A private equity firm, Aterian Investment Partners, announced today that one of its affiliates has acquired Backyard Discovery, a designer, manufacturer, distributor, and installer of play sets in North America. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Pittsburg, Kan., Aterian designs and manufactures swing sets, playhouses, patio products, and more under brands such as Backyard Adventures and Leisure Time Products.
Beginning on October 1, Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and toysrus.com will begin carrying playsets, vehicles, and more based on DreamWorks Animation‘s upcoming Netflix original series, Dinotrux. The initial line, from Mattel, will feature Ty Rux, Revvit, and other Dinotrux characters, and select items will be available for pre-order online beginning August 14.
Jakks Pacific Inc. has secured a licensing agreement with Lafig and Sony Pictures Consumer Products to produce toys and related products based on the Smurfs franchise, including the classic Smurfs brand and the upcoming Smurfs feature film premiering in August 2016. The worldwide master toy agreement includes the rights to produce figures, play sets, plush, and more.
Jakks Pacific’s new Smurfs toys will be available at retailers nationwide this fall.
On Thursday morning, The Wall Street Journal reported that Lego is ending its co-branding relationship with Royal Dutch Shell. The move follows pressure from environmental group Greenpeace, which targeted the decades-long partnership in an online video and petition.
Since the 1960s, Lego has built play sets branded with the Shell logo, including Shell filling stations, tanker trucks, and Shell-sponsored racing cars. These have been sold at Shell gas stations and other retailers that carried Lego sets.
In July, Greenpeace circulated an online petition calling for Lego to sever ties with Shell, which it has accused of operating recklessly in exploring for oil in the Arctic. The group released an online video, Lego: Everything Is Not Awesome, which depicts an Arctic wonderland made of Lego bricks that is flooded with spilled oil, and asks viewers to sign the petition urging Lego to sever ties with Shell. According to Greenpeace, the video has garnered more than a million signatures to date. [Read more...]
UK broadcaster CBeebies has commissioned a brand new preschool series, Twirlywoos, from Ragdoll Productions. The series, set to air next year, will revolve around the Twirlywoos: four small, bird-like characters who are inquisitive, enthusiastic, and constantly looking to learn something new about the world.
Twirlywoos will combine stop-frame animation and live action sequences set in the real world. It will be produced in association with DHX Media, which will handle global distribution, merchandising, brand management, and marketing. DHX Brands, the consumer products arm of DHX Media, has signed a global master toy deal with Golden Bear Toys, which will launch product in 2016, with a key focus on plush and plastics (play sets/figurines), bath toys and games, and activity products.
The Go! Go! Smart Friends line features colorful play sets and characters that infuse traditional role-play with modern technology. MagicPoint locations bring the characters and play sets to life with lights, sounds, and music.
The Go! Go! Smart Friends Busy Sounds Discovery Home is an interactive house featuring nine MagicPoint locations that encourage imaginative play and emphasize cause and effect relationships. Additionally, it includes VTech’s new MagicChat feature, which allows two figures to chat and sing songs together.
The Go! Go! Smart Friends Spin-Around Sounds Carnival features five MagicPoint locations and five play pieces that can be used together to encourage creative play. [Read more...]
This month sees the release of a new generation of Tamagotchi toys from Bandai America. Like the original Tamagotchi, Tamagotchi Friends egg characters hatch, at which point the owner raises it from birth to adult. This includes feeding it when it is hungry, providing medicine when it is sick, and bathing it. Owners can also play games to earn Gotchi Points, which can be used to buy meals, snacks, and jewelry.
By bumping them into each other, Tamagotchi Friends characters can send text messages and gifts, and even go on play dates. More bumps lead to more points and rewards that the owner will earn.
Tamagotchi Friends Digital Friend devices are available in six different designs. Bandai is also releasing figures and play sets—including multi-character packs and a two-level café—exclusively at Toys “R” Us and toysrus.com.
DHX Media has appointed Jazwares Inc. as the global master toy partner on preschool property Ella the Elephant for the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, Latin America, Middle East, Australia, Spain, and Norway. The deal will enable Jazwares to launch worldwide plush, dolls figures, and play sets, vehicles, role play, and musical instruments based on the animated preschool series, which is currently airing weekdays on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
Ella the Elephant is a charming and whimsical animated preschool series based on the award-winning Ella the Elegant Elephant book series written by Carmela D’Amico and illustrated by Steven D’Amico. The series follows the adventures of Ella and her friends on Elephant Islands. Ella is a spirited little elephant with a big heart, bigger imagination, and a magic hat that can transform into almost anything.