Mattel to Debut Thomas & Friends Super Station

image001Mattel is debuting the Thomas & Friends Super Station at the North American International Toy Fair in New York City. The Super Station includes 35 feet of track that make up 10 different locations from the Island of Sodor, such as Tidmouth Sheds, Brendam Docks, Knapford Station, Search & Rescue Center, and more, and works with all scales of Thomas engines.

The tracks can also be reconfigured as four different racetracks to fit multiple play spaces. There is room for more than 100 different locomotives, so kids can use all of their engines in one station. Three engines are included—Cranky, Harold, and Owen—in three different scales.

Toy State, Mattel Enter Licensing Partnership for Monster High R/C

ToyStateLogoToy State will design a new line of R/C toys under its Nikko brand featuring Monster High under a licensing agreement with Mattel. The toys are scheduled to hit retail stores in the U.S. and Canada next fall.

This deal comes on the heels of Toy State signing agreements with Mattel for Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Thomas & Friends, marking the most recent expansion of the licensing relationship between the two companies.

 

Fisher-Price Enters Multi-Year Play Area Partnership with CBL and Playtime

FisherPriceFisher-Price Inc. has entered into a five-year partnership with CBL & Associates Properties Inc. and Playtime LLC to design soft play area attractions at select CBL malls nationwide. Each play area will resemble a larger-than-life toy box featuring brands such as Thomas & Friends, Little People, and more.

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WBCP to Show Off Toy Partnerships at Comic-Con International: San Diego

WB Consumer ProductsWarner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) will be at Comic-Con International: San Diego in support of its licensed toy partners, which will feature exclusive products ranging from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to DC Super Hero Girls, to Scooby-Doo, and more.

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Q&A with Andy Friess, President of Toy State

AndyFriess,headshotHaving recently been promoted to the position of president of Toy State, it seemed like a good time to sit down with Andy Friess to talk about the state of his company, its high-profile sponsorship agreement with Tommy Baldwin Racing, its upcoming plans for the R/C brand, Nikko, and more.

The Toy Book (TTB): How important are new licensing agreements to the growth of Toy State? 

Andy Friess (AF): Licensing plays a major role in our success. With the competition so tough in all toy categories, securing rights to strong licenses can provide the point-of-difference that separates us from our competitors. Toy State’s history of developing products featuring the highest levels of quality and innovation has been a great “selling” tool as we seek new licensing opportunities. We’ve been extremely fortunate to work with a core of outstanding global licensors, and these relationships have been instrumental to the successes we have achieved over our 30-plus-year history. The 13-year, multi-category relationship with Caterpillar has been the foundation of our licensing efforts.

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Q&A with Mattel: Social Media, 3-D Printing, and More

logo_Mattel logoThe Toy Book (TTB): In what new ways are you using social media to correspond directly with consumers?

Mattel: We engage with consumers across all brand and corporate social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as retailer sites, like Wal-Mart and Kohl’s. At Mattel, we have a fully functioning reporting and engineering team dedicated to understanding what the consumer is saying and turning that data into actionable improvements for both our manufacturing and design process.

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Mattel’s HIT Entertainment to Develop New Thomas & Friends Digital Content

Thomas&Friends,70yearsThomas & Friends will embark on new adventures that will arrive on YouTube throughout this year. The global preschool content development division for Mattel Inc., HIT Entertainment, will develop 52 three-minute original digital videos for Thomas & Friends. The new short-form videos feature Thomas the Tank Engine having adventures off the Island of Sodor in fascinating destinations like London, Paris, and New York City, and coming to life in children’s playrooms. [Read more...]

Christine Kelly to Head Toy and Game Initiatives for National Geographic’s Brand Licensing Division

ChristineKellyNational Geographic has named Christine Kelly as its director of licensing, toys, and games for National Geographic’s Brand Licensing division. In this new role, she has been tasked with National Geographic’s toy business—both licensing and strategic retail partnerships. She will oversee marketing, retail strategy and product development, including new franchises. [Read more...]

Mattel Makes Changes to Executive Leadership Team

logo_Mattel logoMattel Inc. has made key changes to its executive leadership team, effective immediately. Richard Dickson and Tim Kilpin will assume expanded responsibilities as president, chief brands officer, and president, chief commercial officer, respectively. Both will report to Mattel Chairman and CEO, Bryan G. Stockton. [Read more...]

Fisher-Price Appoints Vinnie D’Alleva to SVP, Steve LaBella to Licensed Properties

FisherPriceFisher-Price Inc. has appointed Vinnie D’Alleva as senior vice president (SVP) at Fisher-Price Friends. D’Alleva will be responsible for the Thomas & Friends brand, as well as other HIT Entertainment properties such as Bob the Builder. He has more than 25 years of marketing experience, a majority of it spent in the toy and juvenile product space.

In addition, Steve LaBella, who currently seves as senior vice president of Fisher-Price Preschool, will also assume the additional role of being responsible for product development for licensed properties, including Dora and Friends: Into the City! and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.