the Bloom Report
Toy & Game Industry's #1 News Summary Globally
Below is September 10 - 17, 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 . . .
Did you see the fabulous and interesting gowns from the Met Gala? Billie Eilish's dress was inspired by her favorite childhood Holiday Barbie! She said, "I would ask for them for Christmas every single year. The dresses, genuinely, they were my inspiration."
In other "beautiful" news, Chicago was just voted the second most beautiful city in the world, second only to Prague and just above Paris. I love Chicago, and I would be using this tidbit in marketing our November events (Innovation Conferences, TAGIEs, Young Inventor Challenge and Fair) if we were going to be hosting them in person... but, sadly, it is looking less likely by the day. That said, we will be announcing our virtual events soon and we have some very BIG surprises for YOU!
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.
PHOTO BY DIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE MET MUSEUM/VOGUE
tBR Columnist Nancy Zwiers: "Get Out of Your Head and Get into Action"
These were the words I heard repeatedly during the entrepreneurial training I undertook at the beginning of my journey with Funosophy, the consulting firm I founded in 2000 and led for 16 years. To achieve our dream, or any big daunting goal, these are words to live by.
So often as we contemplate a big goal, we think about it a lot. We ruminate over it and try to get it “figured out” before we pull the trigger—after all, if its big, that means its inherently risky. Unfortunately, that approach just keeps us stuck in place…we’re not making any progress IRL.
So, this sounds all well and good but how do we break through our natural inertia to achieve something big and important? Borrowing a phrase from Tech Deck, a fun finger board brand I worked on at Spin Master:
Start Small, Go Big.
Get it out of your head and onto paper: Read More . . .
tBR Person of the Week: Nick Metzler - Why NFTs Will Change the World
*Opinion Article - Concepts below are explained with a lack of detail for ease of comprehension*
It's rare that something has the potential to change everything
The internal combustion engine
I guess it’s really blockchain that changed everything, but NFTs certainly are poised to be one of the biggest use-cases of the underlying technology, much like how websites make up the internet.
NFTs are a recording of a transaction over the web. It’s a record of who had something first.
Wait, I thought NFTs are just jpegs that people are buying because they’re dumb? Read More . . .
tBR Person of the Week: Meet Andrew Innes - Celebrating 1 Million Anomia Games Sold
Andrew Innes started Anomia Press in May of 2009. However, a lot happened before that. He came up with an idea for a game at about 12 years old. Mostly, the concept just rattled around in his head for years and years. In Andrew’s 30s, he decided to finally try and make a prototype of his idea. Five prototypes and many, many play-testing sessions later (not to mention a full-time job, a wedding, a baby, a move from Brooklyn to Boston, and another baby) ANOMIA, was finally done.
In the spring of 2009, Andrew started Anomia Press and set out to raise enough money to pay for the first printing of ANOMIA. He used Facebook, Twitter, email, and the website to appeal to the hundreds of people who had attended play-test sessions over the years. He asked everyone to pre-purchase copies of Anomia to help subsidize the first printing. (Sound like a familiar approach? Kickstarter.com launched right around the same time.)
By the end of July 2009, he had pre-sold over 500 copies of ANOMIA and had succeeded in raising enough money to go into production. The games arrived in mid-November and he shipped out all 500+ copies just in time for the Thanksgiving holidays. The momentum continued and by the end of 2010, ANOMIA had sold over 25,000 copies, won major toy industry awards, and had been picked up by hundreds of stores across the United States, Canada, and Australia. In Read More . . .
Financial & Legal News . . .
Netflix acquires The Roald Dahl Story Company With plans to create an entire Roald Dahl universe, the streamer has 19 projects in the works and is planning to spend US$1 billion on animated series alone. Netflix sweetened an animated series partnership it signed with The Roald Dahl Story Co 3 yrs ago by acquiring the British co. and its slate of beloved children’s book properties, including Charlie and the Chocolate...
TikTok parent ByteDance adds time limit for kids under 14 on its video app in China. Douyin’s youth mode will limit kids under 14 to 40 minutes a day. The app’s youth mode keeps it in line with the Chinese government’s new restrictions on access to video games for younger children. Teens under 14 will be able to access Douyin between 6AM and 10PM, but won’t be able to use the app outside of that window...
(the above posted after September 17th)
Walmart teams with Instacart in war with Amazon. When it comes to price, Walmart has always delivered, but consumers these days want more than low cost and many choices. In the age of Amazon and a pandemic where curbside and delivery became “essential,” consumers want convenience. As part of its effort to provide quick, cheap delivery and compete with Amazon, Walmart recently expanded...
Twitch is suing two users for masterminding recent hate raids. Twitch has filed a lawsuit against two users allegedly behind an influx of hate raids targeting streamers of marginalized backgrounds. The lawsuit (first spotted by Wired) targets two users by their online aliases: Cruzzcontrol, who is allegedly located in the Netherlands, and CreatineOverdose, allegedly in Vienna, Austria.
China reportedly slowing down online game approvals. Chinese regulators are reportedly going to slow down approvals for new online games, the South China Morning Post said. This follows Tencent and Netease executives being summoned by the country's regulators on Wednesday, as Bloomberg reported.
App Annie charged with securities fraud, agrees to pay $10m. Mobile analytics firm App Annie has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a securities fraud charge. The charge was handed to the company by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday, which found App Annie to be in violation of the anti-fraud provisions of the Exchange Act, which makes it unlawful to issue misleading statements...
ADL warns that sexist and racist in-game harassment is continuing to rise. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is warning that in-game harassment targeting women, Black players, and Asian American players has increased over the last year. This warning comes from a survey organized in partnership with analytic firm Newzoo, which spoke to players of different backgrounds to try and quantify...
Nendoroid and Figma company sued over mistreatment, sexualized toys. In 2020, popular figurine manufacturer Good Smile Company sued two former vice presidents, Guy Brand and James Young-sik Kim, for competing with its merchandise business while employed at GSC. In response, the former employees have filed a cross-complaint claiming that GSC actively profited from sexualizing underage characters...
Supply Chain Bottlenecks (enough stories to warrant own section . . . unfortunately)
Are Asia to Europe shipping rates finally being contained? Evidence has emerged suggesting that spot rates from Asia to No. Europe may be coming down, seemingly in response to faltering demand. The Loadstar quotes 2 Chinese forwarding agent sources which claim that Hamburg Süd has reduced its Oct. Shanghai to Felixstowe rate offer to $15,000 for a 40ft container, which is around $2,000 – $3,000 below current rates.
Logistics are no fun for toy firm. Investors in The Character Group took fright yesterday after the toy company warned that profits for the year to August will come in up to 10 per cent below market expectations due to a number of global logistical challenges. The distributor of toys based on franchises such as Peppa Pig, Pokémon, Heroes of Goo Jit Zu, Fireman Sam and Scooby Doo said that global supply chain issues have . . . .
Vessels now waiting up to three weeks for Californian berth space, boxship queue surpasses 60. In what is increasingly becoming the year of the green dot for maritime reporters glued to MarineTraffic maps of Californian and Chinese anchorages, the plight of the Kimolos Trader (pictured) and its crew highlights today’s extraordinary global supply chain pressure better than most ships in operation today.
Don’t delay: Experts say to shop for hot holiday toys now. Pandemic expected to cause shipping delays, limited supplies. It may only be September, but retail experts are saying that you should begin your holiday shopping right away. We know what you’re thinking: Holiday shopping? I haven’t even decorated for Halloween yet! But experts say that the coronavirus pandemic will make this holiday season...
Barbie and Paw Patrol toys might not make it in time for Christmas as expert says to buy them now. It is exactly 100 days to Christmas but concerns about a shortage of some of the most popular toys, including Barbie and Paw Patrol, have been raised by a leading retailer. Parents are being urged to get their shopping started early over concerns that supply chain disruptions could see shelves empty of toys this December.
What parents need to know about a major toy shortage this holiday season. Unfortunately for parents, holiday shopping in 2021 may prove even more challenging than it was in 2020. A new survey from professional services firm KPMG reveals that there may be a major shortage of toys and other inventory this holiday season. According to the survey of 114 retail executives, 82%said they are somewhat or very concerned...
Smyths adds its voice to ‘shop early’ message. The retailer is warning gift-givers to sort their festive presents ASAP this year, with the help of its new 300-page catalogue. Smyths Toys Ireland is urging consumers to buy their Christmas gifts as early as possible this year, due to ongoing shipping disruption and container shortages.
More than a quarter of Brits have started Christmas shopping already after toy shortage warnings. More than a quarter of Britons have already started their Christmas shopping amid warnings that pandemic shortages and supply chain snags could see shelves empty of toys, a survey suggests. Some 48% of consumers aim to buy fewer but bigger, more considerate gifts this year, with just over half (51%) having more...
Why even giant ships can't solve the shipping crisis. Jared Chaitowitz has a fleet of around 300 rental bikes in Cape Town, South Africa. He relies on a steady supply of spare parts - from pedals to bells - to keep them running. But there's a problem." The guy that supplies the tires that we use on our bicycles, earlier this year gave us a 10 to 12 month waiting period for new tires," says Mr Chaitowitz, of Up Cycles.
Ravensburger North America halts orders amid global supply chain crisis. If there was any doubt as to the severity of the global supply chain crisis and its impact on toy and game makers, a letter sent to retailers by Ravensburger North America CEO Filip Franke should make it crystal clear. Effective September 17, 2021, Ravensburger will halt the acceptance of additional orders for the foreseeable future.
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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .
Anti-women, anti-Black, anti-Asian harassment growing in online games . . . . . Global mobile games market generates $7.7bn in August . . . . . . MOVIE, TV VIEWERSHIP IS BOOMING AS SCREEN ENTERTAINMENT SPENDING DECLINES, NPD SAYS . . . . . . The players – Games & Puzzles Touching Base . . . . . . As UK toy market performs strongly, NPD urges 'shop early this Christmas' . . . . . . Asmodee USA, Luma Imports Announce Price Increases . . . . . . Analyst: Cloud gaming services are set to generate $4bn in consumer spending in 2021
Financial & Brokerage News . . .
(the above posted after September 17th)
John Lewis retains cautious outlook despite greatly improved first half results . . . . . . Australia: Toys”R”Us reports a ‘Transformational’ FY21 . . . . . . Gaming stocks soar after judge says Apple can’t force developers to use in-app purchasing . . . . . . Streaming drives WildBrain revenue growth . . . . . . MGA dominates August toy sales as L.O.L. Surprise! takes No.1 spot in UK . . . . . . IDW PUBLISHING POSTS SALES INCREASE, PROFIT . . . . . . Stillfront acquires Jawaker for $205m
Stories, Comments & Advice . . .
Innovating in existing markets: 3 lessons from LEGO. The Danish toymaker’s trajectory from industry trailblazer to the brink of bankruptcy to sustained recovery shows there’s more to innovation than sheer luck or a wholesale focus on disruption. “No innovation lasts forever,” said David Robertson, a senior lecturer in operations management, in a recent webinar hosted by MIT Sloan Executive Education.
How the Pop It! Invaded Your Home. Blame a capuchin monkey and pandemic anxiety for the latest toy craze. The company behind the original idea is an Israeli outfit called Theora Design, which was founded by a married couple, Theo and Ora Coster. Theo emigrated from the Netherlands to Israel after World War II and married Ora, an art teacher who would become the creative mind behind their company, which released...
TTPM, the leader in video product reviews for toys, baby, and pet gear has released their Holiday Most Wanted 2021 List. This year, the Holiday Most Wanted List is divided into four categories: Learning & Developmental Play, Activities & Active Play, Role Playing & Imaginative Play, and Entertainment/Influencers. Within each of the four categories, the TTPM Editorial Team, who have a combined 100+ years of predicting...
(the above posted after September 17th)
John Baulch, ToyWorld UK - Plan ‘A’ all the way …it’s the Friday Blog! Traditionally, I write the Friday Blog on a Thursday. This gives me the necessary ‘wriggle room’ should I decide that perhaps I need to rephrase – or even omit – one of the more contentious sections. However, this week, I am writing the Blog on Wednesday, as our eldest daughter gets married on Thursday, so rather than concentrating on the Blog, I need...
What is the ‘metaverse’ & why does it matter? The term “metaverse” has been floating around a lot lately. You might have heard it in the recent Spider-Man movie trailer, or when Mark Zuckerberg told employees it was the future. You might have even heard Spin Master talk about entering the Roblox (pictured) metaverse. But what exactly is the metaverse?
Recycled LEGOS will be used to construct wheelchair ramps at the 2022 European Championships in Munich. LEGOS aren't just for kids or playtime. The versatile plastic bricks have been used to create everything from floral bouquetsto musical instruments, like pianos that had 3,662 pieces and 25 playable keys. Now, there's even more in store for these prized toy pieces.
US Open tennis champion does video game celebration after winning. Big congratulations are in order for Daniil Medvedev, who earlier today not only did the world a service by defeating Novak Djokovic, but in doing so somehow found a way to slip a tribute to, of all things, EA Sports’ FIFA series into his celebrations.
The PS5 versus Xbox Series X fanboy wars hit a fresh low. During a period of time when both the PS5 and Xbox Series X are selling extremely well and previewing extremely good looking games, dedicated console fanboys are still finding the need to poke holes in each other’s upcoming offerings.
Space Racers toys join Inspiration4 for the first all-civilian mission to orbit. A new type of space race is on, and this Wednesday, Sept. 15, Space Race LLC’s Space Racers will take orbit — literally. Toys inspired by the Space Racers STEM-based animated series will blast off on Inspiration4, the first-ever all-civilian mission to orbit.
Billie Eilish's 2021 Met Gala Beauty Look Was Inspired By Her Favorite Childhood Barbie. If there's one thing Billie Eilish is going to do, it's shut down a red carpet. So obviously, she did just that at the 2021 Met Gala. Fresh off the VMAs, the Gen Z pop star's look for fashion's biggest night was an ode to the holiday Barbie of years past — a gift the star still holds dear.
JoJo Siwa Says Nickelodeon Sees Her “Only as a Brand” Ahead Of U.S. Tour. The YouTuber and pop star isn’t the first child star to to speak out about her parent company. Siwa isn’t the first tween star to butt heads with her parent company. After reaching adulthood, Disney child stars like Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez have opened up about the difficulties they had navigating their relationship with the studio...
Etopia Consultancy on Amazon over the last ten years. With detailed knowledge of the last ten years, Asha Bhalsod of Etopia Consultancy reviews the ongoing rise of Amazon in the eCommerce space.
Mattel dusts off He-Man, with a nod to diversity. He-Man, a brawny character that was a hit in the ’80s, is finding new life in the toy aisle and in two new animated series on Netflix.
Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . .
Electric Drawing Sets from Lakeside. In the 1960s, Lakeside Toys released a variety of Electric Drawing Sets to teach children how to draw. Each set provided the necessary tools (drawing paper, coloured pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser) with some drawing aids (guide sheets and a UL-approved electric drawing desk with a built-in lamp). An 8.5-inch x 11-inch guide sheet was placed on the lighted desk and a piece of drawing paper on top of that. The light in the desk was bright enough that children could trace and sketch the shapes from each guide sheet …
Worldwide Licensing News . . .
Inside Little Engine's new preschool slate EXCLUSIVE: The Canadian indie has new preschool concepts in development with TVO and CBC that it’s looking to take worldwide, and is moving into third-party distribution for the first time. Based on a children’s songs by country singer George Canyon, Happy Trails is a 39 x seven-minute musical series for three to fives that’s in development with CBC.
Crayola has launched a new season of its original, digital-first Scribble Scrubbie Pets series, produced by WildBrain Spark, a kids’ and family AVOD network and digital studio. The Crayola Kingdom channel is managed globally by WildBrain Spark across YouTube and YouTube Kids and is home to the Scribble Scrubbie Pets series and all Crayola kid-targeted content.
Bluey Expands Across Europe with New Licensing Agents. BBC Studios has appointed new licensing agents to represent the preschool series Bluey in 24 European countries. Bluey began in Australia in 2018 and has since launched in the U.S. and UK markets with success. This further expansion will include distribution deals for global master toy provider Moose Toys in each new territory.
Mattel, Warner Music Group’s Arts Music Release He-Man, Hot Wheels, and Thomas & Friends Albums. Last year, Mattel entered into a multiyear global music licensing agreement with Warner Music Group’s (WMG) Arts Music division for the label to serve as the sole distributor of Mattel’s back catalog of more than 1,000 songs. Now, new albums are joining the Mattel discography with the release of a trio of new titles...
PlayMonster, Lucasfilm Team up for Star Wars-themed Toys and Activities. The Force is strong at PlayMonster as the Wisconsin-based company is collaborating with Lucasfilm to launch new Star Wars-themed products in 2022. In its first drop, PlayMonster will release toys and activities infused with iconic characters from a galaxy far, far away that include Koosh, Spirograph, Colorforms, and Latchkits.
Animaccord’s Masha and the Bear goes from strength to strength in the UK Masha and the Bear, Animaccord's internationally beloved kids' cartoon, has reached another milestone by hitting 100b views worldwide on YouTube. In this special piece, the studio outlines the property's other global rankings, how this year's B2C activities will drive sales at retail, and what's next for the content slate.
(the above posted after September 17th)
YouTube's Vlad & Niki surpass 200m subscribers worldwide The global 'kidfluencers' have so far racked up over 113b total views, with their amusing antics already translated into toys from Zuru and Playmates. An imaginative live-action YouTube pre-school series that showcases the everyday antics of young brothers Vlad and Niki, has surpassed more than 200m subscribers worldwide, with more than 71m...
Nelvana opens DEI talent incubator. Focusing on emerging Black storytellers and illustrators, the initial program will develop at least one kids TV series and one book for publication. Nelvana has teamed up with children’s book publisher and fellow Corus Entertainment subsidiary Kids Can Press to launch a new initiative designed to discover and mentor creators, writers and illustrators from underrepresented communities.
Lego and Queer Eye reveal fabulous new set featuring the Fab Five. Hot on the heels of the company’s first LGBTQ+ Lego set is the Queer Eye – The Fab 5 Loft Set, which celebrates individuality and creative expression. The Lego Group has once again shown it is a leader in promoting positivity and individuality with the release of a new set made in honour of the TV show Queer Eye.
Moose Toys Named Master Toy Licensee for Strawberry Shortcake Relaunch. WildBrain is bringing back the sweetest baker around, but with a cool new look and a confident, savvy attitude. This relaunch marks the beginning of a new era for Strawberry Shortcake, with a slew of new products and an animated series. Moose Toys is on board as master toy partner for the relaunch.
DreamWorks signs development deal with Stephen Curry The partnership with the NBA star's Unanimous Media prodco includes a first-look deal for kids and family content and a PSA revamp focused on diversity with John Legend. Comcast NBCUniversal has been inking more of these cross-portfolio agreements lately, including with celebs such as Meghan Trainor, Miley Cyrus and Jordan Peele.
ToyTopic launches with high-profile brands and WowWee partnership The new toy company has secured multi-territory license agreements with Hasbro as well as a strategic partnership with WowWee. It will also open its showroom in October, have a large presence at London Toy Fair and has appointed ex-Sambro International head of sales Paul Cook as its new sales director.
‘Bluey’ expands across Europe with new licensing agents. BBC Studios has appointed new licensing agents to represent the preschool series Bluey in 24 European countries. The deals cover the Nordics, Baltics, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and Italy. Bluey began in Australia in 2018 and has since launched in the U.S. and UK markets with success.
The Princess Bride comes to McFarlane Toys with Westley and Buttercup. Nothing is stopping McFarlane Toys as they unveil yet another franchise of figures that is now under their belt. Fans of The Princess Bride are now able to recreate iconic scenes from the film with this new line of 7" scale figures. Two of the biggest figures in the wave will, of course, be Westley as Dread Pirate Roberts and Princess Buttercup.
ZAG Appoints MonLicensing for Central America. ZAG, global independent entertainment studio specializing in storytelling across TV, film and digital platforms, has appointed Mon Entertainment to oversee licensing and merchandising activities for Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir – created by ZAG and co-produced with ON kids & family (Mediawan) – in Central America (Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua...
Funcom acquires swathe of properties including Conan and Solomon Kane. Norwegian studio Funcom has acquired the rights to properties including Conan the Barbarian, Mutant Year Zero, and Solomon Kane by purchasing Cabinet Group. The Conan Exiles developer will merge the entire Cabinet portfolio into its IP studio Heroic Signatures, and is already working on an unannounced project based on one of...
Ioconic partners with MGA Entertainment to deliver an NFT and digital collectibles ecosystem for the $25BN toy brand L.O.L. Surprise! Ioconic, a full-service partnership business bringing brands into the NFT and digital asset space, has announced a partnership with MGA Entertainment, one of the most successful privately held toy companies in the US, to launch its popular L.O.L Surprise! doll range into the...
Moose Toys’ Kindi Kids get into the mealtime action. Bulldog Licensing continues to grow the consumer products program for Moose Toys‘ Kindi Kids with the entry into a new category: mealtime. DNC inked a deal to produce a full range of products inspired by the bobblehead dolls and their accompanying YouTube series spanning lunch bags and coolers, drinkware, food storage boxes, and tableware for families....
People . . .
PBS ups Sara DeWitt to SVP & GM After 20 years in digital-focused roles at the US pubcaster, she will now oversee children's programming and education strategy across all platforms. The role was previously held for 21 years by Lesli Rotenberg, who left in May to pursue new opportunities advocating on behalf of children and families.
Gary Marsh stepping down The president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television is leaving corporate to launch his own prodco, backed by the House of Mouse. Marsh’s new venture is backed by Disney General Ent, under a multi-year production deal designed to develop “world-class brand-defining content” for Disney’s streaming and linear platforms.
“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Joel Morris and Mike Horn, co-founders of Cubles — sturdy, paperboard characters that are made in the U.S. On the show, Albritton asks the duo about engineering the unique articulation of their Cubles figures and the challenges of creating an environmentally friendly business model.
ZAG strengthens CP team with new leadership Julian Zag, EVP of global operations for ZAG, will now also serve as the California-based company’s head of global consumer products. Effective immediately, Julian will lead a team of more than 60 executives focused on retail, licensing, digital and gaming, promotions, live events and experiences.
WildBrain reconfigures its executive ranks. Stephanie Betts and Deirdre Brennan move up to CCO and COO, Damon Berger joins as the company's first-ever CMO, and Jon Gisby is leaving. The company has also hired Damon Berger (pictured left) earlier this month as its first-ever CMO, with a focus on taking advantage of new business and revenue opportunities in media sales, social commerce and digital marketing.
(the above posted after September 17th)
Pocket.watch has appointed former AT&T/WarnerMedia executive Xavier Kochhar as its first-ever COO and CFO. Kochhar started in his role yesterday and is responsible for overseeing pocket.watch’s next phase of operational growth, corporate strategy and M&A activity. He will oversee all of the company’s major business units, which include direct-to-consumer, content sales and distribution, advertising, consumer...
Ross Thompson joins Steamforged Games as head of trade marketing. Ross has worked with top tier licences from Disney, Marvel and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as companies including IDW Games and CMON. UK-based tabletop games publisher Steamforged Games has announced the hire of Thompson as head of trade marketing, supporting its growing offering of board, card, miniatures and role-playing...
Brian Robbins takes over Paramount Pictures Nickelodeon's president is adding movie studio oversight to his remit, while David Nevins takes over Paramount Television Studios. Jim Gianopulos, the movie studio’s current chairman and CEO, is stepping down and will serve in an advisory role through to the end of the year.
Alexandre Parizeau will head up Amazon's Montreal studio. Ubisoft Toronto co-founder Alexandre Parizeau will be the head of Amazon Montreal, the megacorp's new game studio that recently set up shop in the province. Parizeau exited Ubisoft back in February of 2021, stating that he was stepping down to "focus on personal priorities." Parizeau was in charge of Ubisoft Toronto when reports began to emerge that...
Disguise taps Kim Lucas and Nathalie Ferrier to grow its European dress up market. Disguise — the costumes and seasonal division of Jakks Pacific — announced two new costume hires to its growing sales team. Kim Lucas and Nathalie Ferrier will lead the two largest dress-up markets in EMEA, the U.K., and France. As business development manager for the U.K. and Ireland, Kim Lucas will be overseeing the development ...
CAMP taps former Warnermedia executive Chris Spadaccini as chief marketing officer. CAMP, The Family Experience Company, continues its expansion with the addition of Chief Marketing Officer Chris Spadaccini. In his new role, Spadaccini will lead CAMP‘s brand, advertising, creative, media, and growth marketing strategies. Spadaccini joins the company from WarnerMedia where he most recently held the position...
Stadia director for games moves to Google Cloud division. Google Stadia's director for games Jack Buser has moved over to the firm's Cloud team. According to Zdnet, Buser has been promoted to director of global gaming solutions at Google Cloud, and will assume the role from today. He'll report to VP of industry solutions Lori Mitchell-Keller.
Hasbro taps Gabrielle Sims to head up softlines for its UK consumer products business. The well respected licensing executive, Gabrielle Sims is joining Hasbro’s UK licensed consumer products team as its new head of softlines business. She will bring her wealth of industry experience to the new role, garnered from her more than 15 years across some of the biggest agencies.
Toynamics UK appoints Mark Morgan as new area sales manager for the south. Toynamics UK and Ireland has appointed Mark Morgan as its new area sales manager for the south of the UK, tapped to handle the sales for its popular portfolio of brands spanning Hape, Skip Hop, Timio, DinosArt, Nebulous Stars, and Nanoblock.
Companies, Brands . . .
Just Play has entered into a licensing agreement with edutainment company Kukua to create toys, including dolls and role-play sets, for the YouTube Originals series Super Sema. The show follows young African girl Sema and her twin brother MB who have STEAM superpowers.
Super Sema premiered on International Women’s Day this past March and has amassed millions of views since its launch.
Social Media Stars Collaborate with Spin Master on Stylish P.Lushes Pets™ Plush. Spin Master unveils designer P.Lushes Pets™ plush collection in collaboration with six social media stars who have staked claim on their own P.Lushes Pets character. Content creators Savannah Labrant, Jenna Davis and Loren Gray among the fashionable influencers to unveil their P.Lushes Pets characters as well as customized capsule...
McDonald's is not lovin' plastic. The fast-food chain said it's working with toy companies to develop alternatives to plastic toys as part of the company's "ambition to drastically reduce plastics and offer sustainable Happy Meal toys globally by the end of 2025." The introduction of the toys will result in a roughly 90% reduction in virgin fossil fuel-based plastic compared to 2018 levels, the company said.
Girl Scouts of the USA and Hasbro are teaming up to promote the power of friendship and inclusivity in time for the release of the new "My Little Pony: A Next Generation" movie from eOne, Hasbro's global entertainment studio, available on Netflix starting September 24. "We are ecstatic to team up with Hasbro to support more girls in a way that meets them where they are and centers around the beloved My Little Pony...
The Toy Insider Experts Reveal the Hottest Toys of 2021. Debuting at Holiday of Play in New York City, the Toy Insider — the toy industry’s most influential organization and a trusted go-to resource for parents and gift-givers — has unwrapped its 16th annual Holiday Gift Guide. Published by Adventure Media & Events — the team behind the Toy Book and the Pop Insider — the Toy Insider Holiday Gift Guide breaks out this year’s...
FoxMind Gets Poppin’ with Canspan BMG as PR Partner. The company behind the Go Pop! and Pop It! brands has a new public relations partner. FoxMind Group Ltd inked a deal with Canspan BMG Inc. under which Canspan will provide influencer marketing and editorial support to the company in addition to traditional PR services.
Pokémon TCG Heads to Smartphones for the First Time. Fans of Pokémon trading cards can officially take the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) on the go with a new app. Pokémon TCG Live allows kids to play the Pokémon TCG on smartphones for the first time. The game is free to play and kids can also play it on tablets, PCs, and Macs.
UK Indie retailers have have been bringing in stock early this year in order to mitigate potential supply problems this year. And it would seem that the decision to be prepared is already paying off, as customers heed the ‘shop early’ messages promoted by the toy industry and have begun putting together their Christmas toy hauls. Many are also choosing to do Christmas shopping in physical stores...
The Lego Group has launched a playful new iteration of its global Rebuild the World brand campaign. Now in its third year, the 2021 campaign celebrates children as the masters of creative problem solving and shows what can be achieved when people work together to overcome differences or challenges. The main film is centered on the story of a knight whose attempts to cross a river ...
Penguin Random House Children’s has unveiled a brand refresh for Peter Rabbit, with a new world-building identity that it says places Peter front and centre of the world created by Beatrix Potter almost 120 yrs ago. The progressive brand identity has been rolled out across social channels and digital platforms, and will appear on publishing and licensed product packaging from autumn this year in the UK. The global launch...
Argosy Toys has been enjoying a major pre-Christmas sales boost following an impassioned sales plea its owner, Paul Wohl, posted on Facebook. The viral post, which on Friday afternoon had been shared over 16,000 times and seen over 1m times, read: “Hello world! This is my shop. Please remember us this year if you need toys for Christmas. Really swimming against the tide of Amazon these days.
SPACE RACERS TOYS JOIN INSPIRATION4 FOR THE FIRST ALL-CIVILIAN MISSION TO ORBIT. Toys inspired by the Space Racers STEM-based animated series will blast off on Inspiration4, the first-ever all-civilian mission to orbit. Upon their return to Earth, Eagle, Robyn, Hawk, Raven, and Starling will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
MATTEL INTRODUCES BARBIE MUSIC PRODUCER DOLL TO HIGHLIGHT THE GENDER GAP IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. While the VMAs paid tribute to a new class of artists amid MTV’s 40th Anniversary year, recent studies have shown that even though female artists dominate the pop charts, less than 3% of today’s music is produced by women. The unveiling of Music Producer as the latest Barbie Career of the Year is part of the...
Hasbro to Open ‘The Game Room’ at American Dream. Hasbro and Kilburn Live are bringing a new family entertainment center concept to the American Dream entertainment and retail complex in Bergen County, New Jersey. “The Game Room powered by Hasbro” is an immersive concept that will incorporate the company’s brands such as Monopoly, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Clue...”
Spirograph Animator from PlayMonster. PlayMonster’s Spirograph Animator puts a whole new spin on Spiromania with integrated light and motion. Designed for ages eight and up, the plastic Animator Is powered by 3-AAA batteries and combines a 105-tooth Design Ring with LED Strobe Lamps and a Spinner Platform. After placing a 3-inch x 3-inch sheet of paper into the toy, kids use the pens and plastic Spirograph...
Little Tikes launches Rescue Tales for autumn/winter. The new plush line offers kids a taste of what it’s like to adopt a dog, with four popular breeds to choose from – and there’s something for cat lovers too. The wearable Rescue Tales Groom ‘n Go Pet Backpack lets adopters take canine style with them wherever they go.
Bratz is back with special 20th anniversary dolls. Special editions of the original dolls will feature their first outfits and accessories, with more lines to be added going into the autumn. MGA Entertainment has announced that Bratz is making a comeback with a line of special editions to mark the 20th anniversary of the fashion dolls. The new dolls are part of a year-long celebration which will highlight the cultural impact Bratz...
Get Caught in Spider-Man’s Web with Jazwares’ Spidey and His Amazing Friends Toys. With great toys comes great responsibility. Fans of Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends — the animated superhero series on Disney Junior and Disney+ — can swing into Target to check out Jazwares’ new toy line based on the superhero show.
Learning Resources Conjures Up Coding Critters MagiCoders. Coding Critters MagiCoders brings a pair of mythical creatures and accompanying playsets into the 2020 Preschool Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award-winning line of interactive pets. Kids ages 4 and up can explore STEM concepts through storytelling as they cast spells with magical coding wands and build hands-on skills with Skye the Unicorn and Blazer the Dragon.
Toy Creators Academy Offers New Scholarship Program. The Toy Coach Azhelle Wade and Learning Express Toys Lake Zurich have partnered to host 10 aspiring toy creators in the Toy Creators Academy. Toy Creators Academy is the a comprehensive toy business program that teaches participants how to full develop their toy or game ideas, as well as pitch to buyers and toy companies.
Amazon’s hottest toys this year. The e-commerce retailer’s “2021 Toys We Love” list features more than 70 products, and focuses on board games for the whole family and STEM toys. The retail giant is also putting a focus on board games this year—a category that has made huge gains during the pandemic. The NPD Group reported that sales in the games category (which includes strategic card games) grew by 27% to US$2.66...
Schleich announces kids casting call to fill the role of Chief Storytelling Officer! This fall, Schleich is looking for one special kid with standout storytelling and imaginative superpowers to join our company as Chief Storytelling Officer. This new “hire” will be responsible for inspiring our teams and fans, helping remind parents just how important storytelling and imagination are. Your child could earn a $10,000 and...
The Learning Journey Continues to Provide Award-Winning Products! The Learning Journey Int'l is continuously innovating and improving product lines to offer the best educational value to families all ove rthe world. New-to-the-brand products and revamped products remain recognized for the educational opportunities they provide. TLJI is pround to add 15 new awards to many of the new 2021 products!
Apple TV+ has partnered with WildBrain to become the home of live-action musical series Yo Gabba Gabba! The streamer has ordered a brand-new 20 x 30-minute series based on the wacky preschool show that ran on Nick Jr. (US) from 2007 to 2015, as well as acquiring its back catalogue of (66 x 30 minutes). The new show will be produced by brand co-owners WildBrain and Yo Gabba Gabba, ...
Format Games signs global distribution deal with Asmodee The new deal, which covers the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, follows a UK distribution deal signed in February between Matt Edmondson's Format Games and Asmodee. Television and Sony Award-nominated radio presenter Matt Edmondson established himself as a board game inventor when he created the party game Obama Llama.
PLAYMONSTER’S RELATIVE INSANITY GAME HITS ONE MILLION GAMES SOLD. PlayMonster LLC is proud to announce that their runaway hit game Relative Insanity, created by comedy legend Jeff Foxworthy, has reached one million games sold! Bringing billions of belly laughs to game nights, PlayMonster and Foxworthy continue to grow the Relative Insanity game line with more insanely-hilarious punch lines and...
PLAYTIME PR FORGES A GLOBAL ALLIANCE WITH THE PLAY GROUP. In an effort to provide clients in the toy and game space with global reach, Playtime PR first launched a partnership network in 2018 to connect with compatible agencies around the world. Now, that collective has been rebranded as The Play Group and includes agencies in the U.S., Germany, Italy, and Spain.
Wizkids unleashes new 'Magic: The Gathering' unpainted miniatures. WizKids unleashed new Magic: The Gathering unpainted miniatures packs, which will release into retail in December. These new single-count and two-count packs feature iconic characters and monsters from Magic: The Gathering's lore. They come prime and ready to paint with little assembly required.
Cook up a storm with Kim-Joy from 'The Great British Bake Off'. Skybound Games will release Kim Joy’s Magic Bakery!, a cooperative card game, into U.S. retail on October 10.Kim Joy’s Magic Bakery! features Kim-Joy Hewlett, a Belgian-British baker who was a finalist on S9 of The Great British Bake Off TV series. In the game, Kim-Joy has moved into a magical forest to open a bakery and players need to help her feed...
Format Games signs global distribution deal with Asmodee. Television and Sony Award-nominated radio presenter Matt Edmondson established himself as a board game inventor when he created the party game Obama Llama. Last year, he followed it up with the sold-out-success Ansagrams, which he published independently.
Fight crime as cyber-agent in 'Chronicles of Crime: 2400'. Lucky Duck Games revealed Chronicles of Crime: 2400, a new cooperative sci-fi sleuthing game, for release in November. This third standalone game in the Chronicles of Crime - The Millennium Series takes place in the far future.
Ares Games reveals 'Black Rose Wars: Inferno'. Ares Games revealed Black Rose Wars: Inferno, a new expansion for Black Rose Wars board game by Ludus Magnus Studio, which will release in October. Players can dive into Dante's Inferno with this new and rich expansion to Black Rose Wars.
Hubelino appoints Amaroni as UK distributor. German family-owned Hubelino GmbH, which specialises in construction and marble run toys, has announced the appointment of Amaroni as its exclusive distribution partner for the United Kingdom. Hubelino says the move will allow it to cater more efficiently to increasing demand for the brand in the UK and offer local specialty retailers a reliable distribution partner...
Wizkids boldly goes on 'Star Trek Missions'. WizKids has announced Star Trek Mission, designed by Fantasy Realms creator Bruce Glassco and launching in February. Using the same game engine as Glassco’s Fantasy Realms, Star Trek Missions is about building the highest-scoring combination of cards as possible, representing iconic missions, characters, and technology from the expansive Star Trek universe.
Heathside to release Terraria toys and collectibles range. Vidglo and Heathside Trading have been working on a range of up to the minute products that are sure to be popular with Terraria players and fans. around the globe. Released by Re-Logic for PC in 2011, and since expanded to multiple gaming consoles and mobile platforms while becoming a global cultural phenomenon, Terraria has delighted...
New hero + action figure joins Masters of the Universe franchise. There’s a new hero in Eternia and his name is Sun-Man! Originally created by a mother who realized her son needed a hero that looked like him, Sun-Man has given people of color much-needed representation and Masters of the Universe fans reason to celebrate. Now Sun-Man has been licensed by Mattel and is officially part of the Masters of the Universe …
Asmodee, Repos Productions announce '7 Wonders: Architects'. Asmodee and Repos Productions announced 7 Wonders: Architects, a new standalone family-friendly 7 Wonders game, for release in Fall 2021. In 7 Wonders: Architects, players receive an unconstructed Wonder to start the game and need to collect resources to bring it to fruition and leave their mark on World History.
Video Games, Gaming Hardware & Game Development News . . .
Twitch changes refund policy to avoid chargebacks. Twitch has implemented a change in its refund policy to protect content creators from chargebacks. The new rules particularly target people who ask for subscription refunds as soon as they get a shoutout from a streamer. Users will still have 24h to request a refund, but Twitch has implemented a new process, looking at a user's history of refunds before agreeing to it.
Battlefield 2042 delayed by nearly a month. Battlefield 2042, Dice’s upcoming entry in the Battlefield series, has been delayed by nearly a month, Dice parent company EA announced Wednesday. The game’s release date has been pushed from October 22nd to November 19th. “Building the next generation of Battlefield during a global pandemic has created unforeseen challenges for our development teams,” Oskar Gabrielson...
The battle between Twitch and YouTube has only just begun. YouTube, the once silent behemoth in Twitch’s midst, is starting to make some noise. At the beginning of the month, it swiped two live-streaming stars, Ben “DrLupo” Lupo and Tim “TimTheTatman” Betar, with significantly better offers than the Amazon-owned live-streaming platform was willing to make. Now many streamers, fatigued by the Twitch-centric...
Nintendo finally adds Bluetooth audio to the Switch. When the Nintendo Switch went on sale in March 2017, it did mysteriously not have Bluetooth audio support. Nor was it added despite years of complaining by owners. Now, thanks to Nintendo’s latest update, it finally does. The addition comes as part of the latest Switch update, and makes it possible to use Bluetooth devices for audio output.
Arcade1Up reveals updated Countercade, Head-To-Head Arcade Table lineup. Following the recent launches of its Arcade1Up Jr. line and Infinity Game Table, Tastemakers has unveiled a refreshed lineup of its Arcade1Up Countercades and Head-to-Head Arcade Tables. The fall lineup brings two-player action to the Countercade realm with several popular arcade video games presented in a smaller footprint than...
Pokémon Go gets 'Form Changes' for Fashion Week. You probably know that fashion week happens eight times per year, twice annually in Paris, Milan, London, and New York. But soon, the so-called “Big Four” will face some serious competition for the limelight when Pokémon Go kicks off its own fashion week event next Tuesday.
Game Pass is really blowing up in September. As a cynical, bitter, battle-worn games critic, I would like nothing better than to declare what a disastrous mess Microsoft is making of Game Pass. But damn them, they’re not, and the line-up of new additions coming in the second half of September is pleasingly strong. Another 13 games are getting added by October 1st.
The original Nintendo Switch is getting a price cut in Europe. Nintendo has reduced the price of the original Switch in Europe to £259.99 from £279.99 -- or to €269.99 from €329.99. The Japanese company confirmed the move in a statement to VGC, explaining it was driven by a variety of factors including the "currency exchange rates in Europe and the upcoming launch of Nintendo Switch - OLED Model."
Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester admits to subjecting employee to "inappropriate behavior". Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester has publicly apologized for behaving inappropriately towards another employee in 2018. The newly-appointed CEO, who stepped into the role for a second time following the resignation of Ebba Ljungerud earlier this month, said they wanted to be upfront about the incident "in the name of transparency...
Sony seems ready to start leaving the PS4 behind. Despite radio silence regarding a full-length Astro’s Playroom, Sony’s fall showcase was nothing if not a success. But between the splashy trailers and genuinely surprising announcements, one thing was clear: Sony seems poised to leave PlayStation 4 owners behind. Of the 18 games shown off yesterday, nine are currently listed as PS5-only releases.
Activision Blizzard hires senior Disney and Delta execs. Publisher Activision Blizzard announced today that it has named Julie Hodges as chief people officer and Sandeep Dube as chief commercial officer. Hodge's new position will be effective as of September 21 and Dube's new role will be effective from September 27.
Activision Blizzard workers say company broke federal labor law in NLRB complaint. Activision Blizzard workers have accused the company of “coercive behavior” in a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board. According to the filing (which took place last Friday), this coercive behavior included a mix of statements, threats, promises of benefits, and surveillance of employees.
Another senior HR executive exits Activision Blizzard. Activision Blizzard head of people Claudine Naughton is departing the company, with former Walt Disney Company HR executive Julie Hodges taking her place. the role of Chief Commercial Officer. Dube previously worked at Delta Airlines.
Epic vs Apple
Does the Epic vs Apple judgement open iOS to more legal attacks? Legal experts discuss the ramifications of the recent court decision in the ongoing dispute. For all the buzz around Epic Games' legal crusade against Apple the judgment was somewhat anticlimactic -- although perhaps that doesn't come across from the way many outlets reported it.
Fortnite maker Epic is appealing the ruling of its Apple lawsuit. Last week, the judge presiding over the high-profile Epic v. Apple lawsuit issued a ruling that would force Apple to loosen some restrictions on third-party payments while instructing Epic to pay the iPhone maker at least $3.65 million in damages.
No, Apple isn't about to let Epic re-release Fortnite in South Korea. Apple has rebuffed Epic's request to have Fortnite reinstated on the App Store in South Korea so it can take advantage of a legislative change that will bring third-party payments to the platform. Earlier this month, the South Korean National Assembly approved a bill that would allow developers to use alternative payment options on mobile platforms...
Epic v. Apple case results in permanent injunction that could pry open the App Store. Apple has been hit with a permanent injunction that will prevent it from prohibiting links to third-party payment options on the App Store as a result of the Epic v. Apple lawsuit. As reported by The Verge, the injunction was issued by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers in a bid to increase competition and transparency, and will seemingly allow...
Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .
The TikTok magnet challenge is dangerous that has put children in hospital. The TikTok magnet challenge has seen people use magnets in their videos but the trend has been reported as dangerous and has put several children in hospital as a result. The social media platform has become famous for its new trends, filters and challenges that come and go every few months. However, the recent magnet trend left a nine-year-old boy going through a life-threatening surgery after he swallowed tiny silver magnet balls.
Highlighted Press Releases . . .
A GIFT OF MOONLITE GIVES CHILDREN DAYS AND NIGHTS THAT ARE MERRY AND BRIGHT. Eric Carle And Fairy Tales Gift Packs In Stock Now For Kids At Every Stage Who Love To Read And See Storybook Pages! – Family togetherness and lots of snuggles are part of the charm of the holiday season. So is the importance of a good night’s sleep. Get everyone in bed, eager for a story with Moonlite. This fun gadget bridges the gap between traditional and digital books and foster a magical, immersive storytelling experience that fuels your child’s imagination. With a restful sleep, days are merry and bright, and bedtime becomes a delight!
(the above posted after September 17th)
PlayMonster and Lynnvander Studios Reveal Snap Ships Tactics: A Battle Strategy Board Game. PlayMonster, in collaboration with Design Partner Lynnvander Studios, announced today the development of Snap Ships Tactics: a constructible, expandable, multiplayer battle game where players create custom Snap Ships and bring them to life on a tabletop battlefield. PlayMonster and Lynnvander Studios will offer an...
News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards, Events & Festivals . . .
Meet the Toy Experts. Join the Wisconsin School of Business for The Business of… a new virtual event series that gives you a sneak peek at the business side of your favorite things. Tom Kalinske (BS ’66), David Kosnoff (MBA ’06), and Shawn Dennis will share their experiences in the toy industry, give perspectives on current trends, and answer audience questions. Sign up now and get excited to tap into your inner child.
Who is going to MIPCOM this year? From Super RTL to Nelvana—producers and broadcasters from the kids industry sound off on their plans for this year's market. Kidscreen touched base with producers and broadcasters to see who’s planning to go to the event in person. The majority of our inquiries were declined or went unanswered, but here’s a sampling of the responses we did get that outlines how people are...
Breaking News: UK Toy Fair 2022 exhibition space nearly sold out ahead of January return. After a year away due to restrictions surrounding Covid-19, Toy Fair is back for 2022 and is shaping up to be another busy and lively show.
2021 Mensa Select® Winners Announced. Abstract strategy, fantasy, and family-friendly titles score highest marks. After nearly four days of nonstop gameplay at Mensa’s 2021 World Gathering, American Mensa and Mensa members have recognized 10 tabletop games with the coveted Mensa Select award. The latest titles to receive the Mensa Select seal of approval include . . .
IGDA group chair steps down over allegations of abuse. IGDA claimed there was no "compelling evidence of wrongdoing" despite victims submitting a report totalling over 120 pages. Victims claimed that “multiple informal complaints” had been filed to IGDA regarding Jennifer Scheurle (also lead game designer at Black Bird Interactive) following by formal complaints being lodged in 2019 and 2020.
(the above posted after September 17th)
The Independent Toy & Gift Show will be rebranded as the INDX Toys & Nursery show when it returns to Cranmore Park next year after joining the umbrella group of INDX trade shows. The rescheduled 2021 Independent Toy & Gift Show has been taking place this week (14th-15th September) after organisers Play-room cancelled its original April date due to Covid restrictions earlier in the year.
See this year’s finalists for the National Toy Hall of Fame. Officials from the Strong National Museum of Play announced Wednesday this year’s finalists for the National Toy Hall of Fame. This year’s finalists include: American Girl Dolls, Battleship, Billiards, Cabbage Patch Kids, Fisher-Price Corn Popper, Mahjong, Masters of the Universe, Piñata, Risk, Sand, The Settlers of Catan, Toy fire engine“These 12 toys represent...
The Games Manufacturers Association (GAMA) revealed the results for their special election to fill the first 6 director positions on the newly-structured board. These 6 board seats were created through the adoption of the new bylaws which created 6 voting groups. The first 5 board directors have been added to the board, and a sixth will join them after a run-off for the Wholesale seat. The election results went...
ICV2 interview: Covid safety at Gen Con. Final update on Gen Con indy safety protocols. Given the rapidly changing pandemic situation nationally and in Indianapolis, we reached out to Gen Con with questions about how Covid safety is being handled at Gen Con Indy, which opens Thursday. For context, Marion County, where Gen Indy is being held, has high rates of Covid transmission (522 new weekly cases per 100,000
Licensing Awards 2021: And The Winners Are... The Licensing Awards have announced their winners for 2021. More than 200 retail buyers formed a judging panel offering their expert input across the product categories. Various panels convened to discuss, debate and validate all the other categories to arrive at the finalists. A ceremony on Sept. 14 revealed the winners.
'Flesh And Blood' The Calling Las Vegas tournament fields 750 players. Legend Story Studios announced that their The Calling Las Vegas main event, for Flesh and Blood TCG, fielded 750 players. The Calling Las Vegas events took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center on September 10-12. This event offered $10,000 in cash prizes as well as professional tournament invitations and Golden Cold Foil prize cards.
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.
Robby Kanoff, former executive vice president of sales at Galoob Toys, died Sept. 16, 2021. A toy industry veteran with legendary ties to the world of wrestling action figures has died. “We lost a real legend yesterday,” says Graham Mottram, an industry vet and current sales lead at Story Time Chess. The Philadelphia-born Kanoff began his career in the toy industry in 1978 as national sales manager at Lewis Galoob Toys. In the season three Wrestling Figures episode of The Nacelle Co.‘s The Toys That Made Us, Kanoff recalled being perhaps the youngest sales manager in the toy business at the time at age 23. His efforts to guide Galoob from an importer of toys to a maker of toys led to licensed products inspired by Universal’s The A-Team, WCW, the Spice Girls, and more alongside original brands, including Micro Machines, Baby Face Dolls, and more.
Following his departure from Galoob, Kanoff — dubbed “Jewish Lightning” for his wrestling-inspired sales tactics — was one of the founders of The Original San Francisco Toymakers and re-acquired the license to produce WCW action figures followed by a deal with Extreme Championship Wrestling for a line of ECW toys. “Robby was a great salesman and an even better friend,” says Robert Weinberg, former executive vice president at Toys “R” Us and senior vice president of merchandising at KB Toys.
For the past 20 years, Kanoff lived in Massachusetts with his partner, Josie Persichino. Kanoff was 66.
Reuben Klamer - Toy industry icon and inventor of the classic board game The Game of Life, died at home in La Jolla, CA on September 14, 2021. He was 99 and left this world reluctantly, telling a recent visitor “I don’t have a reservation!” The Game of Life was inducted into the permanent Archives of Family Life at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 1981 and is second only to Monopoly in board game popularity. Produced by Hasbro, the game has been marketed in 59 countries and in 26 languages since its introduction in 1960. Although the exact number is probably much higher, it is estimated that more than 70 million Games of Life have been sold to date. (The Japanese edition, called Jinsei, has been the best-selling game in that country for more than 50 years.) Mr. Klamer’s colleagues, friends and neighbors described him as warm, kind, generous, intensely curious and a fabulous storyteller. He was known for his crackling sense of humor, his sartorial splendor (he had a huge collection of hats and dressed up in costume every Halloween), the mischievous twinkle in his eyes, and showing up to parties with the Pink Panther. Reuben loved good food, from the finest oysters to milkshakes, and would go anywhere for a great hot dog. He adored chocolate in any form,” one said, reminiscing that among Mr. Klamer’s favorite places was Serendipity 3 in New York City. “His joy was contagious and he was always bursting with ideas — an eight-year-old boy in a grown man’s body,” another added. “I think Reuben’s greatest accomplishment was how he managed to stay relevant to the very end,” said George Burtch, retired Vice President of Marketing for Hasbro and a longtime friend. “He was the most cheerfully persistent person I’ve ever met and he inspired so many, in and out of the toy industry.” Mr. Klamer had a gift for anticipating and capitalizing on trends, a talent for developing consumer "must-haves" across a broad spectrum of categories and the ability to work in a variety of media. While the bulk of his most successful products were in the field of toys and games, he also held design, development and invention credits in industries as diverse as textiles, plastics, aviation, publishing, music, television and film. Among his approximately 200 other toy credits are the classic Fisher-Price Preschool Trainer Skates, on the market for nearly 35 years; the Art Linkletter Hoop; Gaylord the Walking Dog (Ideal); Moon Rocks (Hasbro); Dolly Darlings (Hasbro); Erector-Constructor Sets (A.C. Gilbert), and Busy Blocks and Zoo-It-Yourself (Tupperware). Read More...
Adele Alessi - Her long-time colleague Duccio Abolaffio (CEO Diaframma) told Toy World: “Adele’s career at Diaframma spanned over 30 years. Through the good and the bad, her presence was constant. Even during Diaframma’s most difficult years, she decided to stay on without pay. She single-handedly built the company into the international business that it is today. She loved her work – selling was always fun for her. Even more so being told no, that just made her go at it even harder. Adele was at every single toy fair for over 30 years. She seemed to own every room she walked into and had the rare gift of capturing the attention of anyone she spoke to. She was the heart and soul of the party; those who partied with her will definitely agree. Adele was an inspiration – as an individual, as a wife and mother, and as a colleague. The kind words from people from the industry have just underlined how much she will be missed, and how vividly people remember her. She was filled with a voracious love of life. That she has been taken from us too soon can’t be put into words. Some people may not know that she had been battling with cancer for a while, but like everything else in her life, she faced it head on. She was always positive and enthusiastic, and never let go of these qualities until the very end. She taught all of the people who worked with her a lesson that she embodied most of all: ‘Leave your mark, always’. Rest in peace dear Adele.”
Seeing the news on LinkedIn and Facebook, many people posted heartfelt comments, including Rubies’ head of licensing Tracey Devine-Tyley, who said: “Today the toy industry lost a very special lady. Adele welcomed me into her home on several occasions and showed me the sights of Florence on the back of her scooter – an experience I will never forget. She was one of the most graceful, fun, elegant ladies I have had the privilege to know. She lit up a room in whatever country we were fortunate in the industry to find ourselves in. She was lucky enough to see her daughter compete in the Tokyo Olympics but she leaves AnnaChiara and Matteo behind. Rest in peace Adele. You will be greatly missed.”
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Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide . . .
The Toy Book's 2021 Specialty Toy Issue
Adventure Media & Events (US)
aNb Media (US)
ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture's (US)
- Asmodee USA, Luma Imports Announce Price Increases
- Wizards of the Coast Reveals Contents of 'Commander Collection: Black'
- 'Flesh and Blood' The Calling Las Vegas Tournament Fields 750 Players
- Rolling for Initiative -- Unraveling the Supply Chain?
- ICv2 Interview: Covid Safety at Gen Con
- 'D&D' Witches, Warlocks, and Rabbits, Oh My!
- WizKids Unleashes New 'Magic: The Gathering' Unpainted Miniatures
- 'Magic's' Commander RC Bans One Card and Unbans Another
Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)
TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month
The Bugg Report (Australia)
News Flash: 7 Wonders Architects Announced, Neoville Pre-Order
A new game in the 7 Wonders series has been announced, Blue Orange Games has a new game available for preorder, and Azul: Queen’s Garden is coming soon.
Video of the Week!
Josh West is a Game Scout for ThinkFun and Ravensburger!
Another Hidden Roles Production!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.
Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson
Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher