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the Bloom Report

Toy & Game Industry's #1 News Summary Globally
Below is Nov. 26 - Dec. 3, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

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

Welcome to your Weekly News Brief . . . 


Happy Friday! 

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tBR Columnist Nancy Zwiers: The Magic of our Mirror Neurons

Nancy Zwiers the Magic of our Mirror Neurons.png

Can you decipher the emotions behind these expressions?  People across the world can...all becasue of mirror neurons.

Discovery--In 1997, researchers were working with macaque monkeys using functional MRI and they stumbled upon a breakthrough discovery.  Areas of the brain that “lit up” when the monkeys performed an action also lit up when they watched the researchers perform that same action!  Thus, a new type of neuron in the brain--mirror neurons-- was discovered.  Evolutionary biologists estimate mirror neurons first arose about 25,000 years ago and they hypothesize that they may have turbo-charged evolution and the development of civilization.  There are four exciting ways mirror neurons operate within our brains.

  1. Social Learning

Mirror neurons power our ability to learn from others.  Our brain lights up not only when we perform an action, but also when we see it, write about it, think about it.  This reinforces the value of modeling the behaviors we want someone else to take.  Show, dont' tell!  For example, when we launched Hatchimals, we knew the hatching could be a family experience and we wanted people to share their experiences on social media.  So in our TV commercial and online, we showed our hero girl with her family and friends, and dad was capturing the experience on his phone!  Unboxing videos serve this same purpose…

* What behaviors can you show (model) that you want to see replicated by others?​ Read More . . . 

POP Week's Wednesday's POP Trio:  Jim PressmanPast President, Pressman Toy Company, Michele LitzkyFounder, Litzky PR, Tom KalinskeExecutive Chairman at Mixed Dimensions, Prior: CEO of Sega America, Leapfrog and Mattel - all are TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Honorees for 2021!

Moderated by Chris Byrne the Toy Guy.   Watch on POP's hompage!

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tBR Person of the Week: Alpesh Patel Vice President, Global Toy Design, TOMY Europe: Born to Design Toys!

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How long have you been in the industry?

20+ years and have loved every moment of it! 

What brought you to it?

I had a passion for making things from a young age. Any new toy that was bought for me was played with then taken apart (my parents still remind me of this) not only to see how the toy would work but also how I could make my own toys. I guess that always stayed with me and a career in toy design was always on the cards. 

What's the most interesting thing you are working on right now?

That’s a great question and difficult to answer since we are working on top secret projects for 2023! What I do find interesting (and can share) is how we as a toy company and as an industry accelerate our ability to make and market sustainable products that consumers are willing to pay for. Technically, all the tools are there, but costs are high and as we consumers we have an appetite for low-cost products, especially within the toy market. As an individual and organization, we are laser focused on how we can achieve this, in a long term - no gimmick way that benefits the environment as well as our organization and consumers.

What is the best part about being in the toy industry?  Read More . . . 

POP 3 Truths and a Lie ad edited July 2 2021.png

Financial & Legal News . . .

Early Christmas shopping results in UK retail sales rise. Retail sales rose in Oct. to show the first increase in 6 months, and toys have been singled out as one of the main drivers. The total volume of goods bought rose by 0.8% last month, according to the Office for Nat'l Statistics, compared with flat sales in Sept. This was driven by a rise in spending on toys and clothes, despite economists having forecast a smaller rise...

Asmodee to Make a Strategic Investment in Exploding Kittens.  Asmodee to Make a Strategic Investment in Exploding Kittens. Asmodee, the leading worldwide platform in modern boardgames, announced today the signing of a strategic investment into Exploding Kittens, the hit tabletop game creator.  "Exploding Kittens has been a long-time partner of ours, combining amazing creativity and innovation capabilities...

(posted after tBR released December 3rd)

President Biden Hosts Roundtable with Leading Retailers About Holiday Shopping, Stocked Shelves and Overcoming Supply Chain Challenges.  In addition to discussing the holiday shopping season, the President also noted the progress made at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which have seen an over 40% drop in the number of long dwelling containers, an important sign that velocity and fluidity are coming back. Black Friday sales were up 30% compared to last year and we are in the midst of a retail boom with retail sales up double digits every month in 2021 compared to the previous year. In October retail sales were up 15 percent compared to last year.

A ‘Simpsons’ Episode Lampooned Chinese Censorship. In Hong Kong, It Vanished.  The episode mocked both Mao Zedong and the government’s efforts to suppress memory of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Other episodes of the show are available on Disney+, which made its much-anticipated debut in HK this month. But in season 16, the archive skips directly from episode 11 to episode 13, omitting...

A Game Designer in Beijing Bought Toy Guns. China Imprisoned Him.  San Cheng bought toy guns online as props for video game design. Then the police arrived, and he was jailed under China’s strict but messy gun laws. When the police swarmed into San Cheng’s apartment in Beijing late at night and accused him of illegally buying guns, he was sure it was a mix-up.

Mattel Chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz has attended a White House roundtable meeting with President Biden and leading U.S. CEOs to discuss supply chain and the holiday shopping season in the U.S. Mr. Kreiz said: “I was encouraged by President Biden’s commitment to support the private sector in mitigating supply chain disruptions, including in particular port congestion. Mattel appreciates …

Selfridges owners closing in on agreement to sell department store. It is being widely reported that Selfridges owners, the Weston family, have agreed financial terms with Thailand-based Central Group. According to widespread media reports, department store Selfridges is on the verge of being sold to Thailand’s Central Group. The Weston family have been searching for a buyer since the summer and are thought...

Who Bought What? Netflix’s 2021 buying round-up, From big moves like the Roald Dahl acquisition to greenlighting fresh titles from studios including Boat Rocker and OddBot—here's a Kidscreen breakdown of the streamer's content investment activity this year.  Netflix has added an eclectic mix of content from established brands like My Little Pony and Barbie this year, as well as fresh new concepts like...

Flat River Group continues its expansion with another acquisition.  The distributor of toys, games, and other consumer products revealed plans to grow its gaming business with the acquisition of Greater Than Games, a St. Louis-based tabletop game publisher, design house, and consolidator.  “We are deeply connected to the board game industry as it is one of our strongest vendor categories,” says Flat River Group 

US politicians unveil new bill to clamp down on scalping. Lawmakers in the United States have revealed a new bill intended to curb scalping of high-demand goods. The Stopping Grinch Bots Act -- named after the titular festive Dr. Seuss antagonist -- aims to stop scalpers using bots to quickly purchase items that are in demand to be sold on for higher prices.

'Significant Progress' in clearing SOCAL port congestion. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together account for 40% of sea freight entering the U.S., are making "significant progress" in clearing backlogs, according to a port executive, as an organization of large retailers urged additional steps by the federal government. 

FTC orders Walmart, Amazon, Kroger and more to turn over information on empty shelves, high prices. The Federal Trade Commission said Monday that it is investigating the causes behind ongoing supply chain disruptions and how they are "causing serious and ongoing hardships for consumers and harming competition in the U.S. economy."



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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

NPD reports that UK consumers waited for Black Friday to buy toys . . . . . . . November 2021 NPD BookScan - Top 20 Author, Manga, Superhero Graphic Novels . . . . . . . THE INSIGHTS FAMILY OFFERS 2022 ‘VISION OF THE FUTURE’ REPORT . . . . . . . . Disney’s ‘Encanto’ Leads Another Quiet Weekend at Box Office . . . . . . Breaking down the top content trends of the year . . . . . . Top 50 Comics - November 2021 . . . . . . . Talking Shop - brace your elves! . . . . . . . NOVEMBER 2021 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 KIDS GRAPHIC NOVELS

(the above posted after tBR released December 3rd)

Number of UK preschoolers joining organized group activities has risen by 10% . . . . . . Mattel Seeing Strong Toy Demand, Won't Raise Prices . . . . . . . UK Black Friday - the verdict . . . . . . . Benchmark Study - Board Game Licensing Contract Terms . . . . . . 3 in 4 parents think holiday shopping is harder than an Olympic sport! . . . . . . . A retail recap: Turkey Day through Cyber Monday  . . . . . . . The Black Friday shift continues as shoppers return to brick-and-mortar retail . . . . . . . Cyber Monday online sales drop 1.4% from last year to $10.7 billion, falling for the first time ever . . . . . . . . November 2021 NPD BookScan - Top 20 Adult Graphic Novels

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Demand soars at Hornby but bottom line suffers

(the above posted after tBR released December 3rd)

Lego unveils exceptionally strong first-half results . . . . . . . Why Is Hasbro (HAS) Up 5.1% Since Last Earnings Report? . . . . . . . Outdoor Toys acquired by Gartenhaus . . . . . . . CUDO brings in 6-figure funding . . . . . . Genius Brands International to acquire a 28.6% stake in Germany’s Your Family Entertainment (YFE) for US$6.8 million.  . . . . . . Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. Reports Record Revenues and Pre-Tax Income in Fiscal 2021 Third Quarter, Declares Special Dividend, Authorizes Stock Repurchase Program and Again Raises Annual Guidance

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments & Advice . . .

KidsKnowBest – context is everything.  Rob Lough of KidsKnowBest, explains why it’s time for progressive brands to skip the demos and dive straight into the stuff that matters in 2022.  When Apple recently introduced privacy changes to its products, it sent advertisers, publishers and the whole industry scrambling for solutions, according to Rob, who is co-founder and chief brand officer of data-led creative media...

Top 5 tips for toy brands to crack social media this Christmas.  The last couple of weeks in the run-up to Christmas are crucial for retailers, and social media can be invaluable in helping to drive sales. We asked Polly Barnfield OBE, retail expert and CEO of Maybe* Tech, for her top tips on how toy shops can crack social media this Christmas.

Letter from America - what a year for the indies!  In his final column of the year, Rick Derr celebrates how 2021 turned out and concludes there IS a Santa Claus... “We all are jumping for joy as the year winds down,” says our US based columnist Rick, owner of independent toy store Learning Express in Lake Zurich, I l. Writing in mid Nov., with several weeks to go until Christmas, Rick was confident enough to draw a...

Netflix Makes the Most Movies in Hollywood. It Wants to Make the Best.  “Red Notice” is not a good movie, at least by most conventional measures. It has a score of 36 on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and 37% on Metacritic. It’s not going to get nominated for Academy Awards, nor did it introduce the world to new talent. A New York Times review deemed it a “vacant bid at franchise creation,” and...

Encanto finally nails Disney’s villain-free formula.  And it succeeds where Frozen 2 and Raya and the Last Dragon faltered.  The Disney villain is dead. Long live the Disney villain. Over the past decade, Disney Animation Studios has slowly been evolving the types of stories it tells, and while that might mean more compelling heroes’ journeys and family stories, it also means that the need for the traditional villain has slowly declined. 

Traditional toys make a comeback - and kidults are helping drive the trend. Toys have always been big business, with global sales hitting nearly €85 billion in 2020 - up by 2.6% on 2019. 2021 is set to be another bumper year for the industry. And despite some reports that video games have killed the toy sector, it seems the traditional toy mkt is bouncing back. The sector rose by 5% in the 1st qtr of 2021. Games/puzzles were one of the highest growth categories, with a jump of 38% in Europe alone.

(posted after tBR released December 3rd)

Who Are the People in Your Metaverse  With the recent announcement of the new umbrella name “Meta,” the  Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp behemoth is shifting its place of business to the “metaverse.” It seems timely, then, to consider what we mean when we use that term and, particularly, how it can be made transformative and beneficial for children and teens. There is, as yet, no true metaverse, so it’s early enough...

John Baulch, ToyWorld UK - Dave or Argos - It's the Friday Blog! A week ago, if someone had mentioned Omicron to me, I would have assumed it was a new Transformers villain. What a difference a week makes: we are now only too familiar with the latest Covid variant, as this week’s news has been dominated with stories about its spread across the globe. Within hours, I started to receive messages from retailers asking ...

IT’S TIME FOR ADVERTISING MEASUREMENT TO MEASURE UP.   When the Media Rating Council (MRC) removed Nielsen’s accreditation, the media community collectively became a “shaking my head” meme captioned with, "Not today Nielsen, not today.” The MRC decision, made on behalf of its voting members, underscored the inevitable: Choice and diversification of measurement models is a mandate for the future. 

Are Instagram’s Aesthetic Moms Hindering Kids’ Development?  Taupe and cream nurseries are in vogue right now. They’re beautifully beige, but some worry they might be bad for babies. Something strange has happened to nurseries, and it is perhaps best illustrated by a vintage sewing pattern from 1988. Here, the ideal abode for a babe features a matching pillow cover, diaper holder, and changing pad made of garish...

Confessions of a Comic Book Guy... columnist Steve Bennett reviews the 95th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and talks recent showbiz announcements regarding MST3K and Star Trek Prodigy. After last year's COVID-19 scaled-down, virtual in-name-only, bare-bones, better than nothing parade with its “pre-taped presentations” and no crowds; the actual parade was back this year, and it sure seems like it was missed.  The 95th Annual  Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade drew “a total of 25.4 million total viewers and a 6.4 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic...

Amazon, Walmart and the world's biggest retailers are making port congestion and pollution worse, new report finds. The supply chain is facing major blockages, and container ships are heaping pollution into communities near the congested ports. The biggest offenders are, unsurprisingly, the world's biggest retailers, according to a new report Tuesday conducted by environmental organizations and ...

Toy community reacts with dismay at Argos ‘panic’ Black Friday event The retailer instigated a last-minute sale, offering 20% discount off a wide range of toys on Black Friday, even though many items were out of stock. Many observers had predicted that this year’s Black Friday event would not be adopted enthusiastically by toy retailers, due to a combination of potential stock shortages and the need to avoid margin erosion,,,

‘A safe haven’: how Dungeons & Dragons is slaying social anxiety. The world’s most successful role-playing game could provide a home amid the chaos for those struggling with post-lockdown angst. As pandemic restrictions lift across Australia and more face-to-face activities resume, socialising can be a source of profound anxiety for many people. But what if, when you met up with others, you don’t have to be yourself?

This Edmonton couple had Lego date nights. Now they work for the toy giant. For first dates, some couples go to the movies, attend concerts or have a romantic dinner by candlelight. Edmonton's Laura and Chris Perron built Lego.  The couple started dating several years ago while enrolled in the University of Alberta's industrial design program. The pair turned to Lego as it was a fun and interactive date...


Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Top holiday toys from the year you were born. Toy shopping has transformed over the past 100 years, whether because of advancements in the products themselves or the marketplace. Using national toy archives and data curated by The Strong, from 1920 to today, Stacker searched for products that caught hold of the public zeitgeist through novelty, innovation, kitsch, quirk, or simply great timing, and then rocketed to success. Here are the top holiday toys from the year you were born, counting up from 1920 to today.

(the above posted after tBR released December 3rd)

Groovy gifts! These truly are the 10 most popular toys of the 1970s. When making a best-of list, it’s hard to pare your favorites down to just 10 toys—especially those that define an entire decade. But that’s what we’ve tried to do with this list of the some of the best toys of the 1970s. Were there other great 1970s toys that didn’t make the cut? Absolutely! 

Modern Marvels’ host Adam Richman on History’s fun new toy series. The Toys That Built America, airing Sundays through Dec. 19, is showcasing visionaries like the Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley, and revealing the stories behind some of America’s most enduring toys, like the Slinky, Monopoly, Barbie and G.I. Joe. The two-episode companion series Modern Marvels: Toys & Games, concluding this Sunday,...

We're not toying with you! These really are the most popular toys of the '50s. Toys. Even the word makes you smile. Toys give you permission to play. And for many adults, there are iconic toys that bring back loads of good memories. Many of the classic toys that follow may be vintage, but they’ve never grown old. What made the toys from the 1950s so popular are attributes that kids still look for today—originality, ingenuity...

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Game from University Games (1997). It’s up to the residents of Whoville to take back Christmas in the How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Game published by University Games in 1997. Based on the 1957 children’s book by Dr. Seuss, the roll-and-move How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Game was created for two to four players, ages four and older. 

Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Champion and Hasbro set to win big with board game-inspired apparel . . .  featuring characters and graphics from some of world’s most beloved games: Monopoly, Twister, Scrabble and Candy Land. “Spirited play, competition and board games go together during the holiday season, and this collection lets fans look good doing it,” says Jon Ram, Group President of of Global Activewear at Hanesbrands, owner of the Champion...

Diamond Art Club Debuts Harry Potter, Friends, and DC Craft Kits.  Accio, craft time! This week, Diamond Art Club revealed a major partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products. The leading manufacturer in diamond painting is releasing a variety of craft kits featuring designs and imagery from multiple Warner Bros. brands, including the Wizarding World, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Friends, DC, and more

Hasbro Prepares for ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ with New Action Figures and a Disney+ Special.  On Dec. 29, a new chapter in the Star Wars saga begins when The Mandalorian spinoff The Book of Boba Fett debuts on Disney+. Fresh Star Wars content equals new toys, and Hasbro is leading the charge and will take center stage in an episode of Disney Insider that shows how action figures are made.

Leading electronic toy manufacturer WowWee recently announced that it has named Striker Entertainment as the premiere global licensing agency to represent this year’s Got2Glow Fairy Finder. Striker will now be spearheading a strategic licensing program for the product, which has gained traction in advance of the holiday season, landing on numerous “Hot Toy” lists for 2021. 

Jazwares is snuggling up to new licensing partners for its plush brand Squishmallows. Their growing consumer products program is focused on categories including apparel, bedding and stationery. Just-signed licensees include Bioworld (apparel, loungewear, headwear, bags, socks, accessories), BigMouth (pool floats, cooler bags, beach chairs, pop-up tents), BBC International (footwear), Franco MFG (bedding, accessories)...

Lego has recently unveiled its new homeware line, inspired by its well-known toy blocks, in collaboration with Room Copenhagen, a Danish homeware design company. The wooden collection features life-size Legos that have been turned into desk drawers, wall hangers, picture frames and book racks. Every brick includes a set of Lego’s round knobs, and each knob comes printed with a small Lego logo.

RADIO FLYER,TESLA EXPAND PARTNERSHIP TO LAUNCH CYBERQUAD FOR KIDS. Radio Flyer is making a bigger push into the world of electric vehicles (EVs) with a $1,900 ATV. Following the success of its Tesla Model S ride-on that launched in 2016, the maker of iconic little red wagons is expanding its deal with Elon Musk’s Tesla for an all-new ride. The Radio Flyer Cyberquad for Kids is an aggressive-looking, high-performance...

(the above posted after tBR released December 3rd)

Uncanny Brands Catches the Pokémon for a New Kitchen Appliance Range.  Pikachu waffle maker, we choose you! Uncanny Brands, a company known for offering kitchen appliances featuring fan-favorite characters, has a new partner — Pokémon. The company’s initial lineup of Pokémon products will be available this month from a variety of retailers.

Mattel Partners with PUMA for ‘Masters of the Universe: Revelation’ Sneakers.  Mattel‘s licensing game has the power when it comes to Masters of the Universe. PUMA inked a deal with the toy and entertainment company for a limited edition run of sneakers inspired by Masters of the Universe: Revelation. Foot Locker is the exclusive retail destination for the collaboration.

Playmobil Teases Knight Rider 40th Anniversary Set. Playmobil is taking a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist. Timed with the 40th anniversary of NBCUniversal’s Knight Rider next year, Playmobil took to social media to tease the unmistakable form of the 1982 Pontiac Trans Am that was made famous as the Knight Industries Two Thousand, best known as KITT.

Jakks Pacific Reveals Plans for Jurassic World Seasonal and Outdoor Collection.  Jurassic times call for Jurassic measures. Jakks Pacific announced a new Jurassic World line of seasonal and outdoor products in the United States and Canada. The line will feature Jurassic World-themed kids’ furniture, activities, and toys, and is set to be released sometime next year.

MGA Entertainment Inks Master Licensing Deal for ‘Pui Pui Molcar’.  Hailing from Japan and produced by director Tomoki Misato, Pui Pui Molcar is a series of stop-motion anime shorts. Already an international hit, Pui Pui Molcar is available on Netflix, TV Tokyo, and can be seen on YouTube. The series posits a world where guinea pigs (pronounced “molmotto” in Japanese) are turned into cars.

Luxury family pajama brand Posh Peanut has teamed up with historic NYC landmark and toy hub FAO Schwarz to create a new line of pajamas! These limited edition FAO Schwarz X Posh pajama sets for babies, kids and adults are available for purchase on Posh Peanut’s website, and will only be up while supplies last. 

The Bratz Pack are back, and this time they’re teaming up with GCDS! Bringing a dose of early 2000s glamor and Y2K nostalgia into a modern context, GCDS and MGA Entertainment have created a capsule of Bratz-inspired clothing and accessories. The collection includes two core Bratz characters styled by GCDS in iconic looks from their runway show. The capsule evokes themes of inclusivity and self-expression...

Spread Group has signed with award-winning global independent animation studio ZAG for a global licensing agreement. Under this new agreement, Spread Group will provide a print-on-demand collection for the globally successful animated series MiraculousTM – Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir™ created by ZAG and co-produced with ON kids & family (Mediawan). Kids and young adults’ apparel and accessories...

Aardman has announced the launch of its newest IP, a series for 1- to 3-year-olds called The Very Small Creatures. The Very Small Creatures, the first spin-off from the studio’s hugely popular Morph series, follows the adventures of five toddler-like clay creatures who explore a child’s play area when no one’s around – learning about their physical world, themselves and each other. The 20×3″ colourful and characterful...

Mattel‘s licensing game has the power when it comes to Masters of the Universe PUMA inked a deal with the toy and entertainment company for a limited edition run of sneakers inspired by Masters of the Universe: Revelation, the Netflix animated series from showrunner Kevin Smith. Beginning today, Foot Locker is the exclusive destination for the He-Man Clyde and Skeletor Suede sneakers. 

ToyPro signs with Spacetoon TV and IMPS to produce Smurfs toys for MENA. Spacetoon, the family edutainment content provider, producer, and broadcaster, has recently partnered with IMPS to bring The Smurfs to MENA through Spacetoon TV channel, entertaining on-ground branded events and new toys. Based on this partnership, the two parties are to work on re-introducing the show to young audiences in MENA by...

Ravensburger brings 'Pokemon Labyrinth' to U.S. markets. Ravensburger NA brought Pokemon Labyrinth, a family board game, to U.S. markets at the end of November. In this version of Labyrinth, Pokemon are hiding out in the maze and players must skillfully catch them. This game features the following popular Pokemon as playing pieces: Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle.

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People . . . 

Matthew Berkowitz named president of Thunderbird.  Reporting to CEO Jennifer Twiner McCarron, Berkowitz will now head up M&A, production, distribution and IP acquisition for the entire company, on top of continuing to oversee Atomic Cartoons. Matthew Berkowitz is taking over as president of Thunderbird Entertainment, setting off a cascade of other promotions in the company’s kids, factual and scripted divisions. 

Alex Ries Joins Me & My Big Ideas as Chief Marketing Officer.  In her new role, Ries will be responsible for consumer and retail marketing, partnerships and licensing, and product development. Ries joins the company from Moose Toys U.S., where she served as senior vice president and head of marketing and strategy since 2017.

Moose Toys Bolsters Executive Ranks with 2 Internal Promotions The company behind Shopkins, Squeakee, and this year’s smash hit Magic Mixies promoted two of its staffers to new, C-level roles effective immediately. Ronnie Frankowski steps into the newly created role of chief commercial officer while Belinda Gruebner assumes the role of chief marketing officer.

This Spirograph Artist Brings Childhood Dreams to Adult Reality.  While many of us have likely dabbled with the Spirograph here and there as kids, few of us can say it’s an integral part of our everyday lives. Artist Rachel Evans — affectionately known by the internet as Spirograph Girl — is a part of these few, establishing herself as an artist by using the spirograph as her main tool.

Talkin’ Toys: Sport Bigs Breaks the Mold.  Earlier this year, Sport Bigs hit the scene with a goal to break the mold in the toy department. The Toy Book caught up with Sport Bigs founder and former USA Women’s Rugby star Pam Kosanke to find out what inspired her to create the first plush toy for young kids that celebrates athletes in women’s sports.

Talkin’ Toys: Pebble Gear Brings Kid-Friendly Tablets to the U.S. The company, which offers Disney-licensed kids’ tablets and accessories for kids ages 3-8, has a mission of helping kids safely take their first steps into technology. The Toy Book caught up with Marc-Alexander Knipschild, head of marketing at snakebyte group (parent company of Pebble Gear), about the company’s launch in the U.S., kid-safe tech toys, and...

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes David Gardiner, founder of Well Played Toys. Gardiner began his career at Hasbro and has since held executive roles at Basic Fun!, MEGA Brands, and more. As founder and president of Well Played Toys, Gardiner is developing products for kids and collectors alike with top licenses, including Lost In Space, Borderlands, SpongeBob Squarepants...

The Beeb’s commercial arm BBC Studios has hired former WarnerMedia EMEA exec Cecilia Persson to serve as its new managing director of children’s. Starting on January 1, Persson will step into her new role ahead of a planned amalgamation of BBC Children’s Productions and Studios that’s set to take place in April, and she’ll head up the new division as it transitions from the public service broadcaster to the commercial arm. 

Palos students’ Puppy Piñata wins 2021 Young Inventor Challenge.  Like other high-level learners, Lucy Pater and Kaylie Smit understand some of the engineering behind nifty inventions. But these two fourth graders in Palos Elementary School District 118 also know how to think like a dog. “I was trying to think of an idea that was different from everyone else’s idea, so I thought, what if I could do something humans love and dogs would also love,” said Lucy, who with Kaylie won in the category of Most Innovative Pet Toy. 

Alumna Amanda Bright’s Creative Career is a Toy Story.  Every day offers the sense of adventure and wonder of Christmas morning when you work in the toy industry like 2007 mechanical engineering alumna Amanda Bright. After all, who wouldn’t like to play with Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Castle or Batman’s Batcave as a profession? “What’s not exciting about it?” says Bright, senior director of product development engineering...

Former Sprout execs to lead Nevision's US push  Former president of the NBCUniversal kids channel Sandy Wax and former finance VP Vincent Gabriele will lead Nevision’s newly launching LA and New York offices as president and COO, respectively. They will report to the company’s executive chairman James Cabourne, who is based in the UK.

Spielwarenmesse podcast: an interview with Hape founder Peter Handstein  With the Nuremberg Toy Fair just weeks away, the Spielwarenmesse team have released their latest podcast. This time the subject is Hape, leading manufacturer of wooden toys sold in over 60 countries. Owner Peter Handstein has been committed to the issue of sustainability since he founded the business in the 1990s, and continues 

(the above posted after December 3rd)

After 15 yrs at Nickelodeon Australia, Hugh Baldwin is set to leave the ViacomCBS-owned kidsnet at the end of the year. In a statement to Kidscreen, he attributed the departure to the ongoing ViacomCBS merger and the successful launch of Paramount+ in the region. “The last couple of years, in particular, have been really great for me; it has been a fulfilling period, but the sands are shifting so it’s time for a change.”

LA-based Exile Content Studio has formed a new kids division, putting former Hasbro chief content officer Stephen Davis at the helm.

Exile is best known for its work in the adult drama genre (notably, Netflix series El Chapo), but as chairman of Exile Kids, Davis will lead a significant expansion into children’s brand-building through original IP development and acquisitions..

Collinsons brothers win ‘Golden Teddies’ for toy industry work.  Two Harrogate brothers who have carried on the work of their grandfather and father have won a top award for their lifetime of work in the toy industry.  Mark and Paul Collinson got involved in the industry early on at seven-year-olds when their father Ian Collinson showed them the ropes.

Full-service animation studio Hero4Hire has brought in former Nickelodeon exec Christina Augustinos as head of content production.

She started earlier this month and will lead creative marketing, brand and content initiatives to bolster the Boston-based company’s move into original IPs and larger-scale projects. Augustinos had most recently been working as a freelance production consultant, but she previously...

After two years focusing on adult animation at NBCUniversal, Isabel Bailin has joined Frederator Studios as director of development. She is taking over for Nikki Price, who was the former director of development.  In this new role, Bailin will work to expand the New York-based prodco’s portfolio of original animated programming for kids and adults, as well as exploring new content opportunities for its existing brands. 

Her dream was to be a Muppeteer. Her Korean American ‘Sesame Street’ character just made history.  Kathleen Kim is the woman behind Ji-Young, the first Asian American muppet. We spoke to them about their Thanksgiving debut.  There’s one more kid who can tell you how to get to Sesame Street. The children’s show is introducing its first Asian American character in its 52-year history on Thanksgiving...

Mattel has named former LEGO exec Glenn Abell as SVP of MEGA and global head of its construction category. Reporting to president and COO Richard Dickson, Abell starts in the role today and will oversee MEGA SVP Bisma Ansari. Abell joins Mattel from Moose Toys, where he served as president and GM. But before that, he spent 16 yrs with The LEGO, exiting the company in 2018 as VP and head of global e-commerce.

Niantic hires dev team behind gameplay sharing platform LowkeyNiantic has hired the team behind gameplay recording and sharing app Lowkey to accelerate its social experiences. Lowkey is described as a "social gaming platform" that lets users capture and share gameplay moments with ease. Niantic said it and Lowkey share a common vision for "building community around shared experiences," and the two teams...

Ludwig leaves Twitch for YouTube GamingTwitch streamer Ludwig Ahgren, who in April set a world record for the highest number of subscribers—at over 270,000—has left the platform and will now be streaming exclusively at YouTube Gaming. Ludwig achieved the subscription feat at the conclusion of a marathon 31-day streaming event, which began on March 14 and ran for too damn long. In the process, he beat the ....

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Companies, Brands . . .  

Ty Continues Air Freight Efforts to Deliver Plush to Retailers for Christmas.  Just 2 weeks after revealing that his company had been mitigating supply chain issues by turning to expensive air freight, Ty Warner says that Ty Inc. has completed a total of 283 flights. The leading supplier of plush toys, including Beanie Babies and Beanie Boos, began flying in product in Oct. in an effort to skip the much-publicized logjams as U.S. ports.

Hasbro’s Furby Returns to Help Shoppers Find Gifts. Doo-bi-doo-bi-doo … One of the hottest holiday gifts of the 1990s is back. Hasbro‘s Furby — launched by Tiger Electronics in 1998 — has joined Afterpay, the leading ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ platform, as the face and voice of its new Impossible Gift Finder. “We’re excited to give our classic brand, Furby, a fun comeback through our collaboration with Afterpay,” says Casey Collins,

The LEGO Group to Build Carbon-neutral Factory in Vietnam.  The company behind the iconic LEGO bricks and mini-figures inked a Memorandum of Understanding with Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park Joint Venture Company Limited (VSIP) to build a new, carbon-neutral factory in Vietnam, complete with a solar energy component. The first bricks are expected to roll off the assembly line in 2024

Hop Aboard Spin Master’s Newest STEAM Initiative. It’s full steam ahead for Spin Master’s newest project - a new STEAM-inspired initiative that aims to give kids and their families hands-on learning activities that mimic the art and science of toy-making. The Future of Play initiative features DIY activities that show kids how toys are made, going behind the scenes with simple STEAM experiences designed to inspire the next gen of play.

Bestway USA, Kid@Heart Launch Bestway Boutique. Beginning next year, a major player in the inflatable toys and leisure products space will be making its catalog more accessible than ever to the growing specialty market. Bestway USA teamed up with Kid@Heart to create the Bestway Boutique, a curated assortment of spring and summer inflatables that will be offered to independent toy stores and other specialty retailers...

CRA-Z-ART RAMPS UP EFFORTS FOR ‘MADE IN AMERICA’ TOYS; LAUNCHES ROSEART PUZZLES. LaRose Industries LLC — better known as Cra-Z-Art — is raising the flag to usher in a new era of American production.  The maker of toys, art supplies, craft kits, and school supplies is increasing its output of products Made in the USA by opening a second state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Jacksonville, Florida.

Vivid Goliath unveils world first with Recyclings collectibles. Launching across the UK and Eire from January, Recyclings are the first collectible made from recycled plastic. Distributed in a partnership with Headstart, Recyclings characters are made from 70% recycled plastic, with each Recycling saving 7 bottle caps from landfill, a move which Vivid Goliath says means guilt free collecting as well as educating kids on sustainability.

Genius Brands International following the pending acquisition of Canada’s WOW! Unlimited Media and strategic investment in Germany’s Your Family Entertainment AG (“YFE”) (FRA:RTV), has unveiled a bold new “block” of children’s animated series and expanded distribution for its international channels. The new lineup and branding is spearheaded by...

RECUR and Care Bears™ announced that they have signed a multi-year NFT partnership to bring the iconic brand of huggable bears from Care-A-Lot into the metaverse. As fans enter the Care Bears metaverse, they will not only discover the beloved original bears, but also brand new, never-before-seen Care Bears. 

JAKKS Pacific is officially a sponsor for the Roller Skating Association’s Kids Skate Free Program for holiday 2022. JAKKS Pacific is committed to improving the lives and well-being of children, making a sponsorship with Kids Skate Free a perfect way to give back to the community this holiday season. Kids Skate Free’s goal is to provide kids and families an outlet to improve physical and mental health while having fun in a safe...

London-based Moonbug Ent is expanding its footprint in the MENA region through a new partnership with Orbit Showtime Network (OSN). On Dec. 12, the pay-TV operator will launch a Moonbug Kids linear channel and streaming hub aimed at preschoolers. The new net is designed to give viewers 24/7 access to all of the prodco’s children’s titles, including CoComelon, Blippi, Morphle, Little Baby Bum...

ViacomCBS and South Korean media company CJ ENM have signed a new strategic partnership that will span the co-production of original series and films, content licensing for both brand libraries, and distribution on streamers operated by both ViacomCBS and CJ ENM.  Paramount+ will launch in South Korea in 2022 as part of a bundle with CJ ENM’s SVOD TVING, marking the platform’s first debut in an Asian market.

Every toy needs a child to love it: Allentown Toy Manufacturing Co. is closing its doors after over 70 years in business.  Mandated closures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and rising costs of goods, coupled with a yearning from leadership to retire, led the family business to shutter its doors for good.

Simba Smoby Toys UK partners with with Good Play Guide for pre-Christmas drive  Three core areas of the Smoby/AquaPlay portfolio are featured within the campaign taking place in conjunction with Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide. Mayur Pattni, marketing manager at Simba Smoby Toys UK, commented: “Taking the campaign and Dr Gummer’s endorsement straight to parents through the Good Play Guide website...

Canadian toy retailer Mastermind Toys just launched its first-ever brand campaign: “Let’s Play.” “We believe that the world is better at play and that as Canada’s authority on play, it was time for a call to action for more play. That’s where the concept for ‘Let’s Play’ came from,” says Susan Anderson, vice president, marketing and brand, Mastermind Toys. “We partnered with The Local Collective to help us bring to life the sense

(the above posted after December 3rd)

SmartGames, a worldwide leader in multi-level logic games, has unveiled three new brain busters, suitable for both young and old. The co. has introduced Diamond Quest, which it describes as “a true gem for players to dig into”; IQ Digits, a colourful number crunching challenge and Cubiq, a 3D puzzle with vibrant patterns that sparkle and shine.  Diamond Quest is a vibrant game that will have players mining jewels...

The Dream Ella range is aimed at children aged 3-5 years and is the latest brand to join MGA Entertainment’s growing portfolio.  Bringing a sprinkle of magic to playtime, MGA Entertainment describes collectible and fashion doll brand Dream Ella as a hybrid between fantasy and reality; she is a career woman by day and a fairy by night. Focusing on role play and development, the range includes the Dream Ella Colour...

PlayMonster Unleashes New Additions to the Snap Ships Fleet.  The Snap Ships fleet is expanding this holiday season. Wisconsin-based PlayMonster added six new modular building sets to its extensive Snap Ships collection. At the pinnacle stands the all-new Claymore CR-76 Combat Transport — a mighty spacecraft that features a bay area that holds and releases two miniature mechs for ground battle.

Headstart International Preps Recyclings Collectibles Range.  Following the successful global launch of its Resoftables range of eco-friendly plush, Headstart Int'l is prepping another new toy line that repurposes plastic waste into new playthings. Recyclings is a full range of collectible toys that are made from 70% recycled plastic. Set to be released in seasons, the first batch includes more than 90 cute and colorful characters

ZURU Set to Debut 5 Surprise Mini Fashion Collectibles at Walmart.  ZURU is set to unleash a stylish new addition to its growing 5 Surprise line while continuing its path toward sustainability. On Dec. 26, Walmart stores in the U.S. will be the first to offer 5 Surprise Mini Fashion collectibles. The new range features more than 40 fabric fashion bags and accessories for kids to collect. 

Toys for Tots Now Accepts Cryptocurrency Donations.  The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, a 501©(3) organization whose mission is to send a message of hope to less fortunate children at Christmas time, and during times of crisis or natural disaster, is excited to announce that it has started accepting donations in the form of Cryptocurrency.

Kinetic Sand and Artist Dan Lam to Drop NFT Series: “Please Do Touch the Art”  Kinetic Sand from Spin Master, and artist Dan Lam announced an NFT (non-fungible token) series to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a national organization of local Clubs focused on providing youth with equal access to opportunities and experiences.

TOYS ‘R’ US TO OPEN 2-STORY FLAGSHIP STORE AT AMERICAN DREAM.   HP Global — the parent company of the Toys “R” Us (TRU) and Babies “R” Us brands — confirmed the swirling buzz that its first TRU flagship location will open its doors at the American Dream retail and entertainment center in Bergen County, New Jersey. The sprawling, two-level store with a slide, cafe, and ice cream parlor will open in mid-December...

Tomy announced as European distribution partner for Orchard Toys.  Orchard Toys says it is looking forward to being able to expand its brand across Europe after agreeing a distribution agreement with Tomy. The educational, games and jigsaws manufacturer is looking to replicate the success it has seen in the UK with a company, it says, that can offer regional distribution and local infrastructure. 

John Adams seeks ‘Board Director’ (dress code: PJs)   Board game-loving Brits can live the dream this festive season, as UK-based toy and games company John Adams is searching for someone to stay at home in their pyjamas and play board games all day long. Getting stuck into a family game is a key part of the Christmas festivities, and to make this year even more entertaining, one lucky games enthusiast is being offered...

Spin Master Entertainment and Nickelodeon Movies greenlit a second PAW Patrol animated feature film, following the release of the first one, PAW Patrol: The Movie, earlier this year. Entitled PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie, the film will be distributed by Paramount Pictures and released in theaters on Oct 13, 2023. Also in the works is a TV series spin-off based on one of the main characters from the PAW Patrol preschool...

Far Out Toys is looking to kick out the jams.  Following the launch of its Far Out Studios division this summer, the company behind Crash Racers and GLO-Up Girls is entering the music industry with a new division, Far Out Records. The label’s first release, “Give a Little GLO” arrived on Thanksgiving day. The single from McKenzi Brooke, a singer and social media star with a combined 12 million fans across YouTube, Instagram...

LEGO Group unveils Carousel of Creativity in Covent Garden. The LEGO Group has launched its LEGO Carousel of Creativity festive display, which celebrates kids’ limitless imaginations.  Fans can visit the LEGO Carousel of Creativity in Covent Garden and experience “a world where anything is possible”. It features brick-built characters who challenge the norm, from a firefighting dragon to a princess racing driver,...

Synapses Games announces two colorful card game titles. Synapses Games announced Betta and Coatl, The Card Game, two new card games, for release in 2022. Betta is a tile placement and hand management puzzle. Players are assigned different species of betta fish, and they play cards to create different patterns on their fish. In Coatl, The Card Game, players attempt to paint the most valuable serpents in the Aztec world. 

Stronghold Games will release 'Survive: Escape From Atlantis! 30th Anniversary' editionStronghold Games will release Survive: Escape From Atlantis! 30th Anniversary, a survival board game, into hobby retail on December 15. Survive: Escape from Atlantis! was first published in 1982 by Parker Brothers, then rebooted by Stronghold Games in 2011 (see "Top 10 Board Games--Q1 2011").

The new turn-based League of Legends game is one of the best RPGs of the year. The Ruined King: A League of Legends Story is, like many of Riot’s recent projects, an effort in translation. League of Legends remains one of the biggest games in the world, despite its rampant community toxicity and the tremendous time investment required from most players—but things like The Ruined King and Riot’s recent Netflix series Arcane...

Games Workshop unveils two more 'Warhammer 40,000' Old Foes bundles. Games Workshop unveiled Veterans of the Watch and The Insidious Curse, two new Old Foes bundles for Warhammer 40,00, onto preorder for a limited time from November 30 to December 7. The Veterans of the Watch are the Deathwatch Space Marines that hold the line against the Genestealer Cult hordes. 

Match Brain Goop and Feelings in 'Your Friend Is Sad'Asmodee USA will release Your Friend is Sad, a card matching game by Jason Anarchy Games and Shen Comix, into U.S. retail on December 3. In Your Friend is Sad, players are attempting to cheer up their depressed pal. They need to collect and match Brain Goops and Feelings with symbols on various activity cards in order to score Cheer points. 

'Star Wars' characters Mando and Baby Yoda featured in new version of 'Spot It!'. Asmodee USA will release Spot It: The Mandalorian, a new version of the classic observation game by Zygomatic, into U.S. retail on December 10. The new version of Spot It! adds iconic characters and objects from Star Wars: The Mandalorian to the mix.  

Asmodee USA will release 'Living Forest'. Asmodee USA will release Living Forest, a new board game by Ludonaute, into U.S. retail of December 10. In Living Forest, players assume the role of a Spirit of Nature trying to save the forest and its sacred tree from the flames of Onibi. They can accomplish this task in one of three ways: by planting 12 Protective Trees, collecting 12 Sacred Flowers, or extinguishing 12 Fires. 

Barbie is the most diverse doll you can buy, says Mattel boss - The Telegraph  Barbie is the most diverse doll you can buy, says Mattel boss. Ynon Kreiz says the toy maker's most famous brand is 'very much the flag carrier in terms of diversity and empowerment’.

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

Six state treasurers push for change over Activision Blizzard misconduct. Activision Blizzard's continued fumbling of allegations of an alleged culture of toxicity, sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination has attracted the ire of six state treasurers. Now those treasurers are calling for a meeting with Activision Blizzard, and saying they might use their states' investments in the company to leverage a vote to oust the board ...

More Blizzard employees are leaving the company due to ongoing crisisA high-profile departure from Blizzard Entertainment shows how its crisis in leadership and managing an alleged culture of toxicity and sexual harassment is driving talent from the company. Today senior test analyst Jessica Gonzalez announced her departure from the co., stating that she'd received a better offer outside of the games industry and ...

Nintendo’s new Big Brain Academy turns brainteasers into a party game. 2021 is shaping up to be the year of party games on the Switch. This year, Nintendo has released new entries in the WarioWare and Mario Party franchises, and now it’s completing the party trilogy with Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain. 

Qualcomm’s new G3x platform could usher in a new wave of Nintendo Switch-alikes. Qualcomm is upping its investment in gaming with a new Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform, which manufacturers can use to make Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck-like handheld gaming devices. The Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 is an Android-based platform designed to let you play Android games, stream games from a console or PC,...

Nintendo Switch had its best week ever in the UK over Black Friday. Nintendo Switch just had its most successful week ever in the UK, thanks to a special Black Friday bundle featuring Mario Kart 8: Deluxe. That's according to the latest information from GfK's senior client director Dorian Bloch. Overall, Black Friday week saw a 3% drop in games items sold (hardware, accessories and games), but a 5% increase in revenue ...

Arcade1Up opens brick and mortar retail experience at Showfields. Arcade1Up is making a push into brick-and-mortar retail. The retro gaming division of Tastemakers LLC entered into a partnership deal with Showfields for retail experiences in NY and Miami. The new sections showcase a variety of Arcade1Up products, including its signature 3/4-scale arcade cabinets and virtual pinball machines alongside stools,...

Sayollo launches new in-game purchasing platform. Originally established as an in-game advertising company, Sayollo has shifted its focus to the e-commerce industry by establishing gComm (short for Gaming Commerce), an in-game shopping platform that allows consumers to purchase products from retailers without leaving the action of the game they’re playing.

Farming Simulator 22 breaks series records with 1.5m sold in first week. The newest Farming Simulator has set new launch sales records for the series, shifting more than 1.5 million copies. Farming Simulator 22 debuted for PC, Mac, consoles and Stadia on November 22 and reached this sales milestone within its first week. According to stats from SteamDB, the game even managed to outpace Battlefield 2042 on Steam. 

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

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Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

WHO’S ASSEMBLING A ‘WOW’ IMPRESSION WITH TOY EXPERTS?  MAKE-A-FORT FAR EXCEEDS STEM.ORG METRICS, WINS TNPC HOLIDAY 2021 SEAL & MORE! HOT DIGGITY! Did you ever wonder how today’s architects or builders got interested in their craft? It could be they built forts inside the house with whatever was around. Toymaker Make-A-Fort replaces those old-fashioned couch cushions for sturdy cardboard panels where kids instantly play inside what they just built. The joy of customized fort/maze/tunnel building has generated more than a handful of national toy awards plus a huge shout out from

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

Oh what a night! The Fence Club Christmas Ball 2021. Over £25,000 was raised on the night, which will be distributed to the many children’s charities that the Fence Club supports. The festive season got into full swing on Saturday 4th December with the return of the much loved Fence Club Christmas Party after an enforced absence due to the pandemic. The return of this key social event in the toy industry calendar...

The Toy Association’s Genius of Play Initiative Launches Kid-Friendly Podcast.  The Genius of Play — The Toy Association’s nonprofit initiative that aims to help parents raise healthy and happy kids through play — launched a new podcast. “Once Upon a Playtime” is a storytelling podcast that shares personal stories from actors, artists, entrepreneurs, and more, inviting listene

The live event program for Kidscreen Summit 2022 in Miami (February 14 to 17) is now available online. Sessions focused on diversity and social-emotional learning—plus plenty of opportunities for face time with leading buyers—will be on offer to the annual event’s registered attendees. Key highlights include a deep-dive into social-emotional learning with execs from WarnerMedia, Gaumont and Sesame Workshop;...

(the above posted after December 3, 2021)

UKMums.TV has announced the winners of the five categories in the 2021 Mums Choice Awards, now in its seventh year. The Mums Choice Awards programme is designed to give mums a clear insight into what products in the market are favoured by their peers. Organised and published by parental publication UKMums.TV, the awards are separated into five categories: Best Toy, New Baby Must-Haves...

The European Film Awards scheduled to have been held in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 11 will no longer take place as an in-person event. The 34th European Film Awards ceremony was previously re-formatted as a distanced live event, with attendance limited to nominees and award recipients. “Due to the ongoing and unexpected developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Film Academy has decided...

For a second year in a row, Netflix has nabbed the most Kidscreen Awards nominations with a total of 20 shortlisted entries. Following close behind is ViacomCBS with 15—more than double the seven nominations it received in 2021. And PBS KIDS is also up there with 11 shortlisted entries, including a Best One-Off, Special or TV Movie nod for PBS KIDS Talk About: Race and Racism. 

BTHA reassures industry on Toy Fair safety.  Although there are no changes to guidance for large indoor events such as Toy Fair, the team is working closely with Olympia to safeguard the health and safety of participants. Toy World has received the following statement from Majen Immink, director of Fairs & Special Events at the BTHA, regarding London Toy Fair, which takes place from Tues 25th – Thurs 27th Jan 2022:

The 72nd Spielwarenmesse Int'l Toy Fair is set to take place Feb. 2-6, 2022, in Nuremberg, Germany, and Spielwarenmesse eG says it’s been working with local health departments to craft a robust array of safety protocols for the event. The news comes just as the latest concerning COVID-19 variant — dubbed Omicron — has begun to spread globally.

Toymaster members welcome new website feature. The Toymaster team has contacted Toy World to update us on a new feature it has recently added to its consumer website, which is driving online traffic to individual Toymaster members stores. “When a customer searches for a toy on our website, as well as showing the customer where their nearest Toymaster stores are, it will also give them a direct link to our ...

Among Us and League of Legends: Wild Rift named in 2021 App Store Awards. Apple has unveiled the winners of its 2021 App Store Awards, celebrating the best apps and games on the platform, as well as the most-downloaded titles across the store. League of Legends: Wild Rift picked up the iPhone Game of the Year award, while Marvel: Future Revolution, from Netease, snagged the iPad Game of the Year accolade. 

Spielwarenmesse prepares to fight Omicron, other health concerns. The organizers behind Spielwarenmesse are gearing up to keep attendees safe as the much-anticipated toy industry trade fair prepares to open its doors next year. The 72nd Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair is set to take place Feb. 2-6, 2022, in Nuremberg, Germany, and Spielwarenmesse eG says it’s been working with local health departments...

Fat Brain Toys crowns winner of its 5th Kidventor Challenge. Fat Brain Toys has announced the winner of its Kidventor Challenge for 2021. The Kidventor Challenge invited children aged six to thirteen to submit toy or game ideas for the chance to have their concept manufactured and sold around the world. 

Winners of the highly-esteemed TAGIE Awards (TAGIEs) have been announced by People of Play (POP). The TAGIEs honor the best and brightest innovators, designers and marketers in the toy and game industry. The TAGIE Awards are part of People of Play Week (November 15-20) which includes the Toy & Game International Innovation Summit, POP Duo Keynotes Legends & Leaders, Networking in the POP Pub Rooms, the Chicago Toy & Game Fair, and the Young Inventor Challenge. The 2021 TAGIE Awards were presented during the virtual awards ceremony on November 19. This year’s winners are . . . 

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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.

Sarah Ross - formerly Zynga's vice president of global communications, has died. The news was broken by GamesBeat, which spotted messages from friends and family under a status on Ross' Facebook page. Ross had been working for Zynga for almost three years, having joined from mobile developer Jam City, where she held the same position for over two years. She also previously held marketing roles at mobile games developer Backflip Studios, as well as firms such as Yahoo, TechCrunch and Flipagram.  Ross was the driving force behind Zynga's social impact campaign Play Apart Together, which encouraged people to observe social distancing guidelines during the pandemic and stay in touch by playing games with their friends.  The campaign secured support from over 40 major games companies and the World Health Organisation, and gained more than 4.7 billion consumer media impressions from around the world.  Other campaigns Ross worked on include the Breast Cancer Awareness Month initiative #WordsWithHope.  In a message to GamesBeat, Zynga president Bernard Kim said: "The entire Zynga family was deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of Sarah Ross. Working with Sarah was a privilege. "We were in constant awe of her ingenuity, drive and compassion. Her mind and sheer will brought to reality incredible campaigns... She always went above and beyond and put others above herself.  "Her work at Zynga was groundbreaking and we'll miss her every day." In a tweet, Kim added: "Sarah was a force of nature at work and an incredible friend. We had amazing times together and I learned so much from her." 

Douglas Thomson The Toy Association reports that Douglas Thomson, former president of the Toy Manufacturers of America (TMA) — the organization that became The Toy Association — has died.  The Bronx-born executive joined the TMA as president in 1978 and led the organization in consumer safety and policy, public relations, and philanthropy. He was also a founder of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s (FIT) Toy Design Department. Thomson died at his Savannah, Georgia home on Oct. 22 at the age of 97. According to The Toy Association, Thomson’s family is encouraging donations to be made to the Dartmouth College Fund in his name.



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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. Dave or Argos…it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Toy community reacts with dismay at Argos ‘panic’ Black Friday event

  3. The December issue of Toy World is out now

  4. BTHA reassures industry on Toy Fair safety

  5. Toys R Us to open US flagship store at American Dream Mall

  6. Black Friday – the verdict

  7. Selfridges owners closing in on agreement to sell department store

  8. The Lego Group unveils Carousel of Creativity

  9. Tomy announced as European distribution partner for Orchard Toys

  10. Mask wearing re-introduced to retail in England today

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

WizKids Unveils Two New Dragons for 'D&D Icons of the Realm: Fizban's Treasury of Dragons' Set
'Dungeons & Dragons'-Inspired Restaurant Planned for Lake Geneva
Wizards of the Coast Previews 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Unfinity' Set
Marvel Unveils More 'Marvel Multiverse RPG' Deets
More 'D&D' 'Figurines of Adorable Power' Incoming
'Significant Progress' in Clearing SoCal Port Congestion
Asmodee USA Brings 'Street Fighter: The Miniatures Core Game' to Retail
Rolling for Initiative -- Mastercard Thinks It Will Be a Good Retail Season
Games Workshop Unveils Two More 'Warhammer 40,000' Old Foes Bundles
People of Play Announces 2021 TAGIE Winners

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

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Bequest Released, Mega Man Adventures Pre-Order
WizKids has released a new game, Mega Man Adventures is available for pre-order, and expansions for Mini Rogue have been announced.

Video of the Week! 

Hidden Role Podcast: Matt Leacock talks Game Design

What goes into a great game? There's no easy answer, but Matt Leacock, creator of Pandemic and master game designer, might just know the answer! Join us as he dives into game theory, good feedback, crafting the play experience, and much more!

Meme of the Week!

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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:   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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