Author: James Zahn

Chicago Toy & Game Group Reinvents the TAGIES as the Toy & Game International Excellence Awards

The Chicago Toy & Game Group (ChiTAG) is reinventing its TAGIE Awards by expanding the platform with new meaning. The Toy & Game Innovation Awards have been renamed the Toy & Game International Excellence Awards, keeping the TAGIE designation while broadening its scope to honor innovators, designers, and marketers in the toy and game industry. The change celebrates the international reach of the ChiTAG community, which includes members from more than 150 countries. This year also sees the addition of a new category for Most Innovative Supplier. Inspired by the creativity that has been forced by the spread of...

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Panda Mony Toy Brands Forms an Alliance with FanGirl Consulting & Brand Management

Independent toymaker Panda Mony Toy Brands LLC has tapped FanGirl Consulting & Brand Management LLC to build a marketing program focused on its newly released Alter Nation action figure brand.  Through its alliance with FanGirl Consulting, Panda Mony seeks to achieve its goal of becoming a leader in kids’ entertainment. Alter Nation “follows the clandestine operations of GK Delta, a secret government entity dedicated to protecting humanity from forces that no typical human can defeat — and no one is allowed to know.” The story centers around a group of teenage human-animal hybrids — El Ray, Albert VII, Daart,...

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MGA Entertainment Introduces L.O.L. Surprise! J.K. Mini Fashion Dolls

A new line extension is joining the No. 1 toy brand in the world. On July 10, L.O.L. Surprise! J.K. mini fashion dolls will hit retail. Series 1 includes four dolls who are little sisters to popular members of MGA Entertainment’s (MGAE) L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. fashion doll lineup. Diva (big sister Lady Diva), M.C. Swag (big sister Swag), Queen Bee (big sister Royal Bee), and Neon Q.T. (big sister Neonlicious) each come packed with 15 surprises including clothes, shoes, fashion accessories, a bottle, and more. The mini fashion dolls feature real hair, fabric fashions, and tall shoes, and come...

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WowWee Unleashes Power Treads All-Surface Vehicles

Following an enthusiastic response at Toy Fair New York in February, WowWee is unleashing its all-surface Power Treads vehicles in the U.S. With Power Treads, kids build and unleash custom vehicles that can be used with or without the included modular track system. In recent months, Power Treads have become a viral hit on TikTok where pre-release videos have amassed more than 6 million views. “Power Treads gives you raw power, a customizable vehicle, and a modular building system,” says WowWee’s Chief Technology Officer Davin Sufer. “We used cutting edge design for amazing all surface capabilities so that you...

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Talkin’ Toys: How Storypod Seeks to Reinvent What a Kids’ Audio Player Can Be

In an era when kids are inundated with screens, one dad came up with a way to reinvent what an audio player can be, and Storypod just may lead to smarter kids in the long haul. Last year, Daniel Buelhoff was victoriously coming off of a year-long lymphoma treatment when he rediscovered some old German audio tapes from his youth. After firing up the cassette deck and realizing how much his 2-year-old daughter enjoyed listening, Buelhoff was inspired to create Storypod, an interactive podcast player for kids. The Storypod platform includes the interactive audio player, 20 Crafties figurines, and...

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Wil Wheaton Joins Games by Bicycle as its First Global Board Game Ambassador

A familiar face in the fandom community just entered into a new role. Wil Wheaton has been appointed as the first global board game ambassador for the Games By Bicycle line of board and card games. The actor, writer, and board game enthusiast is perhaps best-known for his roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Big Bang Theory, and currently serves as creator, producer of the web series, Tabletop. “My goal when we created Tabletop was to put more gamers into the world,” says Wheaton. “We’d do that by showing how fun and social gaming is, by...

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Kevin Glass Joins the Spin Master Board of Directors

Toronto-based Spin Master Corp. continues to reshape its board of directors with the appointment of Kevin Glass to the board. “We are very fortunate to have Kevin join our Board,” says Spin Master Chairman and Co-CEO Anton Rabie. “His deep experience and leadership in finance will be a tremendous asset to Spin Master. I am confident that he will make an immediate contribution, building value for our shareholders.” Glass most recently served as senior executive vice president and CFO at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), where he was responsible for financial strategy, oversight, reporting and planning, as...

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V1 Analytics Presents a Fascinating Visual Look at the Expansion and Collapse of Toys ‘R’ Us

A new video from V1 Analytics is pushing the nostalgia buttons while also reminding the toy industry of some not-so-old wounds. The data visualizer offers a look at the growth, contraction, collapse, and seeds of rebirth that have been planted for Toys “R” Us in the U.S. Using multiple data sources, the video focuses on the company’s physical footprint from 1957 to 2020 and includes Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Kids “R” Us, and Imaginarium locations. Following the bankruptcy and liquidation of Toys “R” Us operations in the U.S., the company reinvented itself to emerge as Tru Kids...

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Going Hog Wild with Josh Loerzel on the ‘Power Kid Podcast’

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Josh Loerzel, vice president of sales and marketing at Hog Wild Toys. Loerzel, who recently took part in the Toy Book‘s Talkin’ Toys series, delves into his backstory which includes stints at Monkey Business, Zing, and Yulu before landing at Hog Wild. Albritton and Loerzel discuss the importance of performance in the outdoor toy category, the development and creation of Hog Wild’s Scream-O’s, and the power of following social media trends. Additionally, the duo delves into Hog Wild’s position as a...

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Wild Hair Creations Debuts Virus Smasher to ‘Smash” COVID-19

Design Masters’ Wild Hair Creations is looking to “smash” COVID-19 in more ways than one. The company behind the recent Creatures of Legends and Lore and the President Trump Troll doll is introducing Virus Smasher, a squishy stress relief toy that’s being touted as “the perfect gift for anyone tired of hearing phrases like ‘social distancing, ‘a new normal,’ and more.” Based on the familiar shape of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the toy features a “beat-up” face that encourages consumers to smash the virus. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Virus Smasher will be donated...

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