Toy & Game International Excellence Awards - the TAGIEs
Celebrating Excellence Worldwide! The Must Attend Event of the Year!
Thank You to our Esteemed Sponsors!
Move over Oscars, Emmys, CMA, the Toy & Game International Excellence Awards are taking the VIRTUAL center stage! This is a must attend event to celebrate your fellow toy and industry colleagues at the 13th annual TAGIE Awards and the after-party, POP's Got Talent!
Host a Watch Party with friends, colleagues and family! We will also be setting up 'tables' for the event so you can watch with your friends!
You cannot miss out on this annual toy industry event and now you can experience it from the comfort of your home and share the excitement with friends and family! Fantastic stunts, animations and solid gold entertainment are planned for this year to make the TAGIES better than ever! It’s a must “tune in” event where Everyone is invited! Awards, funny stunts, and more!! Buy your tickets today as they are going fast!!!
2019 TAGIE Award Honorees and Nominees
TOY INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
Bang Zoom Design for Rollin' Rovee with Fisher-Price, Squeakee with Moose Toys and Play-Doh Animal Crew and Cluck-A-Dee with Hasbro
Caleb Chung for Luvabella's Mealtime Magic Mia with Spin Master
David Yakos for Circuit Explorer Rocket, Circuit Explorer Rover and Circuit Explorer Deluxe Base Station with Educational Insights
Doreen Dotto & Melissa Cohen for Plush Pods by GUND (Unicorn, Shark, Dragon)
FunFare Team for Playful Pandas with Far Out Toys
Gil Zalayet and Ryan Kratz for Disney Pixar Toy Story Galaxy Explorer Spacecraft with Mattel & DC Batman Rapid Change Utility Belt 12 Inch Action Figure with Spin Master
Jason Loik for Play-Doh Builder with Hasbro
Jim McCafferty and the JMP Creative Team for Power Treads with WowWee
Liu Yingjian & Zing for Go Go Bird with Zing Toys
SG Labs and Bang Zoom Design for Rollin' Rovee with Fisher Price
GAME INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
Alex Tongue for The #UpsideDownChallenge Game by Vango Toys
Big Monster Toys for Burping Bobby and Rattlesnake by Goliath and Sky Score by Hasbro
Don Ullman, Jose and Hans Leal for Drone Home with PlayMonster
Gary Pyper for Windy Knickers with John Adams
JM and the Identity Games Product Development Team for Nightmare Horror Adventures; Welcome to Crafton Mansion
KID Group for Break The Board with YULU and Rubiks Perplexus with Spin Master
Nobuaki Ogihara, Robert Fuhrer and Alex Fuhrer for PUGLICIOUS with Mattel
Peggy Brown for My First Rush Hour with ThinkFun and Bye, Felicia and Who's the G.O.A.T. with Big G Creative
Tim Walsh for Mega Mouth with Big G Creative
Wai Or, Michael Kohner and Robert Fuhrer for for TRex Rocks with Hasbro
YOUNG INVENTOR OF THE YEAR
Alex Butler for Bold Made Game made by 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! by Pressman
Maayan for Queeng Playing Cards
RISING STAR INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
Andreas Hoenigschmid for Shashibo with Fun In Motion Toys
Aron Lazarus for The Genius Star and Bee Genius with The Happy Puzzle Company
Chris Leder for Back to the Future: Dice Through Time with Ravensburger
Chris Haas and Scott Day for Paw Patrol Dino Patroller with Spin Master
Daniela and Christian Stöhr for Pictures with PD-Verlag
Ken Gruhl for Quarrel Reef with Mattel and for Mystic Market with ThinkFun
Mike Bender for Cringeworthy with Hasbro
Nathan Pyle for Sweet Existence with Hasbro
Scott Brady for Hues and Cues with The Op
Scott Pease and Jeff Swenty for Snap Ships with PlayMonster
INNOVATIVE ART AND VISUALS OF THE YEAR
David Yakos, Nicholas Cravotta, Rebecca Bleau and Steve Downer for Break In Alcatraz with PlayMonster
Design Edge and Fisher-Price Design Team for The Imaginext DC Super Friends Gotham City Pop-Up Playset
Fisher-Price Little People Brand Development Team for Little People Collector Series
Joey Lopez and Liesl Kadile for Circuit Explorer Rocket, Circuit Explorer Rover and Circuit Explorer Deluxe Base Station with Educational Insights
Marjorie Spitalnik for Marie Curie, Mary Jackson, Amelia Earhart and Malala Yousafzai Plushies by Little Rebels. Manufactured by Dac Toys
Nate Duval for Bye, Felicia! With Big G Creative
Richard North of WowStuff for Home Printable Face Masks
Ryan Noonan for Who's the G.O.A.T.? With Big G Creative
Sahad Rivera for Design & Drill Bolt Buddies with Educational Insights
Steve Rad for Professor Maxwell’s VR Science Lab with Abacus Brands
INNOVATIVE PR & 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 their 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 with Brilliant PR for the World of Eric Carle Magna-Tiles
LEGO Disney Girls Team for LEGO Disney Frozen II Sets
Mattel Games Team for UNO MINIMALISTA
Sabrina Cohen, Jill Selick for Rubik Marketing and Dave Malacrida of WowWee PR for BriteBrush GameBrush with WowWee
Yulu Marketing Team and PlayWise Partners for Swirl & Style Tie Dye Studio Maker
MOST INNOVATIVE RETAILER AWARD
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
Traci Lyden & Alana Turner for Poopsie's
MOST INNOVATIVE SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR
Howard Fine, Attorney
Lifetime Achievement Honoree
Photograph by Richard Drew/AP
Ernõ Rubik, a professor from Budapest In Hungary, wanted to help his students understand three-dimensional problems.His solution? The Rubik’s Cube!
Ernố’s prototype Cube did things that the world hadn’t seen before. It twisted and turned and yet it didn’t break. Adding 54 colorful stickers to the six sides gave the puzzle its iconic look. When Ernố Rubik built his first Cube, it took him over a month to solve it. At the time, he didn’t know that his “Magic Cube” – “Buvos Kocka” in Hungarian – would take the world by storm. The “Magic Cube” was demonstrated at a variety of international toy fairs, including London, Paris and New York. In September 1979, the puzzle was spotted in Nuremberg by toy specialist Tom Kremer, who could immediately see the power and potential of the Cube. Tom Kremer’s passion and belief in the Cube convinced the Ideal Toy Company to distribute the “Magic Cube.” They wanted one important change… a new name! The newly-named Rubik’s Cube’s global launch took place in 1980 and the rest is history.
Celebration of Life and Lifetime Achievement
Norman and Arlene Fabricant. Inventors of countless toys and games are most know for Dr. Drill 'n Fill (Hasbro). Sadly we lost Arlene in April.
Hassenfeld Family Initiatives Humanitarian Award
The Roachy Fund. The Roachy Fund's mission is to help others follow their dream to “make art and play games.” The Fund will provide scholarships to college bound students who plan on pursuing a degree in art and/or game design. The scholarship was established to honor Alan Roach, a loved and respected leader in the toy and game industry. Alan’s creativity and love for games brought so much joy to the world. He was filled with eternal enthusiasm for gaming, laughing and life itself. Even in sickness, Alan never lost his sense of humor and desire to make every day as fun as possible. In the final months of his life, Alan shared that all he really wanted to do was to “make art and play games.” The Roachy Fund Scholarship was established to help others who share his passions and to honor his legacy.
TAGIE Awards Host
Our host of the evening is Karri Bean, Senior Licensing Manager, Disney Parks Experiences & Products, located in Glendale, CA, for the past five years where she is responsible for managing Disney’s global construction category across key brands such as Star Wars, Marvel and Frozen. Karri comes with more than 10 years of experience in the toy industry, previously in global brand management creating unique and exciting products in the games category at Hasbro and Spin Master.
TAGIE Awards Keynote
join us in welcoming JoAnn McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of Hardlines Product Development, Disney Parks Experiences & Products.
JoAnn is responsible for delivering product innovation and development for Disney and Marvel-branded Toys and other products, and leading a team of pioneering designers and creatives.
Prior to joining Disney Consumer Products, JoAnn held various executive-level positions at Marvel Entertainment, most recently executive vice president of Merchandising and Promotional Partner Services. Her career highlights also include key roles at Toy Biz, Matchbox Toys and Child Guidance, a division of CBS Toys.
TAGIE Awards Introduction to Keynote
Jesse Falcon, Director of Merchandising at Marvel Entertainment introduces JoAnn.
2020 TAGIE Presenters
Leslie Scott is Founder of Oxford Games, inventor of Jenga and much more! To mention just a few things she is noted for: prolific board game designer, founder trustee of The Smithsonian UK Charitable Trust, speaking Swahili and author best known as the inventor of the game Jenga, which she launched at the London Toy Fair 1983. Born in Africa in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and grew up in Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Ghana. Scott was educated in Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Oxford. In 1991, she founded Oxford Games Ltd, which her daughter Freddie is now proudly President.
Michael Kohner, President of The Michael Kohner Corporation.
Michael, formerly of Kohner Bros., which was started by his father
Paul and Paul's brother, Frank, is a prominent Licensing Agent in the game
industry. The entire Kohner Family were recipients of the 2014 Lifetime
Achievement at The TAGIES. Kohner Bros were industry pioneers famous for such classics as POP-O-MATIC TROUBLE and The BUSY BOX crib toy. Michael Kohner formed The Michael Kohner Corporation in 1975 working closely together with many inventors to bring their products to marketplaces worldwide. Some of the many games Michael has helped bring to the market are LOOPIN' LOUIE, MR. BUCKET, GIGGLE WIGGLE and DON'T PANIC.
Ken Johnson, Inventor of Phase 10 and more! is big success came in 1982 when Ken set out to design a new card game. Upon seeing the success of Uno, he wanted to design a card game that could achieve similar success. After just a couple of days sequestered in his apartment, he came up with the Phase 10 card game. His first customers included K-Mart and Meijer stores. In 1987 Ken licensed the manufacturing and distribution rights of Phase 10 and began receiving royalties from the worldwide sales. It is now produced by Mattel, is sold in over 30 countries, and is the 2nd best selling card game in the world.
In 2012, Ken was nominated for a TAGIE award – the Oscar of the Toy and Game industry. Ken lives in Franklin, Michigan with his wife of 18 years and their 7 year old son. He currently owns two other businesses. Ken has been a guest speaker at inventor clubs across the country, and provides support and resources for inventors.
Robert Pasin heads Radio Flyer Inc., the business founded by his grandfather in 1917. Radio Flyer is an iconic brand that holds a special place in people's hearts because it instantly transports them to a happy time — to the best parts of childhood. Robert works with a wonderful group of passionate "Flyers" whose mission is to create products that bring smiles to kids of all ages and to create warm memories that last a lifetime. Company sales have grown significantly as a result of Robert’s focus on building a highly committed and creative team. The product line has expanded beyond the iconic Little Red Wagon™ to include tricycles, scooters, and other ride-ons featuring innovative, beautiful, playful design. Robert is the Emmy winning producer of the animated short film, Taking Flight, and author of the national bestseller book, Radio Flyer: 100 Years of America’s Little Red Wagon.
Alan Hassenfeld, Chairman Executive Committee Hasbro
Anton Rabie, Co-Founder & Co-CEO at Spin Master Ltd.
Matt Nuccio and Dan Klitsner are getting the band back together! More musically talented toy people to be announced... we have an extraordinary industry!
TAGIE Stunts Performed By...
Robert "Bob" Fuhrer is an award-winning toy and game developer. Since 1981, his company, Nextoy, has developed hundreds of products, including Crocodile Dentist, Gator Golf, iTop and the internationally acclaimed KenKen Puzzle. Bob is best known for helping inventors and Japanese toy companies bring product to market, and for collaborating with the worldwide creative community. His dad Len Fuhrer and brother David have both had impressive careers in the toy world, and now his son Alex has joined the Nextoy family! Bob is an active philanthropist, and currently sits on the boards of Make-A-Wish and Evan's Team. He and his wife Judy live in New York and are proud parents of three grown children.
Gary Swisher is EVP of Design at Spin Master. Gary started his toy career working on a favorite from his childhood, “Hot Wheels” and “played” with that brand for 16 years. He left Mattel and went to the wild and crazy world of Jakks Pacific where he and his Marketing partner Jamie Wood built the Road Champs line into an Xtreme sports mecca. He and Jamie then started Best Pals, where he got to use every last ounce of his Design skills to create a broad line of toys, led by a Six Flags Roller Coaster and a Big Foot Monster truck or two! In 2005 Mattel bought their assets, and brought them both back in. Gary then had the good fortune of working under Richie Weintraub, an industry icon who taught him about being a good Design leader. When Richie retired, Tim Kilpin gave Gary the chance to lead Creative for all of Boys, Girls and Games at Mattel. He also helped integrate MEGA Bloxs into the Mattel family, ran Games under Susie Lecker, and ran Inventor relations. Gary has now started a new chapter at the most innovative toy company in the world, Spin Master, he is the global leader of the Design and Visual Branding teams working under Ben Varadi.
Peggy Brown of Peggy Brown Creative. Peggy has created play for the world’s biggest toy companies in various capacities: as an inventor, a designer, writer, creative director, consultant, and executive. She’s done development work on products with brands such as Barbie, Warner Brothers, Disney, Sesame Street, McDonald’s and Nickelodeon, just to name a few. Peggy has worked inside toy companies as a creative director and VP, and independently as a product developer, creative thinker, filmmaker, lyricist and author. She even did a recurring stint on the Rachael Ray Show, sharing funky and whimsical craft and home décor projects with a national TV audience. She now runs a full-service design and development company, making games, toys, craft-activities, plush and playful housewares.
Robert Victor, President of Kite and Rocket. Robert founded Kite and Rocket on the belief that the best way to attract world-class engineers is to create an extraordinary workspace and propose compelling challenges. Nearly a decade of activity in the toy industry has proven that to be true. Kite and Rocket is now expanding its inventive efforts to include products on the opposite end of the age spectrum as well, with a focus on mobility and home accessibility.
Phil Sage, Senior Director : Product Development, Design & Inventor Relations at Hasbro. Phil is Director of Global Product Acquisition & Inventor Relations at Hasbro. Discovering the world’s next best play experiences, empowering others, innovating next generation people, process and product. A toy designer, technologist and business builder, his career talents and curiosity were quite evident at a young age, compiling RC car motors, fishing wire and 9v batteries … into elaborate masking tape bound lawnmowers, his love affair with the most magical of industries spans 14+ years, constantly creating, adopting a global philosophy of partnering with the best resources or experts in the world
NEW THIS YEAR - TAGIE After Party! POP’s Got Talent!
NEW this year!!!!! POP – People of Play Have Talent!! This first of its kind toy industry talent show will be hosted by brothers Robert and David Fuhrer of Nextoy and BlueSquare Innovation. This after party is one you want to witness-POP Party features an eclectic group of talent from the toy and game industry including...
Jim McCafferty of JMP Creative will attempt the most dangerous escape of his life!
Jay Horowitz on the piano! You may have read about Jay and his family in TTPM's All in the Family Series!
Jane Labowitch is a full-time Chicago-based Etch A Sketch artist whose professional nom de plume is Princess Etch
Steve Casino. Toy Inventor with Bang Zoom – Painter of Nuts
Kevin Daniels. President and co-founder of Fun In Motion Toys - Fire Whip Performance
Andreas Hoenigschmid, Inventor and Artist, GeoBender - Fire Dancing
Randy Klimpert, Chief Creative at Creata - Ukulele and Guitar Collection
Alexa Meade, creator of large scale 3D painted installations
Jim McCafferty, Founder of JMP Creative - Magic
Mark Setteducati, Professional inventor and Magician – Magic
Tim Walsh, Scott Brown, Chris Callaghan from Roo Games, Winners of ASTRAS’s Lip Sync Battle
Jane Labowitch, aka Princess Etch, is a full-timeEtch A Sketch artist
Danny Kishon, All in 1, Performing Magic to Amaze
Jay Horowitz, President of American Classic Toy, Piano
David Fuhrer, President of BlueSquare Innovations, Backwards Talking
Joseph Herscher and Joseph's Machines! Kinetic Artist and YouTuber
Randy Klimpert of Creata shares his story of collecting ukes
Danny Kishon from All in 1 will A few minutes of Magic to amuse and hopefully amaze...
Kevin Daniels of Fun in Motion Toys with
2020 ASTRA Toy Sync Battle Winning Video for Down Under by Men at Work. Tapping into our company's Aussie Roots and taking home the coveted Toy Sync Battle Belt!
Joseph Herscher and Joseph's Machines!
Kinetic Artist and YouTuber
Attend the TAGIEs in 2020!
Don't miss out on an extraordinary evening! Join us at the TAGIEs for an elegant and fun celebration of innovation and People of Play! Watch the inventors, innovators and the toy & game industry behind your favorite toys and games!
Thank You to our TAGIE Awards Committee
Chair: Karri Bean - Senior Manager, Licensing at Disney Consumer Products, Experiences and Consumer Products
Robert Fuhrer - Owner at Nextoy LLC and KenKen Puzzle
Richard Gill - Chief Explorer Monster, PlayMonster International
Brent Rolland - Event Producer/DJ at Fig Media, Musician, Host/Producer: FANPOWER Game Shows
Robert Victor - Founder, Kite and Rocket Research
Tim Walsh - Co-Founder, Roo Games; Filmmaker, Author, Designer, Creative Consultant, The Playmakers
Kaye White - President of Visual Playthings
Mary Couzin - President, Chicago Toy & Game Group