China Toy Fair


New Zeenie Dollz Animated Web Series Arrives in Time for Earth Day

ZeenielogoOn April 3, Zeenie Dollz will launch a new animated webisode series introducing its six “eco-warriors”:  Zennia, Yana, Evee, Kazumi, Lina, and Sini. The webisodes add to the continued expansion of the brand and offer another educational tool for parents to teach children about both preserving the environment and the power of teamwork.

Created in collaboration with Brandberry, each webisode will be two to three minutes long and take the Zeenies on eco-themed adventures. “A New Addition” will be available both on the Zeenie Dollz website and their YouTube channel.

 

Tamagotchi Celebrates 17 Years with New Tamagotchi Friends

TamagotchiFriendslogoBandai is set to relaunch Tamagotchi under the brand Tamagotchi Friends, supported by new devices, technology, and an immersive portfolio of interactive lifestyle products. Tamagotchi Friends will launch with animated webisodes debuting globally on November 23 to coincide with Tamagotchi’s 17th birthday, and supported by a phased rollout of a new website.

Since its debut, Tamagotchi has sold more than 79 million units in 44 versions worldwide, and remains the No. 1 character brand for girls ages 7 to 9 in Japan, as well as a top nostalgic brand in the U.S. The Tamagotchi Friends brand will include physical products, including Digital Friends, apparel, and apps; as well as a virtual world on social media at tamagotchifriends.com, where global visitors can connect to the characters and get to know them.

Bandai will introduce the Tamagotchi Friends portfolio of Digital Friends and other toys globally, with product reaching European retailers beginning in late December, followed by the U.S. market next fall.

Little Tikes Promotes Early Learning, Interaction with New Website, Tagline

LittleTikesThe website for MGA Entertainment‘s brand Little Tikes has been redesigned to feature more content for customers. The brand has also rolled out a new tagline, “The Wonder of Little Tikes,” referencing the moments that connect parents and their children.

The refresh adds new and extended content that reinforces littletikes.com as a destination not only for the largest assortment of Little Tikes products, but also as the go-to resource for insights and tools related to early engagement in childhood development. The updates, stemming from feedback from Little Tikes customers online, provide a more interactive, complete experience.

Now there is an easier check out process and additional functionality to make shopping more efficient; educational and entertainment content, including online games, coloring pages, and an animated webisode series; an incorporated ratings and reviews system to collect feedback and engage customers; and posts from leading childhood development experts to inform parents of key trends.

The Toy Book Chats with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO, Popstar Club

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO of Popstar Club, which is the manufacturer of the fresh, new doll line, The Beatrix Girls. Sherry gave me an overview of what makes her doll line so unique, and why girls are going to be clamoring for them this holiday season.

SherryGunther.BeatrixCEO

 

Where did you get the idea for Beatrix Girls?

The Beatrix Girls came out of the idea of tying music and dolls together. Ultimately the approach to this was to create a multiplatform brand that really reaches kids everywhere that they are, recognizing that kids are not just watching TV and they’re not just playing with dolls or toys, they’re not just online playing games or being social, they’re doing all of the above. A forward-thinking property really needed to have presence in all of those mediums and to have an integration between all of those formats ingrained in its DNA.

The webisodes are done in a very unique way. How did you come about using that style?

It’s interesting because the natural for me was to go with animation as I spent over 20 years in animation, but there were a lot of things that attracted me to doing it this way, creating webisodes that have the dolls featured interacting in real life. It comes out of the fact that the concept itself has the girls as real. So they’re real and they interact in our world. They’re a real pop star band, we9’re creating real music, not composed music like we would for a toy property or an animated show, but real, credible, pop music written by a platinum-winning writer/producer, mixed by a Grammy-winning engineer, so this is really relevant, today, great music and so we really want to sell them as true pop stars.

Animation oftentimes, especially when doing them based on a product or especially dolls, skews a little bit younger, and we really wanted to have the cool factor and have these be edgier. The medium that we used felt so much more current and fresh and innovative and YouTube generation-like and it felt much more fitting to the brand itself. It gives the dolls the credibility of being real in our world. They have a real human manager, they perform in real venues, so it allows us to play up that real factor for them. And then the scale gives us a lot of humor opportunities for 12-inch dolls interacting in a life-size world.

The really nice side effect that we found is that girls are really responding to the fact that they can relate to the way it was done because it was shot on purpose with hands showing and manipulating the dolls. The idea was that kids could really relate to it and feel like I can do that, I can get four dolls and with my friends create a scene and a scenario.

 

For some reason it reminds me of Mr. Bill, the old SNL skit.

That’s kind of what we were going for. We were going for rather than just sort of just straight, weak, almost too young-skewing animation. We wanted it to be edgier and quirky and fun and hilarious and this medium allowed us to do that, to have that feel to it.

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Webisodes for Lalaloopsy

MGA Entertainment has announced that its Lalaloopsy doll line, which was a huge hit over the holidays, will have its own webisodes. The webisodes will air on the Lalaloopsy website, YouTube, and other social media outlets. In October 2011, Lalaloopsy will premiere on Nickelodeon, and Lionsgate will distribute a DVD.
Additionally, the company announced that it has signed on a raft of new licensees, which will extend the brand into many categories of consumer products, including video games, apparel, publishing, back-to-school, social expressions, and costumes. Future plans include additions to the toy line, filmed and live entertainment, and an immersive website for kids.
Lalaloopsy are collectible, magical dolls that came to life when their very last stitch was sewn. Each comes with its own pet and background story based on the fabrics used to make their clothing.