China Toy Fair


Mattel’s BOOMco Set to Blast Off!

BC_LogoMattel has released BOOMco, a new line of blasters available in select markets, including the UK, France, and Benelux. International market rollouts will continue over the next few months, with a North America debut in July timed for summer.

For BOOMco, Mattel is introducing the Smart Stick system, a dart and target system to go with amped-up blasters. With Smart Stick, darts can only bond to Smart Stick surfaces, and integrated blaster shields—which can retract or be removed—deflect or collect opponents’ darts. Targets in the Smart Stick system feature loud graphics so kids can easily see how true their aim is.

BOOMco Rapid Madness

BOOMco Rapid Madness

BOOMco blasters feature air blast performance that is 100-percent kid-powered, and have an adrenaline-inspired design. Blasters include the Twisted Spinner, which includes a 310-degree rotating barrel that can blast darts up to 70 feet away; fast-acting, push-button transformable shields; and 8 Smart Stick darts and a Smart Stick target. Meanwhile, the Rapid Madness is an air-powered blaster that can fling 20 Smart Stick darts in seconds, and has the capability of blasting up to 50 feet away. The Rapid Madness includes a quick push-button, removable transforming Smart Stick shield for the catch and defense of darts, and 30 darts. Both the Twisted Spinner and Rapid Madness are recommended for kids ages 6 and older.

BOOMco will be supported by a strong digital presence in which fans can continuously engage and interact on popular platforms. A YouTube channel will offer blaster-in-action videos and behind-the-scenes footage. Meanwhile, an Instagram account will feature photos and visual play inspirations. BOOMco will also be issuing monthly challenges to fans that will show fun ways to play with the new blasters. In addition, a mobile app released later this year will feature gaming options and the ability to record and edit action favorite moments.

Updates on the availability of BOOMco products can be found at www.boom-co.com.

Latest Monster High Film Available Now

MonsterHighThe fourth direct-to-DVD Monster High release, Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action! is now available at retailers. Centered on Draculaura, the film introduces new ghouls Elissabat, Honey Swamp, Viperine Gorgon, and Clawdia Wolf.

Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action! is being accompanied by a line of new character themed dolls.

COMMENTARY: Inside the Mega Bloks Factory, Where Innovation Is Their Building Block

March19.MegaBloksFactoryThere’s been a trend of late among North American toy manufacturers to either move manufacturing back home or to stay put entirely. Recently, I had a chance to visit the Mega Bloks factory in Montreal, where Mega Bloks—the signature toys of Mega Brands Inc.—are produced, and it only strengthens the argument not to export toy-making abroad. Jean-Francois Albert, vice president of manufacturing for the company, offered a guided tour that showed off the facility’s various innovations, which keep it cost-effective, even compared to China and other countries that traditionally offer cheap labor. [Read more...]

WWE Slam City Launches with Mattel Toy Line

WWESlamCityMattel Inc. and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) recently launched WWE Slam City, a new kids property that includes a complete line of WWE Slam City merchandise as well as an original animated short-form series co-produced by WWE and Mattel’s Playground Productions. WWE Slam City toys, including action figures, ring sets and more, are currently available at major retail stores. In addition to toys, books and graphic novels will be available by year’s end, while a WWE Slam City mobile game will be in stores next year.

Episodes will be aired on WWESlamCity.com, Cartoonium, and YouTube in addition to TV broadcasts, live events, digital version, and social media. Other platforms include Hulu, Mattel.com, iTunes, and Playstation.

The series was filmed in the next generation of stop-motion animation. A new WWE animated character will fire all of the WWE Superstars and send them to Slam City to find day jobs. The characters, including John Cena, Randy Orton, and Sheamus will have a new lifestyle outside of the ring but will stay true to their personas.

Barbie Is Back in Barbie The Pearl Princess

Barbie the Pearl PrincessBarbie The Pearl Princess, is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD. In her 28th movie to-date, Barbie stars as Lumina, a mermaid with magical powers who dreams of becoming a princess. With the help of her friends, she begins a quest of self-discovery, unlocking her destiny and realizing that anything is possible with the power of friendship. Along with the new film, a line of Barbie The Pearl Princess-themed dolls and toys is currently available at major retailers.

COMMENTARY: Animation Has Long Been a Promotional Vehicle for Toys

BrandonEngel1by Brandon Engel

You’ve likely heard about the massive success of The Lego Movie, and maybe you were even one of the millions worldwide who have gone to see it. Despite its financial success, some have blasted the film for essentially being a glorified, expensive commercial for Legos. I don’t think that anyone can deny that The Lego Movie is obviously commercially motivated, but does that make it wrong? Is it all that different from children’s movies selling toys based on the film?

BrandonEngel2Last Christmas, the Frozen Castle Playset and matching Barbie dolls from the Disney film Frozen were at the top of many children’s lists for Santa. Every time a commercial appeared for the movie or the toy, they advertised each other. Is The Lego Movie any different just because the toy existed before the movie? Here is the bigger question: In an age where almost no image is spared licensing of some form, where does the line get drawn between entertainment and commercial? [Read more...]

WIT Honors Outstanding Business Leaders with 10th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards

At a February 18 dinner attended by more than 400 executives, Women in Toys (WIT) celebrated 10 visionary women business leaders with the 2014 Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards. The award recipients are: Kiyomi Haverly of Mattel, Global Brands; Naz Cuevas of Rovio Entertainment Inc. and Donna Tobin of Hasbro Inc.; Rita Raiffe, design director at Gund; Stefanie Barone of M.Z. Berger & Co.; Susie Lecker of Fisher Price; Michele Litzky of Litzky Public Relations; Joan Packard Luks of The Seranata Group; Christina Jansa of Target; and Debra Sterling of GoldieBlox.

With support from major sponsors including Nickelodeon and Bandai, WIT also granted six scholarships to future toy industry leaders at toy design programs in universities worldwide.

Barbie Has Entrepreneurship and More in Her Future

Entrepreneur BarbieDuring the recent American International Toy Fair in New York City, Mattel offered a preview of what’s to come for one of its most iconic and popular brands. “Anything is possible” was introduced as the new slogan for Barbie, accompanied by an official new Barbie theme performed by Fifth Harmony. It was also announced that this year, after more than 150 careers on her resume, the Barbie Career of the Year doll will celebrate female entrepreneurship.

Looking ahead to the coming months, new Barbie dolls will also focus on hair play, glitter, and supporting the Girl Scouts. [Read more...]

The Year’s Most Outstanding Toys and Games Honored at TOTY Awards

Rainbow LoomOn February 15, the eve of American International Toy Fair, hundreds of toy executives and industry guests gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City for the 14th Annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Rainbow Loom, from Choon’s Design LLC, won Toy of the Year as well as prizes in three additional categories, while GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, from GoldieBlox Inc., took home the People’s Choice award by pulling in the most online votes from consumers.

The event also featured five inductions into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Jill Barad, former chairman and CEO, Mattel; Horst Brandstätter, president and owner, Playmobil/geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG; Jack Friedman, former chairman, CEO, and co-founder, Jakks Pacific; and Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr, co-founders of Wham-O Toy. [Read more...]

Warner Bros. Consumer Products Brings Godzilla-Sized List of Licensees to Toy Fair

WB Consumer ProductsWarner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) enters this year’s American International Toy Fair with an extensive lineup of global licensees in support of its entertainment properties, milestone anniversaries, and upcoming theatrical releases.

Bandai America Inc. and Jakks Pacific Inc. will each support Godzilla, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, with new toy lines. Jakks’ line of Godzilla products will include an Ultimate Large Scale Godzilla Figure with 12 points of articulation and a length of over 43 inches, making it one of the largest toys in Godzilla history. Other worldwide partners include Rubie’s Costume Co., NECA, and Sideshow Collectibles.

WBCP’s toy partners will also release toys and collectibles based on The Hobbit Trilogy. The Bridge Direct and Vivid Group will support the film series with new figures. Additional partners include Eaglemoss, Funko, Kosmos, and Ravensburger.

The Wizard of Oz will celebrate its 75th anniversary with Mattel‘s new line of dolls for The Wizard of Oz Barbie collection. Enesco, Tonner Doll, and Madame Alexander will each offer collectible figures. Warner Bros. will also continue its There’s No Place Like Home campaign in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Gone with the Wind will also mark its 75th anniversary with new collectible figures from Madame Alexander and Tonner Doll. Mattel will offer an anniversary Barbie collection and Enesco will introduce a stone resin figure. [Read more...]