the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is Aug. 27 - Sept. 2, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles are posted daily with the 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 Weekly News Brief . . . 

Happy Friday! 

This week Nancy Zwiers talks about transitions in the cycle of life, a topic that is relevant more than ever with change that has either been accelerated or deaccelerated during the pandemic. And, we introduce Gert Garman who writes this week on Whole Brain Thinking. Both thought provoking articles to start your weekend! 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.

Mary

tBR Columnist Nancy Zwiers:  Transitions, Gardens, and the Cycle of Life

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Successful transitions help you thrive in life. Transitions are those high stakes periods when you leave the comfort and certainty of the status quo and venture out into the unknown in search of something better. It’s ideal when you instigate the transition versus having it thrust upon you. 

 

In my garden, a succulent was outgrowing its pot—it needed more space. I transplanted it to a larger pot, expecting instant success, but no—the succulent started to look like it was struggling. It shrunk into itself. Was it a mistake to upset the status quo…should I have let it stay put, even if its growth might have been stunted?

 

Happily, after a few weeks my succulent started to settle into its new, more hospitable home. Now a few months later, it looks better than ever. Another lesson in life from Nature: transitions are a difficult, but necessary, step along the path of growth and thriving. 

 

At the beginning, the change can appear to be a mistake. You lack confidence in your new sphere, as you frantically try to master an unfamiliar situation. But when you hang tough, you’re rewarded.

 

How do you know a transition is brewing? There are predictable stages in the ongoing cycle of life.

Read More . . . 

tBR Person of the Week: Gert Garman, The Head Broad, Broad Perspective, LLC, on

Brain Matters

According to the theory of left-brain or right-brain dominance, each side of the brain controls different types of thinking. Additionally, people are said to prefer one type of thinking over the other. For example, a person who is "left-brained" is often said to be more logical, analytical, and objective. A person who is "right-brained" is said to be more intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective.

 

In Michael Gelb’s book "How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci“, he said according to da Vinci, the theory of left brain/right brain was called:

 

Arte/Scienza

The Development of the Balance

 Between Science and Art, Logic and Imagination.

 “Whole Brain” Thinking.

 

When you focus on movements that cross the midline of your body, you help integrate the left and right hemispheres in your brain. This helps to improve coordination, as midline crossing movements are routine used in daily life. When a child begins to crawl, or an adult walks, he is using movements that cross the body's midline. So, when creating a new game or toy, trying to incorporate both sides of the brain could completely engage your target market. How might you do this? Read More . . . 

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Financial & Legal News . . .

Supply chain issues set to impact promotional activity this year   The well-publicised logistical challenges look likely to also have an effect on the scale of 2021 Black Friday deals. Factors including commodity inflation, high shipping costs, problems sourcing containers and constrained factory capacity have combined with international shipping problems over the summer...

(the above posted after September 6th)

A record number of container ships are stuck waiting to enter California’s two largest ports as labor shortages and COVID-19 disruptions continue to roil a supply chain that’s being pushed to its limits ahead of the busy holiday shopping season. A total of 46 freight ships are at anchor or in a drift area waiting to enter the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Marine Exchange of Southern California...

China’s strict limits on how long minors can play online video games just got stricter. Chinese children and teenagers are barred from online gaming on school days, and limited to one hour a day on weekend and holiday evenings, under government rules issued Monday.

The rules, released by the National Press and Publication Administration, tightened restrictions from 2019 aimed at what the government...

Full border reopening between China and Hong Kong may be postponed until after the Beijing Winter Olympics  Multiple sources suggest that the border between Guangdong and HK will remain closed until March 2022.  As the HK government has previously stated that its first priority is to open the border with China, it is logical to assume that intl travel restrictions currently in place will not be lifted until after this date. 

WowCube raises $1.5M from Xsolla founder for its Rubik’s Cube-like game device. Cubios, the creator of the WowCube handheld gaming cube, has raised $1.5 million from the founder of Xsolla, Aleksandr Agapitov. The funding is part of a total of $4.5 million raised in the company’s latest round.

The Nacelle Co. Acquires Revell’s Power Lords Brand; Plans Toys, Comics, Animated Series.  The company behind Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us, the multiplatform A Toy Store Near You, and Behind The Attraction for Disney+ followed the recent news that it's acquired Ideal Toys' Robo Force brand with word that the Power Lords — produced by Revell in the 1980s — will join its portfolio.

California could force stores to display 'gender-neutral' children's toys. The California state legislature passed a bill Wednesday aimed at getting rid of traditional pink and blue marketing schemes for items like toys and toothbrushes. The bill would not outlaw traditional boys and girls sections in department stores—but it would require retailers to have a gender-neutral section to display “a reasonable selection”...

Playtika buys Redecor dev Reworks for $600 million to enter design entertainment marketMobile publisher Playtika has acquired Reworks, the Finnish developer behind home design game Redecor, for up to $600 million. The deal will see Playtika acquire 80 percent of Reworks for $400 million in cash, before grabbing the remaining 20 percent for a fee that could rise to $200 million based on certain...

Dems push for federal probe of alleged ad collusion between Google and Facebook. Four Democratic members of Congress are calling for an investigation into whether an alleged secret 2018 agreement between Google and Facebook concerning digital advertising violated federal antitrust law. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, and Richard Blumenthal, and Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Mondaire Jones wrote to...

S.Korea's parliament passes bill to curb Google, Apple commission dominanceSouth Korea's parliament on Tuesday approved a bill that bans major app store operators such as Google and Apple from forcing software developers to use their payment systems, effectively stopping them from charging commissions on in-app purchases. It is the first such curb by a major economy on the likes of Apple Inc....

South Korea bans Apple, Google from blocking third-party paymentsSouth Korea has become the first country to prevent app store owners such as Apple and Google from forcing developers to use their specific billing and payment systems. CNBC reports an amendment to the nation's Telecommunications Business Act was passed by parliament today, and will become law once signed by President Moon Jae-In, whose political party has been a significant advocate for the bill. Once the law comes into effect, Apple will need to enable third-party payment options.

South Korea plans to abolish gaming curfew. The South Korean government has announced plans to scrap a controversial law that blocks young people from playing online video games late at night. The law was introduced in 2011 to prevent excessive playtime and gaming addiction, and bans players aged 16 or under from playing online PC games between midnight and 6am. 

iGeneration Studios acquires Komixx   The London and LA operations will rebrand as iGeneration Studios, while the Komixx name will be retained for preschool and kids TV projects. Best known for the Kissing Booth movies on Netflix, the London-based prodco owns a much wider catalogue of on-demand entertainment for preschoolers, kids and teens.

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Stories, Comments & Advice . . .

How a monkey launched the pop-it toy craze. They are the 'must have' playground craze of the moment – as simple as they are irresistible. A rubber toy covered in small bumps which can be pushed in and out with a satisfying ‘pop’. Whether played as a game, a toy, or just used as a soothing way to calm down in these difficult times, pop-its appeared seemingly out of nowhere last year in shops, markets and online.

What do Macy's and the Toys R Us brand have to offer each other?  The two retail names are betting on each other in a shop-in-shop rollout, but branding alone won't make their partnership work.  

(the above posted after September 3rd)

John Baulch, ToyWorld UK - Ten years and counting …it’s the 10th anniversary Friday Blog!  10 years is a fantastic milestone – in an era where some have questioned the future of print media, I believe we have proved beyond any doubt that a great print magazine, in conjunction with a ‘finger on the pulse’ website, has a crucial role to play in facilitating strong trade communication.

Op-ed: Supply chain delays won’t be easily fixed and trouble will continue into next year. The world economy runs on  global supply chains. But that system is now in trouble, and the troubles will increase. Our analysis at IHS Markit of shipping, port, and manufacturing data finds that the worsening delays will continue well into 2022.  

Safer toys, shorter time to market | Managing risks from the earlier stages of developmentPandemic uncertainty continues to impact industries globally, including the world of toys. While some brands are thriving, many are facing unprecedented disruption caused by qualified workforce reductions, delayed shipments, unsteady demand, and increased pressure to accelerate their time to market. 

Please, free me from the bad takes about China’s gaming restrictions. Whenever any kind of news about China hits the internet, I brace myself for oversimplifications by English-language writers and commentators. But in a country with roughly 720 million gamers (roughly twice the U.S. population), the context behind the recent gaming restrictions placed on Chinese youth isn’t as straightforward as narratives...

Analyst: Microsoft bets on gaming to fuel growth of its sprawling server and cloud business. Microsoft is betting on gaming to fuel growth of its sprawling server and cloud business. “Gaming is fundamentally aligned with our mission as a company,” stated Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft in June. Microsoft has big ambitions, but its gaming revenue growth remains modest. 

Zulily reveals second annual Toy Index, listing hot holiday toys and more. Today, online retailer Zulily revealed its second annual Toy Index, which includes a “Top 25 Toys for Holiday” list, a “Top Trending Items to Buy in Advance” list that features holiday decor items, and a list of “America’s Most Playful Cities.”

From James Bond to Legally Blonde, MGM focused on "modernised nostalgia" in video games push. Hollywood has had an odd relationship with the video games industry over the decade or so. While every major action or family film was once accompanied by a tie-in game, studios have instead turned to simple mobile adaptations and in-game events or integrations into established titles like Fortnite. 

Why is there a chip shortage? Today, millions of products - cars, washing machines, smartphones, and more - rely on computer chips, also known as semiconductors. And right now, there just aren't enough of them to meet industry demand. As a result, many popular products are in short supply. It has become almost impossible to buy a PS5 games console.

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Go to the Head of the Class from Milton Bradley (1967). Go to the Head of the Class was a question-and-answer board game from Milton Bradley in which players put their knowledge to the test in an effort to occupy the best seat in the house (or classroom, in this case). Since its introduction in the 1930s, Go to the Head of the Class has also been published by Hasbro and Winning Moves. Elements of the game occasionally changed with new editions. What remained consistent was the classroom-style gameplay, complete with illustrated rows of student desks …

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

WildBrain refreshes Strawberry Shortcake  A new 2D-animated YouTube series, CG specials for streaming, a Roblox game, toys, music, books and events are all on the way for the evergreen brand.

(the above posted after Sept 3rd)

The World According to Grandpa goes liveIn addition to launching a stage show, the preschool series is expanding with an AVOD deal and a Welsh-language version. The stage show will feature puppetry and projection work to bring the hybrid 25 x 11-minute series to life. The World According to Grandpa premiered in November 2020 and explores the fantastical stories a grandfather tells his grandkids.

Sesame Street‘s latest collaboration is bringing the muppets to four-legged friends. BARK has a new limited edition collection of Sesame Street character dog toys — allowing Bark Box subscribers to choose between a free Elmo “pup-pet” toy, Big Bird rope tug toy, or Cookie Monster sandwich toy with crinkle and squeaker features. 

Rubber Road to launch Hasbro merch line based on Transformers, Dungeons & Dragons and more. Hasbro has tapped the pop culture merchandise specialist, Rubber Road and its design arm, Numskull Designs, to develop, manufacture, and distribute a wide range of official merchandise based on some of the toy maker’s biggest franchises. 

Disguise extends costume rights agreement with LEGO. JAKKS Pacific’s costume division, Disguise, Inc., renewed its agreement with LEGO for global costume rights. Extending their partnership — which began in 2015 — allows Disguise to continue designing, marketing, manufacturing, and distributing costumes and costume accessories for the LEGO group. 

Mattel inks physical distribution deal for Barbie, Thomas & Friends, Masters of the Universe animated content. Digital-first entertainment is the norm, but physical media continues to have a place alongside streaming and digital electronic sell-through (EST). Mattel inked a multiyear physical and digital distribution deal with NCircle Entertainment and Mill Creek Entertainment for series and specials that debut first on Netflix. 

Jojo Siwa brings all the bows and likes to 'Monopoly'The Op Games announced Monopoly: JoJo Siwa, a new limited edition of the classic board game, for release on November 10. Dancepop icon JoJo Siwa is bringing her own signature, colorful brand of fun to Monopoly right in time for her run as a contestant on the 30th season of Dancing with the Stars. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar expands master toy range, role-play and party ware collectionsThe popular preschool property, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is expanding its presence in the toys, role-play, and party space this year thanks to renewed and extended ranges from its master toy partner, Rainbow Designs, as well as product launches from Smiffys, and the Great British Teepee Company. 

Hasbro reveals Transformers Victory Saber Haslab ProjectFollowing the recent success of its Marvel Legends Galactus Project that’s fully funded with 3 days left to go, the next project from the Hasbro Pulse HasLab has been revealed.  The crew is heading back to Cybertron for the Transformers Victory Saber project, the first Japanese canon Transformers figure. 

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People . . . 

Hasbro has announced that Gabrielle Sims will be joining its U.K. licensed consumer products team as head of the softlines business.   Sims has worked in the licensing industry for more than 15 years with leading agencies, including IMG, and most recently leading the licensing program in-house for fashion brand FatFace.  

CEO MIKE RICHARDSON ON DARK HORSE'S 35TH ANNIVERSARY On 35 Years, the State of the Market and Comic Stores, Distribution, Entertainment, and More. Dark Horse Comics turns 35 this year, and we caught up with CEO Mike Richardson in a wide-ranging interview to get his take on the occasion, the state of the market and comic stores, distribution, Dark Horse’s entertainment plans, and more. 

Curiosity Ink & Top Draw's new exec.  Parentco Grom Social Enterprises has recruited former Jakks Pacific exec Jared Wolfson to serve as CEO and EVP, respectively. At Curiosity, which Grom bought in April, Wolfson will lead partnerships, operations and finance. He reports into Russell Hicks, who was named head of Top Draw Animation and CCO at Curiosity Ink Media last month. 

Mattel hires live-action development VP.   Former NBCUniversal and Disney exec Phil Breman will oversee both scripted and unscripted projects for the toyco's TV division. Based in LA and reporting to SVP and GM Frederic Soulie, he will shepherd all live-action TV projects in both scripted and unscripted genres.

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton welcomes Melissa & Doug‘s Chief Commercial Officer, David Henderson to the show. Henderson, who previously held roles at Hasbro, Coca-Cola, and Newell Baby brands, joined Melissa & Doug last year as the company entered a new chapter of growth.  On the show, Henderson shares his early toy stories, including selling into the famed Sears Wish Book...

Brian Simpson rejoins SMF Toytown  Brian, who was head of buying for a decade, has rejoined the family company after a brief stint elsewhere. Alan Simpson, Toytown’s managing director, has announced that his son Brian has decided to return to SMF Toytown, his family’s company, after leaving it in April this year.

Two executives are joining the One Animation digital team from Hasbro and Amazon, respectively. Kelly Joeman, previously channel manager at eOne/Hasbro, was named senior manager, audience development at One Animation. Prior to joining Hasbro, she worked at YouTube agency Diagonal View, building channels for clients across the U.S., France, and Singapore — including One Animation’s Oddbods channel.

Disney TV hires acquisitions & partnerships lead  Former Universal Kids exec Rick Clodfelter will focus on third-party kids and family content for all Disney platforms. Based in New York, Clodfelter reports to EVP of content research, insights and scheduling Jane Gould. He will represent Disney Branded TV at markets and events to source new content and meet with partners.

WildBrain CPLG has opened a dedicated office in India, promoting Neesha Krishna to lead local strategy as managing director, MENA and South Asia.  Previously commercial director for MENA, Krishna is now responsible for strategically managing and growing WildBrain CPLG’s business across the larger territory. Based in Dubai, Krishna reports to Pau Pascual, who also takes on an expanded role of VP, southern Europe...

(the above posted after tBR was sent September 3rd)

Mattel's CEO wants old toys to make new money. Mattel went through three chief executives in four years before Ynon Kreiz took the job in 2018. He stood the test of time in part because of a big bet: taking Mattel's toys to Hollywood. The toy giant is partnering with Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie to bring Barbie to life on the big screen, and creating films based on everything from UNO to Magic 8 Ball.

Hasbro announced that Jess Richardson was promoted to VP, global licensed consumer products — toys and games.  Richardson will lead a newly created global team to continue to mine the full Hasbro IP portfolio to accelerate Hasbro’s broad brand portfolio on a global scale in the Toy, Sporting Goods, and Game categories. Richardson will transition from his current position as Sr Director Category Licensing, N.A., Hardlines...

ZAG opens first Latin American office in Mexico City. ZAG continues its expansion in Latin America with the opening of its first office in the region, based out of Mexico City. The new office — helmed by Betsabe Luna Gonzalez, who joined the company in May of this year as director of retail and licensing for Mexico and Central America — will spearhead licensing and merchandising in Latin America for...

Brendan 'PlayerUnknown' Greene leaves PUBG maker Krafton to form new studioPUBG Battlegrounds creator Brendan 'PlayerUnknown' Green has split from PUBG parent company Krafton to form a new studio called PlayerUnknown Productions. Krafton will hold a minority stake in the new venture, which is based in Amsterdam and was established to "explore, experiment, and create new technologies..

One Animation expands its digital team with new hires from Hasbro and Amazon. The content creation and licensing studio, One Animation is expanding its digital team with two new hires in the form of the former Hasbro executive, Kelly Joeman, and Amazon’s Tuan Nguyen. Joeman .will take up the newly created role of senior manager, audience development, while Nguyen...

YouTube signs Twitch video-game streamer Dr Lupo. YouTube has poached one of Twitch's top video-game streamers. Ben "Dr" Lupo, who reportedly signed a multi-million dollar exclusivity deal with Twitch in 2019, will now stream exclusively on YouTube. The American, 34, known for playing Fortnite, Destiny, Escape from Tarkov and Among Us, has the 26th most followers on Twitch, at 4.5 million. .

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Companies, Brands . . .  

IMC Toys Inks Deal with Blue Plate Media Services, Andrew Berman for Animated Content Distribution.  The animated adventures of IMC Toys’ Cry Babies Magic Tears and VIP Pets will soon reach new audiences. The company inked a deal with David Becker of Blue Plate Media Services and kids content distribution veteran Andrew Berman (formerly of Genius Brands International and Fremantle) to distribute its animated content...

Apple TV+ primes trio of kids shows for fall lineup  Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Wolfboy and the Everything Factory will be joined on the streamer by an animated show from 9 Story and Brown Bag, and a live-actioner from Scholastic.  This 10 x 25-minute animated series is about an imaginative oddball who discovers a strange realm at the center of the earth where magical beings create everyday things such as clouds, rabbits and dreams.

Full-Size Corgi Aston Martin DB5 created to celebrate latest Bond film  A full-size Corgi box housing an Aston Martin DB5 will be on display to the public until October at Battersea Power Station. Marking one month to go until the cinema release of No Time To Die, a life-sized Aston Martin DB5 Continuation Goldfinger Edition car, complete with working gadgets, has been put on public display in SW London...

What's in a game? Toy World finds out with Exploding Kittens.  Rachael Simpson-Jones sat down with Joeri Hoste, general manager international, to find out what 2022 has in store for Exploding Kittens. In January 2015, the Exploding Kittens game made history by becoming both the most backed project in Kickstarter history, meeting its $10,000 goal in just 20 minutes. 

Tomy - ahead of the game.  Rachael Simpson-Jones sat down with Mary Wood to find out more about Tomy’s strategies for the year ahead. Luckily for Tomy, all its card- and board-based games, and the entirety of its Drumond Park range, are made in Europe. Mary told us about several new releases, which should arrive in good time for the key Q4 season. 

(the above posted after September 3rd)

Epoch enhances retailer support with Show Cloud virtual showroom  The online showroom will allow retailers to access the company's latest product information and watch demonstrations of new lines in the run-up to Christmas.  During the pandemic, Show Cloud, the online show room for the toy industry, has proved a useful tool in demonstrating new lines to retailers through live streaming and pre-recorded events.

TikTok is expanding its in-app parental controls feature, Family Pairing, with educational resources designed to help parents better support their teenage users, the company announced morning. The pairing feature allows parents of teens aged 13 and older to connect their accounts with the child’s so the parent can set controls related to screen time use, who the teen can direct message...

Moose Toys Names Neil Patrick Harris as “Magic Ambassador” for Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron Launch.  The Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron is a new toy that comes with everything that kids need to conjure up some fun. Kids add water and are prompted by the cauldron to add a variety of mystical ingredients that foam, bubble, and help create the Mixie — an interactive, magical pet. 

Moose Toys announced the launch and pre-sale of its new Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron, which become available online and in-stores Oct. 1. Included with each toy are a cauldron, spell book, and potion-mixing ingredients. After adding water, children are prompted by the cauldron to add ingredients that will foam and bubble to help create their magic interactive Mixie pet — including sparkle for its eyes and a feather... 

WarnerMedia launches new family block  Featuring fresh Looney Tunes and holiday content, ACME Night will launch on Cartoon Network in Sept., before heading to HBO Max in 2022. Starting at 6 pm EST/PST on Sundays, the block aims to give families something to watch together. Named after the corp. featured in Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote segments of classic Warner Bros. series Looney Tunes, ACME Night will kick off ...

Disney ‘accelerating’ European focus with originals to hit 60 by 2024.  Disney+ is allowing the Mouse House to “put the afterburners” on its European production efforts according to its EMEA president, who used a keynote at SeriesMania to unveil the latest details of its upcoming slate from the region. Jan Koeppen, Disney’s EMEA president, said that while the company had been known for its “big stories”...

DreamWorks rolls out new Croods toon  The Croods: Family Tree will be the latest series from the studio to premiere simultaneously on Hulu and Peacock. The Croods: Family Tree revolves around two families struggling to live together on a farm during prehistoric times. Mark Banker (Go, Dog, Go!) and Todd Grimes (The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants) will serve as executive producers on the CG-animated comedy.

The Entertainer to celebrate 40th birthday with £27k giveaway  The toy retailer plans to give away gift vouchers to shoppers this weekend, as well as holding free parties in all of its stores. Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman of The Entertainer, said: “This is a huge milestone for us. With every passing decade we’re grateful to all customers existing and new and we wanted to do something special to celebrate...

Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go to arrive on Milkshake! in November  All Engines Go is only the fourth major revamp ever for Thomas & Friends in the property's 75-year history. 

Board game pioneer CMON teams with Monsoon Digital for new foray into NFTs  The hit board game publisher, CMON Ltd has partnered with Monsoon Digital to launch a new series of digital products and promotional material using Monsoon’s soon-to-launch NFT trading platform. Slated to go live later this year, Monsoon will become the exclusive platform for CMON digital collectable items, cards, artwork, and games. 

Mattel's Play Lab expands into content  Going forward, the research arm will be heavily involved in developing both programming and toys. Historically, Play Lab focused on designing toys for Mattel’s brands based on observing its 2,000-strong preschool and parent panel. Moving forward, the research arm will work alongside the content teams and be heavily involved in developing shows, says Lisa Lohiser, Fisher-Price’s...

XCOM Marvel game sees Avengers and X-Men go full Yu-Gi-Oh! We knew almost nothing about Marvel: Midnight Suns when it was revealed at Gamescom last week other than the fact that it was a strategy game being developed by XCOM-makers Firaxis Games. Today the studio showed off actual gameplay, and it turns out the tactics game’s combat will be card-based.

Square Enix reveals 'Custom Starter Set Final Fantasy X'. Square Enix revealed Custom Starter Set Final Fantasy X, an English edition set for Final Fantasy TCG, which will release in Q1 of 2022. Custom Starter Set Final Fantasy X is a new type of starter set that consists of a preconstructed 50 card deck with an additional 50 cards included that can be used to customize it. 

Die-casting call | Hot Wheels calls on UK car enthusiasts to enter its Hot Wheels Legends event. Hot Wheels is calling on the UK’s population of car enthusiasts to submit their classic, modified, or race cars to its Hot Wheels Legends event, for the chance to see their pride and joy immortalized as a die cast model. The team will select one lucky winner, deeming their car the ‘vehicle that best embodies Hot Wheels’ high ...

Football fans can now recreate FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium in LEGO. The LEGO Group has partnered with FC Barcelona to bring its famed Camp Nou stadium to the LEGO brick universe with the launch of a detailed tribute to the grounds and home turf for the Spanish football team. The LEGO Camp Nou – FC Barcelona set allows football and LEGO fans alike to recreate the iconic stadium...

Board & Dice heads to Egypt for 'Tekhenu'. Board & Dice has released its dice-drafting game Tekhenu:  Obelisk of the Sun, with its first expansion, Tekhenu:  Time of Seth following in October. Set in Pharaonic Egypt, Tekhenu:  Obelisk of the Sun chronicles the construction of the massive Amun-Ra temple complex at Karnak.  

Sequioa Games announces 'Flex NBA'. Sequioa Games announced Flex NBA Trading Tile Board Game Starter Set and Series 1 booster set, which will hit stores in October. Flex NBA TTG is a unique product that fuses a collectible tile board game with augmented reality components to bring NBA players to the tabletop. 

Wizards of the Coast sponsors English soccer team. Wizards of the Coast announced that it will sponsor the Leyton Orient FC, an EFL League 2 soccer team, for the 2021/2022 season. Magic: The Gathering is now in the world of professional soccer. WotC has partnered up with Leyton Orient FC, an East London soccer team in the fourth division of the EFL. 

Hasbro unveils Spider-Man: No Way Home Marvel Legends Series figures. Hasbro has revealed a new wave of Marvel Legends Series figures tying into the upcoming Marvel Studios and Sony sequel Spider-Man: No Way Home, which includes Integrated Suit and Black and Gold suit versions of Spider-Man, along with Doctor Strange and J. Jonah Jameson. 

Games Workshop announces 'Combat Patrol: Orks'. Games Workshop announced Combat Patrol: Orks, miniatures set for Warhammer 40,000. Combat Patrol: Orks offers players an easy way to construct an Ork army all from one boxed set. This set features an Ork Warboss in Mega Armour, which is a brand-new sculpt that matches the armor design of the Meganobz. 

McFarlane Toys unleashes two Lex Luthor action figures. Somehow, despite the fact that McFarlane Toys‘ DC Multiverse line leans heavily into Batman and Superman, the company hadn’t touched Kal-El’s arch-enemy until now. Sure, he’s not as guaranteed to make money as the Joker, but Lex Luthor is way better at gaining and abusing power. 

Slinky searches for a new sound as it makes its social media debut. After 75 years, Slinky is making a comeback. Just Play released a new sound for the iconic walking spring toy and asked others to join in by remixing the sound on social media in its search for a new Slinky jingle. Launched just in time for National Slinky Day, the campaign kicks off Just Play’s partnership with Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners (RTO+P) and...

Cherish canine friends in 'Dog Lover'. Alderac Entertainment Group will release Dog Lover, a new card game, in November. In Dog Lover, players begin the game with a dog card and simulate taking care of that dog by playing various cards. The players take turns fetching cards, collecting bones, and gathering food all for their loveable pooch. 

Hasbro’s My Little Pony: A New Generation Sing ‘N Skate Sunny Starscout gives Sunny a new look. In anticipation of the release of the new My Little Pony: A New Generation movie, Hasbro is dropping the My Little Pony: A New Generation Sing ‘N Skate Sunny Starscout. But — SPOILER ALERT — there’s something different about this pony. 

Hot Wheels Legends Tour debuts 1:64-scale die-cast of 2020 winner. Mattel’s Hot Wheels Legends Tour continues to roll on with a hybrid format mixing virtual and live events this year. At this week’s stop, Mattel unveiled the long-awaited 1:64-scale die-cast version of the 2020 winner: Riley Stair’s tricked-out 1970 Pontiac Trans Am. Stair’s ride was crowned last year’s winner during a virtual event last fall. 

Funko's 'Something Wild!' line expands with five new titles. Funko games will release five new games in its Something Wild!  card game line this fall, including Star Wars, Marvel Infinity Saga, Five Nights at Freddy’s, and Peppermint Lane titles. Launched in 2020, Something Wild!  is a Rummy-style card game in which players try to collect sets and runs of cards with characters.

'Pokemon TCG' delivers a 'Fusion Strike'. The Pokemon Company International will release the Pokemon TCG: Sword & Shield - Fusion Strike expansion on November 12. The Fusion Strike expansion introduces a new Battle Styles gameplay mechanic called Fusion Strike Style.  The new mechanic focuses on attacks that benefit from having multiple Pokemon with this Battle Style in play. 

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

The investors trying to fix the most toxic company in video games. Activision Blizzard, accused of fostering an intensely sexist workplace, can’t ignore a critic that represents 3 million of its shares. n July, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued video-game giant Activision Blizzard, alleging, more or less, that the company has a workplace environment from hell. 

Overwatch to change cowboy character McCree's name. Jesse McCree, a character in Blizzard's Overwatch game, will be renamed in the wake of fallout over sexual harassment allegations against the company. The in-game McCree, a revolver-toting cowboy character, was named after a real-life Blizzard staff member. In August, he and two other executives left the company without explanation. 

Twitch’s biggest stars keep jumping to YouTube. As marginalized creators boycott Twitch for a day, well-off white guys continue to leave for lucrative deals with its chief competitor, YouTube. Earlier this week, it was Ben “DrLupo” Lupo. Today, as the #ADayOffTwitch campaign is in full swing, it’s Tim “TimTheTatman” Betar, who announced on Twitter that he’ll be streaming exclusively on YouTube Gaming...

After weeks of hate raids, Twitch streamers are taking a day off in protest. On Wednesday, September 1st, a number of channels on Twitch will go dark as streamers participate in #ADayOffTwitch, a walkout designed to bring attention to the ongoing hate and harassment that’s plagued the platform for the last several weeks. 

Pokémon Go's Reddit goes dark in protest against site inaction. Pokémon Go creators Niantic recently proved slow in addressing widespread fears about the game forcing players into close proximity with other humans amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, in a ripple from that, the game’s Reddit sub, r/pokemongo, has switched itself to ‘private’, in response to what they see as Reddit’s failure to adequately police...

LEGO Starwars Battles coming soon exclusively to Apple Arcade. Warner Bros. Games, The LEGO Group and Lucasfilm Games today announced LEGO Star Wars Battles, a new, action strategy game, is coming soon exclusively to Apple Arcade, Apple’s popular game subscription service that offers unlimited access all without ads or in-app purchases. .

Leapfrog releases Leapland Adventures, an educational video game. The new game from LeapFrog is a unique plug-and-play TV video game for preschoolers. They can get a jumpstart on education with curriculum-based games and activities throughout the game. Kids meet fun, educational characters who introduce letter names and sounds, teach counting, and show shapes and colors in everyday items..

Apple will allow developers to promote alternative payments outside of their apps. Apple has made a series of concessions and clarifications around payments in the ongoing row with its developers. The iPhone giant will now allow developers to promote alternative payment options for its apps to customers..

Netflix launches first gamesMining the popular Stranger Things franchise, Netflix has rolled out its first games for subscribers in Poland on Android. Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3 are available for free with a Netflix subscription, without in-app purchases or ads. “It’s very, very early days, and we’ve got a lot of work to do in the months ahead, but this is the first step,” Netflix said in a Tweet...

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Police bust gang making fake Ultraman toysThree people have been arrested for allegedly manufacturing and selling fake Ultraman toys, Shanghai police said on Thursday. The suspects have already sold over 20,000 of the fake toys for over 4 million yuan (US$620,000), police said. The trademark owner of the toys, Bandai, reported to police in Fengxian District in July that a resident of the district told the company that he bought fake Ultraman toys on the Internet.The man said he bought the toys from an Internet shop which claimed they were authentic.

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Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

GOT CREATIVE KIDS ON YOUR LIST? BRIGHT STRIPES HAS A SACK LOAD OF PRESENTS TO INSPIRE THEN DELIGHT THE DIY-ERS

Designed For Kids of All Stripes, Choose Among Innovative Art Portfolios, Spa Kits for Self-Expression, Candle Critters and Liquid Swirly Pens, Mystical Tween Crafts Or STEAM Kits for Youngsters.  Good news for parents of crafty (in the art sense) kids! Stocking stuffers, Hanukkah presents and surprises under the tree are stocked and ready from Bright Stripes, makers of beautiful arts and crafts that have an appealing graphic panache! Kids of all stripes will delight in DIY projects that will be remembered with fondness long after the holidays fade away.

(the above posted after September 3rd)

SANTA’S NICE LIST IS GROWING THANKS TO PARENTS WHO TRUST GOODTIMER!  Kids Are Encouraged To Form Healthy Habits With This Electronic Educational Toy That Uses Positive Reinforcement, Tangible Incentives and Family Participation.  If you’re a parent you’re all too familiar with the stressful morning routine or the bedtime battle to get the kids up the stairs when it’s bedtime. With the holidays around the corner, it won’t be too long before Santa starts making his ‘Naughty or Nice’ list, and wouldn’t it be nice if there was a solution that encouraged kids to be ‘nice’ without the threat of getting coal in their stocking? This holiday season, try Goodtimer ($79.95 at gogoodtimer.com) and be amazed when your kids listen the first time and make good choices on their own!

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

ASTRA Introduces 2021 Leadership Team. The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) has filled the spots vacated by members of its board of directors whose three-year terms are coming to an end. This year, seven new members join the board for terms running 2021-2024. Additionally, Kevin McGrath has resigned as ASTRA board member and chair leading to the appointment of Jeanie Crone...

Don't forget to register for The Independent Toy & Gift Show  The Independent Toy & Gift Show will open its doors from 14th to 15th September, and prior registration is essential.

China-to-Hong Kong visitors will no longer need quarantine  Move gives hope that Hong Kong is considering loosening its ‘zero-Covid’ policy, as report states that half of the territory’s exhibition sector faces closure if restrictions are not eased.

International Emmy Kids give nods to Jordan & UK  Sesame Workshop's Ahlan Simsim netted the Middle Eastern country's first nomination, while the UK has two projects vying for wins at the virtual awards ceremony coinciding with MIPCOM.

(the above posted after September 3rd)

The Toy Association reveals 2022 Toy Industry Hall Of Fame inductees. Following a month of voting and consideration, The Toy Association revealed two living legends and a pair of posthumous inductees. Jim Pressman, former president of Pressman Toy Corp. and  Bob Wann, Chief PlayMonster at PlayMonster LLC were nominated and selected by members of The Toy Association in honor of their lasting contributions...

WIT Appoints New Board Members for 2021. Women in Toys, Licensing, & Entertainment (WIT) announced the appointment of six new members to its Board of Directors for 2021. In January, four members were elected to serve their first term: Mattel EVP and chief people officer Amy Thompson; ViacomCBS SVP of retail sales and marketing Kristi Wasmer; Toy’n Around senior sales executive Michelle Weber; and...

Toy Association & Clamour's Holiday 2021 Influencer Choice List Now Accepting Submissions.  The Toy Association and Clamour are currently accepting submissions from toy companies for the Holiday 2021 Influencer Choice List. The list recognizes the top toys and games for the holiday season, as voted on by a select panel of toy and family influencers in the Clamour network.

Winners of License This! 2021 announced   The License This! competition comprises three categories: Character & Animation, Brand & Design, and Innovations & Product Innovation. This year’s License This! winners will receive a one-to-one consultation with members of the judging panel and competition sponsor WestEnd Software, a free-of-charge turnkey booth at Licensing Expo 2022, a one-year Licensing International ...

Las Vegas set to welcome back Licensing Expo in May  Licensing Expo returns in-person to Las Vegas from 24th -26th May, with the 2022 theme now confirmed. The in-person experience will deliver three days of face-to-face networking, supported by a robust online offering to enhance the attendee and exhibitor experience following the successful Licensing Expo Virtual, which ended last week.

Toy Fair Dallas 2021 Is Canceled. It’s déjà vu for the toy industry as Toy Fair Dallas 2021 has been canceled. The Toy Association made the decision to pull the plug on this year’s show, originally slated to take place Oct. 5-7 due to concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. While this year was the show contracted for the Dallas Market Center, the Toy Association says that it anticipates new dates will be...

Minecraft Live 2021 is airing on Oct. 16 with new mob vote, Minecraft reveals, and more. Minecraft is a deceptively massive game, and as such practically requires its own separate event to update the community on everything they need to know about Minecraft. To achieve this, Mojang Studios hosts their own Minecraft event, which showcases all the latest news and announcements for Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons.

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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.

Yolanda Fernandez de Cofino - McDonald's Happy Meal inventor dies at 87. The former owner of Guatemala's first McDonald's, Fernandez de Cofino came up with the idea of a children's meal in the mid-1970s, creating the "Ronald Menu" that would eventually become known as the Happy Meal, according to Newsweek.  Originally, the McDonald's Happy Meal came with a hamburger, small fries, and an ice cream sundae. The meal's success at the Guatemala restaurant and was eventually brought over into the United States in 1979. The U.S. version included a small toy and also gave parents the option of ordering a hamburger with or without cheese. Happy Meals were the fourth most popular item on the restaurant's menu, Reader's Digest reported in July 2021. Roughly 3.2 million Happy Meals are sold every day at a rate of three per second, sense 360, a consumer behavioral intelligence website, reported in 2016. Fernandez de Cofino also introduced the idea of hosting children's parties at McDonald's restaurants, and her contributions to the McDonald's restaurant chain won her the Ronald Award in 1980 and 1982. She also won the McDonald's "Golden Arches" award, the highest award the chain gives to its employees, the outlet added.

Don Poynter, Novelty toy inventor never lacked for ideas, dies at 96 on August 13, 2021. Donald B. Poynter was a difficult man to sum up. He was an entertainer, an inventor, an entrepreneur. Creative and bold with an endless stream of ideas. Local folks long remembered his days as a theatrical drum major at the University of Cincinnati, where he twirled multiple batons while on stilts, a tightwire or a unicycle. Then he built a career inventing novelty toys and gadgets – some of them rather risqué, like the Go Go Girl Drink Mixer – that were featured on Johnny Carson and David Letterman. That made it difficult for his daughter to tell the nuns at school what her father did for a living. “I went home and asked my mom,” Molly Poynter Maundrell recalled. “She said, ‘Just say he’s self-employed.’”  “I’ve had a fascinating life,” Poynter said in a 2019 Cincinnati Magazine article. One filled with accomplishments in a wide range of areas, from business to show business, and a number of celebrity encounters along the way. Near the end, a social worker called his daughter, concerned that the tales he told were hallucinations. “No,” Molly assured her, “they’re all true.”  An industrious lad, Poynter built his own toys growing up. In 1937, he became the youngest member of the Puppeteers of America. While attending Western Hills High School, he was a lead actor on “Father Flanagan’s Boys Town” radio show on WLW and later on NBC. He also performed on air with Doris Day, Maureen O’Hara, Rosemary Clooney and Clarence Nash (the voice of Donald Duck), and played pool in Cheviot with Andy Williams. Mostly self-taught, he entertained as a baton twirler, ventriloquist and magician while in the army during World War II and to help pay for college. His stint as the legendary UC drum major brought him to the attention of Abe Saperstein, the promoter of the Harlem Globetrotters, who hired Poynter to perform during halftime shows twirling batons, machetes and flaming torches. He spent three summers traveling the world with the team and performing for royalty. In 1951, the Globetrotters played at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin and Jesse Owens ran a lap where he had won four gold medals in front of Hitler. Poynter was Owens’ roommate for a few days. In 1953, Poynter made and performed puppets for Jon Arthur’s children’s show “No School Today” with Big Jon and Sparkie on WCPO. He also wrote a stage show, “Midnight at Eight,” a dramatization of classic horror and suspense stories that starred Basil Rathbone. Poynter started his own Poynter Products Inc., in 1954 to manufacture and sell the wacky novelty items he created. He ran the mail-order business from his house in Hyde Park. His first toys, Play Logs, were three-foot-long Lincoln logs. He also worked with Sive Advertising in Cincinnati and directed the first commercial for Kenner’s Easy-Bake Oven, featuring his daughter Molly. “It was all funny,” Maundrell said about growing up with her father’s novelty business. “I was so intrigued with how he could come up with a lot of these things, the techniques he used. It was wonderful. It was probably the closest to a genius that I would come to.” Poynter designed the toys himself, molded the clay and built the mechanisms, then took them to Japan to have them manufactured.

One of his most successful products was the Little Black Box. You flip the switch and the gears turned inside as a hand reached out to pull the switch. The toy existed solely to turn itself off. Some of his popular items were the Matchbox Steer-and-Go, which allowed kids to steer a toy car on a moving landscape, the Executive Waste Basket Ball backboard, a “Little Shop of Horrors” fly-trap bank and the first talking toilet.

Poynter pitched the idea of paper dry-cleaning bags printed with dresses from Disney characters that kids could then use as costumes. Walt Disney called it “the best promotion I have ever seen,” Poynter said. Another character toy didn’t fare as well. Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, sued Poynter over his Dr. Seuss’s Merry Menagerie figures in 1968. Poynter then changed the packaging to say they were “based on” drawings Dr. Seuss had done for a magazine early in his career and Poynter prevailed in court. “Almost everything I’ve ever done is either making someone laugh or giving them pleasure, and if I didn’t, I’d be out of business,” Poynter said in an 2015 interview.

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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)

  1. Toy Association Postpones Toy Fair Dallas

  2. WIT Appoints New Board Members for 2021

  3. Moose Toys Announces Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron Launch

  4. Spin Master Unveils New Peek-A-Roo Plush

  5. Holiday 2021 Influencer Choice List Opens Submissions 

  6. Never Wrong Toys Launches New Site for Laser Pegs

  7. Licensing Expo Announces In-Person Dates for 2022

  8. BARK Unveils Sesame Street Dog Toys

  9. Sinking Ship Entertainment Properties Name Global License Agents

  10. Toy Pals TV Launches Effort to Support Kids Charities

ToyWorld (UK)

1.  Ten years and counting …it’s the 10th anniversary Friday Blog!

2.  The September issue of Toy World is out now

3.  The 2021 Toy World Games & Puzzles supplement is out now

4.  Full border reopening between China and Hong Kong may be postponed until after the Beijing Winter Olympics

5.  Moose Toys unveils Magic Mixies

6.  Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go to arrive on Milkshake! in November

7.  Toy Fair Dallas postponed until next year

8.  The Entertainer to celebrate 40th birthday with £27k giveaway

9.  Las Vegas set to welcome back Licensing Expo in May

10. HTI extends JCB portfolio with introduction of My First JCB

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

Preview: 'D&D Frameworks' Character Packs
Players Become a Real American Hero in the 'G.I. JOE Roleplaying Game'

Six New 'Pathfinder Battles: Premium Painted Figures' Incoming
Wizards of the Coast Sponsors English Soccer Team
WizKids Launches 'D&D Prismatic Paint'
Rolling for Initiative -- Whither the Entry Level Promo Deck?

New Threats Arrive in 'Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid'

Plaid Hat Games Cancels 2021 Show Participation
Funko Offers Five Holiday Games
Funko's 'Something Wild!' Line Expands

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

-         Prime 1 release a (very expensive) tribute to "Devil May Cry" 

-         Moose Toys brings the magic with their "Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron" 

-         Suckot begins distribution in Peru of "DC Multiverse - McFarlane Toys" aimed at collectors 

-         Usagi Yojimbo again as an action figure, this time thanks to NECA 

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

The Bugg Report (Australia)​​

Casual Game Revolution

Video of the Week! 

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After debuting on our POP Week Event Platform to over 13,700 viewers,  we have moved our panel discussions to YouTube and ar sharing them almost every week here on the Bloom Report! 

New Digital Media: Who Is the Audience and How to Reach Them

Moderator: Bob Moog (President, University Games)

Panelists: Craig Hendrickson (Product Marketing/Product Innovator, University Games),

Richard Gottlieb (President, Global Toy Experts), Phil Albritton (Creative Director, Toy Industry Podcaster, Consultant,

Product & Packaging Innovator, Power Kid Design), David Becker (President, Blue Plate Media Services),

Tim Jones (Media Director, Blue Plate Media Services)

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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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