China Toy Fair


VTech Taps Jennifer Eiselein to Lead Marketing Team

VTech-LogoVTech has hired Jennifer Eiselein, a former Amazon senior manager who was instrumental in the launches of the company’s Kindle tablets and e-readers, as its new marketing director. She will lead VTech’s marketing team from its U.S. headquarters in Chicago, oversee the creation and execution of innovative campaigns for VTech’s brands, employ strategies to generate brand awareness, and target customers to enhance growth in key markets.

Prior to joining VTech, Eiselein served as senior manager for merchandising and marketing at Amazon’s Appstore in the U.S. and Canada.

VTech’s Kidizoom Smartwatch Includes Built-In Camera and More

VTech Smartwatch Release FINAL[4]Today, VTech launched its first ever camera watch for kids: the Kidizoom Smartwatch. The world’s first smartwatch for kids, its features include a built-in camera, video, and photo effects. The Kidizoom Smartwatch also has a 1.4-inch color touch screen, more than 50 digital and analog clock displays that help kids learn to tell time, a rechargeable battery, alarm clock, timer, stopwatch, voice recorder with funny voice changing effects, and parental game controls.

Since it is made for kids, the Kidizoom Smartwatch features a durable design to withstand drops and bumps, and is splash and sweat proof. In addition, the Kidizoom Smartwatch is PC and Mac compatible for uploading photos, videos, and recorded voice files, and offers access to VTech’s Learning Lodge app store.

The Kidizoom Smartwatch is recommended for kids ages 4 and up, and is available now at www.vtechkids.com, amazon.com, target.com, toysrus.com, and walmart.com.

Dora and Friends: Into the City! Debuts in Primetime this August

DAF_Group_ShotDora and Friends: Into the City! will premiere in primetime on Monday, August 18, at 8:00 p.m. 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.

The new series takes place in the fictional city of Playa Verde, where Dora and her new friends will go on adventures. It features an interactive curriculum focusing on community service, problem solving, emotional skills, the Spanish language, and Latino culture. Throughout her journeys, Dora will use the Map App on her smartphone and a magical charm bracelet to navigate the city and overcome obstacles. Her new group of friends includes Kate, an avid reader who is dramatic and artistic; Naiya, a smart girl who excels at math and science; Emma, a driven and accomplished musician; Alana, an athletic soccer player and animal lover; and Pablo, a smart, playful, energetic athlete and explorer. [Read more...]

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Licensed Products Set to Explode at Retail

guardians of the galaxy poster 2. jpgToy manufacturers including Hasbro, Lego, and Kiddesigns have developed a wide range across key product categories inspired by Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which arrives in theaters on August 1. Products include Hasbro’s 10-inch electronic figure, Lego’s The Milano Spaceship Rescue construction set, Funko’s vinyl bobble heads, Rubies Costume Co.’s and Disguise‘s Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon costumes, and more.

To date, Guardians of the Galaxy has received major mass retailer commitment, including a cross-category pallet program at Wal-Mart, top placement for Hasbro and Lego’s toy lines in all key accounts, and a heavily promoted party goods program with Party City. The Guardians of the Galaxy merchandising program will benefit from Marvel Studios‘ major marketing push for the film that will hit full force beginning later this month.

Goodbaby Acquires Evenflo, Deal Will Keep Jobs in Ohio

The Evenflo Co. has signed an agreement to be acquired by Goodbaby International Holdings Limited. Goodbaby is principally engaged in the design, research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and sale of durable juvenile products. The agreement is definitive and binding pending Goodbaby shareholder approval, which should take place within 45 days.

Evenflo principally engages in the design, research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and sale of Evenflo, Exersaucer, and Snugli branded juvenile products. Its portfolio includes play yards and stationary activity centers to go with car seats, travel systems, safety gates, high chairs, and more. Evenflo brands are sold at key retailers such as Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, Target, and Amazon. [Read more...]

Cybertron Monday Kicks Off Transformers: Age of Extinction Toy Line

CybertronMonday.TransformerspanelToday isn’t just any old Monday, but Cybertron Monday, a global event tied to the upcoming blockbuster, Transformers: Age of Extinction from Paramount Pictures. Cybertron Monday marks the launch of an all-new action figure line from Hasbro Inc., as well as licensed products based on the feature film, through participating online retailers including Amazon, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walmart, and Kmart. Fans can visit www.CybertronMonday.com for more information on where products will be available.

Hasbro’s Transformers Official Movie App, available now for download on iTunes and Google Play, features galleries stocked with movie and toy photography and videos, character bios, as well as the ability to engage in weekly app “missions.” Fans can also view exclusive Transformers: Age of Extinction cast interviews. As the film’s release date approaches, the app will be updated to include movie ticket purchasing, augmented reality features, new photography and videos, and the ability for users to build their own Transformers Construct-bot figure.

TIA Releases Details on PlayCon 2014 Sessions

Digital experts from Google/YouTube, Amazon, RocketHub, and Tongal will present their insights on connecting with 21st century kids and moms, crowdsourcing, and crowdfunding at PlayCon 2014, the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) International Conference of Play Professionals. The event is scheduled to take place from May 7 to 9 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“Growing Up Digital: Creating, Consuming, Connecting” will feature Katie Rottier, head of U.S. industry, sports & toys, at Google/YouTube. “Amazon: Key Customer, Marketing Partner, Platform for Customer Engagement, or All Three,” will be presented by Eva Lorenz, category leader for Amazon’s Toys & Games store. For “Get Out of the Box—Get Into the Crowd!” Brian Meece, CEO of RocketHub, and Caleb Light-Wills, senior vice president of product at Tongal, will provide an in-depth look at crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.

Full agenda details, as well as hotel and registration information, can be found at the TIA website.

Funko Has Guardians of the Galaxy in Pop! and Wacky Wobbler Figures

Funko.StarLordFunko will have Marvel‘s Guardians of the Galaxy–the spacefaring team coming to theaters on August 1–available in both Pop! and Wacky Wobbler form in time for the film’s release. Pop! figures will include Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Drax, and Gamora. The Wacky Wobbler figures will feature bobble-heads of Star-Lord, and Rocket Raccoon.

An unmasked Star-Lord will be available exclusively at amazon.com.

Toy Fair 2014 Shows Increase in Attendees, Double-Digit Rise in International Visitors

Last week’s American International Toy Fair in New York City drew nearly 26,500 toy professionals from 94 countries, and boasted a record-breaking 414,060 net square feet of exhibit space. According to the Toy Industry Association (TIA), Toy Fair 2014 also welcomed an 11 percent surge in international buyers, an 8 percent rise in exhibitors, and a 5 percent spike in overall attendees, bringing the total attendance to 26,493.

There was an estimated 1,153 exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sales agents, and nearly 10,000 buyers from more than 5,000 retail outlets, including delegations from Amazon, Target, and Toys “R” Us. Members of top press outlets including Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and The New York Times scouted top toy trends.

Next year’s Toy Fair has been scheduled for February 14 to 17, and will once again take place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Show information will be available in the coming months at www.ToyFairNY.com.

Hasbro, Amazon Team Up Offers First Action Figure for Transformers: Age of Extinction

Feb3.TransformersHasbro and Amazon have partnered to offer the first official merchandise inspired by the movie Transformers: Age of Extinction. Amazon’s Transformers Headquarters Shop is now live on its website and features the first action figure available for purchase from Hasbro’s Transformers: Age of Extinction line.

The first product of the line is the Transformers First Edition Optimus Prime action figure. The figure converts from robot to vehicle and includes new metallic embellishes, rubber tires, and is styled in the way the character will look in the movie. The product is also No. 14 in the numbered line of Thrilling 30 action figures celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Transformers brand this year. It is available exclusively on amazon.com before the broader toy line becomes available in May.