Sweet Suite 2016

American Girl Launches “Together We Make the Holidays” Campaign

American GirlAmerican Girl is launching several new charitable programs as part of its “Together We Make the Holidays” giving campaign. The first part of the campaign is ”Get a Friend. Give a Friend,” where American Girl will match any 18-inch doll purchase with a second doll donation. Working with the Children’s Hospital Association, the doll donation will be distributed to thousands of girls receiving care in the Association’s 200 U.S. hospitals. This initial campaign will take place from November 6 to 30. [Read more...]

Colorforms Contest Allows Fans To Name Logo

ColorformsFrom October 11 through October 25, Colorforms fans on Facebook and Twitter will have the opportunity to compete for the chance to name the “Colorforms Guy,” who serves as the company’s logo. Fans will also have be able to vote on the finalist names for a chance to win new Colorforms sets and a $250 gift card to Toys “R” Us.

Colorforms Brands is producing an animated series that will bring the newly named logo to life. The Colorforms animated series is being developed by Out of the Blue Enterprises.

Fans wishing to participate in the contest can visit the Colorforms Facebook or Twitter page.

TIA Takes Members on Fact-Finding Trip to India

TIA LogoMembers of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) will participate in a fact-finding excursion and cultural immersion program at Kids India, the country’s largest trade event for the toy industry, scheduled to take place September 24 to 26 in Mumbai. Created by the TIA and Spielwarenmesse eG, the program will include a full agenda of show-related activities intended to inform U.S. companies interested in entering the Indian toy market.

[Read more...]

Q&A with Willie Wilkov, Chief Marketing Officer, Tomy International

Willie Wilkov CMO TOMYThe Toy Book (TTB): Which licenses do you anticipate will be key drivers in 2015?

Willie Wilkov (WW): 2015 is a big year on the license front for Tomy. We are proud to have the opportunity to work with Disney on two new Disney•Pixar movie properties–Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur– as well as the new Disney Junior TV show Miles from Tomorrowland. While we expect these new licenses to be key drivers for us in 2015, we have a portfolio of licensed properties that perform for us year after year, and we are anticipating growth in those brands as well. John Deere is an evergreen brand with a loyal following that is perennially one of our strongest selling lines company-wide. Our partners at Sega and The Pokémon Company International continue to bring new fans into their incredibly popular franchises, Sonic Boom and Pokémon, with fresh, engaging content, giving us so much to work with in our toy development. In the classic play arena, we see both Chuggington Wooden Railway and Chuggington StackTrack continuing to provide that first train experience for kids and growing with them through their love of train and construction play, while Lamaze maintains its stronghold as a leader in the infant developmental toy aisle. [Read more...]

Q&A with Carter Keithley, President and CEO, Toy Industry Association

TIA.CarterKeithleyThe Toy Book: What challenges are currently facing the toy industry and how is the Toy Industry Association (TIA) addressing them?

Carter Keithley: Over the past several years, our industry has done a tremendous amount of work to maintain and strengthen our robust safety standards. Nonetheless, the toy industry continues to be confronted with spurious allegations about the safety of toys and non-toy children’s products. Of course, these misleading allegations often emerge around the holiday season, and they have the potential to damage our industry’s reputation and unnecessarily worry toy givers. This is especially frustrating given the many proven developmental benefits of toys and play. [Read more...]

Fisher-Price Launches Best Possible Start Campaign with Parents from Around the World

This past Friday, Fisher-Price Inc. released a short film entitled Wishes for Baby, marking the official launch of its Best Possible Start marketing campaign. Directed by Patrick Creadon, and filmed with real parents from around the world on New Year’s Day and during the final days of December of last year, the short film is intended to capture the love and hopes all parents share for their children during their first moments.

The production involved more than 50 crew members around the world, in seven countries over five continents and in 10 hospitals, shooting the births of 27 babies and the first wishes of 26 families. More than 15 hours of raw footage was scoured through and edited within 24 hours in order to produce the 90-second film.

[Read more...]

ASTRA’s Neighborhood Toy Store Day Supports Increased Sales for Retailers

ASTRAlogoAccording to the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), nearly two-thirds of ASTRA stores participating in Neighborhood Toy Store Day on Saturday, November 8, reported an increase in their year-over-year same store sales. An estimated 25 percent posted growth of 20 percent or more.

ASTRA retailers reached out to several hundred media outlets around the country and across multiple platforms, including print, radio, broadcast, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Of the ASTRA retailers who reached out to the media in their markets, 82 percent reported that they were successful in using the event to secure local media and blogger coverage.

ASTRA supports participation of its retailer members in Neighborhood Toy Store Day by offering free planning guides, templates for media outreach, Best Toys for Kids award program flyers, and more.

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.

Bazooka Candy Brands and Hasbro Cross-Promoting for Digital and Retail

Hasbro logoHasbro and Bazooka Candy Brands are joining forces for a cross-promotion launching this month. Favorite childhood games and tasty, classic candies such as Juicy Drop, Baby Bottle Pop, and Jumbo Push Pop will be co-mingling.

The promotion will feature a campaign with retail, digital, and social elements:

Retail: The strong in-store presence will include shippers with $3 off any one Hasbro game coupons. Family prize opportunities sponsored by Topps will include chances to win a Carnival cruise or one of 100 Hasbro game and Bazooka Candy Brand prize packs.

Digital: Bazooka Candy Brands’ site, candymania.com, will be re-branded and skinned to feature Hasbro game themes. Along with the redesign, the site will host an interactive online promotion sponsored by Topps, featuring an instant win game where fans can play for a chance to win game and candy prize packs, which include Hasbro games such as Monopoly and Twister and Bazooka candy.

Social: There will be cross promotions on both Bazooka Candy Brands’ and Hasbro’s social media platforms.

“C’mon, Let’s Play” Campaign from Toys “R” Us Encourages Imaginative Play

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 11.39.59 AMToys “R” Us has announced the, “C’mon, Let’s Play,” campaign to encourage kids to do exactly that: get out and play.

Designed in partnership with advertising agency The Escape Pod and YouTube sensation Daniel Hashimoto, the campaign was inspired by Hashimoto’s son, James, who was filmed playing with a lightsaber in his local Toys “R” Us store. Hashimoto edited the video, bringing James’ play adventure to life through animation. “C’mon, Let’s Play” is intended to teach children the value of playing and imagination.

The first television advertisements for, “C’mon, Let’s Play,” will begin airing August 3, and will encourage fans to promote on social media using the hashtag #letsplay.