Author: James Zahn

Diaframma Evolves to Get #CreativeAtHome During Quarantine

As the global spread of COVID-19 continues to disrupt business, many companies are being forced to get creative. For Diaframma — the Italian studio that has been serving the toy industry for more than 40 years — being creative is at the core of its business. Now, its team is showing off how it can be #CreativeAtHome as the company evolves to serve its clients during changing times. In a new test shoot, Diaframma uses a LEGO Batman set to show what it’s capable of pulling off when the studio becomes a work-from-home affair. #Lockdown has been hard but we won't let...

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Nickelodeon, Scooter Braun Set to Bring ‘The BeatBuds’ to TV

Nickelodeon inked a deal with Scooter Braun’s SB Projects to produce an animated series based on The BeatBuds, a popular Los Angeles-based kids’ music duo. The BeatBuds (working title) will follow the adventures of Jonny, Matty, and rest of their ‘Buds. Each episode will feature an original song. Evan Sinclair (Ryan’s Mystery Playdate, The Aquabats! Super Show!) is writing the short-form series with production set to begin this summer on the 10-episode series. “The BeatBuds are all my kids listen to and from the first time I saw them perform at a birthday party, I knew they could become one...

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The Toy Association Reveals Plans for Virtual ‘Toy Fair Everywhere’

The Toy Association is laying the groundwork to assist toymakers and retail buyers in an era in which in-person meetings and mass gatherings are off the table. Toy Fair Everywhere is a new virtual market program that will launch in July for the first of three virtual seven-day market weeks. Using partners such as Balluun — which powers The Toy Association’s ShopToys365 platform —Toy Fair Everywhere seeks to bring together suppliers, customers, and other members of the toy industry in a manner that will facilitate buyer and seller needs. Virtual market week attendees will be able to explore a calendar...

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How Coronavirus is Affecting the Toy Industry (Updated)

This article will be updated daily with additional cancellations, postponements, and the other ways in which COVID-19 is affecting the toy industry and adjacent businesses including gaming, licensing, entertainment, and retail. Last updated: April 9, 9:44 a.m. EST. The spread of the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes — COVID-19 — is receiving an unprecedented response. Like the rest of the world, the toy industry is working to adapt and evolve in order to maintain business while practicing social distancing and other measures to curb the spread of the virus. The changes not only affect the toy industry...

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Goliath Games Uses ‘Virus’ Success to Give Back

The spread of COVID-19 has created some unexpected side effects for the toy industry, particularly in the sales of games and puzzles. For Texas-based Goliath Games, the timing of Virus — released in January as “the contagiously fun card game” — came just on the cusp of the global pandemic, which has driven sales for the game to grow by 10 times in recent weeks. Now, the company is tapping into the unexpected success to raise funds that will support the research needed to defeat the novel coronavirus and stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Goliath Games will give all proceeds from...

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Cloudco Entertainment Promotes Key Executives for Licensing, Marketing

Cloudco Entertainment promoted a pair of executives into senior roles across its licensing and marketing business. Los Angeles-based Cristina Villegas, who joined Cloudco last year following a 20-year run at The Walt Disney Co., has been promoted from director to vice president of North American Licensing. Over the past year, Villegas has played a role in the growth of licensing partnerships and brand collaborations for the Care Bears and Madballs brands in the U.S. and Canada. As Vice President, Cleveland-based Kristeen Tibbets will now lead Cloudco’s marketing and social media efforts. Tibbits most recently served as a senior creative...

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The Genius of Play Invites Families to ‘Play Today’ with New Resource Hub

The Genius of Play, the national movement to raise awareness of play’s vital role in child development, has launched the “Play Today” campaign in an effort to connect with families during challenging times. The initiative — led by The Toy Association — includes an online hub full of resources developed to inspire families to create their own “Worldwide Headquarters of Play” at home. “The Genius of Play’s mission is to help families make play an important part of their child’s day,” says Ken Seiter, executive vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association. “As millions of families continue...

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COVID-19 Impact on U.S. Imports Grows with More Declines Expected

If one thing about last month’s reporting on the state of U.S. imports remains true, it’s that the supply chain disruption caused by the global spread of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 is absolutely having a bigger impact on U.S. imports than originally anticipated, and the effects will likely be seen for much longer. As recently as last month — prior to the enactment of sweeping stay-at-home orders in much of the country — the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates’ Global Port Tracker showed confidence in a potential 9.3% upswing for imports in May as factories in Asia come back online following...

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‘PAW Patrol’ Creator Preps ‘Paddypaws & Pals’ for MIPCOM Debut

Paddypaws and Pals — the latest series from Keith Chapman, creator of PAW Patrol and Bob the Builder — is headed for an October debut at MIPCOM 2020. The series of 52, 11-minute episodes follows the titular Paddypaws, a cute, naughty, fearless and funny young black and white kitten who lives on a farm with his other kitten pals and little farm animal friends. Due to his small size, Paddypaws is an expert at hiding, creating many fun situations for the young audience around the concept of “hide and seek”. Keith Chapman Productions will oversee creatives for development and production...

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Box Blox Life-Size Building Sets Debut on Amazon

Following a public preview showing at last year’s Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTAG), Box Blox is now available on Amazon. Made in the U.S. with 99% renewable materials by Illinois-based Insightful Solutions Group, Box Blox encourages kids and families to “build big, store small” with life-size construction sets. Each set comes with 40 self-assembling 10-inch cubes that ship flat and quickly unfold for play. Kids can use the building blocks for open-ended creative play to build their own creations or to build one of the play structures featured on the included inspiration sheet. An included set of plastic...

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