January 10, 2013

Laser Pegs

International Toy Fair

Bravado and The Wish Factory Partner for Carly Rae Jepsen Products

Bravado has partnered with The Wish Factory, Inc., to develop an exclusive line of merchandise for singer Carly Rae Jepsen of “Call Me Maybe” fame.
Through this partnership, Bravado and The Wish Factory will develop and manufacture an exclusive line of licensed merchandise, which will include novelties and collectibles such as dolls, microphones, headphones, and fashion accessories, as well as licensed products for the The Wish Factory’s exclusive Pop Grrl and Locker Rocker brands

Hasbro and PopCap Partner for Bejeweled Games

BejeweledHasbro, Inc., and PopCap Games, a division of EA, have entered into a licensing deal to develop and distribute a wide range of physical games based on PopCap's properties, including Bejeweled.
In Hasbro’s new Bejeweled game, players bring the PopCap video game of the same name to life by swapping gems on the game board to match three or more to win. Purchase of the Hasbro game also includes an exclusive code for players to download the Bejeweled 3 computer game. Hasbro's Bejeweled Frenzy game is a fast-paced card game that challenges players to match gems and build stacks of cards as fast as they can.

Adora Unveils New Look

AdoraAdora is launching a new look this year, infusing its brand with a fresh identity, packaging, website, and a wide assortment of products and price points for children.
The new brand extensions include 200 products with 70 all new dolls and accessories. The new offering includes 12-inch FabFaries, soft micro plush dolls for ages 0 and up; FlutterBabies, soft micro plush with interchangeable wings for ages 0 and up; SnuggleTime Babies, with removable hoodies and soft micro plush with vinyl heads for ages 0 and up; and BathTime Babies with an exclusive QuikDri body, built-in swimsuit, and colorful robe for ages 12 months and up. Adora’s current collections, including PlayTime, GiggleTime, NurseryTime, and Adora Friends have all been updated and refreshed with added features and a new look.
Adora will debut its new look at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Show from January 9 to 16, followed by the Seattle Gift Show from January 17 to 20, the Dallas Gift Show from January 17 to 22, the Minneapolis Gift Show January 18 to 22, and the American International Toy Fair in New York from February 10 to 13.

DreamPlay Toys to Launch Disney-Branded Interactive Products

DreamPlay Toys, LLC, the joint venture between NantWorks, LLC and Jakks Pacific, Inc., debuted Disney-branded DreamPlay interactive technology-based toys at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
DreamPlay products will incorporate NantWorks’ iD image recognition technology, which accurately recognizes images, 3-D objects, voice, speech, data, and live video, with the capability to differentiate between millions of objects instantaneously. The integration of this technology with Disney characters enables the consumer to experience a seamless blending of the physical toy with new character-based content in the form of interactive games and animation on their smart phone or tablet.
DreamPlay Toys and Jakks Pacific plan to launch this interactive product line in the U.S. at major retailers in the fall and internationally next year. Using NantWorks’ iD technology, apps will be developed for both iOS and Android devices.

Wonder Forge Secures Strategic Investment from Ravensburger AG

Wonder Forge has secured a strategic investment from European toy manufacturer Ravensburger AG. The investment will help to fuel future growth for the game maker.
Wonder Forge was founded by CEO Jacobe Chrisman, former head of product development at Cranium games. The company launched in 2007 and today includes a product line of more than 60 games and puzzles, featuring children’s properties such as Disney Princess, Minnie Mouse, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Dr. Seuss, DC Super Friends, Richard Scarry’s Busytown, Angelina Ballerina, Curious George, Chuggington, and MythBusters.

Innovation First Files Unfair Trade Complaint Against CVS Caremark

Robo FishInnovation First International has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, requesting an investigation be conducted against CVS Caremark, a pharmacy with more than 7,500 stores nationwide, for unfair trade practices. The claim against CVS is related to the Robo Fish toy, manufactured by Zuru Toys, Inc., and sold in CVS stores. Innovation First alleges that the Robo Fish product uses technology that was stolen by an Innovation First engineer and shopped for several months to other toy companies. The engineer ultimately placed Robo Fish with Zuru Toys and resigned as head of research and development for Innovation First’s China development team the day of the sale. Innovation First sued Zuru Toys more than a year ago and remains engaged in litigation with Zuru Toys. Major U.S. retailers other than CVS have elected not to carry the offending products, the company says. Innovation First plans to release its official version of the Aqua Fish product under the Hexbug brand this August.


NPD: Holiday Shopping Was at Highest Levels Last Two Weeks in December

For the week ending December 29, the Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends report from The NPD Group shows that an estimated 61 percent of U.S. consumers went shopping at brick-and-mortar retail stores and made a purchase, the highest level of shopping incidence during the holiday period.
Approximately 63 percent of U.S. consumers who engaged in shopping in the most recent week made a purchase, down 2 points from the prior week. In the last three weeks before Christmas there was a slight increase each week in shopping activity for brick-and-mortar stores with more people out shopping, more shoppers making purchases, and more dollars spent on each buying visit.
For the last two weeks of December, the online share of buying visits dropped to 19 percent (December 22) and to an estimated 16 percent (December 29).

NFL Partners for Mini-Figures and Games                 

SportstoysOYO Sportstoys has partnered with the National Football League and NFL Players Association to offer officially licensed building-block mini-figures that feature the logos and likenesses of players from all 32 NFL teams.
OYOs are specially designed with rotating forearms and bending knees to allow them to run, sit, squat, and grip and throw a football. The NFL figures have one extended forearm and one bent forearm to allow for a variety of position-specific poses. Each figure comes with a football, a helmet with removable facemask, water bottle, and a rectangular stand, all in a special package that can be used for display. Each OYO is compatible with popular toy building blocks.
Fremont Die Consumer Products, manufacturer of sports novelty items, has partnered with the NFL for NFL Game Day, the Ultimate Football Board Game.
After 25 years of creating NFL accessories, from banners and flags to bop bags and window films, Fremont Die Consumer Products is set to debut the new game at the American International Toy Fair. This family-friendly game puts players at the coach’s table and tests offensive, defensive, and special team plays. The game is offered with customizable end zones featuring all 32 NFL teams so fans can create their own match-ups.

Women In Toys Accepting Applications for Walmart Pitch Event

Women in Toys (WIT) and Walmart are presenting the Women’s Global Economic Empowerment Initiative, which has a goal of sourcing $20 billion from women-owned businesses by 2016. The Walmart Pitch event, scheduled for February 11 during New York Toy Fair, allows WIT members to pitch their products to Walmart.
Those interested in being part of the Walmart Pitch should complete an application form from the WIT website (www.womenintoys.com) and submit it to Patti Becker at pbecker@beckerassoc.com with “Walmart Pitch” in the subject line by January 15.
Candidates will be notified if they are selected.
Those applying must also select three meeting times between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on February 11. A legal agreement and product submission template must also be submitted. For a complete list of details and forms, visit www.womenintoys.com.

Studio Licensing to Represent MGA Entertainment in Canada

MGA Entertainment, Inc., has appointed Canadian licensing agency Studio Licensing, Inc., to represent its brand portfolio for licensing and merchandising in Canada.
Through the new partnership, Studio Licensing will be directly responsible for expanding the MGA business in Canada through licensing categories and dynamic retail and marketing programs. Studio Licensing will liaise with the MGA Canada team to oversee the growth of Lalaloopsy, Moxie Girlz, Bratz, Bratzillaz, Novi Stars, and Little Tikes.
With MGA’s integrated activities ranging from marketing to publicity, to new products lines and high-impact media extensions (including digital, television, and DVD), Studio Licensing has been given a foundation to build momentum in the business, the company said in a news release.


Iconix Brand Group Appoints Leigh Anne Brodsky for Peanuts Worldwide

Iconix Brand Group, Inc., has appointed Leigh Anne Brodsky to the position of managing director of Peanuts Worldwide, a joint venture with Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates. In her new role, which is effective immediately, Brodsky will oversee the global business for the Peanuts property, including the launch of the recently announced 2015 feature film from Twentieth Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios. She will also oversee and develop the Iconix Entertainment division as well as seek out properties for the company’s growing portfolio of brands.
A licensing professional for more than 20 years, Brodsky is well known for her role as president at Nickelodeon Consumer Products, where she built the division into the world’s No. 1 TV-based licensing business. Brodsky has been recognized by the industry for her leadership and expertise and in 2011 was selected for induction into the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association’s (LIMA) Hall of Fame.

GameStop Releases Holiday Sales Results

GameStop Corp., the multichannel video game retailer, has reported sales results for the nine-week holiday period ended December 29.
Total global sales for the period were $2.88 billion, a 4.6 percent decrease compared to the 2011 holiday sales period. Total comparable store sales decreased 4.4 percent.
For the holiday period, new hardware sales decreased 2.7 percent, including the sale of 320,000 Nintendo Wii U units worldwide. Sales of new video game software decreased 5.1 percent, as frontline title releases could not offset a decline in overall store traffic. The pre-owned category declined 15.6 percent, as limited inventory due to fewer new titles released throughout the year and less promotional activity negatively impacted sales compared to 2011.
Digital receipts increased more than 40 percent, while sales in the mobile business were $76.5 million during the holiday period and have exceeded $160 million year-to-date. Additionally, global e-commerce sales improved 20.5 percent compared to the 2011 holiday period.

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