China Toy Fair


Ickee Stikeez Now Available at Walmart and Walgreens

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.

TOTY Award Winners Announced

More than five hundred toy industry executives and guests from around the globe gathered in New York City on February 11 to honor their peers at the 12th annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

A Toy Industry Association (TIA)-administered event in support of the Toy Industry Foundation, the  gala held in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center kicked off the 109th American International Toy Fair and paid tribute to today’s superstars, tomorrow’s bright up-and-comers, and illustrious toy industry icons.

Interspersed with the presentations of 12 TOTY Awards were two inductions into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Arnie Rubin, Founder and CEO of Funrise Toy, and the late Frederick August Otto Schwarz, founder of FAO Schwarz. The new inductees join a distinguished roster of nearly 60 toy industry luminaries who have been inducted into the Hall since its establishment in 1985.

Award winners were selected with the input of consumers (on ToyAwards.org), retailers (mass and specialty), media, and members of the toy industry. The five ballots were weighted and used to determine the category winners as well as the overall “Toy of the Year” award.
LeapPad Explorer by LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. received the coveted “Toy of the Year” title and was also awarded Educational Toy of the Year and Preschool Toy of the Year. The awards program included 77 finalists across the 11 categories.

And the winners are…

[Read more...]

Dark Horse Deluxe Offers a Unique Take on the Good Luck Trolls

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.

[Read more...]

VeggiesTales Embarks on Live Show Tour

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.

Stardoll Partners with Barbie for Global Doll Line

Stardoll, the global online fashion and gaming community for girls, has partnered with Barbie to bring the world of virtual dress-up and online play to life with the new “Stardoll by Barbie” line of collectible fashion dolls. The partnership marks the Stardoll brand’s first foray into translating its online fashion portal into physical dolls, allowing Barbie fans to extend the possibilities of the Stardoll world offline.

The “Stardoll by Barbie” collection will feature eight new fashion dolls, based on four of the most popular virtual Stardoll stores in Starplaza. Inspired by Stardoll avatars, “Stardoll by Barbie” dolls come packaged mirroring signature avatar poses. Each doll features details such as rooted eyelashes, a unique face and body sculpt, as well as a distinct signature style.

“Stardoll by Barbie” will be available at retail in the U.S. beginning this month, with another five dolls slated for spring 2012. Three accessory packs let Stardoll fans mix and match the fashions and accessories, and give girls the interchangeable closet experience of the Stardoll virtual world in the real world.

“Stardoll by Barbie” dolls will come with a gift card for complimentary membership on Stardoll.com for new and existing members, Stardollars to spend on all Superstar items on the Stardoll site as well as free exclusive virtual gifts.

Target’s Mommy Ambassador, Soleil Moon Frye, Reveals Top Holiday Picks

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

Perhaps I should have removed my heels and rocked some slipper socks myself. It was a pleasure to meet you Soleil!

Walmart Kicks-off Black Friday Events Starting at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving

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’s Lineup

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.

TIA Partners with Adventure Publishing for Licensing Showcase Co-Located at Toy Fair

New York City is slated to become the next stop on the global licensing circuit as the Toy Industry Association (TIA) launches its new Brand & Entertainment Showcase in February. Co-located with the 109th American International Toy Fair, to be held February 12-15 in New York, the showcase offers an impactful and convenient content connection for entertainment licensors and brand owners alike. The event provides opportunities for exclusive access to top-tier media, marketing agencies, and an audience of 30,000+ tradeshow guests from more than 90 countries. Adventure Publishing Group is the exclusive media partner of the Brand & Entertainment Showcase.

The new Brand & Entertainment Showcase satisfies increased demands from the licensing community to collaborate in a formalized setting at the show. Content providers will be able to simply show up and show off in small, private meeting spaces or large, public theaters. Turnkey presentation solutions and an audience of marketers ensure that all participants’ needs will be met.

As the largest and most important gathering for youth entertainment in the Western Hemisphere, Toy Fair last year welcomed an unprecedented surge in entertainment executives (+31 percent) and licensors (+8 percent). In 2010, licensed toys represented 25 percent of total industry sales. In addition, the co-located Brand & Entertainment Showcase gives participants access to the important ancillary advertising, marketing, and promotion-oriented industries that are concentrated in and around the media epicenter of the world.

Adventure Publishing’s signature publications—The Licensing Book and The Toy

Book—and its online communities will be a primary conduit of information and updates about the showcase to the global community, and the key vehicles for brand advertisers during the event itself.

For more information about participating in TIA’s Brand and Entertainment Showcase, contact Jennifer Coleman, sales executive and producer (973.760.8181, jennifer@jcinc.biz); for information about advertising opportunities, please contact Jonathan Samet at Adventure Publishing (212.575.4510, jsamet@adventurepub.com).

Hot Holiday Toys Announced!

Elmo and Harry Potter Toys Headline the List of Top Picks in Sixth Annual Holiday Toy Guide

The Toy Insider (www.thetoyinsider.com), an annual holiday toy guide, announced today its HOT 20 TOYS for the 2011 holiday season, including Scene It? Harry Potter: The Complete Cinematic Journey, Let’s Rock Elmo, Redakai Championship Tin and LeapPad. The HOT 20 is the kick-off section of the Toy Insider, which will run in full in the November 17, 2011 issue of Woman’s Day magazine, on newsstands November 1, 2011.

Now in its sixth year, the Toy Insider features expert toy and gift recommendations at all price points, making it easy for all gift givers to find the perfect holiday gift for every kid on their lists. All of the toys in the guide have been selected by a panel of toy trend experts, led by industry veterans Jonathan Samet, Publisher of The Toy Book, and Laurie Schacht, TOY INSIDER MOM and Contributing Toy Editor to Woman’s Day.  Laurie is also the leading spokesperson to consumers on toys and gifts, making regular appearances on the TODAY SHOW, ABC NEWS, GOOD DAY NEW YORK and many others. The panel also includes Jackie Breyer, Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, the leading trade publication in the toy industry, and Reyne Rice, a leading toy trend expert. The Toy Insider team spent the past year reviewing and evaluating all of the latest toys to identify the most compelling and hottest new products to help gift givers get an early start on their holiday shopping.

This year’s edition is the biggest one ever, filled with 110 toy recommendations from more than 80 different manufacturers.  The Toy Insider is an excellent resource and user-friendly guide for gift giving. It includes gift ideas for all ages and both genders, broken out by age group (0-2 years old, 3-5 years old, 6-8 years old and 9+ years old).  Each section features an in-depth description of the developmental needs and interests for that specific age group to assist any holiday shopper in finding the perfect gift.  A unique toy skill key, located on the HOT 20 page, provides a list of icons that are matched to each toy, offering even greater convenience with age-appropriate gift giving.

[Read more...]