China Toy Fair


Toys “R” Us Bolsters Leadership Team to Drive TRU Transformation Strategy

toysrusToys “R” Us Inc. has appointed a number of proven executives to key leadership roles, as the company continues to position its business for long-term profitable growth.

Debbie Lentz has been named senior vice president, chief supply chain officer, with responsibility for U.S. distribution and customs compliance, global importing and exporting, fleet operations, and domestic transportation. She will report to Hank Mullany, president, Toys “R” Us, U.S. In this role, Lentz will oversee inventory planning and allocation, as well as e-commerce fulfillment, while driving efforts to significantly improve in-stock levels both in stores and online. She will also lead logistics strategy development for the company’s international markets and efforts to improve global supply chain efficiencies, reporting in this capacity to Antonio Urcelay, chairman and CEO of Toys “R” Us Inc.

Lentz most recently held the position of senior vice president, customer service and logistics, at Kraft Foods Group. Prior to Kraft, she worked for many years in logistics operations at Nabisco Foods Group. [Read more...]

Jeffrey Dunn Named President and CEO, Sesame Workshop

sesame-workshopVincent Mai, chairman of the board of trustees of Sesame Workshop, announced today the appointment of Jeffrey Dunn as president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, effective September 29. Dunn, formerly the president and CEO of Hit Entertainment, will succeed Mel Ming, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Dunn currently serves as a 2014 Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University with a focus on media and education. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Hit Entertainment from 2008 until 2012. Before joining Hit, Dunn served as group COO of the Nickelodeon Networks group and the president of Nickelodeon Film and Enterprises, where, among other things, he built Nickelodeon’s international networks business and oversaw the growth of Blue’s Clues, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Dora the Explorer into three of the world’s largest licensed property brands.

DHX Brands Signs Character Options as Master Toy Partner on New Teletubbies

DHXMediaOriginalTeletubbiesDHX Media has appointed Character Options as global master toy partner for the new series of Teletubbies. DHX Brands, the company’s dedicated brand and consumer products arm, completed the deal.

Character Options will launch product at retail in the UK in 2016, with other territories to follow. Core categories will be plush, plastics, and bath toys.

The much-anticipated new 60-episode series of Teletubbies has been commissioned by the UK’s CBeebies and is being produced by Darrall Macqueen Ltd. It will bring a contemporary look to the property, ensuring that it is relevant for a new generation.

Bazooka Candy Brands and Hasbro Cross-Promoting for Digital and Retail

Hasbro logoHasbro and Bazooka Candy Brands are joining forces for a cross-promotion launching this month. Favorite childhood games and tasty, classic candies such as Juicy Drop, Baby Bottle Pop, and Jumbo Push Pop will be co-mingling.

The promotion will feature a campaign with retail, digital, and social elements:

Retail: The strong in-store presence will include shippers with $3 off any one Hasbro game coupons. Family prize opportunities sponsored by Topps will include chances to win a Carnival cruise or one of 100 Hasbro game and Bazooka Candy Brand prize packs.

Digital: Bazooka Candy Brands’ site, candymania.com, will be re-branded and skinned to feature Hasbro game themes. Along with the redesign, the site will host an interactive online promotion sponsored by Topps, featuring an instant win game where fans can play for a chance to win game and candy prize packs, which include Hasbro games such as Monopoly and Twister and Bazooka candy.

Social: There will be cross promotions on both Bazooka Candy Brands’ and Hasbro’s social media platforms.

Jenga Creator Leslie Scott to Speak at T&GCon

ChicagoAs reported by the Chicago Toy & Game Group, Leslie Scott, the inventor of Jenga, will be a keynote speaker headlining the 2014 Toy & Game Inventor & Innovation Conferences (T&GCon, I-SPI & IRS) on November 20 and 21 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. To celebrate Scott’s involvement at this year’s T&GCon, attendees of the conferences will receive a copy of her book, About Jenga: The Remarkable Business of Creating a Game that Became a Household Name.

T&GCon is open to anyone interested in getting involved with the toy and game industry, while I-SPI and IRS are invitation only events that bring together seasoned professionals. Anyone interested in an application to attend I-SPI and IRS can visit www.inventorsummit.com.

World of Toys Pavilion at the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair Grows

SpielwarenmesseegSpielwarenmesse eG is increasing the display space at its World of Toys pavilion at Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair from 385 square meters to 427 square meters. According to Spielwarenmesse eG, 22 companies from 12 countries have already registered for the pavilion, and applications for the pavilion can be submitted until September 30.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) organizes the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, which is scheduled for January 12 to 15. For more information about the pavilion, contact Andreas Pfeiffer, project manager, Spielwarenmesse eG, at a.pfeiffer@spielwarenmesse.de.

World’s Tallest Toy to Be Constructed at Big Build Festival

Tallest BuildingThe National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., will attempt to set a new Guinness World Record by creating the world’s tallest construction toy tower out of Superstructs at The Big Build, a festival taking on September 20. The tower will be built in collaboration with WABA Fun LLC, and will be constructed to surpass the previous record of 114 feet. A team of engineers from the Southern Methodist University Lyle School of Engineering won a competition to design the structure and will be on hand to see its completion. A Guinness World Records representative will confirm the record at 3 p.m.

[Read more...]

Lalaloopsy Girls Movie to Debut on Nickelodeon

An all-new Lalaloopsy Girls movie, Lalaloopsy Girls: Welcome to L.A.L.A. Prep School, will air on Nickelodeon on September 7 at noon. The one-hour animated special features the new Lalaloopsy Girls students at the Lalaloopsy Academy for Learning Arts, where they learn to navigate the fun and quirky school, attend classes, join clubs, and make friends along the way.

Thanks to The Lego Movie, Lego Is World’s Largest Toy Maker

LEGO_LogoAs reported by The Wall Street Journal today, Lego is currently the world’s largest toy maker.

Denmark’s Lego A/S said that revenue during the first six months rose 11 percent, boosted by The Lego Movie products. This makes Lego the biggest toy company in the world in terms of both revenue and profit, ahead of Mattel Inc. The jump also puts Lego slightly ahead of Mattel in sales for the first six months of the year.

A sequel to The Lego Movie, The Lego Movie 2, is scheduled for release in 2017, and Warner Bros. has already set the release for the Ninjago movie next year.

The licensing of the movies themselves isn’t a significant element of sales for Lego compared with the sales of movie-related boxes of bricks. Overall first-half sales for Lego rose to 11.5 billion Danish kroner ($2.03 billion) from 10.4 billion kroner in the same period last year, the company said. [Read more...]

American International Toy Fair to Host Digital Kids Conference

DKConnThe 9th Annual Digital Kids Conference will co-locate with the American International Toy Fair in February at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. The Digital Kids Conference will take place on February 16 to 17 and will address new strategies, valuable tools, and marketplace insight that will help youth-focused media professionals to create best-selling digital toys, games, and media services for kids. In addition, the pre-conference Learning Summit, scheduled for February 15, will explore the changing innovations occurring in learning technology, with a focus on consumer and curriculum based learning products and services.

All Toy Fair attendees will have access to the conference and Learning Summit and Toy Industry Association members will receive reduced rates to attend the sessions. Digital Kids Conference attendees will have access to the Toy Fair show floor and be among the first to view the new toys and games on display.