April 10, 2014

China Toy Fair

CPSC Now Accepting Comments on Third Party Testing Costs

Last Thursday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) hosted a day-long public workshop to gather technical information and evidence that could help to reduce third party testing costs for manufacturers of toys and children’s products sold in the U.S.
Held at the CPSC’s National Product Testing and Evaluation Center in Rockville, Md., the workshop featured presentations of technical data by representatives of industry, consumer groups, and academic institutions. Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs for the Toy Industry Association (TIA), and Rebecca Mond, TIA director of federal government affairs, were both on-hand on behalf of the toy industry.
The technical data will assist the CPSC in determining which material types do not contain any of the six banned phthalates, lead, and/or heavy metals listed in the ASTM F963 Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, and therefore do not need to be routinely tested.
CPSC is currently accepting written comments on the workshop topics. The deadline to submit comments is April 17. More information and submission guidelines can be found in the Federal Register Notice at the CPSC’s homepage.
Companies that would like to have their comments included in the TIA’s submission are encouraged to email them to Rebecca Mond at rmond@toyassociation.org by April 14.

Messe Frankfurt and GDTA Partner to Organize Guangzhou Trade Shows

Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd. and the Guangdong Toy Association (GDTA) have signed a letter of intent to join forces to organize the Guangzhou International Toy and Hobby Fair and the Guangzhou International Stroller and Baby Product Fair starting next year.
The GDTA acts as an industry voice that communicates and coordinates with the Chinese government for industry research and survey projects. It also organizes the Guangzhou International Toy and Hobby Fair.
Trade show organizer Messe Frankfurt is responsible for the events Ambiente, Christmasworld, and Paperworld. It has exhibition and collaboration experience with different industry associations and governmental bodies in greater China.

Playmobil TV Series in the Works

Super 4PGS Entertainment has secured broadcast deals in Italy and Latin America for the new animated series Super 4. Inspired by Playmobil’s universe, Super 4 is a CGI comedy-adventure that marks the first time the children’s brand has come to TV.
Super 4 is produced by Method Animation and morgen studios, with France Télévisions as the commissioning broadcaster. PGS represents the series in all territories.

Rubie’s Introduces Captain America: The Winter Soldier Costume Collection

Rubies Captain AmericaRubie’s Costume Co. will offer costumes, masks, and accessories inspired by Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The costume collection will be available in children, tween, and adult sizes, and includes Captain America, Black Widow, and the Winter Soldier. It will be available from Rubie’s for this Halloween season.







PlayCon 2014 Agenda Includes Speakers from The NPD Group, Google/YouTube, and More

PlayCon, the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) International Conference of Play Professions, will explore a number of educational topics related to the toy industry. The conference will take place May 7 to 9 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The May 8 program includes a keynote address delivered by Doug Van Andel, executive creative director at global ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi; a case study presented by Michael Moynihan, vice president of marketing at Lego Systems Inc.; a two-part session by The NPD Group focused on the latest sales data; a presentation entitled “The Broader World of Play,” from Katie Rottier, head of U.S. industry, sports & toys, at Google/YouTube; and more.
The May 9 program includes a presentation by Euromonitor International’s Utku Tansel, head of toys and games research; Tom McGrath, consultant and former general manager at Hasbro, who will present his predictions for the next hit properties; and more.
Hotel reservations can be made online or by calling Starwood Central Reservations at (800) 354-5892. The code, “PlayCon 2014,” can be used to receive the group rate of $219, although the cut-off date to reserve at the discounted rate is April 14.

Hasbro Is Bringing Down the House Rules for Monopoly

From March 25 to April 3, fans worldwide weighed the pros and cons of their favorite Monopoly house rules on the Monopoly Facebook page. This past Friday, Hasbro announced the top five house rules, which will be featured in future Monopoly games.
The top house rules include: Free Parking, Fast Cash, in which all taxes and fees are collected in the middle of the game board, and if a player lands on Free Parking, they collect it; Dash for the Cash, in which players who land on Go! get to double their salary; the Frozen Assets Rule, wherein any player in jail cannot collect any rent money from other players; and more.
Fans will find the top five house rules in the Monopoly: House Rules edition game, available in select markets this fall. The chosen rules will also be included in the Monopoly game guide beginning next year.

Super Smash Bros. Returns for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U

Super Smash Bros.Nintendo has released new details about its upcoming Super Smash Bros. video games for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U systems, available this summer and winter, respectively. Both versions will feature classic characters from previous Super Smash Bros. games with new powers and abilities. Each version will also offer online multiplayer game play, so players with broadband Internet access can battle it out with anyone who is online and has the game.
The 3DS version will have an exclusive “Smash Run” mode, in which four players have five minutes to enter a dungeon and explore the surroundings, fight enemies, and obtain power-ups. Once time is up, all four fighters enter a battle arena with their newly equipped items.

Geocache Becomes First-Ever Fan-Voted Scrabble Word

The word “geocache” beat out 15 other nominees in last month’s Scrabble Word Showdown, and as a result, will be included in the fifth edition of Merriam-Webster’s Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, scheduled for release this August. This marks the dictionary’s first major update in nearly a decade, and the first time it has ever included a word voted on by fans.
Nominated by fans following a national call-for-entries on the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page in March, “geocache” is a verb meaning “to seek items by means of a GPS device as part of a game.” It faced 15 other popular choices in an online showdown from April 2 to 10, besting such fan favorites as “bitcoin,” “cosplay,” and “ew.”
Geocache will be an eligible word right in time for National Scrabble Day on April 13. It will also be playable in the upcoming National School Scrabble Championship in April and the National Scrabble Tournament in August.

Child’s Play Communications Creates CPC Tech

Child’s Play Communications (CPC) has launched CPC Tech, a new division devoted exclusively to creating awareness of and demand for family-friendly technology products. CPC Tech will be responsible for promoting products ranging from apps and tablets to technology-driven toys.
Recent clients include multiple Peppa Pig apps and littleBits, a system of electronic modules that snap together with magnets to create circuits. “We’ve been handling so many child- and parent-focused tech products recently, we've decided to launch a group entirely devoted to that category,” says company president Stephanie Azzarone.

Vintage Snoopy Astronaut Doll Sells at Auction for $1,300

Snoopy AstronautOn Tuesday, a Snoopy Astronaut doll was auctioned for $1,300 ($1,625 including premium) at Bonhams in New York City. Made out of plastic and textile, the 10-inch doll features the Peanuts comic strip character in a space suit and helmet. Determined Distributions of San Francisco produced it in China for United Feature Syndicate in 1969.
The lot included the original red and blue distribution and display box, and the doll helmet back is inscribed and signed, “Snoopy LM-4, Gene Cernan, Apollo X LMP.” The Apollo X crew named their lunar module Snoopy, partly to bring greater recognition to NASA’s Manned Flight Awareness program.

Prepare for Upcoming Summer Blockbusters with These Toys

The beach, barbecues, and time off from school are some of the most beloved parts of summer vacation. However, we can’t forget about summer blockbusters. While we are still getting over winter weather here in New York City, I can’t help but get into the summer mood hearing all about the movies that are fast approaching. And to make it even better, this summer’s movies have inspired some awesome products. I was happily surprised to see some versatile items that both kids and adults can enjoy, and have compiled some of my favorites below: Read more…

Now Every Kid Can Be Captain America

This weekend, everyone’s favorite re-animated World War II super-soldier returns in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, from Marvel Studios. Having seen a preview of the movie, I won’t give too much away, but suffice it to say, it’s a good time, precisely because the captain faces conflicts that aren’t just fisticuffs. At a certain point, both he—and the other Marvel Comics-based heroes who appear—must decide whether to turn on their own government. Admittedly, it’s not that difficult a choice, since saying “no” means a terrorist organization descended from the Nazis gets the power to kill millions with the push of a button. But a moral quandary is, nevertheless, a moral quandary, and gives the movie a kind of complexity that isn’t always found in summer blockbusters. Read more…

Saban Brands Names Leila Ouledcheikh New Vice President of Distribution

Saban Brands has appointed Leila Ouledcheikh as vice president of distribution EMEA. Ouledcheikh will lead international television distribution for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa from Saban Brands’ London office. She will work in close collaboration with Frederic Soulie, senior vice president of global distribution, to support expansion of the company’s television properties worldwide.
Ouledcheikh began her career at HIT Entertainment, where she looked after the sales of the biggest preschool brands, including Bob the Builder, Barney, and Thomas the Tank Engine.

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