The Toys Industry Foundation Brings Toys to Kids in Need

toyindustryThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and its Toy Bank distributed more than 500,000 new toys and games to children in need in all 50 states on a single day on August 1. Dubbed Toys Across America, this special day of toys, play, and fun celebrated the 10th anniversary of The Toy Bank, a program that collects new toys from donor toy companies and delivers them through a network of charities serving kids and families.

An interactive map on the Toys Across America website—along with photos, videos, and live updates on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—showed the progress as toys were distributed in each state and Washington, D.C. The webpage included details about the charities served (name, city, and state), participating toy companies, and special festive events in Braddock, Penn., Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York City.

In the last decade, The Toy Bank has delivered more than 10 million toys valued at more than $85 million to children who are sick, impoverished, in the foster care system, living through natural disasters, enduring life on a military base, or otherwise in need.

The Toy Bank is the signature program of TIF, the philanthropic organization representing the North American toy industry. Throughout the year, toy companies and retailers donate new toys to the program. The Toy Bank’s logistics partner, Kids in Distressed Situations, then distributes the toys through its nationwide network of child-focused charities. Three dozen toy donor companies joined with sponsors Funrise and Bandai America Inc. to make Toys Across America possible.

COMMENTARY: Toys Are More Fun Than Candy

Mattel’s North American team recently kicked off an Easter program called Save the Bunny, which launched with a clever celebrity PSA. The concept is to promote giving toys, rather than copious amounts of candy, for Easter. As part of the promotion, consumers who visit www.savechocolatebunnies.com will have a chance to win a Mattel toy every day this month, download exclusive coupons on toys from Mattel brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and Thomas & Friends, and win grand prize money.

As a parent and someone who loves toys, I whole-hardheartedly agree with this idea. Not only does my 3 year old not need a giant chocolate bunny, gallons of jelly beans, and piles of fluffy marshmallow chicks (OK, I’ll admit this is making me hungry), but I know from experience that I won’t actually let her eat it all, and I’ll end up eating it, which isn’t exactly part of my summer bikini plan (though I’m pregnant, so what’s the difference, right?). Anyway, she will have a lot more fun if I limit the candy to a few of her favorites, and fill that basket—er, strongly suggest the Easter Bunny fill that basket—with toys!

For retailers, signage suggesting spring/summer toys to fill Easter baskets should already be up, but it’s not too late! Many consumers wait until the last-minute to shop, especially with the holiday coming earlier this year. A special display of spring-like, small, basket-sized items makes shopping easy and promotes quick sales. The pharmacies already do this, toy stores should too! [Read more...]

President of The Alexander Doll Company Receives Wonder Women of Toys Award

Gale Jarvis, president of The Alexander Doll Company, was named Manufacturer of the Year at the Women in Toys’ 9th annual Wonder Women of Toys Licensing and Entertainment Awards dinner held during the American International Toy Fair. The annual dinner recognizes and celebrates the most outstanding women in the toy industry. The Wonder Women of Toys award was presented to Gale Jarvis by Shirley Price of Funrise.

During Jarvis’ tenure, the Alexander Doll Company has developed licensed brands, including Madeline, Eloise, Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Radio City Rockettes, Peanuts, Olivia, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, and more.

Jarvis spearheaded and is credited with the company’s venture into a new category of fashion dolls, which has included couture dolls styled by innovative fashion designers like Jason Wu. She has also been responsible for adding to the classic family of familiar faces with new sculpts for dolls from the Alex doll line, as well as one of Judy Garland, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich for the company’s Screen Legend Series.