The Year’s Most Outstanding Toys and Games Honored at TOTY Awards

Rainbow LoomOn February 15, the eve of American International Toy Fair, hundreds of toy executives and industry guests gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City for the 14th Annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Rainbow Loom, from Choon’s Design LLC, won Toy of the Year as well as prizes in three additional categories, while GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, from GoldieBlox Inc., took home the People’s Choice award by pulling in the most online votes from consumers.

The event also featured five inductions into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Jill Barad, former chairman and CEO, Mattel; Horst Brandstätter, president and owner, Playmobil/geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG; Jack Friedman, former chairman, CEO, and co-founder, Jakks Pacific; and Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr, co-founders of Wham-O Toy. [Read more...]

Chipmunks Franchise Increases Merchandising Program

Leading up to the holiday release of Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked!, Fox Consumer Products and Bagdasarian Productions have enlisted a wide range of partners to fuel an increased merchandising program for the Chipmunks franchise. The new program aims to widen its consumer base to reach young girls with products based around The Chipettes, the fashionable female rock stars of the group.

Just Play, LLC will create basic feature and novelty plush items, with Vivid Imaginations as the UK distributor. Santa’s Best will produce a holiday merchandise line, and Gipsy will introduce a specialty plush line in France.

Majesco will once again spearhead the development of the video game based on the upcoming film. Ty will continue to produce a specialty toy line, and Build-A-Bear will re-offer its top-selling line of stuffable plush featuring Alvin and Brittany, as well as pre-stuffed plush of other main characters.

HarperCollins will rejoin the program with a wide variety of published products, including beginning readers, novelizations, sticker books, and storybooks. Bendon Publishing will publish a line of activity, board, and coloring books along with flashcards and workbooks. Editora Alstro Astral will introduce a book program in Brazil.

There will also be increased merchandising in food, apparel, and accessories products.