Toys “R” Us Signs On as U.S. Retailer of The Original Loom Boom

LoomBoomThis past week saw the launch of Jake and Crew LLC’s The Original Loom Boom, which is designed to display, organize, and share loom bracelet creations. Invented by a five-year-old who wanted to show off his loom bracelet collection in a neat, portable way, the product is being retailed exclusively by Toys “R” Us through the end of this year.

Available in five color combinations at Toys “R” Us stores across the U.S. and at toysrus.com, the Original Loom Boom features a brightly-colored tube that can hold up to 40 rubber band loom bracelets. Once detached from the base, loomers have easy access to bracelets at the bottom, so they can show off their handiwork as well as trade and share bracelets. The base also contains ample storage for extra loom bands.

Currently, loom band bracelets are enjoying a high level of popularity in the U.S.

The Toy Book Chats with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO, Popstar Club

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO of Popstar Club, which is the manufacturer of the fresh, new doll line, The Beatrix Girls. Sherry gave me an overview of what makes her doll line so unique, and why girls are going to be clamoring for them this holiday season.

SherryGunther.BeatrixCEO

 

Where did you get the idea for Beatrix Girls?

The Beatrix Girls came out of the idea of tying music and dolls together. Ultimately the approach to this was to create a multiplatform brand that really reaches kids everywhere that they are, recognizing that kids are not just watching TV and they’re not just playing with dolls or toys, they’re not just online playing games or being social, they’re doing all of the above. A forward-thinking property really needed to have presence in all of those mediums and to have an integration between all of those formats ingrained in its DNA.

The webisodes are done in a very unique way. How did you come about using that style?

It’s interesting because the natural for me was to go with animation as I spent over 20 years in animation, but there were a lot of things that attracted me to doing it this way, creating webisodes that have the dolls featured interacting in real life. It comes out of the fact that the concept itself has the girls as real. So they’re real and they interact in our world. They’re a real pop star band, we9’re creating real music, not composed music like we would for a toy property or an animated show, but real, credible, pop music written by a platinum-winning writer/producer, mixed by a Grammy-winning engineer, so this is really relevant, today, great music and so we really want to sell them as true pop stars.

Animation oftentimes, especially when doing them based on a product or especially dolls, skews a little bit younger, and we really wanted to have the cool factor and have these be edgier. The medium that we used felt so much more current and fresh and innovative and YouTube generation-like and it felt much more fitting to the brand itself. It gives the dolls the credibility of being real in our world. They have a real human manager, they perform in real venues, so it allows us to play up that real factor for them. And then the scale gives us a lot of humor opportunities for 12-inch dolls interacting in a life-size world.

The really nice side effect that we found is that girls are really responding to the fact that they can relate to the way it was done because it was shot on purpose with hands showing and manipulating the dolls. The idea was that kids could really relate to it and feel like I can do that, I can get four dolls and with my friends create a scene and a scenario.

 

For some reason it reminds me of Mr. Bill, the old SNL skit.

That’s kind of what we were going for. We were going for rather than just sort of just straight, weak, almost too young-skewing animation. We wanted it to be edgier and quirky and fun and hilarious and this medium allowed us to do that, to have that feel to it.

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COMMENTARY: Play Me a Song, Sweet Music Kit

rockstarlittleBits,the creator of an open-source library of electronic “Bits,” that snap together with magnets for learning and play, partnered with Korg, a leading global manufacturer of electronic musical equipment, to create a kid-friendly, music-making machine, and I was lucky enough to get in on the action. On November 7, the new littleBits Synth Kit was unveiled at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The collaboration of Korg with littleBits may not seem obvious, but it is actually genius. This new synthesizing kit is perfectly designed for the use of everyone—from professional musicians to hobbyists with an interest in making new sounds and pushing the boundaries in technology and music. Using the kit, music lovers can build infinite customizable sounds from practically anywhere.

littleBitsAt the event, attendees were given the opportunity to play with the brightly colored and multi-functioning Synth Kits, listening to the created sounds through Korg headphones. It was such a neat experience, as I felt like a music master using equipment like that used to produce the innovative sound of revolutionary bands such as The Beatles and The Doors, and modern artists such as The Cure and MGMT. It’s such an awesome way for kids to get involved in music at an early age. Yes, most children are able to utilize musical instruments and their voices, but this is such a unique opportunity for kids to get involved in the music production industry. Little musicians can explore the world behind the music with the sound of the synthesizer instrument. Even better, the “Bits” are interchangeable and can be constructed in different ways for different sounds, so kids can build their own sound machines and choose their favorite outcomes. The Bits modules included with the kits snap together instantly using magnets that create circuits. These circuits are similar to those used in Korg’s analog synthesizers, so the quality of these kits is amazing, truly. [Read more...]

Warner Bros. Consumer Products Unveils Product Lineup for “The Wizard Of Oz” Anniversary

Warner Bros. Consumer Products has announced its roster of licensees set to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz next year. Master toy partner Jazwares, as well as USAopoly and Mattel, are among the partners. [Read more...]

Hasbro’s Comic-Con Preview Night Party

Hasbro held its exclusive Preview Night Party for New York Comic-Con on Wednesday. Complete with loads of Marvel, My Little Pony, Kre-O G.I. Joe, and Angry Star Wars Angry Birds displays and presentations, and Avengers-themed cocktails, Hasbro kicked off Comic-Con with a bang.

Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Death Star Package

The star of the event was no doubt the Star Wars edition of the wildly-popular Angry Birds line set to launch in the beginning of November. There were new toys based on the  bird-slinging, tower-toppling Angry Birds property, including the AT-AT Attack Battle Game. The line features new products based on a variety of existing Hasbro properties, including the Jenga brand and the recently relaunched Koosh brand, to introduce new play experiences featuring iconic Star Wars characters re-imagined as high-flying Angry Birds and villainous pigs.

Also highlighted was the great reveal of the Star Trek Kre-O set, a product set to release next year to coincide with the release of the new Star Trek movie. The set comes with a light-up U.S.S. Enterprise ship  and two character figures, such as Captain Kirk or Spock, pointed ears and all.

The new extensive Kre-O G.I. Joe line was also featured–including figures and play sets based on the property. The line of G.I. Joe toys will be available exclusively at Toys “R” Us starting in February. These play sets and characters play out the G.I. Joe vs. Cobra story and will feature Kreon figures based on popular characters from both the heroic G.I. Joe team like Duke and Snake Eyes as well as the villainous Cobra organization like Firefly and Storm Shadow.

Kre-O G.I. Joe Cobra Armored Assault

Hasbro also showcased the My Little Pony brand, as well as their holiday favorites, including Marvel Avengers and Star Wars action figures and, of course, Marvel role play products.

The Toy Book’s Reyne Rice and Ali Mierzejewski as Spider-Man and Captain America

The Toy Book’s Reyne Rice as The Hulk

The Bridge Direct Releases Exclusive Comic-Con Hobbit Figure

In anticipation for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of two films adapting The Hobbit, The Bridge Direct will unveil a collection of authentic toys at retailers this October.

The Bridge Direct released the limited edition Comic-Con International: San Diego Exclusive Bilbo Baggins Figure–only be available at this year’s SDCC. The detailed 6-inch scale figure presents the title character from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in his “invisible” state while wearing the Ring and will be presented in a numbered collector’s edition box.

Other items in the line include The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 3.75-inch Basic Figures, Figure 2-Packs, Figure Deluxe 2-Pack, Box Set, Beast Pack, Figure Battle Pack, Collector Figure, Deluxe Collector Figure; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Deluxe Sword; and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 6-inch Battle Axe. Characters featured in the line are Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, and Thorin Oakenshield.

This post was originally written by Ali Mierzejewski and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

KRE-O Unveils Star Trek, Transformers Building Sets at Comic-Con

The KRE-O brand from Hasbro, Inc., will showcase new figures at Comic-Con International, boldly going where no one has gone before. Based on the upcoming Star Trek sequel from Paramount Pictures, the KRE-O Star Trek line, under license from CBS Consumer Products, features a variety of vehicles from the movie along with Kreon figures based on Star Trek characters. Beginning on July 11, Preview Night, fans will be able to see the KRE-O Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise set and Kirk, Spock, and Bones Kreon figures at the Hasbro Comic-Con Booth No. 3213.

Hasbro has teamed up with J.J. Abrams, director of the upcoming Star Trek sequel, to create a KRE-O Star Trek stop motion digital short. The short, produced by Bad Robot, features icons of the Star Trek saga in a stand-alone storyline and will premiere at a later date in partnership with Paramount Pictures. The teaser trailer for the KRE-O Star Trek digital short will be featured along with the upcoming U.S.S. Enterprise building set and Kreon figures in the Hasbro booth. In anticipation of the convention, Hasbro is unveiling a first-look image of the KRE-O Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise set and the teaser trailer. Fans can view the teaser trailer now exclusively on the KRE-O brand Youtube channel.

Star Trek will mark the third major entertainment property to be featured in the KRE-O line from Hasbro. The company introduced the KRE-O brand last year with building sets featuring the Transformers characters, and this year they introduced the KRE-O Battleship line. New KRE-O Battleship and KRE-O Transformers sets will be on display in the Hasbro booth, including new KRE-O Transformers expressions: KRE-O Transformers Microchangers and KRE-O Transformers Microchangers Combiners. Fans will get a chance to snap a photo with KRE-O character statues including Transformers Bumblebee, a Battleship Alien, and Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, all with their Kreon expressions. Fans will also be eligible to receive a special edition KRE-O Battleship Battle-Boat building set sample pack, which will be distributed throughout the show while supplies last.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Mezco Reveals Summer Lineup

Mezco Toyz has introduced the Dark Knight, Wonder Woman, and Catwoman Key Ring Mez-Itz as part of their 2012 Summer Exclusive lineup. The 6-inch Dark Knight Mez-Itz Mega Scale Batman is based on Batman’s look from Christopher Nolan’s film trio and features a  cloth black cape. The 6-inch Metallic Wonder Woman Mez-Itz, the first female character in the DC Universe lineup, features sculpted hair, a metallic finish, and a rope Lasso of Truth. The Catwoman Key Ring 2-inch Mez-Itz features the feline fatale villain and a sturdy metal clasp. All Mez-Itz feature five points of articulation.

Other new products include the the Glow-in-the-Dark Mumm-Ra and Decayed-form Mumm-Ra two-Pack, the Metallic Earthworm Jim Action Figure, and the Living Dead Dolls Resurrection Set: Series 6.

Based on the original animated series, Mezco’s 14-inch Mumm-Ra features eight points of articulation and a cloth cape and bandages. The summer exclusive features a glow-in-the-dark blue skin and comes with a Decayed Form Mumm-Ra, showing him in his natural, decrepit state.

The Metallic Earthworm Jim Action Figure comes with a game-accurate plasma blaster and a special metallic-finish ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit. The 6-inch scale Earthworm Jim features eight points of articulation. This edition comes with an alternate “bendy” unsuited worm body and a special “groovy” head sculpt.

The Living Dead Dolls Resurrection Set: Series 6 features Demonique, Blue, Schitzo, and Ms. Eerie. All four feature glass-like eyes. Each member of this limited edition quartet of the damned comes with its own death certificate and is entombed in its own coffin. All of Mezco’s Summer Exlusives will be available on their new website and at San Diego Comic Con at booth 3445.

This post was originally written by Ali Mierzejewski and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Leapfrog Announces LeapPad2 and Leapster GS

LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., the leader in educational entertainment, announces two new platforms: LeapPad2, the next generation of the No. 1 kid’s learning tablet LeapPad, and LeapsterGS, the learning video game system.

LeapPad2 arrives after the success of its predecessor. Within a year of launch, LeapPad has received more than 20 accolades, including three awards from the Toy Industry Association (Educational Toy of the Year, Preschool Toy of the Year, and Toy of the Year).

LeapPad2 features higher resolution front-and-back cameras and video recorders, twice the memory (4 GB), and improved battery life. The tablet also includes free content: a music player with five LeapFrog Learning Songs, a Cartoon Director creativity app, an Art Studio creativity app, the Pet Pad writing app, and choice of an additional app. LeapPad2’s Cartoon Director app lets kids develop their inner director by creating and starring in their own cartoons, as well as sharing their masterpieces with family and friends.

Continuing with its education and entertainment products, LeapFrog will release the LeapsterGS, an updated version of Leapster Explorer. With a faster processor and more memory, the LeapsterGS delivers fast-action gameplay while building core skills for success in school and life.

LeapsterGS comes with free content, including the new “Escape of the Sillies” game app, the Pet Pad writing app, and choice of an additional app. Exclusive to LeapsterGS, the “Escape of the Sillies” app immerses kids into the game with the built-in camera and face-morphing technology, where they will customize faces of silly monsters while building their math skills.

LeapPad2 and LeapsterGS will be available for pre-sale at leapfrog.com in the U.S. and Canada, and at major online retailers in the UK and Ireland beginning July 18. They will be available at major retail locations in early August and in select other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries later this fall. The LeapFrog App Center can be accessed through the LeapFrog Connect Application for LeapPad2 and LeapsterGS platforms. For more information on LeapPad2 and LeapsterGS, visit leapfrog.com/nextgen.

TIA’s Bossard Talks Licensing at Toy Fair

by Marian Bossard, vice president of meetings and events, Toy Industry Association (TIA)

If I had a dollar for every key industry contact that told us the concept of a licensing showcase during American International Toy Fair was nothing short of brilliant, I would have at least $10. Maybe even $12.

After all, what isn’t right about endeavoring to create a “Licensing Upfront” for brand and property owners when all the right people with all the right innovation, influence, and interest are already in New York City for Toy Fair? And, what could be off the mark about bringing together an audience of Madison Avenue marketers, manufacturers from around the world, mass market and independent retailers, and critically important global media available only in New York City? The short answer is nothing. But the short answer just kind of falls short of telling the story.

A venture like this requires that you start with a clear objective, but just as important is the need to remain flexible and open to modification along the way. As it turned out, even with high levels of interest, the formats that prevailed were the small meetings with key partners, invitation-only breakfasts and cocktail receptions, and brand and property exposure through traditional advertising and promotional opportunities. So, while Toy Fair won’t be seeing “big screen showcases” this year, we are pleased that we have provided just the right solutions for these stakeholders’ needs.

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