COMMENTARY: Easter Is the Other Big Holiday

I don’t know about you, but in my family, Easter is the “other” big holiday. It gets as much attention as Christmas and Thanksgiving, complete with family from near and far, a feast, candy, and, of course, Easter baskets. My sister and I are both in our 20s, but who says grown-ups can’t still get excited to open their Easter baskets and see what goodies await? While Easter isn’t the time for lots of presents, our baskets usually contain some candy, a few small trinkets, and one bigger gift. This Sunday, when kids across the country open their Easter baskets, some may be lucky enough to receive any of the following fun spring toys.

airhogsskywinder

Spin Master Air Hogs Skywinder is an awesome choice for a kid’s “big” basket gift. Kids toss the R/C stunt rocket into the air and squeeze the trigger on the remote. The rocket flies, dives, hovers, and loops, and is lightweight enough that it can be used indoors. It flies high, though, so kids will enjoy it most outside—a perfect reason to go outdoors and celebrate spring! [Read more...]

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...]

Disguise Renews Multi-Year Agreement with Hasbro

Hasbro.OptimusPrimeDisguise Inc., the Halloween costume division of Jakks Pacific Inc., has renewed its licensing agreement with Hasbro to produce Halloween costumes and accessories based on top Hasbro brands. The new three-year agreement grants Disguise the rights to manufacture and distribute the Hasbro-branded items to all channels in the U.S. and Canada.

The agreement includes the rights to produce Halloween costumes based on the theatrical property Transformers: Age of Extinction, as well as classic Hasbro brands My Little Pony, Transformers, and Mr. Potato Head.

“Weird Al” Yankovic Guest Stars as Cheese Sandwich on My Little Pony

Jan20.MLPWeird Al” Yankovic will guest star as Cheese Sandwich and compete with Pinkie Pie for best party planning pony on the February 1 episode of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. An excited Pinkie Pie plans the best party ever for Rainbow Dash, but Cheese Sandwich will plan another one that will make every pony forget about Pinkie Pie. With Pinkie Pie’s reputation challenged, she won’t go down without an ultimate goof-off showdown. The episode will air on February 1 10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 PT on the Hub Network.

 

Kidada Jones, Soho Fashions Release My Little Pony Hair Extension, Accessory Collection

mylittleponyKidada Jones and Soho Fashions have teamed up with Hasbro Inc. to launch a collection of My Little Pony hair extensions and accessories sold at Soho Fashions mall kiosks nationwide. Kidada Jones has created a line that captures the magic of the My Little Pony brand. The Kidada for My Little Pony collection features an array of My Little Pony single- and multi-colored hair extensions, cutie marks accented with crystals, iconic character hair charms, and more. Soho Fashions trained stylists are available at each kiosk to “Ponyfy” fans with any purchase of the My Little Pony hair accessories or extensions. Fans can accessorize to look like their favorite pony characters from the hit animated series, produced by Hasbro Studios, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and airing on the Hub Network.

Fans can visit www.mylittleponyparlor.com for kiosk locations.

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.

Survey Shows Children Want Game Systems, iPads for Holidays

Non-traditional items are finding their way onto children’s wish lists this year, according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. For the first time, iPads are among the most popular gifts for both girls and boys, with slightly higher demand among the former.

Among the other results from NRF’s 2013 Top Toys survey: 44.3 percent of holiday consumers plan to buy toys as gifts this holiday season; children are still asking for timeless items such as Barbie and dolls (No. 1 and 2 among girls, respectively) or Lego and toy cars (No. 1 and 3 among boys, respectively). And the younger generation is clearly technologically savvy, asking this year for tablets/iPads, smartphones (girls’ No. 11), and game consoles like Xbox One (boys’ No. 5) and PlayStation 4 (girls’ No. 10, boys’ No. 6).

Other popular toys for girls include Monster High Dolls, Disney Princess, and American Girl. The hot new item for boys this year is Skylanders, a hugely popular interactive video game that allows kids to play with a toy action figure at the same time. [Read more...]

2013 National Toy Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

NationalToyHallofFameThe game of chess joins the rubber duck as honored toys in the National Toy Hall of Fame. The honorees were selected from a field of 12 finalists that included bubbles, Clue, Fisher-Price Little People, little green army men, Magic 8 Ball, My Little Pony, Nerf toys, Pac-Man, scooter, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

During the National Toy Hall of Fame induction ceremony held at The Strong in Rochester, N.Y., on November 7, cartoonist Leigh Rubin (Rubes) presented two original commemorative cartoons, which he created in honor of the newest toy hall honorees.

Hasbro, PlayDate Digital Introduce My Little Pony: Party of One Digital Storybook

playdate digitalMy Little Pony: Party of One is an all-new interactive mystery story adventure that is available on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The app stars Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Apple Jack, Twilight Sparkle, and more fan favorites from the animated series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, created by Hasbro Studios and currently airing on The Hub TV Network in the U.S.

The app is an interactive tale about the magic of friendship, produced by PlayDate Digital under license from Hasbro, Inc. The cartoon animations allow users to tap and enjoy their favorite ponies, as they progress through the mystical journey starring the official voice of TV’s Pinkie Pie. The app also features fun learning opportunities throughout each scene, as users enhance reading skills and learn social emotional values.

The My Little Pony: Party of One app is available in the App Store.

Toys “R” Us Announces New tabeo e2

849623 Tabeo 2 Blue FrontToys “R” Us has announced that next month it will debut tabeo e2, the next generation of its Wi-Fi Android tablet for kids that launched during the last holiday season. Designed by the kids authority, the upgraded, 8-inch, multi-touch screen tablet is bigger and faster than the original tabeo and still provides content that kids love and safety features parents desire. tabeo e2 offers access to thousands of free apps in the tabeo App store and comes preloaded with dozens of premium apps carefully selected to entertain and educate kids ages 6 to 11. Featuring enhanced technology, such as the Android Jelly Bean 4.2 operating system, Bluetooth, and a dual-core 1.0 GHz processor for faster performance, tabeo e2 also includes improved parental controls and high-impact screen protection. tabeo e2 will be available in three colors exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and online at tabeo.com beginning in October.

Designed to provide users with an even more compelling tablet experience, tabeo e2 has been engineered specifically for kids of the digital generation. The larger 8-inch multi-touch screen displays more than 16 million colors with an advanced screen resolution. That, combined with a faster dual-core 1.0 GHz processor and quad-core graphics processing unit (GPU), lets users switch between browsing the Internet, watching movies, and playing games quickly and easily. tabeo e2 is also Bluetooth-enabled, allowing it to work with all Bluetooth wireless speakers and accessories.

tabeo e2 will be available in a blue, pink, or clear custom-made protective case. Every tabeo e2 also comes complete with one micro USB cable and one specially designed charging pin to ensure easy connection to a computer or wall outlet for charging. [Read more...]