China Toy Fair


Mattel, WWE Extend Partnership Until 2019

WWEMattel Inc. and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) will be extending their global master toy licensing agreement through 2019.

Since 2009, Mattel and WWE have developed a diverse portfolio of toys currently available in more than 50 global markets around the world. WWE has ranked as the No. 1 action figure property in the U.S., ranging from FlexForce figures that incorporate signature WWE Superstar moves to plush Brawlin’ Buddies.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with WWE as they expand their global footprint and leverage our global scale to deliver WWE toys to kids around the world,” said Doug Wadleigh, Senior Vice President, Global Brands Marketing, Boys and Entertainment for Mattel.

Jazwares Signs On for Peppa Pig, Flick-To-Stick Bungees

peppa_pigJazwares Inc. has entered a pair of licensing partnerships, including one for the top-ranked program on Nick Jr. for kids ages 2 to 5.

Thanks to a deal with Entertainment One Licensing, the company will serve as the new master toy partner for Peppa Pig. Jazwares will produce products for preschoolers across multiple categories, including plush, plastic figures, dolls, play sets, role-play toys, musical and talking toys, toy vehicles, and bath toys. The first Peppa Pig toy collection is scheduled to launch in mass and specialty retailers nationwide in spring of next year.

Airing seven days a week on Nick Jr., Peppa Pig follows the adventures of Peppa, a loveable, exuberant little piggy who lives with her brother George, Mummy Pig, and Daddy Pig. Globally, the show airs in 180 countries around the world and is translated into 40 languages.

Jazwares is also launching Flick-To-Stick Bungees, a competitive strategy game featuring 96 collectible action figures. Players aim their Bungees at scoring targets and flick their fingers to compete, collect, and potentially win. The action figure line will be enhanced by a Bungee Battleground arena, disk launcher, playing cards, and scoring disks. Flick-To-Stick Bungees, originally created by Barcelona, Spain-based Magic Box Int., will debut this fall.

Underground Toys’ 2014 Licensed Product Line to Debut at Toy Fair

UndergroundToyslogoUnderground Toys will be releasing new licensed merchandise at this year’s American International Toy Fair. New brand licenses include World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Anchorman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Walking Dead, and Vikings. Highlights from these ranges include a Walking Dead apron, all-new WWE talking character plush, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles talking soft bag buddies, and a “classy” Anchorman Ron Burgundy moustache bottle opener.

Underground will also be displaying classic and new products from existing ranges, with many of the new items set for release this year. Doctor Who merchandise includes The Other Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver, action figures based on The Other Doctor and The Twelfth Doctor (played by actors John Hurt and Peter Capaldi, respectively), and the Doctor Who Mr. Potato Head collection.

An extensive range of Star Wars gifts and home products will also be revealed, some of which will be publicized for the first time. Inserting a degree of fun into classical play, a large variety of Underground’s merchandise will now begin to incorporate movement, sound effects, and spoken phrases: For example, the plush Star Wars Action Yoda features both movement and sound.

Uglydoll Collaborates with KISS for New Plush Line

KissPlushUglydoll has partnered with the rock band KISS to create a global, co-branded set of plush collectibles. The KISS Uglydoll collaboration was previewed at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas last June and will officially debut at the American International Toy Fair in February. The collection will include plush dolls, from Gund, featuring Uglydoll dressed as KISS band members: Ox as The Demon, Babo as The Starchild, Big Toe as The Catman, and Wage as The Spaceman.

The dolls are expected to arrive in stores in March.

Comic Images Launches Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Plush Line

Jan22.TMNTComic Images will launch a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles plush line in advance of the animated film in development. The products include key chains featuring Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael; Back Pals 3D backpacks featuring Leonardo and Raphael; and Golf Club Head Covers featuring Raphael and Leonardo. The products will be available in major retailers this spring.

The TMNT products will be just a part of the wave of nostalgic properties made new again. This spring, Comic Images will also feature six Classic DC Comics characters key chains and Batman and Superman Back Buddies Backpacks in time for next year’s Batman-Superman film.

NPD Group: Cyber Monday Week Toy Sales Are Strong, Up from Last Year

npd_group_logoRetail dollar sales for the toy category were up 23 percent for the Cyber Monday week compared to the same period last year. For the combined Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks, The NPD Group reports that toy sales were up 12 percent on a dollar basis compared to the previous year. These sales trends include both online and brick and mortar channels.

The NPD Group noted that all 11 super categories it tracks in the toy sector experienced positive dollar sales growth during the period covering Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks. Those with the highest growth—and their respective change in dollar sales compared with Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks last year—include plush at 34 percent, youth electronics at 32 percent, arts and crafts at 26 percent, and outdoor and sports at 18 percent. These results reflect brick and mortar and online sales combined.

Tokidoki and Sanrio Collaborate on Holiday Collection

sanriotokidoki has partnered with Sanrio, the global lifestyle brand best known for the pop icon Hello Kitty, on a limited edition tokidoki x Sanrio Characters holiday collection.

The new collection features bright and colorful co-branded products with favorite tokidoki and Sanrio characters, including Adios, Ciao Ciao, Stellina, Hello Kitty, Keroppi, Badtz-Maru, and more. The broad product assortment consists of charms, ornaments, women’s tees, bags, smartphone, tablet, and computer cases, plush, toys, and luggage.

The tokidoki x Sanrio Characters holiday collection is available at the tokidoki flagship store in Los Angeles, Calif., as well as Sanrio boutiques across the country, and www.tokidoki.it and www.sanrio.com.

Douglas Adds New Puppies, Wildlife Animals

DouglasWildAnimalsDouglas Co., a New Hampshire-based plush toy maker, has added a new size of breed to its puppy kennels, as well as a variety of new animals to its wildlife line. Eight new pups will be joining the dogs line, and 18 new wildlife animals will join the entourage, in time for the 2014 American International Toy Fair.

Each of the new pups is created from soft, faux fur in the exact likeness of its true-to-life counterparts. Douglas’ new wildlife animals include a fox, wolf, moose, cow, white tail deer, raccoon, and pig. The company is also adding larger wildlife animals that range in size from 11 inches to 24 inches in length. Douglas’ Wildlife Animals have authentic-looking details and bring attention to both current and endangered species.

The new Douglas products are expected to appear on store shelves by early March.

COMMENTARY: Disney’s Frozen Toys Will Melt Your Heart

The thing that I like most about Disney’s Frozen was that it played with the idea of a typical Disney Princess movie. It touches on the idea of falling in love and being engaged within hours of meeting each other and changes the way the audience thinks about typical princesses and princes. There is, of course, a curse that’s lifted by “an act of true love,” but this act comes from (spoiler alert!) one of sisterly love rather than romantic love. A lot of the plot is focuses on the two royal sisters, Anna and Elsa, and the animation is so spectacular as it brings this truly magical story to life.

To go along with this great movie, Mattel has introduced an entire line of toys that capture the lively, magical spirit of Frozen. With quirky characters (Olaf!), Frozen quickly becomes a new Disney favorite, and the toys are sure to have the same effect on any toy box.

MusicalDollsOne of my favorite toys from this line is the Disney Frozen Musical Magic Elsa and Anna Dolls. These dolls feature glittery and glamorous gowns, but I think also do a fantastic job of capturing the familial bonds that are so important to the movie’s story. When kids hold the dolls hands, the dolls hold each other’s hands, OR you create a circle of humans and dolls holding hands, Anna and Elsa magically light up and play enchanting music. [Read more...]

Douglas Co. Prepares for Easter 2014

douglasIn preparation for Easter fun, lifestyle gift creator, Douglas Co., has 10 new, silky-soft bunnies. Each bunny ranges in size from seven to 18 inches and in price.

The springtime line includes: Stella the Floppy Ivory Bunny, which has an antique flare because of her longer fur style; Lopsy the Tan Bunny, which is a boy bunny with a tan coat of fur; Penelope Lop the Tan Bunny and Basil the Tan Sitting Bunny, which look even better together; Laurel the Floppy Pink Bunny, which has pretty pink short fur; Pixie the Floppy Lavender Bunny, which is a whimsical lavender-colored bunny with polka dot ear lining; and Clover the Pink Bunny, which is the tinniest and pinkest bunny of all.

Douglas Co. has also introduced new Puffs to their Easter line. These 8-inch tall animals with plush heads, arms, and legs and a powder puff center. Brooke Puff the Yellow Duck, Skippy Puff the Cream Lamb, Dolly Puff the Pink Bunny, and Duffy Puff the Green Frog are all available.

The new bunnies and new Puffs will be on retail shelves in the U.S., Canada, and Europe in January. Douglas products are sold at specialty gift and toy stores.