HoliDAY of Play 2015

The Toy Book Chats with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO, Popstar Club

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO of Popstar Club, which is the manufacturer of the fresh, new doll line, The Beatrix Girls. Sherry gave me an overview of what makes her doll line so unique, and why girls are going to be clamoring for them this holiday season.

SherryGunther.BeatrixCEO

 

Where did you get the idea for Beatrix Girls?

The Beatrix Girls came out of the idea of tying music and dolls together. Ultimately the approach to this was to create a multiplatform brand that really reaches kids everywhere that they are, recognizing that kids are not just watching TV and they’re not just playing with dolls or toys, they’re not just online playing games or being social, they’re doing all of the above. A forward-thinking property really needed to have presence in all of those mediums and to have an integration between all of those formats ingrained in its DNA.

The webisodes are done in a very unique way. How did you come about using that style?

It’s interesting because the natural for me was to go with animation as I spent over 20 years in animation, but there were a lot of things that attracted me to doing it this way, creating webisodes that have the dolls featured interacting in real life. It comes out of the fact that the concept itself has the girls as real. So they’re real and they interact in our world. They’re a real pop star band, we9’re creating real music, not composed music like we would for a toy property or an animated show, but real, credible, pop music written by a platinum-winning writer/producer, mixed by a Grammy-winning engineer, so this is really relevant, today, great music and so we really want to sell them as true pop stars.

Animation oftentimes, especially when doing them based on a product or especially dolls, skews a little bit younger, and we really wanted to have the cool factor and have these be edgier. The medium that we used felt so much more current and fresh and innovative and YouTube generation-like and it felt much more fitting to the brand itself. It gives the dolls the credibility of being real in our world. They have a real human manager, they perform in real venues, so it allows us to play up that real factor for them. And then the scale gives us a lot of humor opportunities for 12-inch dolls interacting in a life-size world.

The really nice side effect that we found is that girls are really responding to the fact that they can relate to the way it was done because it was shot on purpose with hands showing and manipulating the dolls. The idea was that kids could really relate to it and feel like I can do that, I can get four dolls and with my friends create a scene and a scenario.

 

For some reason it reminds me of Mr. Bill, the old SNL skit.

That’s kind of what we were going for. We were going for rather than just sort of just straight, weak, almost too young-skewing animation. We wanted it to be edgier and quirky and fun and hilarious and this medium allowed us to do that, to have that feel to it.

[Read more...]

Major Toy Retailers Welcome Shoppers on Thanksgiving with Black Friday Deals

ToysRUsLogo copyThis Thanksgiving, Toys “R” Us nationwide stores will open at 5 p.m. on November 28, so parents and gift-givers can get a head start on their holiday shopping. Promotions include four-hour deals, as well as Thursday through Sunday discounts on toys, games, and tablets.

Shoppers can plan their strategies as early as November 24 on the Toys “R” Us Facebook page, and a 28-page circular is set to arrive in newspapers across the country on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, for the first time, customers can shop the majority of Thanksgiving weekend deals online at toysrus.com/blackfriday starting at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

Those shoppers who spend $75 or more between November 28 and 29, at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us, will receive a $10 redeemable coupon that’s valid in-store or online between December 1 through December 7. [Read more...]

Mattel Launches First Multi-Brand Hispanic Integrated Campaign

logo_Mattel logoIn preparation for the holidays, Mattel Inc. has launched its first ever Spanish-language multi-brand marketing campaign, toy feliz. Already live in Los Angeles, Houston, and Miami, this Hispanic-oriented effort spans multi-media marketing platforms and key brands, including Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels, and Barbie.

The campaign includes TV and radio advertising on Univision, a retail partnership with Walmart, a bilingual website, geo-targeted coupons, and printed advertising inserts in participating markets. Mattel has even partnered with Padres Contra El Cáncer to help in the non-profit’s mission to provide emotional and financial support, as well as bilingual health education, to children with cancer and their families. As part of the partnership, Mattel is sponsoring Padres’ annual holiday parties, which provide families who have a child undergoing treatment with the opportunity to enjoy the holidays in a fun-filled and safe environment. Mattel will also make donations to Padres families at local Los Angeles and Miami hospitals.

Mattel Launches Playground Productions Creative Storytelling Division

Mattel.PlaygroundMattel Inc. has announced the formation of Playground Productions, a new division within the Mattel Global Brands group dedicated to the creation and development of strategic multiplatform storytelling. Playground Productions will drive creative storytelling across all Mattel brands, including Barbie, Monster High, and Max Steel, along with the development and launch of the new animation Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome debuting next year.

Playground Productions has brought on Mercury Filmworks for the project in a story that delivers new Hot Wheels thrills in three formats including a 22-minute origin story for spring, 11 humorous two-minute action-packed shorts for the summer, and a 74-minute direct-to-video movie for the fall.

Additionally, Playground Productions will manage and provide creative direction for the recently announced live-action feature film for Max Steel. In co-development with Dolphin Films, the movie will have a wide release in theaters next year. The division is also partnering with Columbia Pictures on an upcoming Masters of the Universe theatrical project.

Monster High Releases New Monster High: 13 Wishes DVD

MonsterHighMonster High: 13 Wishes was released on October 8, in partnership with Universal Pictures. This third feature-length film from Monster High introduces a new ghoul, Gigi Grant, who comes to Monster High to grant the ghouls 13 wishes. There will be a line of themed dolls, toys, and a video game available at retailers nationwide. Monster High: 13 Wishes is available on both DVD and Blu-Ray.

The UK’s Top 10 Best-Selling Toys to Date

The UK’s Top 10 best-selling Toys year to date (April 2013)

  1. Vivid ImaginationsMoshi Monsters Moshling Figures
  2. Lego‘s Lego Minifigures
  3. Leapfrog‘s Leappad Explorer Tablet
  4. Hasbro‘s Furby Hot and Cool
  5. Vivid ImaginationsMoshi Monsters Blind Bag
  6. Mattel‘s Monster High Doll
  7. Leapfrog‘s Leapfrog Explorer Game
  8. VTech‘s Innotab Learning Tablet
  9. Mattel‘s Cars 2 Character Clipstrip
  10. Flair‘s TMNT Basic Figures

Source: The NPD Group

COMMENTARY: Everyone Has One, But I Want Mine to be Unique

Last Friday marked my niece Courtney’s eighth birthday, and what was she hoping for most? An iPod. Now, in my opinion, an 8-year-old doesn’t have much business with an iPod, but kids today are getting into electronics at a much younger age. Though part of Courtney’s argument for “needing” an iPod was, “everyone has one except for me,” the first thing she did when she got it was personalize it. Before even putting a song on it, she slapped a peace-sign sticker right on the back of it—10 minutes out of the box (hence why 8-year-olds probably shouldn’t have iPods). But, this was her way of making it her own.

For parents buying their children expensive devices such as smartphones, iPods, or even portable gaming devices like the Nintendo 3DS or the PS Vita, there are some awesome products on the market that will allow kids to dazzle and personalize their devices without placing a never-gonna-come-off, gooey-backed sticker on said device.

Plugy

Plugy, from Hashy, is a universal 3.5mm plug that fits snuggly into all standard headphone jacks. Plugys come in more than 40 different styles, including zoo animals, robots, and glow-in-the-dark options. Plugy has something for everyone, including a rainbow, Eiffel Tower, and an apple stem, and allows kids to  take their smart device to a more personal level in a not-so-permanent way. Plugys are made of rubber and will not break when inserted into the headphone jack. They even protect the device from rain, dust, and sand when earphones are not plugged in. Plugys are available on amazon.com and from Hanging Mobile Gallery. For more information on Plugys, email plugyUSA@gmail.com. [Read more...]

Monster High Releases Double Feature DVD

Monster High has debuted its new DVD, Monster High Double Feature. The ghouls of Monster High serve up two fang-tastically fabulous adventures in one DVD: When the boys cannot compete in the Skultimate Roller Maze Championship, Frankie Stein convinces her friends that some “ghoul power” is needed to save the day in the all-new Friday Night Frights. Then, as the epic Sweet 1600th birthday of Draculaura approaches, she’s got two crush-worthy guys out to steal her heart (literally) in the new-to-DVD movie, Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love?

Mattel Releases New Monster High Video Game

Mattel has released a new video game for the tween-girl franchise, Monster High. In the new game, Monster High: Skultimate Roller Maze, players can pick a character and skate their way through the crypts of Monster High and other schools along with a team of friends. The game is available on Wii and Nintendo DS at major retail stores.

Rubie’s Receives 2011 Monster High Rookie Licensee of the Year Award

Rubie’s Costume Company Inc., has received the 2011 Monster High North America Rookie Licensee of the year award from Mattel, the worldwide leader in design and marketing of toys and family products.

As one of the most successful children’s licenses of 2011, characters from the Monster High Costume Collection include Frankie Stein, Lagoona Blue, Cleo de Nile, Clawdeen Wolf and Draculaura. Available in children’s, tween and new adult sizes, each character comes to life with unique designs, intricate detailing and coordinating accessories. In addition to the colorful costumes, the line also includes wigs and make up kits.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Monster High phenomenon.” said Howard Beige, Rubie’s Executive Vice President. “It is truly an honor to receive such a prestigious award and we look forward to developing even more fun and fashionable products for Monster High fans this upcoming Halloween season.”

With the expansion of the 2012 Monster High Collection, Rubie’s continues to create costumes that reflect the characters unique personalities while paying homage to their cool monster heritage. As they say at Monster High, freaky just got fabulous.

This post was originally written by Leah Rocketto and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.