American International Toy Fair Transforms NYC into Massive Playground
An estimated 33,000 toy industry insiders from 100 countries gathered at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center for the 110th annual American International Toy Fair, consisting of four days (February 10 to 13) of business-building, networking, and trend-spotting, according to the Toy Industry Association (TIA).
Owned and operated by the TIA, the show attracted importers, buying groups, and trade guests to scope out 150,000 innovative toys, games, and youth entertainment products across a record-breaking 375,000 square feet of exhibit space.
More than 1,000 companies revealed their hottest toys and product lines, including classic and nostalgic playthings, do-it-yourself design, construction toys, arts and creative activities, extreme and outdoor sporting equipment, licensed figures and accessories, virtual and augmented reality games, and more. The Toy Fair playground was divided into 13 specific product zones to keep the experience focused and efficient.
The show kicked off on Sunday with a live performance from the star of the Broadway musical Annie. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, nearly 14,000 registered buyers from 7,650 unique retail outlets swarmed Toy Fair’s aisles in search of the next big thing.
S-K Victory Launches My Fairy Tale Academy Dolls
My Fairy Tale Academy, the new doll line from S-K Victory in which fairy tale princesses and characters converge in a modern-day high school setting, made its debut at the American International Toy Fair this week. Toting the latest cell phones, designer fashions, and hairstyles, teenage versions of favorite princess characters such as Snow White, Rapunzel, Belle, and Sleeping Beauty are re-imagined and re-styled in this original contemporary prequel to the classic tales from the original Junior Elf Children’s Books. The line is spearheaded by industry veteran Ken Price, formerly of Jakks Pacific Inc., and his business partner Scott Coff.
Set in a performing arts high school, these ultra-hip and trendy teenage characters become fast friends long before their princess days, spending their time in music, dance, art, and acting classes together. With guest appearances from classic heroines and villains from hundreds of famous stories, such as The Wicked Witch, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and Red Riding Hood, My Fairy Tale Academy is an edgy twist for the princess loving girl.
The new doll line will also feature a series of webisodes and books that complement each doll’s story. The dolls are set to debut this spring at mass market.
Hape Announces Addition of Kaethe Kruse
Hape Holding AG (Hape) has added Kaethe Kruse Production and Distribution to its platform of children’s products.
This collaboration joins together two German companies with a combined 130 years of experience in the toy business. Kaethe Kruse Kaethe Kruse captured the beauty and innocence of childhood more than 107 years ago, when she started making dolls for her own daughters. The company is recognized by doll enthusiasts for its collectible dolls, play dolls, and soft developmental toys, including its Waldorf dolls and sweet-faced animal towel dolls, among other collectible toys.
Jakks and Lucasfilm Join for Darth Vader Figure and Star Wars Products
Jakks Pacific Inc. has signed an agreement with Lucasfilm to manufacture, distribute, and market a 31-inch Darth Vader figure inspired by the iconic character from the Star Wars universe. The figure has seven points of articulation and includes highly-detailed features and Darth Vader’s signature lightsaber. The figure will be the largest articulated figure of the iconic villain and is expected to be available at major retailers nationwide in the fall.
The licensing agreement also includes rights for additional product categories, including flashlights, play tents, and arcade games.
WBCP Partners with Wonder Forge for Justice League Games
Wonder Forge Inc. has teamed up with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment, for a new lineup of Justice League games, which debuted at the American International Toy Fair. Each table top game will feature favorite DC Comics characters such as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and The Flash, and is designed for kids ages 8 and up.
Among the offerings will be the Justice League Axis of Villains Strategy Game. The most dangerous villains in the universe have combined forces to attack the Justice League satellite. Play as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, or The Flash, and team up to defeat them in the powered-up strategy game. The Justice League Face-Off Dice Game is a push-your-luck dice game of bluffing and battling that allows kids to play hero or villain. Players roll the special hero/villain dice in the sculpted dice cup that features both Batman and The Joker. Players push their luck as they bluff their opponents with villains or keep rolling to try for more hero points.
Cuddle Barn and Giordano Studios Introduce Petigree Shoppe
Cuddle Barn has partnered with Giordano Studios on their collection of characters, Petigree Shoppe. The agreement includes the exclusive rights for the manufacture of basic and animated plush, and designates the collections for worldwide distribution.
The initial Petigree collection will feature five core characters, including Sparky the Dalmatian, Felicia the kitty, Waddles the penguin, Cubby the bear, Coco the monkey, and Essie the poodle—all available in a variety for all occasions.
The Petigree Shoppe Collection will be released in July to retailers across the U.S.
The Collective Taps Play Visions for Line of Novelty Products
The Collective has partnered with Play Visions to produce new lines of stickers and temporary tattoos inspired by Annoying Orange. The deals were brokered on behalf of The Collective by The Joester Loria Group (TJLG), the licensing agent for the Annoying Orange brand in North America.
Play Visions has developed several new products that will debut at retail this year, including Annoying Orange talking pens that feature a variety of phrases from the hit series and Annoying Orange temporary tattoos. Each package of tattoos contains multiple fan favorite character images that can be easily applied and removed. Play Visions has also created 3-D lenticular stickers decorated with Annoying Orange characters and sayings.
Silver Dolphin Enters into Play-Doh and Crayola Licensing Deals
Silver Dolphin Books and Hasbro Inc. have entered into a multi-year North American/Latin American licensing agreement to manufacture and market a variety of educationally-based activity books using Hasbro’s Play-Doh brand.
The first books under this license agreement—three Play-Doh Concept Learning Books, two novelty board books, and one jumbo sticker book—will land in stores nationwide in March. Book-Plus Kits will arrive in stores in the fall.
Over the next several years, Silver Dolphin will publish a variety of books that incorporate Play-Doh products. Items to be produced include board books, sticker and activity books, electronic sound books, and novelty books with Play-Doh compound.
Silver Dolphin Books has also entered into an agreement with Crayola for a multi-year North American/Latin American licensing partnership. Silver Dolphin’s Crayola-branded books will be packed with engaging activities that use Crayola products to provide a fun, educational experience that encourages children to be creative and imaginative.
Silver Dolphin’s Crayola books will be available beginning in the fall, with three titles in the Color Workshop series. Additional books will be published in the fall, including two in the Artist Studio series. All of these activity books will be packaged with Crayola products.
ZeptoLab Unveils Expanded Cut the Rope Licensing Program
ZeptoLab, the entertainment and gaming company behind Cut the Rope, has announced new licensing agreements for toys, plush, and novelty products that will make their way to store shelves in the spring and summer.
ZeptoLab debuted Om Nom: Candy Flick, a new augmented reality game that allows fans to interact with Cut the Rope’s candy-chomping star Om Nom, at this week’s American International Toy Fair. Om Nom: Candy Flick, available on Apple’s App Store, is unlocked via a special tag that can be found on a variety of Om Nom plush toys from toy partner Round 5. Once downloaded, fans can bring Om Nom to life by positioning their smartphone or tablet’s camera on the tags and watch as he virtually pops out of the tag ready to devour his favorite treat.
Round 5 will be introducing the newest versions of Om Nom through a variety of plush, buildable play sets, and collectible micro figures that will be available at Toys “R” Us stores in the U.S. and Canada in March. The plush toys will all be equipped with augmented reality tags. There will also be a variety of mini plush.
Om Nom’s Playground, a line of customizable building sets, will also be introduced. With each set, players can build an obstacle course to roll candy toward Om Nom’s mouth. In addition, Nommies, collectible micro figures, will be offered with three-pack blind bags that also include an exclusive digital Cut the Rope level.
Additional licensees to roll out with Cut the Rope toy products for spring and summer include Mega Brands puzzles with a new line featuring Augmented Reality content; Toy Galaxy’s novelty line of toy, game, and activity products; Sakar’s range of branded ear buds, headphones, cases, and consumer electronics; and Kellytoy with amusement and plush crane toys.
Toon Goggles Signs with Aurora for First North American Toy Promotion
Toon Goggles has partnered with Aurora World Inc. for a promotional toy campaign featuring Aurora’s YooHoo & Friends brand. As part of the agreement, 52 episodes of Aurora’s YooHoo & Friends cartoon will join Toon Goggles’ library of content beginning in March. In conjunction, Aurora will include specially designed hangtags on its YooHoo & Friends plush animal line. Each tag includes details on the YooHoo character and a special promotional code that can be redeemed for months of free, extended access to the toongoogles.com library.
Atlantyca Entertainment Signs Deal with Merrymakers Inc. for Geronimo Stilton Classic
Atlantyca Entertainment, an Italian trans-media entertainment company, has secured a licensing agreement with California-based specialty plush and merchandise manufacturer MerryMakers Inc. to create a line of plush dolls and toys featuring the Geronimo Stilton book series brand for North America. The deal was completed by Atlantyca’s North American licensing agent and Geronimo Stilton production partner Moonscoop.
Beginning this fall, MerryMakers will create a plush line featuring dolls, finger puppets, tins, pencil cases, pencil toppers, wallets, key fobs, and plush backpack clips for sale in bookstores and specialty gift and toy shops.
Launched in 2000 by Italian publisher Edizioni Piemme, Geronimo Stilton is a famous Mouse author turned newspaper editor who writes amusing adventures steeped in suspense and values.
So So Happy Signs with Rubie’s for Costumes, Role Play
Art Impressions, owner of the lifestyle brand So So Happy, has teamed up with Rubie’s Costume Company Inc., a worldwide supplier of licensed Halloween costumes and accessories.
The So So Happy collection, slated for release this fall, includes a range of costumes and role-play outfits inspired by the brand’s characters. Among the role-play accessories are brightly colored mix-and-match leggings, tutus, and headpieces.
Kosmos Becomes Principal Shareholder in Thames & Kosmos
Thames & Kosmos has completed a new investment from its primary partner company, Germany-based Kosmos International GmbH. The deal will boost Thames & Kosmos marketing, product development, and logistical resources, while the 191-year-old publishing house Kosmos becomes the principal shareholder in 12-year-old Thames & Kosmos. Kosmos also acquired a producer of educational software games called USM, an app publisher with many educational games.
Thames & Kosmos launched 20 new science kits at the American International Toy Fair this week. The 2013 lineup includes kits for building a hovercraft, telescopes and microscopes, and solar-powered vehicles; a scientific magic set; chemistry, physics, and biology kits for younger kids; two circuit-building kits; two crystal growing sets; and experiment kits about electrochemistry, rocketry, and solar thermal power.
Lego Friends Takes Top Honors at Toy of the Year Awards
Toy executives and guests from around the world gathered in New York City to honor the year’s top toys and industry icons at the 13th annual Toy of the Year Awards ceremony. The event kicked off the 110th American International Toy Fair. The overall “Toy of the Year” award was presented to Lego Friends, from Lego, while LeapPad2, from LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., received the “People’s Choice” award.
Awards were given in 12 categories. Here is the complete list of winners:
—The “Activity Toy of the Year” award was presented to Lego Friends, from Lego.
—The “Boy Toy of the Year” was presented to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shellraiser, from Playmates Toys, while the “Girl Toy of the Year” was presented to Lego Friends, from Lego.
—The “e-Connected Toy of the Year” was presented to Skylanders Giants, from Activision Publishing Inc.
—The “Educational Toy of the Year” was presented to LeapPad2, from LeapFrog Enterprises Inc.
—The “Game of the Year” was presented to Perplexus Epic, from PlaSmart Inc.
—The “Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year” was presented to Tranquil Turtle, from Cloud b, while the “Preschool Toy of the Year” was presented to Doc McStuffins Time For Your Check-Up Doll, from Just Play.
—The “Innovative Toy of the Year” was presented to Digital Light Designer, from Crayola.
—The “Outdoor Toy of the Year” was presented to The Original Big Wheel, from Kids Only Inc., a division of Jakks Pacific Inc.
—The “Property of the Year” was presented to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, from Nickelodeon.
—The “Specialty Toy of the Year” was presented to Lego Architecture, from Lego.