Sweet Suite 2016

NPD Projects U.S. Toy Industry to Grow 6.2 Percent This Year

NPDGrouplogoAccording to The NPD Group, U.S. toy industry sales will grow 6.2 percent, or just over $1 billion, for full-year 2015. The forecast is based on the positive mid-year sales performance of the industry, which grew by 6.5 percent, or about $400 million, through July 4.

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Dynacraft to Host Bike-Themed Family Event at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square

dynacraft-eif-bikerjuicebar-badgeThe last of Dynacraft’s Experiments in Fun events is scheduled to take place in Portland on Saturday. For one day only, kids are invited to wheel over to Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square to find a biker-themed pop-up juice joint, set inside a fully transformed shipping container complete with a temporary tattoo parlor and a karaoke stage.

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Build-A-Bear Debuts Exclusive, Make-Your-Own Plush Minions Collection

BuildABearMinionsBuild-A-Bear has added a line of exclusive, make-your-own plush based on Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Minions, which arrives in theaters on July 10. The collection features Minions Kevin, Stuart, and Bob, and is part of Build-A-Bear’s summer season lineup.

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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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Q&A with Jay Foreman, President and CEO, The Bridge Direct

resized,TheBridge.JayForemanThe Toy Book (TTB): Which licenses do you anticipate will be key drivers in 2015?

Jay Foreman (JF): I think everyone would agree on Marvel’s The Avengers, Frozen, Cinderella, Minions, and Star Wars, along with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; however, there are a few nontraditional brands emerging from toy companies, like Shopkins, that should be considered.
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Jakks Pacific Secures Licensing Agreement for Despicable Me Franchise and Minions

MinionsMovieheaderJakks Pacific Inc. has been granted the rights to manufacture, market, and distribute a line of consumer products based on the Minions from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me franchise, as well as their upcoming film, Minions, which arrives in theaters in July. The licensing agreement, awarded by Universal Partnerships & Licensing, covers inflatable ball pits, wagons, arcade games, The Original Big Wheel, outdoor children’s furniture, and more. These products are expected to launch at North American retailers this spring.

“We are pleased to be a part of the phenomenally successful Despicable Me franchise, and the highly anticipated Minions film, by offering an array of products that feature popular characters from the films,” says Tara Hefter, vice president of licensing, Jakks Pacific Inc. “We are excited to bring a new line of products to these films’ fans.”

Rubie’s Expands Its Dress-Up Line with Marvel, Minions, and More

Imagine by Rubie’s, a toy division of Rubie’s Costume Company Inc., is expanding its offerings with new products and accessories. Available for children in separates and box sets, every unique ensemble provides kids the opportunity to dress-up as their favorite character 365 days of the year.

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Mega Brands Partners with UP&L for Despicable Me Building Sets

DespicableMe.MegaBloksOn Tuesday, Mega Brands Inc. entered a multi-year international licensing partnership with Universal Partnerships & Licensing (UP&L) to develop a new kids construction line based on the Despicable Me franchise from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment.

Due in stores this December, the Mega Bloks Despicable Me construction sets will offer fully buildable characters, locations, and vehicles inspired by Despicable Me 2. The line’s customizable construction sets will include mix-and-match features, such as interchangeable accessories. In addition, each set will feature buildable Minions that are unique to the set, for a variety of Minions to collect, build, and play with.

To launch the line, seven fans will participate in the #MinionMontage Challenge on social media. Fans can visit the Mega Bloks Facebook page to see highlights.

Exclusive Pics from 2014 Licensing Expo

Licensing Expo, the annual meeting place for the global licensing industry, occurred last week in Las Vegas. The exhibitors included a number of the top toy companies, which were on-hand showing off upcoming play products and making announcements about new licensing deals.

Check out this exclusive gallery, which features lots of the licensed toys that we’re all sure to be excited about in the months ahead. [Read more...]

Google’s Zeitgeist Releases Top 10 Trending Toy Searches for 2013

Google has released its annual Zeitgeist—a “spirit of the times”—which gives us a chance to remember the people, places and topics that got us talking, and ultimately searching, before a new year begins. The list of top toy searches features new toys such as Minions and Palace Pets, but also old favorites, such as Play-Doh. Here are the top 10 trending toy searches this year:

  1. Pokémon
  2. Play-Doh
  3. Digimon Fusion
  4. Minecraft Toys
  5. Minions
  6. Palace Pets
  7. Paw Patrol
  8. Pacific Rim Toys
  9. My Little Pony
  10. Disney Planes

The 2013 Zeitgeist site provides more than 1000 top-10 lists of popular and trending searches from 72 countries, making it the most comprehensive and global list to date.