American Greetings Hires Karen Vermeulen, Revamps Internal Licensing, Entertainment Teams

ResizedAGPLogoAmerican Greetings Properties (AGP), the intellectual property and outbound licensing division of American Greetings Corporation, is revamping its licensing, entertainment, digital, and distribution teams, starting with the hire of former longtime Zodiak Kids executive Karen Vermeulen. Vermeulen joins AGP as its new head of global sales and co-productions, and will initially be based out of London.
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Q&A with Geoffrey Greenberg, Co-President, Just Play

JustPlay.GeoffreyGreenbergThe Toy Book (TTB): How do you use 3-D printing in your research and development? Will you incorporate 3-D printing into your consumer offerings in the future?

Geoffrey Greenberg (GG): We use 3-D printing extensively in our development process. The quick turnarounds enable for faster approvals and the ability to make changes as needed without a long wait. A designer can be much more precise when working with a printed sample, and it helps move the development process along more quickly. [Read more...]

Just Play Partners with MEG Toys to Relaunch Puppy In My Pocket

JustPlaylogoJust Play and MEG Toys have signed a master toy licensing deal for the Puppy In My Pocket property for North America, South America, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. Under the agreement, Just Play will manufacture and distribute figures, accessories, and play sets based on MEG Toys’ evergreen brand of collectible, pocket-sized puppies. [Read more...]

Disney Expands Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Merchandise Ahead of the Holiday Season

GG-408-1.EM Product Shot[2]Following the box office success of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Disney Consumer Products will launch new toys for the holiday season. The product release will coincide with the DVD and Blu-Ray launch of the film on December 9.

The new toy and collectible lineup will include KIDdesigns‘ Dancing Groot toy. Other key products include Funko‘s POP! Marvel: Dancing Groot Bobble-head, Funko’s Fabrikations Guardians of the Galaxy–Rocket Raccoon collectible, Hot Wheels‘ Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon Character Cars, Just Play’s Rocket Raccoon Plush, and Dragon Models’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Star-Lord Model Kit.

Toys “R” Us Announces Thanksgiving Weekend Doorbusters, Special Deals for Rewards “R” Us Members

toysrusOn Thanksgiving weekend, Toys “R” Us will offer more than $8,000 in potential toy savings to holiday shoppers. Toys “R” Us stores nationwide will open at 5 p.m. on November 27, and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., 4-hour doorbuster deals will include discounts on Disney Infinity Starter Packs and figures; Skylanders Trap Team Starter Packs, figures, and Traps; the V-Tech InnoTab 3S Connect; Frozen Jumbo Olaf Plush, from Just Play; and more.

Meanwhile, selected deals available on November 28 from 7 a.m. through November 29, as well as online at toysrus.com, include buy one, get one for 40 percent off on Disney Infinity and Skylanders Trap Team items, certain Disney Frozen toys, and more.

Toys “R” Us will also provide exclusive, early access to Black Friday deals on more than 100 items, both in-store and online, to Rewards “R” Us members beginning November 23. Not only can Rewards “R” Us members accumulate points on their purchases, those points can be applied to Toys “R” Us shopping into the new year.

In addition, throughout November and December, “R”Us credit cardholders are eligible to receive discounts off Toys “R” Us purchases when using their “R”Us credit card in-store on Thursdays, including Thanksgiving. Through December 20, existing cardholders can also save 10 percent every Saturday when they use their “R”Us credit card in-store.

Finally, the majority of Toys “R” Us Thanksgiving Weekend deals will be available starting on November 26 at 10 p.m. ET at toysrus.com/blackfriday.

AG Properties and Just Play Launch New Care Bears Toy Line

JustPlay.CareBearsA new partnership between AG Properties (AGP) and Just Play will bring an all-new Care Bears toy line to major retail outlets this fall. The Just Play toy line will feature plush, as well as an assortment of Care Bears figures and play sets that will give children the chance to create special connections and enjoy make-believe adventures.

Arriving at U.S. retailers nationwide in September, the line will feature Cheer Bear, Funshine Bear, Share Bear, Harmony Bear, Tenderheart Bear, and Grumpy Bear, all of which help teach kids about emotions, empathy and caring. The Just Play toys extend an expansive Care Bears consumer reach across multiple categories.

Marvel Launches Collection Inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy

Sept5GuardiansMarvel Entertainment, in conjunction with Disney Consumer Products, has unveiled a product collection to celebrate the new film, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Licensees for the products include Hasbro, Lego, Disguise, Hot Wheels, Her Universe, Café Press, Mad Engine, Just Play, KidDesigns, Rubie’s, C-Life, Jay Franco, and the Disney Store. Products in the line include action figures, plush, play sets, role play, costumes, and ’80s nostalgia-inspired lifestyle products.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy products are available now at national retailers, specialty stores, Marvel.com, Disney store locations nationwide, and DisneyStore.com. The movie opens in theaters on August 1.

COMMENTARY: Disney’s Frozen Toys Will Melt Your Heart

The thing that I like most about Disney’s Frozen was that it played with the idea of a typical Disney Princess movie. It touches on the idea of falling in love and being engaged within hours of meeting each other and changes the way the audience thinks about typical princesses and princes. There is, of course, a curse that’s lifted by “an act of true love,” but this act comes from (spoiler alert!) one of sisterly love rather than romantic love. A lot of the plot is focuses on the two royal sisters, Anna and Elsa, and the animation is so spectacular as it brings this truly magical story to life.

To go along with this great movie, Mattel has introduced an entire line of toys that capture the lively, magical spirit of Frozen. With quirky characters (Olaf!), Frozen quickly becomes a new Disney favorite, and the toys are sure to have the same effect on any toy box.

MusicalDollsOne of my favorite toys from this line is the Disney Frozen Musical Magic Elsa and Anna Dolls. These dolls feature glittery and glamorous gowns, but I think also do a fantastic job of capturing the familial bonds that are so important to the movie’s story. When kids hold the dolls hands, the dolls hold each other’s hands, OR you create a circle of humans and dolls holding hands, Anna and Elsa magically light up and play enchanting music. [Read more...]

Disney Releases New Frozen Product Collection

FrozenproductsTo commemorate the release of Walt Disney Animation Studios‘ film Frozen, Disney Consumer Products (DCP) will release a diverse new product collection of role-play items, plush stuffed animals, dolls, and more. These products are available now from Mattel, Just Play, and other licensees at mass retailers nationwide, as well as at Disney Store and DisneyStore.com.

Disney’s Frozen chronicles the epic quest of fearless Anna to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Highlights from Disney’s Frozen product line include:

  • Disney Frozen Musical Magic Elsa and Anna Dolls, from Mattel: When kids hold their hands—or when they hold each other’s hands—the dolls magically light up and play enchanting music.
  • Disney Frozen Pull Apart and Talkin’ Olaf, from Just Play: Olaf’s nose, head, and torso all temporarily separate and then safely rejoin, recreating memorable moments from the film. Plush Olaf also says funny phrases from the movie.
  • Frozen Rolling Travel Trunk, from Jakks Pacific: Kids can dress up like Anna and Elsa with two beautiful dresses and tons of accessories, then pack everything up and roll the trunk to their next destination.
  • Frozen Storybook Deluxe, from Disney Publishing: In Disney Publishing’s digital Storybook Deluxe app, Elsa and Anna retell the animated feature Frozen from two points of view.
  • Frozen: A Sister More Like Me by Disney Publishing: A jacketed picture book featuring an original story about Anna and Elsa, as well as illustrations by one of the artists who worked on the film.
  • Frozen Big Golden Book by Random House: An illustrated hardcover Big Golden Book based on the film, suitable for kids ages 3 to 7.

COMMENTARY: Doc McStuffins Means More for Girls than Barbie

DOCBAG14107289When I was a kid, my mom worried about my sister’s obsessive interest in Barbie dolls and various baby dolls—not that there is anything wrong with these little girl staples. I think she just wanted to make sure that Anna understood that there was more to look forward to than having babies, looking like Barbie, and finding her Ken. When we got a little older, we had a board game called Mystery Date, where the sole objective was to find your perfect cutie for a mystery date. Similar to this was Dream Phone, a game that revolved around calling every boy in the deck of playing cards until you found Mr. Right. Maybe, though, rock bottom was Mall Madness, a game in which the winner is the girl who finds the best sale at the mall. And our parents wonder why we were boy-crazed teenagers who most loved to frequent the mall, meanwhile our brother, Jesse, is attending medical school—I blame my parents.

McstuffinsThere’s a new toy that really got me thinking about this: Doc McStuffins Get Better Check-Up Center, from Just Play, based on the Doc McStuffins series, from Disney Junior. This center includes 10 pieces that will make kids wish they were in the medical field. It’s perfect for role play—this time as a doctor, not a boy-crazy professional shopper. The set includes Lambie, featured in Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins series, and she will play patient to Doc McStuffins, activating sounds and phrases. There is a light-up x-ray machine, a movable scale, a growth chart, and a Band-Aid dispenser. This set could keep kids busy for hours, and it includes lights and sound for Doc McStuffins diagnosis. [Read more...]