Etch A Sketch Turns 55

Edited.OhioArtEtch A Sketch, which turns 55 this year, was first introduced in the U.S. by The Ohio Art Company as a mechanical drawing toy. Since debuting at the American International Toy Fair in New York City in 1960 (It became the No. 1 selling toy for Christmas of 1960), it has sold more than 175 million units. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Disney Frozen Poised to Dominate Again, or, We Welcome Our New Toy Overlords from Arendelle

FrozenFever2It’s the age of Frozen, and not just because of this freezing weather we’ve been having.

If you work in the toy industry, you’re probably familiar with Disney Frozen as a powerhouse license. According to data from The NPD Group, it was the top gainer among all toy properties last year, generating $531 million in toy sales across more than 39 categories. This is well and good for the toy companies fortunate enough to have partnered up with Team Elsa. On the flip side, if recent events are any indication, not having the license for Disney Frozen has the potential to be hazardous. [Read more...]

Frozen Merchandise Helps Disney to Huge First Quarter

As reported by the Associated Press, The Walt Disney Co.‘s earnings rose 19 percent during the last three months of 2014, boosted by sales of Disney Frozen merchandise, as well as strong results from theme parks and networks such as Disney Channel. Sales of Frozen toys and other merchandise drove a 22 percent jump in consumer products sales to $1.4 billion.

In interviews with analysts and press, CEO Bob Iger pointed out that Frozen isn’t Disney’s only blockbuster franchise. The company has 11 franchises with more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales.

For the last three months of 2014, Disney earned $2.24 billion, while revenue rose 9 percent to $13.39 billion.

Disguise Renews Multi-Year Agreement for Top Disney Property Costumes

Disguiselogo copyDisguise Inc., the Halloween costume division of Jakks Pacific Inc., has renewed its agreement with Disney Consumer Products to create, manufacture, and distribute Halloween costumes and accessories based on top Disney properties. Disguise will continue to build on its Disney costume portfolio with new additions including Big Hero 6, Frozen Fever, Descendants, and Disney Junior’s Miles from Tomorrowland. Costumes for Frozen, Doc McStuffins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Monsters, Inc., and more will expand this year.

Disguise’s costumes are available in sizes ranging from infant to adult.

COMMENTARY: Hey, Toy Industry! It’s Not Too Late for New Year’s Resolutions

NewYearsconfettiAh, the start of a new year. Typically, it’s the time in which we take stock of what we have, consider how we can make our lives even better, and then “resolve” to carry out those plans. It’s with this in mind that I’ve put together a list of New Year’s resolutions–not for myself, mind you; I’ve already composed that list, which is why this commentary is up at deadline, instead of several hours past. No, I’m talking about resolutions that I’d like the toy industry to consider taking on. Because as absolutely perfect as a thing is, there’s nothing like a detached observer’s unsolicited advice to make it even more perfect, am I right? [Read more...]

Funko Premieres More Anna, Elsa, and Olaf in Pop! Disney: Frozen Series 2 and Mystery Minis Line

Funko has a brand new series of Frozen Pop!, including Young Elsa and Anna, as well as Coronation Elsa and Anna. In addition, Summer Olaf joins the Olaf collection.

There will also be a set of collectible Mystery Minis featuring Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, Sven, Marshmallow, and the Troll. Both new lines of toys are scheduled for release in February.

Madame Alexander to Debut Limited Edition Disney’s Frozen Elsa Doll at FAO Schwarz

Elsa.closeupwithshoesMadame Alexander will debut a special limited edition Disney’s Frozen Elsa doll at FAO Schwarz in New York City. Designed using the iconic, 21-inch Madame Alexander Cissy doll, the new collectible Elsa features detailed costuming and is decorated with 5,000 hand-applied Swarovski crystals.

She also holds a Swarovski crystal snowflake in her hand, and snowflakes adorn Elsa’s platinum braided hair.

Orders can be placed by calling FAO Schwarz at (212) 644-9400, x3043. Each doll is custom-made for a suggested retail of $5,000.

COMMENTARY: Sibling Rivalries Exist in the Toy World, Too

FrozenproductsA real-life sibling rivalry exists between Disney’s Frozen Elsa and Anna products—with one sister clearly winning. According to a Wall Street Journal article published last month, Disney marketing executives expected the sisters to be equals in popularity. As such, they were caught off-guard by the overwhelming preference for Elsa, who outsells Anna in dolls, toys, costumes, and other items. Disney, in response, makes sure to keep Elsa items in-stock at stores: For example, about 10 percent more Elsa dolls are stocked than Anna ones at Wal-Mart, according to the same Wall Street Journal article.

To help combat the Frozen sibling rivalry, companies are selling dolls with both sisters, and sales data from last holiday season shows that girls want to play with dolls or role-play with costumes featuring both characters. In turn, companies such as Jakks Pacific, as well as retailers like Toys “R” Us, are making and selling products, respectively, that involve the two sisters. [Read more...]

Toys “R” Us to Celebrate 11 Days of Cyber Savings

toysrus.croppedToys “R” Us will be celebrating 11 days of savings at toysrus.com beginning Wednesday and continuing through December 6, the end of Cyber Week. Online shoppers will find daily deals, enhanced services, and free shipping offers during the period of gift shopping.

Toysrus.com will kick off Black Friday shopping on Wednesday night starting at 10 p.m. The website will also offer customers deals in the season’s most sought-after items throughout Cyber Week, with Cyber Monday sales beginning on Sunday, November 30 at 9 p.m.

In addition to daily deals, a three-day Big Brands sale will take place from December 2 through December 4, featuring brands such as Barbie, Fisher-Price, Frozen, Lego, Skylanders, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more. Also, a two-day event from December 5 through December 6 will provide shoppers with bargains on big gift items like dollhouses and powered ride-ons.

Toy Industry Unveils Nominees for 2015 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards

TOTY2015logoToday, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the 83 finalists for the prestigious 2015 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY). Between now and January 11, toy consumers of all ages can visit www.toyawards.org to vote for their favorite toys, games, and properties across 12 categories.

The 2015 finalists were selected from more than 600 nominees submitted for consideration by 159 companies. Sixty academics, journalists, toy trend experts, play therapists, toy inventors and designers, and toy retailers staffed the nomination committees that narrowed the field to the slate of finalists.

Votes from mass retailers, specialty toy retailers, media, TIA members, and consumers will be weighted and used to determine each of the 12 category winners. The winners—including the overall Toy of the Year and the People’s Choice awards—will be announced at the TOTY Awards ceremony held on February 13, 2015 as the kick-off to the 112th North American International Toy Fair. [Read more...]