The Transformers Brand Transforms the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis into an Immersive Experience

Transformers,RobotsinDisguiseThe Children’s Museum of Indianapolis celebrates 30 years of Hasbro’s Transformers brand with Transformers Robots in Disguise, exhibiting between now and July 26.

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Q&A with Billy Lagor, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Asia-Pacific at Hasbro

Billy LagorThe Toy Book (TTB): What kind of marketing promotions are going on in the region in anticipation of Chinese New Year?

Billy Lagor (BL): We have significant promotional activity surrounding Chinese New Year. This consists of a substantial range of marketing activity to engage our shoppers and consumers, similar to what happens during the holiday season in the U.S., and development of unique products designed with a Chinese New Year theme or to meet specific Chinese New Year product expectations. See below for some examples from the past two years.
Microsoft Word - HASBRO AND THE CHINESE MARKET - Billy interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Q&A with Eric Nyman, Senior Vice President of Global Brand Strategy and Marketing at Hasbro

EricNymanThe Toy Book (TTB): How do you utilize consumer feedback in product development?

Eric Nyman (EN): Hasbro puts our consumers at the center of everything we do, and we’ve seen a tremendous amount of change in the way kids and families play today. Therefore, we conduct extensive research and are in constant conversation with our consumers to better understand their wants and needs and make sure we are delivering the world’s best play experiences. Over the last several years, Hasbro’s marketing team in conjunction with our consumer insights team has talked to tens of thousands of kids of all ages through research and in our three Fun Labs around the world. [Read more...]

Q&A with Eva Lorenz, Category Leader, Amazon Toys & Games

Eva Lorenz, AmazonThe Toy Book (TTB): How are you engaging consumers to drive sales?

Eva Lorenz (EL): Amazon customers, particularly busy parents, appreciate having the ability to shop on their own time and from the comfort of their own home or while on-the-go using a mobile device. They also love having access to the largest selection of products and all the information they needcomprehensive product details, high-resolution images, video content, and customer reviews–to make informed purchasing decisions. We consistently deliver on these promises to customers, which has earned their trust and keeps them coming back to shop on Amazon. [Read more...]

Hasbro Enlists Fans to Create Massive New Transformers Robot

TransformersCombinerWarsappIn celebration of the theme for its 2015 Transformers Generations line, Combiner Wars, Hasbro is inviting fans to help create a new character for the Transformers brand; specifically, a new team of robots that combine to form one giant new character. [Read more...]

The Chicago Toy & Game Group Reveals 2014 TAGIE Winners

TAGIE.AwardsThe Chicago Toy & Game Group has crowned this year’s recipients of the 2014 Toy and Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards. More than 400 guests representing 23 countries gathered at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier Grand Ballroom last Friday to toast today’s top playthings.

The Chicago Toy & Game Group acknowledged the following winners from nominated categories:

Excellence in Game Design: Oliver Morris, designer of Gravity Maze

Excellence in Toy Design: Ian Bernstein, Adam Wilson, and Sphero team, inventors of Ollie

Rising Star Designer: Alice Taylor, designer of Makies [Read more...]

Merger Deal Between Hasbro and Dreamworks Animation Reportedly Dead

It’s been widely reported that merger negotiations between Hasbro and DreamWorks Animation have been called off, due in part to the stock performance of Hasbro, as well as the high asking price by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Hasbro reportedly ended conversations on Friday, for reasons that included a $30 share price asked for by Katzenberg. Some analysts deemed that price high. In addition, the possible merger had a negative effect on Hasbro’s stock–it fell on both Thursday and Friday–which is said to have concerned execs at the company.

The deal would have been worth at $2.3 billion, as reported by Variety.

By joining forces with DreamWorks Animation, Hasbro would have had the means of increasing its film and TV presence, while in theory, DreamWorks would have benefited from a more diverse revenue stream via Hasbro. DreamWorks’ properties include Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar. Hasbro, meanwhile, owns such toy brands as Transformers and G.I. Joe.

Hasbro in Talks to Buy DreamWorks Animation

Hasbro logoAs initially reported by Deadline, Hasbro Inc. is in early talks to buy DreamWorks Animation SKG. The deal would give the toy maker, which has clout with major retailers, an animation studio that just recently began diversifying beyond the movies.

For each company, a deal could help accelerate movement beyond their core businesses. DreamWorks Animation has expanded into consumer products in recent years, but still lags behind Walt Disney Co., while Hasbro recently sold off some of its stake in the Hub cable network.

dreamworks_animation_logoThrough its relatively new film label, Allspark Pictures, Hasbro has movies in the works based on its toy brands, My Little Pony and Jem and the Holograms. It is also launching a new Transformers cartoon series on the Cartoon Network, having had trouble edging in on children’s networks Nickelodeon and Disney Channel.

Should a deal be reached, it would likely come during the next two to four weeks, and would result in a family entertainment powerhouse to be called DreamWorks-Hasbro, according to a source in the article. Hasbro could also have management of the new entity already in place: On Wednesday, the company appointed Stephen Davis, who has led Hasbro Studios since its launch in 2009, to the role of executive vice president, chief content officer.

In this new role, Davis will be responsible for developing content for Hasbro’s brands across multiple platforms. He will also work closely with Hasbro’s president and chief executive officer, Brian Goldner, to oversee Allspark Pictures (This aspect of Davis’ role was announced prior to news about the possible Hasbro-DreamWorks deal), as well as franchise films such as Transformers that are produced in partnership with major studios.

Chicago Toy & Game Group to Honor The Kohner Family at TAGIE Awards

ChicagoDuring the 2014 Toy & Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards, the Chicago Toy & Game Group will present this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award to The Kohner Family, which includes brothers Frank and Paul Kohner and Paul’s son, Michael Kohner. The latter will accept the award on behalf of The Kohner family, which has worked in the toy and game industry for almost 75 years.

In 1940, Paul Kohner founded Kohner Brothers alongside Michael’s uncle, Frank Kohner, and what began as a wooden bead company quickly transformed into a toy-making endeavor. The Kohner Brothers cemented their place with the introduction of the game, Trouble, featuring the Pop-O-Matic dice device.

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, the In Memoriam award will be given to the family of Bill Goodman, while Hasbro Co. will receive the 2014 TAGIE Excellence in Character Design award for the Transformers toys in celebration of the brand’s 40th anniversary. The TAGIE Awards are scheduled to take place in the Grand Ballroom of Chicago’s Navy Pier on November 21.

COMMENTARY: China Toy Expo Showcases Regional Toy Brands with Worldwide Potential

DreamBeyond2Toy trade shows are terrific places in which to catch a sneak peek of the next play product sure to take the marketplace by storm. Recently, I was covering China Toy Expo, sponsored by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, which took place this past week at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai. While the show featured plenty of toy brands that would be familiar to Westerners—many of them imported by Chinese companies for domestic distribution—there were also lots of Chinese toy manufacturers on-hand, bearing properties that they hope will do well at home.

And of course, if a product does well in its native market, one assumes there’s a good chance it will gain an international partner that will help it take the next step. Think of Lego, which began selling in Europe during the 1940s before expanding to North America during the ’60s. Not every new toy brand can be Lego, of course; however, it’s always fun to speculate on new products and their potential to become the next big global star due to built-in appeal, compelling features, etc. Here are a few domestically-made items from China Toy Expo, which in this author’s opinion, have a shot at breaking out worldwide. [Read more...]