June 26, 2014


China Toy Expo

Marvel Entertainment Assembles Toy Program for Avengers Sequel

Avengers: Age of UltronMarvel Entertainment has lined up a roster of merchandising partners and retailers that will expand the brand to consumers in anticipation of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Unveiled at last week’s Licensing Show, toy partners include Hasbro, Lego, and Hot Wheels. Huffy is also on-board for wheeled goods.


LeapFrog Unveils New LeapPad 3 and LeapPad Ultra XDi Tablets

LeapPad 3LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. adds to its line of LeapPad tablets with LeapPad 3 and LeapPad Ultra XDi, which offer shatter-safe screens, kid-appropriate web access through LeapSearch, and more.
The 5-inch LeapPad3 tablet includes 4 GB of memory, 2.0 MP front and back cameras and video recorders, and a built-in lithium ion rechargeable battery. The 7-inch LeapPad Ultra XDi is a Wi-Fi tablet that features a high-resolution touch screen, 8 GB of memory, and access to hundreds of downloadable apps. It also includes front and back mega-pixel cameras and video recorders, a rechargeable lithium ion battery, and an on-board MP3 player.
Both tablets provide access to LeapFrog’s Learning Library of more than 1,000 games, apps, eBooks, videos, music, and more, all designed or approved by LeapFrog’s team of gaming and learning experts. In addition, the LeapPad3 and LeapPad Ultra XDi learning tablets have built-in Wi-Fi and LeapSearch powered by Zui.

New Opportunities for Toy Companies at Fall Toy Preview 2014

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has made several changes to its Fall Toy Preview to widen the show’s attendee base and provide added value for members of the global toy industry. According to the TIA, the updates were developed by the Trade Show Committee and were based on feedback received from buyers and sellers who responded to TIA post-show surveys.
As part of the changes, Fall Toy Preview is no longer strictly a “by-appointment-only” event, allowing exhibitors onsite opportunities to do business. The TIA will now offer new booth packages that provide exhibiting companies with both open or combination—closed with an open display area—booths.
In addition, specialty buyers who are ready to show product for the 2015 holiday season and have an interest in previewing are invited to attend. Traditionally, only toy companies that sold product to mass market were allowed to exhibit.
Fall Toy Preview will take place from October 7 to 9.

Mind Candy Launches World of Warriors

Mind Candy has launched a new franchise called World of Warriors, based on a battle strategy game for iOS and Android devices. The game will feature historical warriors that need to fight to survive.
Trading cards, publishing, toys, apparel, and accessories are scheduled for release throughout next year after the launch of the game, and Mind Candy will announce key global partnerships in the coming weeks.

Dedicated Rilakkuma Shop to Launch at FAO Schwarz in October

FAO Schwarz will convert three towers in the Grand Hall of its New York flagship store into a Rilakkuma destination for the month of October. Over the past decade, the Rilakkuma brand and its characters have become a key part of Japanese culture and the essence of the Kawaii lifestyle, which emphasizes cuteness and adorableness.
FAO Schwarz currently carries a variety of plush Rilakkuma product in its flagship store and online at fao.com. To celebrate the brand’s shop-within-a-shop launch in October, FAO Schwarz will expand its product assortment to include Kigurumis, hats, cell phone cases, ear buds, graphic T-shirts, and new plush items.
In 2003, San-X launched Rilakkuma in Japan, and Aliquantum International (AQI) has since brought the brand to North America.

ToyFabb.com Opens Shop with Contest Call to Designers

ToyFabb, the first specialized online market for 3-D printed toys, has launched its English and German site, www.toyfabb.com, with a contest for hobby and professional designers. At ToyFabb, designers are provided with free accounts to present and sell their creations to consumers. ToyFabb offers comprehensive shop functionalities, as well as securely streamed 3-D designs to protect the intellectual property of its users. Consumers can also purchase the 3-D toy designs offered and produce them with their own 3-D printers.
ToyFabb is hosting a contest for hobby designers and professional designers, which will last until September 30. Winners of each ToyFabb category will receive $100. Entrants’ toy files can be sent directly to jochen@toyfabb.com.

Fisher-Price Keeps on Trucking with New Power Wheels

Fisher-Price Power WheelsFisher-Price has teamed up with Ford to unveil new Power Wheels, inspired by the 2015 F-150 truck. The Power Wheels 2015 F-150 debuted at the Further with Ford event in Dearborn, Mich. Its features include a roomy truck bed; working tailgate; chrome wheels and grill; and Monster Traction drive system that allows driving on hard surfaces, wet grass, and bumpy terrain. The Power Wheels 2015 F-150 also has a working FM radio and MP3 jack or microphone.
The full Power Wheels F-150 line includes a girls’ version with purple camo graphics, available nationwide this October; an Extreme Sport model featuring real LED lights and styling inspired by customized Ford trucks, available exclusively at Toys “R” Us in October; and a black-painted version, available nationwide in November. The 2015 F-150 is available for pre-order at powerwheels.com/F150, and will be available exclusively at Wal-Mart this September.

Exclusive SpongeBob SquarePants Plush Available at Macy’s This Holiday Season

SpongeBob SquarePantsSpongeBob SquarePants will serve as Macy’s 2014 Holiday Ambassador, according to Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group and Nickelodeon. Kicking off this November, an exclusive SpongeBob talking plush with sound chip and Patrick and Plankton finger puppets will be available exclusively in more than 600 full line Macy’s stores and at macys.com, as part of the Macy’s collectible plush program that runs through December 31.
The holiday plush has become a Macy’s tradition and a collector’s item. The SpongeBob SquarePants plush features SpongeBob’s laugh, as well as quotes such as, “Did you know you were my best friend?” and “I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.”



CBP Establishes Procedures in the Event of July 1 West Coast Strike
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has released interim procedures to help trade stakeholders develop contingency plans in the event of a possible strike, which would cause major delays in the importing and exporting of vessel cargo.
As reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), if negotiations between the International Longshore Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association extend beyond the July 1 expiration date of the current contract, a shutdown or strike could occur on the west coast, which handles an estimated 45 percent of all U.S. imports. This shutdown would cost the U.S. economy $1 billion per day and impact the toy industry as the pre-holiday shipping season begins.
The TIA encourages members to develop contingency plans for shipments scheduled to arrive through the ports in question, such as diverting cargo through alternate ports in the east coast, Canada, or Mexico.

Sesame Workshop and Ounce Partner for Family Engagement

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, and Ounce of Prevention Fund (Ounce), have partnered for a new parent and child engagement initiative. In collaboration with the National Head Start Association (NHSA), the partnership is set to develop resources for lower income communities to link experiences in the classroom with those at home in support of school readiness.
This program is set to launch early next year with three key components: a mobile platform with tips for parents to connect with children via media offerings such as videos and activities; a social network that will offer parent-to-parent contributions, connections, and encouragements; and a toolkit to help educators reinforce relationships and build connections between parents.

Spin Master to Participate in First Integrated Summer Camp Program

Spin Master has partnered with Youth Venture Marketing LLC and the American Camp Association (ACA) for the first integrated summer camp program. Spin Master products will be integrated into more than 135 camp programs across the U.S. at ACA-accredited camps through August. Campers will have the opportunity to interact with Spin Master brands such as DigiBirds, Ionix, Kinetic Sand, Meccano, Sew Cool, and Wackytivities.

University Games Launches Annual National Young Game Inventors Contest

University Games has invited young game inventors with original board game ideas to participate in the 22nd annual National Young Game Inventors Contest for a chance to have their game manufactured and included in the University Games lineup next year. Additional prizes include a family vacation to San Francisco (including four nights lodging and airfare for up to two adults and one child), a $10,000 savings bond for college, and a complete library of board games from University Games.
Entries are now being accepted for the contest, which is open to kids ages 5 to 12, and sponsored by Toys “R” Us and Scholastic Parent & Child magazine. Complete rules and entry forms can be found at www.nygic.org.
Since the National Young Game Inventors Contest was launched in 1993, it has encouraged thousands of kids to stretch their imaginations and develop board games such as Munch Math, Rapunzel’s Revenge, Rhyme Time, and more.

The Wiggles Return to the U.S. This Fall

Entertainment group The Wiggles will bring its preschool pop back to North America with the Ready, Steady, Wiggle! tour. This fall, the quartet will delight families across the country in support of a new CD and DVD, Apples and Bananas, which will be available August 26, as well as a new season of its hit TV show airing on Sprout in the U.S. and Treehouse in Canada.
A complete list of tour dates and ticket information for the Ready, Steady, Wiggle! tour can be found at www.thewiggles.com.

Making the Most of the Fourth of July

Time is flying, and it’s hard to believe that next weekend is already the Fourth of July. For many families, this means barbecues, friends and family, music, and to top it all off, a spectacular fireworks display. Many Fourth of Julys from my childhood were spent at the beach or someone’s pool, and the days always seemed to last forever—in a good way. While the grown-ups mingled, we kids would embark on a day of adventure—exploring, playing, competing, and forging relationships. Here are some toys to give kids everything they need for a fantastic Fourth of July: Read more…

Imports Dragon Appoints Renée Lochhead to Director, National Accounts

Imports Dragon has added Renée Lochhead as director, national accounts, effective July 2. Lochhead brings a wealth of experience and leadership managing sales in both the U.S. and Canada. Over the course of her career, she was named Toys “R” Us Canada Account Manager of the Year in 2010, as well as the Woman in Toys Sales Person of the Year in 2012.
Lochhead will manage the Imports Dragon sales organization from its office in Toronto, and reporting directly to the company’s president, Stephane Tetrault.

Toys “R” Us Inc. Names Michael J. Short Chief Financial Officer

Toys “R” Us Inc. named Michael J. Short executive vice president and chief financial officer, Toys “R” Us Inc., effective June 23. Short was most recently executive vice president and chief financial officer of AutoNation for seven years. He serves as a member of the company’s global executive committee and report to Antonio Urcelay, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, Toys “R” Us Inc.
Prior to his role at AutoNation, Short was executive vice president and chief financial officer of Universal Orlando, where he served in a variety of finance roles earlier in his career.

Fingerprint Secures Series B Financing from Media and Entertainment Companies

Fingerprint has secured a Series B round, totaling $10.85 million, led by new and existing investors. This funding will fast track new development of games, apps, videos, and e-books for partner networks around the world.
With this investment, Fingerprint will also have access to additional branded properties for its family of networks. By the end of this year, Fingerprint expects to have launched seven new networks with a global footprint that will span the U.S., Canada, SE Asia, Australia, and Europe.

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