Disguise Inc., the Halloween costume division of Jakks Pacific Inc., has secured a licensing agreement with Moose Toys to create costumes and dress-up based on its collectible franchise, Shopkins. The news follows yesterday’s announcement that Disguise had secured a similar agreement with the LEGO Group.
A private equity firm, Aterian Investment Partners, announced today that one of its affiliates has acquired Backyard Discovery, a designer, manufacturer, distributor, and installer of play sets in North America. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Pittsburg, Kan., Aterian designs and manufactures swing sets, playhouses, patio products, and more under brands such as Backyard Adventures and Leisure Time Products.
Hasbro Inc. has completed the previously announced sale of its manufacturing locations in East Longmeadow, Mass., and Waterford, Ireland, to the Cartamundi Group. The specific terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Women in Toys (WIT) has gathered business executives, celebrities, government officials, and more for the panel slate of its upcoming WIT Empowerment Day. Scheduled to take place on October 5 at the Dallas Market Center, WIT Empowerment Day will provide opportunities to meet with panelists, as well as more than a dozen hand-selected expert industry mentors, who can offer advice on how to grow businesses and get concepts to market. The event is free to WIT members.
Disguise Inc., the Halloween costume division of Jakks Pacific Inc., has secured a licensing agreement with the LEGO Group for children’s Halloween costumes, role play, and accessories based on popular LEGO characters. The multi-year, multi-category agreement grants Disguise rights to distribute its LEGO licensed products across North America, Europe, Korea, and China.
Mattel and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) have teamed up to let fans create their own action with two new products: WWE Create a Superstar and WWE Create a Ring. Now fans can build their own or recreate a famous match-up (for example, one from WWE’s recent SummerSlam) utilizing their WWE Superstar and whatever ring configuration they desire.
Today, Disney Interactive launches Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition, bringing Disney together with Star Wars, Disney•Pixar, and Marvel for a new gaming experience. Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition features an updated and improved Toy Box mode where families can mix and match some of their favorite Star Wars, Disney, Disney•Pixar, and Marvel characters and play with them together.
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) will kick off its 100th anniversary celebrations on September 17 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Toy Halls of Fame Exhibit at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. The event will honor contributors to the toy industry’s evolution and success, including a number of TIA members.
Daron Worldwide Trading Inc. and Toys and Models Corp., both headquartered in N.J., will combine business activities as of September 1. The two companies are both involved in the manufacture and distribution of model airplanes. As of September 1, their operations will be based out of Daron’s headquarters located in Fairfield, N.J.
As ITV Studios Global Entertainment continues to build upon the international reach of its new boys’ property Thunderbirds Are Go, the firm has shared details of the brand’s success so far in Australia and New Zealand.
Judy Basis passed away Saturday, August 22, 2015. She battled cancer for more than 30 years.
Diane Nelson will add the oversight of Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) to her current responsibilities as president, DC Entertainment (DCE), and president and chief content officer, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE). The announcement was made today by Kevin Tsujihara, the chairman and CEO of Warner Bros.
This past week, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI), along with Hasbro Inc., announced the pre-sale of Playmation Marvel’s Avengers at select Canadian retailers. A new system of toys and wearables, Playmation Marvel’s Avengers utilizes smart technology to inspire kids to run around and use their imaginations, as they become the heroes or heroines of stories from Marvel’s Avengers.
Hasbro has teamed up with the crowdfunding website Indiegogo to find the next hit face-to-face party game, which the toymaker can help cultivate and bring to market. The toymaker is calling on game designers nationwide to share ideas for a new party game at www.nextgreatgamechallenge.com.
Walmart has released its Chosen by Kids list, which features the top toys of the year as chosen by 1,000 kids. The retailer asked them to choose their favorite toys from among the newest items by Hasbro, Mattel, Spin Master, and Zing. For consumers’ convenience during this upcoming shopping season, the list is organized by gender and age, as well as by the categories Future Foodies, Veterinarians in Training, Dreaming Design Stars, and Adventure-Seekers in the Making.
Today, American Girl is debuting its latest BeForever character, Maryellen Larkin. An 18-inch doll with strawberry-blonde hair and hazel eyes, Maryellen comes with historically accurate 1950s doll outfits, including a poodle skirt and saddle shoes. American Girl is releasing numerous accessories to go with the doll, including a 30-piece diner set, a TV console that works with an iPad, and a jukebox that plays ’50s-style songs and connects to electronic music players.
Dolls are getting more diverse all the time, and that diversity extends beyond ethnicity. Peek online or at your local toy store, and you’ll see that the doll aisle offers a wider variety than ever before, including boy dolls, ones featuring characters with interests in science and computers, and models depicting disabilities. Truly, we are living in a Golden Age of doll play, given how many niches are represented. And that’s leading to something pretty interesting: that the different niches themselves are starting to blur together.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will bring forward its holiday layaway program by two weeks, in what has been viewed as a move to get ahead of year-end demand for toys, and to generate sales of upcoming Star Wars toys. As reported by Reuters, Anne Marie Kehoe, the vice president of toys for Wal-Mart, said in a briefing that shoppers can utilize the program starting August 28, two weeks earlier than last year.
With this month marking the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Toys “R” Us is once again partnering with Save the Children to promote disaster preparedness and offer customers an opportunity to help families across the country in times of crisis. Toys “R” Us stores nationwide are offering an exclusive reusable tote bag featuring a young child’s artwork, from which $1 from the purchase of each bag benefits Save the Children’s Domestic Emergency Fund, which provides a safe environment for children and families when disasters strike.
Imperial Toy will sponsor a campus-wide water balloon battle at the University of Kentucky, hosted by the school’s Christian Student Fellowship (CSF). The toymaker will provide 350,000 of its Kaos water balloons, and the university is anticipating 15,000 people to attend.
This article first appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of The Toy Book.
Doll collecting may be as old as the industry itself, but the newest generation of collectors is armed with video cameras, vlogs, and thousands of YouTube subscribers. They call themselves doll hunters.
New Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys will be unveiled through a live unboxing event broadcast on YouTube. The event will see highlights from a range of merchandise, and is scheduled to unfold over a span of 18 hours in 15 cities across 12 countries worldwide.
The Queen’s Treasures has released details on its upcoming line based on the literary and entertainment property, Little House on the Prairie. Available next month, the Little House on the Prairie 18” Doll Collection will include accessories, play sets, and more for 18-inch dolls.
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) Executive Committee and Board have announced that Fall Toy Preview will stay in Dallas through 2018. The event is scheduled to take place on the following dates: September 27 to 29, 2016; September 26 to 28, 2017; and September 25 to 27, 2018.
Entertainment One Licensing (eOne) will be hosting Peppa Pig storytelling sessions at the Children’s Bath Literary Festival in the UK on October 3, in partnership with eOne’s master publishing partner, Ladybird Books. There will be costume character meet and greets, as well as narration of the Ladybird book, The Big Tale of Little Peppa, to coincide with the licensor’s digital marketing activity for the brand’s Imagine with Peppa theme.
The Bananagrams Challenge, the first official U.S. Bananagrams school tournament, is open for registration to elementary schools throughout Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The free-to-enter challenge is intended to help boost vocabulary and spelling skills in classrooms and after-school programs.
Flipsies, a new line from VTech combining traditional role play with collectible dolls, accessories, and VTech’s proprietary MagicPoint interactive technology, is now available everywhere. Flipsies offers a variety of ways to play and has eight introductory themes that encourage girls to be anything they want to be, whether it’s a doctor, a marine biologist, a teacher, a baker, a rock star, a veterinarian, a fashion designer, or a princess.
For the first time, LeapFrog is offering its learning content on a tablet made specifically for sale in the consumer electronics section of stores. The LeapFrog Epic, from LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., tablet adapts as a child grows, delivering access to personalized learning experiences that auto-level with a child’s progress.
Zing has launched Stikbot, which features a poseable figure with suction cup hands and feet that adhere to almost any flat surface. A free mobile app available on iOS and Android, StikBot Studio, allows users to snap individual photos and stitch them together into a stop-motion film.
A version of this commentary first appeared in the July/August issue of The Toy Book.
Game nights are a terrific way to unwind, and the one hosted by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) during its Marketplace & Academy in Charlotte, N.C., this past June was no exception.
K’NEX Brands launched Brave & Beautiful, a video marketing campaign that coincides with their new Mighty Makers line that encourages and inspires girls to build big ideas and dream even bigger. The Mighty Makers line, which was introduced earlier this year, features STEM-themed engineering toys designed to empower girls through creative, story-based building sets.
In recent days, the toy industry has been abuzz with the news that Target will remove gender labels from its in-store marketing. That means for the retailer’s toy department, there will no longer be signage referring to certain toys as being girls’ and others as boys’, nor shelves swathed in pink or blue paper, which traditionally have had gender-specific connotations (pink for girls, blue for boys).
When the clock strikes 12:01 a.m. on September 4, all Toys “R” Us stores in the U.S. will open their doors, giving customers the opportunity to purchase hundreds of new Star Wars playthings, including a wide variety of merchandise not available anywhere else.
There’s the old saying, “Go big or stay home.” Well, at the recent Sweet Suite event that was part of this year’s Blogger Bash, a lot of toy companies gathered in New York City to show off their wares, and many of them brought big toys. And by big, I mean that if placed side-by-side the average action figure, doll, ride-on, etc., these toys easily dwarfed the competition.
Today, Spin Master Corp. announced that in connection with its recently completed initial public offering (IPO) of 12,225,000 subordinate voting shares at a price of C$18.00 per share, the over-allotment option granted to the underwriters to purchase up to an additional 1,833,750 subordinate voting shares was exercised in full, generating additional gross proceeds to Spin [...]
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) will be hosting a webinar on advertising spending trends in the toys and games category entitled, “Ad Spending: What Companies Should Know about Competition in the Toy Marketplace.” It will be held tomorrow from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET.
Earlier this month, the president and CEO of the Toy Industry Association (TIA), Steve Pasierb, visited U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) headquarters in Bethesda, Md., to discuss issues affecting the toy industry. According to the TIA, Pasierb and TIA staff met individually with Chairman Elliot Kaye and each of the agency’s four commissioners—Robert Adler, [...]
August 7, 2015 By Guest Blogger
by Scarlett Wisotzki, editor-in-chief, das spielzeug On June 1, Peter Handstein, the CEO of Hape, rolled out the red carpet for his retailers in France, and gave them a sneak peek of The Little Prince movie and tie-in products prior to their official global release. Scarlett Wisotzki, the editor-in-chief of das spielzeug for the past [...]
August 6, 2015 By Jackie Breyer
School Zone Publishing Company is getting ready to unleash season two of its fun, educational children’s series, Charlie & Company. The Toy Book recently spoke with Barbara Peacock, the creative director of Charlie & Company, as well as its producer, Adam Mellema, about the show and upcoming plans for the brand, including toys.
July 31, 2015 By Guest Blogger
by Catherine Mevs, strategy director, Red Peak Branding With more and more Millennials stepping into parenthood, big name toymakers are trying to guess at the expectations of a new generation of parents. However, from Mattel’s introduction of its Siri-inspired Hello Barbie to Hasbro’s more compact preschool toys, thus far their efforts are either misguided or [...]