Mattel Launches Playground Productions Creative Storytelling Division

Mattel.PlaygroundMattel Inc. has announced the formation of Playground Productions, a new division within the Mattel Global Brands group dedicated to the creation and development of strategic multiplatform storytelling. Playground Productions will drive creative storytelling across all Mattel brands, including Barbie, Monster High, and Max Steel, along with the development and launch of the new animation Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome debuting next year.

Playground Productions has brought on Mercury Filmworks for the project in a story that delivers new Hot Wheels thrills in three formats including a 22-minute origin story for spring, 11 humorous two-minute action-packed shorts for the summer, and a 74-minute direct-to-video movie for the fall.

Additionally, Playground Productions will manage and provide creative direction for the recently announced live-action feature film for Max Steel. In co-development with Dolphin Films, the movie will have a wide release in theaters next year. The division is also partnering with Columbia Pictures on an upcoming Masters of the Universe theatrical project.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Mattel Partner for Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver

hot-wheelsWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has partnered with Mattel Inc. for the global distribution, sales, and trade marketing of the upcoming Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver video game launching on September 17 in North America for Xbox 360, PlayStation3, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PC.

In Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver, players join the ranks of Team Hot Wheels and compete in dozens of fast-paced, replayable challenges highlighting the driving styles of the different teams. Featuring 24 Hot Wheels vehicles and set in four under-the-radar test facilities around the world, the game pushes players to their limits to see if they have what it takes to become Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver.

Mattel is also bringing the Hot Wheels brand to life with a real-life crew of stunt drivers taking stunt-driving to the next level with never-before-seen, gravity-defying stunts in life-size Hot Wheels cars. This year, Mattel continues to introduce new Hot Wheels content, including a 22-minute World’s Best Driver movie on the Hot Wheels YouTube channel and HotWheels.com.

Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver is being developed by Firebrand Games.

COMMENTARY: Girls and Boys Just Wanna Have Fun!

My poor brother grew up in a family full of nothing-but-girls. I’m convinced that this is the reason that he ended up with all of the cool toys. In true oldest sibling fashion, I wasn’t stopped by the sharpie-engraved “Jesse” label on the toys that cluttered his bedroom. I had to test every toy that came through our house, girl- or boy-intended; it made no difference to me. It wasn’t lost on me that all of Jesse’s toys were made to go fast or flaunt tricks, while my sister and I played with stationary toys, dolls, and Easy-Bake Ovens. The phrase that frequently exited my adolescent mouth comes to mind: “But it’s not fair!” The speedy and daring toys are just as fun for girls as they are for boys, and here are some current toys to prove it:6474_300_300

The Hot Wheels cars frequented our home quite often, and many Christmas lists as well. Any time we went to the mall, somehow Jesse managed to make sure he was leaving with one. Mattel‘s well-loved brand that is synonymous with speed just released its Triple Track Twister. With three tracks, two controllers and one huge crash zone, it is multi-car mayhem. Kids can hit the red diverter to send cars on a collision course, or blast through the blue tunnel to take on a new track. The coolest thing about this toy is that it includes an iPad stand and Action Capture app that brings the track to life. My brother and I would have loved this Hot Wheels racetrack with equal measure.

BF40F27550569047F5155E7CBCF0B0D4Another name that has been helping little boys and girls create speed and wreak havoc in good fun is Nerf, from Hasbro. The Nerf Rapidstrike CS-18 is the new streamlined lightweight blaster that has serious firepower and shoots up to 75 feet. The blaster’s acceleration trigger powers up the motor for super-speed firing. The clip holds all 18 of the included darts, and it’s see-through for instant firepower checks.

For more commentary from Kara, check back often. 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!

Feld Entertainment and Mattel Extend Monster Jam Licensing Program

MonsterJamFeld Entertainment and Mattel Inc. announced the five year  extension of their long-standing global licensing agreement between Monster Jam and Hot Wheels. The renewal agreement extends Mattel’s exclusive, worldwide licensing rights to Monster Jam replica die-cast, plastic, feature vehicles, accessories, and play sets through 2018.

Monster Jam, the largest touring monster truck property in the world, entertains more than four million fans from four continents and 10 countries with more than 350 action-packed performances each year. Additionally, Monster Jam performances are broadcasted globally with television distribution in more than 175 countries.

Monster Jam has secured a robust toy presence at retail and continues to obtain incremental promotional programs annually at mass and specialty retailers including Walmart, Toys “R” Us, Kmart, and Target. The core Hot Wheels Monster Jam business includes the popular 1:64 and 1:24 scale authentic die-cast vehicles, 1:43 scale motorized plastic Rev Tredz vehicles, and a growing line of Monster Jam-themed, TV-advertised play sets. [Read more...]

Hot Wheels Sets a First-Ever World Record at Indy 500

hotwheels_2On the eve of the Indianapolis 500, Hot Wheels, along with four kids, set a record for the world’s longest toy race track. Staged on the front straightaway of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mattel’s Hot Wheels created a 1 mile-long, four-lane toy racetrack to celebrate its World’s Best Driver Championship event. Kids were invited from all over the country to race four toy cars around the track. Coached by racing legends Mario and John Andretti, Christopher Bienusa, a 12-year-old from Alexandria, Minn., emerged as the victor. Bienusa celebrated in traditional Indy 500 fashion by drinking a bottle of milk and kissing the fabled Yard of Bricks on the speedway. More than 1,000 pieces of custom-made Hot Wheels track were used to build the longest toy track in history. Alexandria Industries manufactured the nearly 4,700 pounds of aluminum extrusions to withstand outdoor elements such as heat and rain.

Mattel’s Hot Wheels to Attempt World Record at Indy 500

hotwheelsThe Hot Wheels team is headed to the Indianapolis 500 speedway this weekend to build the longest toy track set in history. On May 25, the day before the race, four kids will speed toy Hot Wheels cars through a 1-mile, four-lane oval racetrack in an attempt to set a new world record.

Mattel is calling it the “World’s Best Driver Championship,” and kids can recreate the race with track set pieces exclusively from Toys “R” Us. The entire Indy 500 track will be constructed with 1,494 pieces of Hot Wheels track custom-made from 4,700 pounds of aluminum. A total of 46 people will install the track, which will be coated with powder to increase vehicle speed.

For more information, or to recreate the experience, visit www.buildyourtrack.com.

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...]

PriceGrabber Shares Cyber Monday Analytics

Thanks to PriceGrabber, you don’t have to wonder what Cyber Monday’s most sought-after toys were. Check out the breakdown below.

  • Hot Wheels 3 Lane Plug In
  • Ninjago 9450 Epic Dragon Battle
  • The Elf on the Shelf(R) Boy Elf, Lightskinned
  • Mini Power Quad Ride-On
  • Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven
  • Crayola Digital Light Designer
  • City 4204 The Mine

Hot Wheels Sets World Record with Corkscrew Jump

Hollywood stuntman Brent Fletcher lands Hot Wheels its third world record with the 92-foot corkscrew jump. Fletcher is known for his work in many Hollywood movies, including Fast Five, and his stunt work as coordinator for the Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare at X Games Los Angeles. The four-wheeled jump scored the world record for the longest ramp-to-ramp spiral 360 degrees. The 2,600-pound vehicle reached a speed of 54 MPH before hitting the jump then rotated at a rate of 230 degrees per second in the air before touching down. New Team Hot Wheels stunt-inspired T-shirts will be created by Suburban Riot to celebrate Hot Wheels’ world record.

 

Top 20 Chosen by Children’s Museum Visitors and Fans

The results are in and more than 20,000 Children’s Museum of Indianapolis online visitors and fans have voted for their favorite toys from the last century. It is all part of the “100 Toys (& their Stories) that Define Our Childhood” interactive in which the museum asked people to choose the top 20 toys to represent the last 100 years. This list of 20 iconic toys includes: G.I. Joe, Transformers, Lego Toys, Barbie, View-Master, Bicycle, Play-Doh, Crayons, Cabbage Patch Kids, Monopoly, Etch a Sketch, Spirograph, Hot Wheels, Candy Land, Lincoln Logs, Raggedy Ann, Little Golden Books, Mr. Potato Head, Roller Skates, and Silly Putty.

The public is once again invited to vote for their favorites among the top 20 to rank the toys, which will ultimately determine the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners.

Voting to determine the final order for the top 20 runs through Sept. 7, and results will be announced to the public on September 11. To view the top 20 list of toys, vote, and share your own toy story, visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis online at www.childrensmuseum.org/100toys.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.