New Affiliation Between TIA and CTA Now in Effect
A new affiliate agreement between the U.S. Toy Industry Association (TIA) and the Canadian Toy Association (CTA) went into effect on July 1. Under the terms of the initial three-year partnership agreement, any TIA member with operations in Canada will be eligible to become a member of the CTA with one membership fee, while current CTA members will pay a single set of dues to access the benefits of CTA and TIA membership.
A representative of each organization will sit on the leadership committee of the other body, and CTA will maintain its Canadian incorporation, mission, and bylaws. Every CTA member is now in the TIA membership database and has unrestricted, members-only access to TIA’s online products and services, including free educational webinars, proprietary reports on market research and industry practices, legislative bulletins on industry issues, and more.
TIA and CTA will now represent the North American toy industry’s interests in advocacy messages to the governments of both nations. Additionally, TIA’s go-to-market events—New York Toy Fair and Fall Toy Preview—will be further enhanced to offer U.S. and Canadian manufacturers and retailers targeted business development opportunities, greater efficiency, and cost-savings.
Questions or comments for CTA may be directed to Danielle Russell, CTA’s senior association manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org, while questions for TIA may be directed to Ken Ebeling, TIA’s vice president of strategic development and member services, at email@example.com.
Toys “R” Us and Hull FC Partner on Match Day and Support Programs
A new partnership launched between Toys “R” Us and Hull Football Club (Hull FC) will see the latter’s family area of the team stadium’s West Stand become known as the Toys “R” Us Family Area, with toy giveaways at every game from both Toys “R” Us’ and Hull FC’s mascots.
Toys “R” Us will also officially partner with the club’s grassroots engagement program, known as Fanbassadors, with special offers for young fans at schools and junior clubs, as well as discount vouchers and toys for Hull FC season pass holders. In addition, Toys “R” Us will be included in the club’s official playing and replica shirts.
The partnership will also see community links forged by the Toys “R” Us store at Kingston Retail Park in Hull, including visits from the players and mascots, as well as support for ongoing community and charity work.
Snap Creative Launches Collectible Toys for Five Summer Blockbusters
Snap Creative will launch five collectible and promotional toy programs at movie theaters worldwide for the summer’s top blockbusters. The launch is rolling out throughout the summer, coinciding with the releases of DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2, Paramount and Hasbro’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Movie-going fans can collect two or three different figures or key chains from each feature, along with reusable cups and popcorn packs. These collectible packages will be available in theater chains worldwide in the U.S., China, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Spain, Vietnam, Thailand, and more.
ShopIndieRetail.com Launches During Independent Retailer Month
ShopIndieRetail.com, an online shopping guide to independent retailers in local communities across the U.S., is officially launching during Independent Retailer Month, a promotional campaign that dedicates July to celebrating and supporting independent retailers.
The new site guides consumers to independent retailers in their community, in categories ranging from fashion to books to furniture. The independent retailers shopping guide also provides photos, business details, and reviews—plus the indie retail inside scoop on deals, events, and must-haves—to consumers.
Independent Retailer Month connects consumers and communities to local independent retailers throughout a range of in-store, online, and community events and promotions reminding them of the benefits of shopping independent.
Safari Ltd. Unveils New Branding and Launches New Website
Safari Ltd. has launched a new website along with a new brand logo. The new website has improved its appearance with a better navigation system and search tools to help consumers find the toys they are shopping for. It also includes a community forum, a blog, and a Safaripedia section, to serve as an additional educational resource.
Study Finds More Than 72 Million Kids Are Interested in Smart Toys
According to a new study, smart toys that integrate physical toys and video games have a high chance for success across most major kids’ game markets, with more than 72 million kids expressing interest in ownership. In its syndicated gaming study, GameByte, market research firm Interpret predicts that strong growth opportunities exist in emerging gaming markets such as China, Brazil, and Russia, where more than 90 percent of gamers ages 6 to 12 are interested in smart toys.
The study also predicts that new entrants such as Nintendo Amiibo and Lego Fusion will provide a boost to the market. Prior to the Amiibo announcement, smart toys based on Nintendo characters were already among the most desired smart toys in the U.S., Europe, and Brazil.
LIMA Launches Multi-Country Consumer Surveys on Favorite Kids’ Brands
Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) has introduced the first in a series of consumer survey reports detailing kids’ favorite brands and characters across various categories in 31 countries worldwide. LIMA has commissioned Kidz Global to produce the reports, which will be released quarterly for the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the UK.
With each report, Kidz Global’s BrandTrends will measure the relative awareness, popularity, and merchandise appeal of the top 30 brands to children. Each report will also identify the most recognizable kid licenses in the country for both boys and girls, as well as by category and in four different age groups from infants to tweens/young teens. Informative key facts will be presented throughout the reports to provide further insight into the survey results.
TIF to Provide Gift of Play to Pediatric Cancer Patients
On July 22, pediatric cancer patients living at the Ronald McDonald House of New York City will be treated to a special toy giveaway and dinner party hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF). For the event, the Toy Bank is seeking donations of toys, games, and crafts in quantities of 50 to 100 pieces for kids of all ages.
Toy manufacturers, distributors, and retailers who would like to contribute product are encouraged to contact TIF program manager Elizabeth Max at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations are needed by Tuesday, July 15.
Nominations Being Accepted for The Strong Museum
The Strong Museum’s National Toy Hall of Fame is taking nominations for favorite classic toys and games to be inducted this summer. Submissions are being accepted through July 31.
Since 1998, 53 classic toys and games have been inducted, including chess and the rubber duck. The submissions are sifted through by an internal museum advisory committee, which is made up of curators, educators, and historians.
The selected toys will be inducted on November 6 at a weekend long celebration at The Strong’s headquarters in Rochester, N.Y.
Dora and Friends: Into the City! Debuts in Primetime this August
Dora and Friends: Into the City! will premiere in primetime on August 18 on Nickelodeon. The half-hour series will regularly air on weekdays during Nickelodeon’s preschool block. The original Dora the Explorer series will continue to air.
Nickelodeon has teamed up with Fisher-Price to expand the Dora franchise with interactive dolls, play sets, and accessories that will hit the market this August. In addition, Nickelodeon has signed more than 130 new licensees across apparel, publishing, home goods, electronics, and specialty categories, with products set to launch this fall into early next year.