Source: People of Play/The Toy Book

People of Play (formerly known as the Chicago Toy & Game Group) announced the finalists for the 13th annual Toy & Game International Excellence Awards (TAGIES). The TAGIES now feature eight categories and 80 nominees and honorees. The newest category for 2020 is the “Most Innovative Supplier of the Year.” This year’s awards are sponsored by Hasbro, The Michael Kohner Corporation, PlayMonster, Cartamundi, and Nexttoy. Check out all of the finalists below, and cast your vote by midnight on October 30. 

Toy Inventor of the Year

  • Bang Zoom Design for Rollin’ Rovee (Fisher-Price), Squeakee (Moose Toys), and Play-Doh Animal Crew and Cluck-A-Dee (Hasbro)
  • Caleb Chung for Luvabella’s Mealtime Magic Mia (Spin Master)
  • David Yakos for Circuit Explorer Rocket, Circuit Explorer Rover, and Circuit Explorer Deluxe Base Station (Educational Insights)
  • Doreen Dotto & Melissa Cohen for Plush Pods (GUND)
  • FunFare Team for Playful Pandas (Far Out Toys)
  • Gil Zalayet and  Ryan Kratz for Disney•Pixar Toy Story Galaxy Explorer Spacecraft (Mattel), and DC Batman Rapid Change Utility Belt 12 Inch Action Figure (Spin Master)
  • Jason Loik for Play-Doh Builder (Hasbro)
  • Jim McCafferty and the JMP Creative Team for Power Treads (WowWee) 
  • Liu Yingjian & Zing for Go Go Bird (Zing Toys)
  • SG Labs and Bang Zoom Design for Rollin’ Rovee (Fisher-Price)

Game Inventor of the Year

  • Alex Tongue for The #UpsideDownChallenge Game (Vango Toys)
  • Big Monster Toys for Burping Bobby and Rattlesnake by Goliath and Sky Score (Hasbro)
  • Don Ullman, Jose and Hans Leal for Drone Home (PlayMonster)
  • Gary Pyper for Windy Knickers with John Adams
  • Identity Games Product Development Team for Nightmare Horror Adventures; Welcome to Crafton Mansion
  • KID Group for Break The Board (YULU) and Rubik’s Perplexus (Spin Master)
  • Nobuaki Ogihara, Robert Fuhrer, and Alex Fuhrer for PUGLICIOUS (Mattel)
  • Peggy Brown for My First Rush Hour (ThinkFun); and Bye, Felicia and Who’s the G.O.A.T. (Big G Creative)
  • Tim Walsh for Mega Mouth (Big G Creative)
  • Wai Or, Michael Kohner, and Robert Fuhrer for T-Rex Rocks (Hasbro)

Rising Star Inventor of the Year

  • Andreas Hoenigschmid for Shashibo (Fun In Motion Toys)
  • Aron Lazarus for The Genius Star and Bee Genius (The Happy Puzzle Co.)
  • Chris Leder for Back to the Future: Dice Through Time (Ravensburger)
  • Chris Haas and Scott Day for Paw Patrol Dino Patroller (Spin Master)  
  • Daniela and Christian Stöhr for Pictures (PD-Verlag)
  • Ken Gruhl for Quarrel Reef with Mattel and for Mystic Market (ThinkFun)
  • Mike Bender for Cringeworthy (Hasbro)
  • Nathan Pyle for Sweet Existence (Hasbro)
  • Scott Brady for Hues and Cues (The Op)
  • Scott Pease and Jeff Swenty for Snap Ships (PlayMonster)

Young Inventor of the Year (Under 18 years old)

  • Alex Butler for Bold Made Game (Hot Taco)
  • Charlie Lowrey for Freckleball
  • Harrison Brooks for ElevatorUp
  • Kyle Levy and Bobby Becker for Barrier Battles
  • Lily Brown & Tait Hansen for Betcha Can’t! (Pressman)
  • Maayan for Queeng Playing Cards

Art and Design Visuals of the Year

  • David Yakos, Nicholas Cravotta, Rebecca Bleau, and Steve Downer for Break In Alcatraz (PlayMonster)
  • Design Edge and Fisher-Price Design Team for The Imaginext DC Super Friends Gotham City Pop-Up Playset (Fisher-Price)
  • Fisher-Price Little People Brand Development Team for Little People Collector Series (Fisher-Price)
  • Joey Lopez and Liesl Kadile for Circuit Explorer Rocket, Circuit Explorer Rover, and Circuit Explorer Deluxe Base Station (Educational Insights)
  • Marjorie Spitalnik for Marie Curie, Mary Jackson, Amelia Earhart and Malala Yousafzai Plushies by Little Rebels (Dac Toys)
  • Nate Duval for Bye, Felicia! (Big G Creative)
  • Richard North of Wow! Stuff for Home Printable Face Masks
  • Ryan Noonan for Who’s the G.O.A.T.? (Big G Creative)
  • Sahad Rivera for Design & Drill Bolt Buddies (Educational Insights)
  • Steve Rad for Professor Maxwell’s VR Science Lab (Abacus Brands)

Innovative PR and Marketing Team of the Year

  • Fisher-Price and Mattel PR & Marketing Teams for Thank You Heroes Campaign
  •  Goliath Marketing Team for Shit Happens 2020 Edition by Games Adults Play Campaign
  • Hasbro for its Bring Home the Fun Campaign
  • Hog Wild Toys Marketing Team and Freeman PR for Birdie Golf, Pop and Pass
  • LEGO Star Wars Team for LEGO Star Wars Episode 9 Campaign
  • The Joester Loria Group and Brilliant PR & Marketing for the World of Eric Carle Magna-Tiles
  • LEGO Disney Girls Team for LEGO Disney Frozen II Sets
  • Mattel Games Team for UNO MINIMALISTA
  • Rubix Marketing, Sabrina Cohen, and Jill Selik for Rubix Marketing; and Dave Malacrida of WowWee PR for BriteBrush GameBrush (WowWee)
  • Yulu Marketing Team and PlayWise Partners for Swirl & Style Tie Dye Studio Maker (Yulu)

Most Innovative Retailer of the Year

  • Amy Saldanha for Kiddywampus
  • Betty Skoke Burns for Angelina’s Toy Boutique
  • Elizabeth Milford from Toys and Tales Australia
  • Kate Tanner for Kidstop Toys & Books
  • Matthew Poulson and Sarah Fowles for Ruckus & Glee
  • Rick Derr for Learning Express, Lake Zurich
  • Smyths Toys
  • Mastermind Toys
  • The Entertainer
  • Traci Lyden & Alana Turner for Poopsie’s

Most Innovative Supplier of the Year

  • Ad Magic
  • Blue Orange Games
  • Cartamundi
  • Design Edge Global
  • Howard Fine, Attorney
  • JDH Sourcing Management Ltd.
  • Longshore Ltd.
  • The Creative Fold
  • Wild Republic Product Development
  • York Jersey Underwriters

Thanks to COVID-19, the annual TAGIE awards gala during Chicago Toy & Game Week will be replaced with a virtual awards show on Friday, November 20 at 7 p.m. CT. The 90-minute event will include award presentations and acceptance speeches, musical guests, and a special opening act that “gives a nod to David Blaine’s recent Ascension stunt.”

 “This year has been pivotal and unprecedented for our industry. We look forward to coming together with our colleagues from around the world and celebrating our individual and collective successes,” says Karri Bean, TAGIE Awards host and senior manager, licensing at Disney Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products. “The TAGIE Awards will be a night to remember that no one in the toy and game industry should miss!” 

And it’s not just toys that get the spotlight at the TAGIES. People of Play will also honor Erno Rubik, the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Inventors Norman and Arlene Fabricant will be honored for Celebration of Life and Lifetime Achievement, respectively. And The Roachy Fund, a scholarship fund founded in honor of game designer Alan Roach, will be the recipient of the Hassenfeld Humanitarian Award. 

But wait, there’s more! People of Play has also added a TAGIE After Party called POP’s Got Talent to take place after the show. Guests will get to experience a magic act, a ukulele performance, and peanut art from toy industry executives. Sounds like the perfect way to unwind after 90-minutes of toy-filled fun.

About the author

Marissa Silva

Marissa Silva

Marissa Silva, AKA That Toy Girl, is the editor-in-chief at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider. With more than a decade of experience in the toy industry, Marissa is a trusted toy expert, providing parents, gift-givers, retailers, manufacturers, and licensors with information on the latest news related to toys, games, kids’ products, pop culture collectibles, and licensed merchandise for adults. A board game pro and puzzle queen, Marissa spends most of her free time shopping for superhero T-shirts, dominating at Mario Kart, and anxiously awaiting her Hogwarts acceptance letter. She is also a new mom to her baby girl Lucy Jo and has quickly become an expert in high-contrast cards, wooden toys, and plush. Marissa has been featured on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, the Tamron Hall Show, Access Hollywood, Fox & Friends, ABC World News Now, MSNBC, CBS, NY1, WPIX, and more. You can follow her on Instagram @thattoygirl.