TIA Considers Three for Board of Directors

TIAThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) nominating committee has submitted candidates for consideration by the membership, for election to the association’s board of directors. Successful candidates would serve a two-year term expiring at the annual meeting in 2017.

The proposed board members are: Bruce S. Raiffe, president of Gund; Howard Kahn, CEO of Kahn Lucas; and Kerry Cunnion, senior vice president of sales of Tomy International. Additional nominations, made in writing and signed by no less than 10 percent of the TIA’s membership, may be submitted to TIA President Carter Keithley at ckeithley@toyassociation.org no later than January 16.

Raiffe, Kahn, and Cunnion would fill the seats of retiring board members Joel Berger of Cardinal Industries Inc.; Peter Henseler of Tomy International; and D. Hugo Malan of Sears Holdings Corp.

The election of new board members will occur during the TIA Annual Business Meeting that will convene at 8 a.m. on February 16, in conjunction with North American International Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The meeting is open to all stakeholders of the toy industry—both members and non-members.

Toy Industry Unveils Nominees for 2015 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards

TOTY2015logoToday, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the 83 finalists for the prestigious 2015 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY). Between now and January 11, toy consumers of all ages can visit www.toyawards.org to vote for their favorite toys, games, and properties across 12 categories.

The 2015 finalists were selected from more than 600 nominees submitted for consideration by 159 companies. Sixty academics, journalists, toy trend experts, play therapists, toy inventors and designers, and toy retailers staffed the nomination committees that narrowed the field to the slate of finalists.

Votes from mass retailers, specialty toy retailers, media, TIA members, and consumers will be weighted and used to determine each of the 12 category winners. The winners—including the overall Toy of the Year and the People’s Choice awards—will be announced at the TOTY Awards ceremony held on February 13, 2015 as the kick-off to the 112th North American International Toy Fair. [Read more...]

Tomy Debuts New Sonic Boom Toy Line at Toys “R” Us

SonicBoomlogoA new Sonic Boom toy line, from global master toy partner Tomy International, is now available at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and at toysrus.com. The line will feature items across best-selling categories including plush, action figures, R/C, vehicles, and more, and will include a 12-inch talking plush and the Sonic Boom Launcher. Additional products will become available next year.

Tomy International Announces Executive Management Transition

Tomy International announces the promotion of Gregory J. Kilrea to president and chief executive officer and Masayuki Nagatake to chief operating officer. The board of directors approved these appointments, and Curtis W. Stoelting will resign from his positions as chief executive officer and director to pursue other business opportunities.

Kilrea has been with the company since 2004, having served most recently as president of Tomy International and, prior to that, as the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Kilrea’s focus will be to strengthen Tomy’s global platform and brand portfolio, deepen relationships with key licensor, trade and vendor partners, and set the vision and strategies required to drive further growth.

Nagatake will focus primarily on Tomy’s toy and hobby business and will remain as a key liaison with Tomy Company Ltd. to ensure global strategic alignment.

COMMENTARY: Battling Robots Pack a Punch

Radio-controlled “battles” have traditionally been thought of as races in which people compete to see whose car, plane, or helicopter can go faster. However, a new sort of battle is making it’s way to the R/C category: the battling robot.


Tomy’s Battroborg robot

This shift in the competitive nature of R/C toys is very cool to me. Two of my favorite battling robot products this year were Tomy International’s Battroborg line and Wow! Stuff’s Combat Creatures Attacknids. The Battroborg line was like R/C Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Battroborg is the first battling micro robot brand of its kind, which two-handed motion-controlled nunchucks that let the opponents control the robot’s motion with their own jabs. The Battroborg robots register hits and indicate when the ultimate battling champion has been victorious.

Whether you’re battling one-on-one, or in a battle royale of up to 10 robots in the three-in-one Battle arena, the Battroborg robots get the player to be more active with the R/C. It may be my competitive nature, but the brief battle has the fighter racing with quick jabs, trying to avoid hits with their whole arms, as opposed to just the thumbs with a traditional R/C controller. Battling robot lines get the player more involved in the “race.”


Wow! Stuff’s Combat Creatures Attacknid

The Attacknids are six-legged battling machines and the first in Wow! Stuff’s new Combat Creatures line of battling robotics. The Attacknids are 10 inches tall and move with realistic spider-like movements. Their Battle Head rotates a full 360 degrees. Their Bolt ‘N Battle Combat Armor explodes off when hit and their interchangeable blasters fire up to 30 feet and can be raised or lowered. The Attacknids’ weapon system includes three different rapid repeat blasters, which clip on an off in seconds and include Dissector Discs, Snyper Darts, and Destroyer Spheres.

Controlled by a wireless R/C handset with 2.4 Ghz chip technology, thousands of robots can battle at one time. Multiple Attacknids can also be controlled from the same handset. These creatures were incredible to see in action and were different from the usual R/C vehicles I saw up and down the aisles at Toy Fair.

For more commentary from Ali, check back each Thursday afternoon. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

Jim Henson Extends Agreement with Tomy

The Jim Henson Company has extended its licensing agreement with Tomy International, naming the company the global master toy licensee for its Pajanimals brand. Tomy International was initially appointed U.S. master toy licensing partner in October 2011.

Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Tomy International will develop an assortment of toys and juvenile products for the global marketplace. Among the products and merchandise being developed for international retail are 9-inch and 15-inch plush toys based on each of the series’ four main characters (Sweetpea Sue, Squacky, CowBella, and Apollo), nighttime projectors, monitors, nightlights, and a Snuggle Up Story Mat to help children transition from play time to nap time.

Tomy will debut the first Pajanimals products, the plush and Snuggle Up Story Mat, in the U.S. in October. The same product lines will also debut in the fall in Australia. The broader line will roll out in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, Australia, and Canada next year.

This post was originally written by Loren Moreno 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.