PlayCon 2014 Agenda Includes Speakers from The NPD Group, Google/YouTube, and More

A number of educational topics related to the toy industry will be explored at PlayCon, the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) International Conference of Play Professionals, scheduled to take place May 7 to 9 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The May 8 program includes a keynote address delivered by Doug Van Andel, executive creative director at global ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi; a case study presented by Michael Moynihan, vice president of marketing at Lego Systems Inc.; a two-part session by The NPD Group focused on the latest sales data; a presentation entitled “The Broader World of Play,” from Katie Rottier, head of U.S. industry, sports & toys, at Google/YouTube; and more. [Read more...]

Mattel’s BOOMco Set to Blast Off!

BC_LogoMattel has released BOOMco, a new line of blasters available in select markets, including the UK, France, and Benelux. International market rollouts will continue over the next few months, with a North America debut in July timed for summer.

For BOOMco, Mattel is introducing the Smart Stick system, a dart and target system to go with amped-up blasters. With Smart Stick, darts can only bond to Smart Stick surfaces, and integrated blaster shields—which can retract or be removed—deflect or collect opponents’ darts. Targets in the Smart Stick system feature loud graphics so kids can easily see how true their aim is.

BOOMco Rapid Madness

BOOMco Rapid Madness

BOOMco blasters feature air blast performance that is 100-percent kid-powered, and have an adrenaline-inspired design. Blasters include the Twisted Spinner, which includes a 310-degree rotating barrel that can blast darts up to 70 feet away; fast-acting, push-button transformable shields; and 8 Smart Stick darts and a Smart Stick target. Meanwhile, the Rapid Madness is an air-powered blaster that can fling 20 Smart Stick darts in seconds, and has the capability of blasting up to 50 feet away. The Rapid Madness includes a quick push-button, removable transforming Smart Stick shield for the catch and defense of darts, and 30 darts. Both the Twisted Spinner and Rapid Madness are recommended for kids ages 6 and older.

BOOMco will be supported by a strong digital presence in which fans can continuously engage and interact on popular platforms. A YouTube channel will offer blaster-in-action videos and behind-the-scenes footage. Meanwhile, an Instagram account will feature photos and visual play inspirations. BOOMco will also be issuing monthly challenges to fans that will show fun ways to play with the new blasters. In addition, a mobile app released later this year will feature gaming options and the ability to record and edit action favorite moments.

Updates on the availability of BOOMco products can be found at www.boom-co.com.

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.

 

Razor Launches Trick-y New App

Razor.appRazor USA LLC has launched the Razor Trickshare app, a free download designed for both iOS and Android. The app was created to allow kids to learn and share tricks and moves that are possible on a scooter. It is available for download at iTunes and at Google Play.

The Tricktionary part of the app includes images of scooter tricks such as the backflip or tailwhip, and allows fans to take a photograph of themselves doing the same trick and to create an online Team Razor Trick Card to share with friends.

The app also includes links to the Team Razor community and links to the Razor YouTube channels and the Razor official store.

WWE Slam City Launches with Mattel Toy Line

WWESlamCityMattel Inc. and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) recently launched WWE Slam City, a new kids property that includes a complete line of WWE Slam City merchandise as well as an original animated short-form series co-produced by WWE and Mattel’s Playground Productions. WWE Slam City toys, including action figures, ring sets and more, are currently available at major retail stores. In addition to toys, books and graphic novels will be available by year’s end, while a WWE Slam City mobile game will be in stores next year.

Episodes will be aired on WWESlamCity.com, Cartoonium, and YouTube in addition to TV broadcasts, live events, digital version, and social media. Other platforms include Hulu, Mattel.com, iTunes, and Playstation.

The series was filmed in the next generation of stop-motion animation. A new WWE animated character will fire all of the WWE Superstars and send them to Slam City to find day jobs. The characters, including John Cena, Randy Orton, and Sheamus will have a new lifestyle outside of the ring but will stay true to their personas.

Mattel Launches Ever After High Globally

Photographer Jeremy Lloyd Stylist Lin CarlsonMattel has launched its newest intellectual property, Ever After High. Based on the everyday lives of the teenage sons and daughters of well-known fairytale legends, Ever After High leverages multiple platforms to reach consumers.

The story of Ever After High takes place at an enchanted boarding school, where Raven Queen, daughter of the Evil Queen, questions her storybook fate of becoming the next Evil Queen. After she questions her own pre-determined destiny, the school becomes divided between those who want what is promised to them, and those who want to write their own storybook endings.

This new tween property is available in 14 countries and will continue to roll-out to more than 30 territories next year. In addition to the initial collection of six fashion dolls, the property is supported by an immersive digital experience including a website, EverAfterHigh.com, global Facebook page, and YouTube channel. The digital ecosystem includes animated webisodes, character bios, games, avatars, and an interactive music video.

GoldieBlox Introduces GoldieBlox and the Parade Float

GoldieBlox.ParadeFloatThere’s a new addition to the GoldieBlox toy collection: GoldieBlox and the Parade Float, available now for pre-order at GoldieBlox.com for delivery by December 1, and rolling into Toys “R” Us stores nationwide this holiday season. Encouraging the growth of a female presence in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, founder Debbie Sterling and GoldieBlox aim to introduce girls to the fun of building combined with the age-old pastime of storytelling, by offering an engineering role model who is smart, curious, and accessible.

The new main set, GoldieBlox and the Parade Float, features nine design ideas as well as a do-it-yourself project, and is compatible with all other Goldie Blox toys. Meanwhile, the new Blox + Bits Expansion Pack includes rods, blocks, and other extra pieces that fit both the original GoldieBlox and The Spinning Machine and GoldieBlox and The Parade Float sets, and allow kids to create even larger projects.

In addition, GoldieBlox has launched an online play gallery with stop-motion how-to videos starring little girl inventors. Fans can submit their own videos to be featured on GoldieBlox.com and the GoldieBlox YouTube channel.

Skylanders Debuts New Boomcast Webisodes on YouTube

Skylanders.Swap.ForceSkylanders Boomcast, a weekly series of online webisodes for the Skylanders line of toys, debuted on October 4 on the Skylanders YouTube channel.

Actor Zachary Gordon hosts, bringing fans the latest Skylanders franchise news, gameplay tips and tricks, fan art, character spotlights, exclusive interviews with the Skylanders team, and more. Skylanders Boomcast was created by Activision Publishing Inc. and is a Matter/Edelman production in association with RadNerd Productions.

The show’s launch kicked-off Swaptober, a month of activities celebrating the new Skylanders SWAP Force, which arrives on October 13 in North America, October 16 in Australia, and October 18 in Europe.

The Jim Henson Co. Launches Jim Henson Family TV on YouTube

the-jim-henson-company-post1On May 9, Jim Henson Family TV, the new paid channel from The Jim Henson Co., launched on YouTube. For the first time, the new channel, featuring ad-free full episodes of hit shows like Sid the Science Kid and Fraggle Rock, will provide hours of family-friendly Henson content for computer, phone, tablet, and TV viewing, all for the introductory price of $2.99/month or $24.99/year.

Launching on the same day, Jim Henson TV para la familia en espanol will debut Henson content in Spanish. Coming soon, subscribers to the English channel can upgrade to include the Spanish channel for an additional fee. [Read more...]

Thrash Lab and Giant Robot Profile Uglydoll Creator

Ashton Kutcher’s Thrash Lab, in collaboration with Giant Robot Profiles, profiles Uglydoll creator David Horvath. The profile tells the story of how Uglydoll was born around 10 years ago from a simple character drawing in a letter margin to a hand-sewn doll by Horvath’s now wife Sun-Min Kim.

Check out the profile on Uglydoll’s YouTube channel below: