the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is Feb. 12-19, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted daily with most recent at top of each section.   The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights. 

Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

Welcome to your briefing of the week's news...

Happy Friday! 

Check out this week’s POP panel (end of this page): What are Mass Retailers Looking For? 

Our moderator is David Norman (President of Goliath North American and Global Gaming)

with panelists:  Mark Menichini (Toy Buyer at Meijer) and Daniel Warren (Toy Buyer at JCPenney)

 

POP INTO SPRING WEEK starts March 1st! It’s a virtual professional networking event for the toy and game industry using our new POP Platform! This is a big opportunity for our industry, so CLICK HERE to BE THERE! 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!

Mary

Dear Tim, Hey! What’s the Substitute for Trying Out New Toys? tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Answers

Q: What’s the Substitute for Trying Out New Toys?

A: There Isn’t One…

 

We met in an icy parking lot behind a local commercial building, my supervisor and I – to hand off a set of physical toy samples recently received from our vendor partner in China. In our Covid world, it has come to this: behind our masks and into a wind chill approaching -10, we inspected the samples – gloveless, mind you – to assess the quality, look and most importantly FEEL of these particular products. It wasn’t exactly a clandestine dead drop (and to be sure, I wouldn’t have lasted 10 minutes as a spy in Russia), but it certainly seemed like a strange way to conduct that most mundane and necessary of our regular tasks.

 

When you aren’t going into the office regularly, how do you know – really know – that the product is turning out the way you all discussed while on those last 23 Zoom calls?

 

Hence this parking lot meeting. And sure enough, there was simply no other way to have this discussion or make this decision without a true hands-on, face-to-face moment. Read More...

FoxMind's GoPop! Pop It! Last One Lost! Over 500 million views on TikTok - tBR Company of the Week

Situated in a discreet building on the fringes of the popular St-Henri neighborhood, three steps away from the serene Lachine canal, in Montreal, in an unassuming industrial building an enthusiastic team is working hard to bring happiness into family living rooms around the globe. FoxMind Canada is a prolific creator and manufacturer of games and toys. They dub themselves as “The Smarter Fun Company”, a succinct mission that dictates that all the products they develop must tickle your brain and rewire your neuron.

 

Foxes are swift, elegant and astute creatures. They are quiet and cunning when they hunt, and they possess an internal compass. As parents, they artfully teach their pups survival skills. If you throw a ball at a fox, it will engage with you playfully. Inspired by the fox’s versatility and intelligence, FoxMind aims to blend enjoyment with education. A quick browse through its website will make anyone wish they were nine years old again. FoxMind possesses the magical touch required to take a cerebral concept and make it fun and exciting. The result is a frequently nominated company that has amassed numerous international awards, including the Mensa Award, Toy of the Year award and Game of the Year award in Europe.

 

A case in point is Last One Lost and Pop It! – a worldwide phenomenon the company originally launched in 2013, which has since garnered over 500 million views on TikTok and sold millions of products around the world. This is the product that has turned math teachers into mega influencers on social media. Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . .

Toy firms and retailers unite in calls for Government rethink over UK e-scooter laws. Outdoor toy and leisure companies and retailers are among those to have issued fresh calls for a Government rethink over the current laws on the public use of e-scooters amid the surge in popularity of the sector as an alternative mode of greener transport. Leaders in the outdoor recreation sector, including the likes of MV 

UK PM's roadmap dates retail reopening from April 12th Retail industry reacts to Boris Johnson's announcement that non-essential retail reopening is expected to be allowed from April 12th. Retailers have welcomed the long-awaited news, although many will be disappointed not to be able to open fully for the usually busy Easter period.

John Lewis considers further store closures. John Lewis may close up to eight of its remaining outlets in response to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The partnership is understood to be considering a new round of store closures, as the company re-examines the scale of its national network of branches. 

Charting global economy: U.S. retail sales surge to begin year. The American consumer got back in the spending groove last month and factory output rose more than forecast, setting the stage for what could be the best year of economic growth in nearly four decades. Employment in the euro area improved in final quarter of 2020, though the workforce in Europe and the rest of the world faces structural...

UK court refuses to force Apple to reinstate 'Fortnite' to App Store; Epic Games settles loot box. A United Kingdom court dropped Epic Games' suit against Apple and its request to make the tech giant reinstate its popular video game "Fortnite" into the App Store. In the meantime, sorry, Apple users, you are still shut out from playing "Fortnite" with your friends who are blasting away on PlayStations and Xboxes...

Unity report shows mobile games ad revenue grew 8% in 2020Day one in-app purchases grew 52% in 2020, while mobile game ad revenues increased 8%, Unity's latest gaming report showed, particularly looking at the impact of COVID-19 on players' usage. The report indicated that the volume of HD gaming -- defined by Unity as "video games on PC, macOS, and other desktop platforms with graphics typically...

Epic Games settlement awards in-game cash to Fortnite, Rocket League players. Part of a proposed settlement for a years-long class action lawsuit against Epic Games sees the game giant handing out in-game currency to players that purchased random draw loot boxes before the feature was essentially removed from Epic's games a few years back. The settlement, set to be approved this week...

CD Projekt issues DMCA takedowns to halt spread of illegally obtained source code. CD Projekt Red has begun issuing DMCA takedowns to halt the spread of stolen game data on social media. The Polish studio was the victim of a 'targeted cyber attack' earlier this month, during which the perpetrator claimed to have obtained "full copies of the source code" for Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 3, Gwent, and "the...

Apple lawyers are fighting for Steam sales data on hundreds of gamesApple subpoenaed Valve in November as part of its ongoing litigation with Fortnite developer Epic Games, and it’s demanding that Valve provide extensive sales data for more than 400 games, according to a new filing (via PC Gamer). The move comes amid Apple’s ongoing fight over Epic’s efforts to avoid paying iOS App Store fees. 

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

State of the industry Q&A 2021: Amazon's Anne Carrihill . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: Mastermind Toys's Sarah Jordan . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: Moose Toys' Glenn Abell . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: Target's Nik Nayer . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: WARNER BROS. CONSUMER PRODUCTS's Catherine Bachmaier . . . . .  STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: HASBRO's Eric Nyman . . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: PLAYMONSTER's Scott Flynn . . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: JUST PLAY's Charlie Emby . . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: WONDER WORKS's Christine Osborne . . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: FAO SCHWARZ's David Niggli . . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: BASIC FUN!'s Jay Foreman . . . . . State of the Industry Q&A 2021: Learning Express's  Sharon DiMinico . . . . . State of the Industry Q&A 2021: Spin Master's ANTON RABIE . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: MATTEL'S STEVE TOTZKE

January digital games spending reaches $11.6bn. . . . . . THE U.S. TOY INDUSTRY HITS RECORD SALES DESPITE PANDEMIC

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Crusader Kings III helps Paradox to best financial year in history . . . . . Paradox reports best year ever in 2020. . . . . . The Pokémon Company celebrates ‘significant increase in sales’ of TCG and Jazwares toy line

Future Financial Reporting . . .

$676.64 million in sales expected for Mattel, Inc.this quarter. Equities research analysts forecast that Mattel, Inc. will report sales of $676.64 million for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Five analysts have made estimates for Mattel's earnings, with the highest sales estimate coming in at $718.10 million and the lowest estimate coming in at $640.00 million. Mattel reported sales of $594.10 million during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 13.9%.

$1.20 billion in sales expected for Hasbro, Inc. this quarter. Equities research analysts expect that Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) will post sales of $1.20 billion for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Five analysts have provided estimates for Hasbro's earnings. The highest sales estimate is $1.26 billion and the lowest is $1.14 billion. Hasbro posted sales of $1.11 billion during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 8.1%. The company is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 5th.

Nintendo raises fiscal forecast as Switch closes in on 80 million lifetime sales. Nintendo has reported an upswing in net sales and profits off the back of bumper Switch hardware and software sales.  As highlighted in the company's fiscal report for the nine months ended December 31, 2020, net sales increased by 37.3 percent year-on-year to 1.4 trillion yen ($13.3 billion), while profits rose by 91.8 percent to 376.6 billion yen...

Spin Master Corp. to Report Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Financial Results on March 1, 2021. Ronnen Harary, Co-Chief Executive Officer, and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. (ET).

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . .

Mr. Potato Head Goes Gender Neutral With Retooling by Hasbro. Hasbro Inc. is dropping “mister” from the Mr. Potato Head brand to make the popular toy line gender neutral and appeal to a broader base of consumers. The series, featuring a plastic potato with removable parts like eyeglasses, a mustache, nose and mouth, will also be more sustainably made, the company said Thursday in a presentation to investors.

ICONIC TOYS THROUGH TIME: A LOOK AT HOW SOME CLASSIC TOY BRANDS GOT THEIR STARTS. Every year, new and innovative toys make their debut, tapping into current trends in hopes of topping holiday gift guides and wish lists by the fall. Yet, there are some toys that are far from new, but still remain playtime favorites decades after they first appeared on toy store shelves or made their first appearance at a major toy fair. 

IS THIS THE END OF THE MASTER TOY LICENSEE? The story is a legendary one: an oft-recounted tale that sparked a turning point in toy and licensing history. In 1976, 20th Century Fox approached New York-based Mego Corp. with a licensing opportunity tied to a low-budget sci-fi film from a scrappy little production company run by the guy who directed American Graffiti. Mego, then dominating the action aisle with its...

The Most Valuable McDonald's Pokemon Cards. McDonald's has released special Pokemon TCG cards in Happy Meals celebrating Pokemon's 25th Anniversary, but are any of them worth reselling? In celebration of Pokemon’s 25th Anniversary, McDonald’s is including a special edition pack of Pokemon TCG cards with every Happy Meal. What started out as a fun Happy Meal toy has turned into a hunt to find and even sell...

A World of Black Intimacy at the Card Table. For the poet Hanif Abdurraqib, playing spades with his friends is about so much more than the game. Somewhere on the road between Oxford, Miss., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., my homie Jerriod looks at the cards fanned out in his hands. For anyone who has played enough games of spades and lost enough games of spades, it is known that you watch the moment directly after...

Our obsession with happiness is making our kids miserable. It was front and center in a slide show of other people’s beautiful kitchen renovations: one of those artsy wooden “House Rules” signs. Rule Number 7, showcased in the biggest script of all and sandwiched between “Show compassion” and “Love each other” was this: “BE HAPPY.” Admittedly, seeing that made me anything but. As a psychologist, I can’t help...

Opinion | Toon-age day stream: How Disney+ is about to change toy licensing for good It almost seemed by design that Disney’s subscription based streaming platform, Disney+ launched just as the Coronavirus pandemic began to tighten its grip on the UK and force the world’s population inside and away from the entertainment venues of yesteryear. And in just a short space of time, its impact on the wider...

Need a reminder of just how imperiled moviegoing, at least in the U.S., remains due to the pandemic? Look no further than domestic box office charts. “The Croods: A New Age,” which debuted theatrically in November, was the No. 1 movie in North America. The Universal Pictures animated sequel nabbed $1.7 million from 1,913 venues between Friday and Sunday, enough to bypass recent releases like Denzel....

What does ‘family-friendly’ actually mean? Shows for the whole family are spiking in popularity among both viewers and buyers. Some of the biggest producers of this catch-all content share what it looks like, and how to make it well. When Fear Factor was released in 2001, it was never supposed to be a show the whole family sat down to watch together. It was made specifically for men. But then something else happened.

Jimmy Kimmel’s Debuts Spoof Line Of ‘Karen’ Dolls For Kids. “Karen mask not sold separately because science is fake”. Leave it to late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel to debut a fake line of dolls called Karen: The Doll Collection. Last night during an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the late night host aired a spoof commercial for a fake line of Karen dolls for kids themed after Virginia Senator Amanda Chase, who....

Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . .

Clancy the Great from Ideal (1963). Clancy the Great is of the more peculiar entries in the annals of Ideal Toy Company’s product lines. Released in 1963, the roller-skating monkey was designed by Marvin Glass & Associates of Chicago. Standing a shade under two-feet tall, Clancy was made entirely of plastic and vinyl and came decked out with a stylish yellow chapeau with a red feather accent. 

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Mattel and Universal have partnered with Target for a new, Jurassic World-themed shopping page on target.com. Launching today, the retail hub is called “Beyond the Gates,” and it will feature new collectible figures from Mattel. This collab is utilizing fan content, too, with a companion web series — also called “Beyond the Gates” — from Jurassic Outpost, a leading fan site for all things Jurassic World. In the third...

Sesame Workshop and WarnerMedia partner on new pre-school series about toy blocks. Sesame Workshop and WarnerMedia have joined forces to start production on a new, animated pre-school comedy series called Bea’s Block. The show is scheduled for a 2022 release on HBO Max. Bea’s Block will draw on the ubiquity of toy blocks to bring the vibrant, multicultural neighbourhood of Blocktown to life in a series centered...

Disguise, Inc. expands portfolio with UniversalDisguise, Inc., the costume division of leading toy and consumer products manufacturer, JAKKS Pacific, Inc. announced an expanded offering in North American to design, market, manufacture and distribute Halloween costumes, costume accessories, inflatables, adaptive costumes and trunk-or-treat kits for Universal Brand Development properties commencing in 2021. 

‘Clue’ animated series in the works at Fox. An animated series based on the classic board game “Clue” is in development at Fox, Variety has learned. Fox Entertainment has partnered with Hasbro’s content studio eOne and Bento Box Entertainment on the series, with the three companies co-producing and Bento Box providing the animation. No writers or producers are currently attached to the project. .

PlayMonster Face Paintoos Launch Disney & Marvel Kits. PlayMonster is focusing on expanding its product lines and categories, and with that, Face Paintoos now feature popular characters from Disney Frozen 2, Marvel Avengers, Marvel Spider-Man and Disney Princess. Along with popular themes, licensed packs are wowing parents and kids across the country.

JAKKS Pacific announced global toy rights with SEGA of America for Paramount Pictures’ feature film, Sonic the Hedgehog 2. JAKKS will design, manufacture, market, and sell Sonic the Hedgehog 2 branded toy product lines based on the upcoming feature film, set for release in 2022. The agreement between JAKKS and SEGA will include rights to produce action figures, playsets, vehicles, plush toys and other collectibles. 

Netflix saddles up with My Little Pony. Hasbro's upcoming CG-animated film will premiere on the streaming giant later this year, rather than theatrically. Netflix has picked up global rights (excluding China) to Hasbro’s new My Little Pony movie from Entertainment One. The CG-animated feature will premiere on the streaming giant in September, in lieu of a theatrical release.

Celebrate Pokémon's 25th anniversary with 25 toys and plushes from Jazwares. It's been a long and crazy ride for the Pokémon series since it originally arrived on the scene, on the 27th of February it will be its 25th anniversary. To celebrate, we have rounded up 25 products that “trainers” everywhere will not want to miss, including a special 25th anniversary plush Pikachu available for pre-order now. 

Super Impulse doubles up with Wacky Packages Minis Series TwoSuper Impulse is expanding its successful line of miniatures with Wacky Packages Minis Series 2. The collectibles continue to spoof favorite household brands with new toys and stickers in fun blind boxes. The release of series one last year was a sensational hit with collectors and kids. Target sold out of the products in a matter of weeks. 

Ghostbusters figures for all ages are hitting stores from HasbroHasbro got the Ghostbusters license not too long ago now, and you can forgive them for not having a ton on the shelves so far. There was supposed to be a film out and plenty of toys to support it, but then the pandemic hit, and that all went out the window. A few things have hit shelves, however, and they have been pretty stellar.

BBC Studios expands licensing program for Bluey. BBC Studios, the distributor and licensing agent for the international hit preschool show Bluey, is expanding the brand’s consumer products offerings with five new licensing partners that will bring even more series-inspired fun to children across the country. A sensation with U.S. audiences since its fall 2019 premiere, Bluey, available on Disney Channel, Disney Junior ...

Disney content and licensing hit hard by Covid-19 but consumer products offer glimmer of hope. Content sales and licensing revenues at the Walt Disney Company have suffered big losses at the hands of the pandemic with dramatic decreases of 56 per cent and an operating income decrease of 78 per cent driven primarily by the closure of theatres, parks and experiences over the course of last year. 

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People . . . 

ElevatorUp’s Harrison Brooks Appears on the ‘Power Kid Podcast’In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Harrison Brooks, the 17-year-old creator and CEO (Chief Elevator Officer) of ElevatorUp and database and content manager at People of Play. (Note from Editor: Harrison is extraordinary and has been pivotal to the success of our POP database/platform! -Mary)

Spin Master is strengthening its entertainment team with a couple of key promotions. Laura Clunie has been upped from VP of development and creative director to SVP of development and feature film. Toni Stevens has also been promoted from director of production and supervising producer to SVP of production and operations. Dan Mokriy has been named VP of production and is responsible for delivering best-in-class programming that delivers on the company’s creative vision. And Jonah Stroh was promoted to VP of creative production, with...

Spin Master has promoted Jennifer Dodge to become president of its entertainment division, Spin Master Entertainment“In the last 12 years, Spin Master Entertainment has developed into a fully imagined entertainment company, capable of everything from development through distribution, franchise management and our latest achievement – feature film production,” Dodge said in a statement. “I’m excited to step into...

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Companies . . .

YuMe, ViacomCBS Ink Deal for Baby Shark Infant Toys. YuMe is jumping into the water with Pinkfong Baby Shark. The growing toymaker inked a deal with ViacomCBS Consumer Products and SmartStudy to create and market a new collection of infant products based on the viral sensation-turned preschool brand. YuMe’s Pinkfong Baby Shark line will include bath toys, playmats, stroller accessories, rattles, and gift sets.

Funko Introduces Hamilton Pop! Vinyl Figures. There may be a million things Alexander Hamilton hasn’t done … but becoming a Funko Pop! figure is no longer one of them. Finally, the main characters from the popular Broadway musical Hamilton have gotten the Funko Pop! treatment, and you don’t want to miss your shot to add these to your collection.

Mattel has teamed up with Microsoft to bring play experiences from the "Minecraft" Universe into real life with game-accurate playsets, mini and larger-scale collectible figures, role-play toys and more. The "Minecraft" Minecart Mayhem action set will be released this spring. The set includes a minecart vehicle, an exclusive 3.25-inch Steve figure and eight papercraft blocks that players can use to create environments.

YouTube Originals Reveals Global Slate of Kids Content from $100 Million Commitment to Programming. Nearly two years after YouTube came to a $170 million settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over allegations that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) in how it dealt with kids’ content and consumption on its platforms, the streaming video giant revealed a first...

Mattel to open first Mission Play! centre. The Mission Play! centre will open in Berlin in 2022, part of the re-launch of Potsdamer Platz as a leading entertainment destination in the city. The centre will be the first of its kind in Europe, bringing to fruition the first steps in global plans first drawn up several years ago, that had been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Chibies from Wow! Stuff has been highlighted as a key toy trend line for 2021 in US Toy Association’s annual Toy Trends forecast. The new line from Wow! Stuff, that listens to music and flashes perfectly to every beat, was created by Josie North and Victoria Brown from the Wow! Stuff team, who have been friends since childhood. New Chibies from Wow! Stuff has been selected as part of the 2021 ‘Mixing in Music’ Toy Trend...

Toikido named master toy partner for Netflix's new animated film Back to the Outback. The Back to the Outback movie will make its global debut in the autumn of 2021, supported by Toikido with action figures and plush. Darran Garnham’s new toy operation Toikido has secured the rights to manufacture a range of based on the new Netflix movie Back to the Outback, which will be released this coming autumn.

Top Announcements from Mattel’s 2021 Virtual Analyst Meeting. Following the big news that Mattel and Nickelodeon are relaunching Monster High next year, Mattel held its Virtual Analyst Meeting yesterday as a digital replacement for its annual in-person event that usually takes place at Toy Fair New York. The company gave updates and first looks at new products, including Masters of the Universe, Barbie, Hot Wheels...

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

Nintendo announces a new Mario Golf for the Switch coming June 25thNintendo is bringing back its Mario Golf series for the Switch with a new entry, Mario Golf: Super Rush, arriving June 25th. The game is the sixth entry in the series and the first since World Tour released for the Nintendo 3DS handheld back in 2014. It’s also the first home console Mario Golf since 2003, Nintendo confirmed.

Knockout City is a new dodgeball game from the makers of Mario Kart LiveVelan Studios, the studio behind the mixed-reality racer Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, has revealed its next title: Knockout City, a team-based online dodgeball game. And it’s launching soon, as the game will be released on May 21st on Origin, Steam, the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, with enhancements for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. 

PC gaming hardware and accessories spending grew 62% in the US in 2020. Consumer spending in the US for PC gaming hardware and accessories reached $4.5 billion in 2020. That's a 62% increase compared to 2019, and more than double the total sales of 2017, NPD said in its latest report. Digital PC games content also grew 19% in 2020, reaching $7.5 billion in revenue. PC gaming accessories overall grew 81% year...

Tighter IDFA privacy rules on iOS spell short-term trouble for in-app ads. Apple's long-promised changes regarding how advertisers can track iOS users are now right around the corner. Starting in "early spring 2021," its ID For Advertisers (IDFA) will switch to an opt-in system and in doing so reduce advertisers' ability to deliver targeted ads on iOS. With that change now nearly upon us, analysts at Omdia project a 17...

US game spending up 42% in January, says NPD. Americans spent more on games to start 2021 than in any previous January, according to the industry tracking NPD Group. NPD today reported that US consumers combined to spend $4.71 billion on games last month, up 42% year-over-year. Hardware had the largest relative gains, up 144% year-over-year to $319 million thanks to the launch of new consoles and the...

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Toy recall 2021: 13,000 children's science kits found exceeding federal lead levels. Anker Play Products' 10-in-1 Incredible Inventions Science Kits contain several items, including balloons, a light bulb, stickers and a rectangle magnet bar that's painted red and blue. According to the recall notice at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website, the magnet included in the kit actually contains lead levels that ...

Rare metals found in toys and food packaging, is it due to plastic recycling? Some rare metals--commonly used in smartphone manufacturing and other electrical equipment--are being found increasingly in everyday plastics like children's toys and food packages, says a study. Researchers from the University of Illinois and the University of Plymouth tested a wide range of new and used plastic products...

Press Releases . . . 

Hasbro Named as One of the 2021 World’s Most Ethical Companies for 10th Consecutive Year. Recognition honors those companies who understand the importance of leading, making hard but values-based decisions, and their overall commitment to integrity. Hasbro has been recognized for ten consecutive years and is one of only four honorees in the Consumer Products industry. In 2021, 135 honorees were recognized spanning 22 countries and 47 industries.

University Games Announces Grand Opening of Best-in-Class Virtual Showroom. San Francisco, CA, February 22, 2020 -- University Games is inviting all retailers (large and small) to visit its 2021 Toy Fair Virtual Showroom, which opened on Monday, February 15. The Showroom features more than 70 new games and toys as well as every current item that University Games markets.

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals

(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and More) . . .

Spielwarenmesse 2022: Most important industry network launches digital platform for live event. In 2022, the world’s leading trade fair for toys is launching an innovative business platform known as Spielwarenmesse Digital. In doing so, the organiser is responding to the needs of both visitors and exhibitors by combining the indispensable live event with a range of digital opportunities. 

The Independent Toy & Gift Show has been rescheduled Following the recent government announcement, the Independent Toy & Gift Show has been rescheduled from 13th &14th April to 14th & 15th September 2021. Play-room, the organiser of the show, says Cranmore Park is set up in accordance with Covid secure measures and that recommended safeguards will be implemented to ensure all attendees feel confident....

Australian Toy Fair | Virtual platform ‘opens international shop window’ for global visitorsThe 56th Australian Toy Fair, taking place this March, may not look anything like the 55 before it ever did – or ever imagined it would – with pandemic precautions forcing it onto an all-virtual platform this year, but that doesn’t mean the show will be any smaller for it.

NPD has revealed the winners for its Global and European Toy Industry Performance Awards, both Nintendo and LEGO took home wins. Nintendo received a major honor, winning Europe’s Top Gaining Toy Property of the Year for the Mario/Mario Kart brands. Nintendo and LEGO won another award in Europe’s Top Gaining Toy Property by Category for Super LEGO Mario, with the release taking home the top spot in the...

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.

David Gold - Dave was with Ideal, Mattel, Spellbound Dolls and Just Play Toys. 

Darrell BurgeToy World is sad to report the passing of Hornby's Darrell Burge, well known for working extensively on the Airfix brand, who died suddenly on February 10th.  CEO of Hornby, Lyndon Davies, described the news as ‘very sad and very sudden’. He commented: “Darrell had Airfix running through his veins, working at Humbrol in Hull before he joined Hornby in Margate in 2006. Working with both the Airfix and the Humbrol brands, he was highly respected throughout the industry. He was full of fun and energy, many would have met with him at shows and events across the country. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Jane, his children Emily, Martin and Gavin and his granddaughter, Oriana.”

Darrell enjoyed a long and successful career at Hornby. As product manager at Airfix, he oversaw the revitalisation of Airfix products and the brand over the last decade and was a popular member of the Hornby team. His former colleagues have been quick to share their fond memories of working alongside Darrell over the years.

Geoff Hall of Geoff's Toys Toy World is sad to report that independent toy shop owner Geoff Hall passed away on 6th February at the age of 89 after a short illness.  Geoff made the move from running a newsagent to opening toyshops in the early 1970s, with the launch of the first branch of Geoff’s Toys in Coalville, Leicester, followed by two further shops in partnership with his wife and children. Having joined Toymaster in the 1990s to get better trading terms, Geoff became a longstanding and keen member of the group. He was still a member when the business ceased trading in 2018, after a successful 50 years. Geoff’s son Nick told Toy World that Geoff loved buying toys and was well respected by visiting reps and agents, although his formidable determination to get the best deal was something they came to be cautious about when calling.

Robert A. Altman, the co-founder of video game company ZeniMax Media, which published top franchises including The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, has died. His cause of death was not immediately clear. Altman co-founded the Maryland-based ZeniMax Media in 1986, ultimately becoming one of the video game industry's biggest publishers. In 2009, ZeniMax acquired id Software, famously known for creating classic games such as Doom and Wolfenstein. Last September, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax in a deal worth $7.5 billion. Altman was married to "Wonder Woman" star Lynda Carter. They had two children together, James Altman, 33, and Jessica Altman, 27.

Loretta Whitfield, co-creator of Black Baby Whitney doll, As a District of Columbia Public Schools and Howard University graduate, Loretta Whitfield, who died on Dec. 27 at the age of 79, knew the value of representation.  Whitfield and her husband Melvin Whitfield established Lomel Enterprises- a combination of the beginning of their first names- as a means of offering toys to Black children that looked like them, and with research and hard work the baby Whitney doll was born.  “Loretta [and] Melvin thought that there was a need to fill a gap that left children of color without positive images.  They spent seven years researching and developing Baby Whitney, a Black doll. The Whitfields even hired an African art historian to design the doll’s face, which is based on a fertility doll in West Africa,”  according to an obituary submitted to the AFRO.

The Baby Whitney doll was groundbreaking and featured as a toy to look out for in several publications, including the LA Times, Ebony and a 1987 New York Times article on the Black doll debate.

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Toy Trade Monthly Issues...

Weekly Top Stories from Toy Trade Magazines Worldwide...

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. February 2021 Issue of TFE/TFE Licensing 

  2. Toy Association Announces Top Toy Trends of 2021

  3. Far Out Toys Announces Launch of Far Out Studios

  4. JAKKS Pacific Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2020 Financial Results

  5. Spin Master Taps Toy Trends for 2021 Lineup

  6. Toy Association Announces Toy of the Year 2021 Winners

  7. Brand Central VP Promoted to SVP 

  8. Jazwares Introduces Collectible GlamCrush Line

  9. Q&A With Jenga Creator Leslie Scott

  10. JAKKS Pacific & Disguise to Create Sonic Sequel Merch

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Music and passion are always in fashion…it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Imaginarium to close majority of stores in Spain

  3. Toy sales buck the trend as January retail sales fall

  4. Lego Vidiyo sees first product drop and signing of new artist L.L.A.M.A

  5. MGA debuts LOL Surprise Dance Dance Dance!

  6. Rubie’s announces Joel Weinshanker to lead global business

  7. Obituary: Darrell Burge

  8. Paddington 3 movie confirmed as Copyrights announces Rai Com as new Italian agent

  9. Mattel Television announces two Barbie specials

  10. Latest figures reveal mounting hassle for UK importers

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

  1.  Chain Store Pickers Used Tracking Tile on Merchandiser's Vehicle
  2.  Wizards of the Coast Drops a 'Magic: The Gathering' Ban Announcement That Affects Eternal Formats
  3.  TCGplayer Puts POS Plug-In into Beta
  4.  The Pokemon Company Issues Statement on Product Availability
  5.  ACD Distribution Required to Pay $250K+ to WotC for Fees, Files Appeal
  6.  Rolling for Initiative -- Love, (Event)Links, and Lawsuits
  7.  Asmodee Acquires Board Game Arena
  8.  TCG Market Analysis: A New Year, A New King of the TCG Hill
  9.  Hasbro Discontinues 'The Mandalorian's' Cara Dune Action Figures
10.  'Pokemon,' 'Mandalorian' Win Big in Toy of the Year Awards

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

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

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Subastral Announced, The Game Face to Face, Renegade Game Studios has announced a new set collection card game, Pandasaurus Games will be releasing a two player competitive spin-off of The Game, and CMON has announced We Care - A Grizzled Game.

Video of the Week! 

What are Mass Retailers Looking For CHIT

The POP Week panels were aired on two separate platforms, there are slight changes to the version first aired on our website with over 13,700 viewers and on this

separate YouTube version we uploaded to share here...

What are Mass Retailers Looking For? 

Our moderator is David Norman (President of Goliath North American and Global Gaming)

with panelists:  Mark Menichini (Toy Buyer at Meijer) and Daniel Warren (Toy Buyer at JCPenney)

 

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