January 20 - 27, 2023
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin’ Friday!
From all reports, London Toy Fair was a great success, all sounds coming across the pond were positive, and now it is onward to Nuremberg! Just one more thing before everybody leaves London… there is a new I.D.I.O.T. in town! Congratulations to Tanya Thompson of Hasbro for winning the International Designer and Inventor of Toys award at the UK Inventor Dinner this week! We're all dead chuffed!
Congratulations too to those who made the short list of Hero Toys chosen by the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA), and hooray for all the UK Toy Retailers Association Award winners!
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report. If you can't wait for the news to arrive each Friday, check out the Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed!
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Columnist - Nancy Zwiers
I love the new chapter in my career—executive coaching. I had always loved mentoring—giving advice to help people meet the challenges and opportunities in their careers. I assumed that coaching was basically the same thing. However, during my certification process, I learned that there is an important distinction between mentoring and coaching.
Coaching is not about giving advice. It is about asking powerful questions.
What makes for a powerful question?
A powerful question helps someone achieve a new insight, breakthrough, or aha moment.
It turbocharges growth, helping someone leap forward on their journey.
It is open ended because yes or no answers can’t create new openings.
It usually doesn’t ask “Why?” because why questions tend to make people defensive and this can stunt the opportunity for growth in that moment (e.g. “Why did you do that?”)
It usually starts with either “How” or “What.”
Let’s take a look at 30 examples of powerful questions that you can use with yourself or your people…
Person of the Week - TOMY's Design Director Erez Bar Am
Always in Start-Up Mode
You started your career in Israel, where you grew up. Tell us about that.
My industrial design career actually started in Germany, where I worked for a studio that specialized in furniture, home décor and appliances. Designing for the European market is very different than designing for the American market, especially when it comes to furniture and toys. My time in Germany was a real eye opener for me. When I came back to Israel, my perspective on design changed a bit from what it was before I went to Germany.
Growing up in a country like Israel, with limited resources--and at that time, limited exposure to the world--meant that people in my country had to make do with what they had available. A mentality of improvisation and the ambition to thrive helped Israel become an innovation-led nation.”
Most Israelis you’ll meet are like the TV show character, MacGyver. They adapt to what’s around them to solve problems in a creative way. Problem-solving is a big part of our identity. When I went to Israel from Germany, I started working in design and quickly moved into working for a VC company that invested in early start-ups. It was a very busy time, but I loved it! I worked on developing products that used cutting edge technologies and incorporated user-centric design.
Cartoon of the Week from... One of Santa's Elves
Thanks to Bob Fuhrer, we added Cartoon of the Week to the Bloom Report and our readers are loving it! Last week longtime Bloom Report reader, Rick Stringer sent one and this week we have this gem from a reader who prefers not to be named.
Have a cartoon or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me at email@example.com! Can't wait to see what you've got!
Financial and Legal
Giochi Preziosi Group has acquired the doll and accessories business of Muñecas Arias, the Spanish doll brand created more than 45 years ago in Castalla. The acquisition is in line with the strategy of the Group to create a solid, broad baseline of own property brands that will allow the business of Arias to grow in the Spanish, European and worldwide market.
Jumbodiset Group acquires Yulu. Jumbodiset and Yulu have been working closely over the last few years and are taking the next step in their strong collaboration. As part of the integration of Yulu, both founders and directors of Yulu, Jochem van Rijn and Thijmende Schipper, have joined the company. Jochem will lead the International Business Development operation, whilst Thijmen will be part of the Product Development...
BBC Studios targets global acquisitions as strategy to double in size takes shape. The commercial arm of the UK public broadcaster has focused almost all of its investment on UK production groups over the past decade, with recent deals seeing the company take a minority stake in Small Axe producer, Turbine Studios, and It also recently took full ownership of Inside The Factory outfit Voltage TV and acquired a 25% stake...
TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew will appear before the U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee in March, as lawmakers scrutinize the Chinese-owned video-sharing app. Chew will testify before the committee on March 23, which will be his first appearance before a congressional committee, said Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Republican chair of the panel, in a statement on Monday.
***The above posted after January 27th***
Merriam-Webster buys Wordle-style hit game Quordle. US dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster has acquired a hit Wordle-style game. The original Wordle, created by Welsh software engineer Josh Wardle, challenges players to find a five-letter word in six guesses. Quordle ups the ante, asking players to guess four five-letter words at once within nine attempts. The NY Times acquired Wordle for a low seven-figure sum. While Heardle, a song-guessing game also inspired by Wordle, was bought by Spotify, in July.
‘Angry Birds’ Owner Gets Takeover Bid From Playtika. Rovio says it isn’t engaged in deal talks and there was no assurance a deal would be reached. Shares in the owner of the “Angry Birds” mobile game franchise soared Friday after it said it had received a 751 million euro takeover proposal, equivalent to $813.5 million, from a rival developer, as a slowdown in the games industry spurs consolidation.
BBC insiders are saying it is inevitable that UK staff will stage their first major walkout in more than a decade as they protest over content cuts. Employees at the broadcaster are furious at proposals to scale back local television and radio programming across the country and believe it is only a matter of time before they will have a mandate for strike action. Should staff down tools, they will join a long list of workers...
US economic growth stronger than expected. The US economy fared better than expected at the end of last year, despite higher borrowing costs and the rising cost of living weighing on activity. The economy grew at an annual rate of 2.9% in the last three months of 2022, the US Commerce Department said. That was down from 3.2% in the prior quarter, as housing activity tumbled. Analysts are worried that the US economy...
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***The above posted after January 27th***
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
***The above posted after January 27th***
Stories, Comments, and Advice
Rick Derr from Learning Express explains how to keep consumers shopping local by following the principles of ‘Teams, Products and Wow’. In his last column, Rick told us that the last 10 days of trading in 2022 went from sales of woe to sales are GO. In this month’s column, he tells us how the positive momentum continued into 2023, with sales in the first week of January well above past norms, and he explains what...
Layoffs at Hasbro may be a sign that the high-flying toy industry’s coming back down to Earth. The pandemic was a real boon to the toy industry, what with every kid in the country cooped up at home. Over the first two years of COVID, toy sales in the U.S. grew by around 33%, according to figures from analysts at the NPD Group. But last year was a bit of a comedown, with sales declining by 0.2%.
Want box-office success? Focus on these character traits. A new report from The Center for Scholars & Storytellers at UCLA explores character strengths and the impact they have on box-office performance of modern kids movies. Children are spending a significant portion of their time consuming media— which is a good thing for those who make content; a potential concern for parents whose kids consume it; and...
Mars craters and cracks create adorable image of a teddy bear in latest NASA image. So what caused the adorable tattoo-esque image on the planet's surface? According to the University of Arizona, it was formed by a series of structural changes that happened to line up in just the right way. The circle encompassing the bear's head is actually a surface fracture that could have been caused by the "settling of a deposit...
***The above posted after January 27th***
John Baulch, Toy World - What a week…it’s the Friday Blog! No post-Toy Fair lie-in for me – I was up nice and early this morning to hastily gather my thoughts on this week’s show for today’s Blog. Thankfully, I didn’t have to think too long about how to sum up proceedings- the London Toy Fair was, simply, a triumph.
Steve Reece, The Toy Industry Journal - UK Toyfair 2023 Review & UK Toy Market Update. Having missed 2022’s comeback UK Toyfair due to contracting Covid 2 days before the show, I took extra pleasure in strolling along the aisles of the 2023 show. Glowing - almost euphoric - LinkedIn comments suggest that I was not alone among the UK & visiting international Toy & Games fraternity to experience a real high at this year’s show.
Why Disney Built Its Own Ad Server for Disney+ and Hulu — and What the YODA Does. Disney’s prowess as an entertainment powerhouse is undisputed. Aaron LaBerge, chief technology officer of the Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution div, argues that the company also has also built an industry-leading competency in ad tech. Over the last several years, LaBerge’s team has created its own advertising-delivery stack...
Pollock’s Toy Museum, the oldest toy museum in the UK, has announced its closure. In order to reopen, “major capital funding” is needed.
Found in London‘s Fitzrovia district, Pollock’s Toy Museum is home to a collection of toy theatres, dolls, games and “elderly teddy bears”. These are now temporarily in storage. Per a statement on the museum’s website, it is looking for another home and has closed “due to a change in...
Original 'D&D' OGL architect Ryan Dancey's petition to Hasbro nears 25,000 signatures. Original Dungeons & Dragons Open Gaming License architect Ryan Dancey's petition to Hasbro and subsidiary Wizards of the Coast, demanding that they make a public statement that they will not pursue any plans to deauthorize or revoke OGL v1.0a, is nearing 25,000 signatures on Change.org.
Why are toy commercials still like this? Plenty of modern parents want their kids to play with whatever they like. But in ad-world, dolls are for girls, and trucks are for boys. Last month, I ran a tiny media experiment in my own home: I recorded all of the toy commercials that my 3-year-old daughter watched in a one-week period, looking for patterns in how she was being advertised to. What I saw in those 28 ads was...
History and Nostalgia
Who first thought of Baby Nancy Dolls? After the Watts Riots in 1965, Louis S. Smith II and Robert Hall joined with civil rights activists and community members to form Operation Bootstrap. The organization’s goal was empowerment and social and economic equity. In 1968, they launched Shindana Toys, a community-owned company with a mission to make toys that “reflect Black pride, Black talent, and...
***The above was posted after January 27th***
A. C. Gilbert, the Greatest Generation’s Greatest Toymaker. A gifted athlete and pole-vaulting gold medalist at the 1908 London Olympics, Gilbert was also a talented illusionist who financed his Yale medical school education performing as a magician. Choosing magic over medicine, the 24-year-old Gilbert and a partner formed the Mysto Manufacturing Company in New Haven in 1909 to sell tricks to would-be prestidigitators.
Blue Streak Freight Train from Lionel. One of my favorite toys that I received as a child was the Blue Streak Freight Train Set. Released in 1973, the Blue Streak was an entry-level O-27 gauge train set produced by Lionel. The set included a blue Jersey Central Lines Steam Locomotive with a 2-4-2 wheel configuration and attached Tender car. Lionel integrated several features into the locomotive to increase the fun factor...
Mind Maze from Parker Brothers. Released in 1970 by Parker Brothers, the Mind Maze game was a head-to-head race for players to be the first to find their way out of an opponent’s maze. With the vertical dual-sided game board set between them, two players each assembled a maze on the left half of their side of the board. This was accomplished by clicking white plastic barriers in at various points within the grid of...
Licensing and Entertainment
Disney+ and Lucasfilm are expanding the Star Wars galaxy in more ways than one, curating a list of nine animation studios from around the world that have been invited to create Star Wars shorts, each in a different style, for the second season of their Star Wars: Visions anthology. In the mix for this round are Cartoon Saloon (Ireland), Aardman (UK), Triggerfish (South Africa), El Guiri (Spain), Punkrobot (Chile),...
British broadcaster Sky Kids has acquired The Singalings, an out-of-this-world musical preschool series from Snipple Originals, the London-based content division of Snipple Animation in the Philippines. Animated in 2D, The Singalings (26 x five minutes) is about three extraterrestrials who are exploring Earth for the first time, and each episode kicks off with an original song. Leaning into the power of earworms...
WildBrain has secured representation rights to Mediawan Kids & Family’s new superhero adventure series, Petronix Defenders, in the U.S. and Canada. Under its dedicated North America office, WildBrain CPLG will build a cross-category consumer products program aimed at kids aged 4-8 yrs, with target categories including publishing, apparel and role-play accessories, alongside digital gaming and commercial tie-ins.
With its brands FAO Schwarz, Sharper Image, Discovery Toys and Discovery #Mindblown, ThreeSixty Group welcomes visitors to its stand at the Nuremberg TF this year, as it expands across the European market. The numerous lines on offer across its product portfolio have been designed to inspire children’s imaginations and creativity, and all enjoy great popularity with kids of all ages.
Two French powerhouses, APC Kids, part of leading co-production and distribution group APC Studios, and leading content creator TeamTO, have joined forces on the new action-adventure comedy series Jade Armor. The partnership will see APC Kids distribute the series worldwide, excluding the Americas and China.
Moonbug Entertainment, a subsidiary of Candle Media, has announced the global launch of CoComelon HugMees, a new collection from leading plush brand Squishmallows by Jazwares. Following a successful launch in the US, the collection will be shown at Nuremberg Toy Fair from February 1st-5th. The CoComelon HugMees by Squishmallows is the latest addition to the squad of high-quality plush toys...
Int'l licensing company and studio Animaccord has partnered with Giochi Preziosi to develop a new Masha and the Bear toy collection which will launch later this year in Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Greece, as well as in other European countries in 2024. Production of the new toy line will include licensed products such as plush toys, dolls and play sets. Moreover, in 2024 Giochi Preziosi will extend the product...
LA-based Legendary Entertainment has partnered with HarperCollins Productions to make a live-action feature film based on classic picture book series Danny and the Dinosaur. Caroline Fraser, head of HarperCollins Productions and a producer on the film, confirmed the deal on LinkedIn yesterday. Legendary is financing the production, and HarperCollins optioned the film rights to the publishing franchise...
Toronto’s WildBrain has acquired worldwide distribution rights (excluding Ireland) to CG-animated series Ray of Sunshine. Dublin-based Daily Madness (Ollie) produces the show, which launched locally on RTÉjr at the end of 2022. Aimed at kids ages three to six, Ray of Sunshine (26 x seven minutes) stars an outgoing seven-year-old who engages with his eclectic neighbors in the heart of downtown Dublin.
Hunter Price International has signed with Paramount Consumer Products UK to develop an extensive range of consumer products based on Paw Patrol. The partnership will see Hunter Price create a wide-ranging product collection for Paw Patrol, the leading pre-school brand created by Spin Master Entertainment and airing on Nick Jr and Milkshake! The product collection will have a key focus on creative play...
BBC Studios has agreed a global partnership with Tomy International to grow its licensed toy category with the addition of the multi-award-winning children’s TV property Bluey. The animated Blue Heeler pup will feature on a brand-new range of Toomies bath toys, launching with a line based on the Sing and Swim format. Swimming Bluey is planned to go on sale in the UK, US, Canada and Australia from Q3 2023,...
New DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran released their plans for the first ten DC movie and television projects they have in development, and updated status on a couple of previously announced projects. Their new slate includes Superman: Legacy, The Authority and eight other projects, all of which will be set in a shared universe with characters that migrate among movies, TV series, animation, and games.
Superights—the sales division of French prodco Superprod—has finalized more pre-sales for upcoming tween sitcom Home Sweet Rome!. The distributor has just sold it to pubcasters RAI (Italy) and ARD (Germany), which will join the BBC and Canada’s Family Channel in running the live-action series after it premieres on HBO Max in the US later this year.
Paris-based distributor Kids First has inked broadcast deals for CG-animated series Hello Kitty: Super Style! in Europe, East Africa and North America. New broadcast partners include Viaplay (Scandinavia, the Baltics, Poland and Benelux); Super RTL (Germany); Canal Panda (Portugal); Canal+ (Poland and Ethiopia), and CBC Kids (Canada). Aimed at kids five to eight, Hello Kitty: Super Style! (52 x 11 minutes) follows...
For the first time, Dino Ranch Live is hitting the road and will appear in more than 60 cities beginning 24th March. The fun-filled, family friendly and action-packed live show is based on the hit animated series seen on Disney Junior and follows the adventures of the Cassidy family and junior Ranchers Jon, Min, Miguel, their loveable dinos Blitz, Clover and Tango and the mischievous Tin Horn Trio.
The modern take on the 80s girl-power icon, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is set to inspire a new generation of young fans and will premiere on Pop on Monday 6th February. From Eisner Award-winning author and executive producer ND Stevenson, She-Ra is a genre-smashing series full of adventure, fun, comedy and sincere heart. The trailblazing property originally debuted in 1985 to satisfy...
Faber-Castell is partnering with The World of Eric Carle Brand to launch a collection of craft and activity kits. This spring, Faber-Castell’s Creativity for Kids brand will bring arts-based products based on Eric Carle’s famous books to shelves. This alliance for the World of Eric Carle Brand and Creativity for Kids was brought together by the exclusive global licensing agent Joester Loria Group.
YuMe Toys, a division of the Maxx Group of companies, is launching its own range of design-led, premium quality collectible toys globally throughout 2023. The 7.5” collectible ranges will be developed for a number of YuMe Toys’ licensing partners, and features bespoke artwork, style and design. Marketed to the consumer as limited-edition collections, new lines will be unveiled throughout the year.
Moonbug Entertainment is showcasing Mexican culture with Nina (working title), a spinoff of its popular CoComelon franchise that features one of main character JJ’s best friends. Mexican-American toddler Nina has been part of the CoComelon crew since 2019. In her own series for preschoolers, she and her family’s culture, traditions and daily lives will be showcased through three-minute nursery rhymes.
***The above posted after January 27th***
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Clone Wars, The LEGO Group has unveiled two new Star Wars helmet building sets. Captain Rex and Commander Cody, two iconic heroes featured in the 2002 film Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, now have their own instantly recognizable helmet models.
Funko Games has announced the latest assortment of its fandom-inspired Pop! Puzzles featuring beloved pop-culture favorites including SpongeBob SquarePants, Ted Lasso, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic Park. Since the debut of Pop! Puzzles Avatar: The Last Airbender, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Elf, Funko Games has contributed to the growing popularity of jigsaw puzzles.
PAW Patrol is an impressively popular brand with all kinds of toys, shows, and even new spinoffs of the original series. The upcoming PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie is the second big-screen appearance for the franchise. The movie is being made in collaboration between Spin Master Ent, Nickelodeon Movies, and Paramount Pictures, and features a newly released voice cast of both celebrity guests and returning voices.
Jakks Reveals Plans for Super Mario Bros. Movie Toys. Mario toys are nothing new, as the Nintendo property has been a success since its inception. But the video game icon is now making it to the big screen and with the release of The Super Mario Bros. Movie quickly approaching this April, new toy releases are on the way. JAKKS Pacific will be capitalizing on this with a toy line for the new movie.
Canada’s Cartoon Conrad Productions and Toronto’s Big Mouth Productions are co-producing and developing the popular YouTube brand Baby Big Mouth into a 2D-animated series for 4-6-yr-olds. Big Mouth Productions, creator/owner of the Baby Big Mouth IP, launched in 2013 as a YouTube channel that now boasts 10.4 million subscribers worldwide and features a mix of roughly 200 sing-along and educational videos.
ToyTopic is launching its Paw Patrol plush range for autumn/winter 2023 with Christmas themed pups. A selection of Easter, Halloween and Valentines themed plush will follow in 2024, all available in small, medium, large and pocket money sizes. Paul Cook, sales director at ToyTopic UK, commented: “We are incredibly excited to be partnering with Paramount to launch our Paw Patrol plush product at London Toy Fair.
CoComelon, the world’s most popular kids entertainment brand, is poised to support even more little ones in their foundational years as the franchise continues to expand. Moonbug Entertainment, a subsidiary of Candle Media, has announced significant momentum across the entire franchise, including an additional beloved character getting their own show in 2023 – Nina! The launch of Nina builds on the successful...
The Woobles, the first learn-to-crochet company to leverage emerging ed-tech tools to successfully teach the art of crocheting to complete beginners, just released its first licensed kits- starring Miffy! Thanks to The Woobles, fans can now crochet their very own Miffy, along with ear-resistable themed accessories. Known for its adorable amigurumi plushies, a collaboration with the marvelous Miffy was a...
Paris-based Superights has acquired worldwide distribution rights (excluding China and Luxembourg) to a new CG-animated series called Deep in the Bowl from Zeilt Productions. Targeting kids ages eight to 12, the 52 x five-minute show revolves around a group of pet fish who ponder existential questions such as “What is the meaning of life?” from their glass abode.
Just Play announced a worldwide master toy licensing agreement with Hasbro for its FurReal brand. Just Play’s FurReal pets product line will launch globally in 2024 with a whole new collection of interactive pets. With authentic animatronic features that mimic the mannerisms and behaviours of both real animals and mythical creatures, the FurReal brand has led the interactive pets’ category for over 18 yrs...
Scentco Inc, a renowned U.S. toy designer and distributor, and producers of the fast growing Bedtime Defenderz plush toy line, has inked a deal with Armada Content to produce 12 episodes of new animated entertainment content to be released in the Fall of 2023 on YouTube. The new animated content will tell the stories behind the origin of the Bedtime Defenderz and their nemesis Torrag, Master of Shadows.
Mattel is putting gas in the tank of its Warner Bros-Bad Robot movie Hot Wheels with writers Dalton Leeb and Nicholas Jacobson-Larson boarding to pen the live-action adaptation of the 54-year old racecar toys. Robbie Brenner, EP for Mattel Films, will lead the project alongside VP Kevin McKeon, VP and creative executive Andrew Scannell. Hannah Minghella and Jon Cohen are overseeing for Bad Robot. Peter Dodd,...
Hasbro and Funko Games have inked a new, multi-year licensing partnership to produce a 25th-anniversary edition of Cranium and new board games designed by Funko Games. Cranium first came out in 1998 with activities — including art, trivia, language, and performance — before being bought by Hasbro in 2008. The Cranium 25th Anniversary Edition features 18 old and new activities, hundreds of new cards,...
Barcelona’s DeAPlaneta has acquired Madrid-based BRB Internacional’s entire film and series catalogue, which includes 1,000 classic animated series and feature films in multiple languages. In addition to controlling the rights to existing titles such as Around the World with Willy Fog, Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds, The World of David, the Gnome and RG Animation Studios’ CG-animated series Bernard Bear...
Canada’s Waterside Studios is developing a new teen series for Netflix based on the Geek Girl book series by British author Holly Smale. The publishing range follows a socially awkward neurodivergent 15-year-old girl, who must learn to juggle high school and high fashion after she lands a major modeling gig. Waterside’s 10 x 30-minute series will launch on Netflix everywhere except Canada, where it will air on...
Roy & Charcle LLC and PhatMojo have announced their partnership for the massive hit video game experience, Rainbow Friends. Under the worldwide agreement, PhatMojo will launch the Rainbow Friends master toy range this spring. Additionally, they will support the franchise via consumer products licensing and retail development.
Characters from the Wizarding World will join the Schleich lineup beginning in September with a launch wave that includes six of the series’ main characters alongside their animal companions. Schleich says that the line is “primarily targeted toward kids ages 6-12,” but there is no doubt that the growing kidult segment will also find something to enjoy.
The new UK & Eire partnership will see John Adams Leisure develop, manufacture and distribute the first ever official The1% Club board game. The 1% Club debuted on TV in the UK in 2021, hosted by British actor and comedian Lee Mack and produced by Magnum Media for ITV. The entertaining game show is the ultimate leveller as it doesn’t matter if you can’t remember facts and figures; the questions...
Random House builds an IP around teen star Zaila Avant-garde. The publisher is working on a book series and other franchise plans for the 16-year-old spelling bee champ and record-holding b-ball prodigy. Random House is planning to turn her life story and impressive achievements into a publishing franchise, starting with It’s Not Bragging If It’s True: How to Be Awesome at Life and Words of Wonder from Z to A.
ZAG Play brings ‘Miraculous’ trading card game to the European marketplace. ZAG has launched its first trading card game for the “Miraculous” franchise at retail in Germany and Austria and will roll-out to other European countries in the coming months. “Miraculous Secrets,” from the ZAG Play Toy Division, was developed in partnership with Epopia, the creator of an interactive platform that encourages children to...
Fisher-Price unveils ‘Seinfeld’ Little People collector set. Fisher-Price is saying, “Festivus for the rest of us!” in collaboration with Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products for the unveiling of a “Seinfeld” Little People collector set. The scenes set Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer in apartment 5A and their booth in Monk’s Cafe to honor 30+ years of laughs from the “show about nothing” and “yada, yada, yada.”
Goose Goose Duck partners with Toikido. Toikido is fast becoming the go to company for games looking for a global merchandise and toy presence. The depth of character in its latest tie-up; the game Goose Goose Duck, plays perfectly into Toikido’s hands and experience. Darran Garnham, founder and CEO at Toikido, said: “We love passionate studios owners with a passionate community of fans and with Gaggle...
WowWee and Character Options partner on Mintid Dog-E. In the wake of WowWee‘s highly successful launch earlier this month at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, which resulted in coverage generating over 4b potential impressions worldwide and great anticipation from the tech trade, the company has announced a strategic partnership with Character Options to bring its new robot dog, Mintid Dog-E, to the...
People of Play
With a 2023 Oscar nomination in his pocket and a new overall deal at Netflix, veteran animated film director Chris Williams is feeling bullish about his prospects for pushing the boundaries of storytelling in 2024. Williams is the capitan (er, director) of The Sea Beast, a Netflix Original movie that is nominated for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Academy Awards. The film was a “monster” hit for Netflix, where it ...
Rebecca Rørmark has been promoted to the newly created role of senior VP, head of streaming marketing, for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), reporting into Patrizio Spagnoletto, global chief marketing officer for direct-to-consumer. WBD is currently preparing for the launch of its global streaming platform that will amalgamate HBO Max and Discovery+ content into a single user...
Licensing expert offers wellbeing workshops. Hannah Holt spent well over a decade working in licensing. “I have so many fond memories of the licensing industry,” she told Toy World. “I spent 15 years of my life surrounded by wonderful people, worked on some amazing brands, from Vegas to ExCeL; and I’ve experienced all the highs and the lows.” Hannah recognises that the fast pace of industries such as licensing and toys...
Madeline McIntosh, one of the most powerful figures in American book publishing, is stepping down from her role as chief executive of Penguin Random House U.S. The announcement comes during a time of great turbulence for Penguin Random House, by far the country’s largest book publisher. Markus Dohle, who was the chief executive of Penguin Random House, and McIntosh’s boss, resigned from his position...
British prodco Aardman (Shaun the Sheep) has promoted Laura Taylor-Williams into a brand-new head of digital and strategic development position. She’s charged with managing AVOD, FAST and EST (electronic sell-through) sales for the studio’s original content library, as well as for third-party IPs Aardman represents, such as Happy the Hoglet, a 26 x seven-minute, 2D-animated series from Ireland’s Paper Owl Films.
***The above posted after January 27th***
As part of a strategic global expansion to deliver premium, fan-first products and retail experiences worldwide, Universal Products & Experiences has announced the appointment of Rafael ‘Rafa’ Macias to the newly created position, EVP, global commercial officer, Consumer Products. Reporting to Vince Klaseus, President, Universal Products & Experiences, Rafael will lead UP&E’s global commercial strategies...
Gaye Dean is joining ZAG as the company’s Vice President for North America Retail Development. “With the outstanding success of its flagship brand, Miraculous, the ZAG name has become synonymous with providing empowering, engaging, and high-quality content and products to fans across the globe,” Dean says. “I am naturally delighted to join ZAG’s team, working closely with Lisa K. Foster to ensure that...
‘ON THE ROAD’ WITH MIKE RIZKALLA, CEO & CO-FOUNDER OF SNORBLE. We caught up with Mike Rizkalla, cofounder and CEO of Snorble (Skillman), a tech company focused on child development, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month. Snorble was one of a handful of featured companies to have a suite to themselves several floors above the Venetian Resort’s two levels of conference...
Wow! Stuff is delighted to announce the promotion of Dawn Lavalette to managing director. Formerly Head of Toys at Tesco, Dawn joined Wow! Stuff as commercial director in 2019, responsible for leading the company’s sales strategy and teams globally. Four years on, Dawn will take the helm as MD with her new position coinciding with the company’s launch of new products at Spielwarenmesse, Nuremberg.
Beacon Media, the paid media division of the agency, has revealed a pair of executive appointments that are designed to further foster the company’s expanded digital capabilities in media strategy, planning, and activation while broadening its programmatic buying capabilities.
“Over the past three years, Beacon Media has transformed itself into a digital media powerhouse by hiring top talent, investing in technology...
Paul Mabbs joins Canal Toys as senior national account manager. Canal Toys is delighted to appoint Paul to the team, who brings with him a wealth of knowledge from his time at John Adams, VTech, Smoby, Crayola and more recently, Sambro. “We are really thrilled to have Paul on board at Canal Toys. After five consecutive years of growth, Canal continues to have focused but ambitious plans to strengthen existing, and...
Geomagworld expands presence with new appointments. Andrew McCormick has been appointment as sales agent for Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. Geomag’s Clive Wooster said: “Geomagworld is delighted to have Andrew McCormick onboard as our Irish sales agent. Andrew needs no introduction to Irish customers with whom he has an exemplary reputation for professionalism and hard work.
Asmodee strengthens UK sales team ahead of Toy Fair. Asmodee has announced two new appointments in its Sales team, ahead of Toy Fair, with Gareth Newman promoted to senior national accounts manager and Lauren Busby to key accounts executive. “I am thrilled to promote Lauren to key account executive and Gareth to senior national accounts manager,” said Anil Boodhoo, sales director at Asmodee UK.
Companies and Brands
This yr, Hasbro celebrated 59 years of the iconic brand by presenting early digital renders of some upcoming action figures from its G.I. Joe Classified Series lineup. Retailers can look for the following characters to join the ranks later this yr. Each product from this wave of reveals is inspired by the 1982 G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero collection of 3.75-in scale action figures and vehicles but upgraded to the modern, premium...
Mattel’s game show, Pictionary has been renewed for a second season on FOX First Run. Hosted by Jerry O’Connell, each episode of Pictionary is 30 mins long. Much like the board game, the TV series features two teams as they try to guess what their teammates are drawing. Each team is helmed by a celebrity, such as Kate Flannery from The Office; Matt Iseman, the host of American Ninja Warrior; and Olympic figure...
The Mom’s Choice Awards has named Castle Panic as among the best in family-friendly media, products and services. The MCA evaluation process uses a propriety methodology in which entries are scored on a number of elements including production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal, and cost.
Tesco announces management job cuts. In what it has acknowledged as ‘a difficult but necessary decision to make’, Tesco has introduced a new efficiency plan, including a revised in-store management structure. The store changes will put over 2,000 roles at risk. The retailer has been introducing the new management structure over the past two years in approximately 350 of its smaller superstores and will now...
The studio has well and truly cracked the formula for musical movie hits. And now, it’s working to translate that success to the small screen with a more modern approach to making music for new animated series headed to Disney Channel and Disney+ in February. Jay Stutler, Disney TV Animation’s SVP of music, is leaning on some tried-and-true tricks and also some fresh new strategies to help...
Fan favorite fidget brand, NeeDoh, launches the seasonal collection this Spring, beginning with two Valentine’s Day NeeDoh designs followed by multi-season drops throughout the year. A juggernaut in the fidget world, NeeDoh has built a reputation for creating high quality, satisfying and interactive products of all shapes and sizes.
Vivid Goliath is excited to take its first steps into the nursery market with Modimi; a future focused range of infant toys that grows with baby to toddlers. With sustainability at its core, the new range from Vivid Goliath is made from durable, recycled materials and offers a wide variety of sensory and cognitive play experiences without compromising on fun. Based on the Montessori principle that focuses on the most...
Eolo Toys is set to showcase its new Gummymals at the Spielwarenmesse trade fair in Nuremberg this week, with the new range launching for spring/summer 23. Gummymals is a squeezable toy, featuring rubbery TPR material which gives the sensation of touching an actual gummy. The range of bright-coloured Gummymals is targeted at children aged 4 to 8, and comes with sensory features, so kids will be able...
Toikido…what’s next? CEO and founder Darran Garnham speaks to Rachael Simpson-Jones about why it’s so hard to pin down what Toikido does – and why it does it so well. For many, 2022 was a year of challenges and tightened belts. For Toikido, however, it was one of exceptional growth. The team has grown from just two at the start of last year – founder and CEO Darran and CPO Jeff Hall – to 12 at the start of this year.
Gifts and gadgets retailer, Gift Universe has embraced employee ownership, putting its future success in the hands of its employees. The co. says its decision to transition to an employee owner business decision was based on careful consideration of several factors as the founder, Paul Kraftman, approaches retirement in the next few years. The business is now majority owned by an Employee Ownership Trust...
***The above posted after January 27th***
The Rubik’s Cube just got a new look: a greener, eco-friendly one, that is! It’s the same iconic puzzle readers know and love, created with sustainability in mind. Rubik’s Re-Cube is the first 100% recycled Rubik’s 3×3 Cube, made from 100% recycled ABS plastic and packaged in 100% recycled cardboard. It is FSC certified, meeting the top criteria for sustainability standards. The Rubik’s Re-Cube is an example of...
The UK nation’s love affair with e-scooters continues as scooter brand Zinc Sports reports that its Formula E e-scooter has sold out online. The Zinc Formula E GZ1 Series Electric Scooter launched in the middle of December and while it has sold out online, models are still available from high street retailer Argos.
Shadow High Series 2 is the latest range to be added to the Rainbow High portfolio, following the successful launch of Shadow High Series 1 last year. Each doll is suitable for children aged 4+ and will retail at £29.99, as part of MGA Entertainment’s ongoing mission to offer more affordable toys amidst inflation. The second series welcomes new students to Shadow High, all with a fashion design focus.
Sesame Workshop Debuts New Resources to Support the Emotional Well-being of Military and Caregiving Families. Sesame Street for Military Families is launching new digital resources in English and Spanish, highlighting simple strategies for self-care and emotional well-being in military families. These new resources have been made possible by the generous support of Amazon Web Services, which shares Sesame...
By the power of Grayskull, Mattel is doing even more Masters of the Universe (MOTU) collabs! After partnering with PUMA and artist Virgil Abloh last fall, Mattel is releasing new Eternia-themed collectibles and apparel with Be@rbricks and streetwear brand Mishka NYC. Be@rbricks are a popular line of art toy figures that feature a human-shaped body and a bear head. There are two new MOTU Be@rbricks on the way...
In a move that the co. says will strengthen its long-term growth in the U.S. and throughout the Americas region, LEGO will vacate its current office in Enfield, CT in favor of a new space in Boston. The LEGO Group first set up shop in Enfield back in 1975. The original site had an office, factory, and warehouse, but the current location is only offices. The move to Boston will occur in phases beginning in mid-2025.
72 Shots Of The Funko Booth at London Toy Fair – And Escape Rooms Are Coming. I took a seat at Funko's booth at London's Toy Fair yesterday as part of Press Day and took a tour around the company, best known for its cartoon-stylised vinyl figures, but has been expanding with its Loungefly accessories range, as doubling down on its Funko Games range, making them doubly appropriate for Toy Fair.
Surprise, last year’s hit Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron and Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball. Year-to-date, Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron and Little Live Pets Mama Surprise were also the two best-selling items in Special Feature Plush according to NPD. In 2023, the company is making...
University Games expands Murder Mystery Party Games portfolio Richard Wells, MD of University Games UK and The Lagoon Group, sees great potential in this sector of the games and puzzles industry and commented: “Murder Mystery games have always been a staple in the University Games’ portfolio with the likes of the ever-popular Champagne Murders and Death By Chocolate. However, the last few years...
MegaChess, the world’s largest supplier of Giant Chess Sets, is pleased to announce the creation of the Perfect Chess Set. This tournament-style set was designed as a learning and training tool to help chess players at all levels develop their skills and master the game of chess. To help achieve its goal of creating the perfect tournament chess set with training, MegaChess collaborated with Chess Vibes Academy’s...
Barbie has officially announced the launch of the Bessie Coleman Inspiring Women doll, recognizing the first Black and Native American female pilot with a doll made in her likeness, in advance of her birthday, January 26th, and in celebration of Black History Month. To ensure Bessie’s legacy is truly represented, Barbie teamed up with Gigi Coleman, Bessie’s great-niece and President of The Bessie Coleman...
Australian company Moose Toys has released a commitment to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Sustainability is a big topic in every field, the toys and games industry being no exception. As environmentalism becomes more important to consumers, it becomes more critical for companies to declare their commitment to the cause. Moose Toys has set both short and long-term goals...
The Wrong Trousers. Multi-award-winning independent animation studio Aardman has announced plans for the 30th anniversary celebrations of Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers. Released in 1993, The Wrong Trousers was the first film starring the beloved duo to win an Oscar and introduced fan favourite Feathers McGraw, a villainous penguin with ambitions to put Wallace’s inventions to criminal use.
David Middleton is celebrating the hugely successful opening of his 3rd store, Freak Treat. The 900 sq ft store, located opposite Midco Toymaster in the Octagon Shopping Centre, specialises in the older toy and merchandise consumer – including kidults – with everything from t-shirts based on rock and metal bands, horror movies, cult franchises and more, Funko Pop! vinyl collectibles, anime and manga, action figures...
Under The Influence was invented during lockdown, pitched at Distoy and will now be launched by VR Distribution at Toy Fair. A 21 year old who got bored during lockdown decided to harness her entrepreneurial spirit and invent the ultimate party (and drinking) game. With nowhere to go with her friends, Talya Kishon – daughter of toy & game stalwart Danny Kishon – created the game to play with them.
LEGO continues to drive evolution for builders. Building on a successful 2022, which marked 90 yrs of LEGO play, the LEGO Group will continue to drive the evolution of play through 2023 with new play innovations for builders of all ages. This comes as NPD data reveals The LEGO Group is the UK’s number one toy manufacturer for the 8th consecutive yr with one LEGO product sold every second between Oct. and Dec. 2022.
Exploding Kittens will release English Language version of 'Top Ten'. Exploding Kittens announced that they will release an English language version of Top Ten, a party game, into U.S. retail in 2024. Top Ten, designed by Aurelian Picolet, was released into European markets in 2020 and later nominated for a Spiel des Jahres award in 2022. In this party game, players are all on the same team and are tasked with submitting...
KAP Toys welcomes Hello Kitty Cappuccino. Each Hello Kitty Cappuccino collectible from Sbabam looks like an ordinary cup of cappuccino, but when kids add cold water to the top of the coffee, a scented Hello Kitty Squishy collectible character appears. There are eight for kids to collect and enjoy. Hello Kitty is an iconic heritage brand created in 1974, which is managed and owned by Sanrio.
The Logo Drumond Park launches Best of The Royals Logo Game. The Logo collection of games by Drumond Park is all about ‘the things and people we know and love’ and is one of Britain’s most popular games. The new Best of the Royals edition has been created based on arguably the best-known family, as well as one of the best known ‘brands’, in the world.
Escape a desert island in 'Hellapagos (Big Box)'. Gigamic will release Hellapagos (Big Box), a new big box edition of the cooperative game, into U.S. retail on April 30, 2023. In this game, players take on the roles of survivors washed up on a desert island where resources are scarce. The only way to escape the island is to build a raft before a hurricane hits the island and wipes the survivors out.
Portal Games digs up 'Imperial Miners'. This fall, Portal Games will release Imperial Miners, a game by Tim Armstrong, the creator of Orbis and Arcana Rising. Set in the same game world as Portal’s Imperial Settlers but completely stand-alone, Imperial Miners is an engine-building game about digging for precious materials. Each player uses cards to construct their own mine, delving deeper with each card play.
Lookout Games to release 'Agricola 15th Anniversary Box'. Asmodee studio Lookout Games will mark the 15th anniversary of Uwe Rosenberg’s farming game Agricola with a deluxe $140 version. Good news for anyone who has tried to re-pack their copy, the deluxe reissue contains an organized inlay for quick setup and repacking as well as a box for the card deck, all within a redesigned box.
Miko partners with JDM Products. Miko is an advanced consumer robotics lab passionate about bringing the best of technology to young learners everywhere by engaging, educating and entertaining kids through the power of artificial intelligence. Miko uses AI to make learning fun, interactive and personal to every family. With the growth of Miko, it has decided to partner with well-known value-added distributors, JDM...
Craze appoints Click Distribution as UK & Ireland distributor. Craze has announced the appointment of Click Distribution (UK) to service UK and Ireland retailers exclusively from 1st January 2023. Click Distribution (UK) will showcase selected Craze lines at London Toy Fair next week. “The Craze brand has been developing very successfully in various European countries since its launch in 2012,” said Anna Sanfeliu COO, Craze.
Crowd's 'Evolution: New World' and 'Evolution: New World - Butterfly Effect' head to retail. CrowD Games will release Evolution: New World and Evolution: New World - Butterfly Effect, a science board game and expansion, into retail on March 7, 2023. Evolution: New World sends players through the story of how animals develop and evolve.
Ravensburger announces 'The Lord of the Rings Adventure Book Game'. Ravensburger announced The Lord of the Rings Adventure Book Game, a new storybook-style game, which will hit retail in August 2023 after an initial exclusive release through Target in February 2023. In this game, players must work together to deliver the One Ring to Mount Doom and destroy it before Sauron’s shadow consumes Middle-earth.
Metazoo Games reveals 'Native' for retail. MetaZoo Games unveiled Native, a new booster set for MetaZoo: Cryptid Nation TCG, into retail in April 2023. The Native expansion allows players to battle with ancient deities that have been hidden in the landscape. This expansion features new Fusion Aura Pages which is brought on by the ancient deities. The set will also showcase new Spells, ancient Arifacts, and more Contract ...
Asmodee reveals 'Setup'. Asmodee revealed Setup, a tile-based rummy game by Bezzerwizzer Studio, for release into retail on April 1, 2023. In Setup, players combine suits and numbers on tiles to earn points. This is a tile placement game where players build the combinations of tiles in any direction. They can even stack tiles to disrupt an opponents' game plan. It is a fast game with multiple game modes that is sure to be...
Zygomatic and Asmodee will release 'Timeline Twist'. Zygomatic and Asmodee will release Timeline Twist, a new cooperative card game, into retail in Spring 2023. Timeline Twist is a new addition to the Timeline series of card games, where players would attempt to accurately place different historical events, inventions, and discoveries in chronological order.
Paragon FX Group Batman Utility Set aims for growing adult collector market. In December NPD Goups released a report showing that “kidults” are responsible for one-fourth of all toy sales annually, around $9 billion worth, and are the biggest driver of growth throughout the industry. While this may be shocking news to some, it’s common knowledge in the halls of Paragon FX Group, as is evidenced by their latest...
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
MGM and Eon Productions partner with Nintendo and Microsoft to bring iconic Goldeneye 007 video game to a new generation of gamers. Critically Acclaimed Video Game Based on 1995 James Bond Film “GoldenEye” Arrives on Nintendo Switch and Microsoft’s Xbox on January 27th. GoldenEye 007, which originally released in 1997 on the Nintendo 64 system and quickly became one of the most popular …
Pegasus Spiele will release 'Dorfromantik' Into U.S. retail. Pegasus Spiele will release Dorfromantik, a cooperative board game based on a popular German video game, into U.S. retail in March 2023. The video game Dorfromantik is a city-building puzzle game published by Toukana Interaction for Microsoft Windows and the Nintendo Switch in 2022.
14 exciting games to expect from Nintendo Switch in 2023. The Nintendo Switch certainly feels as though its time is drawing to a close. Six years old this year, it was already a technological generation behind on its release, and there’s no question that it’s increasingly struggling to run the games it’s hosting. Despite all this, and even with the rise of the Steam Deck, there’s nothing else out there quite like it.
The Washington Post is axing its video game website, Launcher. The Washington Post is sunsetting its video game vertical, Launcher, and laying off members of the editorial team. As spotted by Axios media reporter Sara Fischer, the move comes amid wider layoffs at The Post, which is eliminating 20 newsroom positions and neglecting to fill 30 open positions.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous hits 1 million copies sold. Owlcat Games announced Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous has sold over 1 million copies worldwide. Based on Paizo's tabletop RPG, the isometric game originally released in 2021 for PC, followed by a release on last-gen consoles (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch via cloud) in late 2022.
Among US VR hits 1 million copies sold. Innersloth's social deduction game is blowing up in the VR market. The VR version of Among Us has now hit the 1 million mark. Developer Innersloth confirmed the news, adding that the game reached that benchmark 10 weeks after its release on Meta Quest and Windows in November 2022. Innersloth further revealed that the VR game has been played over 4 million times...
Highlighted Press Releases
LITTLE KIDS, INC. IS CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF NO-SPILL® BUBBLES, AND SO MUCH MORE IN 2023! From Wild New Ways To Collect And Play, To A First-Ever Technique For Egg Decorating, Little Kids Is Changing The Game With 8 New Toy Launches. Seekonk, MA (January 19, 2023) – It’s not just about bubbles at Little Kids anymore! Following up their innovative new foamy fun line of Fom Mania products from last year is a fun-dippin’, fist-pumpin’, ball-bouncin’, bubble-blastin’ line-up of new products across Little Kids’ Dippin’ Designs™, Junk Ball®, Ballz’n™, Föm Mania® and Fubbles® product lines!
Safety and Counterfeiting
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
Ninety delegates will take part in the 2023 Brand Licensing Europe’s Retail Mentoring Programme, a record number and 16 more than last year. New retailers include Dunelm, My 1st Years, Marie Curie, Longleat, HMV and Frasers Group. New Look and DFS return after taking part for the first time last year, and Ann Summers and Claire’s are both returning after a gap in attendance.
This spring, Nickelodeon will rollout a UK nationwide activity plan, inspired by the popular pre-school animated series, Paw Patrol, created by Spin Master Entertainment. Paw Patrol on a Stroll is an activity-led walk that nurseries, child carers and families can take part in with children, and will take place between 22nd-26th May to raise money for Dogs Trust.
Ahead of next week’s Spring Fair, Bhavika Pattni tells Sam Giltrow how the show is attracting a growing number of retailers looking to expand their offerings to include toys and games. While the toy fairs in London and Nuremberg command huge visitor numbers from toy retailers, Spring Fair attracts many people from across a wide range of retail sectors including gifts, fashion and homewares.
The winners of the 2023 ToyAwards were unveiled during the Press Preview for the 72nd Spielwarenmesse, with six outstanding new product ideas honoured with the prize for innovation. As an important quality seal, the ToyAward enjoys worldwide recognition. The prizewinning new products were selected by a 13-member international expert jury and rated in terms of comprehensibility of the product...
E3 2023 will feature little to no presence from the three console platform holders... neither Xbox, Sony nor Nintendo will be an official part of E3 2023, or have a booth on the showfloor at the Los Angeles Convention Center, when the annual trade show returns in June. 2023 will be the first year E3 has been physically hosted since 2019, with the last three years replaced by digital events due to the pandemic.
Toymaster has updated some job titles within the team to clarify to members what their responsibilities are, both internally and externally, to fit more in line with the roles they are fulfilling. “As we continually look to improve the service we offer to our Members and Suppliers, some of the roles performed by members of the team here in the office have evolved,” explained managing director Yogi Paramar.
UK Toy Fair 2023 – the magic is back. The 69th annual Toy Fair returned to Olympia London last week, welcoming back more than 250 exhibiting companies and thousands of visitors from around the world. The organisers report that the sold-out show welcomed just under 60 new exhibitors and increased its footprint by maximising the full space in the National Gallery to accommodate extra stands.
The BTHA has announced that the annual Toy Trust Media Auction has raised a colossal £107,100 during Toy Fair 2023, a record for the event. The auction sees airtime and printed media slots generously donated by leading online, print and trade journals, while major retailers also added valuable promotional slots in their catalogues, resulting in £100,000+ of media space to bid for.
Anna Marsh, CEO of production and distribution giant StudioCanal, will give one of the main keynote speeches for this year’s MIPTV, the global TV market confab held in Cannes in April. Marsh will address the international television industry at Cannes’ Palais des Festivals on Monday, April 17, the opening day of MIPTV 2023. Her Media Mastermind keynote will explore the increasing crossover between different mediums...
***The above posted after January 27th***
SPIELWARENMESSE 2023 TOYAWARDS NOMINEES REVEALED. ToyAward honors innovative new products based on 6 different categories: babies, preschool age, school children, teenagers, and adults, as well as products from startup companies and those that promote sustainability. An expert and int'l jury with backgrounds in retail, market research, education, and more narrowed down the submissions of 584...
MGA Entertainment (MGA) has triumphed at the UK Toy Industry Awards, taking home Doll of the Year Award for its Rainbow High Spring 2022 collection. This marks the fifth consecutive win in the UK Toy Industry Awards for MGA – and the first Doll of the Year win for Rainbow High. Since launching in 2020, Rainbow High – a fashion doll and entertainment brand – has continued to go from strength-to-strength.
This year’s London Toy Fair Best Stand Awards were presented on the opening day to a show newcomer and a company exhibiting for just its second year. Best Stand awards have been given to two companies at this year’s Toy Fair, with the British Toy & Hobby Association‘s director general, Roland Earl, awarding the presentations
The BTHA is pleased to announce that two Golden Teddy Awards have been presented to two exceptional individuals, both of whom have contributed considerably to the industry over many years. Golden Teddy Awards were presented to Michele Norton (Norton PR) and Julie Pittilla (Pittilla PR) at a special reception during London Toy Fair.
The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) has announced its 25 Hero Toys for 2023, which have been selected by a panel of industry experts and are based on informed predictions for this year’s trends. The winners were unveiled at 9.50am on 24th January at this year’s Toy Fair, with broadcaster and presenter Anna Williamson on hand to congratulate the winners. The selected toys are aimed at a range of ages...
Squishmallows, Mattel and Smyths have triumphed at the 58th annual Toy Industry Awards, with the full list of winners announced on the eve of London Toy Fair. Squishmallows, Mattel and Smyths have scooped the big wins at this year’s Toy Industry Awards, taking home Toy of the Year (7.5" Squishmallow), Supplier of the Year and Toy Retailer of the Year respectively. Two BTHA Special Recognition Awards were also...
Opportunities ahead with Toymaster. Yogi Parmar, managing director and Paul Reader, marketing director, discuss the last 12 months and how Toymaster continues to support its members. Many toy retailers faced a tough 2022 but the UK’s indies held firm, once again demonstrating the adaptability, nimbleness and optimism that have seen the channel safely through some of the most challenging years businesses have faced in...
RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed
Denni Rivette - A Tribute from Steve Rehkemper: A Vietnam Veteran and a toy industry veteran, Denni Rivette, passed away in Hong Kong on January 20, 2023 at the age of 80. Denni was a gifted illustrator and product designer throughout his long career which started in the 70's at Marvin Glass and Associates where he created many playful products, one of which has endured the test of time and is still sold today, the Hot Lips Telephone. After leaving Marvin Glass in the early 80's, Denni started a design consultancy in Chicago where he worked for many toy and consumer products companies. One of his earliest independent playthings was called Glazers, a squirtgun built into sunglasses. In the 90's Denni moved to Hong Kong to work for Tai Nam Industrial Co Ltd where he designed a continuous stream of toys across all categories for countless customers until he retired in 2007. Denni is survived by his wife Tammy Leung and was an extremely happy fun loving person until just days before his passing.
Lloyd Morrisett - “Sesame Street” co-creator Lloyd Morrisett has died at age 93, Sesame Workshop announced Monday.
“Lloyd leaves an outsized and indelible legacy among generations of children the world over, with ‘Sesame Street’ only the most visible tribute to a lifetime of good work and lasting impact,” Sesame Workshop tweeted. “Sesame Street” was created by Morrisett, a psychologist who was vice president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and television producer Joan Ganz Cooney. They brought on Jim Henson and his Muppets to help bring the show to life. The first episode ran on November 10, 1969.
Morrisett was a co-founder of Children’s Television Workshop, now called Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind “Sesame Street,” and served as its chairman of the board of trustees for more than 30 years before becoming a Lifetime Honorary Trustee, according to the Workshop.
Marilyn Maher - Longtime CFO of game and toy distributor ACD Distribution Marilyn Maher passed away in Henderson, Nevada on January 2 after a brief illness. She was 71. The Maher family had gathered to celebrate the holidays in Nevada where she and her husband planned to retire. Maher became Chief Financial Officer of ACD after the purchase of the company in 2007 by her son Robert Maher, Jr. (who is CEO, see "Interview with ACD’s New Owner"), and had served in the role since then. She and her husband, Robert Sr., have been splitting time between Middleton, Wisconsin (where ACD is headquartered) and their home in Oak Brook, Illinois since the acquisition. Earlier in her career Maher also served as Executive Director of the YWCA in Freeport, Illinois.
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- WizKids Updates Deets on Two 'Encounter in a Box' Sets
- WotC To Put 'D&D' Mechanics in Creative Commons License
- Rolling for Initiative -- OGL Version 1.2 Still Some Concerns
- D&D Beyond Addresses Misinformation Swirling Around OGL 1.1 Leak Controversy
- Ravensburger Announces 'The Lord of the Rings Adventure Book Game'
- Original 'D&D' OGL Architect Ryan Dancey's Petition to Hasbro Nears 25,000 Signatures
- Catalyst Game Labs and The Army Painter Unveil 'BattleTech Paint Starter'
- Asmodee and Repos Productions Announces New '7 Wonders' Expansion
- Osprey Announces Four Joseph A. McCullough Wargame Titles
- Hasbro and Funko Team Up to Refresh 'Cranium'
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Video of the Week
Azhelle Wade Interviews Joe Seymour from e-blox at
the Chicago Toy and Game Fair!
Take your Lego builds to the next level with E-Blox Circuit Blox kits! Did you know that E-Blox is a family owned company? In this video, I was lucky enough to interview one of the founders of E-Blox, Jim Seymour. As the VP and CTO of E-Blox, Jim heads the company’s research and development initiatives for their interactive and wireless, STEM focused toy products. During this video Jim shares the biggest struggles of being a toy entrepreneur and how the E-Blox team handles that challenge. You’ll also hear how E-Blox partners with schools to share their toys and get kids excited about STEM at an early age with an animated online curriculum. For all of the details, tap play and watch this interview held at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair.
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