Disney Consumer Products will unveil unique product experiences and exclusive merchandise at this year’s D23 Expo, scheduled for the Anaheim Convention Center from August 14 to 16. This year’s expo will provide interactive opportunities and products featuring Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars.
D23 Expo to Offer Sneak Peek of Playmation Marvel’s Avengers, Miles from Tomorrowland Toys, and More
This article first appeared in the May/June 2015 issue of The Toy Book.
Barnes & Noble is the largest retail bookseller in the U.S., with nearly 650 stores nationwide, as well as a thriving web presence. But in recent years, the bookstore chain has also been expanding its non-book offerings, balancing out shelves of New York Times bestsellers with educational toys, games, and collectibles.
by Reyne Rice, trend hunter, toy trend expert, industry analyst, and consultant
Smart tech for kids is no longer buzzword lingo. It has become a reality and has grown to encompass so much more than just technology added to toys to make them interesting or “tech-y.” Today, kids’ technology-enhanced products offer engaging and explorative play patterns that span a wide spectrum of categories. And while there are new technologies being used in these toys, the thrill is in the play experience, not in the technology itself. New technology enhances and extends play patterns way beyond how kids were playing in past decades. Plus, parents, older siblings, caregivers, and educators are all using new technology that companies are translating into toys and tech products for kids’ worldwide.
Mattel has been named the master toy partner for Dinotrux, an upcoming Netflix original series. The toy line will be inspired by the series to connect the unique dinosaur personalities of the characters and bring them to life with construction and vehicle play patterns.
Dinotrux takes place in a prehistoric world filled with creatures that are half-dinosaur and half-construction vehicle. It follows the adventures of Ty and his friend Revvit as they unite to defend their new community from destruction.
The Apples to Apples mobile game, from Mattel, has launched in the App Store and is available for download on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Players can experience the same fun as the original card game on the go. Features include classic gameplay optimized for mobile devices, multiplayer games in real time, social media integration, trading card combinations, and various card-pack themes
Nearly 150 volunteers from the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (CASA) gave gift packages to 7,000 foster children in need throughout Southern California as part of the TIF’s annual Play Your Part event. Forty-one companies from the toy industry participated in the event, including Funrise Toy Corp., Jakks Pacific, Mattel, Patch Products, Tomy International, and VTech Electronics North America, as Big Heart and Specialty level event sponsors.
Having recently been promoted to the position of president of Toy State, it seemed like a good time to sit down with Andy Friess to talk about the state of his company, its high-profile sponsorship agreement with Tommy Baldwin Racing, its upcoming plans for the R/C brand, Nikko, and more.
The Toy Book (TTB): How important are new licensing agreements to the growth of Toy State?
Andy Friess (AF): Licensing plays a major role in our success. With the competition so tough in all toy categories, securing rights to strong licenses can provide the point-of-difference that separates us from our competitors. Toy State’s history of developing products featuring the highest levels of quality and innovation has been a great “selling” tool as we seek new licensing opportunities. We’ve been extremely fortunate to work with a core of outstanding global licensors, and these relationships have been instrumental to the successes we have achieved over our 30-plus-year history. The 13-year, multi-category relationship with Caterpillar has been the foundation of our licensing efforts.
Wonder Workshop has appointed Raghu Sethuraman as COO and Ned Ward as vice president of marketing. Sethuraman will lead global operations, finance, customer service, and reseller partner organizations. He brings more than 16 years of leadership experience to Wonder Workshop from fast growing global e-commerce, supply chain, manufacturing, finance, and customer service organizations including Amazon.
Mattel Inc. has appointed Joseph B. Johnson to senior vice president and corporate controller, effective immediately. Johnson joins Mattel from Chiquita Brands International Inc., where he served as vice president, chief accounting officer, and treasurer. Previously, he held a number of leadership roles with Resolute Forest Products, an international wood and paper products company, including senior vice president, finance, and chief accounting officer.
Johnson succeeds Scott Topham, who has elected to retire from Mattel.