China Toy Fair


Potential Port Strike Would Have Negative Impact on Toy Industry in 4th Quarter

In a Legislative Bulletin, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) notified its members of a potential labor strike that could occur at 14 East Coast and Gulf Coast ports this fall if a settlement between the Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) is not reached by September 30.

A strike would have a long-term negative impact on the toy industry and the U.S. economy as a whole, as 95 percent of all container shipments to the East Coast are handled through these 14 ports.

Talks between the ILA and USMX deteriorated on August 22 as the two sides reached an impasse over employee benefits and wages; discussions will resume on September 17 under the authority of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

Responses detailing how a strike would impact toy companies and retailers before the holidays are requested via email to Rebecca Mond, TIA Director of Federal Government Affairs. TIA will continue to monitor the issue and keep members apprised of any developments.

This post was originally written by the Toy Industry Association and published at ToyAssociation.org. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

FTC Advises App Developers to “Build in Compliance from the Start”

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a new guidance document for mobile app developers titled Marketing Your Mobile App: Get it Right from the Start to assist developers in ensuring that their apps meet the FTC’s truth-in-advertising standards and basic privacy principles.

The six-page document re-states the FTC’s recent rulemaking and enforcement actions and delineates how any developer–regardless of level of experience–can “build in compliance from the start.”

Key tips outlined in the document include being honest about the product description in advertising, disclosing key information visibly, being obvious and secure in data practices, and honoring privacy promises. The FTC also calls out protecting kids’ privacy as one of their nine best practice guidelines, with a specific reference to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Marketing Your Mobile App: Get it Right from the Start is a companion resource to two documents recently created by the Toy Industry Association’s Responsible Marketing to Children Committee. The Changing Privacy and Data Security Landscape: From Mobile Apps to OBA, and a corresponding Checklist for Mobile Apps and Promotions, are two Members Only publications that aim to assist members of the industry in understanding an ever-expanding array of laws and regulations, policy initiatives, self-regulatory standards and reports addressing various aspects of privacy and data security.

More information about Responsible Marketing to Children can be found on the TIA website; for additional information, contact TIA’s Stacy Leistner (646.520.4858).

This post was originally written by the Toy Industry Association and published at ToyAssociation.org. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Summer Toy Drive Garners Record-Breaking Donations

The Toy Industry Foundation’s Summer Toy Drive, held from May 1 to August 31, collected nearly 290,000 toys.

Thanks to the toy manufacturers, retailers, and distributors who participated in this year’s drive, TIF’s Toy Bank received 59 percent more toys than last year. This year’s gifts also surged in value by 425 percent–$6.5 million worth of playthings were donated versus $1.2 million last year.

“With the help of our generous donors, we were able to deliver playthings to 44 children’s charities in The Toy Bank network across the country, as well as to children living on 17 military bases,” says Foundation Coordinator Melissa Kipp. “The significant increase in donations allowed us to bring play to 107,000 more disadvantaged children than last summer!”

The Toy Bank is a year-round program; it is currently collecting for the final two Play Comforts events for military children in 2012 and is preparing for the next trade show collection at Fall Toy Preview in Dallas (October 2 to 4). To donate or learn more,  visit the TIF website or contact Melissa Kipp (646.520.4878).

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

SEC Mandates That Companies Must Disclose Use of Conflict Minerals

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has adopted a rule mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that requires publicly traded companies to disclose their use of conflict minerals (tantalum, tin, gold or tungsten) originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or an adjoining country.

Using Form SD, companies must annually disclose to the SEC their use of conflict minerals if they are “necessary to the functionality or production” of a product manufactured or contracted to be manufactured by the company. A product may be labeled as “DRC conflict free” only if it does not contain minerals that directly or indirectly finance or benefit armed groups in the DRC or an adjoining country. The bill requires that all disclosures be posted for public viewing on company websites.

The final rule and the SEC’s “Fact Sheet” for companies can be read online. Questions should be directed to a company’s existing customs brokers and/or legal counsel. Background information on the Frank-Dodd Act can be found in the “International Trade” section of the TIA website.

This post was originally written by the Toy Industry Association and published at ToyAssociation.org. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Licensed Toys: A Growing Phenomenon with Year-Round Appeal

Courtesy of Toy Industry Association

Character licenses based on blockbuster movies have the ability to propel products to stratospheric success, creating memories that last a lifetime for millions of fans. Recent sales for licensed toys reflect this growing phenomenon: last year, licensed toys and games were up 2 percent from 2010. For the first half of this year, those numbers have climbed further to 27 percent of total toy sales.

“Kids love bringing movies to life through play, whether they are re-enacting storylines, imagining new plot developments, or emulating their favorite superheroes and villains,” said Adrienne Appell, trend expert at the Toy Industry Association (TIA). “Playthings related to the biggest blockbusters are sure to be on the wish lists of kids throughout the year and well into the holiday season.”

TIA has been tracking many of the family friendly movies that have toy and game tie-ins on its ToyInfo.org website. The following are a few examples from this year so far… and a sneak peak at what’s coming this fall:

The Avengers (May)
Toys and games related to The Avengers encourage kids to get into the spirit of the fast-paced movie. Considered by many to be the break-out movie and toy property of the year, strong toy sales are anticipated to continue during the holiday season following the Sept. 25 release of the DVD and Blu-Ray.

  • Bubble Blaster: The Avengers (Imperial Toy)
  • Game Strike Hulk (Hasbro)
  • 21-inch Avengers Skateboard (Bravo Sports)
  • Marvel Mini Basketball Hoop Set (Franklin Sports)
  • The Avengers Mini Muggs Action Figure two-pack (Hasbro)

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One Week Left for the TIF Summer Toy Drive

There is a little more than a week to go before the Toy Industry Foundation’s (TIF) 2012 Summer Toy Drive closes shop for another year. Toy companies that would like to be included are invited to submit a product donation form by August 31st.

Since opening on May 1, 35 children’s charities across 14 states have received toys from this year’s Summer Toy Drive, including:

  • The Dream Center in Los Angeles, Calif., one of 100 Dream Centers internationally, the LA Dream Center aids more than 40,000 people each month and works closely with Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to keep families unharmed.  Summer Toy Drive toys and games were distributed to children of families that the LA Dream Center supports.
  • Dolls for Daughters in Denver, Colo., distributes toys to Colorado families to help relieve the financial burdens of low-income families.  The charity lends a hand by taking the necessary steps to create a stable environment for children.
  • Kids Konnection in Washington, D.C., assists 1,500 children a week through summer camps, back-to-school sessions, Christmas events and more to try to bring about a safe and stable environment for DC’s youth. Toys donated by generous manufacturers to TIF were distributed during the Kids Konnection summer camp.

The Summer Toy Drive has also benefited children across 16 U.S. military bases through TIF’s Play Comforts program, and the Ronald McDonald House of NYC, where the Foundation threw a “Cowboy Hoedown” party for 100 pediatric cancer patients and their family members in July.

As part of TIF’s My Stuff Bags partnership, toys donated this summer will also be placed in duffel bags containing toiletries, blankets, and other comforting items to be distributed next month to Bronx kindergarten kids living in foster care.

A full list of charities that have been supported by the drive, as well as a complete list of summer donors, will be included on the Toy Industry Foundation website in September.

TIF’s Summer Toy Drive continues through August 31. Those interested in helping may make a product donation or contact Foundation Coordinator Melissa Kipp (646-520-4878) for more information.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

White Paper, Checklist for Children’s Online Privacy & Mobile Apps Now Available

The Toy Industry Association’s Responsible Marketing to Children (M2C) Committee has developed a White Paper, The Changing Privacy and Data Security Landscape: From Mobile Apps to OBA, and a corresponding Checklist for Mobile Apps and Promotions, to assist members of the industry in understanding an array of laws and regulations, policy initiatives, self-regulatory standards, and reports addressing various aspects of privacy and data security.

Members of the TIA M2C Committee have been working with outside counsel to monitor developing “hot button” issues in Europe, Washington, District of Columbia, and California related to privacy protections and non-privacy-related consumer deception and fairness issues linked to mobile app use. The committee also created a subcommittee on privacy, which seeks to develop a better understanding of current practices in these areas by reviewing existing regulations and self-regulatory guidelines to identify gaps.

The TIA members-only white paper, The Changing Privacy and Data Security Landscape: From Mobile Apps to OBA, provides background on the issues and a status report on significant U.S. and international laws and policy developments.  A Checklist for Mobile Apps and Promotions, which provides a framework that all toy companies can use to examine and evaluate the risks and opportunities related to their app initiatives, will also be available to TIA members only.

This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

TIA to Host Toy Safety Training Sessions for Chinese Manufacturers

The Toy Industry Association will be hosting two toy safety information sessions Chinese manufacturers who manufacture toys and children’s products sold in the U.S. The first session will take place on August 1 in Dongguan and the second on August 3 in Shenzhen.

To emphasize the TIA’s commitment to safety awareness and education, several of the key topics will include U.S. toy safety standards and regulations, recent legislative changes and their impact on Chinese manufacturers and suppliers, the role of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, new toy safety testing and certification requirements, import surveillance initiatives, necessary elements of a factory quality program, emerging issues and hazards, and ways to ensure material safety.

TIA’s senior vice president of technical affairs, Al Kaufman, and Rebecca Mond, the director of federal government affairs, will present alongside a panel of U.S. and Chinese experts. Additional speakers will include Marty Chill, vice president of quality assurance and compliance for Hasbro; and Wonder Wong, quality assurance engineering director for Hasbro.

The training sessions are being organized by TIA with support from the State Administration for Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine of PRC (AQSIQ) and the China Toy Industrial Association (CTJPA), and in cooperation with the U.S. CPSC, Guangdong Dongguan and Shenzhen Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau of PRC, the Shenzhen Toys Industry Association (SZTIA), and the Shenzhen Import-Export Quarantine Association (SZIQA).

Interested participants may request additional registration details by contacting safety [at ]toyassociation.org. There is no fee for participation.

This post was originally written by Gigi Rubin and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Five Tips for Safe Summer Play from Toy Industry Association

To help assure that summer play is both safe and fun, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) offers parents five toy-related tips for a safe, active, and fun summer.

1. Pay close attention to the age appropriate guidelines on toy product packaging.

Age labeling is a safety precaution and is based on children’s developmental skills and ability at a given age, as well as the appropriateness of the toy for that age. Age labeling does not pertain to the intelligence of a child, so selecting toys marked with an age older than the child’s age is a mistake.

2. Make adult supervision a crucial element of outdoor play.

Children are quick and inquisitive. They should never be left alone near water sources (pools, inflatable “kiddie” pools, beaches, etc.) … not even for a moment. Water toys should be kept out of sight or out of reach when not being used so children aren’t tempted to play in or near the water alone.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has published a complete set of tips and information to help keep kids safe in and near the pool.

3. Buckle children up with helmets, knee pads, and other protective gear when playing with ride-on toys.

Most parents are aware that protective gear (helmets, knee pads, and arm pads) is crucial when riding a bicycle, but buckling up and wearing protective gear is equally important for other ride-on toys, including tricycles, scooters, skateboards, and skates.

4. Keep young bodies protected from the sun and heat.

Outdoor play areas should be covered to protect childrens’ sensitive skin from the sun’s intense rays. Children should wear hats, 100-percent UVA sunglasses, and a broad spectrum sunscreen (UVA and UVB protection) when playing outdoors.  The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all children—regardless of their skin tone—wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and re-apply every two hours or after prolonged contact with water.  Studies show that children do not always experience thirst before dehydration, so it is important that they drink plenty of fluids during and after play, even when they do not feel thirsty.

5. Organize and store toys to prevent slips, trips, and falls.

Large, plastic bins with lids are perfect for organizing and storing smaller toys. Bins should be marked by name so that toys for children of differing ages can be easily separated.  An outdoor shed should be set up with designated “parking” spaces near the door for bicycles and other ride-on toys; smaller items like skateboards and skates should be hung off ground-level or stored on shelves to prevent slips, trips, and falls.

For additional information on safe play and tips on toy selection, visit www.ToyInfo.org.

This post was originally published by PR Newswire.

TIA Identifies Top Trends from Toy Fair 2012

After viewing tons of the 100,000-plus products that were on display during the 109th American International Toy Fair last week, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) found six new toy trends for this year. A presentation was made during a “Toy Trends Tea,” hosted by TIA.

The six top trends identified were: toys that work with smart devices and apps; toys that glow in the dark or light up; educational games and toys for infants, preschoolers, and children of all ages; toys that have multiple play patterns or customizable toys; higher-priced toys that pack a “wow” factor; and toys that teach music basics or allow older kids to emulate their favorite pop stars.

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