China Toy Fair


Funrise Rounding Out Global Program for Madballs

MadballsMadballs, the bouncing balls from the 1980s with grotesque faces, protruding eyeballs, and zany names, are back in a new line from Funrise Toys. AG Properties, the intellectual property and outbound licensing division of American Greetings Corporation, announced the news.

The Funrise Madballs line will include plush and feature plush sports balls and soft accessories, including baseball bats and basketball hoops based on the brand’s satirical and gutter humor. Products are scheduled to hit retail in the fall of next year.

“We are thrilled to partner with Funrise on this new line for Madballs,” said Lindsay Martinez, vice president of licensing and business development for AG Properties.  “The addition of this plush sports ball program gives the franchise a unique position in the toy aisle and allows for a new generation of kids to experience the Madballs brand.”

Funrise’s plush toys will extend the property’s consumer products program, which includes comics with Lion Forge. Madballs were first introduced by AmToy, a subsidiary of American Greetings, in 1986.

COMMENTARY: Go! Go! Sports Girls Promote a Healthy Image for Girls

After struggling with self-image for many, many years, I feel that relaying the importance of confidence to a younger generation of girls is of the utmost importance. Young girls see and hear older women discussing hatred toward their bodies and the latest on fad diets; it’s such an unhealthy message to send. In a world where most “girl” action figures and dolls are stick-thin, and every famous tween girl looks ill-fed, a break in this trend is always quite refreshing. Go! Go! Sports Girl products offer girls products with a positive image to encourage healthy minds and bodies. The line was created after Jodi Norgaard had a disappointing shopping experience with her 9-year-old daughter, unable to find anything “stylish” that didn’t bare a stomach or involve high heels. Norgaard’s company, Dream Big Toy Co., aims to empower young girls with its motto “Dream Big and Go for It.” It seems that similar specialty toy companies have started to take notice, creating lines with a related approach.

ellaDream Big Toy Co. created Go! Go! Sports Girls as a fun and educational way to promote self-appreciation and the benefits of daily exercise, healthy eating and sleeping habits, self-esteem, and overall healthy life skills among girls ages 3 to 12, regardless of race and socioeconomic class. The Sports Girls are age and size appropriate, and most importantly, they do not encourage an older or overly mature image. The image is innocent with a strong message to girls about appreciating and being true to yourself. [Read more...]

Sanrio Expands Hello Kitty Brand

hello_kitty001Sanrio Inc. has inked multiple partnership deals to expand the Hello Kitty brand across toys, sporting goods, and infant accessories

Blip Toys will produce dolls, plush, novelty, and play sets, while Just Play and International Playthings will create plush and soft toys. Fashion Angels and Ohio Art focus on creativity with sketch portfolios, hair chox, tapefitti, Etch A Sketch, doodle sketch, and nano blocks. MMA International and Street Flyer are responsible for sporting goods such as tennis, volleyball, basketball, and soccer equipment, as well as active skates, skateboards, and pogosticks. Baby Trend will create infant gear such as car seats, strollers, play yards, and high chairs, while Aden and Anais provide blankets, bibs, hooded towels, and washcloth sets. Ginsey will create bath accessories.

The Hello Kitty brand will also expand to the digital and publishing category with LeapFrog  and Viz Media.

A Year of Celebrating To Mark The Simpsons’ 500th Episode

Muster up your best “Doh!” in preparation for a celebration for the most-watched U.S. television program and the longest scripted show in television history—aka The Simpsons.

To mark the record-breaking 500th episode, to air in February, Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products is throwing a yearlong celebration. This will include specially tailored brand initiatives created to appeal to the franchise’s wide fan base, a new global retail partnership, and a worldwide QSR campaign with Burger King Corp.

The commemoration starts in September and will continue throughout the show’s upcoming 23rd season. Fox Consumer Products’ new launches will include a “Ladies of Springfield” brand for fashion-forward female fans. The accessories will feature Marge and her two sisters, Patty and Selma. There also will be numerous products based on Duff Beer for male fans.

[Read more...]