New Disney Infinity Figures, Power Discs Arrive for the Holidays

DisneyInfinity.VanellopeDisney Interactive has released a holiday line-up of Disney Infinity figures and Power Discs. Among the new character additions to the game’s Toy Box mode are Rapunzel from Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope from Wreck-It Ralph, and Anna and Elsa from the upcoming Frozen.

The product highlights and U.S. release dates and details are listed below:

Rapunzel: With beautiful long locks, fierce determination, and signature frying pan, Tangled’s Rapunzel is powerful and has a unique style of combat. Available at Walmart between November 22 and December 31.

Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph uses his wrecking abilities and 8-bit cherry bombs to defeat enemies. Available at Best Buy between November 22 and December 31.

Vanellope: The Sugar Rush racer brings her Glitch ability, which allows her to teleport short distances and glitch out other characters. Available at Target between November 24 and December 31.

Frozen Toy Box Pack: Featuring Anna, Elsa, and two hexagonal power discs. Anna uses her grappling hook to get to hard-to-reach places and her shovel to defeat enemies, while Elsa utilizes magical ice abilities. National release set for November 26.<!-more–>

In addition, 20 new Power Discs will enter circulation, including “rare” versions. Circular Power Discs give characters special power-ups, while Hexagonal Power Discs unlock special gadgets, vehicles, and themes.

The Circular Discs include Ralph’s Power of Destruction, Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s Damage-inator!, Electro-Charge, Star Command Shield, and User Control. The Hexagonal Discs include Flamingo Croquet Mallet, Frankenweenie: Victor’s Experiments, Frozen: Frozen Flourish, Frozen: Chill in the Air, Nightmare Before Christmas: Halloweentown Sky, Pizza Planet Delivery Truck, and more. Rare Hexagonal Discs include: Electric Mayhem Bus, Condor Wing Glider, and Hook’s Ship from Peter Pan Ride.

Walmart Matches Competitors’ Black Friday Deals One Week Early

logo-walmartHoliday shoppers don’t have to wait until Black Friday to start shopping for deals at Walmart. At of 8 a.m. on November 22, Walmart has started a pre-Black Friday savings event in stores and online, lowering the prices on popular toys and electronics, to match select Black Friday offers from Target, Toys “R” Us, and Best Buy one week early.

The retailer also extends its Christmas Ad Match to walmart.com customers. Customers who purchase an item on walmart.com, and find a lower price in a local competitor, can email christmasadmatch@walmart.com and receive the difference on a gift card. The same policy is in place for customers at Walmart stores for items purchased November 1 through December 24, excluding Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

Examples of toys and electronics that are part of Walmart’s pre-Black Friday saving event, while supplies last, include LeapPad 2, Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, Nerf Rebelle Crossbow, Monopoly Board Game, Hot Wheels Single Car, Skylanders and Disney Infinity Starter Packs, and select PS4 and Xbox One video games such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, NBA 2K14 and Battlefield 4. [Read more...]

MGA Entertainment Adds Three Senior Members

MGAMGA Entertainment Inc. (MGA) has added three new senior members to its leadership team: Bruce Morrison, executive vice president of sales and licensing; Efren Gonzalez, vice president of advertising and public relations; and Ame Cameron, vice president of marketing.

Morrison will focus on strengthening critical business relationships with MGA’s key retailers, licensees, and distribution partners in the U.S. and abroad. He will also serve an important strategic role in the areas of retail marketing, business development, and product planning in the global arena. Morrison most recently held the position of senior vice president retail sales for Disney Consumer Products (DCP) North America.

Gonzalez joins MGA after 11 years with Ogilvy & Mather, where he was most recently a senior partner and executive group director. He will fuel the creation of integrated programs for each MGA brand.

Cameron spent the past two and half years with Walmart Marketing. As vice president of marketing, she will leverage her consumer packaged goods background to infuse strategic business leadership into branding and marketing initiatives across MGA product lines. The MGA family includes such toy brands such as Little Tikes, Lalaloopsy, and more.

Jakks Pacific Launches miWorld Featuring Real Retail Companies

Jakks.DairyQueenJakks Pacific Inc. has collaborated with established consumer products and retail companies, including Claire’s, Dairy Queen, and Sprinkles Cupcakes, to launch a new line of mini play environments called miWorld. The first assortment will consist of five sets, which kids can collect and fill with realistic miniatures of food, make-up, candy, accessories, and clothing, creating a mall of their very own.

The miWorld line will feature compatibility with the miWorld DreamPlay app, which utilizes iD recognition technology to recognize 2-D images and 3-D objects, bringing miWorld playsets to life on iOS smartphone and tablet devices. The app was developed and published by DreamPlay Toys LLC, a joint venture between Jakks Pacific and NantWorks LLC.

With the free miWorld app, kids have two ways to play with miWorld toys: Within the app, they can customize the look of their miWorld avatar, shop at virtual stores, change the outfits and accessories of their avatar, and more. Kids can also interact with their avatar and the physical play set on their device screen through “hotspots” showcased in the app, which can lead to surprises.

The miWorld line will be available at Walmart stores in December and at Toys “R” Us and other major retailers next year.

Major Toy Retailers Welcome Shoppers on Thanksgiving with Black Friday Deals

ToysRUsLogo copyThis Thanksgiving, Toys “R” Us nationwide stores will open at 5 p.m. on November 28, so parents and gift-givers can get a head start on their holiday shopping. Promotions include four-hour deals, as well as Thursday through Sunday discounts on toys, games, and tablets.

Shoppers can plan their strategies as early as November 24 on the Toys “R” Us Facebook page, and a 28-page circular is set to arrive in newspapers across the country on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, for the first time, customers can shop the majority of Thanksgiving weekend deals online at toysrus.com/blackfriday starting at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

Those shoppers who spend $75 or more between November 28 and 29, at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us, will receive a $10 redeemable coupon that’s valid in-store or online between December 1 through December 7. [Read more...]

PowerA Releases Skylanders Swap Force Licensed Accessories

SkylandersPowerA

PowerA, an industry leader in video game and mobility accessories, has announced the availability of new accessories for the game Skylanders Swap Force. PowerA has been making accessories for Skylanders franchise for the last three years. With storage solutions that double as play sets, to high-quality third party video game controllers, PowerA has something for every Skylanders fan.

The new accessories and cases include:

These Skylanders Swap Force accessories, and more storage, transport, and mobility cases are available at major retailers including Amazon.com, Best Buy, Fred Meyer, Target, Toys”R”Us, Walmart and more.

Innovation First Announces Two New Hexbug Product Lines

hexbug_nano_3Innovation First International (IFI) has announced that its two new Hexbug micro robotic product lines, Nano V2 and Aquabot, are now available at specialty and mass retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Target, Toys “R” Us, and RadioShack.

This month also marks the launch of company’s “They Can Climb” marketing campaign, playing off the Nano V2 feature, with a mix of TV advertising across all children’s TV networks, a series of consumer-generated online and social media contests, and an experiential marketing integration event that it hosted at the X Games X Fest Los Angeles. IFI’s comprehensive fall TV public relations and advertising schedule will also include the Aquabot as well as some of the Hexbug Micro Robotic Creatures.

Hexbug is using social media tools like Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Vine for its “They Can Climb” video contest. To participate, entrants need a Vine, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram account and to include the “#theycanclimb” along with a capture of something that incorporates Hexbugs. Every entrant will receive a $5 promo code off his or her next purchase on www.hexbug.com. Weekly winners will also be chosen to receive a Nano V2 Black Hole set and will also be featured on www.nanov2.com.

COMMENTARY: Dough Play: Letting Kids Be Gross

Spending time with my niece (age 8) and nephew (age 4) has taught me many things: patience, kindness, compassion, etc. However, one particular lesson has stood out to me as of late: kids are gross. They are adorable and awesome and hilariously uninhibited, which, in turn, often makes them gross. They just want to stomp in the mud, pick their noses, and enjoy all the luxuries of gooey, mushy substances. However, this grossness can easily be turned into something productive, cute, and brightly colored through dough play.

Play-Doh PlusPlay-Doh, from Hasbro, has been around for decades. I loved molding the clay-like substance when I was young, spending hours at the kitchen table with multiple containers worth spilling out onto sheets of wax paper. I loved squishing a big ball of Play-Doh in my hands and feeling the smushy compound ooze between my fingers. It was gross, awesome, and most importantly, wildly entertaining. In addition to Play-Doh and the new Play-Doh Plus compound, which is a fluffier version that allows for easier molding, there are other great new options on the shelves that allow kids to be creative while channeling their passion for mush and grossness.

[Read more...]

Brush Buddies Launches Smurf-Themed Toothbrushes

BRUSH BUDDIES SMURFSIn anticipation of Sony Pictures Animation’s release of The Smurfs 2, in theaters July 31, Brush Buddies announces a partnership with Sony Pictures Consumer Products for the launch of Brush Buddies Smurfs Poppin’ toothbrushes, Brush Buddies Smurfs Talking Toothbrushes, and Brush Buddies Smurfs manual toothbrushes. This collection will be the newest addition to the Brush Buddies licensed toothbrush collection.

The Poppin’ and Talking line is designed with safety features in mind for kids ages 2 to 11 years old. The products are BPA free with soft DuPont Tynex Bristles and designed with an ergonomic handle that easily fits a child’s hands.

To order your own Smurfs Poppin’ or Talking Toothbrushes, visit www.brushbuddies.com/thesmurfs.  The products are also available at Toys “R” Us and Walmart.

VTech InnoTab 3 Available for Pre-order

vtech_2VTech has introduced its latest, lower-priced Learning App Tablet for kids, the InnoTab 3. On the heels of the popular InnoTab 2S, one of the first children’s learning tablets with Wi-Fi, InnoTab 3 delivers a powerful punch, in a compact size and at an affordable price. InnoTab 3 introduces children to a world of age-appropriate educational content on VTech’s comprehensive app store, the Learning Lodge, where they can explore hundreds of games, e-books, videos, and music across the widest variety of curriculums. The new tablet is available for pre-order on www.vtechkids.com, Amazon.com, Target.com, Toysrus.com, and Walmart.com.

InnoTab 3 key features include compact and lightweight design with a 4.3-inch touch screen, a new directional pad, and a tilt sensor; 2.0 megapixel, 180 degree rotating camera with more than 55 photo features and special effects; 2 GB onboard memory; 15 on-board apps, and one free download redeemable on the Learning Lodge; built-in microphone and headphone jack add versatility; and pop-up onscreen keyboard and stylus with storage slot.