MasterPieces, Smart Play Signs on for Animal Planet and Shark Week Merchandise

MasterpiecesPuzzlesLogoMasterPieces Puzzle Company has signed a deal with Discovery Consumer Products to produce Animal Planet and Shark Week puzzles and craft sets. It will also create Animal Planet-branded dinosaur and safari products, as well as Shark Week-branded 3-D puzzles with a paint component and buildable craft kits made of wood.

Smart Play will develop children’s educational toys offering different ways to discover the world of animals. The line includes 3-D flashcards and puzzles, puzzle cubes, alphabet floor puzzles, a lighted click-and-see toy projector, and an electronic learning pad. The new items will be available next year.

Barbie Makes First Heroic Debut in New Movie, Barbie in Princess Power

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment BarbieBarbie will make her first heroic debut in an all-new adventure, Barbie in Princess Power. The movie will be released on Digital HD on February 17, 2015, and on Blue-Ray Combo Pack and DVD March 3, 2015. For a limited time, consumers can get a Super Sparkle Mask with the purchase of the Blue-Ray Combo Pack and DVD.

In the movie, Barbie stars as Kara, a modern-day princess who was kissed by a magical butterfly. Soon after, she discovers she has super powers, allowing her to transform into Super Sparkle, her secret, crime fighting alter ego. Soon after, her jealous cousin captures the butterfly and also transforms, but into the nemesis Dark Sparkle. They realize the power of friendship when they discover the kingdom’s true enemy.

Bonus features include a “Soaring” music video, “Superhero Beat” music video, outtakes, “Anything is Possible” Barbie anthem with the band Fifth Harmony, and Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse episode “Mission Impawsible.”

COMMENTARY: Sibling Rivalries Exist in the Toy World, Too

FrozenproductsA real-life sibling rivalry exists between Disney’s Frozen Elsa and Anna products—with one sister clearly winning. According to a Wall Street Journal article published last month, Disney marketing executives expected the sisters to be equals in popularity. As such, they were caught off-guard by the overwhelming preference for Elsa, who outsells Anna in dolls, toys, costumes, and other items. Disney, in response, makes sure to keep Elsa items in-stock at stores: For example, about 10 percent more Elsa dolls are stocked than Anna ones at Wal-Mart, according to the same Wall Street Journal article.

To help combat the Frozen sibling rivalry, companies are selling dolls with both sisters, and sales data from last holiday season shows that girls want to play with dolls or role-play with costumes featuring both characters. In turn, companies such as Jakks Pacific, as well as retailers like Toys “R” Us, are making and selling products, respectively, that involve the two sisters. [Read more...]

Hasbro Participates in Community Service Projects in 33 Countries Worldwide for Second Global Day of Joy

HasbroGlobalDayHasbro Inc. celebrated its second Global Day of Joy on December 4, a volunteer initiative designed to spread cheer and bring positive change to children in 33 countries. Team Hasbro employees volunteered with more than 100 charitable organizations worldwide to deliver toys and games to children, provide meals for the homeless, renovate playrooms, and host Hasbro Game Day for the event.

Hasbro’s Global Day of Joy is one of the company’s largest global efforts, and this year’s day lasted 27 full business hours from the start of the day in Australia to the close of business in Los Angeles. Service programs from around the world included hand-delivering toys and games to school children; volunteering at an Operation Smile mission in Colombia; character visits to Miami Children’s Hospital; and sorting and packing thousands of toys and games to the organizations Toys for Tots, SeriousFun Children’s Network, and Give Kids the World.

During this year’s holiday season, Hasbro expects to donate more than half a million toys and games to organization benefitting children, valued at $6 million.

USAopoly Celebrates 20 Years with 13 Days of Giving Games

USAopolyUSAopoly is currently giving away a themed gaming package each day for 13 days through December 20. With every game a fan wins, one will also be donated to Toys for Tots. For every day that there are over 500 entries, an additional winner will be chosen and will match the number of games given to fans to the Toys for Tots donation. Prize packages include The Walking Dead Day, Nintendo Day, My Little Pony Day, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Day.

Disney Debuts New Approach to Early Learning with Disney Imagicademy

ImagicademyDisney Publishing Worldwide has created Disney Imagicademy, a technology-driven learning initiative designed for families with children ages 3 to 8 that encourage them to learn by creating, doing, and making. The new platform offers parents a way to expose their children to fundamental educational concepts by combining Disney characters with a research-driven curriculum developed with top academic and education experts.

The integrated program includes more than 30 app-based experiences, a companion app for parents, and books and other physical products. The material covers key subject matters, including math, creative arts, science, language arts, and social and emotional skills. Each in-app experience features progressive early math concepts, including counting forward and backward, sort and classify, skip count, numbers and shapes recognition, reason and logic, and more. The additional physical products and learning toys will be available for back-to-school 2015, featuring items from Smart Toys, Kid Designs, Wonder Forge, and Mercury Active[Read more...]

Spielwarenmesse eG Takes Toy Manufacturers to Asia with World of Toys Program

Spielwarenmessee.croppedTwenty-six toy manufacturers from 12 countries are using Spielwarenmesse eG’s World of Toys program, which supports exhibitors wanting to develop business relationships in the Asian market, to exhibit at the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2015.

The companies to exhibit in the World of Toys pavilion are as follows: Banbao Europe BV and SES Nederland BV from the Netherlands; Bruder Spielwaren GmbH + Co. KG, Dusyma, fischerwerke GmbH & Co. KG, Haba–Habermaass GmbH, Mertens GmbH, Spielwarenmesse eG, and SPM Schäfer Promotion Marketing from Germany; Ebulobo, Jouets Ecoiffier, Vulli S.A.S, and Petitcollin & Vilac from France; Furkan ITH. IHR. ve SIN. MAM. PAZ. LTD. STI., Perre Group Co., Ucar Oyuncak San. Tic. Ltd. Sti., and Pilsan Plastik from Turkey; Green Rubber Toys from Australia; Guidecraft and Kettler International Inc. from the U.S.; James Galt & Co. Ltd from the U.K.; Lilliputiens from Belgium; Micro Mobility Systems AG from Switzerland; Science4you SA from Portugal; and Taf Toys from Israel.

CWIST Relaunches Kids CWIST for Kids Holiday Charity Campaign

Dec3.CWISTCWIST has relaunched its Kids Cwist for Kids initiative for the holidays, and will donate $2,000 in toys to family-supporting charities. CWIST is an incentive-based digital learning platform where parents and educators share ideas, motivate kids to learn, and teach them life lessons.

Parents use the platform to assign an interactive learning challenge to their kids, called a cwist, which are ready-made or created by the parent. Usually, when a child completes a cwist, they can earn parent-designated rewards, such as a bowl of ice cream or an extra hour of TV. However, for a twist this holiday season, the Kids Cwist for Kids charity initiative connects a parent and a child to a child in need.

Parents assign their children cwists to complete, but instead of their child receiving a reward, a gift will be donated to a child whose family can’t afford holiday presents.

Target to Use Interactive Game to Transform Stores into Winter Wonderlands

Target LogoTarget has partnered with Google on its latest Art, Copy & Code project, Bullseye’s Playground, an interactive, in-store mobile experience. Bullseye’s Playground is a mobile game experience that features Target’s bull terrior mascot Bullseye and other characters. In addition, guests can use Google’s new Project Tango Development Tablet in select stores.

Beginning December 2, Target guests can use their mobile devices to access Bullseye’s Playground both in and out of stores. They can play six interactive games, including sledding, ice fishing, and snowball fights. In-store signage will prompt guests to play and discover special codes throughout the store to unlock characters and new game levels. For every game played on Bullseye’s Platform, Target will donate $1 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital up to $1 million.

In select Target stores, guests can be some of the first to test out Google’s Project Tango Development Tablets. The tablet screen can transform the store into a winter wonderland that changes as the guests move around the store. They can also interact with characters like Bullseye and Zoomer Dino as they travel around the location, while they discover virtual activities like taking part in a snowball fight or playing a xylophone made of icicles. [Read more...]

Wicked Cool Toys to Launch Wild Kratts Toy Offering at Toys “R” Us

Nov24.9MediaWild Kratts, the animated adventure series from Kratt Brothers Company and 9 Story Media Group, has reached the No. 1 spot for kids 4 to 8 and kids 6 to 11 across all networks. The strong performance of the brand also extends to toys and books.

Master toy licensee Wicked Cool Toys has launched a toy offering at Toys “R” Us, toysrus.com, and shop.pbskids.com. Due to the line’s strong initial performance, new items have been developed, including a Tortuga playset deluxe power suit with sound, as well as hero and villain packs. The new items were on display at the Dallas Fall Mass Market Preview and are expected to be available at retail next fall. Random House Kids has also released the fist Wild Kratts book in the U.S. and Canada, which needed to be reprinted because initial sales did so well.

The expansion comes shortly after PBS Kids greenlit a fourth season and 9 Story announced new sales of the series to France Télévisions (France), E Junior (United Arab Emirates) and Canal Panda (Portugal). Wild Kratts has previously been licensed to Discovery Kids (Latin America and Asia), Super RTL (Germany), Al Jazeera Children’s Channel (Middle East), Noga (Israel), TV3 (Spain), SIC (Portugal), Dublin Films (Ireland), VRT (Belgium), Chello Media (Eastern Europe), MediaCorp PTD Ltd. (Singapore), TV3 Catalunya (Spain), Minika (Turkey), and Primetime (Colombia).