Neil Friedman to Serve as Next President and CEO of Alex Brands

AlexBrands.Copy Alex Brands has named toy industry veteran Neil Friedman as its president and CEO. Friedman, who joined Alex Brands’ board of directors earlier this year, was most recently president of the U.S. division at Toys “R” Us. He was also previously president at Mattel Brands, Fisher-Price Brands, Tyco Preschool, and MCA/Universal Merchandising. Friedman is a member of the Toy Industry Hall of Fame and the International Licensing Industry Merchandiser’s Association’s Hall of Fame.

“This is a unique opportunity to work with some of the most iconic and highly recognizable brands in the industry,” says Friedman. “In the time that I have been associated with Alex Brands, I have been extremely impressed by the company’s accomplishments, vision, and growth plans. I am most looking forward to using my experience and expertise to help this company realize the incredible opportunities that lie before it.”

TIA to Induct Two to Hall of Fame

TIAThe Toy Industry Association will induct Pat Feely, chairman of the Toy Industry Foundation and retired CEO of Radica Games Ltd., and the late Leslie Berger, founder of Cardinal Industries Inc., into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be held on Feb. 13 in conjunction with the annual Toy of the Year Awards to kick off the 112th North American International Toy Fair.

Feely and Berger have been chosen in recognition of their contributions to the toy industry and the impact they have had on children through a commitment to toys and play, according to the TIA. They will join 67 others who have been inducted since it was established in 1984.

Feely has been in the toy industry for 37 years and engineered a turnaround and expansion of Radica Games and Tonka. He has been serving as chairman for the Toy Industry Foundation for the past eight years. In addition, he has served as chairman of the TIA for two years and was an advisor to the TIA Board of Directors for six years, where he helped form the TOTY Awards program and diversify the TIA Board.

The late Leslie Berger founded Cardinal Industries, one of the oldest privately owned toy businesses in the U.S. He served on the Toy Manufacturers of America, now called TIA, board for several years. He also secured the license to General Hospital from ABC in the early 80s.

Toy Industry Hall of Fame Nomination Period Is Open

ToyIndustryHallofFameToy Industry Association (TIA) members and toy industry stakeholders are invited to submit nominations of deserving candidates for induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame next February. The nomination period will extend through June 27, and the nomination form can be downloaded. Voting to select 2015 inductees is restricted to TIA members.

Consideration for the Toy Industry Hall of Fame is limited to individuals, living or deceased, who have made outstanding contributions or provided outstanding service to the toy industry and TIA. Possible accomplishments include lengthy experience, innovative product or marketing introductions, or service on the TIA Board of Directors. [Read more...]

Voting Opens for 2014 Toy Industry Hall of Fame Inductees

HallofFame2014logoThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) has opened its annual ballot to determine the next inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The voting period will extend to September 13. This year’s candidates were chosen from a slate of 24 highly-qualified nominees submitted for consideration by members of the Hall of Fame (HOF) Committee. All of the nominees left notable marks on the North American toy industry.

Living candidates for induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame included:

  •     Jill Barad, former CEO, Mattel
  •     Horst Brandstätter, president and sole owner, PLAYMOBIL/geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG
  •     Thomas Chan, chairman and CEO, Playmates Toys Inc.
  •     Joel Glickman, founder, K’NEX Brands
  •     Bruce Raiffe, president, Gund, division of Enesco, LLC

Candidates for posthumous induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame included:

Responses are due by September 13. Designated points of contact at TIA member companies, former Hall of Fame inductees, and recent TIA Board members are invited to rank their choices in the living and posthumous categories.

The inductees will be honored during the Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards ceremony on February 15 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which officially launches Toy Fair Week in New York City.

The Strong, TIA Partner for Museum Installation

overview1The Strong and the Toy Industry Association (TIA) partnered to house TIA’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame alongside The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, N.Y. The two halls of fame—one recognizing classic toys and the other recognizing the individuals who designed, made, and sold them—will share a $4 million museum installation, 75 percent of which will be funded by TIA and the toy industry.

By fall 2015, The Strong’s existing 5,000-square-foot National Toy Hall of Fame gallery will be fully transformed and renovated to accommodate the new halls. The new gallery will feature a programmable 100-foot-long by 20-foot-high LED theatrical screen visible from the street through a circular glass wall. The screen will blend stop-motion animated effects, pulsating color, and sound to highlight messages about toys, invention, and play.

Additional gallery components will include a second, smaller LED theatrical screen, an orientation theater, and five highly interactive, artifact-rich play environments that feature distinct modes of play—imagine, create, build, move, and compete. Inductees will be recognized on individual etched glass panels mounted on two lit, 14-foot-high curvilinear glass walls. Artifacts, documents, touch-screen interactivity, and physical play will position the inductees of both halls in the broad cultural context of play and its impact on the social history of everyday life. [Read more...]

Toy Industry Hall of Fame Nominations Now Open

Members of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) and other toy industry stakeholders are invited to submit nominations of deserving candidates (living or deceased) for induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame, the TIA says in a news release. Selected candidates will join 62 current members of the hall of fame during a ceremony to be held in conjunction with the 14th annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards ceremony on February 15 of next year. The nomination period will extend from May 28 through June 28. Membership in TIA is not a prerequisite for submitting a nomination.

Nominees for the Toy Industry Hall of Fame should have longstanding experience in the toy industry; unimpeachable integrity and respect among his or her peers; have made outstanding contributions to the industry and/or to TIA; and be recognized for various accomplishments. Examples include innovative product or marketing introductions; manufacturing process changes, which significantly improved processes or products; a prominent role in promoting the public’s awareness and appreciation of the importance of toys in the lives of children, or promoting the public’s awareness of the toy industry as a significant and responsible member of the business community; and service on the TIA board of directors, or in other important capacities in or related to toys and youth entertainment.

Additional information on the Toy Industry Hall of Fame is available online. Questions and completed nomination forms should be directed to TIA’s Stacy Leistner (646) 520-4858 by June 28.

TOTY Award Winners Announced

More than five hundred toy industry executives and guests from around the globe gathered in New York City on February 11 to honor their peers at the 12th annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

A Toy Industry Association (TIA)-administered event in support of the Toy Industry Foundation, the  gala held in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center kicked off the 109th American International Toy Fair and paid tribute to today’s superstars, tomorrow’s bright up-and-comers, and illustrious toy industry icons.

Interspersed with the presentations of 12 TOTY Awards were two inductions into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Arnie Rubin, Founder and CEO of Funrise Toy, and the late Frederick August Otto Schwarz, founder of FAO Schwarz. The new inductees join a distinguished roster of nearly 60 toy industry luminaries who have been inducted into the Hall since its establishment in 1985.

Award winners were selected with the input of consumers (on ToyAwards.org), retailers (mass and specialty), media, and members of the toy industry. The five ballots were weighted and used to determine the category winners as well as the overall “Toy of the Year” award.
LeapPad Explorer by LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. received the coveted “Toy of the Year” title and was also awarded Educational Toy of the Year and Preschool Toy of the Year. The awards program included 77 finalists across the 11 categories.

And the winners are…

[Read more...]

TIA Reveals New Hall of Fame Inductees

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced that Arnie Rubin, founder and CEO of Funrise Toy Corporation, and the late Frederick August Otto Schwarz, founder of FAO Schwarz, have been selected as the next inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame comprises a roster of 57 individuals who have been recognized for their significant contributions to the growth and success of the toy industry. The newest inductees were nominated by toy industry members and selected via vote from TIA members and previous Hall of Fame honorees.

[Read more...]

Ballot for Toy Industry Hall of Fame

Voting for the next inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame has started, and will run through October 14. TIA invites designated points of contact at TIA member companies, former Hall of Fame inductees, and recent TIA Board members to rank their choices in the living and posthumous categories. Each first place ranking will receive four points, each second place ranking will receive three points, and so on.

The candidates for induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame are: Judith (Judy) Ellis, chair, toy design department at the Fashion Institute of Technology; Patrick (Pat) Feely, president of PSF Consulting; Arnie Rubin, founder of Funrise, Inc.; and Jerry Storch, CEO and chairman of Toys “R” Us, Inc.

The candidates for posthumous induction into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame are: Russell (Russ) Berrie, founder of Russ Berrie, Inc.; Jack Friedman, former chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Jakks Pacific; and Frederick August Otto Schwarz, founder and president of FAO Schwarz.

The 2012 inductees will be announced in conjunction with promotion of the annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) awards program. The inductees will be honored during a ceremony held in conjunction with the TOTY Awards on February 11 at the Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. For more information, visit www.toy-tia.org.

TIA Announces 2011 TOTY Nominees, Toy Industry Hall of Fame Inductees

In a special press conference held at New York City’s Bryant Park, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) unveiled the 70 nominees for the 2011 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and the inductees for the 2011 Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The TOTY finalists were selected from a record pool of 500-plus toys, games, and properties that were submitted for consideration.

TIA announced that through January 14, retailers, media, members of the toy industry, as well as families, can vote for their favorite toys and each ballot will be weighted to determine the 2011 TOTY winners. Winners will be announced during the TOTY Awards ceremony on Saturday, February 12. To see the 2011 nominees, visit www.ToyAwards.org.

Also announced by the Association were the 2011 inductees for the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Al Verrecchia, chairman of the board of directors at Hasbro, and the late Donald Duncan, founder of Duncan Toy Company. Verrecchia and Duncan will be recognized for their contributions and service to the toy industry at the TOTY Awards.