Toys “R” Us Executives Outline TRU Transformation Strategy

toysrusToys “R” Us Inc. executives recently outlined a four-point strategy, entitled TRU Transformation, intended to improve the company’s operational performance. At presentations for investors, industry analysts, and the media this past Wednesday, Toys “R” Us chairman of the board and chief executive officer Antonio Urcelay and president Hank Mullany discussed priorities and actions intended to slow the company’s sales decline, stabilize cash flow, and improve EBITDA to effectively position the company to grow revenue and profits next year and beyond.

“As we look to the future, our strategy will establish a path to sustainable business growth, building upon the company’s unique strengths,” Urcelay said.

TRU Transformation will focus on four key priorities: [Read more...]

Contest Lets Fans Decide on House Rules for Future Monopoly Games

In a recent survey conducted by Hasbro, 68 percent of Americans admit they’ve never read the official Monopoly rules in their entirety, and 49 percent said they have made up their own Monopoly rules! Knowing this, Hasbro is giving Monopoly fans around the world an opportunity to “break the rules” by inviting them to help select the top “house rules” to become a part of future Monopoly games.

Through April 3, the Monopoly Facebook page will host the Great Monopoly House Rules Debate, with Mr. Monopoly himself as moderator. Fans are encouraged to debate the pros and cons of 10 house rules that were selected as a result of crowd-sourcing fans globally on the Facebook page.

As a result of the debate, Hasbro will identify the top house rules, and [Read more...]

For Saban Brands and Center for Childhood Creativity, It’s Inventing Time!

Julius JrSaban Brands is partnering with the Center for Childhood Creativity for its animated preschool series, Julius Jr. The Center for Childhood Creativity has been working closely with Saban Brands to produce a series of “Inventing Time” activities designed for parents and caregivers to use at home, and for teachers to use in a preschool setting.

The Julius Jr. discussion guides encourage kids to take everyday objects they find around the house and turn them into extraordinary things, such as bridges, musical instruments, shadow puppets, and more. The activities come with a list of open-ended questions for adults to ask children while they are working on the various projects, enabling original thought and problem solving.

These materials are available at the Center for Childhood Creativity’s website, as well as for pick-up at San Francisco’s Bay Area Discovery Museum.

Spin Master Sues Two Chinese Manufacturers for Patent and Copyright Infringement

logo_spinmasterSpin Master Ltd. has filed civil lawsuits against two Chinese manufacturers with the Shantou Intermediate People’s Court. Spin Master seeks to recover damages and enjoin Shantou Chenghai Hui Ying Toy Factory (Hui Ying) and Shantou Chenghai Hua Cai Ke Yi Industry and Trade Co. Ltd. (Hua Cai) from further manufacturing what Spin Master alleges are knock-offs of Spin Master’s best selling Flutterbye Flying Fairy.

The law suits claim infringement of both Spin Master’s registered copyright and utility model patent. The alleged counterfeits are sold under the names Beautiful Flying Fairy/BaoNiu Flying Fairy and Flower Fairy.

Through online monitoring and administrative enforcement, Spin Master has been successful in shutting down more than 100 web sites that were attempting to sell knock-off versions of Flutterbye Flying Fairy into the global marketplace over the Internet. Many of these websites were found to be selling product manufactured by Hui Ying and Hua Cai.

There’s Still Time to Participate in Adora Dolls’ Designed by Kids for Kids Contest

AdoraDesignedbyKidsforKidsAdora’s new campaign, Designed by Kids for Kids, is a program that the makers of Adora developed from the belief that kids are creative, intelligent, and full of bright ideas. The kids will work with the Adora design team to create an outfit for the 18-inch Adora Friends dolls.

Young designers can sign up by emailing the Adora Dolls Design Committee at designedbykidsforkids@adoradolls.com, including their name, contact email, age, description of design (200 words or less), inspiration of design (200 words or less), six photos of the design concept or idea, and favorite charity for donation. The submission deadline is March 31.

The top 10 entries will be selected by the Adora Dolls Design Committee and posted on the Adora Dolls Facebook page for voting. Voting will take place from April 1 to 30. The design with the most likes will be produced in the 2015 Adora Doll collection, and a donation will be made in the winning entry to the charity of their choice.

Parental permission is required. Only one submission will be accepted per young designer, so what is submitted must be original and not a violation of any copyright law. The contest is open to legal residents of the U.S. who are between the ages of 6 and 13 at the date of entry, with complete entry permission and assistance of legal parent or guardian who are at least 18 years old as of the date of entry.

TIA Calls for Toy Company Support to Prevent Legislation in Two States

Toy_Industry_Association_Inc_logoAccording to the Toy Industry Association (TIA), bills moving through the legislative process could have a damaging impact on toy companies with business operations in Vermont and Connecticut.

TIA referred specifically to Vermont Senate Bill 239 and Connecticut House Bill 5354 and Senate Bill 126, which would result in lists of products containing certain “chemicals of concern” and additional testing costs for toy companies. The companies would have to report and publicly list any products containing the identified chemicals.

TIA is calling for toy companies and their employees to file pre-formatted letters (which can be found here for Vermont, and here for Connecticut) to their state representatives and senators to support TIA lobbying efforts. Companies must submit their contact information and edit the second paragraph of each letter to provide company-specific information. For more information, contact Andy Hackman at (202) 570-8526 or ahackman@serlinhaley.com.

CARU’s West Coast Conference Will Examine Digital Marketing to Children

The Children’s Advertising and Review Unit (CARU) will hold its fourth annual West Coast Conference on May 7 in Beverly Hills, Calif. The daylong conference, entitled Marketing to Children in a Digital Landscape, will feature panel discussions examining a range of child-direct advertising issues of interest to the toy industry.

Topics include the aftereffect of changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that went into effect last July, the effectiveness and challenges of online advertising, how to ensure that websites and apps are legally compliant, and more.

Participants will receive practical insights into understanding self-regulatory guidelines for children’s advertising, as well as specific examples of how to effectively work with CARU throughout its decision-making process. The West Coast Conference will take place at the Beverly Hilton hotel; event registration is open, and the full agenda can be viewed at the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council homepage.

NPD Reports Xbox One and PlayStation 4 Powered Video Game Sales

According to the U.S. Games Industry Sales analysis by The NPD Group’s Liam Callahan, February hardware sales increased by 42 percent over the prior year, due to a more than 60 percent increase in console hardware sales. These strong year-over-year increases are due to the success of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

The analysis also showed that total video game sales in February were $887 million, a change of 9 percent compared to February 2013. This is credited to strong growth in hardware and a slight rise in accessory sales. Total software sales—across the console, portable, and PC categories—were [Read more...]

Ganz Recalls Grumpy Cat Stuffed Toys Due to Choking Hazard

Ganz.GrumpyCatThree styles of Plush Grumpy Cat stuffed animal toys from Ganz are being recalled. The stuffed animals’ eyes can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children. No injuries have been reported, although Ganz has received six reports of eyes detaching from the toys.

The style of toys include an 8-inch Grumpy Cat in laying position, a [Read more...]

Hasbro Named a Winner of 2014 Climate Leadership Award, Takes Home Gold for Green Efforts

Hasbro logoHasbro Inc. has been named as a winner of the Climate Leadership Awards for the second time, acknowledging the company’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution and address climate change. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Association of Climate Change Officers, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and The Climate Registry honored Hasbro for its leadership in managing and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Hasbro received the Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management – Goal Setting Certificate, which recognizes organizations that publicly report and verify corporate GHG inventories and set aggressive GHG emissions reduction goals. Last September, the company established a goal to reduce GHG emissions by 20 percent by 2020 from a 2012 base year. This represents the company’s third public GHG reduction goal.

Recently, the toy manufacturer was also awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S Green Building Council for the its renovated facility in Providence, R.I., which has a number of green building features including sustainable carpet and reused material from local sources.