China Toy Fair


VTech Taps Jennifer Eiselein to Lead Marketing Team

VTech-LogoVTech has hired Jennifer Eiselein, a former Amazon senior manager who was instrumental in the launches of the company’s Kindle tablets and e-readers, as its new marketing director. She will lead VTech’s marketing team from its U.S. headquarters in Chicago, oversee the creation and execution of innovative campaigns for VTech’s brands, employ strategies to generate brand awareness, and target customers to enhance growth in key markets.

Prior to joining VTech, Eiselein served as senior manager for merchandising and marketing at Amazon’s Appstore in the U.S. and Canada.

Grammy Award-Winner Pharrell Williams to Curate NBA 2K15 Soundtrack

nba 2k152K has announced a new collaboration with Pharrell Williams to curate the soundtrack compilation for NBA 2K15, the next installment of the NBA video game simulation franchise. Pharrell’s soundtrack selections will be revealed later this summer.

NBA 2K15 is scheduled for release on October 7 in North America, and on October 10 internationally for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, the Xbox One and Xbox 360, and Windows PC.

SuperFanArt Launches, Lets Fans Be Creators Using Hasbro Brands

SuperFanArtHasbro Inc. and Shapeways are launching SuperFanArt, a web site that enables fans inspired by Hasbro brands to showcase their artwork and sell their 3-D printed designs on Shapeways, a 3-D printing marketplace and community. Through the site, the Hasbro fan base will have license to create new art and product offerings.

SuperFanArt will launch with the My Little Pony franchise, and additional Hasbro brands will be introduced in the coming months. At its launch, SuperFanArt will showcase work by several talented fan artists, and consumers can click through to each artist’s shop to place an order. Additional artists and 3-D printed products will be featured on the site in the future.

The artwork featured on SuperFanArt will also be on display at Comic-Con International: San Diego.

Mattel Launches New Direct-to-Consumer Strategy for Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway

Thomas_Hero_CGI_ApprovedMattel is bringing a new shopping experience to Thomas & Friends fans nationwide, through a cross-company collaboration that began this month. Anchored by the Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line, the new experience includes the first ever Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway direct-to-consumer catalogue, e-commerce website, and partnerships with 20 independent specialty retail stores, which will serve as official Thomas & Friends Specialty Stations in the U.S.

Thomas & Friends will also introduce a limited-release wooden engine, Logan, a Shunter that works at the coal plant, and is only available in the U.S. through the new catalogue, e-commerce website, and official specialty stations. Logan will also be the first of a series of limited-release engines to be introduced by the new program annually.

The e-commerce website, thomaswoodenrailway.com, launches in August, and the Logan wooden engine will be available through December 31 of next year.

In addition, moving forward, Toys “R” Us will become the exclusive national chain retailer of Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway.

CPSC to Host Workshop on Possible Amendments to Import Filing Requirements

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will host a workshop on September 18 to share information and gather data on proposed changes to certificate of compliance requirements for companies that import regulated finished consumer products into the U.S.

The workshop will allow CPSC to clarify issues and understand stakeholders’ concerns related to the proposed amendments to the Certification of Compliance Rule, which would require companies that import products manufactured outside of the U.S. to file general conformity certifications—or children’s product certifications—electronically with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) prior to importation, in conjunction with other customs entry documents. [Read more...]

PGS Entertainment Secures Raft of Global Sales for Super 4

Super4PGS Entertainment is announcing a raft of global sales for Super 4, the new animated series inspired by Playmobil, which will debut in early 2015. Produced by Method Animation and Morgen Studios, and commissioned by France Télévisions, PGS represents the series in all territories and has secured broadcast licensing agreements across Europe, Asia, and North America.

Current sales include Neox Kidz (Atresmedia) in Spain, TV3 in Catalonia, Canal Panda in Portugal, RTBF in Belgium, RTS in Switzerland, RTL téléKids in Netherlands & Luxembourg, MTV3 in Finland, Canal+ in Poland; Noga in Israel; Workpoint in Thailand; and Radio-Canada in Canada.

In addition, a broadcast deal was recently reached for Super 4 with CiTV in the United Kingdom and Cartoon Network in Italy and Latin America.

Marvel Comics Touring Attraction Teams Up with Hollywood Veteran Jerry Rees

MarvelExperienceAs reported by Los Angeles-based entertainment company Hero Ventures, Jerry Rees will lead the creative team responsible for producing The Marvel Experience, an innovative, traveling attraction that affords guests the opportunity to actively participate with dozens of Marvel super heroes.

Rees is a director, producer, and writer of live-action, animation, and theme park attractions. He has directed 16 Disney Theme Park attractions around the world in California, Hong Kong, Florida, and Paris. [Read more...]

Registration Opens for TIA’s 7th Annual Washington, DC Fly-In

Registration is open for the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) 7th Annual Washington, DC Fly-In, which will bring toy company representatives to the nation’s capital on September 16 to 18. The objective will be to discuss the priority issues impacting TIA’s member companies, including chemical regulations and testing requirements, with members of Congress and other government officials.

This year’s event will kick off on September 16 with a United We Play opening reception on Capitol Hill, hosted by TIA and the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF). During the evening, the hosts will announce a donation of 2,500 toys to children’s charities within the home districts of five members of Congress to be honored at the reception. The Fly-In will continue with a full schedule of meetings and activities on September 17 and 18.

The DC Fly-In is free to attend and open to all TIA members, and registration may be completed online. The host hotel for the Fly-In is the Mandarin Oriental in downtown Washington. Anyone interested in more information should contact Rachel Derby, TIA’s director of government affairs, at (202) 459-0351.

Skylanders at Comic-Con International: San Diego Will Feature Costume Contest

SkylandersLogoSkylanders will attend Comic-Con International: San Diego for the first time in the franchise’s history on July 24, and to celebrate, Activision Publishing Inc. will award more than $5,000 in prizes to the best Skylanders costumes of the show.

The grand prize winner will receive $4,000, the runner-up will be awarded $1,000, and the second runner-up will receive a collection of rare Skylanders toys.

The costume contest will take place at the Comic-Con International: San Diego panel, Skylanders: The Creative Process of Bringing Toys to Life, where members of the Skylanders team will offer insights into the development process of the game franchise. Panel speakers will include comic book writer Ron Marz, Kaos voice Richard Horvitz; Activision senior vice president of consumer marketing, John Coyne; and Toys for Bob’s director of toy and character development, I-Wei Huang.

In addition, fans on-hand will be among the first to get hands-on experience with Skylanders Trap Team, the franchise’s newest installment.

Tech 4 Kids Partners with Flappy Bird to Launch Licensed Toys

Tech4KidslogoTech 4 Kids is partnering with the most downloaded game of 2014, Flappy Bird, for new toy and lifestyle products in time for the game’s re-launch.

First to enter the market this October is Flappy Bird Mash’Ems, available in six different Flappy Bird characters. These will follow the popular Mash’Ems trend that continues to grow with kids of all ages.

Tech 4 Kids will announce further branded items through the end of the year.