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Spin Master, Rube Goldberg Partner for New Line of STEM Kits

Spin Master Corp. and Rube Goldberg, Inc. partnered for a line of activity sets under the Wonderology Science Brand. The sets are available exclusively at Target.

Rube Goldberg activity sets let kids design, build, and create unique inventions at home. The sets teach STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math)-based principles, such as gravity, simple machines, physics, chain reactions, and more. The new line will include eight modular activity sets that can be collected and connected to each other in different ways. With each additional set, the end result gets bigger and more complex. This challenges kids to use essential STEM skills in order to complete the device. 

The licensing partnership and retail program were brokered by Rube Goldberg's exclusive licensing agency, Brand Central LLC.

Jazwares to Debut Roblox Toy Line

Roblox will debut an all-new toy line from Jazwares at major retailers. The line, inspired by popular games, characters, and developers in the user-generated gaming platform, marks the company’s first foray into merchandising and a major entrance into retail. The expansion coincides with Roblox’s highest monthly player count—44 million in December.
Fans can take apart the characters in the physical toy line and mix and match parts to create new characters just like they can in Roblox's virtual world. The imagination of users is also strongly reflected in the toy offerings, with a selection of play sets and characters based on the creations of some of the most popular community developers. Additionally, each of the toys comes with a unique code that can be redeemed for exclusive virtual items.  The Series 1 collection of toys will debut in February at top retailers across North America.
In conjunction with the toy launch, the company has unveiled a brand new logo and corporate website. The full Roblox toy line will be showcased at Jazwares' booth at this year's North American International Toy Fair in New York City.

Spielwarenmesse Reduces Trade Show Duration to Five Days

As of next year, the duration of Spielwarenmesse will be reduced by one day. As of 2018, the dates at the Exhibition Centre in Nuremberg will take place over five days rather than six days. The dates for next year’s show have already been scheduled, from Wednesday, Jan. 31 to Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018.
The decision for the more compact trade show was made to enhance efficiency on all fronts. This year’s Spielwarenmesse will not be affected by the change, and will take place as planned from Feb. 1 to 6.

ASTRA Announces 2016 Marketplace & Academy Theme

The theme for the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)’s 2017 Marketplace & Academy is Mighty Together: Inspired by the Power of Play. The event will take place in Philadelphia from June 25 to 28. For the first time, the Marketplace exhibit hall will be expanded to three full days.
Registration is now open with early bird discounted registration prices available until March 15.

Hasbro Launches Hanazuki on YouTube and YouTube Kids App

Hasbro Inc. launched Hanazuki, a story-driven lifestyle brand, with the company’s first-ever animated digital series, Hanazuki Full of Treasures, premiering on YouTube and the YouTube Kids app.
Hanazuki, a spirited young moonflower, is at the center of a new galaxy, where she embarks on an unpredictable hero's journey to save her moon from dark forces that threaten to destroy it. Through this adventure, she meets new friends and discovers a world full of surprises and new feelings, ultimately learning that her ever-changing moods prove to be quite powerful.
The series, produced by Hasbro Studios in collaboration with Titmouse Studios, will feature 27 11-minute animated episodes released throughout the year timed to the full moons. The first nine episodes are available now.
A digital app will launch in April, and there will be branded consumer product offerings throughout the year. A Hanazuki toy line inspired by the series will launch in June at select retailers and nationwide in August, featuring more than 175 collectible treasures and figures, plush items, and Bluetooth-enabled and app-connected wearables.

WBIE Releases First Lego City Undercover Trailer

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and TT Games released the first trailer for Lego City Undercover. The video game features Chase McCain, a police officer who goes undercover and dons multiple disguises to hunt down the notorious and recently escaped criminal, Rex Fury, to put an end to his city-wide crime wave.
Lego City Undercover features more than 20 districts for players to investigate, filled with thieves to bust, vehicles to navigate, aliens to capture, movie references to discover, lost pigs to rescue, and hundreds of collectibles. This open-world Lego adventure will be available this spring for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. 

Hasbro Launches Worldwide Vote for Fans to Pick All Eight Monopoly Tokens

Hasbro Inc. launched the Monopoly Token Madness Vote, which leaves the fate of the eight current Monopoly tokens—the Scottie dog, top hat, car, thimble, boot, wheelbarrow, battleship, and cat—in the hands of fans.
Through Jan. 3, fans worldwide can visit to choose eight tokens they’d like to see in the next generation of the game. Fans can pick the tokens from a list of more than 50 contenders, including the current tokens and the new options such as a penguin, rubber duck, and bunny slipper. Hasbro will reveal the results of the vote on World Monopoly Day, Mar. 19.
The fan-picked tokens will be updated in the Monopoly game hitting shelves this August. Hasbro also introduced the Monopoly Token Madness Edition, which includes the eight current tokens, plus eight golden-colored tokens included in the vote.

MasterPieces, Realtree Debut New Line of Camouflage Puzzles

MasterPieces Inc. and Realtree partnered for a new line of Realtree camouflage puzzles. The puzzles combine original woodland scenes with camouflage patterns for a line of 1,000-piece puzzle sets.
The first four puzzles in the line include North American animals in forest scenes, as well as cabin and fishing scenes. The new puzzles will be on display at the North American International Toy Fair in New York City next month, with anticipated retail availability this spring.

Zoofy International, Accessory Innovations Partner for Emojination Inflatable Toys 

Zoofy International LLC partnered with Accessory Innovations (AI) for the AI-created Emojination brand. The agreement grants Zoofy rights to manufacture Emojination-branded inflatable play structures for worldwide distribution. The first products will be introduced at the North American International Toy Fair in New York City this month.

Addo Play Ltd. Partners with Black Horse Consulting

Addo Play and Adrian Roche’s Black Horse Consulting are collaborating for Addo’s strategic expansion in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Internationally, Addo Play had expanded over the last year and now covers more than 20 countries, including recently agreed distribution partnerships in France with HellerJoustra and CIFE in Spain. More partners are expected to be added over the January previews period in Hong Kong. Last year, Addo Play launched 10 new brands—featuring more than 70 products—in the UK, exclusively at The Entertainer stores.
The company will celebrate its one-year anniversary since its international launch in Hong Kong this January. The company will exhibit again from its permanent Hong Kong office and showroom, showcasing more than 120 main line products in the craft and role-play categories.

Teen Sisters to Launch Curly Petz Kickstarter Campaign

The Curly Petz 45-day Kickstarter campaign will launch on Jan. 17, National Kid Inventors’ Day. Invented by Tana and Myla Zapf, the creation won first place at the annual San Diego Inventor’s Forum Contest. The duo secured patents in the U.S. and the European Union for their stuffed animal invention.
Curly Petz are stuffed animals designed as a slap bracelet, which curls around arms and wrists. They also come with a magnetic wall mount for kids to keep them off the floor and organized in their homes.
The Kickstarter campaign will launch with the tiger design, and the Zapf sisters have a manufacturer in place and several more animal designs ready to go.

Toy Sales Grew 26 Percent the Week Before Christmas

Dollar sales in the eighth week of the 2016 holiday shopping season were 16 percent higher than the same week last year, according to The NPD Group’s weekly point-of-sale results for key general merchandise categories across in-store and online channels. Toy sales grew 26 percent that week. 
While the eighth week outperformed the historically peak week of Thanksgiving, dollar sales in the first eight weeks of the 2016 holiday shopping season were still 1 percent behind the first eight weeks of the 2015 season.

Ninety-Eight Percent of Generation Z Still Shops in Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Despite expectations that the first digitally native generation wants to shop online, a new study released by IBM and the National Retail Federation found that almost all members of Generation Z prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores. With the global Gen Z population set to reach 2.6 billion by 2020, retailers need to create a more interactive engagement around their brands, according to the study. The study is based on findings from more than 15,000 consumers ages 12 to 21 from 16 countries.
The new generation is important to retailers because it has access to $44 billion in buying power, with 75 percent saying they spend more than half of the money that is available to them each month, according to the study. The study found 52 percent of Gen Z consumers will transfer loyalty from one brand to another if the brand’s quality is not up to par.
The study also found 74 percent of respondents spend their free time online, with 25 percent online five hours or more each day. The degree to which in-store sales are influenced by digital is inevitable in today’s shopping journey—and continues to grow. Seventy-three percent of Gen Z uses their phones primarily to text and chat with family and friends, but are willing to extend their conversations to brand relationships; 36 percent would create digital content for a brand; 42 percent would participate in an online game for a campaign; 43 percent would participate in a product review; 62 percent will not use apps or websites that are difficult to navigate; 60 percent will not use apps or websites that are slow to load. They also want to know how their personal information will be protected.

January 12, 2017
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