LeapFrog to Launch the LeapPad Ultra
LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. has announced the launch of the LeapPad Ultra, a new kids’ learning tablet. The LeapPad Ultra is kid-tough and works with LeapFrog’s library of more than 800 content experiences designed or approved by LeapFrog’s learning experts. LeapPad Ultra is kid-ready right out of the box with LeapSearch by Zui, a proprietary kid-safe web browser. Unique to LeapPad Ultra, the 7-inch Duo Tech high-resolution screen is designed to help children learn to write using a stylus, while supporting interactive touch experiences. Additionally, LeapPad Ultra features a sleek new look, a rechargeable battery, front and back cameras and video recorders, and 8 GB of storage for photos, apps, videos, and more. Read more about the LeapPad Ultra here.
Entertainment One Family Adds Peppa Pig Licensing Agreements
Entertainment One Family (eOne Family) has expanded the Peppa Pig brand in the U.S. with the addition of five new licensing agreements, as well as several line extensions in the toy, book, and DVD categories.
The new licensing deals will mark the brand’s U.S. debut in several key categories: games and puzzles, backpacks and lunch kits, health, beauty and accessories, novelty gear, and magazine publishing. The new items will complement the existing assortment of Peppa Pig products currently available, including toys by Fisher-Price, books by Scholastic and Candlewick Press, DVDs by Entertainment One, and mobile apps by P2 Games.
New Peppa Pig licensing deals include TCG for memory games, jigsaw puzzles, and Magnetic Creations; Fast Forward for backpacks and lunch kits; Added Extras for a line of hair accessories, bath and hair products, lip balm, and costume jewelry; Underground Toys for an assortment of collectibles; and Redan Publishing for an interactive magazine.
Toy State and Mattel Partner for Hot Wheels Brand
Mattel’s Hot Wheels has entered a new licensing partnership with Toy State, a manufacturer of licensed and highly stylized lights and sound toy vehicles. The agreement kicks off this year and runs through 2016.
Toy State will develop high-octane custom versions of Hot Wheels’ R/C and lights and sound toys under the new agreement. Products are scheduled to be on shelves beginning next year. Toy State’s core portfolio, which includes Road Rippers and Gear Heads, as well as Cat, Cat Preschool, DUB Garage, and James Bond 007, will now expand to include the iconic Mattel brand.
The partnership will apply to Hot Wheels-branded products sold in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and throughout the Asia Pacific region. Toy State vehicles are available domestically and internationally, wherever toys are sold, including Walmart, Toys “R” Us, Target, Kmart, and Amazon.com.
Pretty Ugly Creates Universal Monsters Uglydolls
Pretty Ugly LLC has partnered with Universal Partnerships & Licensing to develop an all-new series of Uglydoll plush dolls based on the Universal Monsters. The Universal Monsters series of dolls will debut at retail this Halloween season.
Gund, a division of Enesco, will offer these co-branded characters, including
Wedgehead as Frankenstein, Ice-Bat as Dracula, Ox as Wolfman, Tray as Bride of Frankenstein, Big Toe as Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Babo as Mummy.
The first series of plush dolls will launch this fall and will be available at retailers nationwide.
Jakks Pacific Signs Motocross Star Ryan Dungey for Action Figures
Jakks Pacific Inc. has signed motocross star Ryan Dungey to its growing roster of top motocross athletes in its MXS toy line. Dungey is an accomplished rider who has represented the U.S. in the Motocross of Nations race and was the Transworld Motocross Rider of the Year last year. Under the licensing agreement, Jakks plans to create action figures and accessories based on Dungey, which are scheduled to be available at retailers nationwide in November.
Jakks’ MXS toy line is a brand of motocross toys, delivering the top riders, authentic motocross bikes, and the biggest names in motocross apparel and motorcycle manufacturers. Jakks’ MXS product line includes miniature performance bikes with real sound effects, fully articulated rider figures with removable helmets and accessories, stunt bikes that capture the best stunts in the sport, customizable collectible bikes, and R/C bikes. The deal between Jakks and Dungey was brokered by IMG.
Match.com Hosts Game Nights
Match.com is kicking off a 25 market Stir Game Night series by partnering with seven board game manufacturers to provide singles with a combination of icebreakers and party games that are less about strategy and competition and more about laughing and having fun together. Whether it's a game of Last Word, Bananagrams, or Spontuneous, players just may “win” someone’s heart.
These live events will take place at bars and restaurants in select cities throughout the summer and fall. Game tables will be set up in advance and will include easy-to-read game instruction cards, so singles won't have to fumble around with lengthy, confusing directions. At the Game Night Mashups, Match.com facilitators will lead singles through the games. Players will rotate from table to table between rounds, giving everyone a chance to mix and mingle while they play up to seven different games. At Game Night Happy Hours, singles will be provided with a selection of games to play on their own as icebreakers, while connecting with other singles.
Participating games include Bananagrams and Zip-It, from Bananagrams; Last Word, Likewise!, Chronology, and Gotcha!, from Buffalo Games; Spot It!, from Blue Orange Games; Spontuneous, from Spontuneous Games; Open Up, from Wiggity Bang Games; and Touchy Feely, Splickety Lit, and Mind Your Marbles, from Marbles the Brain Store.
Match.com members can look out for a Stir game night happening in their city.
Pressman Toy Introduces Games and Puzzles Based on The Smurfs 2
In anticipation of this summer’s Columbia Pictures’/Sony Pictures Animation’s 3-D release The Smurfs 2, in theaters July 31, Pressman Toy Corp. offers a line of games and puzzles based on the movie. Pressman Toy’s games and puzzles are available for purchase at mass and specialty retailers nationwide.
The line includes a range of action and board games as well as floor size puzzles and puzzles in tins. Items include Smurfette Pal Size Puzzle, Smurfs to the Rescue Game, Smurfs Whirl & Twirl Game, and Smurfs Pop ’n Race Game.
K’nex Announces New Additions to Tinkertoy Building Set Line
K’nex Brands has unveiled four additions to its line of Tinkertoy building sets. Licensed by Hasbro and Playskool, the newly redesigned Tinkertoy pieces snap together and stay together for long-lasting play. The toy is also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Additions include Tinkertoy: 65 Piece Essentials Building Set and the Tinkertoy 100 Piece Essential Building Set, featuring fan-favorite Tinkertoy parts, including spools, rods, flags, washers, end caps, and more. The Tinkertoy: Super Tink Building Set lets little builders create a skyscraper, fighter jet, getaway car, or imagine his or her own creation. The Tinkertoy: Big Top Set lets kids build a tent, animals, trapeze artists and more to recreate a day at the circus. The Tinkertoy: Pink Building Set lets kids create a castle, flower, cat, and more using the included guide of building ideas or their own ideas.
The new Tinkertoy building sets will be available on knex.com and at toy retailers nationwide.
The Strong and Toy Industry Association Form Hall of Fame Partnership
The Strong and the Toy Industry Association (TIA) have entered a partnership to house TIA’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame alongside The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, N.Y.
The two halls of fame—one recognizing classic toys and the other recognizing the individuals who designed, made, and sold them—will share a cutting-edge, $4 million state-of-the-art museum installation, 75 percent of which will be funded by TIA and the toy industry. The two halls and their high-tech housing is expected to draw regional and national attention as America’s most beloved toys are recognized together with toy industry luminaries, such as Walt Disney, George Lucas, and F.A.O. Schwarz, along with the founders of Hasbro, Lego, Mattel, and Radio Flyer.
By the fall of 2015, The Strong’s existing 5,000-square-foot National Toy Hall of Fame gallery will be fully transformed and renovated to accommodate the new halls. Positioned alongside a dramatic, winding staircase and within a caterpillar-shaped atrium, the new gallery will feature a programmable 100-foot-long by 20-foot-high LED theatrical screen visible from the street through a circular glass wall. The giant screen will blend stop-motion animated effects, pulsating color, and sound to highlight messages about toys, invention, and play. These dramatic, ever-changing displays will serve as a visual magnet for both guests in the gallery and passersby in downtown Rochester.
Additional gallery components will include a second, smaller LED theatrical screen, an orientation theater, and five highly interactive, artifact-rich play environments that feature distinct modes of play—imagine, create, build, move, and compete. Inductees will be recognized on individual etched glass panels mounted on two dramatically lit, 14-foot-high curvilinear glass walls. Artifacts, documents, touch-screen interactivity, and physical play will position the inductees of both halls in the broad cultural context of play and its impact on the social history of everyday life.