China Toy Fair


EDITOR’S VIEWPOINT: Reaching Consumers at Home

photoConsumers want to shop local. They want to support their communities and their neighbors’ businesses. Moms and dads truly want to keep their hard-earned dollars in their hometowns whenever possible. Small Business Saturday has 3.3 million likes on Facebook. At the very least, people like the concept of supporting their local retailers.

“Sure, Jackie, easy for you to say. Show me the business.” Of course there are obstacles. If you’re not seeing the sales levels you’d like, ask yourself why. I believe one of the main reasons has to do with awareness and remaining top of mind with your community. Even if you are doing the mailings, coupon booklets, and Penny Saver ads, that may not be enough. You need to reach moms where they are spending their precious free moments of the day and, for many, that place is online, on social media.

My community has a group for local moms on Facebook (dads are welcome, but remain in the minority). It has more than 5,000 members who live in my town and actively seek advice from the group on everything from parenting to what to do with kids locally to where to eat and shop for various things. I’ve noticed that when the topic turns to toys, the first place group members recommend is Fun Stuff Toys, a local toy retailer in Seaford, N.Y. that caters to the community. If your community has a group like this, I urge you to join—not to constantly promote your shop (no one will appreciate that), but to be an active member of your community and a trusted source of information when the conversation naturally (and no doubt frequently) turns to “What toy should I buy for a child’s birthday party?” and “What should I do with my kids this Saturday?” You will remain top of mind for busy parents who may just need that frequent reminder that you are the best source for toys in your community. Once you have their support and awareness, loyalty to your store and all that you offer should come easy.

This column was published in the February issue of The Toy Book. Check back regularly for more toy industry commentary from Jackie. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

Play-Doh Celebrates A Year in Play-Doh Moments

PlayDoh.RedsoxTo celebrate an eventful year, Hasbro Inc. and Play-Doh have created 10 sculptures out of Play-Doh compound as part of A Year in Play-Doh Moments. Some of the sculptures include the Boston Red Sox’s big World Series win—and unique players’ beards—this past October, the new foodie phenomenon cronuts, baby George joining the royal family, and the Super Bowl power outage in February. All 10 sculpts can be viewed at Play-Doh’s Facebook page.

COMMENTARY: So Long Spice Girls–Introducing The Beatrix Girls

There were the Dixie Chicks, the Spice Girls, and even The Pussy Cat Dolls. But now, there’s an all-new girls’ band with its sight set on taking over the world—The Beatrix Girls. If you haven’t heard of this 12-inch fashion doll phenomenon (similar to the likes of Monster High dolls and Barbie), it’s a line of collectable pop star dolls that create, sing, and play their own original music.

The Beatrix Girls BandLark, the fiery redhead and bassist of the band, loves extreme sports like surfing and snowboarding, but most of all she loves making music with her best friends, The Beatrix Girls. As all of the girls flaunt their own style, Lark loves to be dressed up in ripped jeans, combat boots, and pretty much anything that’s not pink. She is, for many reasons, my favorite, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that she was my inspiration in dying my hair red—or would I? [Read more...]

Icing Introduces Exclusive Monopoly-Inspired Collection

Icing.MonopolyIcing has teamed up with Hasbro to design a capsule collection of jewelry and accessories inspired by Hasbro’s popular Monopoly game. This exclusive collection is designed in metallic gold and bedazzled jewels, featuring chain link, beading, and glitter details on pieces including a charm bracelet, stud earrings, iPhone cases, wallets, makeup compacts, T-shirts, and rings.

To celebrate the launch and to encourage shoppers to showcase their “gaming” spirit, Icing will also launch an Instagram “Glam Game” promotional sweepstakes with a grand prize of a seven-day cruise for two on Carnival Cruise Lines. The sweepstakes encourages fans to express their unique sense of style by snapping and uploading a photo of themselves. Official Rules for the “Glam Game” sweepstakes can be found on Facebook.

PlayStation 4 Available Now, With New Games and Ways to Play

PS4The PlayStation 4 system is available in the U.S. and Canada with a lineup of more than 20 first- and third-party games, including titles such as Knack and Killzone: Shadow Fall. The PS4 will have a library of more than 30 games by year’s end.

Game developers will be able to create huge, interactive worlds in smooth 1080p HD resolution, thanks to the PS4’s PC architecture, which includes an enhanced Graphics Processing Unit and 8GB of GDDR5 unified system memory. The system also takes social connectivity up a level: By pressing the “Share” button on the Dualshock 4 wireless controller, images and videos can be shared with other players through the PS4’s Dynamic Menu, or on social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, and internet streaming services such as Ustream and Twitch.

The PS4 also integrates second screens, including the PlayStation Vita system, smartphones, and tablets. Using the PlayStation app, available for free on the iOS App Store and Google Play, these devices can be used to look at maps while playing an adventure game, purchase a PS4 game, and more. In addition, through Remote Play and Wi-Fi on home networks, gamers can now play most PS4 games on their PS4 Vita while the TV screen is being used for something else.

Disney Store Starts Its Magical Week Online Deals Before Thanksgiving

disney storeDisney Store is giving shoppers the chance to start shopping online earlier with special discount pricing launching the weekend before Thanksgiving, November 22 to 24. Starting A selection of Disney Store’s Magical Week deals will launch on November 22 at 12:30 a.m. PST online at DisneyStore.com/magicalweekdeals. November 25, all of Disney Store’s Magical Week deals will be available in stores and online at special low prices, a first for the retailer. An additional deal will be unveiled online on Thanksgiving, November 28, and when stores open for Magical Friday.

Shoppers can interact with Disney Store’s guest services team on Twitter @DisneyStore. Updates on deals will be posted on Disney Store’s Facebook page as well. For holiday gift-giving inspiration, shoppers can browse the Holiday Gift Guide on DisneyStore.com and the Holiday Lookbook on Facebook.

Shoppers who prefer to shop from mobile devices can use the Disney Store’s mobile site and app. Through the mobile site, users can receive timely message alerts for new arrivals, in-store events, and promotional offers.

 

Safari Ltd. Swaps Facebook Likes for Toys in New Promotion

safariSafari Ltd. is donating five toys for every new Facebook like it receives during the month of November to the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), the philanthropic arm of the Toy Industry Association. Dubbed “You Like, We Give,” the promotion specifically supports TIF’s signature program, The Toy Bank, benefitting children in need this holiday season. Safari Ltd. has committed to donating up to 2,500 toys.

Over the past 10 years, The Toy Bank has delivered $85 million worth of toys to children who are sick, impoverished, rescued from abusive homes, living through natural disasters, enduring life on a military base or otherwise in need. Safari Ltd. is a third-generation, educational toy company whose mission is to teach children the importance of nature and its conservation through the joy of play.

Mattel Launches Ever After High Globally

Photographer Jeremy Lloyd Stylist Lin CarlsonMattel has launched its newest intellectual property, Ever After High. Based on the everyday lives of the teenage sons and daughters of well-known fairytale legends, Ever After High leverages multiple platforms to reach consumers.

The story of Ever After High takes place at an enchanted boarding school, where Raven Queen, daughter of the Evil Queen, questions her storybook fate of becoming the next Evil Queen. After she questions her own pre-determined destiny, the school becomes divided between those who want what is promised to them, and those who want to write their own storybook endings.

This new tween property is available in 14 countries and will continue to roll-out to more than 30 territories next year. In addition to the initial collection of six fashion dolls, the property is supported by an immersive digital experience including a website, EverAfterHigh.com, global Facebook page, and YouTube channel. The digital ecosystem includes animated webisodes, character bios, games, avatars, and an interactive music video.

K’nex Holds Tinkertoy Win-in-a-Snap Game and Sweepstakes

K’nex has opened the Tinkertoy Win-in-a-Snap game and sweepstakes. It is a  six-week long promotion open to U.S. and Canadian residents ages 18 and up (for  U.S. participants), or the age of majority in their province of residence (for Canadian participants).

To play the Tinkertoy Win-in-a-Snap game, players must log on to Facebook and like the Tinkertoy Facebook page. Every day, players will have an opportunity to guess which Tinkertoy model is being built in 30 seconds or less for their chance to instantly win one of 100 Tinkertoy Building Sets. These prizes will be awarded randomly throughout the six-week period. By playing the game daily and sharing the page with friends, fans have an opportunity to earn bonus entries towards the Tinkertoy Win-in-a-Snap sweepstakes grand prize of $1000. The more times fans play the game and share the page, the more entries they can accumulate, increasing their chance to win the grand prize.

The Tinkertoy Win-in-a-Snap game and sweepstakes runs through October 20. Participants can play once per day.

Nintendo Invites Fans for a Legend of Zelda Contest

legendofzeldaNintendo is holding a contest on Facebook that lets fans submit art inspired by The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for the Wii U console. The creators of the five top selections will win a Wii U console and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD game. In addition, the five winners and top 50 finalists will have their art displayed on the main screen at The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert, where it will be accompanied by music from The Legend of Zelda series. The five winners will also have their art displayed in the lobby of the Seattle performance of the concert tour on September 12.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses features live orchestral performances of theme music from The Legend of Zelda games. The Seattle performance will also include game-play kiosks for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HDThe Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for Nintendo 3DS, and photo opportunities with the King of Red Lions replica. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is a remastered version of the Nintendo GameCube original. The game launches in October for Wii U and features high-definition graphics, GamePad features, and enhanced game play, such as faster sailing.