Disney Consumer Products Launches Multi-Platform Keys to the Kingdom Campaign this Fall

Disney Royal Celebrations app is available now.

Disney Royal Celebrations app is available now.

Disney Consumer Products will launch Keys to the Kingdom, a multi-platform experience that will drive awareness and excitement for new Disney Princess product offerings across multiple categories at retail. Disney Princess fans will have the opportunity to unlock music videos, special content, and app extensions through activations across retail that celebrate the inner qualities of the Disney Princess characters. [Read more...]

Q&A with Mattel: Social Media, 3-D Printing, and More

logo_Mattel logoThe Toy Book (TTB): In what new ways are you using social media to correspond directly with consumers?

Mattel: We engage with consumers across all brand and corporate social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as retailer sites, like Wal-Mart and Kohl’s. At Mattel, we have a fully functioning reporting and engineering team dedicated to understanding what the consumer is saying and turning that data into actionable improvements for both our manufacturing and design process.

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Highlights, Mega Brands Prove a Great Fit for New Puzzles Partnership

MEGA+Branks+logoHighlights for Children and Mega Brands Inc. have entered a multi-year licensing partnership to develop a new line of puzzles. The collaboration will feature Highlights’ Hidden Pictures illustrations and other classic photos on Mega Brands’ line of engaging puzzles for kids.

“We are so excited to join forces with Highlights in bringing their characters, puzzles, graphic content, and stories into the world of puzzle building,” said Wendy Martin, director of puzzles and games for Mega Brands. “Children of all ages will embrace the Highlights line of easy-to-challenging puzzle products.”

COMMENTARY: Toy Fair 2015 Shows Off Toymakers’ Tech-Savvy Side

The Meccanoid G15 KS, from Spin Master

We all know that kids are more tech-savvy at the age of 2 than most of us will ever be. Living in the digital age comes instinctively for kids, and the fact that they have the ability to understand and use technology so early on lets toy manufacturers create some really, really cool tech toys for kids of all ages. Below is a roundup of favorite tech-y playthings from North American International Toy Fair, in no particular order:
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Q&A with Sharon DiMinico, Founder and CEO, Learning Express

Learning Express.sharonThe Toy Book (TTB): How are Learning Express retailers engaging consumers in-store to drive sales?

Sharon DiMinico (SD): Every month, our stores publish a full calendar of events to draw people into the store. We engage, we entertain, and we have product demonstrations. We also offer classes, costumed character appearances, and featured guests (silhouette artists, musicians, authors, etc.). We learned early on that customer-centric services and the “wow” factor would be the only way to compete with buying toys online from the comfort of your home. [Read more...]

Toy Industry Association (TIA) Elects New Leadership at Annual General Meeting

TIAAt its annual general meeting held on Monday, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the election of three new members to the TIA Board of Directors for two-year terms of office expiring in February of 2017. Nominated to serve their first terms on the TIA Board were Kerry Cunnion, senior vice president of sales at Tomy International; Howard Kahn, chairman of Madame Alexander and CEO of Kahn Lucas; and Bruce Raiffe, president of Gund. [Read more...]

Christine Kelly to Head Toy and Game Initiatives for National Geographic’s Brand Licensing Division

ChristineKellyNational Geographic has named Christine Kelly as its director of licensing, toys, and games for National Geographic’s Brand Licensing division. In this new role, she has been tasked with National Geographic’s toy business—both licensing and strategic retail partnerships. She will oversee marketing, retail strategy and product development, including new franchises. [Read more...]

American Girl Partners with Fashion Angels on Arts and Crafts Licensing Deal

AmericanGirlOn Friday, American Girl announced a licensing agreement with Fashion Angels, a designer of tween girls’ lifestyle and activity products, to create trend-right and fashion-focused arts and crafts products. The new line will be available this fall at mass retailers nationwide and will include activity kits, fashion sketchbooks, and Do-It-Yourself craft kits for girls to create accessories for themselves and their American Girl dolls.

Mattel and Google Re-Imagining Iconic View-Master Toy

ViewMaster,GoogleAt the North American International Toy Fair in New York today, Mattel Inc. unveiled a collaboration with Google that gives the iconic View-Master toy a 21st century twist. With the new View-Master that works with Google Cardboard, Mattel is developing an immersive digital experience for kids.

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COMMENTARY: Disney Frozen Poised to Dominate Again, or, We Welcome Our New Toy Overlords from Arendelle

FrozenFever2It’s the age of Frozen, and not just because of this freezing weather we’ve been having.

If you work in the toy industry, you’re probably familiar with Disney Frozen as a powerhouse license. According to data from The NPD Group, it was the top gainer among all toy properties last year, generating $531 million in toy sales across more than 39 categories. This is well and good for the toy companies fortunate enough to have partnered up with Team Elsa. On the flip side, if recent events are any indication, not having the license for Disney Frozen has the potential to be hazardous. [Read more...]