Amazon ranked first for the second year in a row in Reputation Institute‘s 2015 U.S. RepTrak 100, an annual survey of corporate reputations. Lego ranked third among the top ten companies, and Hasbro ranked 23rd.
A new Mario: Silver Edition amiibo figure will be available at major nationwide retailers and their respective online destinations on May 29. As with the other Mario amiibo figures that have already launched, the Mario: Silver Edition amiibo will have the same functionality and work with all games that are compatible with Mario amiibo.
In partnership with Go Baby Go, a research-based, national program that provides modified, ride-on toy cars to young children with disabilities, Toy State is sponsoring four workshops in four cities across the country. Each car will be outfitted to model the Toy State Nikko R/C No. 7 car currently driven by Alex Bowman on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit.
Last week, one of the big news stories around the toy industry was Nintendo entering a deal with Universal Studios to create rides and other attractions for the latter’s theme parks. As reported on The Toy Book Blog, Nintendo’s most famous video game characters and worlds would serve as the inspiration for these soon-to-be immersive experiences. Imagine the possibilities: Kids, and adults, may soon interact with environments straight out of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda, or any of the video game maker’s other hit franchises.
Having recently been promoted to the position of president of Toy State, it seemed like a good time to sit down with Andy Friess to talk about the state of his company, its high-profile sponsorship agreement with Tommy Baldwin Racing, its upcoming plans for the R/C brand, Nikko, and more.
The Toy Book (TTB): How important are new licensing agreements to the growth of Toy State?
Andy Friess (AF): Licensing plays a major role in our success. With the competition so tough in all toy categories, securing rights to strong licenses can provide the point-of-difference that separates us from our competitors. Toy State’s history of developing products featuring the highest levels of quality and innovation has been a great “selling” tool as we seek new licensing opportunities. We’ve been extremely fortunate to work with a core of outstanding global licensors, and these relationships have been instrumental to the successes we have achieved over our 30-plus-year history. The 13-year, multi-category relationship with Caterpillar has been the foundation of our licensing efforts.
Last Thursday, nearly 1,300 leaders from the toy and baby products industries came together at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City to celebrate the 2015 Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund Gala. During the evening, $4.6 million was raised for the Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with Toys “R” Us Inc., to aid in its mission to keep children safe and help them in times of need. The event was hosted by comedian Martin Short and featured a performance by Lenny Kravitz.