Wonder Workshop has appointed Raghu Sethuraman as COO and Ned Ward as vice president of marketing. Sethuraman will lead global operations, finance, customer service, and reseller partner organizations. He brings more than 16 years of leadership experience to Wonder Workshop from fast growing global e-commerce, supply chain, manufacturing, finance, and customer service organizations including Amazon.
An exclusive forum for TIA member manufacturers, the Toy Fair Credit Meeting offers trade information and educational and networking opportunities for credit, finance, and operations professionals. Through discussions and workshops, industry experts, major retailers, and fellow participants of the TIA Credit Interchange program will share knowledge from across the toy industry. [Read more...]
Bandai Namco Games America Inc. has partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) to launch the Ms. Pac-Man Pink Ribbon Campaign in the fight against the second leading cause of cancer among U.S. women. Ms. Pac-Man will mascot the campaign, which will be anchored with new gameplay incentives across the video game publisher’s line of mobile titles. The campaign will raise funds for NBCF to help women and inspire hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services.
The Ms. Pac-Man Ribbon Campaign will run until Oct. 31 and includes an exclusive new maze for sale across Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man iOS and Android titles. All proceeds from purchases on the new level will go directly to support the NBCF. The in-game user interface and artwork for game will change to a new pink ribbon theme for October alongside the new content.
Bandai has created a toy line based on the upcoming film, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. It features a contemporary take on Dorothy’s signature dress, as well as an assortment of dolls, collectible figures, and plush. One of the fashion dolls sings two songs from the film, as sung by Lea Michele, who plays Dorothy in the movie.
The story follows Dorothy, who has just returned home from her first trip to Oz, only to be whisked back on a magical rainbow as her old friends go on a new adventure. However, Dorothy enlists the help of an entirely new group of friends when her old ones are held captive.
The 3D-animated musical adventure is set to open May 9.
So Japan has toys that are compelling enough for grown-ups to enjoy? Figures. No, I mean action figures. As I mentioned in part one of this commentary last week, Japan has some of the coolest action figures on the planet, and much of why has to do with that country’s toy-buying market, which skews older than, say, in the U.S.
However, a lot of that sophistication is now making its way over to this country, in the form of toys that are either imported from Japan, or have their roots there. Some are kids’ items that have double appeal among older audiences, while others are purposefully aimed at grown-ups. That’s a bit of a blanket statement, of course, as any toy can appeal to lots of different demographics for varying reasons. However, we have a feeling adults will want to get their hands on these particular figures once they’ve cleared customs–probably even more so than kids will.
This spring, Funko will introduce its new line of Hikari Japanese Vinyl figures, which are inspired by the vinyl “kaiju” figures that have developed a considerable following among collectors in Japan. [Read more...]
WIT Honors Outstanding Business Leaders with 10th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards
At a February 18 dinner attended by more than 400 executives, Women in Toys (WIT) celebrated 10 visionary women business leaders with the 2014 Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards. The award recipients are: Kiyomi Haverly of Mattel, Global Brands; Naz Cuevas of Rovio Entertainment Inc. and Donna Tobin of Hasbro Inc.; Rita Raiffe, design director at Gund; Stefanie Barone of M.Z. Berger & Co.; Susie Lecker of Fisher Price; Michele Litzky of Litzky Public Relations; Joan Packard Luks of The Seranata Group; Christina Jansa of Target; and Debra Sterling of GoldieBlox.
Coinciding with the February 15 launch of Saban Brands‘ Power Rangers Super Megaforce on Nickelodeon, Bandai unveiled the full toy line for the season at American International Toy Fair earlier this week. It includes show-accurate role play toys, action figures, and large-scale buildable robots.
Central to the new line are collectible Legendary Ranger Keys, which unlock the powers of all previous Power Rangers. A quick flip function morphs the figures into unique keys that can be inserted into multiple Super Megaforce toys to unlock special features and powers. There are over 60 different Ranger Keys to collect.
By using the Power Rangers Scanner app—available on both iOS and Android systems—on any smart phone or tablet, kids can scan any Ranger Key, morph themselves into that Power Ranger, and battle villains on-screen.
In other Power Rangers news, Saban Brands has renewed licenses with Disguise Inc., Rubie’s Costume Company, and Morphsuits, so each partner will continue producing character-inspired costumes through 2017.
There will also be a tournament, Morphin Madness, running from March 10 to April 7, in which fans can vote for their Power Rangers dream team. The bracket-style voting system rewards participants with coupons for Super Megaforce toys and a chance to win a 24K gold plated Deluxe Legendary Morpher and Legendary Ranger Key set of the fan-selected top five Rangers. Fans can vote at www.morphinmadness.com.
The next season of Saban Brands’ Power Rangers franchise, Power Rangers Dino Charge, will debut on Nickelodeon next year, and roll out globally later in 2015. Bandai America Inc. will continue as the global master toy licensee for the franchise, creating a new dinosaur-themed product line.
Saban Brands has also partnered with Cirque du Soleil Media to develop an original kids property inspired by the Cirque du Soleil brand. The deal includes a new TV series, web content, interactive content, and merchandise.