China Toy Fair


MGA Entertainment Adds Three Senior Members

MGAMGA Entertainment Inc. (MGA) has added three new senior members to its leadership team: Bruce Morrison, executive vice president of sales and licensing; Efren Gonzalez, vice president of advertising and public relations; and Ame Cameron, vice president of marketing.

Morrison will focus on strengthening critical business relationships with MGA’s key retailers, licensees, and distribution partners in the U.S. and abroad. He will also serve an important strategic role in the areas of retail marketing, business development, and product planning in the global arena. Morrison most recently held the position of senior vice president retail sales for Disney Consumer Products (DCP) North America.

Gonzalez joins MGA after 11 years with Ogilvy & Mather, where he was most recently a senior partner and executive group director. He will fuel the creation of integrated programs for each MGA brand.

Cameron spent the past two and half years with Walmart Marketing. As vice president of marketing, she will leverage her consumer packaged goods background to infuse strategic business leadership into branding and marketing initiatives across MGA product lines. The MGA family includes such toy brands such as Little Tikes, Lalaloopsy, and 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.

WIT Accepts Nominations for 2014 Wonder Women Awards

WITAwardsWomen in Toys (WIT) is accepting nominations for the 10th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment Awards. Winners will be announced at an awards dinner scheduled for February 17 during Toy Fair Week. The awards program recognizes and celebrates leaders, innovators, and other powerful women who have made lasting contributions to the toy and entertainment industries.

Industry stakeholders are invited to nominate a co-worker, client, associate, family member, or acquaintance for consideration in one or more of the following categories: designer/inventor, licensing and entertainment, manufacturer, rising star, marketing PR, and retailer. Nominations may be submitted online, and tickets are currently available for purchase at the WIT site.

The awards dinner will take place at Pier Sixty and The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

Walt Disney Co. and EA Announce Multi-Year Star Wars Game Agreement

The Walt Disney Co. and Electronic Arts Inc. announced a new multi-year exclusive licensing agreement to develop and publish globally new games based on Star Wars characters and storylines. Under the agreement, EA will develop and publish new Star Wars titles for a core gaming audience, spanning all interactive platforms and popular game genres, while Disney will retain certain rights to develop new titles within the mobile, social, tablet, and online game categories.

EA Labels President Frank Gibeau says that three of EA’s top studios will be creating games for the Star Wars brand. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining BioWare, which will continue to develop games for the Star Wars franchise. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

TIA’s Bossard Talks Licensing at Toy Fair

by Marian Bossard, vice president of meetings and events, Toy Industry Association (TIA)

If I had a dollar for every key industry contact that told us the concept of a licensing showcase during American International Toy Fair was nothing short of brilliant, I would have at least $10. Maybe even $12.

After all, what isn’t right about endeavoring to create a “Licensing Upfront” for brand and property owners when all the right people with all the right innovation, influence, and interest are already in New York City for Toy Fair? And, what could be off the mark about bringing together an audience of Madison Avenue marketers, manufacturers from around the world, mass market and independent retailers, and critically important global media available only in New York City? The short answer is nothing. But the short answer just kind of falls short of telling the story.

A venture like this requires that you start with a clear objective, but just as important is the need to remain flexible and open to modification along the way. As it turned out, even with high levels of interest, the formats that prevailed were the small meetings with key partners, invitation-only breakfasts and cocktail receptions, and brand and property exposure through traditional advertising and promotional opportunities. So, while Toy Fair won’t be seeing “big screen showcases” this year, we are pleased that we have provided just the right solutions for these stakeholders’ needs.

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The Wish Factory Named Toy Licensee for Singer Cody Simpson

The Wish Factory has been named toy licensee for the Cody Simpson brand through a strategic licensing agreement with Atlantic Records. Cody Simpson is an Australian-born singer and songwriter who recently released his EP Coast to Coast, featuring singles “On My Mind” and “Not Just You.” Simpson ranked No. 13 on Billboard’s 21 Under 21: Music’s Hottest Minors for 2011.

The Wish Factory’s deal covers dolls, figures, play sets, key chains, plush koalas, concert kits, play-dance mats, and guitars. The initial line of fashion dolls will be available exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores and online at Toysrus.com this holiday season. The line will expand to other mass-market retailers in the spring and next fall.

For more information on Cody Simpson licensing opportunities, contact Sara Nemerov of Warner Music Group at sara.nemerov@wmg.com.

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Moshi Monsters Signs 100th Partner

Mind Candy announced its “monstrous” licensing program for Moshi Monsters at Brand Licensing Europe. Mind Candy has more than 40 UK licensees on board and another 60 signed internationally.

For the UK, licensees for Moshi Monsters include Vivid as master toy partner, Penguin for publishing, Topps for trading cards, Winning Moves for Top Trumps, Ty for Beanie Babies, Activision for Nintendo DS, Mega Brands for construction blocks, E-max for claybuddies, Gemma International for greeting cards and party wear, H Grossman for wheeled products, and more. The U.S. program now has more than 50 partners for softlines, toys and games, hardlines, publishing, novelty, activity, back-to-school, and celebration, with more category announcements coming soon.

Moshi Monsters has also announced that a court injunction has banned the planned release of a music single from one of its Moshling characters, Lady Goo Goo. The injunction was granted to Lady Gaga, preventing Mind Candy from “promoting, advertising, selling, distributing, or otherwise making available to the public ‘The Moshi Dance’ or any musical work or video which purports to be performed by a character by the name of Lady Goo Goo.” Lady Gaga’s lawyers argued that the pop star and character singer were too similar.

Webisodes for Lalaloopsy

MGA Entertainment has announced that its Lalaloopsy doll line, which was a huge hit over the holidays, will have its own webisodes. The webisodes will air on the Lalaloopsy website, YouTube, and other social media outlets. In October 2011, Lalaloopsy will premiere on Nickelodeon, and Lionsgate will distribute a DVD.
Additionally, the company announced that it has signed on a raft of new licensees, which will extend the brand into many categories of consumer products, including video games, apparel, publishing, back-to-school, social expressions, and costumes. Future plans include additions to the toy line, filmed and live entertainment, and an immersive website for kids.
Lalaloopsy are collectible, magical dolls that came to life when their very last stitch was sewn. Each comes with its own pet and background story based on the fabrics used to make their clothing.