China Toy Fair


LeapFrog Adds VP of Sales and VP of Platform Marketing

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES LOGOLeapFrog Enterprises Inc. recently added two executives: Dan Burns and Scott A. Steinberg.

Burns joins LeapFrog as vice president of sales. In his new role, Burns will lead LeapFrog’s efforts to drive sales of the company’s award-winning products, including the recently unveiled LeapTV active video gaming system, the new LeapBand activity tracker, and more.

Prior to joining LeapFrog, Burns was vice president of sales at VTech Electronics for 10 years, where he drove record sales revenue and profit, set the strategy for global brand and product development efforts, and led retail merchandising initiatives for all sales accounts. He previously held executive sales positions at Radio Flyer Corporation and Hedstrom Corporation, as well as management positions at Hasbro and Kolcraft. [Read more...]

NRF Finds Back to School Spending Is Up, Driven by Demand for Electronics and Supplies

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2014 Back-to-School Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies, and electronics. This is up 5 percent from a total spend of $634.78 last year, driven by increased demand for electronic items, as well as parents’ need to restock their children’s school supplies.

NRF broke down spending by grade, and according to the survey, the average family shopping for high school students will spend $682.99, while spending on middle school/junior high comes in a close second at $682.13. Parents with elementary school-age children will spend an average of $580.94. [Read more...]

LeapFrog’s Newest Learning Tablet, LeapPad3, Now Available

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES LOGOThe LeapPad3, from LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., is now available for sale online and at retail locations across the U.S. As part of the LeapPad children’s tablet line, LeapPad3 features a five-inch screen, LeapFrog’s latest and most powerful processor, 4GB of memory, two mega-pixel front and back cameras and video recorders, and a built-in lithium ion rechargeable battery.

Twenty One Toys and Spin Master Ltd. Send Empathy Toys to Israel and Gaza

TheEmpathyToyTwenty One Toys has partnered with Spin Master Ltd. to send its Empathy Toy to children and communities in need in Israel and Gaza. For Twenty One Toys, it represents the opportunity to have an impact far from home.

The Empathy Toy is a blindfolded puzzle game for kids and adults, designed to get players to think creatively, laugh through frustration, and help build a spirit of dialogue and understanding.

Spin Master Ltd. recently sent thousands of its toys to summer camps and kibbutz community centers in southern Israel, where children and families currently seek shelter amid the hostilities. It’s the third donation program for a war-torn area launched by Spin Master during the past eight years. Local and international support has included free freight shipping of all toys by El Al Airlines.

Genius Brands Names Stone Newman President, Global Consumer Products

StoneNewmanGenius Brands International Inc. (GBI) has appointed Stone Newman to the newly created post of president, Global Consumer Products. In this new role, Newman will work with retailers and licensees to build comprehensive consumer products programs for each of the company’s brands, including Baby Genius, Secret Millionaires Club, Stan Lee’s Mighty 7, and others. He will also appoint and oversee a team of licensing agencies from around the world to operate as sub agents.

Newman will continue to manage licensing programs represented by his former company, Art + Science International, including WowWee brands, ElectroKidz, MiP, and Archie Comics.  These brands will now be managed under GBI’s wholly owned subsidiary, A Squared Entertainment LLC.

Hasbro Shows Off New Transformers Toys at Comic-Con International

SuperionAt Comic-Con International: San Diego last week, Hasbro unveiled new toys from next year’s Transformers lines, including Transformers: Robots in Disguise and Transformers Generations.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise, based on the upcoming animated series, features new designs for favorite Transformers such as Bumblebee and Sideswipe, as well as new characters including Underbite and Strongarm. Meanwhile, the Transformers Generations line gets a new theme next year: Combiner Wars, which lets fans build Combiner figures such as Superion and Menasor, or customize their own. Voyager Scale figures act as the torso, while interchangeable Deluxe Scale figures serve as the arms and legs.

Sony Pictures Teams Up with Iconic Video Game Companies for Pixels

Sony Pictures Entertainment has brought together a number of iconic video game companies, whose characters—such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede, Frogger, and Q*bert—will be featured in next year’s action comedy Pixels, to be released on May 15.

Companies with classic arcade games that are teaming with Sony Pictures on the film include: Atari Interactive (publisher of Asteroids, Breakout, Centipede, and Missile Command), Konami Digital Entertainment Co. Ltd. (Frogger), Bandai Namco Games Inc. (Pac-Man, Galaga, and Dig Dug), Nintendo (Donkey Kong), Columbia Pictures Industries Inc. (Q*bert), Taito Corporation (Space Invaders), and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (Joust, Defender, Robotron, and Wizard of Wor).

Funko and Mindstyle Form Alliance with Sights on China and Southeast Asia

PopAsiaFunko and Mindstyle International have reached an agreement for a strategic alliance in greater China and southeast Asia. The new alliance will build on Funko’s existing position globally and create new growth opportunities.

Funko will retain creative, marketing, and sales responsibilities for its portfolio of iconic collectibles, which include its Wacky Wobbler Bobble-Heads, Wisecracks, Mystery Minis, and the ultra collectible Pop! Vinyl Figures. Mindstyle—a global creative, development, and manufacturing company based in China—will bring strong product development with Pop! Asia and premium product lines, local distribution, and a history of initiatives for the Asia market.

Goliath Games Acquires Pressman Toy

GoliathLogoGoliath Games is acquiring Pressman Toy, a move that supports Goliath’s goal of creating global brands. With the move, Goliath now shares a number of successful game brands with Pressman, including Rummikub and Tri-Ominos. Goliath will look to use elements of its European marketing campaign for Tri-Ominos in North America.

This past May, Goliath also made a strategic investment in Crown & Andrews, an Australian-based manufacturer of toys, puzzles, and games.

CPSC Releases CHAP Report on Phthalates and Phthalate Alternatives

Following four years of investigation by the Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (CHAP), appointed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the CPSC has released a long-awaited report detailing the potential health effects of phthalates and phthalate alternatives in toys and child care articles. Phthalates are substances used to make certain plastics soft and pliable, and there exist federal restrictions on the presence of phthalates in toys and certain children’s products.

Under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, there are currently permanent bans on three types of phthalates—DEHP, DBP and BBP—in toys and certain child care articles, and interim bans on three additional phthalates—DINP, DIDP and DnOP—in mouth-able components of these products. [Read more...]