Needless to say, there was no surprise at The Toy Association’s 19th annual Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY).
The Association announced the winners for the coveted awards and inducted three industry veterans into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame at its event at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City, with proceeds from the awards program and event supporting The Toy Foundation.
The big winners of the night were MGA Entertainment, which won the distinguished Toy of the Year for L.O.L. Surprise! for the second year in a row, and Unstable Unicorns from TeeTurtle LLC, raking in the most votes for the People’s Choice Award.
Similar to the awards last year, which had two winners for Toy of the Year (L.O.L. Surprise! and Fingerlings), there were two categories that tied for top honors. In total, additional awards were handed out in 17 categories:
Action Figure of the Year
Jurassic World Dinosaur Action Figures (Mattel)
Doll of the Year
L.O.L. Surprise! Eye Spy Under Wraps (MGA Entertainment)
Collectible of the Year
LEGO Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Minifigure Sets (LEGO Group)
Plush Toy of the Year
Scruff-A-Luvs (Moose Toys) and Star Wars Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie (Hasbro)
Game of the Year
Disney Villainous Game (Wonder Forge)
Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Learning Home (Mattel)
Playset of the Year
LEGO Creator Expert Roller Coaster (LEGO Group) and L.O.L. Surprise! House (MGA Entertainment)
Preschool Toy of the Year
Fisher-Price Think & Learn Rocktopus (Mattel)
Creative Toy of the Year
Cool Maker KumiKreator (Spin Master)
Construction Toy of the Year
LEGO Harry Potter Great Hall (LEGO Group)
Tech Toy of the Year
Arcade1Up (Tastemakers LLC)
Outdoor Toy of the Year
Rookie of the Year
Ollyball – The Ultimate Indoor Play Ball (VICTURY Sports)
Vehicle of the Year
PAW Patrol Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck (Spin Master)
License of the Year
L.O.L. Surprise! (MGA Entertainment)
Specialty Toy of the Year
LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (LEGO Group)
Innovative Toy of the Year
Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set (Learning Resources)
Also during the ceremony, the late Stan Lee (1922 – 2018), former chairman of Marvel Comics; Brian Goldner, CEO of Hasbro; and the late Joe Mendelsohn (1930 – 2017), president of Kenner Products, were inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. They join a roster of 76 toy industry luminaries, including Jim Henson and George Lucas, who have been inducted into the Hall since it was established in 1984.
Nineteen judges chose the finalists from more than 550 nominees submitted by over 200 companies of all sizes. The judges included toy and play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists who reviewed and ranked the products in specific categories relevant to their areas of expertise. The judges then participated in a live discussion to determine the finalists in each category. They considered each product’s creativity, design, play value, and marketing.
The overall Toy of the Year winners were determined by an expert panel that discussed all the finalists before rendering a decision based on TOTY votes, holiday sales, and media buzz (traditional, online, and social). The People’s Choice award winner was selected solely by consumer votes cast online.
The TOTY Awards serve as the official kick off to Toy Fair New York. All proceeds from the TOTY program and event contribute to The Toy Foundation, which partners with toy companies throughout the year to bring brand-new toys to children in need.