February 07, 2013

Laser Pegs

Activision Holds Skylanders Preview Event in Times Square

SkylandersActivision Publishing Inc.’s kids’ property Skylanders took over Times Square in New York City on February 5 for a dual celebration in anticipation of the upcoming American International Toy Fair. At a reveal event at NASDAQ of Skylanders Swap Force, Activision Publishing’s CEO Eric Hirshberg demonstrated the new game and unveiled the brand’s new characters with swappable bodies and heads, which allow kids to make their own versions of Skylanders. Lines of families began to form at 5 a.m. along Broadway in front of the Times Square Toys “R” Us to be among the first fans to receive the new Skylanders Giants character, Ninjini, before it hits shelves this spring. More than 500 families stood in line to receive the not-yet-released character and participate in other activities at the Skylanders event. (Shown in photo: Wash Buckler.)

Laser Pegs Joins with NFL for New Construction Toys

Laser Pegs, the company behind the building blocks that light up, has teamed up with the National Football League (NFL) to design a line of pegs that will teach children about the various aspects of football. Kids will be able to construct different positions, such as a wide receiver, lineman, and quarterback. Each kit will come with two sheets of team logos. Kids will also be able to use the kits to build stadiums, scoreboards, and snap shots of plays. Along with the NFL line, Laser Pegs will launch a new app that integrates with the Laser Pegs toys next week at the American International Toy Fair in NYC. Children will be able to design their own 3-D models and get a blueprint through the app, allowing kids to build their own Laser Pegs designs. The app also includes coloring pages, games, and the ability to share feedback with the company.

K’nex to Release Pac-Man Construction Toys

Pac-Man41 Entertainment has granted a license to K’nex Brands to create a new line of building toys for the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures property worldwide. The TV series is slated to begin broadcast in the fall. The product line includes mystery figure packs, maze assortments, and the Ghost Regeneration Chamber/Power Pellet Tree assortment.
The relationship combines the K’nex building system with the stars of the new Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures cartoon, including Cylindria, Spiral, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Clyde, and Pac.

Fisher-Price Gives Personality to Little People

Little PeopleSophie, Mia, Koby, Tessa, and Eddie made their debuts as the latest cast of Fisher-Price’s Little People characters on Tuesday morning at Citi Pond at Bryant Park.
Kids and parents gathered around as Genevieve Goings of Disney Jr.’s Choo Choo Soul took the stage. Under a light snowfall, kids danced along in puffy coats and animal hats as Goings sang original songs about each new Little People character’s personality.
After the musical performance, kids and families were invited into Celsius for hot chocolate and a meet-and-greet session with the new Little People characters. Parents were given tickets to take their kids ice skating at Bryant Park after the event, and kids got to take home Fisher-Price T-shirts.
The introduction of the Little People characters marks Fisher-Price’s shift from an evergreen toy brand to a lifestyle brand. A design makeover will be complemented by an award-winning writing, illustration, and musical team, creating an intellectual property for a new generation of preschoolers. The new Little People characters, toys, and music are set to launch this summer along with Little People webisodes featuring the multicultural characters.

Monopoly to Replace Iron Token with Cat

Monopoly will throw out the iron game piece and replace it with a cat after a month of voting by fans on Facebook. The cat won out over the toy robot, guitar, helicopter, and diamond ring in the “Save Your Token” campaign for the classic Hasbro board game. The new game piece received 31 percent of the fan vote.
Despite being an integral part of life when the token was added to the game in the 1930s, the iron has fallen out of favor with today’s fans and will be retired from the game. In the vote to save a classic game piece, the Scottie dog was an early favorite, eventually securing 29 percent of the vote. With only 8 percent of the vote, the iron token fell behind the wheelbarrow and the shoe.
Hasbro will begin to replace the iron with the new cat token on the Monopoly production lines immediately, so those who want to continue to play with the iron and the seven other classic tokens have a limited time to pick up the existing version of the game. The new Monopoly game featuring the cat token will arrive on store shelves in mid- to late-year.

Kids Preferred Acquires Bunnies By The Bay Luxury Line

Kids Preferred LLC has acquired Bunnies By The Bay, a luxury line of toys, apparel, and books. The deal marks the first time Kids Preferred will include baby and children’s apparel in its array of toy and educational offerings.
Bunnies By The Bay was founded by sisters Krystal Kirkpatrick and Suzanne Knutson in 1983. Jeanne-ming Hayes joined the company in 1999 as the third sister and “director of serious stuff.”
The Bunnies By the Bay founders and senior staff will all remain with the company in their current roles. Bunnies By The Bay products will soon be offered, along with Goodnight Moon, Disney Baby, pat the bunny, Shaun the Sheep, The World of Beatrix Potter, and many more characters at www.kidspreferred.com.

PlaSmart to Distribute Morphology Game   

PlaSmart Inc. has signed an exclusive agreement to distribute the activity board game Morphology worldwide.
Morphology, launched in the fall of 2009, is a hands-on board game for four or more players where creativity wins. The “Morphologists” use their ingenuity to build and animate shapes with wooden pieces, glass beads, strings, colored cubes, and their own body parts.

Barbie to Leave Malibu and Search for a New Dreamhouse Location

BarbieBarbie is officially putting her Malibu, Calif. Dreamhouse on the market and is packing up her three-story pink palace, signaling the launch of a year-long global brand campaign by Mattel. Over the next few months, Barbie will embark on a worldwide tour to find a new dream home. This year’s campaign will feature real-life, life-sized experiences, online engagement, and retail touch points that bring the Barbie Dreamhouse to life for Barbie fans.
Fictitiously valued at $25 million, her scaled 8,500 square foot, three-story, one-bedroom, one-bathroom mansion is the only house in Malibu with unobstructed views of the ocean—after all, it only has three walls. Visit
Trulia.com/Barbie to view the listing. 
Barbie will open the doors to her Dreamhouse with the “Barbie The Dreamhouse Experience,” which will debut in Florida in the U.S. and Berlin in March. Inspired by the popular web series, Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse, this interactive installation celebrates Barbie’s fabulous life, allowing fans a look inside her pink palace. Fans can visit www.barbiedreamhouse.com for more information.
In addition, Mega Bloks and Barbie are transforming the way girls can build, design and decorate their Barbie world with the global launch of Mega Bloks Barbie, the first-ever Barbie building collection designed specifically for girls. The complete construction toy line—including a Dreamhouse-inspired Luxury Mansion—lets girls literally build Barbie doll’s world, piece by piece.

TIA

Hasbro Announces Executive Appointments

Hasbro Inc. has appointed David Hargreaves, a 30-year veteran of Hasbro and most recently its COO, as the new executive vice president of corporate strategy and business development. Hargreaves will focus on building Hasbro’s new business pipeline, identifying opportunities for long-term growth and fostering relationships with current and new partners. Hargreaves will continue to serve on Hasbro’s senior management team.
Also effective immediately, Wiebe Tinga, a 25-year veteran of Hasbro, will become chief commercial officer, with responsibility for all of Hasbro’s global operating markets. Prior to this appointment, Tinga was president of North America.

HIT Appoints New Head of Content and Production

HIT Entertainment has appointed Michael Carrington to the newly created position of head of content and production for HIT Global Brands. Based in HIT’s London office, Carrington will be responsible for enhancing HIT’s center for content and development, reporting into Edward Catchpole. Marion Edwards will continue in her role as executive producer of HIT’s brands, reporting into Carrington.
Carrington joins HIT from Turner Broadcasting where he headed up the Europe, the Middle East, and Africa kids content team. Previously, Carrington was controller of CBeebies and responsible for developing some of their most successful preschool brands.

Corolle Announces New U.S. Sales & Marketing Manager

Corolle, the premium doll brand designed in France, has appointed Michelle Schmitt as U.S. sales and marketing manager. Prior to joining Corolle, Schmitt was with Sears Holdings Management Corp. as marketing manager, developing Kmart storewide programs and partnering with entertainment companies such as Nickelodeon, WWE, and Paramount. More recently, Schmitt was director of retail business development for Marvel Entertainment where she developed and managed more than 20 retail accounts across all retail channels. 

Mattel Releases 2012 Financial Results  

Mattel Inc. has reported last year’s fourth quarter and full-year financial results. For the fourth quarter, the company reported net income of $306.5 million, or $0.87 per share, and an adjusted net income of $393.6 million, or $1.12 per share, compared to last year’s fourth quarter net income of $370.6 million, or $1.07 per share.
For the year, the company reported a net income of $776.5 million, or $2.22 per share, and an adjusted net income of $863.6 million, or $2.47 per share, compared to last year’s net income of $768.5 million, or $2.18 per share.
For the fourth quarter, net sales were $2.26 billion, a 5 percent increase from $2.15 billion last year, including an unfavorable impact of changes in currency exchange rates of 1 percentage point.
For the year, net sales were $6.42 billion, a 2 percent increase from $6.27 billion last year, including an unfavorable impact of changes in currency exchange rates of 2 percentage points.

LeapFrog Reports 2012 Financial Results

LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. has released its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31.
Fourth quarter 2012 net sales were $244.7 million, up 16 percent compared to $210.2 million the previous year. Net sales growth was primarily driven by strong content sales, high consumer demand for LeapPad learning tablets and accessories, and the introduction of the LeapsterGS game system, the company said. In the U.S. segment, net sales were $177.8 million, up 11 percent compared to $160.6 million the previous year. In the international segment, net sales were $67.0 million, up 35 percent compared to $49.6 million last year.
Full year 2012 net sales were $581.3 million, up 28 percent compared to $455.1 million the previous year. In the U.S. segment, net sales were $424.8 million, up 24 percent compared to $342 million the previous year. In the International segment, net sales were $156.5 million, up 38 percent compared to $113.1 million previous year.

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