the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is July 16 - 23, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles are posted daily with the most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights. 
Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

Welcome to your Weekly News Brief . . . 

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Happy Friday! ​

It’s not often Friday rolls around at the same time as a welcome and necessary bubble of free time, dappled with sunshine in the summertime. Yes, we make the toys. Yes, we’re busy. Yes this business is fraught with many changes and uncertainties. But today, go outside and play.

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.

​​

Mary

Editorial. Hasbro and the Critical Race Theory Dumpster Fire

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Hello. My name is Graeme Thomson. I’m the Managing Editor of The Bloom Report, and though I have been doing this job for slightly more than a year, I have not felt the need, or desire, to run an editorial or to speak to you directly. Today, however, is different.

 

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of days, it is unlikely that you would have missed at least some media coverage of the Whistleblower Exposes Hasbro for Pushing Critical Race Theory story. And you may be wondering why The Bloom Report, “the Toy Industry's #1 news summary worldwide”, hasn’t covered it.

 

The reason is simple. The Bloom Report is not a political publication. But, to date, the media coverage of this allegation is, and make no mistake, entirely political.

 

To be clear, The Bloom Report has absolutely no view, one way or the other, about Critical Race Theory. But it does have a view, a very strong one, about racism: it wholeheartedly denounces it. It also has an equally strong view about racial and social equity: it wholeheartedly supports it.

Read More . . . 

tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Answers:  Do Details Matter? Whose job on the Product Team is it to pay attention to details? What does Paul McCartney have to do with all this?

Q: Do Details Matter?

A: Um, yes.

Q: Whose job on the Product Team is it to pay attention to details?

A: Um, everyone’s.

Q: What does Paul McCartney have to do with all this?

A: I’m glad you asked.

 

Hulu is running a fascinating documentary right now, in which uber-producer Rick Rubin interviews Paul McCartney about his music-making process, primarily with that famous band he played in a while back. It’s a rare peek into a legend’s creative process, and it unearths pivotal details about how some of the songs we know best in the world were originally conceived. (I know most of you don’t care if the ‘birds’ sound in ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ was a stacked and endlessly looped guitar lick – it’s a big damn deal to me.)

What the documentary reveals, though, is how the little things – the details – can help turn something from just good to great. My design leaders continually reminded me that details matter. I drifted back to the packaging for Monster High . . .  Read More...

LOVE, Litzky by Michele Litzky - tBR People and Company of the Week

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A little about us. LPR is a boutique public relations agency that has been of service to the toy industry since the ‘80s. I founded the agency in 1988 after a career in consumer package goods marketing (I was part of the team that brought the supermarket hosiery brand, L’eggs, to the forefront in the ‘70s). Along the way, I learned from the best – not only about consumer package goods marketing but the toy industry. LPR has been fortunate enough to work with many of the industry’s greatest people, products, and brands over the years. 

 

During COVID we were called upon by our diverse roster of clients to help them pivot organically into relevant, timely conversations, from adjusting to the new WFH normal to civil unrest and supply chain and shipping issues; many of these issues continue today.

 

Last May, as our clients turned to us for counsel, we realized we needed to look at our own behavior. Our response to what was happening in the world around us needed to be real and check the pay-it-forward boxes that are at our core. We asked ourselves: who has been the constant in our 33+ year history? Children and families. That’s how LOVE, Litzky was born. I had nothing to do with it – conceptually I was all in, but the initiative was the brainchild of the agency’s president, Josslynne Welch. Read More . . . 

Brad Ross - My Toy and Game Career Started with a Song! - tBR Person of the Week

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How did you begin inventing toys and games?

 

I came into this fun business by meeting some wonderful toy people, Laurie and Maureen Trotto.  I happened to write a charming song for kids called "Little By Little".  I played it for someone who thought the song could be incorporated into a toy and he made an introduction to the Trotto's.  Here's a link to the video:

What do you like about toys and games?

 

My favorite part is engaging in the challenge of coming up with new ideas....something fresh. It's hard to be original but rewarding.  My second favorite part is collaborating with talented people to bring the idea to life.  

 

What are the favorite toys and games that you've invented? Read More  . . . 

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Financial & Legal News . . .

Cards Against Humanity Is Exploring a Possible Sale. The company is seeking to be valued at around $500 million in a transaction, the people added. The company generates earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, of between $40 million to $50 million a year.

Cards Against Humanity hasn’t made a final decision on pursuing a sale and could decide to remain independent.

The Last Remnants of Original Toys ‘R’ Us, Babies ‘R’ Us Inventory Hits the Auction Block.  This week, Motleys Asset Disposition Group in conjunction with eBid Local liquidated more than 370 pallet lots of merchandise that has been warehoused since the end of the initial 70-year legacy of Toys “R” Us in the U.S.

Employees at Activision Blizzard will hold a walkout Wednesday in protest of widespread harassment allegations across the company, a spokesperson on behalf of the group told Axios. The latest: The company has extended paid time off to all employees planning to attend the walkout, sending a "strong signal they intend to work with us," the source said late Tuesday.

Entrust Global, parent company of brands Beckett and DragonShield, recently acquired Southern Hobby Supply, a distributor of sports card and trading card game products in N. A. Southern Hobby is an authorized distributor for brands Magic: The Gathering, Panini, Pokémon, Topps, Ultra Pro, Upper Deck, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more. For 31 years, it has been a supplier for more than 1,000 hobby and specialty stores. 

(the above posted after the Bloom Report was sent out on July 23rd)

Activision Blizzard Sued By California For Allegedly Allowing “Frat Boy’ Workplace Culture. A lawsuit claiming Santa Monica, Calif. game manufacturer Activision Blizzard, the makers of Call of Duty, created a workplace environment where sexual harassment and discrimination flourished has been filed after a two-year investigation.

Very Group, formerly Shop Direct, appoints advisory firm as it considers IPO. The Barclay family is said to be mulling an IPO on London Stock Exchange’s junior AIM market for the retail group. A flotation of Very Group would be a logical move following the online shopping boom during the coronavirus pandemic. Full-year results for Very for the 12 months to the end of June 2020 showed revenues of more than £2b...

BYJU makes Epic acquisition. As part of its North American growth strategy, the edtech company acquired the digital reading platform in a US$500-million deal. Indian edtech company BYJU has acquired California-based digital reading platform Epic for US$500 million as part of its global expansion efforts. The acquisition will give BYJU access to Epic’s user base, which include two million teachers and 50 million US kids...

Amazon accused of forcing companies to sell at its price - or 'not at all'. Toy World has been contacted by a small business that says the online retail giant is manipulating prices by deactivating listings for products more expensive than its own. In a letter to the Competition and Market’s Authority, which Toy World has seen, the business complains that Amazon deactivated the listing for one of its toys, which was...

The owner of the most annoying song in the world invests millions in Bitstamp. he South Korean holding company behind the company that launched the Baby Shark-hype a few years ago is mobilizing its highly discreet Belgian subsidiary to invest more than 150 million euros in the popular bitcoin exchange Bitstamp. The well-known children’s song ‘Baby Shark’ and bitcoin have nothing to do with each other.

UK government scraps Tradeshow Access Programme support British SME exporters are reeling after the government cancelled the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) which provides financial support to British SME exporters. For over 30 yrs, the scheme and its predecessors, have provided much needed financial support to SME companies attending major intl trade shows in conjunction with industry trade bodies.

Shipping company introduces new ‘random’ surcharge.  Nick Mowbray, co-founder of Zuru Toy Company, has taken to LinkedIn to expose the latest in a long line of price increases being introduced by shipping companies. The post features an email sent by Hapag Lloyd, informing customers that new charges will be introduced from the middle of next month as a result of “operational challenges along the transport chain.”

China shipping backlog leaves factory owners with nowhere to put goods. A month after container shipping operations returned to normal at China’s Yantian Port, factory owners are still feeling the pinch from a debilitating three-week shutdown, with warehouses chock-full of goods awaiting export. In Guangdong, manufacturers and exporters across various sectors – including large household appliances, commodities and toys – are still facing choke points in the supply chain as they vie for space on the freighters to get their cargo out of the country.

FTC cracks down on false ‘Made in USA’ claims. Over the past few years, much scrutiny has been placed on products that claim to be “Made in USA” without proper qualifiers, and now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking action. Earlier this month, the FTC  issued a new rule to deter what it’s calling “rampant Made in USA fraud.” The move comes amid countless products with dubious Made in USA markings being targeted to consumers through social advertising or via product tags on goods sold at brick and mortar retailers.

Amazon faces lawsuit to remove thousands of potentially deadly products. A lawsuit filed against Amazon by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has been billed as a ‘huge step forward’ in the fight to force the online giant to accept responsibility for the removal of dangerous items being sold online. An administrative complaint has been brought against Amazon by the CPSC that aims to force the platform to recall hundreds of thousands of potentially deadly products being sold by third-party sellers.

French union files collective lawsuit against UbisoftFrench union Solidaires Informatique today announced that it has filed a collective action lawsuit against Ubisoft alleging institutional sexual harassment. The union said it filed the suit in a French court yesterday. It first announced its intention to file suit a year ago, as a wave of allegations were made against various senior Ubisoft leadership. It believes the publisher is guilty of "putting in place, maintaining and strengthening a system where sexual harassment is tolerated …”

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Hasbro raising prices ahead of holiday crunch . . . . . . Mattel CEO: We will be cautious with price increases . . . . . . Worldwide Toy Industry to 2025 - Key Drivers and Challenges

(the above posted after July 26th)

Report: Over half of U.S households now own a game console . . . . . The modern brick-and-mortar toy store is all about experiences . . . . . Osmo Releases Study on Post-Pandemic Social Skills . . . . . Top 5 Roleplaying Games - Spring 2021 . . . . . Top 10 Hobby Channel Card/Dice Games - Spring 2021 . . . . . Top 10 Hobby Channel Board Games - Spring 2021 . . . . . Top Collectible Hobby Games - Spring 2021 . . . . . Hobby Game Sales Sprout in Spring 2021 . . . . . Comic Store Publisher Market Shares - Q2 2021

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

MATTEL BEATS Q2 EARNINGS ESTIMATES WITH 40% SALES SPIKE . . . . . . HASBRO CRUSHES Q2 EARNINGS WITH 54% OVERALL REVENUE GROWTH . . . . . . Jakks Pacific sees Q2 sales grow 43 per cent as it hits $112.4m in net sales . . . . . . Hasbro CEO: Rising Covid cases impacts our production . . . . . . Games Workshop sees full-year profits spike 69 per cent as staff receive £5k bonuses . . . . . . Apple had a record June, thanks to a spike in phone sales (CTV News) . . . . . . YouTube's ad revenue is up by 83%

(the above posted after July 26th)

Netflix Releases Second-Quarter 2021 Financial Results . . . . . Nintendo denies report that OLED Switch will have higher profit margin . . . . . Tencent agrees to buy UK game company Sumo Group for $1.27 billion . . . . . Free-to-play publisher Tilting Point has raised $235 million to fund more acquisitions . . . . . Space Jam: A New Legacy tops US box office

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Hasbro, announced that it will webcast its second quarter 2021 earnings conference call on Monday, July 26, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. ET, following the release of Hasbro's financial results. Certain financial and statistical information included in the webcast, such as information required by Regulation G, will be available at the time of the webcast on Hasbro’s Investor Relations website at https://investor.hasbro.com.

Spin Master Corp. to Report Second Quarter 2021 Financial Results on August 4, 2021. Max Rangel, Global President and Chief Executive Officer and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Thursday, August 5, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. (ET). The call-in numbers for participants are (647) 427-7450 or (888) 231-8191.  

Mattel  today announced that it plans to release its second quarter 2021 financial results on Tues, July 27, 2021 at approx 4:05 p.m. ET. Following this, Mattel will host a conference call and webcast at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The conference call will be webcast on Mattel's Investor Relations website, https://investors.mattel.com/

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . .

Changing the World TOY BY TOY.  Understanding the challenges and opportunities that sustainability presents for the toy industry. Toys play a crucial role in children's lives; they stimulate and prolong playing, essential for healthy physical and intellectual development. Paradoxically, the very same items that bring joy to children jeopardise their future.

 

Top TikTok toy influencer Rhia.Official reveals how brands can win big on the platform. In this guest piece by Fanbytes, Rhia talks about the secrets to her success and how toy brands can tap into TikTok. It should come as no surprise to anyone that toys have well and truly found a home on TikTok. The platform has been driving the ‘holy grail’ combination of mass sales and brand love, as well as giving birth to..

Board Game Breakdown: Hasbro’s Mouse Trap | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy tries to break down Fox’s new reality competition based on the board game Mouse Trap. 

'Snake Eyes' is better than expected, thanks to a guy you've never heard of. For about an hour, “Snake Eyes,” the latest installment in Hasbro’s "G.I Joe" film franchise, is honestly pretty good. The movie, which opens in theaters on Friday, has “Crazy Rich Asians” leading man Henry Golding as its star, and a shockingly good turn from British actor Andrew Koji. Of the three “Joe” films, this one, directed by Robert Schwentke, is...

The Board Games That Ask You to Reenact Colonialism. A newish wave of sophisticated, adult board games have made exploitation part of their game mechanics. A reckoning is coming. The board game “puerto rico” begins after everyone around the table receives a mat printed with the verdant interior of the game’s namesake island. Players are cast as European tycoons who have trekked across the Atlantic at the height of...

(the above posted after the Bloom Report was sent out on July 23rd)

At least Dick Turpin wore a mask…it’s the Friday Blog by John Baulch, ToyWorld UK. It never rains, it pours…literally in the case of the Zhengzhou region of China, where biblical floods have created further havoc with the global supply chain this week. Thankfully, there are very few toy factories located in the area (it’s mostly furniture manufacturing facilities), but I gather some factories making toy components are based...

Bo Peep's Skunk Mobile - Remote Control Plushy. A remote control car that drives a feminist angle. Bo Peep in Toy Story 4 is independent,

smart, kind and really great fun, so I wanted her to join our 5yo son's toy collection - alongside her awesome Skunk Mobile. However, it doesn't exist as an official merchandise, so I converted it from a standard RC car myself - and along the way found some interesting insights into...

TTPM Unveils 2021 Best of Baby List. The TTPM Editorial Team reviewed hundreds of product entries and is ecstatic to unveil the latest and greatest Baby Gear in this year's Best of Baby List. The list features the best Baby Gear across 13 different categories to educate parents new and old. “After countless hours of rigorous testing and inspection, these are the baby products parents can rely on to raise their baby with care. 

The inside story of how a 'band of misfits' saved Lego. Facing bankruptcy in 2003, the Danish toymaker finally learned to love its adult fans. When executives at toymaker Lego first learned that adults were buying large quantities of their interlocking plastic bricks and getting together to build Lego creations of their own, "they thought it was very strange,” says Paal Smith-Meyer.

Spending more time in nature is crucial to children's health, according to a new study (USA Today)Children, especially those living in big cities, are experiencing less and less time in nature which can lead to a decrease in cognitive development, according to a study published by Nature Sustainability. To test how access to green spaces affected children, researchers analyzed 3,568 students, ranging from ages 9 to 15...

Our 5 Favorite Mystery Box Game Subscriptions. It was about three months into the pandemic lockdown of 2020 when I got a letter meant for Sherlock Holmes. The envelope was addressed to me, but inside was a dispatch from John Watson back in 1914 London, describing a peculiar event that he wanted the famed detective’s help with. The puzzle inside was intriguing, so much so that I spent the next hour-plus trying to...

Top 10 most iconic Barbie dolls of the 1980s. Barbie has always been on top of the latest fashion trends, and the ‘80s were no exception. From big hair to big shoulder pads, Barbie rocked it all. Check out this list of the most iconic Barbie dolls of the decade that truly embody the spirit of the ‘80s. Following the designer jeans craze, Fashion Jeans Barbie of 1981 was the epitome of style with her dark-wash skinny jeans...

Top 10 most iconic Barbie dolls of the 1970s. The ‘70s were a decade of big changes for Barbie, with new faces, hair play features, and, of course, new fashions! I’ve created a list of the most iconic Barbie dolls from the ‘70s you might have heard of — maybe you even own a few! Perhaps the most romantic of the gimmick Barbie dolls, Kissing Barbie from 1979 would pucker up her lips and make a kissing noise when...

Peppa Pig is turning American kids into certified Brits who want mince pies and petrol. California kindergartner Dani stunned her parents in May when she addressed her mom, who said she was going to the eye doctor, in a polished British accent: “Mummy, are you going to the optician?” “And we were like, ‘the what?’ ” says Dani’s father, Matias Cavallin. “That’s like a college-level word,” he says. “At least, I wasn’t using it.”

Toymakers Create Their Dream Projects (but Ask for Money Upfront). Hoping to form stronger bonds with their fans, companies like Hasbro and Mattel are making once-in-a-lifetime toys through crowdfunding and other online strategies. Collectors are opening their wallets to buy exclusive products like a $575 Transformers action figure from Hasbro, a $350 Star Wars gunship from Lego, a $75 Magic 8 Ball from Mattel and...

These 15 companies have the biggest footprint from cargo shipping. Cargo ships carrying truckloads of clothing, cheap furniture, toys, and other goods destined for Walmart stores in the U.S. emitted an estimated 3.7 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2019—more than a coal-fired power plant running for a year, according to a new report. 

Covid: Will lockdown change England's new tech habits? The pandemic has ushered in a new era for tech, from Zooms and pings to e-scooters and online shopping. Back in April 2020, Microsoft's Brad Smith said two years of digital transformation had taken place in just two months. So with Covid restrictions easing across England, will any of the innovations stick? 

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

How the Super Soaker's inventor made a big splash. When inventor Lonnie Johnson took a simple squirt gun and ramped it WAY up, he had no idea what a hit it would be. Since the early 1990s, the Super Soaker has soaked up more than $1 billion in toy sales. But Johnson hasn't stopped there. Correspondent Mo Rocca reports on how Johnson, a former engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, continues to make a big splash. 

(the above posted after July 23rd)

Sooper Snooper 4-Way Scope from Marx. Released by Marx in 1963, the Sooper Snooper 4-Way Scope was a worthy addition to any junior secret agent’s collection of spy gear. Bearing a striking resemblance to a periscope, it allowed curious youngsters to see in four different directions – left, right, forward, and backward. Molded of high-impact plastic, the toy measured 15.5-inches tall, 3-inches wide, and 5-inches deep. Three different mirrors providing the multi-directional “snooping” capability.

Transogram – 1961 Spring-Summer Catalog. For a large part of the 20th century, Transogram Toys and Games produced an array of toys, games, outdoor sports sets, and kid-sized furniture. This dealer catalog from 1961 illustrates the company’s diverse product offerings. Highlights include the Lance-a-Lot, a “play-safe polyethylene action lance,” the Aquasport Jr. Scuba Underwater Outfit, and the Eliot Ness and the Untouchables Sawed Off Shotgun. Read more about company founder Charles S. Raizen and Transogram history …

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Disguise Enters the Battle with Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins Costumes, Accessories. Kids and adults can look forward to joining the Arashikage Clan of ninja warriors just in time for Halloween with a full range of Snake Eyes-inspired costumes and accessories from Disguise. The lineup is based on the new G.I. Joe film and will hit stores in September. 

YouTube media franchise Spy Ninjas and Scholastic signed a three-year publishing deal in the U.S. and Canada, brokered by the brand’s licensing agent Surge Licensing. Expected to start rolling out in fall 2021, Scholastic’s Spy Ninjas publishing program will launch with an official guidebook for the brand, followed by a range of graphic novels and activity books.

(the above was posted after July 23rd)

A new Star Trek toy line from Playmates Toys is slated for release in 2022. ViacomCBS recently awarded Playmates licensing rights to all Star Trek properties for action figures, vehicles and ships, role play, and more toy categories. The new toy launch will follow the premiere of Star Trek: Prodigy, the first series from the property aimed at younger audiences. Playmates was the master toy licensee for Star Trek from...

PlayMonster has announced the launch of Spirograph Animator under license from Hasbro, which allows creators to spin art to life using light and motion. The Spirograph Animator features gears like the original, but the addition of spinning and lights creates a 3D effect. This deluxe studio set features bonus built-in storage and comes with 6 gears and five markers. “A whole generation of children grew up creating ...

Pocket.watch and Ryan's World collaborate with NASATo promote STEM learning and space exploration, nine-year-old star of Ryan’s World, Ryan Kaji, will interview 2 astronauts currently living and working aboard the Intl Space Station – NASA’s Megan McArthur, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) astronaut, Akihiko Hoshide. 

Nickelodeon preps Baby Shark movie. The kidsnet is developing an animated feature film based on Pinkfong's YouTube hit, and has also greenlit a second season of Baby Shark's Big Show!. The ViacomCBS-owned kidsnet is developing the first-ever Baby Shark animated movie, building on its existing content and global licensing partnership with SmartStudy, the parentco of Baby Shark IP owner Pinkfong.

Interactive murder mystery brand Hunt A Killer signs global publishing deal with ScholasticThe interactive sci-fi, horror murder mystery entertainment co, Hunt A Killer has forged a new global partnership with Scholastic for launch of a series of novels, ebooks, and audio books, featuring all the characteristic clues of the Hunt A Killer games. The first title to hit shelves through the global publishing deal will be Perfect …

Mattel, Playmobil and Just Play strengthen Spirit toy lines as new film rolls out across EMEA. Universal Brand Development has launched a cross-category consumer products programme centered on the latest chapter in the DreamWorks Animation Spirit franchise, as the new animated feature film, Spirit Untamed rolls out across EMEA this summer. 

Mighty Mojo Toys to release ‘Geronimo Stilton’ plush. Mighty Mojo Toys will manufacture and distribute a line of plush toys based on the Geronimo Stilton book series and its cast of characters. Mighty Mojo Toys has worked with other licenses, including plush lines for the children’s YouTube series, “Booba,” PBS’ “Super Why” as well as Pete The Cat and Instagram celebrity Doug The Pug. 

LEGO debuts Disney Mickey and Friends sets for young buildersTo ensure kids of all ages have something to build, LEGO Group has teamed up with Disney to debut a new Mickey and Friends range. Each of the five sets features classic Disney characters—Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck—designed “to spark creativity and imaginative play” for kids aged four and up. 

Playmobil to launch first series of Asterix play-sets in 2022The iconic comic book and movie character Asterix is getting a Playmobil makeover via a new partnership between the toymaker and the Asterix brand owner, Les Editions Albert Rene. Under the partnership, a series of play-sets will be developed, marking the first time that Asterix and his sidekick Obelix have been given the Playmobil treatment. 

YWow collaborates with Hasbro for new range of Mini Puzzles. YWow Brands, a fast growing toy company specialising in novelty puzzles and games, has recently collaborated with Hasbro to develop an assortment of five different collectible Mini Puzzles based on popular Hasbro gaming titles: Monopoly, Monopoly Junior, Cluedo, Operation and Trivial Pursuit. 

LEGO unveils its latest Ultimate Collector’s build in LEGO Star Wars Republic Gunship. A new LEGO Star Wars Republic Gunship construction set has become the latest addition to the LEGO Group’s Ultimate Collector’s line-up, having triumphed in the public vote via the company’s LEGO Ideas platform. The Republic Gunship rose supreme when LEGO invited fans to vote on the top three requested sets across the fan...

The Evil Dead’ celebrates 40th anniversary with new licensed deals. Cult classic merchandise includes new games and collectibles. This year marks the 40th anniversary of “The Evil Dead.” In celebration leading up to the Oct. 15 anniversary of the film’s original theatrical release, activations including a livestream, ticketed “The Evil Dead” event featuring commentary from actor Bruce Campbell. 

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People . . . 

Hidden Role: The Brains Behind your Favorite Games podcast with Leslie Scott -JENGA. When inspiration strikes, how does someone take it from an idea to a success story? Learn from the extraordinary journey of Leslie Scott, from a childhood in East and West Africa to the inspiration for and development of Jenga and beyond.

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton welcomes The Heart Supply‘s Johnny Schillereff to the show. Schillereff founded Element Skateboards in 1992 and built a world-renowned brand known for manufacturing high-quality skateboard decks, apparel, and footwear. After reaching more than $200 million in sales, he sold Element in the early 2000s. Now, along with his family, Schillereff has launched a new brand...

GP Flair MD Simon Hedge moves on. Simon Hedge, managing director of GP Flair, has announced his intention to leave the company at the end of July 2021. Simon has been part of the toy industry for more than 30 years and was a founding member of the former Flair Leisure Products when it was established in 1995. 

Check Out The Op's Ross Thompson’s Story. What else should we know about what you do? I work in marketing and events. It has always been a passion and I never really spend my time doing just one thing. Over the last 10 years, from Kingdom-Con, regular work and the SCA, I have worked on marketing and promotions in my career and hobbies.

Join The Strong National Museum of Play’s Christopher Bensch and Lisa Feinstein for an exclusive evening with 2014 Toy Industry Hall of Fame Inductee Jill Barad and a behind-the-scenes look into the museum’s collection. In this episode of Cocktails with the Creators, you’ll meet Jill Barad, former Chairman & CEO of Mattel Inc. You will hear firsthand how she successfully took Barbie from under $200 million to $2 billion ...

How the Super Soaker's inventor Lonnie Johnson made a big splash. When inventor Lonnie Johnson took a simple squirt gun and ramped it WAY up, he had no idea what a hit it would be. Since the early 1990s, the Super Soaker has soaked up more than $1 billion in toy sales. But Johnson hasn't stopped there. Correspondent Mo Rocca reports on how Johnson, a former engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory...

(the above posted after July 23rd)

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Hape CEO Peter Handstein to the show. Since its founding in 1986, Hape has become known as a premier designer and manufacturer of high-quality wooden baby and kid’s toys. Handstein delves into his backstory in selling outdoor play equipment for use in kindergartens and the similarities between that business and selling toys to consumers. 

Natasha Crookes to leave the BTHA. Natasha is setting up a PR and Public Affairs consultancy after 19 years with the British Toy and Hobby Association. Natasha joined the BTHA in 2002 as deputy toy fair organiser, taking over the head of Toy Fair position in 2003. She moved on to run the communications and public affairs team in 2007 and has led that work ever since.

Tim Erickson takes over Peanuts. The former DreamWorks and GoldieBlox exec will work with WildBrain, Sony and Charles Schulz's family to develop new licensing and retail opportunities for the brand. Starting on July 26, Erickson will oversee Peanuts Worldwide’s licensing team, working with the company’s three minority owners—WildBrain (41%), the family of brand creator Charles M. Schulz (20%) and Japan’s Sony...

Colleen McCarthy-Evans’s ‘Why Am I’. Longtime Santa Barbara Creative Discusses New Children’s Book and Seven Seas Press. The creative life of Colleen McCarthy-Evans runs from improv theater and charter schools to board games and, most recently, writing and illustrating children’s books. Her latest is Why Am I, a book about big questions illustrated by Sarah Dietz of Germany. The book, which was named the “Book of the...

Bob Watts announces new companyGames industry vet Bob Watts has announced the formation of Trans Atlantis Games, a new game and accessory company.  The company will create new product ranges and form strategic partnerships with other game and entertainment companies and creators, focusing on tabletop miniatures games and accessories, as well as RPG miniatures.

Toy industry vet Ashley Mady joins IT’SUGAR as vice president of brand developmentA familiar toy and licensing industry veteran has joined specialty retailer IT’SUGAR. Ashley Mady joins the company from Basic Fun! to assume the newly created role of vice president of brand development. Mady will lead the retailer’s visual merchandising, private label, licensing, public relations, and marketing efforts.

Graham Mottram tapped to lead Story Time Chess expansion in CanadaThe award-winning Story Time Chess game is looking to expand its retail footprint and get in front of more families up north. Industry veteran Graham Mottram has joined Story Time Chess to lead sales for the game in Canada. Story Time Chess uses stories and supporting materials that communicate the rules of chess to kids ages 3 and up to make ...

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Companies, Brands . . .

Arthur to end after 25 seasons. The show will wrap up in 2022, but PBS KIDS and GBH plan to explore ways to leverage its large back catalogue, says Carol Greenwald. The series for four- to seven-year-olds has been a staple for both US-based pubcasters since its launch in 1996, following the adventures of aardvark Arthur Read and his friends and family through more than 250 episodes.

LeVar Burton Tunes Into Tonies with a Custom Figure, Reading Challenge, and MoreLeVar Burton is bringing some of his Reading Rainbow magic to today’s kids with the help of Tonies. This fall, the PBS star will be visiting kids’ Tonieboxes as their personal narrator through his own Tonie figure.

Bonkers Toys, Pocket.Watch Partner for Ryan’s World Galaxy Explorers. Starting next week, Ryan’s World — pocket.watch’s hit YouTube series — will blast off into Walmart stores with an intergalactic-inspired toy line from Bonkers Toys. Kids can embrace space exploration, learn about the solar system, and enjoy new Galaxy Explorers-themed figures. 

Just Play Debuts ‘Learning Activity Centre’ on Amazon.  Just Play inked a deal to serve as the U.S. distributor and licensor of Early Learning Centre, a UK toy brand geared toward preschoolers with a 50-year lineage of quality products. The company is rolling out new products and initiatives via the Learning Activity Centre on Early Learning Centre’s Amazon brand store.

ZURU’s Upcoming Dino-Themed Toys Are Juras-sick! The toy company is set to release its fourth series of its Smashers brand, expanding on its Series 3 Dino Smashers. Series 4 provides kids with an unboxing experience and features light-up dinosaurs, lava-themed compound play, and the classic Smashers eggs.

Jada Toys Goes Green with B-Kind Doll Line. The new B-Kind doll line from Jada Toys promotes positive messages of kindness and creativity. The characters — Brianna, Koral, Ivy, Nora, and Daisy — each have a unique passion and come with a special DIY activity for kids to complete. Brianna helps kids learn about recycling, while Koral teaches kids about keeping the oceans clean. Ivy is .. . 

Hasbro Debuts a New Wave of Ghostbusters: Afterlife Toys. uring Toy Fair New York 2020, Hasbro previewed a wide range of new toys for kids and collectors based on the new Ghostbusters film that got held up in the shuffle between pandemic-related theater closures and other delays. Now, Hasbro is back on track with a formal look at new product offerings for kids and collectors alike.

A CHRISTMAS STORY, SUPER MARIO ADVENT CALENDARS COME HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS! It’s true, we’re just five months away from Christmas, and Jakks Pacific is celebrating Christmas in July with a pair of new collectible advent calendars that gamers and movie buffs will want to get their hands on! 

TALKIN’ TOYS: CARRERA RACES INTO THE FUTURE. Classic play is back in a big way, and the toy industry has broken sales records as kids and adults forge new bonds through the power of play. Two categories that have been speeding back into the mainstream are slot racing and R/C — a pair of evergreen staples that are ever-present but don’t necessarily always get headlines and attention.

WildBrain Television picks up The Fabulous Show with Fay and Fluffy.  Produced by Lopii Productions, the preschool cabaret series is hosted by a drag duo, and aims to foster inclusivity, kindness and a love of reading. The 26 x 11-minute cabaret-style series is aimed at kids ages three to six, and stars drag duo Fay Slift and Fluffy Soufflé. With a focus on encouraging kindness and inclusivity, and fostering a love of reading....

New Koosh products are here, and PlayMonster along with content creator group Dude Perfect have launched their collaboration to celebrate. As part of this collaboration, the company invites families to film their own Koosh commercials to share on social media with the hashtag #KooshChallenge. The best submissions will be shared on @KooshOriginal social media channels and win a prize pack consisting of...

WarnerMedia greenlights & acquires more preschool fareFall-launching US block Cartoonito has commissioned Dylan from 9 Story and CBC, as well as picking up Bing, Odo and Pocoyo. Based on a book series by bestselling illustrator/author Guy Parker-Rees, Dylan (pictured) is an interactive CG-animated comedy about a multi-colored dog who wants to try out every career. 

Crayola and OceanX | “We’re encouraging partnerships to have a profound impact on supporting our planet” The global non-profit ocean exploration organisation, OceanX has expressed its hope that its new partnership with the children’s arts and crafts brand, Crayola, will inspire more collaboration between brands and conservation groups.

Miko to join 2021 Disney Accelerator scheme. The Disney Accelerator is a programme designed to accelerate the growth of innovative companies from around the world. Eight companies have been chosen to participate in the three-month mentorship programme, connecting them with the creativity, imagination and expertise of Disney, and providing unique access to Disney’s leadership team...

London’s iconic Hamleys makes major play for video gaming market with new department launchThe iconic London toy store and toy retail brand, Hamleys is making a major new play for the video gaming market with the opening of a new state-of-the-art console, PC and gaming accessories department in its Regent Street location. The new 1,326 square foot gaming space is situated within the Lower Ground Floor of the …

J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Mascot Gets Mattel Action Figure. The fully articulated figure celebrates the production company's twentieth anniversary. In celebration of the return of Comic-Con, Mattel has released a new Bad Robot figure, immortalizing the mascot of the production company behind Lost, Westworld, and 10 Cloverfield Lane. The figure is being released as a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive...

TALKIN’ TOYS: THE EGGMAZING FOUNDERS DISCUSS BECOMING AN EVERGREEN TOY CO. Scott Houdashell invented The Eggmazing Egg Decorator back in 2015. The Eggmazing spins the egg within a base, while kids can hold a marker to the egg to create intricate designs. Houdashell teamed up with his long-time friend Curtis McGill, and the pair started the company Hey Buddy Hey Pal Investments (HBHP).

(the above posted after the Bloom Report was sent out on July 23rd)

Exploding Kittens has acquired the family game Happy Salmon, designed by Quentin Weir and game developer Ken Gruhl, from North Star Games, the company announced.  Gruhl has joined Exploding Kittens as Senior Game Designer, as the company scales up to produce more games.  Exploding Kittens is releasing six games in 2021, including a new version of Happy Salmon re-imagined with an Exploding Kittens twist...

TALKIN’ TOYS: ADVENTERRA GAMES CENTERS ITS PRODUCTS AND PRACTICES ON GOING GREENSustainability has become one of the hottest toy trends over the past few years, but the idea of centering our environment in play is nothing new for Adventerra Games. Since its founding, the company has made all of its products with the same goal: To educate kids and families about helping the environment. 

Imprint Entertainment launches kids division. Maryann Garger and Michael Becker will head up Imprint Family Entertainment and create films, TV series and podcasts, starting with Groove Tails.  It’s a shift for the LA-based studio, which has focused on decidedly more adult fare to date, including Nicholas Cage starrer Primal, horror film Zombie Tidal Wave and the marijuana-centric Kid Cannabis. 

BYJU’S Learning App Launches in U.S. Powered by Osmo. After finding success in India, BYJU’S is expanding globally to provide more technology-based education experiences. Through a new partnership, BYJU’S is powered by Osmo Technology and launches in the U.S. with content from Disney.

Hasbro, Super7 Collaborate for G.I. Joe ReAction, Ultimates! Lines. The ongoing resurgence of Hasbro‘s G.I. Joe brand has reached a new level. In one of the worst-kept secrets of recent months thanks to some retail listings that leaked earlier this year, Hasbro and Super7 are collaborating on two new lines of products inspired by the 1980s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero animated series and toy line.

Bonkers Toys Gets Into the Game with YouTube Gaming Star Aphmau. Following its successful toy lines with YouTube stars, including Ryan’s World and FGTeeV, Bonkers Toys is getting into the game with another top YouTuber: Aphmau. Over the past few years, Aphmau aka Jessica Bravura has amassed more than 8 billion lifetime views on a Minecraft-heavy channel boasting more than 10 million subscribers.

Mattel Creations Expands for SDCC Exclusives, Direct-to-Consumer Offerings. In the absence of a traditional Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) for the second year in a row, Mattel is expanding its own direct-to-consumer platform to connect with toy fans. Beginning today, Mattel Creations will be the exclusive destination for a host of products spanning numerous pop culture licenses across several of Mattel’s brands.

Hamleys invites kids to go for gold at summer long sports day. Fun and games will be taking place at the Regents Street branch this summer as well as nationwide in all Hamleys stores until September. Most pandemic restrictions in the UK are now being lifted, however the end of the summer school term has still been affected with many sports days being cancelled, meaning no egg and spoon, bean bag balancing or the...

Zapf launches Baby born Surprise Mini BabiesThe adorable new 6cm Mini Babies collection sees the brand entering an exciting phase in its collectibles journey.  New to the Baby born Surprise Mini Babies range is the multiple character surprise reveal, with bundles including either a set of twins or triplets. There are nine food and garden themed sets to collect, with tiny new friends including Garden Peas, Banana Peels, Cheeky...

Jazwares’ Dino Ranch toy line, based on Boat Rocker Studios’ franchise of the same name,  will hit retail this fall. Products will be available via online retailers Walmart.com, Target.com, and Amazon, and in-store at other retailers including Kohl’s. Fans can choose from plush, assorted figures, feature vehicles, and playsets. “We’re thrilled to bring the world of Dino Ranch to preschoolers, and the entire team at Jazwares...

Big G Creative has a ghostly new murder mystery game, out now. You’ve Been Ghosted, available exclusively at Target, is a “whodunnit” that challenges three to six players, ages 10 and older, to solve their own murder from beyond the grave. They’ll need to figure out which suspect is guilty, what weapon they used, and their motive — the first to solve the mystery wins. The murder mystery game introduces 12 characters...

Spin Master Looks to Recruit Talent to Games Pod. Spin Master is looking to recruit board game and puzzle enthusiasts for its new games pod, hoping to reach prospective applicants with the launch of a new meme campaign. Calling all board game fans: Spin Master is recruiting for its new games pod, with the help of a meme campaign. Created to support marketing for Spin Master’s games and puzzles division, the games pod...

Netflix bets on animated movies, games for growth. While the SVOD giant's subscriber growth has slowed, The Mitchells vs. the Machines was a bright spot in Q2, and the streamer confirmed plans to get into games. Following a pandemic-driven bump in 2020, Netflix’s growth appears to be slowing. It added just 1.5 million new subscribers globally in Q2 2021—a far cry from the 10.1 million users that signed up in the same ...

Spirit Untamed toys arrive at retail as film hits cinemas. Global master toy licensee Mattel is building on the equine adventure with a broad range of horses, character dolls and play sets. The next chapter of DreamWorks Animation’s high-stakes adventure about a fearless girl and her beloved wild Mustang, Spirit Untamed is now hitting the big screen, with the movie enjoying a star-studded opening in the UK as celebrities ...

Learning Resources and The Creation Station open Playfoam workshops. The #SummerofPlayfoam activity sessions will run across the UK as part of Learning Resources' wider Summer of Play campaign. The workshops, which will run from 24th to 31st July, will involve hands-on play and activities using the multi-sensory reusable compound that never dries out.

Hornby announces #HornbyHoliday Summertime Layout ChallengeModel railway enthusiasts are invited to create a summertime themed layout for the chance to win £1000 worth of prizes. Entrants must register to participate in the challenge by Sunday 25th July, and by 9th August must provide images (plus videos if wished) of the layout base, featuring the track and ground level scenic.

The Entertainer & Mattel launch The Summer Games campaignThe Entertainer is launching an engaging campaign spanning stores and online, highlighting Mattel's games range as the perfect family entertainment. The new campaign, The Summer Games, taps into the summer of sport consumers are enjoying and encourages the ‘athletes’ in each family or friendship group to battle it out over the likes of Uno, Scrabble...

Winners crowned for PlayMonster UK's My Living World Design a Bug Competition. Primary school students designed bugs for the My Living World campaign, as over 230 schools received free Ant World and Worm World sets with STEM Learning Packs. The competition was very popular, with over 800 students entering their bug designs.

The Pokemon Company International announces two new 'V Battle Decks'. The Pokemon Company International announced two new V Battle Decks, for Pokemon TCG, which will release into retail on October 8. The new V Battle Decks will feature Dragon-type Pokemon Rayquaza V and Noivern V. Dragon-type Pokemon will be introduced in the Sword & Shield series with the Sword & Shield—Evolving Skies expansion. 

Ares Games will release 'Quartermaster General: 1914 2E'. Ares Games will release Quartermaster General: 1914 2E, a World War I board game by Ian Brody, into U.S. retail in November. This title runs on Ian Brody's Quartermaster General system for card-driven strategy games, where players assume the role of a world power in the conflict and each power has its own deck of cards to use to progress their position. 

Pick the culprit out of a crowd in 'Last Message'Iello USA will release Last Message, a deduction game, into U.S. retail in October. In Last Message, a crime has been committed and the victim sent one last text message which may lead to the identity of the criminal. The player who takes on the role of the victim draws out an image on one of the erasable message boards, but the player who is the criminal gets to erase some...

Bubblegum Stuff makes tabletop card game debut with Plant-Based Riot. The east London gift and games company, Bubblegum Stuff is making its tabletop card game debut with the launch of its family-friendly title Plant-Based Riot to the Kickstarter platform. The new title is the result of 18 months of production to land on a game that promises fluid game play based on bluffing, stealing, ‘and screwing people over’ ...

Big Potato lifts the lid on its first ever jigsaw puzzle range featuring cryptic clues. The London-based independent games publisher, Big Potato has made a move for the puzzles market, having lifted the lid on its first jigsaw puzzles range. The two 1000-piece puzzles will challenge puzzlers to solve a series of clues – 101 clues, to be precise – in order to complete the puzzle in its entirety. 

Go deep sea fishing with 'Captains of the Gulf 2E'Stronghold Games will release Captains of the Gulf 2E, a deep sea fishing board game designed by Spielworxx, into retail in August. In Captains of the Gulf 2E, players take on the roles of shrimp boat captains who are fishing the Gulf of Mexico near South Louisiana. This game utilizes thematic action selection mechanics as players attempt to operate a fishing boat ...

Sambro teams up with Cosatto on new plush and infant range. Sambro International is to team up with baby brand Cosatto on a new range of products including plush and infant toys for distribution into the UK & Eire, Benelux region, Germany and Poland. The tie-up is just one example of how Sambro is growing since its acquisition by private equity group Elysian in 2016, and these new developments are highlighted ...

Acamar Films grows reach of preschool hit Bing with new Amazon Alexa Skill, Bing TimeAcamar Films is extending the reach of its multi-award-winning preschool series Bing with the launch of a new interactive Amazon Alexa Skill, Bing Time. Developed in partnership with voice design agency Voxly Digital, Bing Time aims to bring together new script writing, high production values and technical innovation to deliver...

Pandasaurus Games announces 'Trek 12 - Himilaya'. Pandasaurus Games announced Trek 12- Himilaya, a roll-and-write adventure game, for release in November. In this game, players attempt to traverse the peaks of the Himalayas on a expedition with their friends. Players roll two dice, then simultaneously decide how to use the result on their player sheet to make it across the mountain. 

Konami announces 'The Grand Creators' for 'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG'. Konami Digital Entertainment announced The Grand Creators, a new booster set for Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, which will hit stores on December 3. The Grand Creators adds three new strategies to Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, and features an Inzektors Spell Card that won the 2020 Create-A-Card Project as well as an Xyz Monster that repels evil. 

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

Zoom Apps bring in-platform games to everyone's favorite video chat platformZoom, the video chat platform that became a household name during 2020's COVID-driven lockdowns, is adding a number of apps and games to its feature list. This is notable for game developers for a couple of reasons. Any developers using Zoom on the regular might get use out of some of the more productivity-driven additions to Zoom. 

Netflix’s gaming expansion starts with mobile. Netflix revealed that its initial efforts in gaming will be focused on mobile games and that the games will be included with users’ Netflix subscriptions, the company announced as part of its second-quarter earnings report on Tuesday. The news comes just days after the company said it hired former EA and Oculus exec Mike Verdu to head up its gaming work. 

Mystery coming to PC and consoles this September with Agatha Christie – Hercule Poirot: The First Cases. Microids and developer Blazing Griffin (creators of Murder Mystery Machine and The Ship: Remasted) have unveiled their new detective game Agatha Christie – Hercule Poirot: The First Cases, coming to PC and consoles on 28th September.  

‘Words With Friends’ celebrates 12 years with influencer appearances. Zynga, an interactive entertainment brand, announced that in conjunction with the game’s 12th birthday, July 19 has been proclaimed “National Words With Friends Day.” This holiday kicks off a two-week, in-game festival for fans featuring a slate of gameplay events, challenges, special celebrity guests and sweepstakes. 

U.S. video game sales grew 15% in the first half of 2021. Even though the world is reopening and families are starting to get outside their homes, the U.S. video game industry is still booming. According to The NPD Group, retail sales for the first half of 2021 grew 15% vs the first 6 months of 2020 for a total take of $28.9 billion. Sales growth slowed a bit in June as total consumer spending across video game hardware, ...

Hardware sales double as June game spending rises 5% | US Monthly Charts. While the games industry as a whole is doing little more than keeping pace with last year's pandemic-inflated sales figures, hardware sales saw a particularly significant spike in June. The NPD today reported its US game sales figures, showing overall consumer spending on games rose 5% to $4.93 billion for the month of June, following up a 3% ...

Bonkers Toys gets into the game with YouTube Gaming star Aphmau. Following its successful toy lines with YouTube stars, including Ryan’s World and FGTeeV, Bonkers Toys is getting into the game with another top YouTuber: Aphmau. Over the past few years, Aphmau aka Jessica Bravura has amassed more than 8 billion lifetime views on a Minecraft-heavy channel boasting more than 10 million subscribers. 

Valve’s new Steam Deck can run Windows and turn into a handheld XboxValve just announced its new handheld Steam Deck, powered by a custom Linux operating system. The 7-inch device will play the latest AAA games, and because it’s a PC, you’ll even be able to install Windows on it. That means the Steam Deck could be the perfect Xbox portable, given Microsoft’s investment in shipping all of its future Xbox ...

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Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Ultra PRO Sounds the Alarm on Counterfeit Goods.  Ultra PRO recently sounded the alarm that counterfeit Ultra PRO collectible storage goods are being sold on the open market. Ultra PRO has been a strong brand in the collectibles storage space for decades, and now, their staple products are being counterfeited thanks to increased and a streaky supply chain. 

(the above was posted after July 23rd)

FTC Cracks Down on False “Made in USA” Claims. The FTC issued a new rule this month to deter what the organization is calling “rampant Made in USA fraud.” The move comes amid countless products with dubious Made in USA markings being targeted toward consumers through social advertising or via product tags on goods sold at brick and mortar retailers. The new rule is a codification of previous guidance....

Magnet balls can be dangerous. And not just to toddlers. It might be not just your toddlers, buy your TikTok lovin’ tweens at risk of ingesting dangerous small objects. This horrendous misadventure just happened to friends of ours. As of this afternoon he’s OK after a scary several day hospital ordeal. I wanted to share this with others to avoid this happening to anyone else. 

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Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

TALK ABOUT PUTTING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE! WORST-CASE SCENARIO® CARD GAME DEBUTS AS ACTUAL PANDEMIC DISPERSES  All Things Equal Tabletop Game Inventor Brings Humor About Fear Factors To Family Game Night As Everyone Realizes It Could Always Be Worse!

Miami Beach, FL (July 27, 2021) – After more than a year of virtual learning, lockdowns and mask mandates, what could possibly be worse? How about having to tackle a champion sumo wrestle or being chased by a gorilla or oops, you super-glued your hands together? If you smiled at those crazy situations, you are ready to play The Worst-Case Scenario® Card Game ($19.99) available exclusively at Target and Target.com now.

(the above was posted after July 23rd)

RAINY DAY? HOORAY! KIDS CAN’T WAIT TO BUILD AND PLAY INSIDE INCREDIBLE CARDBOARD FORTS & MAZES. Make-A-Fort Build Kits Are Durable and Reusable For Kids Of All Ages. They Really Do Stand Up To Playtime (And Spare The Couch Cushions!). Andover, Kansas (July 16, 2021) – Raise your hand if you’ve ever positioned the couch pillows on the floor to become walls topped by a roof of blankets. Suddenly there’s a secret entrance to crawl through. There’s something magical about an indoor fort that brings joy to every child. Take that thought and ratchet it up a notch with Make-A-Fort Kits available at https://www.makeafort.fun.

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

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

Covid status checks will be in place at Autumn Fair as the show readies to open its doors in September.  Autumn Fair has introduced Covid-19 status checks for all attendees on arrival at the show this year, as it prepares to open its doors for the first time in 18 months since the pandemic hit, this September 5th to 8th. The show’s organiser has also updated its Safe & Secure Guidelines to deliver new health …

5th Annual BlogOn Toy Awards open for entries  The winners of the 16 categories of the BlogOn Toy Awards will be announced on social media on 4th Oct. The BlogOn Toy Awards are perfect for toy companies big and small and are an ideal way to raise product awareness. The awards now receive over 200 entries per yr, but the cost of the entry has been kept the same as last year to help make the awards as accessible as possible. 

PAX West Requires Vax Proof or Negative Test.  The policy by the show, run by Penny Arcade and geek event powerhouse ReedPop, takes health and safety policies to a new level, as the Delta variant of the coronavirus creates a new surge in Covid cases in the U.S.  Pax West is the first major live geek culture show in the U.S. since the advent of the global pandemic and its requirements for attendance are the strictest we’ve seen.

Join the Toy World Fantasy Football League. The Fantasy Football competition is now open for the new Premier League season and details on how to join are here. With less than 20 days to go until the new Premier League season kicks off on Friday 13th August, players of the official Premier League Fantasy Football game can now join the legendary Toy World Masters League.

Toy World partners with Kuehne + Nagel on special shipping webinar. Set to take place on 12th August, readers are urged to get in touch to register for this informative free event.  Toy World has been leading the coverage of how the escalating shipping crisis is affecting the toy industry. Over recent weeks, we’ve seen container prices skyrocket to unaffordable levels, shipping companies charging arbitrary fees amounting...

(the above posted after July 26th)

Spielwarenmesse eG launches fundraising campaign for flood victims. Following the floods, Spielwarenmesse eG quickly launched an in-house fundraising campaign, giving staff the opportunity to donate. A total of 9,000 euros was collected in just a short space of time. “The support and sympathy shown by our staff and their willingness to donate has been incredible,”  said Christian Ulrich,spokesperson of the Exec Bd...

The second-largest toy market in the world is primed for expansion and Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, and Licensing China are making plans to help companies better connect with families next year. The 3 concurrent trade fairs will return to the Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center from March 30 to April 1, 2022. According to Research & Markets, China’s toy industry is set to become a $61.3 billion...

MIPCOM and MIPJunior to be consolidated. The merged market will take place from October 11 to 14, with the MIPJunior Screenings integrated into the event's digital platform. Rather than running as a standalone event the weekend before MIPCOM, MIPJunior 2021 will be presented as part of the broader MIPCOM event running from October 11 to 14. And participation in the kid-focused market won’t require additional...

Hasbro, The Entertainer and The LEGO Group make The Licensing Awards 2021 list of finalistsMaking a return to its physical format this year, the Licensing Awards will be celebrating the best in collaborations across the categories, from Best Licensed Live Event and Best Licensed Toys 

Mattel’s Richard Dickson and Roz Nowicki to deliver keynote at Licensing Expo Virtual. Mattel’s president and COO, Richard Dickson and the firm’s head of global consumer products and franchise marketing, Roz Nowicki will be taking to the stage at the upcoming Licensing Expo Virtual next month, when the pair deliver the online conference’s Day Three Keynote address. In a fireside chat titled Mattel and Living its Brand Purpose, 

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) revealed today that they will return to San Francisco in 2022 with an in-person event. As we know, the 2021 conference kicked off today and will be running entirely online for the next few days presenting a ton of information and presentations across multiple facets of gaming. However, like a lot of conferences, this is usually being held in person. That in-person vibe...

Spielwarenmesse sponsors the European sustainable toys conference bio!Toy 2021. Spielwarenmesse is showing its support of the sustainability movement sweeping the toy industry and beyond, having signed as a major sponsor of the second annual bio!Toy Conference taking place in Germany this September. Held in Nuremberg, bio!Toy is a European event centered on the use of sustainable plastics within toy design…

The 2021 winners of the German Game design awards were unveiled in the categories of Game of the Year, Enthusiast Game of the Year,  and Children's Game of the Year. This year's nominees were released to the public in May. Spiel des Jahres or Game of the Year was bestowed upon Johannes Sich's MicroMacro: Crime City published by Edition Spielwiese , and brought to the U.S. by Pegasus Spiele...

Social issue shows win big at Daytime Emmys. Shows like The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special and Girl's Voices Now picked up some hardware, but Netflix scored the most wins in the kids categories. Sesame Workshop’s The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special (pictured), about standing up to racism, won two awards, including Outstanding Preschool, Children’s or Family Viewing Program.

Judging panel announced for License This! 2021 competition. The competition is produced by the licensing industry’s trade show organiser, the Global Licensing Group, and industry trade assn Licensing International, and among the world-renowned companies represented on the panel are Bioworld Merchandising, Boat Rocker Studio, Crayola, FYE, Hallmark, Licensing International, Lisa Mark Associates, Product Counsel...

Women in Games Festival unveiled for September 2021. Women in Games has announced further plans for its festival, set to take place between September 6th - 18th, 2021. The event -- which takes place online -- will give women across the global games industry the opportunity to connect, as well as take part in various activities across the two weeks. 

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

Jack Hirsch, founding U.S. president of VTech Electronics North America. Hirsch began his career with Jewel Companies as a buyer and merchandiser in the 1950s and then with Mattel handling sales in the early 1970s. He also founded Waddingtons House of Games in the U.S. and worked as a representative of VTech toys before making the transition to the company’s founding president in the U.S. He served as president until 1991, when he moved into the role of Chairman of the Board. He remained actively involved in daily business activities for many years, before transitioning to an advisor role. “We were incredibly sad to learn of Jack Hirsch’s passing,” said Andy Keimach, president of VTech Electronics North America. “As VTech Electronics North America’s founding president in the U.S., Jack was a pioneer of electronic learning products with a lifetime of dedication to the toy industry. His contributions will never be forgotten as his legacy lives on through the company and resonates throughout the toy industry.”

William E. “Bill” Celeste - Bill was employed in the Purchasing Dept. of Western Publishing for 28 years then became Vice President of Purchasing at Patch Products in Beloit for 16 years, retiring in 2011. Many people have lost their phone friend and entertaining storyteller! William E. “Bill” Celeste, age 73, passed away peacefully Sunday evening, July 18, 2021, at his residence after a year long struggle with cancer.

Peter Lockey The director and co-founder of The Puppet Company, Peter Lockey, passed away on 1st July following a short battle with a brain tumour. Toy World is sad to report that Peter Lockey has passed away just shy of his 64th birthday. His son Sam, sales director at The Puppet Company, which this month marks its 20th anniversary, told Toy World the story of how his father came to be in the toy trade. “Previously a teacher, like my mum (Sue, co-founder), dad went into working for the family luggage business, after which he partnered with his father, Eric – who is also very creative – to make pine furniture.”

Willi Zapf The Zapf Creation team has shared the news that its former owner Willi Zapf passed away on 30th June at the age of 83. In 1958, Willi and Brigitte Zapf took over the management of the Max Zapf doll factory. Under the new name of Zapf Puppen-und Spielwarenfabrik, Willi and Brigitte Zapf launched Baby born in 1991. He sold the company in 1992, but continued to lead it through success, growth, and innovation, until his retirement in 1997. With passion and determination, he led the company to become one of the leading manufacturers of play and functional dolls, and Baby born grew into one of the best-selling products the doll sector has ever seen.” Andrew Laughton, who headed up Zapf UK for many years, told Toy World: “Willi was a true gentleman. I would not have even entered the toy industry without his support and belief. A good friend of my father, together they built the Max Zapf business in the UK until he sold it over 20 years ago. I’ll be forever grateful to Willi and the entire Zapf family for their friendship and the opportunity they gave my family. His son Stefan still works at Zapf, heading up IT, so the family connection to the brand still remains. It’s poignant that 2021 is the 30th anniversary of Baby born – the brand transformed the large doll business worldwide, and it was Willi who saw the concept and believed in it from the start.”

Ora Coster - We lost one of the greats this week -  Ora Coster. She and her husband Theo were the brilliant leaders of Theora Design. They were celebrities in the inventing world and dear friends of mine. Pictured here are Ora and Theo with their sons Boaz and Gideon at the TAGIEs in 2012, receiving the award for Lifetime Achievement. Our hearts are heavy, but we are richer for knowing Ora and all the wonderful playthings she left behind. I am gathering stories, memories and tributes to Ora (and Theo) for a story. Please send me yours to mary@chitag.com

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

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. At least Dick Turpin wore a mask…it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Shipping company introduces new ‘random’ surcharge

  3. Amazon accused of forcing companies to sell at its price – or ‘not at all’

  4. The Entertainer & Mattel launch The Summer Games campaign

  5. Wow! Pods sales surge on Amazon UK

  6. Pokémon celebrates 25th anniversary with month-long Harrods takeover

  7. Exploding Kittens catches Happy Salmon

  8. Spirit Untamed toys arrive at retail as film hits cinemas

  9. Space Jam: A New Legacy tops US box office

  10. Zapf launches Baby born Surprise Mini Babies

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

​-  Top 5 Roleplaying Games - Spring 2021
-  WizKids Unveils New 'D&D' Premium Statue
-  Winner of 'Spiel Des Jahres' 2021 Unveiled
-  Southern Hobby Supply Acquired by Entrust Global Group
-  Hobby Game Sales Over $2 Billion in 2020
-  Hobby Game Sales Sprout in Spring 2021
-  Display the 'Wand of Orcus' in a 'D&D' Trophy Room
-  Top 10 Hobby Channel Board Games - Spring 2021
-  Top Collectible Games - Spring 2021
-  Playmates Gets 'Star Trek' Licensing Rights for Toys

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

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: What Next Announced, MicroMacro Wins Spiel des Jahres 2021 Award. Big Potato Games has announced an ‘action-adventure board game’, the Spiel des Jahres 2021 winner has been announced, and Big G Creative has released a new party game.

Video of the Week! 

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

Working with Influencers

Moderator: Kathleen Tomes (President, Brilliant PR & Marketing)

Panelists: Jim Silver (CEO, TTPM Influencer Talent Management), Jordan Mae Williams (TikTok Influencer,

Just Jordan), Dr. Brittany Fusilier (Instagram - brittfusilier, Lifestyle #Influencer),

Elisa Schmidt (CEO, 30seconds.com - Facebook & Twitter) 

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Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme

 

Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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