the Bloom Report
Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is Dec 18 - 25, 2020. Click Here for Last Week
Articles posted daily with most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights.
Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom
Welcome to your briefing of the week's news...
As I mentioned last week, we're sharing our POP Week International Innovation panels, highlighting one each week in our Video of the Week section (end of this page). This week: Reuben Klamer and Eddy Goldfarb – two TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Honorees, 150+ combined years of inventing and friendship.
We honored Reuben in 2009 with a TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Award. Reuben then championed his friend Eddy for the 2010 TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Award. Who could say 'no' to either of these two? Both are nearing 100 now, you'll enjoy watching and listening to them! Eddy's daughter, Lyn, a filmmaker with a documentary about Eddy, moderates this memorable video.
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report! May your holiday season be warm and wonderful!
tBR Service of the Week - People of Play
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Of course you do! For $50/year, they can! Or, for $250/year, they can find you and you can find them, have access to premium content, enjoy the POP Pub, find information and make connections to further your business!
Many times a day someone reaches out to me asking me if I know some person or some company:
in some role
with certain skills
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!
The POP platform/database is your access to vital and immediate connections! There are already over 400 profiles from our recent events and we've only just begun. Over the next month, we will be reaching out to my nearly 50,000 strong database and my 30,000 linkedin connections to join this platform which gives you the best of linkedin+IMDb+Match.com for the toy and game industry.
People and companies are registering and new features are being added by the minute... what are you waiting for? We've got the most powerful platform in our industry! Join here: www.peopleofplay.com
tBR Company of the Week - Plus-Plus: One shape, endless possibilities!
By now you have probably seen them - the clear tubes, hanging on spinner racks, or standing in shelf displays, full of pieces that look like two ‘plus’ signs mashed together. But did you know that every one of those colorful toys is made in Denmark in a zero-plastic-waste, wind-powered factory?
Plus-Plus was created in Denmark in the 1980’s, and for many years was sold exclusively to kindergartens and schools around Scandinavia. Educators loved its simple shape, which fosters open-ended creativity in a broad age range of children. Then in 2009, a group of private investors purchased the company, seeing sales potential beyond the Nordic region.
In 2012, sporting a new brand look and logo, Plus-Plus made its debut at Spielwarenmesse in Nurnberg, Germany, where it found its first international distributors. Plus-Plus pieces were available in two sizes and in 3 color ways - Basic, Neon and Pastel. Ryan Hamilton and Bret Faber, at the time with their distribution company, Geared for Imagination, recognized the potential in the brand and secured the rights for United States distribution. Plus-Plus launched in the US in the summer of 2012 at ASTRA Marketplace and the Atlanta and New York Gift shows. Read More...
Financial & Legal News . . .
Games top the charts as Amazon reveals record-breaking holiday season. Following strong performance in the toy and game categories during Black Friday and Cyber Week, Amazon says that gaming continued to top the charts through December. Holiday season best-sellers included the ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Brain Game, the Lite-Brite Ultimate Classic Retro Toy by Basic Fun!, Hasbro‘s Jenga Classic...
Toy craze pays a high price. Chinese "blind box" toymaker Pop Mart International fell up to 15 percent after being criticized by state media regarding a boom in its mystery boxes. Pop Mart generates most of its profits from "blind box" toys - a mystery box containing a collectible figurine. State media Xinhua News Agency said over the weekend that the boxes are causing overspending among the young. It indicated that...
Jail sentence upheld on man who copied Lego. A six-year prison sentence for a man surnamed Li who infringed the Lego toy company’s copyright had been upheld, the city’s high court said on Tuesday. Li was fined 90 million yuan (US$13.18 million) and another eight people jailed for up to four and a half years, the same as the sentence at the first trial at Shanghai No. 3 People’s Intermediate Court in September.
Tencent officially acquires Splash Damage parent Leyou in $1.5 billion deal. The ink has dried on Tencent's acquisition of Leyou Technologies, meaning the Chinese video game and technology giant now owns Splash Damage, Digital Extremes, and a handful of other developers acquired by Leyou over the years. Earlier in the year, news broke that Tencent was looking to acquire Leyou. The deal, a $1.5 billion...
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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .
Financial & Brokerage News . . .
Hasbro Target of Unusually High Options Trading (NASDAQ:HAS) . . . Reflecting on Spin Master's (TSE:TOY) Share Price Returns Over The Last Three Years . . . Buffalo Games went from closed down to killing it in 2020
Financial Reporting . . .
UK-based marketplace OnBuy eyes Unicorn status as it sees a 605 per cent year to date growth. The online marketplace, OnBuy.com is edging ever closer to achieving unicorn status as the UK’s ‘answer to eBay and Amazon’ reveals a 605 per cent year to date growth to round off “a list of incredible 2020 successes” for the business. OnBuy has made no secret of its mission to revolutionise the eCommerce sector by ...
Clementoni reports significant growth in 2020 Putting success down to the dramatic rise in sales of puzzles and innovation across the Baby Clementoni range, the company expects to see in excess of 25% growth by year end. The company has built a solid presence across three main categories – infant, science/construction and adult puzzles – translating into strong performance for puzzles in particular.
Future Financial Reporting . . .
Equities analysts predict that Mattel will announce earnings of $0.22 per share for current quarter, 5 analysts have issued estimates for Mattel's earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $0.30 and the lowest is $0.18. Mattel posted earnings of $0.11 per share in the same quarter last yr, which would indicate a positive year-over-year growth rate of 100%. The firm is expected to report its next quarterly earnings results Feb. 11.
Amazon and Apple eye historic $100 billion in holiday quarter. The holiday season could be historic for two of the stock market’s biggest names, with sales that are expected to surpass a milestone that has rarely been reached in Wall Street history. Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. are each expected to report revenue above $100 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 …
Stories & Comments . . .
Rare white kiwi Manukura that inspired book and toys dies. A rare white kiwi that inspired a children's book and toys has died. Manukura hatched in 2011, but the female North Island Brown Kiwi was born with white feathers. She became a huge attraction at both Pukaha Mount Bruce, New Zealand's North Island wildlife centre, and online. Replica soft toys were of Manukura were sold around the world. "
Cameroon Appreciates End to Toy Weapon Gifts. Cameroon rights groups and activists say they are gratified that for the first time since 2016, parents no longer give children and teenagers toy guns as gifts during end-of-year feasts. In 2016, rights groups launched a campaign to ban toy guns, mostly imported from China, saying they lead to violence. Alternative gifts for children include educational electronic toys.
Local girl wins board game competition Young Inventor Challenge with “Chicken Poo Bingo” Local 9-year-old inventor Cooper Dean, along with her father, Ryan, introduced her contest-winning board game, “Chicken Poo Bingo.” ...
The Design Process of Transformers Toys Have you ever wondered how they designed the original Transformers toys? Perhaps you are a child of the '80s or have small children who crave these toys and would love to know the secrets behind their design?...
Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . .
Gem Mint 10 'Pokemon TCG' Charizard #4 Hologram Card hits the Heritage Auction block in January. The year 2020, aside from being a trying year for many people, was also The Year of Charizard. The uptrend began in October when rapper Logic paid $220,574 for the card. Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction on January 14-17 in Dallas, Texas
Kandy Kitchen from Transogram (1966). Tiny marshmallows and gum drops were the house specialty at Transogram’s Kandy Kitchen. Released in 1966, the candy maker set paired children with Mr. Kandy Man, a mixing apparatus anthropomorphized with a head and two arms. In addition to Mr. Kandy Man, the set included a covered tray, a candy shaped tray with various shapes cut out of it, a spatula, mixing spoon, and two...
This Hot Wheels is worth an estimated $150000 Bruce Pascal, an avid Hot Wheels collector, was only 7 years old when these car toys hit the market in 1968. “It’s hard to explain the craze today, but Hot Wheels was huge. All of my friends were saving up to buy all the Hot Wheels they could,” Pascal told Volkswagen in a recent interview.
Action Force 1982 by Palitoy. An in depth look into how Palitoy’s Action Man brand was scaled down to a 3 ¾ inch figure and developed into the Action Force concept. A fascinating video that explores how to reinvent a well-established brand in the face of a potentially deadly marketing assault from no less a threat than when the Star Wars Empire strikes back.
Worldwide Licensing News . . .
Skybound Entertainment and Diamond Select Toys CollectDST team up for Invincible action figures. Skybound Entertainment and Diamond Select Toys announced new Invincible action figures hitting stores in Summer 2021. From the Skybound/Image superhero comic book by Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker, and Ryan Ottley, the new line will feature Invincible and his father Omni-Man, each with interchangeable parts and...
Ares Games and Universal Brand Development end their 'Battlestar Galactica' licensing agreement. Ares Games announced that it will be ending its licensing agreement with Universal Brand Development for Battlestar Galactica-branded games, which lasted a little under two years, on December 31. Under this license, Ares produced the Battlestar Galactica – Starship Battles game as well as its expansions.
People . . .
Game of Thrones games maker dies 'after poisoning'. A Chinese tycoon who died on Christmas Day was poisoned, Shanghai police say. Lin Qi, 39, was the chairman and chief executive of games developer Yoozoo, best known for the Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming strategy game. The Shanghai police statement pointed to one of Mr Lin's colleagues - identified only by his surname Xu - as the main suspect. Mr Lin was believed...
ReMKEable! These remarkable Milkwaukeeans turned good ideas into fun, inspiration and uplift for themselves & others: Peggy Brown, kid's toy and game designer and creative guru. Hers wasn't a typical kid - and, like all great mamas, Peggy Brown's mom Irene spotted her daughter's talent early on. She didn't know that her girl would become one of the world's most sought-after toy and game inventors, but she...
Artist Michael Lau, nicknamed the “Godfather of Designer Toys”, discusses the place of art in the city. Growing up in Hong Kong, “toys were like our friends,” says Michael Lau, who was the first artist to make collectible vinyl figurines, sparking a trend that has influenced major international artists such as Kaws and Takashi Murakami. “Other than being good company, toys provided us with emotional support,” Lau...
Companies . . .
MATTEL LAUNCHES HOT WHEELS DESIGN SHOP, OFFERING MONTHLY APPAREL COLLECTIONS. The Hot Wheels Design Shop, which launched this week, is a collection “recognizing the intersection of car culture and streetwear” and featuring monthly drops of limited-edition apparel and accessories. This collection is primarily geared toward teen and adult Hot Wheels fans, with only adult sizes available.
Real-life Pokemon Dynamax Band toy coming soon from Takara Tomy Japan. Takara Tomy has been known to make some pretty cool Pokemon toys, and their latest - a Dynamax Band straight out of Pokemon: Sword & Shield - is no exception. The company just announced that pre-orders are open for this toy that will allow you to simulate Dynamaxing. Although it's a toy it has some pretty neat features.
Mattel launches Hot Wheels Design Shop, offering monthly apparel collections. A new, online store from Mattel‘s Hot Wheels brand aims to drive sales in a new way. The Hot Wheels Design Shop, which launched this week, is a collection “recognizing the intersection of car culture and streetwear” and featuring monthly drops of limited-edition apparel and accessories. This collection is primarily geared toward teen and adult...
Pegasus Spiele will release 'Spy Connection' into U.S. trade. Pegasus Spiele will release Spy Connection, a spy network board game, into U.S. Trade for Q1 2021. Spy Connection is route-building game where players are trying to complete missions by travelling along a spy network. Players must build a network, using a limited number of resources, and strategically travel along the network to complete their assigned...
Iello USA will release 'Detective Charlie' into U.S. retail. Iello USA will release Detective Charlie, a cooperative deduction game by Loki, into U.S. retail on January 21. In this new family game, players work together to help Detective Charlie solve a mystery. There are strange occurrences happening in the city, and the inhabitants all have a piece of the puzzle. Players need to cooperatively examine clues, while they mind the clock...
Fend off dragons while digging for dice combos in 'Dice Miner'. Atlas Games will release Dice Miner, a dice drafting game, into retail in Q1 2021. The dragons have returned. Now, the dwarves need to return to the ancient caverns while fending off these formidable foes. In this game, players choose a dwarf hero and try to build dice combinations by drafting dice from a 3D mountain game board. Each die has different...
Iconic Play-Doh Fuzzy Pumper, Drill ‘N Fill playsets get a modern upgrade. A pair of classic Play-Doh playsets from the 1970s are getting a modern upgrade for 2021. Officially slated for release at mass retailers beginning Jan. 1, the latest editions of Hasbro‘s Play-Doh Drill ‘N Fill Dentist and Play-Doh Crazy Cuts Stylist both hit Walmart a little bit early. For more than 40 years, these playsets have been sparking...
Douglas debuts Green Friends eco-friendly plush. The wreaths on everyone’s doors aren’t the only thing that’s green right now: Douglas introduced a new line of Green Friends to hit shelves early next year. The collection is made from 100% recycled plastic, including the outer body materials, the internal stuffing, the pellets, and even the hang tags. Embroidered eyes will replace traditional plastic eyes sometimes found...
Games Workshop teases 'Warhammer: The Old World' factions. Games Workshop teased a few of the factions and cities in their upcoming Warhammer: The Old World. Warhammer:The Old World was announced back in 2019, and in early 2020, GW released a map of the world. Recently, they've added to the map by including the cities that exist during this timeline. Four factions were revealed: the Bretonnians, the Orcs...
Astrocam Flying Model Starter Set from Estes Industries. Budding rocketeers have a new gateway to the world of model rocketry, the Astrocam Flying Model Rocket Starter Set from Estes Industries. Designed for beginners ages 10 and up, the set comes with a high-tech twist: an HD digital video camera that records in-flight sights and sounds on a 16 GB Micro SD memory card. The Astrocam is installed in the rocket’s...
The Queen’s Gambit Funko Pops immortalize the show in plastic. In what will hopefully be the last surprise of 2020, Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit is getting its own set of Pop! Vinyl figurines from Funko. The three figurines will feature Anya Taylor-Joy’s main character, Beth Harmon, in a variety of outfits from the show, none of which are chess-related, but all of which are stylish. Fans can purchase the Pops to own a piece of...
Video Games, Gaming Hardware and Game Development News . . .
Yep, that sugar rush you feel coming on is Candy Crush Saga’s holiday in-game event! The most binge-worthy game on Earth has gifted us with three festive mini-games that are beckoning us back to the colorful Candy Kingdom. Candy Crush’s mini-games — Sweet Winter Memories, Yeti’s Sleigh Ride and Gift Delivery — are jam-packed with all things “tasty” and “divine.” And they’re inspired by many of the faces you’ve...
Gamasutra's Best of 2020: The top 10 games of the year. Looking back at the games we played this year reads a bit like a soundtrack to a disaster film, with each game representing a specific piece of time. We dove into Animal Crossing headfirst as lockdowns began. Then Jackbox was a go-to for Zoom happy hours with friends and family. As time--and the pandemic--wore on and as reality sunk deeper into our lives...
Nier: Automata surpasses 5 million shipped. Square Enix and Platinum Games' Nier: Automata has now surpassed 5 million copies shipped and sold digitally since the game first launched on PlayStation 4 and PC in 2017 and on Xbox One in 2018. Helped along by a Game of the YoRha Edition re-release last year, Nier has steadily crossed sales milestones over the past few years. It surpassed 3 million shipped in June 2018,....
Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .
US Customs and Border Protection Officers Nab $1.3 Million in Bootleg Toys in New York, New ... Bootlegs, knockoffs, counterfeits, whatever you want to call them, these illicit toys continue to make their way into the market. Thanks to the work of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Port of New York/Newark, more than $1.3 million worth of counterfeit toys are out of the distribution channels...
Press Releases . . .
Retailers Rejoice As Dam LLC Unveils More European Brands To Stock In Store. Toy buyers will be asking their sales reps what’s new with the buzz of Belgium-based distributor DAM (rhymes with mom) expanding its 2021 catalog from one to three European brands. DAM arrived on the American toy scene last year with a booth at ASTRA’s Marketplace in Pittsburgh. Now, three innovative collections – Scratch, Avenir and Scrunch – will spotlight European style, modern designs, and thoughtful, eco-friendly products to anyone in a playful mood! Last summer, ASTRA members were the first to see the stylish packaging of Scratch, a brand DAM designs and manufactures themselves.
News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals
(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and More) . . .
Talkin' Toys: Christian Ulrich Discusses the Launch of Spielwarenmesse BrandNew. Christian Ulrich: "In July, the toy industry will finally gather again at the Spielwarenmesse Summer Edition. In the run-up to the event, we will be taking advantage of the enormous reach of our digital platforms, giving companies the opportunity to present their new products to the global trade through Spielwarenmesse BrandNew.
RPG categories for Origins Awards changed. The categories for role playing games in the Origins Awards have been changed, Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design parent GAMA is announcing today. This change was made “…based on feedback and input from the RPG jury and publishers,” GAMA Executive Director John Stacy explained. The categories for games released in 2020 had undergone a number of...
RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed . . .
(If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we can share with our industry)
Diana Green Diana Green, long time buying director of Greens Toymaster, passed away at home on 13th December after a short illness. Toy World is sad to report that Diana Green, a popular and well respected toy industry figure, passed away peacefully on Sunday 13th December after a short illness. Diana was a well known figure in the industry since the 1970s, having worked as buying director for Greens for much of this time. Working alongside her husband Geoff, Diana selected ranges for the Snowfold buying group’s FOB import programme, which supported members ranges and margins from the 1980’s. Later, she served as a member of Toymaster’s Merchandise Committee for many years, as the Greens Toymaster chain expanded to a total of 17 stores.
Mercedeh Ward - Mercedeh Ward contributed to the toy industry she loved in a myriad of ways over the course of her 35-year career. A mechanical engineer by training, with a degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Mercedeh leveraged her considerable smarts and work ethic to ensure thousands of toys reached the market to deliver happiness to children. Her amazing career spanned multiple companies (in order): Mattel, Equity Marketing, Playmates, Spin Master, MGA, Funrise, Zippity Blue, and Spin Master (again). At a time where there were few female engineers in the toy industry (and no one had yet heard of STEM), Mercedeh became the go-to product development expert for girls toys in Southern California, where executing the right aesthetic was paramount. She made major contributions to many powerhouse brands, including: Barbie, Bratz, and Amazing Amanda (first major animatronic doll). In her second stint at Spin Master, she helped drive the success of the #1 preschool brand, Paw Patrol.
Francis Spear Francis passed away peacefully on 13th December. Francis was born in the town of Fuerth, near Nuremberg, into a Jewish toy trade family. His great grandfather, Jacob Wolf Spear, started J. W. Spear & Soehne in 1878. By the time Francis was born into this close-knit family – he was the youngest of five grandchildren – the company was being managed by his grandfather Carl Spear and a great uncle. ...
When (Francis) he joined Spear’s Games, Francis worked in a number of different departments, but his passion was for the production side of the business and he took on the role of production director, overseeing the manufacturing process. Francis became managing director of J. W. Spear and subsequently its chairman. He was respected by many in the toy trade for his honesty, loyalty and modesty. When the company was sold to Mattel in 1994, Francis purchased farmland in Hertfordshire. Read More...
Glyn Davies Toy World is sad to report that Glyn Davies passed away in Liverpool on November 20th, after catching coronavirus. Glyn had turned 70 in July. Glyn worked in the toy trade for many years as a rep and national account executive for several toy companies, including Blue Box, Rainbow, Mondo and Fisher Price. His final role of a long and distinguished toy trade career was at Bandai. Julian Boyers, former managing director at Bandai, commented: “I was deeply saddened to hear of Glyn’s death, which happened very quickly and unexpectedly.
Jimmy Hunter, the founder of Hunter Toys, passed away on November 14th, 2020. Jimmy took on the role of BTHA Chairman from 2000-2002 and was heavily involved for many years with both Toy Fair and the BTHA’s ‘Value of Play’ initiatives. He was the champion for Total Fun, the consumer event held in the early 2000s, while he was also the brainchild behind the longstanding Golden Teddy awards. His daughter Sally Hunter, who has followed in Jimmy’s footsteps by building a long and successful career the toy trade, told Toy World: “The fact that the Golden Teddy awards are still being presented so many years later gives me goosebumps.
Toy Trade Monthly Issues...
ToyWorld (UK) December Issue
Weekly Top Stories from Toy Trade Magazines Worldwide...
Adventure Media & Events (US)
Toy Book - Looking Back at the Most-read Stories of 2020.
aNb Media (US)
On Christmas Holiday
ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture's (US)
1. Wizards of the Coast Reveals Two 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Kaldheim Commander Decks'
2. Games Workshop Updates the Status of 'Warhammer' Releases Going into 2021
3. Rolling for Initiative -- Another Look at the 'Dragonlance' Lawsuit
4. WizKids Unveils Another Figure for Their 'Dungeons and Dragons' Chromatic Dragon Series
5. Sony Pulls 'Cyberpunk 2077'
6. Play Out the Pacific War Campaign in 'Fire in the Sky'
7. RPG Categories for Origins Awards Changed
8. Wizards of the Coasts Teases 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Time Spiral: Remastered'
9. River Horse Reveals 'The Dark Crystal Adventure Game'
10. Dominate the High-Seas with a New 'Dystopian Wars' Two-Player Starter Set
TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month
Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)
Video of the Week!
The POP Week panels were aired on two separate platforms, there are slight changes to the version first aired on our website with over 12,000 viewers and on this
separate YouTube version we just uploaded
Reuben and Eddy - 150+ Combined Years of Inventing & Friendship
Moderator: Lyn Goldfarb (Director, Producer at Lyn Goldfarb Productions)
Panel: Reuben Klamer (Founder, President of Toylab, Inventor of Game of Life, 1-2-3 Roller Skates and more!) and Eddy Goldfarb (Founder of Eddy & Martin Goldfarb & Assoc., Inventor of Yakity Yak Teeth, Kerplunk and more at http://www.eddysworld.net/)
Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme
Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom
We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch
and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.
If you would like to reach Phil:
Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.
Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson
Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher