China Toy Fair


License to Build: Familiar Properties Fill Up the Shelves of the Construction Aisle

This article was originally published in the July/August 2014 issue of The Toy Book. To read the entire digital issue, click here.

The construction play pattern has always allowed kids to create buildable worlds and adventures straight from their imaginations. But with a recent surge of licensed toys entering the category, kids are able to build more and more familiar worlds based on their favorite existing properties. According to The NPD Group, dollar sales of licensed building sets grew by 6 percent from 2011 to 2013. As the world becomes more multi-media driven, licensed properties are deeply integrated into kids’ daily lives. Established building toy companies, as well as those looking to get their feet wet in the category, are jumping on the bandwagon with characters and environments that are already a staple among kids—and even collectors. [Read more...]

Mega Brands Partners With Shriners Hospital for Children

mega brands logoMega Brands has partnered with Shriners Hospital for Children in Canada and pledged half a million dollars to the hospital’s Exceptional Care for Exceptional Kids campaign. In addition, Mega Brands recently launched a custom-made limited edition Mega Bloks First Builders Block Buddy fundraising toy, Loveable Lucas, at the June 6 International Shriners Day celebration event in Ottawa.

Mega Brands will also provide Mega Bloks toys and decorations for the new hospital’s Child Life playroom. The construction of the children’s hospital began last spring and will be complete next year.

Mega Brands, Mattel Donate Over $70,000 to Autism Speaks Canada

DonationMegaMega Brands Inc. has donated $72,000 to Autism Speaks Canada in support of Autism Awareness Month. The donation was presented at the 2014 Walk Now for Autism Speaks event in Montreal, which helps fund autism treatment, education, research, and advocacy throughout the country. Mega Brands was also the local presenting sponsor of the event.

The money was raised during April when Mega Brands pledged to donate one dollar for every Mega Bloks toy sold by Toys “R” Us Canada both in stores and online. This generated over $20,000 in proceeds. Philanthropic donors also contributed $29,000 to the pledge amount.

Mega Brands employees raised an additional $10,000 in donations through bake sales and auctions, an amount that was matched by Mattel.

COMMENTARY: Kids Can Safely Get Behind the Wheel with New Ride-Ons

It’s difficult to recall when I first began dreaming about getting my driver’s license. Sure, there was that one time I accidentally shifted my parents’ car into neutral and rolled it out of the driveway (sorry again, Mom), but even at a young age, I had a desire to drive.Barbie Jeep

The first ride-on I instantly became obsessed with was my friend’s Power Wheels Barbie Jeep, circa 1990-something. It was love at first sight and I just had to have it. It was battery-operated, so I could just push down the pedal and go. It even had a roomy passenger seat, which was perfect for driving around my younger brothers and sister–and I probably tried to get my cat in it with me, too. [Read more...]

Mega Brands Returns as Presenting Sponsor of Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Light it Up Blue was launched by Autism Speaks in 2010 in support of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), which takes place on April 2. Mega Bloks Lights It Up Blue in celebration of World Autism Awareness Day and encourages others to do the same in showing their support!

Light it Up Blue was launched by Autism Speaks in 2010 in support of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), which takes place on April 2. Mega Bloks Lights It Up Blue in celebration of World Autism Awareness Day and encourages others to do the same in showing their support!

Mega Brands Inc. has partnered with Autism Speaks Canada, Toys “R” Us Canada, and local autistic groups to launch three exciting initiatives in support of the cause. For the fourth consecutive year, Mega Bloks returns as the presenting sponsor of the 2014 Walk Now for Autism Speaks event, scheduled for May 25 at the McGill University Tomlinson Fieldhouse in Montreal.

Meanwhile, as a fundraising measure, Mega Bloks has joined forces with Toys “R” Us Canada, pledging to donate $1 of every Mega Bloks toy sold in-store and online in Canada throughout the month of April to Autism Speaks Canada. In addition, Mega Bloks has invited local autistic organizations to tour its Montreal headquarters every Friday during April to learn more about the therapeutic benefits of Mega Bloks toys.

More information about the Walk Now for Autism Speaks event can be found at the organization’s website.

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...]

Mattel to Acquire Mega Brands

logo_Mattel logoMattel Inc. and Mega Brands Inc. have signed a definitive agreement for Mattel’s acquisition, through a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel Inc., of Mega Brands for $460 million.

The acquisition advances Mattel’s global growth strategy of building upon its world-class portfolio of brands by expanding into two of the fastest-growing toy categories. Mega Brands is the No. 2 player in the $4 billion construction building sets category with its Mega Bloks brand, as well as a competitor in the $2 billion arts and crafts category.

mega brands logoMattel’s portfolio of brands will complement Mega Brands’ flagship Mega Bloks brand and existing licensed brands, including Halo, Skylanders, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Power Rangers, Hello Kitty, and SpongeBob SquarePants. The acquisition will give Mattel the opportunity to broaden its relationship with its entertainment partners.

Mega Brands ranks among the top 15 toy companies globally in terms of sales, according to statistics published by The NPD Group last year. Additionally, the company achieved record sales of preschool construction toys. [Read more...]

Mega Bloks Brings the Holiday Spirit to Quebec

LudovicaMinilandMega Brands, which is based in Montreal, Quebec, is celebrating the start of the holiday season with a number of local events.

The company is kicking off the holidays on November 23 at this year’s Destination Centre-ville Santa Claus Parade with a giant, 48-foot float with a full Winter Wonderland theme. The Mega Bloks team will be on-hand greeting spectators and handing out gifts to kids throughout the event, which will feature Mega Bloks Halo, Mega Bloks Hot Wheels, and Mega Bloks Barbie. In addition, Mega Bloks’ all-new mascot, MEGA Man, will be making his first appearance.

Mega Bloks will also sponsor Ludovica Miniland, a compilation of more than 600 reproductions of buildings and iconic monumental structures from around the globe, completely built out of Mega Bloks. Ludovica Miniland is on display from November 22 to next January, at the Grand Marché de Wickham in Quebec.

Finally, as part of its yearly mid-December tradition, Mega Bloks has extended invitations to groups of children from the Sun Youth Organization, as well as the Generations Foundation, to come meet Santa Claus, visit the Mega Bloks factory, and personally receive a special Mega Bloks gift from Santa himself.

Mega Bloks, Activision Introduce New Call of Duty Collector Construction Sets

MegaBloks.CallofDutyMega Brands Inc. and Activision Publishing Inc. have introduced a new premium line of Mega Bloks Collector Construction Sets, based on the Call of Duty franchise. The new line brings a level of sophistication and detail never before seen in the highly collectible construction category.

Call of Duty Collector Construction Sets are part of a multi-year, global license with Activision that expands upon the two companies’ development of innovative, creative, and entertaining construction collectibles. The sets offer a range that includes buildable vehicles, themed locations, and collectible micro action figures. The action figures feature a level of articulation that includes unique joint design and poseability.

Musical Toys: An Inspiration to Pursue the Art

by Rachel Matthews, guest blogger

Not too long ago, the Kidz Bop kids found their way performing at venues in New York and New Jersey. Their collection of poppy, top 40 covers has allowed them to produce dozens of compilation albums, launch a U.S. star search, release books, video games, and toys.

The line-up of the group is in constant rotation as each member ages. Because of this rotation, many a child beg their parents for a singing lesson—especially in New York—after seeing a Kidz Bop performance. The chances of becoming a member is hard pressed as detailed by this young musician, but the combination of their U.S. talent search and brand gives hope to many children within the States.

Of course, aiming to sing for a band such as Kidz Bop is only part of what’s driving up sales in music -parents must by music-related toys to help further their children’s ambitions.

[Read more...]