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...]

Batman Unlimited, DC Super Friends Animated Content to Debut Following Successful Toy Lines

BatmanUnlimited1Warner Bros. Consumer Products, DC Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Animation have created a wave of new content inspired by toy lines from Mattel and Fisher-Price. Batman Unlimited, based on Mattel’s new toy line, will launch later this year with new made-for-video movies and shorts that will extend the play experience for kids. DC Superfriends, inspired by the Fisher-Price Imaginext toy line, will offer content as a series of shorts. Both lines will debut in the spring. [Read more...]

Barbie Makes Superhero Debut at Spielwarenmesse 2015

Barbie(TM) Takes to the Skies With a Daring Stunt at World's Biggest Toy FairFor the first time in Mattel‘s 56-year history, Barbie pulled out a cape and mask to transform into a modern day superhero. During a stunt at Spielwarenmesse 2015 in Nuremberg, Barbie demonstrated new superpowers and took to the skies as part of a new superhero persona. [Read more...]

Bryan Stockton Resigns as Chairman and CEO of Mattel, Christopher Sinclair Named Chairman and Interim CEO

logo_Mattel logoChristopher A. Sinclair has been named the chairman and interim CEO of Mattel, effective immediately. The company also announced that Bryan G. Stockton has resigned as Mattel’s chairman and CEO and resigned from the board of directors. [Read more...]