Toy Fair 2015 Sells Out of Exhibit Space

ToyFair15LogoAs reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), exhibit space for the 112th North American International Toy Fair, scheduled for February 14 to 17, has officially sold out. The show has already surpassed a record-breaking 419,000 net square feet of exhibit space at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, and going forward, prospective Toy Fair exhibitors will be placed on a wait list (under no financial obligation).

The expanded show floor, equivalent in size to more than seven football fields, will feature hundreds of thousands of innovative new toys, games, and youth entertainment products. The North American International Toy Fair draws buyers, licensors, entertainment executives, and other play professionals from 100 countries, who will be on-hand scouting toy trends, spotting unique product lines and brands, and writing orders for next year.

Major global retail outlets already registered to attend include Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, Apple, and Hobby Lobby.

Angry Birds Transformers Rolls Out Worldwide

ABTransformersThe Angry Birds Transformers mobile game is now available on the Apple App Store, to be followed by the Android version on Google Play on October 30 and on Amazon on November 4. Also available is the Angry Birds Transformers Telepods product line from Hasbro, which allows players to teleport figures straight into the game and gain unique powers.

This new mash-up combines the Angry Birds world with the iconic Transformers franchise. With an edgy ’80s vibe, Angry Birds Transformers brings a humorous twist to the beloved Transformers characters. Angry Birds are disguised as robots in disguise when Eggspark plunges to Piggy Island changing the pigs and the eggs in its wake. The Autobirds and the Deceptihogs will have to join forces to prevent the rioting EggBots from wreaking havoc.

Developed in collaboration with Hasbro, the Angry Birds Transformers Telepods gaming platform will allow fans to teleport their favorite characters directly into the game, bridging the digital and the physical play experience. The toys change form, like the original Transformers.

New Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet Available for Pre-Order

FireHDKidsOn Wednesday, Amazon introduced the Fire HD Kids Edition in both 6-inch and 7-inch tablet sizes. This children’s tablet comes with a two-year guarantee, as well as a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which provides access to books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games featuring characters such as Harry Potter, Lightning McQueen, Dora the Explorer, and more.

The Fire HD Kids Edition features a quad-core processor, a vivid HD display, front- and rear-facing cameras, Dolby Digital audio, and access to Amazon’s content ecosystem of more than 33 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, Android apps, and games. The Fire HD Kids Edition also comes with Amazon FreeTime, which offers parental controls that encourage learning before play and that help manage screen time.

The Fire HD Kids Edition is now available for pre-order and will start shipping in October.

Not a Hoax! Not a Dream! Marvel Launches Month-Long National Celebration: Marvel Super Hero September!

SuperHeroSeptemberDisney Consumer Products and Marvel have teamed up for Marvel Super Hero September, a national multi-platform campaign that encourages the public to, “power up like a Marvel super hero.” This month-long celebration features retail partnerships, licensing partners, advertising, and online activations. The strategy is on behalf of the Marvel brand, as both Marvel and its characters celebrate 75 years of history.

“This stands as one of the largest non-film campaigns in Marvel history and we’re looking forward to seeing how kids, fans, parents, and adults will celebrate their passion for Marvel,” said Josh Silverman, executive vice president, global licensing, Disney Consumer Products.

The central hub for Marvel Super Hero September is a new online portal, superheroseptember.marvel.com, which houses content and activities, including a national photo sweepstakes contest supported by select national retailers. Marvel is also re-launching marvelkids.com with additional content. [Read more...]

Jenga Goes Big with New Jenga Giant

Jenga GiantJengaGiant, a new giant counterpart to Jenga, will debut on Amazon and with other retailers this month. Manufactured and distributed by Art’s Ideas, it will weigh a total of 17 lbs. and can stack up to three feet and higher. Jenga Giant uses the same rules as Classic Jenga and comes with 54 precision-cut, polished hardwood blocks, as well as a box designed to be both a game platform and for storage and transport. [Read more...]

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...]