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Nominations Open for 2018 TOTY Awards

Nominations are now open for The Toy Association's 2018 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards.
 
Toy companies, inventors, and other industry representatives are invited to submit their toys, games, and licenses for consideration across a total of 17 TOTY categories through September 20. Read more…

Spin Master Acquires Aerobie

Spin Master Corp. acquired certain assets of Aerobie Inc., a producer of outdoor flying discs and sports toys. The acquisition expands Spin Master's presence to the outdoor business segment, building on the 2016 acquisition of Swimways Corp.
 
Swimways will manage Aerobie and will join the Coop family of branded active, outdoor lifestyle products. Since Spin Master's IPO in 2015, the company has acquired seven companies, including Aerobie and the recently announced Marbles acquisition.

Jakks Pacific Launches Jakks Care Package

Jakks Pacific Inc. launched the Jakks Care Package on Amazon.com, a gift for kids created to help them alleviate feelings of homesickness. Originally curated with hospitalized kids in mind, the Jakks Care Package includes items to help kids cope from being away from home such as a road trip, weekend away, summer camp stay, or a slumber party.
 
The Care Package includes Jack, a 12-inch cuddly superhero plush pal that doubles as a pillow; an activity tray specially designed for kids to rest on kids' laps and includes storage space; a cup holder; three dry-erase markers for tabletop doodling fun; a projector flashlight that illuminates onto a wall or ceiling; and a mask and cape.
 
The concept was started when regular summer intern Austin Reynolds challenged the Jakks design team to create the ultimate care package for kids away from home that would provide them comfort, fun, and distractions. For every Jakks Care Package sold, Jakks Cares—the company's philanthropic arm—will donate a toy to a child in need.

WowWee Launches Digiloom

WowWee is launching Digiloom on Aug. 4 exclusively at Michaels stores in the U.S. and Canada.
 
Digiloom is an app-controlled weaving machine that lets kids turn fashion bands into custom bracelets, anklets, headbands, bookmarks, and more. Using the Digiloom app, kids can drag and drop letters, emojis, and icons to create their own unique fashion statements. The product will launch with a starter kit and five theme kits.

Jazwares Launches Wave 2 of Roblox Toys

Jazwares will launch Wave 2 of its Roblox product line this month at retailers across North America. The toys are inspired by the games, characters, and developers in Roblox's user-generated universe. The Wave 2 launch follows Roblox's successful initial product launch and its record-breaking 56 million active monthly players.
 
The next wave of toys will include Mystery Series; core figures including MeepCity Fisherman, Skybound Admiral, Hunted Vampire, and more; Legends of Roblox; Zombie Attack pack; and more. To tie back into the game, each toy comes with a code that can be uploaded to the game for new in-world accessories.
 
Roblox is a social platform that allows users to play together in immersive 3-D worlds. There are more than 29 million user-generated online games each month.

Hasbro Announces Stretch Armstrong Series to Debut on Netflix

Hasbro Inc. is creating a new original series, Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters, from Hasbro Studios to premiere on Netflix. The new teenage superhero animated series will reimagine Hasbro's classic Stretch Armstrong brand into a relatable kids adventure that features diverse characters.
 
Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters follows high school student Jake Armstrong and his two best friends who are accidentally exposed to an experimental chemical that transforms them into unlikely heroes. Originally introduced in 1976, Stretch Armstrong was a well-muscled doll that could stretch from its original size of fifteen inches to four or five feet. There will be 26 episodes available for Netflix members worldwide later this year.

Border Adjustment Tax No Longer Being Considered in Tax Reform

The White House has released a joint statement on tax reform, noting that a border adjustment tax (alternatively called the BAT) would not be included in its tax reform policy, according to the Toy Association.
 
The BAT would have moved the tax system from one based on location of profits, or a company’s headquarters, to one that is based on the location of sales.
 
The new tax reform principles outlined in the statement propose a corporate and pass-through tax rate of 15 percent. Congressional Republican leadership noted that the principles will serve as critical guideposts for tax reform, with the goal of legislation moving through the committee approval process this fall followed by consideration on the House and Senate floors.

Toy State Names ChizComm as Agency of Record

Toy State has recently obtained ChizComm Ltd. as its agency of record as the company expands into a wider range of categories, broadens its portfolio of licenses, and grows its team. The partnership adds to the firm's roster of lifestyle, toys, and children's entertainment clients.
 
Toy State’s key hires during the past year and further planned staff additions, have made it possible to pursue the aggressive growth plan charted by the company ownership and executive leadership. Helping to power this fast-track expansion is the company’s growing global team of toy industry veterans with a broad range of multi-category expertise. The global team will be led by Toy State President Andy Friess, who has seen the company’s global marketing and development staff more than triple during his time at Toy State.

K'NEX Launches Photo Contest

K'NEX launched the Show Us Your #COASTERFACE” Photo Contest, a month long contest where fans can show off their best #COASTERFACE. The contest is based on K’NEX Thrill Ride Building Sets, which was introduced in 1994 and appeals to builders of all ages.
 
Entrants can submit their photos directly through the entry form available on the K’NEX Facebook page, www.facebook.com/knex, or simply by hashtagging their photo #COASTERFACE on Twitter or Instagram. Ten random winners will win a K’NEX Thrill Rides prize pack valued at $234.95. Each prize pack includes a K’NEX Thrill Rides Lunar Launch Roller Coaster Building Set; a K’NEX Thrill Rides Web Weaver Roller Coaster Building Set; a K’NEX Thrill Rides Clock Work Roller Coaster Building Set; a K’NEX Thrill Rides Infinite Journey Roller Coaster Building Set; and a K’NEX Thrill Rides Revolution Ferris Wheel Building Set.
 
The contest will run through August 18.

Slither.io Plush and Collectibles Hit Retail

Bonkers Toys launched Slither.io plush and collectibles at Target and Toys "R" Us stores in the United States, hot on the heels of more than 12 billion game plays in the first half of this year. The line will also arrive at Walmart and other retailers across the country.
 
The expanded toy line—with Slither.io blind bags already available—includes Slither.io Bendable Plush in 8- and 24-inch sizes, 15 styles of Backpack Clips, Mystery 3-Packs of bendable slithers, and Collector Vinyl Figures.

Merge VR Launches Merge Cube at Walmart

Merge's newest product, the Merge Cube, will be available exclusively in Walmart stores across the U.S. beginning this week.
 
The Merge Cube is a holographic toy that allows users to physically hold and interact with 3-D objects using augmented reality (AR) technology. It is compatible with iOS and Android devices and will soon expand into other major retailers.
 
Merge also launched Merge Miniverse, a curated portal to virtual and augmented worlds, allowing users to choose from hundreds of apps and experiences to use with other Merge products, such as the Merge Cube. Apps available on the Miniverse include Mr. Body, a holographic anatomy lesson that gives a close-up view of the vital organs and their functions; Galactic Explorer, an educational game that lets users hold and interact with the solar system; and more.

Jazwares Hires Execs in Licensing, Sales, and Marketing

Jazwares LLC retained several industry veterans to manage its growing presence across the global consumer product industry. The company's presence during its 20th anniversary includes a recent launch of Roblox toys, appointment as master toy licensee for Hey Duggee and Hotel Transilvania, and the acquisition of First Act. All of the new hires will report directly to Laura Zebersky, chief commercial officer. Read more…

Spin Master Reports Q2 2017 Financial Results

Spin Master Corp. reported financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017. Highlights include revenue growth of 54 percent and adjusted EBITDA growth of 72 percent. Read more…

August 3, 2017
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