the Bloom Report

Toy & Game Industry's #1 News Summary Globally
Below is October 15 - 22, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted daily with the most recent at top of each section and previous week drops off on 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 Weekly News Brief . . . 

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Happy Friday!

 

POP Week Conferences are November 15-19, and we are pleased to present Legends/Leaders/Celebrities in our industry having seriously interesting conversations with Legends/Leaders/Celebrities from other industries about ideas, the creative process, and their

favorite toys and games. Look at this awesome lineup!

  • Mattel, President and COO, Richard Dickson will talk with Robbie Brennan of Mattel Films, also an Academy Nominated Executive Producer 

  • Exploding Kittens, Co-Founder Elan Lee will chat with Jeff Probst, Emmy-Winning Executive Producer and Host of TV’s Survivor

  • The New York Times Crossword Editor, and NPR's Weekend Edition Puzzlemaster Will Shortz has a conversation with Garry Trudeau, Pulitzer Prize-Winning American Cartoonist best known for Doonesbury and creator and executive producer of the Amazon Studios series Alpha House

  • Litzky PR Founder Michelle Litzky talks to Jim Pressman, Past President of Pressman Toy Co., and Tom Kalinske, Mixed Dimensions Executive Chairman, and former CEO of Mattel, SEGA, LeapFrog

  • BlueSquare Innovations’ Managing Director, David Fuhrer plays catch with Shawn Green, Former MLB right-fielder for the Dodgers & Mets, 1st round draft pick and two-time major league All-Star

  • More to be announced! 

 

Don’t miss out! Register HERE TODAY - the Conferences are FREE

Thank You for reading the Bloom Report.

Mary

TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Honoree Michele Litzky Shares Her Story with Us

I grew up in the toy industry. At no time did I imagine that one day I’d receive an award for doing what I love.  My biggest inspiration—and the reason for any success I have—have been the people I got to work with, and the myriad, invaluable, and lifelong lessons about business and the world that they taught me.

 

When I look back, I see a career bookended by two visionaries – the late Stephen Hassenfeld and sadly, the late Brian Goldner. For one, I had the opportunity to launch some evergreens – Transformers and My Little Pony, among them. The other took those brands and made the stories bigger and more relevant for generations to come. I was there the day that Stephen Spielberg visited the Hasbro showroom for the first time – and decades later applauded Brian when he took the brand to the big screen.

 

I learned about philanthropy from Alan Hassenfeld and had the honor of drafting the original charter for the first Hasbro Children’s Foundation. Steve Schwartz taught me that ‘product was king” and Neil Friedman, who has been a trusted confidant since our paths crossed at Hasbro in the early 80s, taught me always to do the right thing.  Tom Griffin and Joe Bacall taught me how to market to children. I am forever grateful.  Read More . . . 

tBR Person of the Week: Jason Tiger's Bubble Universe, Looking for Inventors and More!

What exactly do you do in the industry?

 

I am the CEO/Founder of a newly formed bubble company, called Bubble Universe. Bubble Universe is focused on innovating the experience of bubbles for all ages. We are making our bubble solutions in the USA with the safest ingredients. So safe, you can lick them because they are food-grade. 

 

Our first brand we helped launch is Bubble X. Bubble X is a much thicker bubble solution meant for the hospitality industry. A mixologist at a bar picks up a delivery system blaster, fills a bubble with it and then puts the bubble onto a cocktail with aroma smoke inside. It is visually stunning and a unique sensory experience. 

 

We recently also launched our first children’s brand. Bubblelick is the world's safest bubble solution, ever made for kids. We made it with natural flavors to make it more fun and experiential. Some of our flavors: Milk Chocolate Chip, Juicy Watermelon Splash, Carnival Cotton Candy, and Glazed Cinnamon Roll. 

Read More . . . 

Nick Metzler Opines: Is Axie Infinity the Future of Work?

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Last we talked, you said something about Axie Infinity being the future of work. That’s quite a bold proclamation, almost as bold as saying that “NFTs are going to change everything.” I’ve noticed that my life hasn’t changed one bit. So, you drank the Kool-Aid?

Yes, I’m a convert, no question. New technologies almost always follow the Gartner Hype Cycle, and last month we were at the Peak of Inflated Expectations. Get ready for some incredible crashes in the NFT space when we enter the Trough of Disillusionment! However, I’m looking at the productivity segment already here because of how important this stuff is and what it enables. I still believe that NFTs have the potential to change everything because of what benefits they imbue onto society.

This month, I invite you to follow the proverbial white rabbit into wonderland where a new paradigm is being made, starting with Axie Infinity – you could be looking at the future of work.

So I offer you a choice: Take the red pill and see how far this goes, or click the red X and go to bed remembering you don’t believe in any of this stuff. It’s coming though, whether you believe it to or not.

Read More . . .

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Financial & Legal News . . .

GOLIATH ACQUIRES ENDLESS GAMES. The privately held company adds Endless Games to its family of brands that has consistently grown through company acquisitions, such as the Pressman Toy Co. and Tucker Toys. “This acquisition provides an endless catalog of great games and puzzles that Goliath will add to its global portfolio,” says Jochanan Golad, CEO, Goliath. “This is Goliath’s fourth N.A. and 8th global acquisition...

Hot holiday toys may not be as scarce as predicted.  Good news for fretting parents: The doomsayers who've been sounding the alarm about 2021 holiday toy scarcities are being tempered by sanguine optimists. Why it matters: While shopping early is definitely a good idea, fears of empty shelves and online shortages are probably overblown, given how skilled the toy industry has grown at managing global supply...

Selfridges in talks about potential sale.  Selfridges’ owners are said to be in talks with Qatar about a potential £4bn sale that would be a defining moment for the business. According to This is Money, sources claim the Qataris are not in exclusive talks and it is possible a rival bidder for Selfridges may yet be successful. However, if the deal comes to fruition, it would see the Middle Eastern state take ownership....

Azure Media merges with Havas Entertainment and bolsters team. The new Havas Entertainment agency will offer services across media, creative, content, data and eCommerce. Leading toys and games media agency Azure Media has merged with Havas Entertainment as the agency continues to evolve and extend its services to clients across media, creative, content, data and eCommerce. 

The NPD Group to be acquired by Hellman & Friedman. Hellman & Friedman (H&F) — a global private equity firm — has made a binding offer and entered into an exclusive agreement to acquire The NPD Group, a leading market data provider that covers several consumer products sectors, including the toy industry, games, and video games. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. 

SEC investigates GameStop stock surge, finds no evidence of fraud. The Securities and Exchange Commission has concluded an investigation into the Gamestop stock price surge that took place earlier this year, and found no evidence of fraudulent behaviour to manipulate the market. In the 45 page report, the SEC concluded that while "short sellers covering their positions likely contributed to increases...

Facebook reportedly rebranding around metaverse. Facebook is planning a corporate rebranding, according a report from The Verge. Citing "a source with direct knowledge of the matter," the site is reporting that the company behind the social network is planning to change its name to encompass its aspirations for building a metaverse. .

Walmart Announces 2021 return of ‘Black Friday Deals for Days’. US retail giant Walmart has announced the return of its month-long savings event, Black Friday Deals for Days. This year, paying Walmart+ members will receive early access to online Black Friday events throughout November – an opportunity to shop all the same deals four hours earlier than the scheduled start times for all three events. .

Amazon plans to hire 150,000 temporary workers for the holidays. Amazon plans to add 150,000 temporary workers in the United States for the holiday shopping rush, a 50% increase from the company's holiday hiring push a year ago. Amazon, like many retailers and logistics companies, is facing challenges hiring workers and is raising pay, dangling bonuses, and expanding benefits in response to the pressures. .

Facebook to hire 10,000 in EU to work on metaverse. Facebook is planning to hire 10,000 people in the European Union to develop a so-called metaverse. A metaverse is an online world where people can game, work and communicate in a virtual environment, often using VR headsets. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been a leading voice on the concept..

Twitch says "minimal" impact to users from hack. Today Twitch announced in a blog post that its most recent security breach didn't expose user passwords. "Twitch passwords have not been exposed. We are also confident that systems that store Twitch login credentials, which are hashed with bcrypt, were not accessed, nor were full credit card numbers or ACH / bank information," Twitch said. .

Maersk ponders cutting out freight forwarders to focus on larger shippers. According to a report in The Loadstar, the Danish carrier Maersk has made no secret of its ambition to become the ‘integrator of the seas’, offering a single platform to allow shippers to book cargo from door-to-door. 

White House has weighed tapping National Guard to address mounting supply chain backlog. White House officials have explored in recent weeks whether the National Guard could be deployed to help address the nation’s mounting supply chain backlog, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

Are supply chain disruptions the beginning of the end of globalization? At the end of last week, there were 584 container ships idling off the world’s ports, waiting to be loaded or unloaded. Disruptions in the bulk cargo sector look to be even worse. Experts suggest the problems are temporary. 

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Stories, Comments & Advice . . .

Seattle police bust lucrative Lego trafficking scheme. Police seize 171 Lego sets worth thousands from Pike Place seller accused by police of knowingly selling stolen goods. The accused store owner denied knowingly selling stolen goods, protested against the picture and said he would fight the resultant charges.

Defying the odds - meet the refugee turned game designer. Lual Mayen was 12 yrs old when he saw a computer for the first time. Standing in a queue at a UN registration centre in a refugee camp in Northern Uganda, he was fascinated by the device and thought it must have fallen from heaven. He pleaded with his mother for one, but she could barely afford enough food to feed her family, how could she possibly buy a laptop.

Design Edge: Avoid These Common Packaging Mistakes. While many will go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim, or the Louvre to engulf themselves in art and culture, I will simply walk the aisles in retail. Grocery stores, pharmacies, departments stores, sporting goods stores…and of course, my favorite, the toy store. And you may think I’d be there looking to find what packages are new and/or outstanding.

Sales Reps: Help Us Help You.  There have been more conversations lately about the future of sales representatives, and if they can still add value to our industry. We are here to affirm that sales reps are essential to the continued growth for both retailers and vendors. Having just returned from the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s Marketplace and Academy in August, we have never, in the last 20 years, been...

Gender-Neutral Toys for Children Gain Ground, but Opposition Persists. New efforts are under way to eliminate what some toy makers, parents and advocates see as a longstanding issue in the toy industry: gender bias. The notion that boys like blue and play with trucks while girls like pink and play with dolls is a stereotype some in the toy industry have tried to disrupt for years. Now, a new state law and other efforts to...

(the above posted after October 22nd)

John Baulch, ToyWorld (UK) - Cash from chaos…it’s the Friday Blog! It was great to see so many of the great and good of the toy community come together for this week’s BTHA Industry Day. Continuing the theme from every post-pandemic industry gathering I have attended thus far, everyone seemed delighted to be out and about, mingling with their peers and colleagues once more.

Top 10 most iconic Barbie dolls of the 2000s. Were you a kid playing with Barbie in the early 2000s? If so, you’ll probably recognize some of these iconic dolls/lines from the decade.  Hip 2 Be Square Barbie.  ne of the last series of playline dolls to use the Twist n’ Turn body mold, the Hip 2 Be Square dolls stand out with their colorful geometric-print dresses and large rectangular earrings.

'Bizarre' doll discovered behind Oak Bay wall connected to former German toy designer.  A song about exploring the Northwest Passage was playing over the construction site speaker when Will discovered something unexpected behind a wall that made him shriek. “But in excitement,” Will clarifies, before laughing. “Not eeek!” Will had uncovered many things during renovations before, including a licence plate... 

How the hyper-violent Squid Game has crept into digital content targeting young children.  The latest controversy to arise around Squid Game, which is rated MA15+ in Australia, relates to the interest it has sparked amongst young children. This includes warnings from an Australian school that children as young as six are recreating games featured in the dark and gory hit show. A council in Southern England recently sent...

Steve Cox of Keel Toys on why sustainability shouldn’t cost the earth. Keel Toys’ Keeleco plush range will be showcased in the Sustainability Activation at BLE in November. Keel Toys is participating in the BLE Sustainability Activation in partnership with Products of Change. BLE takes place in person from 17th-19th November 2021 at Excel London, and online 30th November – 1st December). 

How China's gaming regulations affect its market and the rest of the industry. If we go back to anywhere between 2015 and 2020, China was riding an unprecedented wave of gaming prosperity. Consoles, mobile and PC were all booming and increasingly turning China into the biggest gaming market in the world. All eyes were turning in the same direction. 

YouTube, TikTok and Snap will have to testify before Congress over kids safety. The Congressional subcomittee that forced Facebook into the hot seat earlier this month will next do the same to several other social media giants. YouTube, TikTok and Snap executives will head to Capitol Hill next Tuesday to answer questions from the Senate Commerce Committee, which plans to ask about how those platforms safeguard their young users. It previously hosted a length session with Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen, asking her to explain the contents …

A parents' guide to TikTok: What parents need to know to keep kids safe. When it comes to TikTok, parents often hear about dangerous challenges — the milk crate challenge, the ‘devious lick’ challenge, the skull breaker challenge. To many adults, they sound weird, causing some to wonder if TikTok is simply a platform that compels teens to do dumb stuff. 

Will Microsoft’s decision to ‘sunset’ localized Linkedin platform in China impact the toy industry? Last week, Microsoft revealed plans to “sunset” its localized version of the LinkedIn platform in China. The move comes amid increased pressure to comply with China’s strict censorship laws, the same regulations that have driven other international social networks out of the country. 

CEO of maker of U.S.-manufactured toys sees higher inflation persisting into late 2022. American Plastic Toys CEO John Gessert predicted Monday that this year’s higher prices — which have increased in the high single-digit to low double-digit percentages — may still be around into late 2022. 

Apparently, it's the next big thing. What is the metaverse? Facebook has just announced it's going to hire 10,000 people in Europe to develop the "metaverse". This is a concept which is being talked up by some as the future of the internet. But what exactly is it? To the outsider, it may look like a souped-up version of Virtual Reality (VR) - but some people think the metaverse could be the future of the internet. 

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Remember Fisher-Price's classic toy telephone? It's now a real working phone, and you can buy one. The toy company announced Tuesday it will launch a version of its Chatter Telephone capable of taking real phone calls. The phone is available for pre-order at BestBuy.com while supplies last for $60, about six times more than the toy, which normally sells for around $9.99.  

Razz-Ma-Tazz Player Piano from Hubley (1963). In collector’s circles, Hubley Manufacturing Company is best known for its production lines of die-cast automotive toys and highly sought-after cap guns. As part of the company’s efforts to diversify in the 1960s, Hubley also dabbled in toys made of plastic, like the Razz Ma-Tazz Player Piano. 

Krazy Ikes from Whitman (1950s). Krazy Ikes was a construction toy consisting of differently shaped and coloured pieces that could cleverly be connected in many ways. Unlike more traditional building toys, Krazy Ikes let kids mix and match pieces to make people and animals rather than buildings and vehicles. 

Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Simba Dickie Group has been signed as the master global toy partner for colourful new pre-school property, Oggy Oggy. Set to debut in Autumn/Winter 2022, the range will target kids aged 3-6 years and span plush, figurines, playsets and accessories, vehicles, collectibles and sand buckets. The collection will initially be available in France, Italy, Germany and the UK, before being extended into Poland and Spain...

Mattel and WWE have decided to extend their global master toy licensing agreement, which grants the toy manufacturer exclusive rights to produce WWE action figures, action figure accessories, and kids toy title belts.  “Mattel is a true industry leader that continues to surprise and delight our fans around the world with innovative and creative WWE products that drive significant revenue for our retail partners,” ....

(the above posted after tBR posted Oct 22nd in morning)

Nintendo's Tiny Licensing Business Could Have a Big Future.  Nintendo's (OTC: NTDOY) stock declined about 30% this year as investors fretted over its post-pandemic slowdown. The Japanese gaming giant's revenue rose 34% in fiscal 2020, which ended this March, as many people purchased Switch consoles and games throughout the pandemic. Unfortunately, Nintendo expects its revenue to decline 9% in fiscal 2021...

Goliath announces its new collaboration with industry heavyweight, Hasbro.  Toy and game maker, Goliath, is thrilled to announce its newest licensing deal with global power player, Hasbro. Under these new licenses Goliath Australia & New Zealand will be showcasing some of the world's most popular kids brands in their own well-loved toys and products. 

To celebrate the launch of the new LEGO Ideas Home Alone set, the LEGO Group is celebrating Kevins across the globe. The detailed set is based on the house from the original Home Alone movie and was designed by LEGO fan Alex Storozhuk from Ukraine, via the LEGO Ideas platform. In addition to the house, the set includes a LEGO minifigure version of Home Alone icon Kevin McCallister, plus four other minifigure....

VP Racing Fuels and Mattel have struck a licensing agreement for the Hot Wheels brand. Under the agreement, Mattel will produce a line of diecast cars and trucks displaying VP Racing Fuels brand names and logos. VP Racing’s licensing agency, Pacific Swell Brands, brokered the deal.“Hot Wheels is the most iconic brand of collectible toy cars and trucks in the world,” said VP Racing director of brand mgt, Bob Merz.  

JAKKS's costuming division, Disguise, is expanding its licensing partnership with Disney throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.In a multi-year agreement, Disguise will produce dress-up items, costumes, and costume accessories for various Disney brands in EMEA, starting spring 2022. A North American costume partner for Disney for over 30 years, this marks the first time Disguise holds Disney costuming...

Mattel has secured the global licensing rights (excluding Japan) to create a toy line for Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear.  Lightyear, the origin story of the Buzz Lightyear character from the Toy Story franchise, is slated for theatrical release in June 2022. Mattel’s line of action figures, playsets, role play, vehicles, preschool, games, plush, value figures, novelty, and more is expected to hit shelves that same month. “At Mattel....

Barbie gives L’Oréal Professionnel’s Steampod a limited-edition pink makeover.  Fans of L’Oréal Professionnel’s innovative Steampod hair styler will be thrilled to know that a new, limited-edition pink Barbie model is set to the hit the shelves this month. With over 2.2 million followers on her @BarbieStyle Instagram page, Mattel’s Barbie is a recognised fashion influencer. So when L’Oréal Professionnel was looking for a fresh …

Asmodee Entertainment and Welbeck Publishing set to launch Ticket to Ride and Unlock! Escape Adventure puzzle books. Following the successful launch of the CATAN Puzzle Book last year, Welbeck Publishing Group and Asmodee Entertainment are releasing two further titles based on some of Asmodee’s best-known gaming brands. 

‘Warhammer 40,000’ plush collectables now available from Koyo and Games Workshop. Entertainment merchandise specialist Koyo and Games Workshop have expanded their partnership to launch officially licensed Warhammer 40,000 plush toy collectables in time for Christmas. 0The exclusive Nurgling plushie (pictured) is available now, with an Archibald the Gryph-Hound plushie available from 13 November.

Step announces exclusive partnership with ‘Fortnite’ World Cup Champion, Bugha. Step, an all-in-one financial solution built for the next generation, has announced an exclusive partnership with “Fortnite” World Cup Champion and two-time Esports Player of the Year, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf of Sentinels Pro. 

Kid Kreations brings back Sindy for a new generation. Kid Kreations, makers of award-winning doll brands DesignaFriend and Tiny Treasures, has launched its brand-new Sindy Play range, available now at Sainsbury’s and Argos. Following the success of the 2020 Sindy Collectors range which was aimed predominantly at the adult doll market, Kid Kreations, who are working under license with Pedigree Toys...

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People . . . 

ICTI Ethical Toy Program appoints Todd Merton, based in U.S., as head of Business Development.  ICTI Ethical Toy Program (IETP), the specialist responsible sourcing programme for the industry, is strengthening its engagement and support for brands and retailers. Todd brings with him a wealth of experience in developing strategic partnerships including complex licensing agreements with renowned companies like...

Australian pubcaster ABC has hired two new executive producers for its kids team to help grow its slate, kicking off those efforts with the acquisition of Butter Media’s Built to Survive. SLR Productions’ creative director Jo Boag will join the pubcaster in the newly created role of executive producer of animation. Boag worked for 15 years at the Aussie animation studio SLR Productions where she oversaw its shows...

Q&A: Adam Woods, ZURU Creative Director. I joined ZURU five years ago to head up the company’s creative department as their global creative director. Working closely with co-founder Mat Mowbray, my responsibilities range from launching new brands, growing existing product lines and solidifying the ZURU’s collectibles portfolio. Our goal: establish ubiquitous pillar brands across value, trend, and innovation categories...

Partners in Play: Q&A with Richard Gill & Catherine McMillen Gill.  Richard Gill is VP international at PlayMonster and Catherine McMillen Gill is the president of McGill Associates. Catherine and Richard epitomize the title of this new series, Partners in Play.  They have been my dear friends for a long time and are generous, fun-loving, smart, connected, tres chic and more. And, anyone who knows Catherine knows she LOVES taking photos. At the time it can be annoying (sorry, Catherine), but over time one is quite glad she took those photos...

(the above posted after October 22nd)

Ryan Gosling in Talks to Play Ken Opposite Margot Robbie’s Barbie in Warner Bros. and Mattel Movie. Margot Robbie’s Barbie has seemingly found her Ken in Ryan Gosling. The two-time Oscar-nominee is in final negotiations to star in the upcoming Warner Bros. and Mattel film, directed by Greta Gerwig, who also co-wrote the script with Noah Baumbach. Robbie also does double duty on the project; in addition...

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Blinger creator Angie Cella to the show. In 2014, Cella devised an invention that lets kids easily add sparkle to their hair. Through further development, Kickstarter campaigns, and self-funded experimentation, Cella scored a deal with Wicked Cool Toys at a Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Empowerment Day.

Succession at Scholastic Seemed to Be a Shock, Even to the New ChairwomanThe powerhouse children’s publisher, known for Harry Potter, had been passed from father to son until Iole Lucchese, a top executive, was given control. Being handed control of the company, which is valued at $1.2 billion, has made Ms. Lucchese, 55, one of the most powerful women in book publishing, and the stock provides her...

Kevin Clark exits Netflix.  One year after joining the SVOD as director of preschool animation, Clark has left.  Clark started in the role last September and was based in LA, reporting to head of preschool Heather Tilert. “Kevin is an incredibly talented thought leader in the space, and we wish him all the very best in his next chapter,” Tilert told Kidscreen in a statement.

Herschend Entertainment Studios has hired Sarah Maizes as senior director of development and executive producer. In the newly created role, which she started on September 13, Maizes is expanding the Georgia-based company’s development and production slate with a focus on franchises. Maizes previously served as VP of television for The Jim Henson Company, but she left at the end of last year. 

Semaphore Licensing signs Gabi Faye, star of the world’s #1 toy site on TikTok. Semaphore Licensing, known for creating successful licensing opportunities with products distributed at global retailers including Sephora, Target, Amazon, and Walmart, has welcomed TikTok creator Gabi Faye into its portfolio. 

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Companies, Brands . . .  

YouTube will demonetize kids and family content that falls outside of its quality principles, the AVOD announced in a blog post. Videos that adhere to YouTube’s quality guidelines for kids need to promote or one more of the following qualities: being a good person; learning and inspiring curiosity; creativity, play and a sense of imagination; interaction with real world issues; and diversity, equity and inclusion.

As part of its 2-day Pulse Con virtual fan event, Hasbro revealed plans for its first line of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), partnering with The Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX). This collection will be available for a limited time exclusively from the Hasbro Pulse website and will feature characters from the Power Rangers franchise. (This is a first for NFTs, which have not previously been offered on a mainstream e-commerce...

Manufacturer Hanky Panky has partnered with Trends UK to distribute its new That’s Magic range of magic sets.  Hanky Panky, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, is the company behind magic sets in the UK such as Paul Daniels Magic Sets, Gross Magic, Box of Shocks and Street Magic. With the new That’s Magic range, budding magicians can learn and master classic magic tricks guided by on-line tutorial videos. 

(the above posted after October 22nd)

LE’GO to the shops! LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham unveils world’s smallest PrimarkBirmingham can boast that it’s home to the world’s largest Primark store but from next week it will have another claim to fame, as LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Birmingham opens the doors to the world’s smallest Primark. 

Dubit launches eSports program.  The Metaverse Gaming League will create sponsored events in platforms like Roblox, while also helping the company gain new insights into kids. Companies and brands including L.O.L. Surprise! and GoNoodle are able to sponsor the Roblox or branded game streams, while players compete to earn big prizes. The events are streamed on Twitch, YouTube and TikTok, and after the...

Spin Master has established Spin Master Ventures, which aims to use strategic minority investments to help grow each of the company’s 3 creative centers — toys, entertainment, and digital games.  “We’ve always stayed true to our entrepreneurial DNA based on innovation, openness to ideas, partnerships, and pushing boundaries,” said Ronnen Harary, Spin Master’s co-founder and board chair. “The pace of innovation...

Disney revises release schedule for upcoming movies.  Disney claims that the scheduling overhaul is related to production matters rather than box office returns.  Delays have been announced to the release dates for Doctor Strange 2, Thor 4, the Black Panther Sequel and Indiana Jones 5.

Disney has moved Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness from March 25th to May 6th next year, Thor: Love and Thunder from....

Camp opens seventh store on former Toys R Us site. The US toy retailer, which offers ‘family experiences’, says it plans to double its store count every year. Experiential retailer Camp has opened its seventh store in the previous Toys R Us premises in Paramus, New Jersey, one of the US East Coast’s largest malls.

Spin Master Makes a Splash With New Mermaid High Fashion Dolls and Content Series. Spin Master makes a splash with the debut of Mermaid High, a collection of fashion dolls with animated digital content and a vlog-style series. Each of the fashion dolls, Searra, Finly, Oceanna, and Mari, come with their own removable premium fabric mermaid tails, unique outfits, and six accessories from sunglasses and beach...

Animal Planet roars into Burger King with King Jr Meal toys.  Animal Planet, a member of the Discovery Inc family of brands, today announced its collaboration with Burger King on a collection of paper-based King Jr meal toys and activities in an effort to inspire young animal lovers around the world as well as reduce the kids’ meal plastic footprint. Animal Planet fans can find the

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has recognized Mattel with a 2021 Leadership Award for its use of FSC-certified products. In 2020, Mattel achieved 97% recycled or FSC-certified content in the paper and wood fiber used in its products and packaging — exceeding its goal of 95%. The sourcing of its materials was validated by the nonprofit Rainforest Alliance. “Responsible and sustainable sourcing is a critical component ...

Moose Toys partners with Kidnation, Ludacris for Scruff-A-Luvs Cutie Cuts Song. Ludacris and Moose Toys have partnered together to create a song that celebrates rescue pets and the new Scruff-a-Luvs Cutie Cuts. “Puppy Love” is available today exclusively on KidNation, an interactive platform for kids co-founded by the Grammy-award winner. Kids will also hear it in the Cutie Cuts TikTok campaign. 

Capstone Games unveils 'Ark Nova'. Capstone Games unveiled Ark Nova, a zoo management board game, for release in February 2022. In Ark Nova, players try to plan and design a scientifically-managed zoo in an attempt to become the most successful establishment. They will have to build enclosures, accommodate animals, and support conservation projects in order to achieve this goal. 

The LEGO Group celebrates 20 years of Harry Potter with UK-wide treasure hunt. This November, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of LEGO Harry Potter, The LEGO Group is inviting families to join a UK-wide Magical Mystery Hunt for the brick-built LEGO Ford Anglia, which has mysteriously vanished somewhere in the UK. 

LEGO launches new Marvel sets and DC Batman Batmobile Tumbler. LEGO’s latest releases will delight superhero fans of all ages with a new range of Marvel sets and a DC Batman Batmobile Tumbler, a replica of the battle-ready vehicle. The Lego Marvel Spider-Man at the Sanctum Workshop features the superhero’s cellar and includes four minifigures: Spider-Man, MJ, Wong and Doctor Strange. 

Funko releases two new Grinch-themed Christmas games. Inspired by holiday favorite How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Funko Games has brought the classic tale to life in two new games, just in time for the festive season. Set in Who-ville, Dr. Seuss Merry Grinchmas is “equal parts sweet family board game and heirloom keepsake” that comes wrapped in shimmering green Cellophane.

Eagle Force is back in action for its 40th anniversary. Eagle Force, originally offered as golden, 3-inch die-cast commandos by Mego, is returning to battle. The line created and designed by Bill Baron and Paul Kirchner is being reinvented by Fresh Monkey Fiction as a collection of 4-inch, highly articulated action figures.“Eagle Force fans have waited 40 yrs to relive the nostalgia of their youth,” says Fresh Monkey Fiction founder Bill...

Mattel Creations is dropping an epic R/C Batmobile for ‘The Batman’. Holy must-have collectible, Batman! Mattel Creations is flexing its superpowers with a new, Hot Wheels R/C version of the Batmobile — inspired by the upcoming movie The Batman — and it’s set to drop tomorrow. But this isn’t like any R/C Batmobile you’d find in the toy aisle. 

Hot Wheels Legends Tour selects Volvo P1800 Gasser as UK finalist. A bespoke-built Volvo P1800 Gasser has been selected as the UK finalist for the Hot Wheels Legends Tour, a competition that is seeking out the best in classic, modified and race cars from around the globe, with the overall winning vehicle to be made into a 1:64 scale die-cast and released in Hot Wheels’ 2022 range. 

Outright Games to launch ‘DC League of Super-Pets’ video game in 2022. Outright Games has revealed the first-ever look at the forthcoming ‘DC League of Super-Pets’ video game as part of DC Kids FanDome, the 24-hour, immersive, global virtual event that took place this weekend. The game, which is inspired by the Warner Bros film due in theatres in summer 2022, is licensed by Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment...

Asmodee will release 'Catan Logic Puzzle'. Asmodee USA will release CATAN Logic Puzzle, a new single player puzzle game by Catan Studio, for release on December 31. In the CATAN Logic Puzzle, players try to build their paths to prosperity using their critical thinking skills. They solve puzzles by connecting mines, farms, and lumber camps to settlements and cities on the island. 

Rio Grande Games announces 'Messina 1347'. Rio Grande Games announced Messina 1847, the latest board game by Delicious Games, which will hit stores in early 2022. This game is about families attempting to fight the Plague that has infected their town. Players must help save the other townsfolk while they try to prosper in their new countryside residence. 

Steve Jackson Games will release 'Chez Cthulhu 2e'. Steve Jackson Games will release Chez Cthulhu 2E, a party game, for release on November 10. Chez Cthulhu 2E adds everyone's favorite Elder God to the classic game of Chez Geek for a truly sanity-grinding experience. This standalone game adds a Madness mechanics, and features illustrations by John Kovalic and jokes by Steve Jackson. 

The 2021 Hess Cargo Plane and Jet joins the iconic Hess Toy Truck fleet. The Hess Corp. just unwrapped its 2021 Hess Toy Truck. Occasionally, the company throws a curveball in which its annual holiday toy isn’t a truck at all (space shuttle, RV, race car, oil tanker), and this is one of those years as the 2021 Hess Cargo Plane and Jet brings aviation into the mix.

Jakks Pacific adds to its line of Redo SkateboardsJakks Pacific is heading back to the skatepark. The company announced new additions to its line of ReDo Skateboards, featuring updated graphics just in time for the holidays. Available in several different styles, the line includes boards for every level of skateboarder, from beginner to expert. There are seven new skateboards to choose from. 

MGA entertainment launches L.O.L. Surprise Trading Card Game. MGA Entertainment is launching a new trading card game. Starting today, fans of MGA’s L.O.L. Surprise! will be able to buy, sell, and trade cards online as nonfungible tokens (NFTs)! L.O.L. Surprise! Dance Off! launches with 400 trading cards featuring new and familiar L.O.L. Surprise! characters, accessories, and surprises. 

Video Games, Gaming Hardware & Game Development News . . .

One in five U.S. players dove into multiplayer games during the pandemicNew data from Unity indicates that among American video game players who use multiplayer, 16 percent of them jumped into online play because of the pandemic. That's an interesting statistic because it helps provide some sense of how the spread of COVID-19 in 2020 shaped player behavior during an age of social distancing and lockdowns. 

Despite Filing Harassment Reports, Employees Say Ubisoft Isn't Doing Much. Shortly after Valerie arrived at Ubisoft Montreal in 2018, home to the hit Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed franchises, she says she was sexually harassed and the victim of racist remarks. She reported the incidents, but says nothing was done. 

God of War hits 19.5 million sales on PS4, is now heading to PC. God of War has sold 19.5 million copies since launching in 2018, and is now heading to PC. Sony broke the news in a blog post and announced plans to bring the PS4 title to PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store on January 14, 2022.

Xbox will soon automatically mute your speakers when you plug in headphones. Microsoft is testing a feature that automatically mutes your speakers when you plug in headphones, fixing one of my biggest pet peeves with playing games on Xbox. The feature is rolling out to Xbox Insiders on the Alpha Skip-Ahead ring, which means it will very likely be available more broadly in the coming months. 

Seven weeks after launch, fewer than 800 people are playing Aliens: Fireteam Elite. Aliens: Fireteam Elite was released on August 23 to mixed reviews, but on Steam it averaged around or above 10k players for the first few weeks after release. But a lack of content, small updates, and possibly the release of the popular Back 4 Blood recently have killed the player base on PC, with only 792 players online... 

PlayStation 5 ends Switch's three-year run as best-selling console. After almost three years as the top-selling console in the U.S., the Nintendo Switch has been ousted by Sony’s PlayStation 5. According to Mat Piscatella, an NPD analyst, the PS5 was the best-selling gaming hardware platform in both units sold and overall dollars earned in September 2021. 

Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard discrimination case shouldn’t halt over agency feud, California argues in new court filing. After Activision Blizzard requested a stay in the discrimination case brought against it by the state of California, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has filed its response. 

20 employees have been fired in wake of Activision Blizzard lawsuit. Activision Blizzard has fired 20 employees in a show of action after a California lawsuit accused the company of fostering a toxic environment of sex-based discrimination and harassment. In an interview with Financial Times, chief compliance officer Fran Townsend explained that another 20 employees have been "disciplined" in the intervening months. 

Activision Blizzard is trying to get the discrimination suit thrown out of court. Activision Blizzard, facing a discrimination lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (or DFEH), has filed an application to stay that lawsuit so it can investigate claims that DFEH lawyers engaged in ethical misconduct. 

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

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Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

WERE YOU RAISED IN A BARN? IF NOT, COW PIES AND CATAPULTS WILL BE A NEW DINNERTIME TOPIC!  Launching Poo Through The Air To Tip Over Your Opponents Bovine Is The Goal Of Cow Pie Catapults™–Find It Now at Target, Amazon & Specialty Shops!  Ready for some potty humor? It’s always been popular with kids and now is combined with a fun new game. Someone much older thought a Pile of Poo with cartoon eyes would make a great emoji. And it has! The Good Game Company, makers of wholesome family fun for good times, launches the next level of this phenomenon with Cow Pie Catapults.

(the above posted after tBR posted on October 22nd)

PASS THE BROCCOLI, PLEASE! ECOLOGIC MEMORY GAME ENTICES EVEN PICKY EATERS TO CHOOSE SEASONAL PRODUCE (AND SAVE OUR PLANET)  Eating in Season Hits Shelves Now With Five Int’l & U.S. Awards For Adventerra Games’ Swiss-based Company That Empowers Children Through Play. – What’s a July picnic without corn on the cob or a Thanksgiving meal without pumpkin pie? Seasonal fruits and vegetables are not only delicious but make a healthy diet and, more importantly, help the environment. These big concepts are tucked into Eating In Season ($14.99), an innovative ecologic memory game for preschoolers. Before hitting the store shelves this week, the sweetly illustrated game has caught the eye of Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) and American toy judges with a mantle full of accolades.

HESS TOY TRUCK READY FOR TAKEOFF OCTOBER 18 WITH AN EARLIER THAN EVER HOLIDAY BUY.  Cargo Plane & Jet Wins A Fleet Of Honors Including Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum, Mom’s Choice Gold, Toy Insider Holiday Gift Guide, National Parenting Center Holiday Seal of Approval.  New York, NY (October 18, 2021) – The 2021 Hess Cargo Plane and Jet becomes available for purchase at 10 am EDT on Monday, October 18 exclusively at HessToyTruck.com for $39.99 with free standard shipping* and Energizer® batteries included. Across the country, families gleefully await this annual purchase as a treasured holiday tradition.

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards, Events & Festivals . . . 

UK Toy Fair 2022 – visitor registration now open.  Toy Fair will return to Olympia London from Tuesday 25th – Thursday 27th January with more than 250 exhibiting companies. The British Toy & Hobby Association has announced that registration has opened for visitors and media to attend Toy Fair 2022. Following a hiatus in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 68th Toy Fair will return to Olympia London...

BLE outlines enhanced Covid-19 testing and safety measures. Brand Licensing Europe has partnered with ExpressTest by CignPost to facilitate all testing requirements for international attendees. Anyone needing to take a day two test to enter England will be able to purchase a ‘click and collect’ testing kit to be picked up at Excel. The tests can be self-administered in any location with results uploaded online. 

(the above posted after October 22nd)

GAMA announces show results, vax rule. GAMA announced the results of its recent (delayed) Origins Game Fair 2021 and plans for GAMA Expo, including COVID-19 precautions.  Origins Game Fair had 10,746 total attendees, the organization said, about 50% of 2019 attendance.  In 2019, the show had about 17,791 attendees as of Friday noon, with more to come. Final numbers were not announced.

Hasbro reveals star-studded line-up for its Hasbro Pulse Con fan event. Hasbro has released the official programming schedule of experiences for Hasbro Pulse Con 2021, a two-day, free livestream event featuring fan-favourite celebrity guests and must-see music appearances. Featured guest talent includes Patton Oswalt, Matthew Lillard (Scream, Scooby-Doo), select cast members of the upcoming film Ghostbusters: Afterlife, author of Doctor Strange, Thanos, Thor and Venom comics Donny Cates, Power Rangers comics writer Ryan Parrott…

'Play! Pokemon' events will be live again in 2022. The Pokemon Company International announced that in-person Play! Pokemon events for Pokemon TCG will return to North America and Europe, with the first events slated for March 2022. Playing in-person games of Pokemon TCG will be back on track for 2022 with the first scheduled events will include several stops in North America for Regional Championships, ...

Board game Confident? earns Carbonfree product certification. Carbonfund.org Foundation has announced that Confident Games‘ flagship product, family party game Confident?, has earned the Carbonfree product certification for carbon neutrality, becoming the first board game to receive the certification.

Toy & Gift Show to rebrand in 2022 to INDX Toys & Nursery. Following a successful show at Cranmore Park in Solihull this September, The Independent Toy & Gift Show has announced that it is joining the umbrella group of INDX trade shows. When it returns in 2022, it will do so under the INDX Home Banner, rebranded as the INDX Toys & Nursery show. 

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed . . . If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.

Tom Morey - Boogie Board Inventor Dies at 86: 'His Simple Gift…Will Be His Joyous, Lasting, Legacy' Tom Morey, an innovator whose love of surfing inspired the best-selling Boogie Board, died on Thursday in California. Even before inventing the Boogie Board in 1971, Morey was a surfing pioneer. He created the first professional surfing contest, the Invitational Nose Riding Championships, as well as a number of surfboard innovations, including the first polypropylene fin, per the California Surf Museum.  Morey's most famous creation came about in 1971 when he cut a piece of surfboard foam in half and covered it in newspaper, reported The Washington Post.  "The first thing that happens, I feel the ocean," he previously said of the experience of his first ride to The Orange County Register. "You don't get to feel the contour of the ocean until you get on a Boogie Board." He recalled thinking at the time, "This can really be something; this thing can really be something."  The creation was originally called SNAKE — which stood for "Side, Navel, Arm, Knee and Elbow" — but Morey eventually decided on the name Boogie Board, a nod to his love of jazz, reported The Orange County Register. As for his early pricing, the initial ad in Surfer Magazine listed the boards as costing $37, a number he picked because of his age at the time, per the newspaper. "That single device introduced more people to the joy of waveriding than any other person in the world," Kempton wrote in the California Surfing Museum's tribute to Morey. "His simple gift — a design that allowed anyone from paraplegics to Pipeline pros to boogie their brains out on a wave — will be his joyous, lasting, legacy." He went on to sell the creation and its trademark to Wham O in 1977, although he did not earn much money from the deal, according to The Washington Post.

Brian Goldner - Oct. 12th-- It is with deep and profound sadness that Hasbro announces the passing of beloved leader and longtime Chairman and CEO Brian D. Goldner. 

Rich Stoddart, Interim CEO, said “Since joining the Company more than two decades ago, Brian has been the heart and soul of Hasbro. As a charismatic and passionate leader in both the play and entertainment industries, Brian’s work brought joy and laughter to children and families around the world. His visionary leadership, kindness, and generosity made him beloved by the Hasbro community and everyone he touched. On behalf of the Hasbro family, we extend our deepest, heartfelt condolences to his wife, daughter, and entire family.”

Mr. Goldner, 58, joined Hasbro in 2000 and was quickly recognized as a visionary in the industry. He was appointed CEO in 2008 and became Chairman of the Board in 2015. He was instrumental in transforming the Company into a global play and entertainment leader, architecting a strategic Brand Blueprint to create the world’s best play and storytelling experiences. Through his tireless work ethic and unwavering focus, he expanded the Company beyond toys and games into television, movies, digital gaming and beyond, to ensure Hasbro’s iconic brands reached every consumer. The culmination of his pioneering strategy was the 2019 acquisition of independent entertainment studio eOne. Mr. Goldner served on the Board of Directors of ViacomCBS and was the Chair of the Compensation Committee. Mr. Goldner and his wife Barbara were passionate advocates for improving systems of care for vulnerable members of society.

Edward M. Philip, Lead Independent Director of Hasbro’s Board of Directors, said “Brian’s passing is a tremendous loss for Hasbro and the world. Brian was universally admired and respected in the industry, and throughout his over twenty years at Hasbro, his inspiring leadership and exuberance left an indelible mark on everything and everyone he touched. A mentor and friend to so many, his passion and creativity took Hasbro to new heights. Our love and thoughts are with his wife, daughter, and family during this extraordinarily sad time.”

 

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Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide . . . 

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Cash from chaos…it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Mattel announces multi-category Lightyear collection

  3. ViacomCBS Consumer Products details latest on hit properties PAW Patrol, Baby Shark and Blue’s Clues & You!

  4. Mattel unveils healthy set of Q3 results

  5. Disguise announces new Disney costume rights in EMEA

  6. Maersk ponders cutting out freight forwarders to focus on larger shippers

  7. The NPD Group to be acquired by Hellman & Friedman

  8. Selfridges in talks about potential sale

  9. ICTI ETP launches upgraded website

  10. Prize Magical Mystery Hunt to mark 20 years of Lego Harry Potter

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture's (US)

Games Workshop Drops 10 New 'Warhammer: Age of Sigmar' Model Kits
WizKids Unveils Three Premium Figures for 'Pathfinder Battles: The Mwangi Expanse'
Paizo Employees Form Union
Wizards of the Coast Announces Changes to 'Innistrad: Crimson Vow' Prereleases
WizKids Asks 'Marvel HeroClix' Players 'What If...?'
Wizards of the Coast Announces 'Magic: The Gathering' 'October Superdrop'

'WandaVision,' 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,' 'Loki,' and 'What If...?'
Rolling for Initiative -- Looking Back at Free RPG Day
Phalanx Games Announces 'Purple Haze'
Weave Tales of Hogwarts with 'Rory's Story Cubes: Harry Potter'

Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Word Heist Coming Soon, Catan Logic Puzzle Announced

Gamewright has a new word game set for release soon, Asmodee has announced a solo puzzle game, and Ares Games is releasing Mini Rogue.

 

Video of the Week! 

Hidden Role: The Brains Behind your Favorite Games

Actor and entrepreneur Matthew Lillard knows how to turn a passion into a fulfilling career. He's best known for his roles films like Scream, Scooby Doo, and SLC Punk, but in recent years he's also become a tabletop roleplaying game darling, co-founding Beadle & Grimm's to make premium editions of Dungeons & Dragons books.

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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: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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