The Toy Industry Foundation collected thousands of dollars worth of brand-new toys and games for children in need at the close of ToyFest West on March 11, according to the Toy Industry Association. This year marked the Foundation’s first time as the official partner for the Western Toy and Hobby Representatives Association’s annual Las Vegas show.
K’NEX Brands is introducing Mighty Makers, a line of construction toys designed to empower girls through creative and stimulating building ideas. An all-female marketing and design team created the new building sets, intended for girls ages 7 and up, to encourage science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) learning.
The sets include colorful rods, connectors, panels, an exploration card for additional educational fun, and engaging story-based instructions that follow the life of a female character included in the set. The Mighty Makers line features the topics of aviation, going green, amusement park rides, making a home, and exploring the depths of the ocean.
K’NEX has promoted Rachel Robbins to vice president, legal affairs and general counsel. Hired in 2013, Robbins previously served as associate general counsel for K’NEX Brands, and prior to joining K’NEX, she was a partner in the Commercial Litigation group of the law firm Cozen O’Connor.
In her new position, Robbins will provide legal counsel to company management and business teams as to commercial relationships, as well as all general corporate matters, including contracts, employment, regulatory, and intellectual property.
K’NEX Brands, in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products, has released its first line of officially licensed building toys inspired by the animated comedy series Family Guy. The new product line combines the K’NEX building system with iconic characters and elements from the TV show, and is suitable for kids ages 8 and up.
Buildable Family Guy figure two-packs come in Brian & Meg, Stewie & Lois, and Peter & Chris Buildable Figures. Family Guy: Stewie and Time Machine Building Set includes a buildable Stewie figure dressed in his pajamas, as well as enough K’NEX rods, connectors, and bricks to build his time machine complete with working door. Family Guy: Peter and Station Wagon Building Set includes a buildable Peter figure dressed in his work suit, and enough K’NEX pieces to build a moving replica of the family’s red station wagon, which has a work seat for Peter.
K’NEX Brands Grants Learning Resources Ltd. K’NEX Education Distribution Rights in China and Hong Kong
Learning Resources Ltd. has been named the authorized reseller of K’NEX Education products in the PRC. Learning Resources also has the non-exclusive rights to sell popular K’NEX retail sets including the 6 Foot Ferris Wheel, 6 Foot Double Ferris Wheel, Grandfather Clock, and the Son of Serpent Coaster. The agreement between K’NEX and Learning Resources runs through next year.
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has opened its annual ballot to determine the next inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The voting period will extend to September 13. This year’s candidates were chosen from a slate of 24 highly-qualified nominees submitted for consideration by members of the Hall of Fame (HOF) Committee. All of the nominees left notable marks on the North American toy industry.
Living candidates for induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame included:
- Jill Barad, former CEO, Mattel
- Horst Brandstätter, president and sole owner, PLAYMOBIL/geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG
- Thomas Chan, chairman and CEO, Playmates Toys Inc.
- Joel Glickman, founder, K’NEX Brands
- Bruce Raiffe, president, Gund, division of Enesco, LLC
Candidates for posthumous induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame included:
- Jack Friedman, former chairman, CEO, and co-founder, Jakks Pacific
- Harvey Greenfield, chairman of the board, Commonwealth Toy & Novelty Co. Inc.
- Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr, co-founders of Wham-O Toy
Responses are due by September 13. Designated points of contact at TIA member companies, former Hall of Fame inductees, and recent TIA Board members are invited to rank their choices in the living and posthumous categories.
The inductees will be honored during the Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards ceremony on February 15 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which officially launches Toy Fair Week in New York City.
Nostalgia is a growing trend in the toy and licensing industry, but recently many classic brands have been given a modern reboot. The modernized take on classic brands offer fun for consumers both young and old, spanning generations and providing licensees with multiple new opportunities. Today, some modernized takes on old favorites live along side their predecessors.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT), for example, launched in the 1980s. A huge, revolutionary boys’ property, the brand was given a reboot last year when a new TMNT animated series launched in September on Nickelodeon. The brand has seen massive success in the toy industry, with partners including Playmates Toys with a full line of figures and play sets, bubbles and water toys from Little Kids, and awesome electronics from Sakar International, including adorable TMNT earbuds. In addition to producing toys based on the new animated series, Playmates Toys also offers a classic collection including all four turtles, which reflects the look of the characters in the original series. [Read more...]