China Toy Fair


DHX Media Signs Golden Bear Toys as Twirlywoos Master Toy Partner

UK broadcaster CBeebies has commissioned a brand new preschool series, Twirlywoos, from Ragdoll Productions. The series, set to air next year, will revolve around the Twirlywoos: four small, bird-like characters who are inquisitive, enthusiastic, and constantly looking to learn something new about the world.

Twirlywoos will combine stop-frame animation and live action sequences set in the real world. It will be produced in association with DHX Media, which will handle global distribution, merchandising, brand management, and marketing. DHX Brands, the consumer products arm of DHX Media, has signed a global master toy deal with Golden Bear Toys, which will launch product in 2016, with a key focus on plush and plastics (play sets/figurines), bath toys and games, and activity products.

Funko Partners with Sesame Street on New Pop! Series

Funko.SesameStreetFunko has a new license with Sesame Workshop to create a series of Sesame Street Pop! Vinyl figures. The partnership will launch at this month’s New York Comic Con with the first to market release of a Super Grover Pop! Vinyl figure, which stands 3.75 inches tall and comes in a window display box. The Super Grover Pop! Vinyl figure will be available for sale at Toy Tokyo’s New York Comic Con Booth.

A complete Sesame Street Pop! series will follow next year. The Sesame Street Pop! series will include Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, Oscar, The Count, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Grover.

“As a company, we feel that the Sesame Street license is a fantastic way to bring our older customers back to their youth, while at the same time introducing our fun new line of collectables to younger generations,” says Andrew Perlmutter, vice president of sales.

Skylanders Trap Team, Toy Exclusives Available at Retailers Everywhere

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoSkylanders Trap Team, from Activision Publishing Inc., is available now at major retailers nationwide on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo Wii U consoles. In addition, the complete console gaming experience is available on iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets, while a unique Skylanders adventure has launched for the Nintendo 3DS.

The new Skylanders game lets fans seek out and battle villains in Skylands, and once they’ve defeated them, players can place a Trap into the new Traptanium Portal to capture them. Players will be able to hear the villains inside the Traps, and can send the villains back into the game to fight as heroes.

To celebrate the release of Skylanders Trap Team, exclusive Skylanders products are available at retailers nationwide. Toys “R” Us stores in North America and online at toysrus.com are the only places to find the limited edition Legendary Series of Skylanders toys at launch. The Legendary Series features alternative versions of new Trap Master characters and packs such as Jawbreaker, Déjà Vu, and the Nightmare Express Adventure Pack, all of which feature in-game stat boosts. [Read more...]

Spielwarenmesse Announces Topics and Dates for Toy Business Forum

SpielwarenmesseegFrom January 28 to February 1, Spielwarenmesse will be hosting its Toy Business Forum for visitors to the trade show, which is scheduled to take place at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre.

Visitors can get their knowledge of the industry up to speed at the free forums, where experts will explain new and worthwhile aspects of daily topics in 30-minute presentations.

The forums, which can be followed in both German and English, will be held daily from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Hall 3A. The subjects addressed will be as follows:

  • Wednesday: ToyKnowHow: Experiencing future trends & technologies
  • Thursday: Licenses: Recognizing worldwide trends in 2015
  • Friday: Online Marketing: Understanding strategies on the World Wide Web
  • Saturday: Marketing: Discovering potentials for the trade
  • Sunday: Visual Merchandising: Creating experience worlds

A selection of talks from 2014’s Toy Business Forum can be found at www.youtube.com/spielwarenmesse. Additional information is available at www.toyfair.de/toybusinessforum.

NRF Says Record Number of Americans to Buy Halloween Costumes This Year

nrfAccording to data from the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Halloween Consumer Spending Survey, more than two-thirds—or 67.4 percent—of celebrants will buy Halloween costumes for the holiday, which is the most in the survey’s 11-year history.

An estimated 2.6 million children plan to dress up as one of Disney’s Frozen characters, while about 1.8 million children will dress as one of the re-imagined classic characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Princess (3.4 million), animal (3 million), and Spider-Man (2.6 million) will also be popular choices for children.

The NRF survey also found that 75 million adults will dress in costume, with most sticking to traditional options, including a witch (4.8 million), an animal (2.6 million), a Batman character (2 million), and a pirate (1.8 million).

A total of $2.8 billion will be spent on costumes overall, with celebrants shelling out $1.1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.4 billion on adult costumes, and $350 million on costumes for pets. Findings revealed that among the 14.3 percent of celebrants planning to outfit their pets, 10.8 percent will dress them as a pumpkin, the top costume choice again this year.

Slightly more than 34 percent of Americans will look for costume inspiration online, while 33 percent will seek it at a retail store or costume shop. The survey found 11.4 percent of Americans will turn to Pinterest for costume ideas, up from 9.3 percent last year, with young adults driving the most Pinterest traffic: 21.2 percent and 21 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds and 25-to-34-year-olds, respectively.

Nintendo and Super Smash Bros. Join The Tailgate Tour

NintendoNintendo is bringing Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS to top college football tailgate stops across the South and Midwest regions of the U.S. through the end of November. Before the games, fans from rival schools will be able to settle their differences by competing in Super Smash Bros. head-to-head matches.

Nintendo will be keeping score as fans compete, with a visual display indicating whether the home or away team has the edge. A demo version of the Wii U game will be used to pit fans of rival schools against one another, while the 3DS game will be focused on letting friends settle their scores.

The Tailgate Tour will make stops at the following games, with Mario and Luigi costumed characters attending the Florida-Georgia game to cheer on the Super Smash Bros. match-ups:

  • Oct. 4: LSU at Auburn
  • Oct. 11: Penn State at Michigan
  • Oct. 18: Georgia vs. Arkansas
  • Oct. 25: Alabama at Tennessee
  • Nov. 1: Florida vs. Georgia
  • Nov. 8: Alabama at LSU
  • Nov. 15: Florida State at Miami
  • Nov. 22: Louisville at Notre Dame
  • Nov. 29: Michigan at Ohio State

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS launches today, while the Wii U version launches this holiday season.

GoldieBlox Joins the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

GoldieBlox FloatGoldieBlox will bring its design and engineering toys to life at the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The toymaker’s new float, titled The Girl-Powered Spinning Machine, will transform GoldieBlox toys into larger-than-life form in an elaborate, creative, and brightly colored machine.

“The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an iconic celebration and we’re thrilled to join the line-up this November with the first-ever float that is specifically designed to showcase the principles of engineering,” said Debbie Sterling, the founder and CEO of the company. “Macy’s Parade floats are the ultimate engineering spectacle, and relatable to kids everywhere. We can’t wait!”

The engineers and craftspeople at Macy’s Parade Studio worked closely with the GoldieBlox team to design and build the float as three distinct stages. It will use kid power to spin, pull, and rotate a myriad of elements from giant pinwheels and parachutes to jogging wheels.

AG Properties Launches Strawberry Shortcake Program in Nordic Region

strawberry shortcakeStrawberry Shortcake will see a dramatic expansion across Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland this fall, thanks to a new licensing deal between AG Properties (AGP) and strategic partner Tactic Games. They will produce and distribute a variety of publishing products, games, and puzzles, and will serve as distributor in the Nordic region for the new core toy line produced by The Bridge Direct featuring all new packaging.

The deal was handled by local agent Alicom Licensing acting on behalf of AGP.

All products will be distributed via direct selling, book clubs, specialty stores, book stores, supermarket and grocery, hypermarket, mass market, department, duty-free stores, game specialty, novelty, and toy stores.

Nintendo Becomes More Playful with Play Nintendo Website

PlayNintendoNintendo has unveiled Play Nintendo at play.nintendo.com, a new website where both kids and parents can interact with the video game maker’s characters and franchises. The site is a child-friendly online destination where kids can get to know beloved Nintendo games and characters including Mario, Luigi, Bowser, and Peach.

Nintendo will be regularly updating the parents site with new content such as which games are right for families, new games on the way, crafting ideas, suggestions for how to balance screen time with outdoor play, and more.

Alex Brands Opens New Worldwide Headquarters and Distribution Center in N.J.

AlexBrandsAlex Brands is expanding its operational footprint with the opening of a new worldwide headquarters and customer showroom in Fairfield, N.J.; a state-of-the-art distribution center in Woodbridge, N.J.; and expanded warehouse capacity in its Canton, Mich., distribution center.

The company’s new worldwide headquarters in Fairfield, N.J., covers 30,000 square feet, and houses the majority of the senior leadership, sales, marketing, purchasing, and compliance teams. It also features more than 4,000 square feet of showroom space, an in-house design center, and a photography and film studio. Along with fostering a collaborative team atmosphere, the new space will serve as a hub for the company’s product development team.

Alex Brands has also made significant investments in expanding its distribution capabilities, with the new Woodbridge, N.J., distribution center adding 300,000 square feet of space. The facility also provides direct-to-consumer fulfillment capabilities to support the company’s rapidly growing e-commerce initiative.

The company also doubled the warehouse space at its Canton, Mich., distribution center. The new facilities are expected to create job opportunities for local communities in Fairfield, Woodbridge, and Canton.