China Toy Fair


TIA to Induct Two to Hall of Fame

TIAThe Toy Industry Association will induct Pat Feely, chairman of the Toy Industry Foundation and retired CEO of Radica Games Ltd., and the late Leslie Berger, founder of Cardinal Industries Inc., into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be held on Feb. 13 in conjunction with the annual Toy of the Year Awards to kick off the 112th North American International Toy Fair.

Feely and Berger have been chosen in recognition of their contributions to the toy industry and the impact they have had on children through a commitment to toys and play, according to the TIA. They will join 67 others who have been inducted since it was established in 1984.

Feely has been in the toy industry for 37 years and engineered a turnaround and expansion of Radica Games and Tonka. He has been serving as chairman for the Toy Industry Foundation for the past eight years. In addition, he has served as chairman of the TIA for two years and was an advisor to the TIA Board of Directors for six years, where he helped form the TOTY Awards program and diversify the TIA Board.

The late Leslie Berger founded Cardinal Industries, one of the oldest privately owned toy businesses in the U.S. He served on the Toy Manufacturers of America, now called TIA, board for several years. He also secured the license to General Hospital from ABC in the early 80s.

Growth Expected for 2014 China Toy Expo and China Kids Expo

The 2014 China Toy Expo and China Kids Expo will see a 24 percent increase in exhibitors from last year, with 1,364 global brands and 80,000 visitors participating in the trade fairs over three days.

Over 300 international toy and baby products brands from more than 30 countries and regions will be exhibiting at the 2014 shows. Both participation from exhibitors and expected visitors has increased from past years’ expos. International visitor pre-registration has increased 149 percent from last year.

New exhibition hall themes and pavilions have been created to meet the needs of this year’s trade expos, which will take place in Shanghai from October 14 to 16.

GoldieBlox Joins the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

GoldieBlox FloatGoldieBlox will bring its design and engineering toys to life at the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The toymaker’s new float, titled The Girl-Powered Spinning Machine, will transform GoldieBlox toys into larger-than-life form in an elaborate, creative, and brightly colored machine.

“The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an iconic celebration and we’re thrilled to join the line-up this November with the first-ever float that is specifically designed to showcase the principles of engineering,” said Debbie Sterling, the founder and CEO of the company. “Macy’s Parade floats are the ultimate engineering spectacle, and relatable to kids everywhere. We can’t wait!”

The engineers and craftspeople at Macy’s Parade Studio worked closely with the GoldieBlox team to design and build the float as three distinct stages. It will use kid power to spin, pull, and rotate a myriad of elements from giant pinwheels and parachutes to jogging wheels.

Bandai Namco Launches Ms. Pac-Man Pink Ribbon Campaign

Bandai Namco Games America Inc. has partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) to launch the Ms. Pac-Man Pink Ribbon Campaign in the fight against the second leading cause of cancer among U.S. women.  Ms. Pac-Man will mascot the campaign, which will be anchored with new gameplay incentives across the video game publisher’s line of mobile titles. The campaign will raise funds for NBCF to help women and inspire hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services.

The Ms. Pac-Man Ribbon Campaign will run until Oct. 31 and includes an exclusive new maze for sale across Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man iOS and Android titles. All proceeds from purchases on the new level will go directly to support the NBCF. The in-game user interface and artwork for game will change to a new pink ribbon theme for October alongside the new content.

AG Properties Launches Strawberry Shortcake Program in Nordic Region

strawberry shortcakeStrawberry Shortcake will see a dramatic expansion across Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland this fall, thanks to a new licensing deal between AG Properties (AGP) and strategic partner Tactic Games. They will produce and distribute a variety of publishing products, games, and puzzles, and will serve as distributor in the Nordic region for the new core toy line produced by The Bridge Direct featuring all new packaging.

The deal was handled by local agent Alicom Licensing acting on behalf of AGP.

All products will be distributed via direct selling, book clubs, specialty stores, book stores, supermarket and grocery, hypermarket, mass market, department, duty-free stores, game specialty, novelty, and toy stores.

International Playthings to be Top Toy Distributor for SmartLab Toys

SmartLab Toys has chosen International Playthings LLC to distribute its line of products to specialty retail customers across the United States starting January 1.  

“We are very proud to add SmartLab Toys to our collection of high quality brands,” says Michael Varda, president of International Playthings. “Their products are known for their creativity, durability, ease of use, and appeal to kids, parents, and educators alike. They truly are among the most innovative and engaging and creative toys on the market. We are very excited about partnering with Smartlab and working with their team to expand their brand in the specialty toy market.”

SmartLab Toys will be displaying its line for next year at the American International Toy Fair in February, at its own booth as well as International Playthings’ booth.

Nintendo Becomes More Playful with Play Nintendo Website

PlayNintendoNintendo has unveiled Play Nintendo at play.nintendo.com, a new website where both kids and parents can interact with the video game maker’s characters and franchises. The site is a child-friendly online destination where kids can get to know beloved Nintendo games and characters including Mario, Luigi, Bowser, and Peach.

Nintendo will be regularly updating the parents site with new content such as which games are right for families, new games on the way, crafting ideas, suggestions for how to balance screen time with outdoor play, and more.

Baby and Infant Products Will Be Bigger than Ever at Spielwarenmesse

SpielwarenmesseegSpielwarenmesse eG has announced an extension of space for baby and infant products at Spielwarenmesse 2015.

Nearly 350 exhibitors will have products for babies and infants at the trade fair, ranging from toys, textile articles, strollers, and furniture. These exhibitors will be located next to similar product groups, which will include dolls, plush, and wooden toys.

The trade fair will take place in Nuremberg from January 28 to February 2 of next year.

Alex Brands Opens New Worldwide Headquarters and Distribution Center in N.J.

AlexBrandsAlex Brands is expanding its operational footprint with the opening of a new worldwide headquarters and customer showroom in Fairfield, N.J.; a state-of-the-art distribution center in Woodbridge, N.J.; and expanded warehouse capacity in its Canton, Mich., distribution center.

The company’s new worldwide headquarters in Fairfield, N.J., covers 30,000 square feet, and houses the majority of the senior leadership, sales, marketing, purchasing, and compliance teams. It also features more than 4,000 square feet of showroom space, an in-house design center, and a photography and film studio. Along with fostering a collaborative team atmosphere, the new space will serve as a hub for the company’s product development team.

Alex Brands has also made significant investments in expanding its distribution capabilities, with the new Woodbridge, N.J., distribution center adding 300,000 square feet of space. The facility also provides direct-to-consumer fulfillment capabilities to support the company’s rapidly growing e-commerce initiative.

The company also doubled the warehouse space at its Canton, Mich., distribution center. The new facilities are expected to create job opportunities for local communities in Fairfield, Woodbridge, and Canton.

Toys “R” Us Celebrates Skylanders Trap Team’s Arrival with Special Events, Early Opening, and More

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoToys “R” Us is celebrating the debut of the latest Skylanders game, Skylanders Trap Team, with special events, an early opening, exclusive figures, and more.

On Saturday, October 4 and Sunday, October 5, the Toys “R” Us flagship store in New York City will host unique in-store Skylanders-themed experiences. Customers who visit Toys “R” Us Times Square from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on either day can be among the first to play the new game at dedicated kiosks throughout the store.

ToysRUsLogo copyThey can also receive complimentary giveaways while supplies last, as well as have the opportunity to be digitally teleported into a Skylanders Trap Team “Most Wanted” photo alongside some of the game’s villains, including Kaos and Chompy Mage.

When Skylanders Trap Team releases on October 5, all Toys “R” Us stores nationwide will open one hour earlier at 8 a.m., and select stores will open at midnight. A full list of stores opening at midnight can be found at toysrus.com/midnightskylanders. Meanwhile, the Skylanders villain Kaos will be taking over the Toys “R” Us Twitter channel (@Toysrus) on Saturday, October 4, from 11 to 11:50 p.m. to interact with fans and build anticipation for the midnight release. [Read more...]