Fisher-Price, Neat-Oh! Partner for Thomas & Friends ZipBin Products

Neat-Oh! Entertainment International LLC has signed an agreement with Fisher-Price Inc. to develop Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway storage products for Neat-Oh!’s ZipBin line. Characters from the Thomas and Friends show will join the ZipBin family—a new play, stow, and go line of products. ZipBin products transform from storage container to themed play-mat in a few zips, and are designed to be stackable and portable. When zipped up, the bin is decorated to look like Thomas, but when the bin is unzipped, a play mat is revealed. Children can use their Wooden Railway engines and accessories to play on the mat, which features scenes, destinations, and friends from the TV show.

Thomas & Friends ZipBin products by Fisher-Price are expected to arrive in stores next year.

COMMENTARY: Toys Are More Fun Than Candy

Mattel’s North American team recently kicked off an Easter program called Save the Bunny, which launched with a clever celebrity PSA. The concept is to promote giving toys, rather than copious amounts of candy, for Easter. As part of the promotion, consumers who visit www.savechocolatebunnies.com will have a chance to win a Mattel toy every day this month, download exclusive coupons on toys from Mattel brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and Thomas & Friends, and win grand prize money.

As a parent and someone who loves toys, I whole-hardheartedly agree with this idea. Not only does my 3 year old not need a giant chocolate bunny, gallons of jelly beans, and piles of fluffy marshmallow chicks (OK, I’ll admit this is making me hungry), but I know from experience that I won’t actually let her eat it all, and I’ll end up eating it, which isn’t exactly part of my summer bikini plan (though I’m pregnant, so what’s the difference, right?). Anyway, she will have a lot more fun if I limit the candy to a few of her favorites, and fill that basket—er, strongly suggest the Easter Bunny fill that basket—with toys!

For retailers, signage suggesting spring/summer toys to fill Easter baskets should already be up, but it’s not too late! Many consumers wait until the last-minute to shop, especially with the holiday coming earlier this year. A special display of spring-like, small, basket-sized items makes shopping easy and promotes quick sales. The pharmacies already do this, toy stores should too! [Read more...]

Thomas the Tank Engine Ice Sculpture and Toys “R” Us Enjoy a Playdate

Sir Topham Hatt poses with the Thomas the Tank Engine Ice Sculpture in Times Square and reads a Thomas & Friends story to the kids at Toys “R” Us Times Square on Friday, February 8 to celebrate the launch of the Thomas Wooden Railway Line and the 110th American International Toy Fair.

Fisher-Price Debuts First Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway Line

Kids can explore the Gold Mine with Thomas and Salty, two of their favorite Thomas and Friends characters, with the Wooden Railway Gold Mine Mountain playset. This 34-piece playset features a Gold Mine Mountain, Cranky the Crane, Troublesome Truck, Salty, and a gold dust-decorated Thomas engine. Suitable for kids ages 3 and up.

HIT Entertainment and Fisher-Price have announced that Thomas & Friends embarks on a new adventure as Fisher-Price launches its new Thomas Wooden Railway line at toy retailers. The new product line marks a return to Fisher-Price’s heritage in wooden toys.

The Thomas Wooden Railway debuts with 108 SKUs launching in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, and Italy. Additional products will be released in the fall. [Read more...]

HIT Entertainment, Discovery Bay Games Announce Thomas & Friends Steam Team Station App, Accessory for iPad

HIT Entertainment and Discovery Bay Games have announced a new game and accessory for iPad: Thomas & Friends Steam Team Station. This Thomas & Friends-branded Duo accessory is compatible with the new Thomas & Friends Steam Team Station Duo App, available now on the App Store.

Thomas & Friends Steam Team Station gets kids jumping, skipping, and racing with all of their engine friends. The app comes with three games: Steam Engine Relay, Sodor Spot-It, and Seek & Find Adventure. Six engine cards, including Thomas, Percy, and James, along with other engine favorites, interact with Steam Team Station.

Designed for children ages 3 and up, the Thomas & Friends Steam Team Station accessory is now available at Apple Stores and Apple.com, Amazon, Target, and Toys”R”Us. The Thomas & Friends Steam Team Station Duo App is available for free from the App Store.

Thomas & Friends Pillow Pets to Launch This Year

Hit Entertainment has signed a licensing deal with Ontel Products Corporation and CJ Products, LLC to create Thomas the Tank Engine-inspired Pillow Pets, the first property that Ontel Products Corporation and CJ Products have taken on for My Pillow Pets.

The Thomas & Friends Pillow Pets will be available this year at mass and specialty retail stores in the U.S. and Canada. The product will feature a strap that closes underneath to transform Thomas from his engine form to a pillow.

HIT Entertainment Realigns Business Units

Hit Entertainment has announced an internal realignment of its business units. As a part of the realignment four new divisions will be created. The divisions will form two new lines of business: one focusing on Thomas & Friends, and the other on HIT Global Brands (Angelina Ballerina, Barney, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, Pingu, and Rainbow Magic). The realignment is effective immediately.

The Thomas & Friends line of business will comprise three divisions: the New York-based “Thomas Americas,” London-based “Thomas EMEA, ” and the Hong Kong-based “Thomas Asia.” The HIT Global Brands business unit will be managed from London as one global division.

HIT’s Finance, Legal, HR, and IT groups will remain centralized staff units supporting both lines of business. As a part of the restructuring, Peter Byrne, executive vice president of International Consumer Products and Home Entertainment, will be leaving the company

HIT Entertainment Celebrates 65 Years of Thomas & Friends

HIT Entertainment is celebrating the 65th anniversary of its preschool brand Thomas & Friends with partnerships with Minor League Baseball, Celebration Foods, Six Flags Entertainment, and Sprout.

Celebration Foods, the makers of Carvel ice cream cake, has been named the presenting sponsor of Thomas’ 65th anniversary. The company will serve as the exclusive Thomas partner for Thomas & Friends title nights, to take place at 22 Minor League Baseball teams’ games between May 15 and June 30. Celebration Foods will offer free Carvel ice cream cake samples and coupons to fans at the games, and will run free consumer offers at select regional grocery stores.

[Read more...]

HIT Partners with New Licensees for Thomas & Friends

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HIT Entertainment has signed new licensees to develop, manufacture, and market new Thomas & Friends products. The agreement marks the first time HIT has worked with Tara Toys, Think Wow Toys, The Toy Workshop, and Upper Deck.

Tara Toys will develop a new arts and crafts line for the property including magnetic sets, rolling art desks, activity cases with pads, markers, crayons and stampers, giant activity floorpads, Sit n’ Play activity trays, and 5-in-1 activity easels.  All of Tara Toys’ Thomas items will be available at both mass and specialty stores starting this fall.

[Read more...]

The Toy Book’s Toy Report 01/05/10

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Catch up on last week’s news! Read The Toy Book Toy Report for 01/05/10.

To view click here.