HoliDAY of Play 2015

Nifty ’50s American Girl Maryellen Larkin Debuts

AmericanGirl, Maryellen LarkinToday, 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.

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The Lowdown on Doll Hunting: Doll Collecting in the Age of Social Media

This article first appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of The Toy Book.

MelissaHunterHeadShotDoll 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.

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American Girl Hosts Nationwide Casting Call with Tongal

American Girl is utilizing the creative crowdsourcing platform Tongal, along with a nationwide casting call, to bring its BeForever historical characters to life through short films. From August 14 to August 24, girls ages 8 to 14 and their parents can visit tongal.com/americangirl2015 to register and submit audition videos.

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Mattel Reports Second Quarter Financial Results

logo_Mattel logoFor the second quarter, Mattel Inc. reported flat worldwide net sales in constant currency, and worldwide net sales down 7 percent, reflecting the impact from changes in currency exchange rates.

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American Girl Opens Its Doors in Mexico with El Palacio De Hierro

AmericanGirl,MexicoboutiquesAmerican Girl is opening its first-ever American Girl shop-in-shop boutiques in Mexico with El Palacio de Hierro, the country’s largest and best-established high-end retailer. Located at El Palacio de Hierro Interlomas and Perisur locations, the new boutiques range in size from 1,500 to 2,000 square feet. Opening on July 4, they mark the second international retail presence for American Girl.

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COMMENTARY: Why Every Toy Company Needs to Follow MakieLab’s Lead

MakiesMakieLab has just made the first step in what I hope will be a great leap for the entire toy industry.

The London-based indie toy developer is the first company to respond directly to a viral social media campaign, #ToysLikeMe. The company has created a selection of Makie doll-size impairment aids and accessories, including hearing aids and walking sticks. It—hands down—has got to be one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard of, and all toy companies should follow suit.

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American Girl Unveils Truly Me Doll Line

AmericanGirlTrulyMeAmerican Girl has re-branded its line of contemporary 18-inch dolls and accessories, clothing, and exclusive play-based content as Truly Me. Formerly known as My American Girl, Truly Me lets kids create a one-of-a-kind doll through a variety of personalized options, including 40 different combinations of eye color, hair color and style, and skin color, as well as an array of outfits and accessories.

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American Girl’s 2015 Girl of the Year Stars in New Movie

AmericanGirlGraceDVDAn American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, will premiere on Blu-Ray combo pack on June 9, starring American Girl’s 2015 Girl of the Year, Grace Thomas. The discs come with exclusive content, such as a behind the scenes look and playing dress up.

In the movie, Grace has a passion for baking, but her skills are put to the test when she visits her uncle’s Parisian pastry shop and competes to save her grandparents’ troubled bakery. The Blu-ray Combo Pack includes a Blu-ray disc, DVD, and Digital HD with Ultlraviolet.

Mattel Reports First Quarter Financial Results

logo_Mattel logoFor the first quarter, Mattel Inc. reported worldwide net sales up 5 percent in constant currency, as well as reported worldwide net sales down 2 percent, reflecting the impact from changes in currency exchange rates. On a regional basis, first quarter gross sales increased 9 percent in constant currency, and 8 percent as reported in the North American region, which consists of the U.S., Canada, and American Girl. For the International region, gross sales increased 2 percent in constant currency, and decreased 14 percent as reported.

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Christine Kelly to Head Toy and Game Initiatives for National Geographic’s Brand Licensing Division

ChristineKellyNational Geographic has named Christine Kelly as its director of licensing, toys, and games for National Geographic’s Brand Licensing division. In this new role, she has been tasked with National Geographic’s toy business—both licensing and strategic retail partnerships. She will oversee marketing, retail strategy and product development, including new franchises. [Read more...]