Toy Fair Named One of New York’s Top Events

From advertising and technology to fashion, entertainment, sports, and more, the event planning news site BizBash has curated its 2014 list of New York’s Top 100 Events—and has named American International Toy Fair to this exclusive list. To choose and rank the Top 100 list, BizBash considers several factors including economic impact, buzz, innovation, and the event’s prominence within the communities it intends to serve. The largest toy trade show in the Western Hemisphere, Toy Fair takes place each February at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

Toy Fair and the rest of New York’s Top 100 Events 2014 can be found at www.bizbash.com/top-100.

Lum Lums Circle of Friendship Sighting!

Lums Lums from Imperial ToyLum Lums‘ Valerina, from Imperial Toy, holds hands with her friends at the recent American International Toy Fair. Valerina and her fellow dolls encourage positive social play for girls. Their goal is a world of inclusion in which kids can experience the treasure of friendship.

Toy Fair 2014 Shows Increase in Attendees, Double-Digit Rise in International Visitors

Last week’s American International Toy Fair in New York City drew nearly 26,500 toy professionals from 94 countries, and boasted a record-breaking 414,060 net square feet of exhibit space. According to the Toy Industry Association (TIA), Toy Fair 2014 also welcomed an 11 percent surge in international buyers, an 8 percent rise in exhibitors, and a 5 percent spike in overall attendees, bringing the total attendance to 26,493.

There was an estimated 1,153 exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sales agents, and nearly 10,000 buyers from more than 5,000 retail outlets, including delegations from Amazon, Target, and Toys “R” Us. Members of top press outlets including Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and The New York Times scouted top toy trends.

Next year’s Toy Fair has been scheduled for February 14 to 17, and will once again take place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Show information will be available in the coming months at www.ToyFairNY.com.

COMMENTARY: Plush With a Purpose

Last week at Toy Fair, I was incredibly moved and encouraged to see so many toy companies giving from their compassionate hearts. When I was younger, I wanted to write about cancer research or world hunger. This week, Toy Fair reminded me that the toy business is an incredible outlet to make a huge difference, and these toy makers are using the toy industry to teach kids the importance of giving, love, and compassion. I’ve fallen in love with a handful of toy makers who are using their platform to make a real difference. Toys may seem trivial, but aren’t kids the ones in whom we delegate our future? [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Back to Basics: Sketch, Doodle, Paint, and Play

TF14Logo-cityDatesAfter Toy Fair 2013, the words “and there’s an app!” were ringing in my ears for weeks. This year, however, appcessories seemed more like a taboo than anything else, with most companies shying away from toys with app-enhanced features or reliability. Honestly, it was less than disappointing. I think keeping screen time and toy time separate is perfectly acceptable, and apparently, what kids and toy buyers prefer.

This year will truly mark a return to traditional play patterns. Rainbow Loom, a simple bracelet-making kit for kids, was huge in 2013, eventually snagging four Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards, including the overall Toy of the Year. That said, Toy Fair 2014 brought tons of cool innovations in the activities category, with companies fighting to be the next big thing once the Rainbow Loom craze comes to an end. [Read more...]

Power Rangers’ New Toy Line-Up from Bandai Revealed, Costume Licenses Renewed

Feb20.PowerRangersSuperMegaforceCoinciding with the February 15 launch of Saban BrandsPower Rangers Super Megaforce on Nickelodeon, Bandai unveiled the full toy line for the season at American International Toy Fair earlier this week. It includes show-accurate role play toys, action figures, and large-scale buildable robots.

Central to the new line are collectible Legendary Ranger Keys, which unlock the powers of all previous Power Rangers. A quick flip function morphs the figures into unique keys that can be inserted into multiple Super Megaforce toys to unlock special features and powers. There are over 60 different Ranger Keys to collect.

By using the Power Rangers Scanner app—available on both iOS and Android systems—on any smart phone or tablet, kids can scan any Ranger Key, morph themselves into that Power Ranger, and battle villains on-screen.

In other Power Rangers news, Saban Brands has renewed licenses with Disguise Inc., Rubie’s Costume Company, and Morphsuits, so each partner will continue producing character-inspired costumes through 2017.

There will also be a tournament, Morphin Madness, running from March 10 to April 7, in which fans can vote for their Power Rangers dream team. The bracket-style voting system rewards participants with coupons for Super Megaforce toys and a chance to win a 24K gold plated Deluxe Legendary Morpher and Legendary Ranger Key set of the fan-selected top five Rangers. Fans can vote at www.morphinmadness.com.

Yvolution Takes Kids Rides to the EXY Extreme

YVOLUTION EXY TRICKSTARTRAt this year’s American International Toy Fair, Yvolution is launching its new EXY Extreme Yvolution series. Offering kids a more extreme ride, the first two products in the line include the EXY Trickstartr, an entry-level stunt scooter with an innovative wheelie system, and the EXY Sharker, a three-wheeled skateboard made for urban street surfing.

The EXY Trickstartr is a stunt scooter for beginner riders who want to learn how to master basic tricks. It features a slick matte black/vibrant color design and comes with a special patent-pending device that allows riders to do a wheelie. Trickstartr also offers kids four ways to ride: 1) The Easy Way, 2) The Hard Way, 3) The Expert Way, and 4) The Pro Way. Once the stunt is mastered, the detachable device can be removed to improve speed and agility.

The EXY Sharker is a three-wheeled skateboard with a modern surfboard design. It is half-caster board and half-skateboard, with a front 360-degree caster wheel and traditional skateboard trucks in the back. Riders twist back and forth to get started, self-propel, carve, and pump. The quicker they pump the nose, the faster they’ll go. The Sharker also features a patented super strong ABS Tri-core grip deck and PU wheels with durable ABEC 7 bearings.

Both are suitable for kids ages 5 and up, available in green or purple, and for sale exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores and online.

Before hitting the skate park, kids can watch a series of EXY “learn to ride” videos online that help them get started with both the Trickstartr and Sharker.

Spin Master Ltd. to Show Off New Innovations for Toy Fair

logo_spinmasterSpin Master Ltd. will showcase its portfolio for the upcoming year at American International Toy Fair in New York City, introducing a number of new innovations and brands including:

Flutterbye: A world of fairytale creatures comes twirling, dancing, spinning, and of course, flying into kids’ rooms. Driven by innovation, Flutterbye puts the control into girl’s hands, inviting them to unlock their fairies’ hidden potential and joy.

Ionix: These construction bricks shape-shift and change to become mini figures, action figures, weapons, gear, gadgets, and more. They also snap together with other leading construction systems.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 by Ionix: Kids can shape-shift and build their favorite dragons with new Ionix bricks, and recreate the incredible adventures of Toothless, Hiccup, and all of their friends as they battle against new foes and other threats to their homes on Berk.

Pokémon by Ionix: Ionix bricks bring favorite Pokémon characters like Pikachu, Chespin, Fennekin, Froakie, and more to life.

Maddy: Spin Master’s newest interactive doll, Maddy, is a talking, moving, “thinking” animated toy. Maddy’s glasses are a pair of high-resolution LED screens that function as her eyes, but will also play short animations, and can even be used to play mini games. Kids can download the free companion app to call and text their Maddy, play games with her, and discover some of her hidden features.

Paw Patrol: Based on a top-rated preschool series airing every weekday on Nickelodeon, this new toy line features lovable pups, cool vehicles, and magical transformations.

Zoomer Dino Boomer: This new guard dino runs around on two feet, chomping and whipping his tail. Kids can play with him in autonomous mode via the sensors in his nose, or pick up the control pod to send him on the attack. Dino also has a softer side, protecting his friends and sometimes even busting a dance move.

Underground Toys’ 2014 Licensed Product Line to Debut at Toy Fair

UndergroundToyslogoUnderground Toys will be releasing new licensed merchandise at this year’s American International Toy Fair. New brand licenses include World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Anchorman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Walking Dead, and Vikings. Highlights from these ranges include a Walking Dead apron, all-new WWE talking character plush, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles talking soft bag buddies, and a “classy” Anchorman Ron Burgundy moustache bottle opener.

Underground will also be displaying classic and new products from existing ranges, with many of the new items set for release this year. Doctor Who merchandise includes The Other Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver, action figures based on The Other Doctor and The Twelfth Doctor (played by actors John Hurt and Peter Capaldi, respectively), and the Doctor Who Mr. Potato Head collection.

An extensive range of Star Wars gifts and home products will also be revealed, some of which will be publicized for the first time. Inserting a degree of fun into classical play, a large variety of Underground’s merchandise will now begin to incorporate movement, sound effects, and spoken phrases: For example, the plush Star Wars Action Yoda features both movement and sound.

Grammy-Winner Alicia Keys to Cut Ribbon, Unveil New App at Toy Fair Opening Ceremony

Feb14.AliciaKeysAs first reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), Grammy-winner Alicia Keys, co-creator of the interactive children’s app The Journals of Mama Mae & LeeLee from Bento Box Interactive (BBI) and AK Worldwide Inc. (AKW), will help cut the ribbon at the American International Toy Fair’s opening ceremony, scheduled for Sunday, February 16 at 10 a.m. Immediately afterward, Keys will hold a press conference moderated by Marian Bossard, TIA’s vice president of meetings and events.

The press conference will include a question and answer session and introduce the new interactive storytelling app Mookey, the latest extension of The Journals of Mama Mae & LeeLee, suitable for kids ages 4 and up. Other participants in the press conference include Scott Greenberg, BBI co-founder and CEO, and Makeda Mays Green, educational adviser for BBI/AKW.

The ribbon-cutting will officially kick off the largest toy show ever held in North America, with more than 30,000 anticipated attendees from 100 countries, and hundreds of thousands of toys and games across a record-breaking 411,500-plus square feet of exhibit space.

The 111th American International Toy Fair will take place on February 16 to 19 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. After-hours and networking events during Toy Fair week include the 14th annual TOTY (Toy of the Year) Awards on February 15 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.