China Toy Fair


Mattel Launches New Direct-to-Consumer Strategy for Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway

Thomas_Hero_CGI_ApprovedMattel is bringing a new shopping experience to Thomas & Friends fans nationwide, through a cross-company collaboration that began this month. Anchored by the Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line, the new experience includes the first ever Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway direct-to-consumer catalogue, e-commerce website, and partnerships with 20 independent specialty retail stores, which will serve as official Thomas & Friends Specialty Stations in the U.S.

Thomas & Friends will also introduce a limited-release wooden engine, Logan, a Shunter that works at the coal plant, and is only available in the U.S. through the new catalogue, e-commerce website, and official specialty stations. Logan will also be the first of a series of limited-release engines to be introduced by the new program annually.

The e-commerce website, thomaswoodenrailway.com, launches in August, and the Logan wooden engine will be available through December 31 of next year.

In addition, moving forward, Toys “R” Us will become the exclusive national chain retailer of Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway.

VTech’s Kidizoom Smartwatch Includes Built-In Camera and More

VTech Smartwatch Release FINAL[4]Today, VTech launched its first ever camera watch for kids: the Kidizoom Smartwatch. The world’s first smartwatch for kids, its features include a built-in camera, video, and photo effects. The Kidizoom Smartwatch also has a 1.4-inch color touch screen, more than 50 digital and analog clock displays that help kids learn to tell time, a rechargeable battery, alarm clock, timer, stopwatch, voice recorder with funny voice changing effects, and parental game controls.

Since it is made for kids, the Kidizoom Smartwatch features a durable design to withstand drops and bumps, and is splash and sweat proof. In addition, the Kidizoom Smartwatch is PC and Mac compatible for uploading photos, videos, and recorded voice files, and offers access to VTech’s Learning Lodge app store.

The Kidizoom Smartwatch is recommended for kids ages 4 and up, and is available now at www.vtechkids.com, amazon.com, target.com, toysrus.com, and walmart.com.

McFarlane Toys Launches The Walking Dead Building Block Sets

McFarlaneToys.TheWalkingDeadMcFarlane Toys is unveiling new brick building toys based on AMC’s The Walking Dead. These building sets and figures will be available this fall at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and online at toysrus.com.

The initial McFarlane Toys’ The Walking Dead brick building line will feature realistic and detailed sculpts, light-up and shaped features, iconic environments, and fan-favorite characters and walkers, allowing collectors and fans to recreate their favorite scenes.

The building sets include Daryl Dixon with Chopper, The Governor’s Room, and Prison Tower with Gate. Blind bag figures include Daryl Dixon, Michonne, The Governor, Carl Grimes, Riot Gear Walker, Michonne’s Pet Walker, and Herd Walkers.

Toys “R” Us and Hull FC to Partner on Match Day and Support Programs

A new partnership launched between Toys “R” Us and Hull Football Club (Hull FC) will see the latter’s family area of the team stadium’s West Stand become known as the Toys “R” Us Family Area, with toy giveaways at every game from both Toys “R” Us’ and Hull FC’s mascots.

Toys “R” Us will also officially partner with the club’s grassroots engagement program, known as Fanbassadors, with special offers for young fans at schools and junior clubs, as well as discount vouchers and toys for Hull FC season pass holders. In addition, Toys “R” Us will become included in the club’s official playing and replica shirts.

The partnership will also see community links forged by the Toys “R” Us store at Kingston Retail Park in Hull, including visits from the players and mascots, as well as support for on-going community and charity work.

Archie Comics: Let’s Hear It for the Boy Next Door!

By Stuart Fischer

ArchieComicslogoWhen one thinks of the comic book character Archie, one envisions a bright-eyed teenager who has a constant smile on his face, as if he does not have a care in the world. That might be true of this wonderful fictional character, but the company behind him is a hard-working, innovative force: Archie Comic Publications.

Founded in 1939 by Maurice Coyne, Louis Silberkleit, and John L. Goldwater, the name of the company was first MLJ Publications. It was changed a few years later to Archie Comic Publications as a salute to the character that became its greatest success.

MLJ began publishing various titles during the beginning of the comic book industry, most of them humor, although there were also a few adventure series. The company’s first comic was Blue Ribbon Comics, published in November 1939, followed shortly by Pep Comics, which began in January 1940 and introduced The Shield, a patriotic hero who resembled Marvel’s Captain America, who started appearing one year later.

In Pep Comics issue no. 22, published in December 1941, Archie Andrews made his first appearance. The world would never be the same. [Read more...]

University Games Launches Annual National Young Game Inventors Contest

NYGIC_SplashPageUniversity Games has invited young game inventors with original board game ideas to participate in the 22nd annual National Young Game Inventors Contest for a chance to have their game manufactured and included in the University Games lineup next year. Additional prizes include a family vacation to San Francisco, Calif. (includes four nights lodging and airfare for up to two adults and one child), a $10,000 savings bond for college, and a complete library of board games from University Games.

Entries are now being accepted for the contest, which is open to kids ages 5 to 12, and sponsored by Toys “R” Us and Scholastic Parent & Child magazine. Complete rules and entry forms can be found at www.nygic.org.

Since the National Young Game Inventors Contest was launched in 1993, it has encouraged thousands of young children to stretch their imaginations and develop board games such as Munch Math, Rapunzel’s Revenge, Rhyme Time, and more.

Toys “R” Us Inc. Names Michael J. Short Chief Financial Officer

Toys “R” Us Inc. has named Michael J. Short executive vice president and chief financial officer, Toys “R” Us Inc., effective June 23. Short was most recently executive vice president and chief financial officer of AutoNation for seven years. He will serve as a member of the company’s global executive committee and report to Antonio Urcelay, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, Toys “R” Us Inc.

Prior to his role at AutoNation, Short was executive vice president and chief financial officer of Universal Orlando, where he served in a variety of finance roles earlier in his career.

BREAKING NEWS: Lego Combines Digital and Physical Play with Lego Fusion

Lego Fusion Town MasterLego Systems Inc. has unveiled Lego Fusion, a play experience that combines traditional Lego brick play with app-based mobile games for kids ages 7 and up. The Fusion collection will include four: Lego Fusion Town Master, Lego Fusion Battle Towers, Lego Fusion Create & Race, and Lego Fusion Resort Designer, featuring Lego Friends characters and themes.

Each Lego Fusion kit consists of a distinct set of Lego bricks, a corresponding free downloadable app, and a unique Fusion capture plate, which is a small brick-building plate featuring a printed design that enables a smartphone or tablet’s camera to identify the size, colors, and layout of the Lego bricks built onto the plate. The apps will prompt kids to build a 2-D façade of a building onto the capture plate any way they like. Then, kids can import the façade into the app and transform the creation into a full 3-D building on screen. Once a Lego brick creation has been imported into the game, a series of challenges and interactions will require kids to turn away from the screen and build another façade with their Lego bricks to progress in the game. Each game encourages this back-and-forth between physical and virtual worlds.

[Read more...]

Goodbaby Acquires Evenflo, Deal Will Keep Jobs in Ohio

The Evenflo Co. has signed an agreement to be acquired by Goodbaby International Holdings Limited. Goodbaby is principally engaged in the design, research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and sale of durable juvenile products. The agreement is definitive and binding pending Goodbaby shareholder approval, which should take place within 45 days.

Evenflo principally engages in the design, research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and sale of Evenflo, Exersaucer, and Snugli branded juvenile products. Its portfolio includes play yards and stationary activity centers to go with car seats, travel systems, safety gates, high chairs, and more. Evenflo brands are sold at key retailers such as Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, Target, and Amazon. [Read more...]

Toys “R” Us Encourages Customers to #Stir4ACure to Benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Toys'R'Us Alex's Lemonade Stand FoundationToys “R” Us Inc. has reaffirmed its support of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancer. Beginning June 1 through July 31, monetary donations will be collected at all Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide, and online at toysrus.com/alexslemonade. To celebrate its fourth consecutive year of partnership with ALSF, Toys “R” Us is debuting a new campaign theme and consumer engagement initiative, #Stir4ACure, which invites social media users to spread awareness for the charity by sharing who or what they stir for–whether it’s a cure, a family member, or all children fighting cancer. By joining the effort, participants show support for the cause and for Alexandra “Alex” Scott, the inspiration behind ALSF who “stirred for a cure” for all kids like her before losing her life to cancer at the age of 8. [Read more...]