While 2020 was a year filled with uncertainty, one constant has been the “Power Kid Podcast.

Every Tuesday, host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design delivers fresh conversations with some of the biggest names and rising stars in the toy, game, and family entertainment industries. In lieu of a new episode this week, the Toy Book is taking a look back at the top 10 episodes of the ‘Power Kid Podcast’ this year, as chosen by you, the listeners. Below you’ll find the top 10 most-streamed episodes of 2020. Press play on the Spotify players to enjoy each episode individually or subscribe on your favorite podcast service to get new episodes delivered weekly!

‘Power Kid Podcast’ Top 10 Most-Streamed of 2020

1. Former Spin Master, Mattel Exec Nancy Zwiers

Zwiers gained wide experience managing brands at Procter & Gamble before becoming the senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Mattel for Barbie. She then founded the brand-building firm Funosophy before becoming executive vice president and CMO at Spin Master. Zwiers currently spends her time as an executive coach and mentor.

In this episode, host Phil Albritton chats with Zwiers about everything from Barbie to Hatchimals to PAW Patrol. The duo discusses the differences in toy marketing vs. marketing for wider consumer packaged goods products. Zwiers explains how she discovers the essence of a brand and how that informs her decision on how to market the product.

2. Game Designer Peggy Brown

Brown has written books, taught classes, and worked with the world’s best toy, game, and entertainment companies creating products that have been sold around the world. She was named Game Innovator of the Year at the 2009 TAGIE Awards, and this year she’s nominated again for her work on three recent titles:  My First Rush Hour (ThinkFun); and Bye, Felicia and Who’s the G.O.A.T. (Big G Creative).

On the show, Brown serves up advice on growing a thick skin, shutting out noise and naysayers, and getting to work. Then she delves into the importance of doing the homework on the manufacturers, and how to really listen to kids and learn from what they tell us.

3. The Toy Association’s Anna Yudina

Anna Yudina is senior director of marketing initiatives at The Toy Association.

On the show, Yudina discusses the backstory of The Toy Association and her work leading the consumer-facing Genius of Play program. Additionally, Albritton and Yudina discuss the ways that the Association has pivoted to reach families throughout the pandemic. Finally, the duo delves into the STEAM Strategic Initiative and the process behind choosing winners for the upcoming Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards.

4. The Toy Coach Azhelle Wade

For more than a decade, Wade AKA The Toy Coach has held roles at companies including Horizon Group and Blumenthal Lansing Co., and served as a global product development and design manager at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us. She currently serves as vice president of brand and product at Creative Kids. Wade was a recent Women in Toys Wonder Women Awards “Rising Star” finalist.

On the show, Albritton and Wade discuss her early focus on serving and learning from kids, and how a cancer scare propelled her into several new ventures. Other topics include the ways that a manufacturer can bring continuous value to its buyers and the unique aspects of working in the doll and craft categories. Finally, Wade shares the origin story of her “Making it in the Toy Industry” podcast.

5. Jason Mars of Red Planet Group

Jason Mars is the owner of Red Planet Group, a premier distributor and marketer of toys throughout Canada. The company supports global toymakers by bringing toys such as Treasure X, Scruff-A-Lives, Little Live Pets, Wubble, and more to Canadian kids and families.

On the show, Albritton delves into Mars’ origin story, which includes working alongside his father with partners such as Toy Biz and Tiger Electronics. The duo then delves into the nuances of marketing to Canadian families and how they purchase toys. Finally, Mars shares details on the unique logistics and operational issues encountered in the Canadian market and shares some of the new toys that Red Planet Group is working to promote.

6. Aaron Wade of CanspanBMG

At the time of this broadcast, Aaron Wade was director of public relations at CanspanBMG, a Toronto-based full service digital and social media marketing agency that has worked with brands including Treasure X and Little Live Pets (Moose Toys), Untamed (WowWee), Bunch O Balloons (ZURU), Elf on the Shelf, Laser X (NSI International), and many more.

On the show, Albritton and Wade discuss the subtle differences in toy buying trends between families in the U.S. and Canada while exploring the comparisons and contrasts in promoting brands such as Treasure X versus Elf on the Shelf. Additionally, Wade offers insight into how CanspanBMG’s work with companies across sports, technology, education, and retail helps support its toy efforts. Finally, the conversation moves to how toy marketing is changing in light of the ever-changing FTC regulations and the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

7. Invention Week Part 1 — Research

Phil Albritton was joined by Matt Nuccio of Design Edge — a toy and game development, marketing, manufacturing, invention, and consulting agency — for a four-part series of mini-episodes that delve into the various aspects of inventing including research, prototyping, presentation, and next steps. The series is designed to be an overview for newcomers to the toy industry while serving as a great refresher for industry vets.

8. Ryan Hamilton of Plus-Plus

Ryan Hamilton is the head of product development at Plus-Plus A/S and head of operations at Plus-Plus USA, makers of open-ended construction toys loved by kids and grownups alike.

On the show, Albritton delves into Hamilton’s backstory from his early experiences at Dan Buckey & Associates to his time as a toy and game buyer at Barnes & Noble. Then the conversation delves into Plus-Plus and the challenges of creating the acclaimed Plus-Plus GO! collection, from which the Street Racing Super Set landed a coveted slot in the Toy Insider’s 15th Annual Holiday Gift Guide in the 5-7 category.


9. Trina McFarland of TinkerTini

Trina McFarland is the owner and managing director of TinkerTini.

McFarland has reviewed thousands of toy and game concepts during the course of her career. She previously served as senior manager, inventor relations at Mattel, prior to which she managed inventor relationships for Jakks Pacific and The Walt Disney Co. At TinkerTini, she helps to train and connect inventors with great manufacturers and licensors.

On the show, Albritton and McFarland discuss how different companies work differently with toy and game inventors, and the most important details that inventors need to know about the internal decision-making process. Additionally, the duo takes a look at the importance of concept organization on both the inventor and manufacturer sides of the business.

10. David Snow of Fantastic Factory

David Snow is founder of The Fantastic Factory.

Snow began his career at Hasbro where he ultimately spent a decade focusing on the toymaker’s presence in grocery stores. Following a successful run at an Australian game company, Snow used his marketing and product development skills to launch his own sales agency prior to launching The Fantastic Factory, makers of What’s In the Box? and Dumb Criminals.

On the show, Snow discusses how “being bold and friendly” helped him in his early career and the unique aspects of selling impulse products to grocery retailers. Additionally, the conversation explores the key elements of creating a Fantastic Factory game and the strategies he uses to pitch his games, which he’s now doing remotely.

The “Power Kid Podcast” is presented by The Toy Book Podcasts by Adventure Media and Events. The Toy Book Podcasts are available through all of your favorite streaming services, including AnchorSpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and more.

Adventure Media and Events (AM&E) is the publisher of the Toy Bookthe Toy Insider, and the Pop Insider. Composed of an editorial team with more than 80 years of combined experience in the toy and entertainment industries, AM&E publications provide consumers, press, and trade audiences with the latest news and updates on all things play and pop culture.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.