, marketer of the Square Shooters dice game, announces its campaign to support Autism Speaks.
For every “like” received on the Square Shooters page on Facebook during the month of April – National Autism Awareness Month – the company will donate $1 to the organization, up to $3,500. (Visit www.facebook.com/squareshooters)
Square Shooters is a multi-faceted game that launched in 2011, and consists of a full deck of cards printed on dice. A versatile game, users can choose to play the Square Shooters feature game; versions of other card games like rummy, 21, or poker; or even make up a new way to play.
”The game’s versatility is the key,” said Tom Donelan, Heartland’s president and CEO. “It can bring different ages and generations together. Play can be as simple as a matching game for kids or a game of chance for adults.”
Donelan’s oldest son Connor is a 19-year-old young man with autism. “Dice games are perfect for families who need fast-paced games that don’t require a lot of attention from every player. We accidentally found that the game fits our family’s particular play style when Connor picked up the dice and started playing—he’s not a big game player, but he enjoyed the fast action of Square Shooters,” said Donelan. “It’s by no means scientific evidence, but we believe—and hope—that other families affected by autism or other special needs will have a similar experience. Supporting autism is personal for us, and we’re excited to join the fight to fund research and give back to the autism community.”
Square Shooters is designed for one or more players ages 8 and up. The game is available at Walmart, Walgreens, Books-A-Million, and many independent toy/game retailers nationwide. For more information, visit squareshooters.com or like the Square Shooter’s page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/squareshooters.
Ickee Stikeez, from Zing Toys, are squishy, monster-themed collectibles with suction cups that stick to flat surfaces. Ickeez stick to any flat surface, such as lockers, lunchboxes, windows, and cell phones. When pulled-off, the Ickeez make a loud “pop!” Characters come in “Podz” that are reminiscent of vending machine capsules, which also have built-in play. Kids can connect them to create various different structures and environments for their Ickee Stikeez characters. Each pack has a number, which can be entered on www.ickeez.com for additional content, back story, wallpaper, and short videos.
Ickeez Series 1 is now available at select Walmart locations and Walgreens. Ickee Stikeez Series 2 will be in all Walmart stores this holiday season. There are 24 total characters in Series 1. They are sold in three-pack blisters retailing for $2.99 each.
The Good Luck Troll was originally created in 1959 by Danish fisherman and woodcutter Thomas Dam. At various times since the early 1960s, Trolls have been a top-selling toy, building a seldom-achieved brand equity. Dam Things, which holds all rights to the works of Thomas Dam, is in the process of launching a complete slate of merchandise activities and products for the Good Luck Trolls. Dark Horse Comics has been granted the license for a collectibles program. The line will consist of 15 different trolls, some of which are rare, sold in mystery box assortments.
Dark Horse felt the Good Luck Troll would be a natural fit in the designer vinyl and specialty retail arena, and has created Trolls with unique variations of color and surface treatments. The product development was closely supervised by Dam Things and its brand manager Dannie Festa of Festa Entertainment, including a trip from Denmark to the West Coast prototyping facility to assess and approve the works in progress.
Big Idea Entertainment, a studio and producer of children’s and family programming, characters, and brands, will debut its all-new VeggieTales Live! God Made You Special tour in more than 30 major markets nationwide—including Atlanta, Nashville, Jacksonville, Birmingham, and more—beginning February 23, 2012. For the current tour itinerary, ticket information and group sales, please visit veggietales.com/live or iTickets.com.
VeggieTales characters Bob, Larry, and the rest of the cast bring zany antics to the stage with amusing, engaging storytelling and music. The show includes silly songs like “His Cheeseburger,” “Love My Lips,” “The Hairbrush Song,” and more. The show is designed to celebrate how unique and special each person is in a high-energy musical extravaganza.
World Vision has partnered with Big Idea Entertainment as a sponsor for the VeggieTales Live! God Made You Special tour. World Vision’s child sponsorship efforts provide access to necessities like clean water, health care, education, and more.
I attended Target’s Holiday Toy Preview on November 9, and had the great pleasure of meeting Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster, Sabrina the Teenage Witch). She is Target’s Mommy Ambassador, and frankly, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Soleil has two daughters herself, and seemed to have a ball talking about her favorite toys for the holidays. Rocking a pair of comfy slipper socks, Soleil walked me through Target’s top holiday toy picks, and introduced me to the toys she chose as her personal top picks:
- Disney My First Princess Doll and Toddler Dress Gift Set
- Disney Cars Charge n Race Speedway
- LeapFrog LeapPad
- Barbie Hairtastic Printables
- Paper Jamz Pro Series Microphone
- Scrabble Flash
Walmart has released its Black Friday circular to shoppers on Facebook and Walmart.com to help families plan their holiday shopping. Items from electronics to gaming consoles and toys will be available during three shopping events.
Walmart’s Black Friday events will be held at the following times:
- 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24) –Toys, Home, and Apparel
- Midnight on Black Friday (Nov. 25) – Electronics
- 8 a.m. Nov. 25 through the weekend – Gifts for the entire family
“Our customers told us they would rather stay up late to shop than get up early, so we’re going to hold special events on Thanksgiving and Black Friday,” says Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising officer, Walmart U.S. “By sharing our Black Friday specials earlier than ever, we hope to make buying decisions easier for parents working hard to give their families the Christmas they deserve.”
In addition, all day long on Thanksgiving, shoppers can get online-only specials and save with free shipping options.
Walmart is also helping shoppers plan their in-store shopping strategy by making available store-specific maps on Facebook. To access the map, shoppers need to find their favorite store by clicking on the “My Local Walmart” application on Walmart’s Facebook page.
Walmart also promises to match the price of any local competitor’s printed ad for an identical product, including matching competitor’s deals for the day after Thanksgiving.
Firefly Brand Management is a full-service global brand management and licensing agency specializing in entertainment, interactive, technology, art and lifestyle properties, including:
• Anne Geddes, an artist whose photography has been published in 83 countries with over 18 million copies sold worldwide. The brand and various licensing programs have a strong following all over the world, and Firefly is seeking new product lines for the home, infants, maternity, and young girls.
• Hell’s Kitchen, the cooking competition show on Fox. The brand’s new lines are in housewares, food, beverage, apparel and other categories.
• Mr. Bubble, which for 50 years has been the best selling bubble bath in the U.S.
• Spam, which has graced American dinner tables for nearly 75 years, is an iconic American brand.
• Yummy You by Twinkie Chan, a line of silly, food themed scarves and accessories.
• Emily Green, whose imagination brings creative, fun designs to an array of products including children’s place mats, bowls, tumblers and other unique gifts.
Please contact Eve LeMaster for licensing news and opportunities.