COMMENTARY: Toys to Brave the Chilly Weather

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it can also start to get very chilly. I know that in New York City, I’m layering my clothes and bundling up, preparing for (an always windy) winter. Fall for kids means back to school and less outdoor play, which can lead to a bummed out little one. Outdoor play is fun because it’s physical—you run faster, the toys fly higher, and of course there’s always the option of shooting water out of most of those toys. But just because the play is moving inside and becoming a little less physical, doesn’t mean it has to be less fun.

The holidays mean gift-giving, and while guides like our Toy Insider 2013 Holiday Gift Guide are packed with a ton of options, including scooters and flying toys, I’ve also got some suggestions of toys to give that kids can enjoy right away—without having to play in the cold weather.

drawsomethingThe Draw Something Party game, from Hasbro, is a great game for the whole family. Based on the popular app, Draw Something Party allows players to draw on the double-sided, glowing drawing screen with their finger or the stylus included. The person drawing selects one of the three words on the card, holds the glowing screen between him or herself and the guesser, and places the card with the scrambled letter facing the guesser. As the screen glows and the drawer draws, the guesser tries to figure out what is being drawn using the scrambled letters as a guide. And just like in the app, the difficulty of the word yields a different amount of coins when guessed correctly. [Read more...]

Ruling Issued in Hasbro Arbitration

Hasbro logoPreviously, inventor licensor Johnson Research had brought claims against Hasbro based on two licensing agreements between the parties. One license agreement related to certain products included in Hasbro’s Super Soaker product line, while the other related to certain products included in Hasbro’s Nerf product line.

Johnson Research claimed that the license agreements require the payment of royalties by Hasbro on a significantly greater number of products in each of those respective product lines than the company believed was the case. The claims related to the Nerf products were pursued by the licensor in binding arbitration in Atlanta as was required by the license.

Johnson Research made a demand for arbitration with respect to the Nerf claims, and on October 29, the arbitrator issued a ruling awarding a total of $72,932,686, including damages, interest, fees and expenses, to the licensor. In connection with this ruling and applicable accounting requirements, Hasbro anticipates taking an additional charge to its earnings for the fiscal quarter that ended September 29. The company is currently assessing the impact to third quarter results and it will be reflected in its Form 10-Q for that same period.

Aurora Reveals Easter- and Spring-Themed Plush Products

AuroraAlthough Halloween just passed and we’re only heading toward the holiday season, sometimes its fun to think ahead. To get you through the dreary winter with thoughts of spring, Aurora World Inc. is offering more than 180 Easter- and spring-themed plush products highlighted by new designs and materials, extensions of lines, and extensive programs for its retail partners.

Featured products include the Lopsie Wopsie Bunny and Sweet & Softer collections, as well as Miyoni Unlikely Friends, an animal pairing for one of Aurora’s popular lines. Aurora and Hasbro have teamed up again to expand the Raggedy Ann doll collection with a new Gardener edition.

 

COMMENTARY: Tech Toys That Extend Beyond the Screen

TT12This year, for the first time ever, the Toy Insider released a list of top tech toys for the holiday season in its gift guide called the Top Tech 12. This list promotes the belief that we have here about a “well-balanced toy box.” In a world that has new technology each day—and tons of digital, innovative toys for kids—it’s easy to get caught up in buying the newest, most glamorous toys out there without really knowing if it’s the right toy for your kid. The Toy Insider’s goal with this list is to help shoppers sift through all of the options out there for forward-thinking and impressive tech-based toys that incorporate the latest in digital play, creativity, and innovation.

Shameless self-promotion aside, tech toys are becoming harder and harder to sift through, so finding the perfect one for every kid can be difficult.  Of course, many in the industry, wandering the shopping aisles, and generally existing around toys know about Skylanders Swap Force and Disney Infinity, two new innovative video game platforms that mix digital and physical play, but they aren’t the only toys out there with exciting new technology. All of the toys on our Top Tech 12 list are great, but I picked a few favorites that are not only great technology innovations, but they also give kids other options of physical play—so they aren’t glued to a screen all day.

robodog_dalmatian_p9_go_pee_copy (1)Zoomer, from Spin Master, is a trainable robotic dog that is the perfect option for kids that want a pet and parents that want a clean house. Zoomer can be trained to respond to a bunch of different commands and tricks in three different languages (English, Spanish, and French). Zoomer learns kids’ voices and how to respond to these commands. He is adorably cute and lifelike. Left to his own devices, he’ll wander around the room, just like a real puppy. Zoomer’s LED lights blink and react making him seem more alive than your typical robots. [Read more...]

Hasbro’s Telepods Line Hits 1 Million Sold Mark

AngryBirds.StarWarsHasbro Inc. has reached the milestone of 1 million Telepods figures in consumers’ hands worldwide. Telepods, the digital gaming platform for mobile users, had launched with the Angry Birds Star Wars II game, from Rovio Entertainment and Lucasfilm, which became available less than a month ago.

Every copy of the Angry Birds Star Wars II app includes a Telepods mode for smart device users with front-facing cameras. Players can choose which characters they want to complete a level with by using Telepods including Rebel Birds and Imperial Pigs. Fans download the app, tap the Telepods icon, place one of the more than 30 Angry Birds Star Wars figures on the included Telepods base, and then place the base on a smart device to “teleport” that figure into the game. Players can also unlock new characters and super powers in the app with Telepods.

Angry Birds Go!, an upcoming app franchise from Rovio, will also feature Telepods technology. A full line of Telepods enhanced figures and play sets are currently at retail in anticipation of the release of Angry Birds Go! app on December 11.

Angry Birds Star Wars Licensed Products Provide a Boost to the Toy Industry

Hasbro Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Death Star PackageBased on data from The NPD Group, Angry Birds Star Wars is the best new toy license in the big five European toy markets so far this year. Sales of Angry Birds Star Wars during this period was £5.3 million, ahead of second place Skylanders at £4 million, and third place Monsters University at £2.9 million. Angry Birds Star Wars is even the No. 1 license in the board games category.

Over the first seven months, Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars combined ranked as the 14th biggest license overall in the big five European markets and 12th biggest overall in the UK. Just one year ago, Angry Birds alone was ranked at a much lower 39th place in the big five markets in Europe.

The original Angry Birds sold £4.2 million worth of toys in the first seven months of last year across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The figure for the same seven-month period this year had almost doubled to £8.1 million. With the Angry Birds Star Wars sales performance of £5.3 million added in, in total, the Angry Birds license achieved combined sales of £13.4 million in the seven months through this July. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Big Rewards for a Little Bit of Cash

Sometimes kids deserve a special little treat—whether they refrain from crying at the dentist, got an extra star on their homework assignment, or behaved well on a long shopping trip, it’s nice to reward them for good behavior. Candy is a cheap, instant, and enjoyable treat, but we all know kids can do with a little less sugar (and, in turn, fewer painful dentist visits!).  There are some great inexpensive toys with lots of play value that will help reward kids for good behavior without breaking the bank or causing cavities.

ABSW Telepods Jedi vs Sith Multi-PacksAngry Birds Star Wars Telepods, from Hasbro, are sold in two-figure packs for less than $10. Kids can teleport the collectible figures right into the Angry Birds Star Wars II app, from Rovio Entertainment, on iOS and Android devices. Each figure has a unique QR code on the bottom, so kids can distinguish their characters from their friends’, even if they have the same ones. With more than 30 figures to collect, Hasbro also has compatible play sets at higher price points. With both virtual and physical play, Telepods is a great choice for a quick treat that will keep kids engaged for a long time. [Read more...]

Hasbro Introduces New Angry Birds Go! Telepods and Jenga Gaming

angrybirdsgoHasbro Inc. has introduced the Angry Birds Go! Telepods and Jenga product lines, launching in support of Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds Go! mobile game. The Telepods platform allows more physical characters into the mobile gaming and allows players to teleport their physical Angry Birds Go! karts into the digital game using their mobile devices.

Hasbro’s Angry Birds Go! Jenga gaming line offers face-to-face play based on the mobile game. Kids can take on the pigs with kart racing, bird launching, and Jenga block toppling. Both product lines are available at major retail locations beginning on October 1 with the mobile game following later.

 

Hasbro, Linkin Park Release Special Edition Transformers Action Figure

soundwave1_1024x1024In celebration of the Transformers’ 30th anniversary, Hasbro Inc. and rock band Linkin Park have collaborated to create a special edition Linkin Park Soundwave Transformers action figure, available at the SURU store in Los Angeles to mark the brand’s first celebrity-designed Transformers figure in history.

Given the name ‘Generation 1’ or ‘G1’, the fan-favorite, Soundwave Transformer, now features a gold deco treatment and is packaged in a unique cassette tape-inspired box. The band, who has provided songs for three Transformers movies, chose this particular Transformer for its ‘retro-appeal’ and because in the original animated ’80s series, Soundwave converts into a tape deck, has cassette tapes as minions, and battles the Autobots with blasts of sounds, according to Joe Hahn of Linkin Park who grew up as a fan and collector of the brand.

SURU will be the exclusive retailer for this special edition action figure at the SURU store in Los Angeles and online at www.suru-la.com through October 3. To keep up with more news for the Transformers’ 30th anniversary, check out its Facebook.

 

Hasbro Announces 2020 Sustainability Goals

Hasbro logoHasbro, Inc. has new environmental sustainability goals that the company aims to achieve by the end of 2020. Hasbro plans to further reduce the environmental impact of its global operations by minimizing waste, improving energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and conserving water at its owned and operated facilities. These new 2020 goals build on commitments the company set in 2008 that it achieved by end of 2012.

Hasbro’s end of 2020 sustainability goals for its owned/operated facilities include reducing waste to landfill by 50 percent from 2012 levels; reducing energy consumption by 25 percent from 2012 levels; reducing global Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 20 percent from 2012 levels; and reducing water consumption by 15 percent from 2012 levels.

In addition to these reduction goals, Hasbro continues to drive environmental improvements through its sustainable packaging initiatives, including reducing packaging material, eliminating PVC from packaging, increasing recycled content, and sourcing paper responsibly.