August 18-25, 2023
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin' Friday!
We host the largest and longest running Inventor Pitch/Conference in the industry and have the largest list of professional inventors in the industry - almost 3,500. Some bounce from internal designer to independent throughout their life, but the startling bit (for some) is that about 7% are women. Our Conference last November had about 13% women pro inventors. The new inventor and student tracks are closer to half. I applaud Hasbro for their Women Innovators of Play Conference (see below). The industry looks to leaders like Hasbro and others to level the playing field.
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POP Week is November 1st- 5th! Register HERE, and then reserve your hotel room HERE! Join us for one or all of these awesome events: Inventor Pitch and Innovation Conference, Toy & Game Innovation Excellence Awards - the TAGIEs, Young Inventor Challenge, POP Roast of Rich Mazel, Toy Takedown (Inspired by Family Feud) with Brian Turtle, Tom Rushton and Matt Nuccio, PlayCHIC Influencer Event and the Chicago Toy & Game Fair.
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The BLOOM REPORT is fantastic and it allows me to stay on top of all the breaking news in the Toy industry! - Wai Or, Longshore Ltd.
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Person of the Week - Hasbro's Tanya Thompson on
Women Innovators of Play
Hi Tanya, thank you for sharing details about Women Innovators of Play event with us. But, first, what are your roles and responsibilities at Hasbro?
I head Inventor Relations and External Innovation for Hasbro Gaming. This means that I’m always scouting for our next big game idea! I am also excited to share that I’m heading the initiative of our Women Innovators of Play event.
What is Hasbro’s Women Innovators of Play Event?
Hasbro’s Women Innovators of Play is a new initiative and virtual global event on September 12, 2023, centered on women’s leadership, women innovators, and women-led creativity.
Why is Hasbro hosting the Women Innovators of Play virtual event?
By doing this event, it reinforces Hasbro’s commitment to innovation and value of inclusion. The purpose is to create a space for a global community of women to learn and be inspired together. We want to be a catalyst for driving innovation and diversity of thought with women.
What can people expect from the event?
Attendees can expect a dynamic program that includes insightful and engaging presentations from prominent women leaders. They will have the opportunity to learn from women leaders about their experiences like the process of pitching a new idea, what makes an idea right for mass market, and the journey of a product through the Hasbro pipeline. READ MORE...
Person of the Week - Lisa Wallace
How "I’m The Chef Too!" Moved from Her Kitchen to Kitchens Everywhere!
When I think back to how I’m The Chef Too! started, it’s hard to believe that it first began as a hobby out of our kitchen when I was eight months pregnant with our third child! I was a classroom teacher for over 10 years and loved my job, it was a creative outlet and passion of mine to take every day concepts from my curriculum and bring them to life through hands on exploration for my students. Once my husband and I started our own family, I decided to be a stay-at-home mom and raise our kids while he worked in the medical field. At that time, our oldest child was diagnosed with an auto immune disease, ADHD and on the spectrum. He had a difficult time learning at school, so I spent a lot of time with him in the kitchen and decided to combine my love of baking and cooking with my passion of teaching and infuse the two together to create interactive educational recipes for him.
Before I knew it, our relationship started to flourish, and we were connecting in the kitchen like never before. I began to use his favorite topics he loved reading about and re-create them for him from some of my recipes. Before we knew it we were traveling to outer space together and baking galaxy donuts, discovering the layers of earth and chemical reactions as we erupted edible volcano cakes, and even uncovered the properties and characteristics of rocks and gems as we whipped up our own cupcake geodes! Each recipe I created for him was not only FUN but educational! The once dry curriculum that I was teaching to my students in my classroom was now being taught through the vessel of cooking to my child. I started to post our creations on social media, and we soon had a following. READ MORE...
Person of the Week - Laurie Peterson
Toy Industry Rebels Build an Invention Studio from Zero to One
In a bold move to shake up the toy and game industry, Rebel Play has emerged as a new invention studio that promises to break free from the ordinary. Their mission? To challenge industry norms, defy the predictable, and deliver toys and games that spark imagination.
At the heart of Rebel Play’s brand is their enigmatic red blobbish mascot, Rebel. This ghostly figure encapsulates the creative spirit within each of us—a symbol of unbridled imagination.
Meet "Rebel" the creative spirit mascot for Rebel Play Studio.
“In it’s purest form, imaginative play is an act of rebellion,” declares Laurie Peterson, one of two founders of Rebel Play and toy industry veteran and former TAGIE Rising Star Toy Inventor of the Year. “You are conjuring up ideas that are not present to the senses. We aim to embody rebellious imagination with our new studio Rebel Play. The trick is finding a balance between delivering the unexpected and being on brand for our toy industry partners.”
Laurie Peterson established herself as an innovator and entrepreneur by creating a line of magnetic dollhouses called Build & Imagine. These award-winning construction sets paired building with imaginative play to encourage girls to develop early STEM skills. They were picked up by major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Target, Nordstrom, Pottery Barn Kids, QVC, and Amazon before being acquired by a top tier toy company.
Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile!
Lexophile Lovers: "I like what mechanics wear, overall." Thank you, Jerry Cleary for sharing with our readers!
"In the toy industry, it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye… or market share." - Martin Tremblay, former President of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me! Mary
Financial and Legal
Vancouver-based private equity firm IVEST Consumer Partners has acquired Cloudco Entertainment and its portfolio of kids brands, including the iconic Care Bears franchise. IVEST doesn’t plan to take over Cloudco’s operations, and will instead trust the existing management and team to drive co. growth, says Cloudco president Sean Gorman. “IVEST has been impressed with both the company’s organic growth over the last...
***The above posted after Auust 25th***
Workinman Interactive staffers file to form IATSE’s first US video game union. Workers at the studio behind Disney, Nickelodeon and Fisher-Price children’s games are making a push for better compensation and job security. In a historic move, workers at New York-based video game studio Workinman Interactive are aiming to unionize with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).
AI-Created Art Isn’t Copyrightable, Judge Says in Ruling That Could Give Hollywood Studios Pause. A federal judge on Friday upheld a finding from the U.S. Copyright Office that a piece of art created by AI is not open to protection. More than 100 days into the writers strike, fears have kept mounting over the possibility of studios deploying generative artificial intelligence to completely pen scripts. But IP law...
Studios’ Offer to Writers May Lead to AI-Created Scripts That Are Copyrightable. Copyright law doesn't recognize works solely created by artificial intelligence. But by incentivizing writers to participate in the creation process, studios have a better shot at getting that work protected. In the midst of a double strike that has halted film and TV production, it’s becoming slightly clearer how Hollywood’s biggest studios would...
Roblox Corp facing class action complaint over child gambling allegations. The class action complaint claims Roblox Corp has been "significantly enriched" by the practice. Roblox Corp. has been hit with a class action complaint and accused of participating in an illegal gambling ring involving children. As highlighted by Bloomberg Law, the complaint was filed by Rachel Colvin and Danielle Sass...
Microsoft transfers Activision Blizzard streaming rights to Ubisoft to appease UK regulators. Microsoft has agreed to give Ubisoft the cloud streaming rights to Call of Duty and all other Activision Blizzard titles releasing over the next 15 years in a bid to push its $68.7 billion merger through in the UK. The Xbox maker hopes the agreement will help address the concerns of UK regulator...
Luck Be a Landlord gets evicted from 13 countries on Google Play Store. Trampoline Tales founder Dan Dilorio revealed the studio's most recent game, Luck Be a Landlord, has been banned across 13 countries on the Google Play Store. In his blog, Dilorio admitted to feeling "very aggravated" by those bans, which include the United Arab Emirates, Syria, and Tunisia.
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‘Barbie’ Reaches $1.34B, Will Become WB’s Biggest Movie Ever Worldwide On Monday; ‘Oppenheimer’ Nears $800M Global – International Box Office
***The above posted after August 25th***
The surprise winners from Hollywood’s summer of toys. The toy market is seeing unexpected gains following the release of ‘Barbie,’ ‘Transformers’ and other titles, while the underperformance of ‘The Flash’ at the box office has hurt its merchandise...
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
***The above posted after tBR ran on August 25th***
Stories, Comments, and Advice
The Dungeons & Dragons players of death row. In prisons across the U.S., there are thousands of people on death row. Decades ago, the average prisoner would wait six years before execution. Now, some languish there for 2 decades. To cope with the isolation, the prisoners spend time in search of escape. Some read books or find religion, others learn chess. But for a group of men on death row in Texas, the fantasy game...
How to Win at Monopoly. Pro tip: Don’t sleep on the red and orange properties. Players land on them the most. When I look back at my child-rearing years, one of the most enduring emotions I felt — besides intense love and sleep deprivation — was absolute dread when my kids brought out the Monopoly set. I didn’t start out that way. Playing with my children was one of the great joys of my life, except when...
The voice actors behind Mickey and Minnie Mouse got married in real life. From Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the entertainment industry is rife with tales of co-stars who fell in love while performing together. Given the sweet feelings their famous characters consistently displayed to one another, it's not surprising that the same fate befell longtime Mickey and Minnie Mouse voice...
Royal Mail celebrates Paddington Bear’s 65th birthday with special stamps. Paddington Bear first appeared as a character in Michael Bond's classic 1958 book 'A Bear Called Paddington'. The bear is adopted by the Brown family in London after arriving at the train station he is named after. In recent times, the ursine has gone on to star in two 2014 and 2017 hit movies, featuring Ben Whishaw as his voice.
Jewelry Based on Childhood Toys. It's Got Diamonds. But Is It Fun? Some fine jewelry makers find inspiration in the toys of their childhood. When the French jewelry designer Marie Lichtenberg was growing up in Paris in the 1990s, she loved playing with the Magic 8 Ball. The toy, when shaken, acts as a kind of fortuneteller, revealing answers to questions in a small window: “Don’t count on it.” “It is certain.” “Ask again later.”
***The above posted after tBR sent on August 25th***
John Baulch, Toy World - Different strokes for different folks …it’s the Friday Blog! Last week’s Blog about the timing of toy shows and the never-ending debate about when retailers actually make selections certainly struck a chord with many in the toy community, judging by the feedback I received. One company which humbly admitted to being in the ‘20% club’ told me that after a meeting with a major retailer during...
Canva embraced generative AI—now it’s changing the way people work. With its smart approach to generative AI, Canva—a winner of the 2023 Innovation by Design Awards—is changing the way people design. Canva’s swift pivot to artificial intelligence caught even the technoscenti by surprise. Over the course of a few months in the second half of 2022, the graphic design platform integrated generative AI across...
You can become a LEGO millionaire with the launch of LEGO Insiders.Show us the (LEGO) money! You may have dreamed about being a regular old millionaire, but have you ever thought about being a LEGO millionaire? LEGO is overhauling its LEGO VIP rewards membership and launching LEGO Insider. Much like LEGO VIP, adults can earn points when the shop LEGO at lego.com and in LEGO stores, but now you can...
The Flash toys: Batman outsold the Scarlet Speedster. Michael Keaton’s Batman was of greater interest to toy collectors than Ezra Miller’s The Flash. Toys based on the Caped Crusader outsold those based on the Scarlet Speedster by a significant margin. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Jordan Hembrough, founder of the toy retail site Hollywood Heroes, revealed that “When you look at the Flash toys, the...
Marketing strategies for the current times. Tristan Brooks of Havas Entertainment shares his thoughts on how marketing strategies can be made stronger in the current economic climate. Although parents may have reduced the overall amount they spend on toys, Havas managing partner Tristan believes that this should not be a reason for toy companies to focus their marketing around the price of their product.
Gen Media asks: Is YouTube tracking children online (again)? Jonathan Chambers, director of Investment at Generation Media, examines whether YouTube is still tracking children online and how the agency’s suite of tools can help companies navigate the space. You may be aware of recent headlines centered on the possibility that YouTube advertising campaigns may be mistakenly tracking children’s data online.
History and Nostalgia
Snoopy Personal Care Center from A.R.C.. In 1986, A.R.C. released the Snoopy Personal Care Center, a playset adorned with the likenesses of Snoopy and his best friend, Woodstock, — characters created by Charles Schulz as part of the Peanuts comics. The playset allowed children to mimic the adults in their lives. Personal care — similar to domestic tasks — refers to activities many children discover by observing...
Run Yourself Ragged from TOMY. Released in 1979 from TOMY, Run Yourself Ragged challenged players to be the fastest through a miniature obstacle course. The battery-free tabletop game was a self-contained labyrinth, requiring only a flat surface to operate properly. To start, a player placed a silver game ball at the beginning of obstacle #1, the tilted walkway.
How collecting vintage toys went from big fun to big business. Juan Salazar of Houston’s Super Happy Incredible Toys talks about how the market for vintage toys first developed, what makes certain vintage toys popular for collecting, and the role Star Wars toys played in kick-starting the practice of developing merchandise tied to popular movies and television shows. . Vintage toys are big business today.
Licensing and Entertainment
Amazon’s audio service Audible has teamed up with Nickelodeon for the first time to launch the new Are You Afraid of the Dark? The Official Podcast. The six x 15- to 20-minute Audible Original launches September 28 exclusively on the subscription-based platform. Nickelodeon and Paramount Audio are producing the podcast, which tells a series of different scary stories, including one about an evil toy...
Dr. Seuss Enterprises has inked a new deal with Amazon podcast studio Wondery to develop a first-ever slate of original podcasts inspired by the late author’s iconic picture books. Wondery will launch the first title, The Cat in the Hat Cast, on September 18 via its mobile app and the Apple Podcasts’ Wondery Kids+ channel. Aimed at kids ages three and up, this variety-show podcast sees the Cat in the Hat and his ...
Disney+ has scrapped The Spiderwick Chronicles, an upcoming live-actioner from Paramount Television Studios and 20th Television that was first announced in 2021. This six-ep fantasy series is based on the same-name kidlit franchise by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, and follows three children who stumble upon a world of fairies after their family moves to a country estate. Filming on Spiderwick was completed...
***The above posted after August 25th when tBR ran***
Penguin Random House will release DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Heroes' Feast: Flavors of the Multiverse, a fantasy-themed cookbook, into retail on November 7, 2023. This cookbook, from the authors of the NY Times best-selling Heroes' Feast cookbook, expands into the Multiverse for more adventurous recipes. It presents a culinary tour of the various settings within the D&D Multiverse, from Forgotten Realms and beyond.
Momonsters travels the globe with broadcast deals. With a TV movie premiering later this year and a third season due in 2024, the series has attracted new broadcasters in Singapore, Iceland and Poland. PGS Entertainment has inked a raft of international broadcast deals for CG-animated preschool toon Momonsters, produced by Big Bang Box and RTVE in Spain. The show’s international distributor has sold seasons...
Usaopoly (The Op), the board game and puzzle publisher behind best-selling party games including Telestrations, Blank Slate and Hues and Cues, has launched the most humorous version of the classic mystery game with CLUE: Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Under license from leading toy and game co. Hasbro and based on Jeff Kinney’s popular book series with over 275 million copies sold worldwide, the game will ...
Microsoft is breathing some air into Minecraft through a new licensing deal with Montreal-based toyco Playview Brands for a range of inflatable products. Playview will design and manufacture both summer and winter Minecraft inflatables for North American retail, starting this fall with a line of snow sleds and large building blocks that kids can use to recreate Minecraft’s settings.
Barbie: A Touch Of Magic scores several international pick-ups. The upcoming Netflix series will land on British kids channel POP and broadcasters in Germany, Italy and Eastern Europe. The 13 x 22-minute, CG-animated series will roll out next month after Netflix quietly commissioned it earlier this year—and multiple broadcasters in the UK and Europe have just joined the party. British kids channel POP has...
Disney Lorcana launch sees lengthy fan queues. Disney Lorcana, the new trading card game from Ravensburger, launched last week to great excitement in indie stores across Europe, the US and Canada. UK retailers have reported a strong start for Disney Lorcana, from Ravensburger, as fans queued at some stores in readiness for the midnight launch of the TCG last week (18th August).
The wildly successful NFT collection Pudgy Penguins is getting its own range of collectible figures, plush toys, and accessories. The products will come from a collaboration between Red Planet Group and PMI Kids’ World. Each toy will come with a unique code that grants access to a digital collectible and various customization options.
Hasbro has entered into a licensing agreement with OrangeOnions, the toy and apparel manufacturer. The collaboration will result in a range of products featuring iconic Hasbro brands in time for the holiday season. Under the agreement, OrangeOnions will produce its well-known Blankie Besties and patent-pending Snugibles featuring Hasbro brands. Blankie Besties is a two-in-one product in which stuffed animals...
Hasbro launches new ‘Fortnite’ Blue Shock NERF Blaster. Hasbro‘s NERF brand is releasing blasters with a Fortnite twist. Fortnite, developed by Epic Games, was released in 2017 and has been a hit with young gamers since. The game centers on a battle royale mode where players are dropped in a larger environment and fight to be the last one standing.
Jurassic Roars! Diving into nostalgia with a licensed consumer product program. Universal Products & Experiences has a ton of different properties that are worth celebrating. However, it is currently celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Jurassic World franchise. License Global caught up with Melissa Rodriguez, vice president, franchise strategy,
WildBrain has partnered with Tencent Video and animation studio Miaow’s House as the exclusive worldwide distributor outside of mainland China of the new animated series, Pet Hotel (26×11’). Produced by Tencent Video and Miaow’s House, Pet Hotel is aimed at kids aged 7–9 and follows the hilarious antics of Lili the dog, Bubu the guinea pig and cats...
Fun in Motion Toys grabs global distribution rights for HyperTiles. HyperTiles is taking on Fun in Motion Toys as its global distributor. HyperTiles are STEM toys that come in a unique shape kids can use to build flexible creations. “This product represents a new era of motion toys,” says Kevin Daniels, Co-Founder of Fun In Motion Toys. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring this innovative product to people worldwide.
BBC Studios expands ‘Bluey’ with new licensing partners. New licensing deals will introduce more products across a variety of categories. BBC Studios Kids & Family, the distributor and licensor for the animated preschool series Bluey, has welcomed new partners to its licensing program for the show across a variety of categories including food, beverage, infant and toddler, and more.
Creative Kids teams up with Uplift for Adopt Me! range. Creative Kids Group, a leader in the innovation of kids’ toys and arts and crafts, launches product line with the highly popular online game, Adopt Me! The popular pet adoption game with more than 33m plays will have Creative Kids licensed consumer products on shelves this autumn. Delivered by Uplift Games, Adopt Me! has been enjoyed by over 400m..
Premier League Adrenalyn XL has record-breaking launch. Panini reports retailers fighting to keep stock of Premier League Adrenalyn XL on shelves, and reorders flying in to meet the extensive consumer demand. It’s just three weeks since the release of the new Premier League Adrenalyn XL 2024 Trading Card Game and Panini has seen another record-breaking launch period for the range.
Disney expands its streaming plays. The Walt Disney Co. is making an ad-supported version of its Disney+ streaming service available in Canada and select markets in Europe. The Burbank-based entertainment and media giant is also making price adjustments for its U.S. customers of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Joe Earley, president, Direct-to-Consumer, Disney Entertainment, said that the strong momentum...
Bratz expands partnership with Kylie Jenner to release highly anticipated Bratz x Kylie Fashion dolls. MGA Entertainment announced today the launch of the Bratz x Kylie Fashion Dolls – Day & Night Editions and the Bratz x Kylie 24-inch Fashion Doll, in collaboration with global icon Kylie Jenner. The fashion dolls mark the expansion of the buzzworthy partnership announced earlier this month, which launched...
JAKKS Pacific launches new DC Minis collectible figures. DC superheroes are available as 3-inch and 1.5-inch figures. JAKKS Pacific’s latest lineup of collectible toys introduces preschoolers to DC superheroes. The DC Minis collection takes DC characters and shrinks them down for small hands. The lineup includes six 3-inch figures: Bat Girl, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Bumblebee, Batman, and Superman.
IllFonic to publish & co-develop MGM’s Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game. IllFonic, Inc. is thrilled to announce its newest endeavor. The team is now the publisher on record for the highly anticipated game Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game. Alongside Teravision Games, IllFonic will co-develop the newest installment to this cult classic which will be available to fans on Steam, PS5, and...
Fisher-Price celebrates football fandom in a big way with new Little People Collector NFL Series featuring all 32 NFL teams. With football fans, passion runs deep for every NFL team across the league. And, today, there’s even more reason for fans to celebrate their passion with the launch of the NFL and NFL Players Association officially-licensed Fisher-Price® Little People CollectorTM NFL Series, representing all 32. …
ZAG heads to LicensingCon Brazil with ‘Miraculous’ and ‘Ghostforce’. It’s the animation studio’s second year at the Brazilian convention. ZAG is heading to Brazil to highlight its brands once again! The studio, known for its hit series Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir as well as other animated offerings, will be sharing future plans at a summit and cocktail on the first night of the convention.
Cronus Global launches licensing program for ‘Turbozaurs’. The deal comes as ‘Turbozaurs’ hits Amazon Prime in the U.S. Cronus Global is officially representing the animated series Turbozaurs across all consumer products categories in the U.S. and Canada as the series comes to Amazon Prime. The preschool series, produced by Tale Wind Animation, is a story about dinosaurs that can transform...
Moose Toys, Universal Products & Experiences unveil ‘Trolls’ collectibles. Moose Toys, in collaboration with Universal Products & Experiences, will release Trolls Band Together Mineez, the first line of Trolls collectibles, in October. The Mineez will come in a variety of pack sizes, ranging from a single to an 11-pack. Moose Toys will release more than 100 Trolls Band Together Mineez – 1.5-inch scale collectibles...
The long, fun legacy of Star Trek and Playmates Toys. Playmates Toys, Inc. has the distinction of being one of the most-prolific Star Trek licensees of all time. The famous toy manufacturer released more than 350 of the 4.5” action figure line, more than 30 of the 6” and 12” lines, nearly 90 of the 9” line, in addition to numerous play sets, starship toys and role-playing items from 1992 until 2000, and again in 2009, when...
People of Play
LeVar Burton might have missed out on the Jeopardy! hosting gig, but he is lined up to front another game show, Trivial Pursuit, which is coming soon to The CW. According to TMZ, Burton and his team are “close to locking in terms” on the new job, which would see him as executive producer and host of the new game show. The publication also reports that the network has already given a 12-episode order for the series ...
Noah Ornstein was concerned that he couldn’t find toys that challenged his son Liam and that would grow with him. (He) has been fascinated with building things since he was a child, decided that he would have to design the kind of toys that he envisioned. Ornstein joined forces with Joe Kelly, a friend he had connected with on a playdate with their children, who always wanted to start a business, and the pair...
***The above posted after August 25th***
Ynon Kreiz, Mattel Chairman and CEO, who has transformed the company and spearheaded its global blockbuster film, Barbie, will receive the 2023 IFF Industry Leadership Award at the 36th Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles Opening Night Gala on November 1st. Meir Fenigstein, founder and executive director of the Israel Film Festival, made the announcement.
ICV2 INTERVIEW: RAVENSBURGER NORTH AMERICA CEO STEPHANE MADI. On the Strategy for 'Disney Lorcana,' the Role of Channels for Ravensburger. ICv2: Ravensburger is a puzzle company and a board game company. To become a collectible game company is a very different skill set and a totally new business. Why did Ravensburger decide to enter this category?
Playview Brands has hired former Spin Master and Hasbro product manager Domenic Bettini as its first-ever director of business development. Bettini is tasked with expanding Playview’s brand and licensing portfolio, as well as finding new ways to drive revenue. He joined the company on August 1, and reports to SVP and GM Andrew Sparkes.
Longtime Super Mario voice actor Charles Martinet retires from the role. The iconic English-language voice behind Mario, Luigi, Wario and other Nintendo protagonists is "stepping back" from playing those roles, Nintendo announced today. Why it matters: Anyone who has played a Mario game since the late '90s has probably had Charles Martinet's "wa-hoo"s imprinted in their brain.
Diamant welcomes Brenda Elliot to senior team. Brenda will join Diamant to focus on R&D as well as sales and key accounts, and will be instrumental in developing the company’s export division. The award winning Brenda Elliot will be joining Allan Rabie, head consultant of International Sales, in focusing on taking Diamant’s export division to new heights. Brenda brings with her specialist expertise...
Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Tom Delaney, EVP of MUKIKIM to the show. A seasoned toy industry veteran, Delaney has held roles at Mattel, The Walt Disney Co., JAKKS Pacific, and ran his own company, Homegrown Toys. On the show, Delaney shares insight into the world of MUKIKM and its 14 unique product lines, including the Rock and Roll It Piano...
Toikido has named the internet’s most followed magician, mega influencer Sean Sotaridona, aka “Sean Does Magic,“ global brand ambassador for its buzzed-about new in-house IP, Piñata Smashlings. Sean Does Magic’s animated character officially enters the Piñata Smashlings Roblox game as its newest Smashlings character. Having first discovered his love for magic at the age of 6 by watching YouTube...
Falcon’s Beyond Global, a diversified global entertainment, consumer experience, and technology enterprise that accelerates IP activations concurrently across physical and digital experiences, announced that it has named Toni Caracciolo as EVP of Marketing and Branding, reporting to company President Simon Philips.
Eolo welcomes Andrew Welch as UK & Ireland country manager. Eolo Toys has announced the appointment of Andrew Welch as UK & Ireland country manager. Eolo Toys is well-known in the toy industry, with over 40 years of experience in the design and development of innovative toys. The strategic addition of Andrew is a move towards Eolo Toys’ objective to enhance its market presence and drive accelerated growth.
United Wheels UK expands senior leadership team. As United Wheels faces rapid growth and plans further expansion, two new hires will add expertise in licensed consumer goods and international sales and marketing. United Wheels UK has announced the hire of Nicolas Caillaud and Paul Bulger, who join the company’s EMEA sales team in leadership roles.
Kappa Toys welcomes Ilana Sztaimberg (Lans) in the role of strategic growth manager as part of national expansion. As the Strategic Growth Manager, Lans will push the classic toy store experience to the next level, hosting in person “come play with us” events with beloved brands, expanding the Kappa Toys product line, nationwide footprint, and Kappa Toys Online presence – creating a toy experience for all...
ArtCreativity selects Jamie Emmick as VP of retail sales. The appointment comes just ahead of Toy Fair in New York. ArtCreativity has appointed Jamie Emmick as Vice President of Retail Sales ahead of Toy Fair in New York. In her new role, Emmick will lead the retail sales team, spearheading initiatives to drive brand visibility, expand market reach, and further strengthen the co’s position in the industry.
Companies and Brands
Inside Wham-O's new Fun Factory: At 75, looking beyond the Frisbee and Hula Hoop. The company sold balls that could bounce over houses, flying discs that looked like UFOs, flexible foam boards for beach acrobatics and a slippery water slide that somehow worked on lawns. But for one 11-year-old boy, playing with these toys was not enough. He needed to know more. When school was out, Todd Richards and a friend...
What Could Possibly Go Rong? Gray Matters Launches New Party Game, Wrong Answers Only! Lots of Leftovers? Licking Old Lollipops? These are answers that will make you LOL in Gray Matters’ new hilarious game of Wrong Answers Only! Wrong Answers Only is Gray Matters Games’ biggest release yet, launching in over 2,500 stores this holiday season, including a major US retailer, at Indigo throughout Canada and...
***The above posted after Auust 25th***
Spin Master is delivering the magic this holiday season with four toys being named to Walmart's highly-anticipated 2023 Top Toys List. The list includes Spin Master's Bitzee™, an interactive digital pet that you can really touch; the Gabby's Dollhouse® Gabby Cat Friend Ship™ playset, expanding the ecosystem of toys inspired by the imaginative world from DreamWorks Animation's hit series; the hilarious Monkey See...
Disney just can’t let it go. Disney Publishing Worldwide, ABC Audio and Walt Disney Animation Studios have teamed up to launch the first Frozen podcast, continuing the story of magical sisters from the studio’s blockbuster film franchise. Season one, titled Frozen: Forces of Nature, is a 12-episode podcast (each ep is 15 to 20 minutes long) that will premiere in October for kids ages six to 12.
Rainbow High - This autumn/winter will see the launch of four new doll ranges, a brand-new playset and a revamp of the popular Rainbow High Townhouse. Since its launch in 2020, Rainbow High, the top fashion doll brand from MGA Entertainment, has continued to grow and rise in popularity. The brand has recently been revealed as the No.1 fastest growing Fashion Doll and the No.3 Doll property by Circana.
Tamashii Nations to Open First U.S. Flagship Store. The new store will open in New York City on Sept. 8. The Bandai Spirits brand is getting a proper retail location in the U.S. Known for the popular S.H.Figuarts and Chogokin series of figures, Tamashii Nations has been selling to collectors everywhere since the brand’s initial creation in 2008. The flagship store location for the brand opened in June of 2022 in Tokyo....
Ahead of World Blind Awareness Month this Oct. and in response to global demand, The LEGO Group has released LEGO Braille Bricks, which are now available to purchase online for the first time. LEGO Braille Bricks — Play with Braille is aimed at kids ages 6+ and has been designed so that anyone who is curious about braille, whether they are blind, partially-sighted, or sighted, can have fun getting to know braille...
Douglas continues its mission to make bugs more beloved! Douglas is well-known for its assortment of soft plush designed to embody the animals that inspire them. The company has tackled everything from classic bear plush to the mythical world of unicorns. Now, Douglas has revealed new additions to the Cute as a Bug collection coming this January.
Build-A-Bear will be premiering its new film, Unstuffed: A Build-A-Bear Story by documentarian Taylor Morden on Sept. 30 at the Javits Center General Session Theater 1E09. The film is shown through the eyes of a teddy bear narrator, voiced by Jon Lovitz. Starting with the 1997 entrepreneurial inspiration of founder Maxine Clark to launch an experimental mall-based retailer where kids could make their own...
Ty Warner, owner of iconic plush maker Ty, introduced the new Aloha Beanie Baby, a limited-edition bear created to benefit victims of the ongoing Hawaii wildfires. Ty is no stranger to Beanie Babies designed for charity benefits, with previous efforts including the Hope bear plush benefitting the United Way Worldwide COVID-19 Fund, profit donations in the month of March in response to crisis in Ukraine, and more.
Fred Rogers Productions has been awarded a PNC Foundation grant to support Alma’s Way, its newest PBS KIDS series, through PNC Grow Up Great, the multi-year, bilingual early childhood education initiative that helps children from birth through age 5 develop a passion for learning that lasts a lifetime. The $1.3 million grant from PNC Foundation to Fred Rogers Productions supports the development of Alma’s Way...
Flat River Group drops SRP on multiple games, adjusts prices as shipping costs come back towards pre-pandemic levels. Flat River Group has dropped the SRP on multiple games across a number of different studios that they distribute. The SRP reduction comes as the cost of producing and transporting goods come off of their COVID-19 pandemic highs.
LEGO unveils location of future Boston headquarters. The LEGO Group has revealed the location of its new headquarters for the Americas in Boston. After announcing in January that the company intends to move from Enfield, Connecticut, LEGO has revealed that 1001 Boylston Street has been chosen as the location of its Americas head office starting in 2026.
Skyrocket commemorates 10 years with release of new R/C Stunt Plane. Skyrocket is celebrating 10 years of producing Sky Viper Drones with the launch of the Sky Viper Vector Stunt Plane, the company’s first ever high-speed R/C stunt plane. The Sky Viper Vector Stunt Plane features two powerful prop motors strapped to a lightweight fighter body for maximum performance and speed — up to 35 mph.
Toysmith relocates, upgrades to new facilities. The new operations and distribution center is closer to major transportation hubs. Toysmith, the beloved toy co. for more than 4 decades, is upgrading its operational capabilities with a strategic move to a new state-of-the-art operations and distribution center in Pacific, Washington, this December. Toysmith’s current operations are located in Sumner, Washington.
Walmart reveals plans to invest $75 million in New Jersey Stores; first look at newly remodeled Secaucus Supercenter. Walmart continues to invest in its store fleet across the U.S. with remodels on a rolling basis. This morning, the newly remodeled Walmart Supercenter in Secaucus, New Jersey held its grand opening celebration as the Arkansas-based retail giant revealed plans to invest $75 million in its Garden State stores..
Pokémon: A masterclass in brand evolution. A vibrant, hopeful brand emphasizing friendship, curiosity, problem-solving and, of course, pocket monsters, Pokémon has brought millions of “Trainers” together to explore multiple regions and catch, share or battle hundreds of Pokémon. This multigenerational, global brand has created countless memories from original Nintendo games, trading cards and animated...
Mattel expands UNO Artiste series with Shantell Martin. This is the fifth installment in the artistic series. The latest addition to the UNO Artiste Series is here. Mattel collaborated with artist Shantell Martin to create a new deck of UNO cards featuring Martin’s iconic line art. The set also includes four double-sided extra cards that recreate some of Martin’s original work when displayed together.
Arcade1Up expands globally with distribution partnerships, new in-home arcade machines. Arcade1Up is rolling out a new business strategy, as well as a crop of new at-home arcade-style machines, as part of its global expansion efforts. The company, which specializes in arcade machines for in-home use, bringing the likes of Pacman and other classic arcade games to retailers and consumers, is looking to...
Kroeger teams up with Spain’s M.O.M. Fun Company for Halloween products. Kroeger is teaming up with M.O.M. Fun Company, a Spain-based company, to bring more licensed Halloween costumes and accessories to North American markets next year. The partnership is effective immediately, with costumes and accessories hitting shelves for the Halloween 2024 season.
Airfix announces new Lamborghini Huracán EVO mould. Airfix prides itself on on bringing realistic replicas of exhilarating super cars to the toy space. With its impressive reputation, Lamborghini continues to release extraordinary and sleek sports cars, which Airfix replicates with attention to detail. Ranked at skill level 1, the latest model, the A55007 Lamborghini Huracán EVO Starter Set in 1:43 scale is...
Wow! Stuff’s Real FX Baby T-Rex confirmed as Walmart “blockbuster” toy. Wow! Stuff’s second in the series of Real FX toys under the Jurassic World and Jurassic Park franchise has reached the top of the charts at Walmart. In collaboration with Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, Wow! Stuff’s latest Real FX line has been released to celebrate the Jurassic World and Jurassic Park franchise’s 30th anniversary.
HoloToyz takes on the US. HoloToyz will showcase its innovation and vision at New York Toy Fair, and has announced a partnership with Diverse Marketing for US distribution. From humble beginnings as a concept devised and developed by Irish based husband and wife team, Kate Scott and Declan Fahy, HoloToyz has quickly grown into an internationally recognized company which will be exhibiting ...
Jumbo to send Hitster to top of the charts. Hitster, from Jumbo Group, is a music card game that invites players to listen to over 100 years of hits and challenges them to arrange the songs in chronological order to create their own music timeline. The party game is available now, in the UK and Ireland, following great success in Europe. With the UK launch campaign imminent, experiential marketing with influencers...
Schmidt Spiele will release Reiner Knizia's 'For One: Kniffel'. Schmidt Spiele will release For One: Kniffel, a solitaire dice game by Reiner Knizia, which will debut at Spiel 2023. Kniffel is the German version of the classic dice game Yahtzee. This special edition of Kniffel is built for solo play. The player must score as many points as possible rolling five dice each round, 17 total in the supply, by distributing them on a score card.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
Sony's PlayStation Portal handheld will release later this year for $200. There's a new PlayStation device on the way, and its name is PlayStation Portal. Originally revealed as Project Q earlier in the year, the $200 handheld will allow for owners to play their installed PlayStation 5 games remotely rather than activating the actual console. It was further confirmed the device will only work for PS5 games; titles for the PlayStation VR2 or those streamed via cloud (through PlayStation Plus' Premium tier) are not supported.
Highlighted Press Releases
LINE ’EM UP IF YOU CAN: GRACKLES™ REIMAGINES BIRDS ON TELEPHONE WIRE INTO A CLEVER GAME. An Abstract Thinking Game for Ages 10+ that Looks Simple but Requires Tactical Planning to Build a Line of Birds in a Row. Austin, TX (August 25, 2023) – We’ve all seen the astounding beauty of hundreds of birds perched on the wire between telephone poles. Fireside Games has taken that awe-inspiring feeling and translated it into Grackles™ ($39.95 at https://firesidegames.com/product/grackles/), the fun abstract strategy game that challenges two to four players to face each other for a 30-minute game of plotting and planning to place colored tokens (aka birds) in a row. The rules are simple, but the strategies...
***The above posted after tBR started running on August 25th***
GIFT A MULTISENSORY STORYTIME ON THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS AND EVERY NIGHT EVER AFTER! With Eight Collections Just Released, Award-Winning Moonlite Bridges The Gap Between Traditional & Digital Books With Playful Projection, Interactive Sounds and Background Music
Beaverton, OR (August 24, 2023) – As parents and grandparents are on the hunt for the hot new toy of the 2023 Holidays, they might think back to their own childhood where a bedtime story read aloud was mesmerizing. It’s still true today but with a modern twist! Moonlite (available at https://mymoonlite.com) transforms together time into a special experience for parents, caregivers and kids.
RECORDABLE STICKERS LET YOU GIFT WRAP THE MERRY THIS HOLIDAY TO THE DELIGHT OF TOTS’ EYES & EARS. Recordable Story Stickers Another Reason To Give Or Add To A Storypod With Its Library That Reimagines Audio Adventure, Now STEM.Org Authenticated™
Miami, FL (August 23, 2023) – Savvy parents and grandparents are on the hunt for the best holiday gift to give (or to receive) for the toddlers, preschoolers and grade schoolers in their life. It’s got to be something magical, edutaining and can grow along with the youngest family members. Award-winning Storypod has just the thing!
Safety and Counterfeiting
Why is it easy to sell & buy toxic lead toys on Amazon? Lead is an extremely toxic substance that should never be exposed to children. The CDC’s website explains all the health problems lead causes and declares that no safe levels should be tolerated for children, yet lead toys and products still run rampant in today’s marketplace. This past July, major news outlets like CNN reported that...
Magnetic toys can be dangerous, even deadly, regulators say. Federal safety experts are warning people to stop using certain magnetic ball toys. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says Iraza 512 Piece Magnetic Stone 5mm Magnetic Ball Sets can be dangerous, or even deadly. Action 9: 11-year-old boy warns others after swallowing magnetic ball.
‘This is why you have to be so careful shopping at TJ Maxx or Marshalls’: Shopper claims she found recalled toy still being sold in store. In June, it was announced that 7.5 million Baby Shark bath toys were recalled out of concerns that the fin carries “risks of impalement, lacerations and punctures,” according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
KidStuff PR - Our President and Founder, Lisa Orman, is a finalist in the inaugural 'People-Focused' TOTY Awards for PR/Marketer of the Year. Lisa founded KidStuff PR in 1994 to promote the play industry, and she’s been having fun playing and learning every single day. Her joy lies in helping small- to mid-sized businesses get noticed.
Mattel has racked up 15 nominations—the most of any company—for this year’s Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards, including Game of the Year (Magic 8 Ball Magical Encounters board game), Doll of the Year (Barbie The Movie Dolls (pictured) and Disney The Little Mermaid Ariel Doll) and License of the Year (Barbie franchise).
The Toy Foundation reveals 2023 Toy of the Year Awards finalists. Vote for your favorites now through Sept. 8. The Toy Foundation has named the 2023 Toy of the Year Awards Finalists. 122 toys, games, and properties have been chosen as finalists across 17 product-focused categories, and 27 industry professionals have been chosen across four new people-focused categories: sustainability; diversity, equity, and ...
ASTRA calls on the Toy Industry to get involved with Neighborhood Toy Store Month! The holiday season is fast approaching, and this year the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is looking to make Neighborhood Toy Store Month bigger and better than ever before! Throughout the month of November, Neighborhood Toy Store Month will serve as more than just a promotional event...
Entries for the LovedbyChildren Awards are now open. Toy and games suppliers are invited to enter their products for the 10th annual LovedbyChildren Awards. The popular awards takes a raft of toys, games and kids’ products from across all categories within the industry and hands them over for testing and ranking to the people who love them most – the children themselves.
WiT unveils honorees for 2023 Wonder Women Awards. The Wonder Women Awards Gala will take place on Oct. 1. Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WiT) has named the honorees for the 18th annual Wonder Women Awards. The honorees for the 2023 Wonder Women Awards are Visionary Leader Award recipient Laura Zebersky, President of Jazwares; Trailblazer Award recipient Lisa McKnight, EVP...
Hasbro announces Women Innovators of Play event. The event will be centered on women’s leadership, innovation, and women-led creativity. Participants will learn about the process of pitching a new toy or game and the journey through the Hasbro pipeline from concept to creation. Attendees can expect a dynamic program that includes discussions with actor, director, and entrepreneur, Aisha Tyler...
Everything we saw at Gamescom 2023 Opening Night Live. Gamescom, the massive annual gaming event held in Cologne, Germany, streamed its glitzy Opening Night Live presentation, giving us a closer look at tons of coming games, many of which are are just around the corner. But if you missed it, no worries: We’re here to run through everything they showed.
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 readers. Archives can be found HERE
Fred Held, passed away August 30. More details to follow.
Paul Reubens, the actor best known for portraying Pee-wee Herman, died Sunday night after a private bout of cancer. He was 70.
“Please accept my apology for not going public with what I’ve been facing the last six years,” wrote Reubens in a statement posted to Instagram after his death. “I have always felt a huge amount of love and respect from my friends, fans and supporters. I have loved you all so much and enjoyed making art for you.”
“Last night we said farewell to Paul Reubens, an iconic American actor, comedian, writer and producer whose beloved character Pee-wee Herman delighted generations of children and adults with his positivity, whimsy and belief in the importance of kindness,” wrote Reubens’ estate in the caption. “Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit. A gifted and prolific talent, he will forever live in the comedy pantheon and in our hearts as a treasured friend and man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit.”
Reubens began his career in the 1970s after joining the Los Angeles live comedy troupe the Groundlings as an improvisational comedian and stage actor. In 1980, he launched “The Pee-wee Herman Show,” a stage production centered on a fictional character he had been developing for years. As Pee-wee became a beloved comic figure, Reubens’ show ran for five sold-out months, and he landed a special at HBO. Reubens also committed to the character in his interviews and public appearances.
In 1985, he teamed with Tim Burton on “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” the character’s feature film debut, which was a critical and commercial success. Reubens returned three years later for a follow-up film, “Big Top Pee-wee,” helmed by Randal Kleiser.
Klash Singh - HTI has been in touch with Toy World to share the sad news about its employee. Klash Singh, who passed away last week, was a popular member of the HTI team and most recently worked as a Sales manager for the company.
In a statement, the company said: “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we inform you of the death of Klash, who passed away on Thursday 27th July 2023.
Klash spent over 20 years in the toy industry, being employed by HTI originally back in 2003 and moving on to spend nine years at Kandy Toys before returning to HTI in 2023.
Klash was 59 years old when she passed away. She had an infectious personality, enormous enthusiasm and passion. This was loved and admired by all, not just within the companies where she worked, but by all her customers past and present.
Klash will be sorely missed by all those who knew her. She was a very generous, considerate and kind lady. She leaves behind her partner Kevin, three children and three grandchildren, with another grandson on the way.”
HTI’s owner, John Hutt, commented: “Klash will be missed greatly and remembered dearly.”
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ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US)
- 'Paradox Rift' to Introduce Two New Pokemon Types
- ICv2 Interview: Ravensburger North America CEO Stephane Madi
- Rolling for Initiative: 'Lorcana' Days 1 & 2
- More 'Warhammer' RPG Books Coming from Cubicle 7
- Wizards of the Coast Updates 'The List' for 'Magic: The Gathering - Wilds of Eldraine'
- Atomic Mass Will Release 'Marvel Crisis Protocol: Crisis Card Pack 2023'
- Flat River Group Drops SRP on Multiple Games
- 'Critical Role: The Darrington Brigade Boxed Set' Announced
- New 'Dungeons & Dragons' Cookbook Heads to Retail
- What Do You Meme Rebrands
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News Flash: Noobs in Space Released, Match of the Century Announced
KOSMOS has released a new card game, Capstone Games has announced a new two-player game, and Board Game Geek has launched their annual SPIEL '23 preview.
Video of the Week
Matt Nuccio, DesignEdge - Toy Hub Trivia!
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