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September 30 - October 7, 2022

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin’ Friday! 

Have you voted for your favorite and most admired innovator yet? What are you waiting for? Check out the nominees and VOTE! 

And... here is a link to more upcoming events!

 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report. If you can't wait for the news to arrive each Friday, check out the new Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed and share with your colleagues! You can also comment on the posts in the News Feed! 

Mary

"I am a long-time reader and champion of the Bloom Report. The quantity of quality articles on so many different aspects of our industry  is unmatched and  I regularly share and discuss them with my management team as an important business tool."  - Jim Engle, President & Founder, Little Kids Inc. 

"I don't know anyone in the industry that doesn't read the Bloom Report." -Ken Lewis, President, 4Kidz, Inc.

"The content is always timely, informative, and digestible." -James Howard, 

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Person of the Week - Brent Geppert, Educational Insights

Sifting Through Inventor Pitches to Find That One-in-a-Million Spark

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Based in Southern California, Educational Insights is committed to igniting the spark in every child through engaging, hands-on play with a purpose. For over a decade, Educational Insights Senior Product Manager Brent Geppert has traveled the world, meeting with toy and game inventors to identify concepts with the potential to light that spark.

 

We caught up with Brent between inventor pitches to talk about his own history as a tinkerer and how it led him to Educational Insights, what he’s looking for in an inventor pitch, and, of course, what’s up with all those Hawaiian shirts.

 

Educational Insights is well known for turning inventor concepts into best sellers. How do you find those winning ideas?

I go into every pitch with an open mind. You end up kissing a lot of frogs on your way to finding Prince Charming, but I try hard not to get jaded because you never know where a great idea is going to come from. I’ve seen some really amazing products come out of really rough beginnings. I’m lucky though - Educational Insights was a leader in inventor relations and we’ve been doing this for so long now that the people I meet with have a pretty clear idea of what we’re looking for, so they’re presenting me with ideas that are likely to resonate.

 READ MORE...

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Person of the Week - Alex Tongue, Vango Toys 

As Bezos says, “Focus on what makes your beer taste better.”

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What are your roles and responsibilities in our industry?

Providing value to our customers is our top priority, and since most of them are kids, that value comes in the form of fun! Of course, the value of toys and games goes beyond just having fun – they help improve social skills, critical thinking, fine motor skills, imagination … the list goes on!  But if we’re not providing that key value of FUN, then we’re not fulfilling our key responsibility in this industry.

 

What is your claim to fame in the industry?

The first product we launched (The #UpsideDownChallenge Game) was nominated for both a TOTY and TAGIE award!

 

What has been your biggest achievement?

Getting the company off the ground with our first product (The #UpsideDownChallenge Game) has been our biggest achievement. In the first year after starting the company, we had all sorts of obstacles thrown at us - a global pandemic, trade war with China, container shortage, economic uncertainty. Despite all of this, the game was a big success and continues in popularity today.

 READ MORE...

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Person of the Week - Everest van der Zwan

Inventor of KIDQUEST - Where Kids Ask the Coolest Questions

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Why did you want to create a game?

We were in lockdown and we always had ideas about creating something and this was the right time to try!

 

What has been your biggest achievement?

Winning amazing awards in the toy industry!

 

 

What was your biggest failure?

All the prototypes because a lot of them were nowhere near what we wanted or what it is today. And that is part of the journey to making something.

 

Do you have a mantra that you live by?

It doesn't matter if you succeed or not, it matters how hard you try.

 

If you look back at yourself 10 years ago, is this where you thought you’d be?  Where did you think you’d be? What changed? What went right?

I wasn't alive! I need a few more years to answer this.        READ MORE...

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Pictured above: Nick Zawitz, Richard Zawitz, Charlie Zawitz

Our aNb Media Toy Families feature story highlighting the Zawitz family came to fruition in an unusual way. I had met Nick and knew a bit about the Tangle story of course, but it was Isabelle Hodges, their new team member who also consults on our POP website, who suggested we feature the Zawitz family. Richard shared his thoughts on Tangle’s life-affirming three generation story, and I know you will enjoy reading them as much as I did.

How did you and your family first enter the toy industry?

 

We first entered the gift/speciality/toy industry in 1982 through my invention called Tangle. Tangle was my attempt at bringing art and sculpture to the masses. I wanted to create something that adults, kids, families could feel challengeless playing with while being able to enjoy art at the same time. I also wanted to instill creativity into people that never thought they were creative. My first product was called Tangle: the Infinite Sculpture which first debuted at gift shows. Eventually I started to market the product and sold it to high-end stores like Bloomingdales, MoMA, Sharper Image, Macy’s, Harrods and Hamleys in England, and other notable gift and specialty stores. In 1989, we partnered with Slinky and the amazing Betty James, who then distributed Tangle for 3.5 years. Slinky went on to sell the first blister card version of the Tangle to the Kmart toy section in 1989 and Tangle became a toy! Tangle is in every essence, the First Art and Fidget Toy ever created!      READ MORE...

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Financial and Legal

 

Swiss tech company Talenthouse has completed its acquisition of British prodco Coolabi Group. Talenthouse operates a platform for professional creatives to showcase their work and collaborate with brands and agencies. According to a release, it has 18 million users. Coolabi CEO Jeremy Banks and COO Tim Ricketts and Working Partners MD Chris Snowdon join the Talenthouse leadership team, which already includes...

 

Pittsburgh-based language learning app Duolingo has completed its first acquisition, buying Detroit-based animation studio Gunner, which has been handling animation on Duolingo’s app for the past two years. Gunner will continue to produce art and animation for Duolingo’s flagship all-ages language app, and its Duolingo ABC app, which teaches literacy to kids three- to six-years-old. 

 

***The above posted after October 7th***

 

Amazon.com Inc. plans to hire 150,000 seasonal workers, about the same as last year despite slowing sales growth and predictions of a lackluster holiday shopping season.  The world’s largest online retailer typically hires legions of temporary workers this time of year to help store, pack and ship items from its warehouses. Employees can earn more than $19 an hour, on average, based on their position...

Tesco will slash more than 300 head office roles as it seeks to cut costs after profits plunge, but will recruit 12,500 seasonal staff. Tesco has said it will be losing 325 of its head office staff as the retailer looks to cut costs after profits plunge 64%. The job cuts will only affect head office and field-based staff and not employees that work in its stores. 

Miko has acquired 70% of Square Off, giving complete exit to existing investors. With the acquisition, Miko will expand its product line beyond the AI robotic companions that put it on the map. Miko’s eponymous kids’ robots use AI to deliver playful learning experiences for children aged five and older. The move is a natural fit for two companies that share a passion for robotics and learning, according to Sneh Vaswan...

Kidtech company Sandbox & Co. has acquired arts & crafts subscription-box company toucanBox, adding it to a growing portfolio of tech brands that already includes PlayKids (preschool streaming platforms and apps), Hopster (preschool SVOD operator) and Tellmewow (puzzle video game publisher).

 

Upbounders by Little Likes Kids is seeking investors through SMBX, the financial marketplace that connects small businesses with investors in their community. Upbounders is a Washington, D.C.-based, female-founded, and Black-owned small business that promotes diversity and cultivates belonging through screen-free toys that accurately represent cultural and ethnic differences. The line is currently sold...

 

Notice is given by ASSEMBLED BRANDS CAPITAL FUNDING LLC  that pursuant to Section 9-610 of the Uniform Commercial Code, a secured party public sale to the highest and/or best bidder for cash, with reserve, will be conducted by the Secured Party on Oct. 11, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. ET.  The Secured Party has a first priority perfected lien and security interest in and to all of the personal property assets of MADE MODERN HOLDINGS LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (the “Borrower”).

 

Amazon is launching Amazon Access, a new hub for customers to explore the programs, discounts and features that the online retailer offers for affordable shopping, the company announced on Monday. Amazon also announced that its discounted Prime membership, which launched in 2017, will now be called Prime Access. The new Amazon Access hub gives customers access to information on options like payment...

 

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) CEO David Zaslav has denied that the newly merged company is for sale, amid recent cost-cutting measures and mass staff layoffs. WBD has been undergoing extensive restructuring since Discovery completed its $43bn merger with WarnerMedia in April, since when the media giant has been seeking to make $3bn in savings.

 

The Airport Authority Hong Kong is said to have set aside HK$2b in 2020 for buying some half a million flight tickets from airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Express, Cathay Pacific and the now out-of-business Cathay Dragon. Giving away these tickets, which the government bought in 2020 to attract travellers, is one of the measures aimed at boosting back tourism. The new relaxed inbound rules will mean travellers...

Elon Musk Twitter deal back on in surprise U-turn. Billionaire Elon Musk has apparently changed his mind about buying Twitter, again, and is now willing to proceed with his takeover of the social media platform. In a letter to the firm, Mr. Musk agreed to pay the price he offered months ago before trying to quit the deal. The surprise reversal comes just weeks before the two sides were due in court.

 

Five reasons why China's economy is in trouble. China's economy is slowing down as it adapts to a punishing zero-Covid strategy and weakening global demand. Official growth figures for the July to September quarter are expected soon - if the world's second-largest economy contracts, that increases chances of a global recession. Beijing's goal - an annual growth rate of 5.5% - is now out of reach although officials have...

 

UK competition regulator sets deadline for investigation into Microsoft's proposed Activision Blizzard deal. UK competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has set a statutory deadline of March 1, 2023, to publish its final report into the potential risks of Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard. Earlier this year, the CMA said the proposed deal could harm Microsoft's rivals..

 

Microsoft launches website to sell Activision Blizzard acquisition to the masses. Microsoft has launched a new website in a bid to convince onlookers that its pending $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is a very good thing. The website leads with a rundown of Microsoft's vision for gaming, which according to the company is built on a philosophy of "more choice and more games for people everywhere.

National Labor Relations Board finds that Activision Blizzard withheld raises from unionizing workers. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is accusing Activision Blizzard of withholding raises from QA workers at its Raven Software subsidiary as a direct result their union activity.As reported by The Washington Post, Raven testers voted to unionize earlier this year after protracted discussions with Activision Blizzard...

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Stories, Comments, and Advice

 

From Hot Wheels to handling content: How brands are using Microsoft AI to be more productive and imaginative.  When designers at the toy company Mattel were asked recently to come up with a new Hot Wheels model car, they sought inspiration from DALL∙E 2, an AI system developed by OpenAI that creates custom images and art based on what people describe in plainspoken language.

A woman who describes herself as a "big kid" has her dream job - making artwork out of old toys which sell for up to £1,500 a pop. Zoe Pocock, 48, has "unleashed her inner child" and get to play with discarded and recycled toys - whilst positioning them in frames to create quirky pieces. After being made redundant from her job as a manicurist in March 2014, she decided to lean on her creative side and make wall...

 

Forget Madden. The Hottest Game in the N.F.L. Is Chess. Athletes, known for being gamers, often find ways to compete during their downtime. Football players who tackle chess are drawn to the mental challenge that runs against stereotypes in their sport. Amari Cooper, the Cleveland Browns wide receiver and a four-time Pro-Bowler, had Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie on his heels. 

 

***The above posted after October 7th***

 

John Baulch, Toy World - Sing when you’re winning…. it’s the Friday Blog! Let’s start off with some good news – the pound is back to where it was before the new government decided it would be a laugh to try to tank the economy. In fact, sterling only softened this week when our new Prime Minister was addressing the party conference – so there is a lesson there which will hopefully have been learned…

Rick Derr and Dave Middleton’s learnings on their marketsThe owners of Learning Express and Midco Toys have formed a strong friendship, whilst learning from each other on their respective markets. The two toy retailers, located on opposite sides of the Atlantic, have been in touch to find out how their respective experiences and views can benefit both the UK and US toy markets. Toy World caught up with the pair...

 

Everything you need to know about toy timing. It's never been more complicated to get a toy to land in the right place at the right time—especially when it's based on a series or film. Here's how three companies are adapting. Once upon a time, toy-focused CP programs for kids shows and movies followed the predictable cycle dictated by big networks and major studios. Summertime blockbusters and fall TV laid the ...

 

A new movie has put to rest decades of fan speculation and suggestions from previous stewards of the “Scooby-Doo” franchise by confirming that Velma Dinkley, the cerebral mystery solver with the ever-present orange turtleneck, is canonically a lesbian. To many fans who had long presumed as much and treated her as a lesbian icon, it was not a shocking revelation. But her appearance in...

 

A Lego-themed house in Kenosha, WI went viral and sold after just a few days on the market. Singer Jason Isbell took note with a wry comment. The listing for the house, by RE/MAX agent agent Alissa Traughber for $250,000, went viral on Twitter Monday. But by that point, a local buyer had already scooped up the property. The seller owns more than a million Lego pieces and transformed the home into something of a...

 

Dreamhouse Is an Accidental Funhouse Museum of American Design. Her plastic real estate portfolio features it all, from A-Frames to Victorian Revivals. Looking back on its 60th anniversary shows the styles Americans actually lived in—and what they really wanted. "All six rooms have a modern look," purrs the voiceover from this 1979 commercial for the vividly decade-specific Barbie Townhouse, as a small hand places...

 

How Mr. Potato Head Helped Starbucks Make Drinks Faster. Mr. Potato Head may have had his comeback moment when Pixar's "Toy Story" franchise incorporated this classic toy into their storyline back in 1995, but the toy is still relevant today — and it even has some practical uses. 

The Wall Street Journal reports Mr. Potato Head helped Starbucks to make their coffee and espresso drinks faster. Here's how it happened.

A parenting columnist says adults shouldn’t high-five kids.  “I will not slap the upraised palm of a person who is not my peer." An op-ed arguing adults shouldn't high-five children has gone viral, leaving many parents and mental health experts to raise their eyebrows (and maybe a high-five) in protest. John Rosemond, a parenting columnist and author, argued in a recent opinion article for the Omaha World-Herald that adults shouldn't high-five children because a child is not an adult's equal.

 

‘Barney’ Docuseries ‘I Love You, You Hate Me’ Uncovers Dark Side of Kids Show: Watch the Trailer. The core message of the immensely popular “Barney and Friends” kids show was to spread love and kindness to one another, but the trailer for a new Peacock docuseries highlights the idea that America was not so eager to accept that message. In the trailer for the upcoming two-part docuseries “I Love You, You Hate Me,” ...

 

Just in time for Halloween, the Chicago History Museum is putting some of its creepiest dolls on display to help teach Chicago history. When you say dolls, you probably think of Ken and Barbie, Raggedy Ann or maybe even Bratz. But if your tastes run more to Chucky, you'll be right at home this month at the Chicago History Museum.

 

NYC’s Four Seasons hotel in standoff with Beanie Babies mogul — and could stay shut for years. New York’s Four Seasons Hotel has remained conspicuously closed since the start of the pandemic — and insiders say it risks staying shuttered for years because of an increasingly bizarre dispute with the billionaire founder of the Beanie Babies toy empire. The luxury icon designed by architect I.M. Pei at 57 East 57th St...

 

Gamers Help Older Lady Choose First Game to Play in Wholesome Thread.   Speaking as a thirty-something who has way more unfinished Steam games than free hours in the week, I'd say retirement age is the perfect time to start gaming. One 56-year-old lady who's sick of television recently decided to turn to r/gaming for advice on which video game to start with. Rather than gatekeeping, thousands of gamers did quite ...

 

Russia's replacement for Lego stores: World of Cubes. Russian retail group IRG has unveiled plans for 65 new shops across 20 cities, to replace ones it used to run for Danish toy maker Lego, which exited the country in the wake of the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine. It is not the first firm to toy with new names since a string of well-known Western brands shut down their Russian operations over the conflict.

World's largest Pokémon collection could sell for £300k. The world's largest collection of Pokémon memorabilia amassed by a superfan over 25 years is to go under the hammer. A woman from Hertfordshire - who wishes to remain anonymous - has accumulated a world record number of items, with more than 20,000 set to be auctioned. 

 

Toys"R"Us Canada reveals Top Toy List for holiday 2022. This holiday season, Toys"R"Us Canada is helping parents and gift-givers create special moments with their highly anticipated Top Toy List for 2022. Featuring a broad assortment of gift ideas for every age and interest and highlighting twelve hero products, Toys"R"Us is making holiday gift-shopping easy. 

BargainMax creates Christmas top 10 for families on a budget. Retailer BargainMax.co.uk believes many customers will be looking for more affordable toys this year as the cost of living crisis bites. Online retailer BargainMax.co.uk has come up with a top 10 Christmas toys with a difference this year, acknowledging that many families may need to keep to a tighter budget in the face of increased living costs.

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History and Nostalgia

 

Do you ever wonder who first thought of The Rocking Horse? Since horses were first domesticated approximately 4,000 years ago, their likenesses have been used for toys. So it’s no surprise that when wealthy Europeans began using horses for leisure activities in the 16th century, they had wooden rocking horses made for their children’s nurseries. The earliest examples utilized a cradle-like form and were often made...

 

The story of Uno. Uno was created by the Robbins family of Reading, Ohio, who loved to play cards. They particularly enjoyed Crazy Eights but found that the game’s tricky rule variations often led to family arguments. In response, Merle Robbins began to market a deck with custom instructions in the hopes of avoiding arguments. Different cards meant different things: for example, playing a king reversed the...

 

Who first thought of Magic 8 Balls? The Magic 8 Ball was introduced by Abe Bookman of the Alabe Crafts Company of Cincinnati in 1946. It featured a flat spot that allowed it to stand on a desktop and contained a 20-sided plastic polyhedron floating in a diluted liquid. Each of the facets was inscribed with a different answer to a yes-or-no question. While Bookman originally marketed the item as a paperweight...

***The above posted after October 7th***

 

Who first thought of The Jump Rope? While the origins of the jump rope are somewhat murky, we do know that the jump rope was brought to America by Dutch settlers in the 17th century. At first, jumping rope was considered exclusively a game for boys. Then in the 1800s, groups of girls began to play with jump ropes. They did so against the recommendation of most advice books, which cautioned against too much physical...

 

Pinball traces its roots to bagatelle, an 18th-century French parlor table game that challenged players to use a stick to shoot balls across a table filled with pins and scoring holes. But modern coin-operated pinball machines originated in 1931 as American manufacturers separated players from the bagatelle board (or “playfield”) with a piece of glass, incorporated mechanical systems to remove balls from the ...

 

THE HISTORY OF Tinkertoys. Tinkertoys were created in the early 1910s by a stonemason named Charles Pajeau and his partner, Robert Petit. The men were inspired by watching children create abstract shapes using sticks, pencils, and old spools of thread. They created Tinkertoy by adding holes on all sides of a round wooden wheel and included specially sized sticks in the set. 

 

Universal Monsters from Remco (1980). For centuries, mankind has been fascinated by monsters. Mysterious, menacing, and more than a little misunderstood, these cryptic creatures continue to capture the imagination hundreds of years after Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker first birthed them to the printed page. This obsession has permanently affixed itself within popular culture, including...

 

Fang Bang from Milton Bradley (1967). If Hunger Games-esque free-for-alls are your thing, you’ll probably want to look for the quirky Fang Bang game released by Milton Bradley in 1967. The “indoor-outdoor fast action game” pitted two to four players role-playing as witch doctors in a duel to the death. And by death, we mean popping the other players’ balloons using a balloon snake “sword.” 

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Licensing and Entertainment 

 

Playmobil is taking its first steps in the anime cosmos with a new licence that it says will appeal both to children and to the kidult sector. In a first for the toy company, figures from the popular anime series Naruto Shippuden will be released in early 2023. Naruto Shippuden is a series mainly adapted from Part II of Masashi Kishimoto’s original manga series, set 2.5 years after the original series in the Naruto universe.

 

YouTube, France Télévisions and Paris-based studio TeamTO are seizing on the cross-generational appeal of iconic tunes to capture co-viewing audiences with: Behind the Beats.  The CG-animated series (26 x five minutes) breaks down popular music genres such as new wave, G-funk, rock ‘n’ roll, K-pop and reggae—with stories about the artists who pioneered them.

 

Nick Jr. Israel has ordered a brand-new CG-animated series for four- to six-year-olds about a team of fairies who use an app to grant wishes to kids in need. Fairy Express is a 52 x 11-min co-production from French studio Cottonwood Media (Theodosia) and ViacomCBS-owned Israeli prodco Ananey Studios. It’s based on an original idea from Ananey’s head of animation Gili Dolev (Zack and Quack), and was co-created by...

 

Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is still months away from its 2023 debut, but Disney Branded TV has already greenlit a second season.  Based on Marvel’s comic book franchise, the 2D-animated series is produced by Disney Television Animation and follows a brainy 13-year-old girl who accidentally brings a brawny T-Rex into present-day New York City.

 

London-based Moonbug Entertainment is continuing to bolster the strength of its IPs in the Middle East with a local linear preschool channel in Turkey.  The new Moonbug Kids net is set to launch in November and will operate through two of the country’s leading television providers, Tivibu and TV+. It stands to reach approximately 2.6 million paid subscribers across the two platforms.

 

British broadcaster Sky Kids has commissioned a 2D-animated series based on the Isadora Moon books by Harriet Muncaster. Published by Random House, the kidlit franchise for readers ages six to nine spans 16 titles that have collectively sold more than three million copies globally in 30 languages since the first book was released in 2016.

 

Raise the anchor and hoist the sails—Irish prodco Distillery Films’ new educational preschool series is about to embark on a voyage around the world. French distributor Superights has acquired the distribution rights to Sullivan Sails and will represent the show globally, excluding Ireland and Italy.

 

Just Play has partnered with award winning dance group Diversity to promote the launch of the unique and innovative RUKUSfx. The handheld motion-controlled music mixer allows users to mix, move and create music through motion, using 120 music tracks and 80 sound effects. Using four simple movements: Swipe, Punch, Twist and Flick, the user’s own music tracks can also be uploaded to mix seamlessly...

 

The Toy Book and The Pop Insider can exclusively reveal that on Black Friday, The Nacelle Co. — the studio behind The Toys That Made Us (Netflix), Behind The Attraction (Disney+), and Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek (History) — will unwrap the fifth season of its acclaimed series, A Toy Store Near You on Amazon Prime Video. The news of the new season is being revealed to a live audience...

 

Season five of the globally popular series, Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, is now available on Disney Channel U.S., with new episodes premiering weekly on Saturdays at 10am ET/PT. Created by ZAG and co-produced with Method Animation (Mediawan Kids & Family), the 3D-CGI-animated superhero aspirational action-comedy series, Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, has become a bona fide worldwide...

Atari, one of the world’s most iconic consumer brands and interactive entertainment producers, announced a 10-yr license extension for RollerCoaster Tycoon with the franchise’s creator, Chris Sawyer. Under the new agreement, Atari will seek to develop new titles, expand digital and physical distribution, and explore brand and merchandising collaborations as part of a long-term plan to bring the franchise to new...

 

Roarr! is set to embark on the biggest development in the park’s history, after being granted full permission to create a new four-acre interactive play-themed area within the existing 85-acre park. Gigantosaurus Land is a collaborative new partnership between Roarr! and Cyber Group Studios, producer and distributor of animated series for children and families worldwide.

 

MGA Entertainment and Outright Games have launched L.O.L. Surprise! B.B.s Born To Travel. Based on the L.O.L. Surprise! brand, this arcade fashion game gives fans the chance to create their own custom dolls for others to unbox, while travelling the world to capital cities. The game is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S, Steam and Google Stadia.

 

Acamar Films has extended its partnership with Prime Video for key European territories the UK, Ireland, Italy, and Spain for its award-winning animated series Bing with a multi-year deal. Building on the success of Bing in Italy, Prime Video has also acquired Bing’s latest season bringing all 104 episodes of Bing to Italian fans. Celebrating the messy, joyful reality of pre-school life, the latest series sees Bing, Flop...

 

Renegade Game Studios announced that they are in negotiations to license Axis & Allies, Diplomacy, and more from Hasbro, for publication, via an expansion of their partnership. The expansion of this partnership will allow Renegade to publish certain Avalon Hill brand games, including Axis & Allies, Diplomacy, Squad Leader, and Robo Rally, for the hobby, mass, and specialty markets starting in 2023. 

***The above posted after tBR sent on October 7th***

 

John Baulch, Toy World - All change … it’s the Licensing Blog!  Starting off with the big news of the week, the Las Vegas Licensing Expo has announced that it will be changing its dates for next year. Previously scheduled for the middle of May, the show will now take place three weeks later, from 13th-15th June. Apparently parts of the Mandalay Bay venue are about to undergo renovation, which is due to finish...

Following much anticipation, the first official teaser trailer has been released for new animated film The Super Mario Bros. Movie, starring Chris Pratt. The film is a collaboration between Nintendo and Universal Pictures’ Illumination animation division and sees Chris Pratt as Mario, heading an all-star cast that also includes Jack Black as Bowser and Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach.

 

 

Hasbro announced NERF brand partnerships with massive digital creator, MrBeast, AKA Jimmy Donaldson and big-time philanthropist and basketball All-Star, Luka Dončić. The 2-year partnership with MrBeast kicks off this fall, bringing NERF together with one of YouTube’s most-viewed creators of all time through another exciting social content campaign. The popular creator and NERF are also working together on a NERF...

 

Asmodee has joined forces with Scout Store to develop a new range Scout Store, a subsidiary of the Scout Association in the UK, has entered into a licensing partnership with Asmodee to develop a range of licensed Dobbly-as-Scout merchandise based on Zygomatic Studios’ most popular game, Dobble. The partnership also includes the creation of a special Scout version of the Dobble game, which will...

The Jim Henson Company will spotlight the Jewish immigrant experience in a live-action adaptation of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor. The kidlit series—which has sold millions of copies globally, according to a release—follows five sisters, from a first generation American Jewish family, who are being raised in the Lower East Side of NY in 1912. The story was inspired by Taylor’s own experience...

US prodco Hello Sunshine is developing a movie adaptation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in partnership with Build-A-Bear Entertainment. This marks the first feature film produced by Hello Sunshine’s kids and animation division, established in 2019 and headed by former Nickelodeon exec Claire Curley. The fairy tale will be modernized with an empowered female lead, a signature of Hello Sunshine’s content...

VeeFriends is set to launch its first-ever limited series of collectible characters at Macy’s and Toys “R” Us, transforming the characters from digital non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into physical collectibles. This is the first step in bringing entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s intellectual property (IP) to life with plush and vinyl characters, which will give any consumer access to own a VeeFriends character. 

Numerous deals for toyetic entertainment properties are being made at MIPCOM. Canadian children’s entertainment company Guru Studio inked several new broadcast deals for Big Blue, Pikwik Pack, and True and the Rainbow Kingdom at the annual market in France. “We’re seeing tremendous enthusiasm from broadcasters for our lineup of originals,” says Corey Caplan, senior director of international sales at Guru Studio. 

Play-Doh, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Consumer Products Partner to Create Iconic Slime Line. Play-Doh, the trusted #1 brand in arts and crafts, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Consumer Products announce their partnership to create the ultimate and iconic Slime for kids and adults. Have the slime of your life with the satisfying sensory experiences of the 2023 product line up including a variety of slime textures...

 

Yu-Gi-Oh! and Adidas Join Forces to Create and Launch New Footwear Styles. Get ready to unleash the ‘Duel Magic’ as the universes of adidas and Yu-Gi-Oh! have collided; spilling out an array of marvelous monsters, stripes, spells, trefoils, traps and most incredibly, a fresh deck of footwear, ranging from high-energy sneakers to fashionable sandals. The announcement was made by Jennifer Coleman, VP of Licensing ...

Aspire by WildBrain CPLG Knits Multi-Territory Representation Deal with Lyle & Scott. ASPIRE, the dedicated Corporate & Lifestyle division of world-leading licensing agency WildBrain CPLG, has secured multi-territory rights for the British heritage brand Lyle & Scott. Under the deal, ASPIRE will represent Lyle & Scott in the UK and Eire, Europe, MENA, the US, Canada and Australia, with scope to explore additional territories...

 

Cyber Group Studios’ new action-adventure-packed series, The Tern, was the #1 attended screening program at Cartoon Forum, the annual conference held Sept 19-22 this year in Toulouse, France. Cartoon Forum is Europe’s biggest showcase for animation and TV series. One of the most anticipated French projects on the market, The Tern, a series that blends European and Japanese graphic styles, screened...

PlayMonster Launches Koosh Cameos Featuring Characters From Star Wars and Jurassic World. PlayMonster Group LLC is bringing fandom to the palm of your hands with the launch of new Koosh Cameos, the iconic brand from Hasbro, a global branded entertainment company! For a limited time, fans can pick up four all-new Koosh character collectibles (two from Jurassic World and two from Star Wars, The Mandalorian...

Super Impulse Rocks ‘n Rolls Out the All-New Pet Rock. Super Impulse, the leader in retro and contemporary miniature toys and collectibles is honored to announce its exclusive rights to one of the most iconic novelty items of the 20th Century. The “Official” Pet Rock is back and makes its return to store shelves near you! Originally released in 1975, Pet Rock was an instant success as a hilarious and low cost, low maintenance...

 

Compartés and Care Bears Partner For a Limited-Edition Chocolate Collaboration. Compartés, the nation’s hippest and trendiest chocolate shop, teams up with Care Bears, the loveable and huggable bears from Care-a-Lot, this October 4th to create a limited-edition chocolate bar. The Compartés x Care Bears Rainbow Chocolate Bar features Compartés artistry with the popular Care Bears to bring colorful retro...

 

Joseph’s Nutless Clusters Secures Paw Patrol License for Canada. Gluten Free Wholesale Incorporated, makers of Joseph’s Nutless Clusters (JNC), announced it has signed a license agreement with Paramount Consumer Products for PAW Patrol, the powerhouse preschool franchise created by Spin Master Entertainment. 

 

Limited-Edition Trollify Mashups Featuring Good Luck Trolls and NBCUniversal’s Icons of Horror Available at NYCC. The nostalgia craze is back, only this time it’s a little more bone-chilling. Kidrobot is leading the charge with this limited-edition Trollify mashup featuring the Good Luck Trolls and NBCUniversal icons of horror – Chucky, Bride of Frankenstein and Michael Myers.

Tomy International Expands their Pop Culture Reach with Club Mocchi- Mocchi- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Character Plush. TOMY International will introduce a new line of Club Mocchi- Mocchi- plush this fall featuring Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property. The four globally recognized brothers will come to life in a retro pop design aesthetic to the delight of multi-generational fans.

 

Clover Press and Yoe! Comics Announce Upcoming Release of ‘Popeye Variations’, A New Book Featuring 75+ Underground & Mainstream Cartoonists. Clover Press and Yoe! Books have teamed up to create Popeye Variations: Not Yer Pappy’s Comics an’ Art Book, a 10″ x 10″ hardcover book featuring 100+ illustrations from 75 underground and mainstream artists and cartoonists with their own takes on the spinach-munching...

Funrise, in partnership with video game developer Psyonix, has released a line of customizable and remote-controlled Rocket League replica cars. The new Funrise Rocket League collection of replica vehicles are available now at Walmart, Target.com, Amazon, and other major retailers in the U.S. The branded collection includes: Rocket League Micro RC, available in four models, the 2.75” remote control vehicles...

London-based distributor Serious Kids has acquired worldwide sales rights to CG-animated special The Ghastly Ghoul from Lupus Films and Dream Logic Animation Studios. Targeting kids ages five to seven, the 30-minute special centers around a monster who gets trapped in the human world, where he forms a friendship with a young girl who loves science. Together, they embark on a Halloween adventure to return...

 

Kids First⁠—the distributor owned by Paris-based Watch Next Media—has closed several presale deals with international broadcasters for 2D-animated series Audrey’s Shelter, which started production last week in Paris. ZDF in Germany and Canada’s TVOKids, Radio-Canada, TFO and Knowledge have joined France Télévisions and Spain’s RTVE as co-commissioners of the 52 x 11-minute series, which will debut in 2023. 

 

BAFTA award-winning and Oscar-nominated brand-building and production co. Magic Light Pictures has released a first look image of its much-awaited festive animation for BBC One, The Smeds and the Smoos. In this adventure on a far away planet, two families always avoid each other. The red Smeds never mix with the blue Smoos, so when a chance encounter allows young Smed Janet to become friends with Bill,...

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People of Play

 

Amscan International has appointed a new chief operations officer (COO) to support the ongoing growth and development of the company. Neil Weaver joins the Milton Keynes-based designer, manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler and retailer of party products from fashion and homewares retailer Cath Kidston. Whilst at the company, he held the position of sourcing, supply chain and IT director.

 

University Games announced the appointment of industry veteran, Jeff Pinsker, to the newly created role of Executive Vice President. Pinsker entered the toy industry in 1991 as a product manager at University Games. During his 9-year tenure with the company, Pinsker served as a marketing manager, general manager and president of the company. Pinsker returns to UG following an incredible period of contributing...

 

Veteran industry executive Samantha Freeman has joined the Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) team at Swiss investment company Novastone Capital Partners. ETA programs (commonly called search funds) identify and align entrepreneurs and experts to acquire, manage and grow privately held companies, often with an exit strategy in mind. Freeman is Novastone’s first kids industry specialist,....

 

Prima Chambers fell in love with consumer products during her internship at Procter and Gamble in 1998. Since then, she has built up nearly two decades of experience in the field working at companies such as Reckitt and Hershey. Since joining Paramount in May 2022, Chambers has led strategy and growth for key Paramount properties such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

***the above posted after October 7th***

 

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Anand Dhirmalani to the show. Dhirmalani is an expert in the As Seen On TV space and is collaborating with Albritton on the launch of a new brand: Lil Wish Lanterns. On the show, Dhirmalani shares his journey from Fushigi to Pillow Pets and his recent success with KickerBall. 

 

Sesame Workshop Names Brett Robinson CFO, Overseeing the Nonprofit’s Finance, Technology, and Facilities. Sesame Workshop has named Brett Robinson Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Finance, Technology, and Facilities. In his role, Robinson will be responsible for advising on all fiscal matters, including annual and long-term planning/forecasting, accounting, budgeting, risk management....

 

Hasbro has hired Dan Rawson, formerly COO of ERP and CEM software division Microsoft Dynamics 365, for the newly created position of SVP of Dungeons & Dragons, the co. announced.  Rawson will handle all expressions of the brand, including digital, physical, and entertainment. Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming President Cynthia Williams noted the timing.  "We couldn’t be bringing on Dan at a better ...

 

London’s Omens Studios is broadening its UK business team by putting former CAKE Entertainment SVP of production Rob Doherty on contract as a consultant. He has been charged with overseeing project development and building relationships with broadcast and co-production partners in the UK, Europe and beyond. In addition to advising Omens, Doherty is a part-time content consultant for UK Roblox...

 

Paris-based studio Superprod has acquired DreamWorks alum Doug Schwalbe’s kids content financing and distribution business, The Co-Production Company. The company, which Schwalbe set up in 2021, will be rebranded as Superprod US, and the acquisition should broaden Superprod’s reach in North America and add more live-action and animated programming to its catalogue.

 

Disney has promoted streaming operations EVP Alisa Bowen to president of Disney+ as it works to expand its content offering and prepare for the launch of its ad tier later this year. Bowen has 5 years at Disney under her belt and has held top positions in its digital media, SVOD and streaming divisions. She has been heading up global business operations for the media company’s streamers, including DIsney+...

Robin Dent joins Rubies as new national account controller. With almost three years’ experience in his previous role at Hornby Hobbies as senior national account manager and previously holding positions including senior account manager at Kids II and Mattel, Robin Dent brings his extensive experience of all facets of account management to the job. 

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Companies and Brands

 

WildBrain, in collaboration with Mattel Television, shared that seasons 14 and 15 of Fireman Sam and season five of Polly Pocket are in production with slated deliveries beginning in December. Fireman Sam and the Pontypandy Rescue Team are back to save the day on land, at sea, and in the air with two new computer graphics animated seasons of Fireman Sam. Season 14 is scheduled for December and season 15...

 

Barnes & Noble has spoken: Asmodee’s Wavelength is its 2022 Game of the Season. Wavelength is a game where two teams attempt to read each other’s minds. One player from a team has to guide their teammates to the hidden target using only clues based on a spectrum like hot to cold or good and bad. The closer teams get to their unknown target, the better they score overall. 

 

The Power of Grayskull is going digital.  The Masters of the Universe series, a first in a series of collaborative drops from Cryptoys and Mattel, will be released on Nov. 9. Cryptoys is an NFT (non-fungible token) platform focused on bringing the concept of toys and collectibles to the digital world of the blockchain. An NFT is a digital ID. They are often associated with art or other assets, but the NFT itself is basically a receipt...

 

My Avastars, the “Avatar Stars of the Metaverse,” are officially available at retail.  Following a formal unveiling at The Toy Insider’s Sweet Suite event this summer, the doll line from WowWee is available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart. Additionally, WowWee partnered with Toys “R” Us at Macy’s to launch HYPEGIRRRL_77, a premium My Avastars doll that includes more than 1,000 looks.

 

Kids content creation company Epic Storyworlds is launching Freeground, an online studio experience focused on fan engagement through experiences centered around popular game platform Roblox. Freeground’s first collaboration will be with Falcon’s Beyond — a global entertainment development company — and will feature an entertainment destination, including a theme park and games ...

 

After almost three years on the market, independent toy company Cepia is taking its hot property Cats vs Pickles and turning it into a card game. This time, instead of simply releasing the item to market, Cepia turned to Kickstarter to launch Cats vs Pickles: Mayhem, a game of cats, chaos, and crazy pickles. The premise is as simple as the backstory behind the characters.

 

Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go rebooted the long-running series in its 26th season and will continue chugging along in its current form for seasons 27 and 28. Each season includes 26 11-minute episodes and an hour-long special. Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana Studios and Mattel Television are co-producing the new seasons. The current season broke new ground with the addition of Bruno the Brake Car, the first...

 

Learning Resources, which has brought kids interactive toys for almost 40 years, is now expanding into the pet industry.  Brightkins, Learning Resources’ new line of 13 pet toys, includes training activity kits, toys that dispense treats, and treat puzzles. Learning Resources hopes to engage both the pet and the family with these new products.

 

LEGO GROUP ENCOURAGES GIRLS TO SEEK OUT STEAM SUBJECTS ON INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL. To honor International Day of the Girl, which takes place every year on Oct. 11, the LEGO Group has started a new campaign to encourage girls to stay curious about science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) subjects and careers.

Disney unveiled or changed the release dates for a slew of movie titles Tuesday, including Marvel’s Blade, which was announced this morning to be delaying production.  Blade, the vampire pic starring Mahershala Ali is currently in search of a new director, following Bassim Tariq’s departure. It is now set to open September 6, 2024, having previously been slated for November 3, 2023. 

 

Hasbro division Entertainment One is at work on a documentary feature about Dungeons & Dragons, the popular roleplaying game. The documentary, to coincide with the game’s 50th anniversary in 2024, will draw on the game’s wizards and elves and archived Dungeons & Dragons footage dating back to the game’s creation in the early 1970s. Dungeons & Dragons writer Joe Manganiello will co-direct...

Konami tells Toy World why Yu-Gi-Oh! Speed Duel GX: Midterm Paradox appeals to all kinds of players, making it the perfect stocking filler. The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is hugely popular: players across the world have enjoyed collecting iconic cards, building powerful decks and duelling one another for more than 20 years. Introduced in 2019, Yu-Gi-Oh! Speed Duel is a specialised version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. 

 

Asmodee has announced Welcome by Asmodee, an entity designed to help game publishers meet their distribution needs whether the scope is local, global, or anything in between. Backed by Asmodee’s industry expertise and worldwide network, the Welcome team offers all game publishers a personalised route to market solution. A one-stop-shop point of contact within Asmodee, Welcome will work with...

Disney Is Developing An ‘Immersive Experience’ That Will Tour Globally. Walt Disney Animation Studios is teaming with Toronto-based Lighthouse Immersive Studios to develop Disney Animation: Immersive Experience, a traveling experience of Disney animation which will world premiere in Toronto this December before heading across the U.S. and other territories in 2023. Here’s what we know about the project...

 

Beating a record number of over 100 entries, ‘The Misfit’ – a 1963 Ford Anglia with a supercharged BMW engine – will represent the UK in the global Hot Wheels Legends Tour and stake its claim to become a 1:64 scale die-cast in the 2023 line up. Built by Michael Charalambous, and only finished in 2022 after final push during Covid lockdown, The Misfit was also voted the fans’ favourite at this year’s event.

 

Tiny Pop to premiere Gabby’s Dollhouse. With a little magic and a new surprise every day, DreamWorks Animation’s Gabby’s Dollhouse leads viewers from room to room through a fantastic dollhouse with mini-worlds and irresistible kitten characters. With a new surprise to unbox in every episode, Gabby shares her excitement with her best stuffed animal pal, Pandy Paws, before heading on the next delightfully...

 

For the first time in over 50 years, UK fans of model railways can now build more compact railway layouts, thanks to a completely new product range from brand leader HornbyScaled to 1:120 and known as tabletop railways or ‘TT’, the new scale and brand, Hornby TT:120, is smaller than the more traditional and familiar ‘00’ models but still easily handled by both young and old.

FAO Schwarz is celebrating 160 years by partnering with Schleich to release a figure of the only animal that makes sense for such a monstrous anniversary: the king of the Jurassic period, the T-Rex. As part of Schleich’s expanding Dinosaurs collection, the T-Rex is an authentic, lifelike replica — on a significantly smaller scale — featuring reptile textures and the dinosaur’s signature snarl.

 

Rainbow High announced the official launch of its next collector doll in its Rainbow High Celebration Collection: Maria Garcia. This beautifully designed collector doll was created to celebrate Día de Los Muertos, the longtime recognized Mexican holiday, traditionally observed on November first and second. Customarily family and friends gather to pay respects to and remember those who have passed on.

Create A Castle Co-Founders Kevin & Laurie Lane Become ‘Shark Tank’ Winners.  Create A Castle co-founders Kevin and Laurie Lane, swam with the Shark Tank sharks, pitching their innovative sand-and-snow castle-building toy line and came away with a new partner in billionaire entrepreneur Kendra Scott who outbid fellow shark Daymond John with a $350,000 offer for 20% of the business.

 

Fisher-Price has, on World Inclusion Day today, launches a new inclusive collection for young children – the People Kind Figure Pack. The pack includes Little People characters that represent six skin tones, different occupations (including a recycling collector, a baker, a mother, a photographer, a doctor). Different health conditions are represented, such as vitiligo, as well as a mix of abilities (wheelchair use), genders, ...

 

Smyths Toys Superstores has today officially revealed its top toys for Christmas 2022. The exclusive list features some of the year’s most highly-anticipated toys, including toys from WWE, Jurassic World, and Squishmallows. It also includes new releases from classic brands like Lego, Barbie, and Fisher-Price.

Can Sunny Bunnies be the next Baby Shark? The popular alien rabbits could soon give the not-so-predatory sea creature a run for its money in the sing-along category with a new spinoff of the growing franchise. Poland’s Animation Café and AVOD network WildBrain Spark are releasing Sunny Bunnies Sing-Along this summer. The show features the bunnies belting out reimagined versions of popular children’s songs...

 

Barbie Announces New Musical Adventure and Accompanying Toy Range. The new toy range includes “Barbie Mermaid Power” dolls, inspired by upcoming movie. Starring Brooklyn and Malibu, “Barbie Mermaid Power” is a new, aquatic movie adventure that follows Barbie “Brooklyn” Roberts character’s debut as co-lead in “Big City, Big Dreams”. The release focuses on the character’s continued integration...

 

***The above was posted after October 7th***

 

Richard Dickson, president and COO of Mattel, spoke to Toy World about the Barbie brand, the upcoming movie and the plans for yet more growth. Richard delivered the keynote address at BLE 2022 at London Excel from 20th-22nd Sept. In his standing-room-only talk, he spoke about Barbie’s rise to fame, her 2014 fall from grace and her astonishing climb back up to become the world’s No.1 Global Toy Property. 

Lego launches new Lego Ideas Table Football set. Thierry Henry and Marcus Rashford MBE were the first to go head-to-head with the new fully functional Lego Ideas Table Football set. Football and Lego fans can now build and play their favourite game with this new fan designed Lego set, which Lego describes as the ultimate global celebration of play. Each player can first build their five-a-side team of Lego minifigures...

What Do You Meme? Enters the Wellness Category With New ‘Better Than Yesterday’ Challenge Game. What Do You Meme? has teamed up with mindfulness expert and host of top 25 Apple Podcast New Mindset, Who Dis? Case Kenny to create a fun and inspiring self-improvement challenge, Better Than Yesterday, which marks the company’s entry into a new mindfulness and wellness category.

Just over a year after its debut, Amazon is discontinuing its interactive, video-calling device for kids and families, the Amazon Glow. First introduced at Amazon’s annual hardware event last year, the device promised a unique way for kids to use technology when on video calls with other family members. Instead of using only a screen, like the Echo Show or Facebook Portal (another device that didn’t fare so well)...

Hasbro has unveiled the NERF brand’s first-ever officially organized team sport, NERFBALL. Since 1969 when the beloved brand was first introduced to the world with the original NERF ball, dozens of iterations of NERF have been created across consumer products categories from sports items to blasters, apparel and much more. With several in-person and digital experiences, sports collaborations and the recent launch...

MGA Entertainment’s new MD, Sara Taylor, speaks exclusively to Toy World about how product and people are helping the company overcome recent challenges.   When the opportunity to take up the helm at MGA UK & Ireland was presented to her, Sara says she was ready for both a change and a challenge. This stalwart of the toy industry has some three decades of experience behind her and is highly respected...

Step2, the category leader in play kitchens, push cars, water tables, playhouses and climbers, is celebrating 30 years of experience with the introduction their new Signature Collection of play products just in time for holiday gifting. The new Step2 collection includes an Adventure Camper, a Ride Along Scooter, a Rain Showers Splash Tub and a Rocket Swing for Two. 

SodaPup Duckies Lick Mat Selected as Finalist for Pet Product News Editor’s Choice Award. SodaPup Founder and CEO, Adam Baker announced that the SodaPup Duckies lick mat has been selected by Pet Product News as a Finalist for their annual Editor’s Choice Awards. “We’ve had a tremendous response to our emat lick mat products in the past year and we are working hard to keep innovating in this category.” 

Survey by MGA Entertainment Reveals the Hottest Toys and Trends of the Holiday Season. MGA Entertainment has announced new survey data exploring the gifting dynamic between gift givers and recipients this holiday season. To kick off the season of shopping, the MGA survey of 2,000 American gift givers, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the brand, revealed that the key to gift giving this holiday is, above all else...

The folks at hand2mind just set a world record. On Sept. 29, hand2mind and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) achieved a Guinness World Record title for “The World’s Largest Pattern Blocks Mosaic.” During the second day of the NCTM Annual Meeting and Exposition, a Guinness World Records official was present to confirm the attempt by NCTM and hand2mind to construct a Pattern...

 

LA’s pocket.watch has added teenage magician Dan Rhodes to its roster of content creators as it seeks to break into a new category. Rhodes already has 16 million YouTube subscribers and 10 million TikTok followers, and pocket.watch is looking to apply its franchise formula to expand his personal brand through distribution deals, original content, consumer products and live events.

 

Ty launches Elizabeth II commerorative charity Beanie Baby. In honour of her life, Ty Warner has donated £100,00 to Cruse Bereavement Support, a charity the Queen supported for 38 years. Celebrating the life and reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II, the commemorative bear from Ty will be released in Her Majesty’s favourite colour, blue, whilst bearing a beautifully embroidered crown proudly displaying the years of her life. 

 

Selfridges’ top Christmas toys cover just about every category including plush, role-play, vehicles, construction toys and collectibles. As the Christmas countdown begins, Selfridges has released its prediction of the best-selling toys that are sure to delight and ignite imaginations of all children this Christmas.

 

Building a more inclusive CBC Kids News. The platform’s senior producer Lisa Fender explains how the pubcaster is honoring Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada, and working towards a more inclusive newsroom and editorial strategy. Today (September 30) marks Canada’s second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which honors the survivors of the country’s residential schools, as well as their families and...

 

Hasbro has announced the launch of the Brian Goldner Center for Transforming Futures to honour the life and legacy of Hasbro’s longtime Chairman and CEO Brian D. Goldner, who passed away last October. The Brian Goldner Center for Transforming Futures, funded by a $2.5m contribution from the Hasbro Foundation, will provide multi-year social impact investments with a singular mission of transforming and uplifting lives.

Cluedo Escapes immersive stays to launch for Halloween. Marking the launch of boardgame Cluedo Escape: Treachery at Tudor Mansion, Cluedo is taking over three UK mansions this Halloween. Cluedo Escape: Treachery at Tudor Mansion is a collaborative, escape room twist on the classic boardgame that champions teamwork and is now available nationwide.

Vivid Goliath’s Recyclings answer parents’ plea for more sustainable toys, research shows. Recyclings is using the research to further its mission of making playtime more sustainable with collectibles made from recycled bottle tops. Off the back of Nat'l Recycling Week, research from Vivid Goliath Group’s Recyclings brand has revealed concern among parents over the UK’s lack of sustainable toys, with more than two thirds...

 

Hasbro launches sustainable Peppa Pig wooden toy line. To continue its sustainability efforts, global toy and entertainment company Hasbro has launched a new line of wooden Peppa Pig toys available exclusively on Amazon. Offerings include a deluxe playhouse, a train, a car and boat, and family figures. These new toys are made from responsibly sourced Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood, which ensures...

 

Lucky Duck will launch 'Andromeda's Edge' onto Gamefound. Lucky Duck Games will launch Andromeda's Edge, a new sci-fi worker placement board game by Luke Laurie, onto Gamefound in January 2023. Andromeda's Edge is another game that will be published via Lucky Duck's partnership with Cardboard Alchemy, the makers of Flamecraft.

 

Mattel mounts crowdfunding campaign for epic Masters of the Universe Eternia playset. The ultimate battleground for Masters of the Universe action figures could become a reality. When Mattel launched its Masters of the Universe (MOTU) Eternia playset in the 1980s, it was considered a flop due to timing, expensive tooling, and a cooling off of the MOTU brand. In the decades since, it’s become a sought-after collectible...

 

'Heroscape Age of Annihilation: Vanguard Edition' hits Hasbro Pulse. Heroscape Age of Annihilation: Vanguard Edition, a miniatures wargaming system by Avalon Hill, is now up on Hasbro Pulse for preorder until November 16, 2022. Avalon Hill first announced the return of Heroscape at Gen Con 2022. The new version of the game features detailed miniatures and modules that allow players to create their own world...

The Woobles makes a $450,000 deal on ‘Shark Tank’. On Sept. 30, The Woobles — a DIY crochet kit company, co-founded by Adrian Zhang and Justine Tiu — landed a deal with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner of ABC’s Shark Tank. The husband-and-wife duo earned a $450,000 offer from Cuban and Greiner in exchange for a 6% stake in the co. after initially requesting $250,000 for a 5% stake. The deal puts a $7.5 million...

 

Bezier Games unveils 'Castles of Mad King Ludwig' expansion. Bezier Games unveiled Castles of Mad King Ludwig: Renovations, a new expansion, which will be up on Kickstarter on November 1, 2022. This new expansion to Castles of Mad King Ludwig allows players to enhance existing rooms with dual room-type renovations. The renovations can be  placed on top of the existing rooms, and turn old rooms into...

Transformers roll out to hobby shops in Magic: The Gathering expansion. The battle between the Autobots and Decepticons has a new front in The Brothers’ War. During Hasbro Pulse Con 2022, the toy and entertainment giant unveiled plans to incorporate the Transformers into Wizards of the Coast’s Magic: The Gathering. A new series of Universes Beyond cards will showcase the Transformers in their classic...

 

Hasbro hits the gridiron with NFL Starting Lineup deal. Some hard-hitting new personalities are set to join Starting Lineup. At this week’s Hasbro Investor Day presentation, the company revealed that it’s inked new licensing agreements with the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). Under the new deal, some of the biggest names in football will join the relaunched...

Rainbow High expands Junior High range with six new dolls. Following the launch of Junior High Series 1 in spring this year, Rainbow High is set to launch Junior High Series 2 this autumn. Junior High Series 2 features the original six characters from Rainbow High Series 2, including Stella Monroe, Bella Parker, Karma Nichols, River Kendall, Krystal Bailey and Amaya Raine – all as their younger selves. 

 

Season 2 of Cry Babies Magic Tears now available on Netflix. IMC Toys has announced that following the huge success of the first season, which racked up more than 29m viewing hours in just 28 days, and entered the Top 10 in a number of countries including Mexico and Greece, Cry Babies Magic Tears has released its second season onto Netflix. The launch of the second season follows the securing of a global Netflix...

 

25th Century Games reveals 'Ghosts Love Candy Too'. 25th Century Games revealed Ghosts Love Candy Too, an expanded version of the Halloween-themed card game by Danny Devine, for release into retail on October 19, 2022. The first Ghosts Love Candy card game was rescued by Steve Jackson Games back in 2016 from a defunct Fifth Street Games who raised $13,348 from 371 backers ($35.98/backer average)...

Cryptozoic plans 'DC Deck-Building Game: Rivals'. Cryptozoic Entertainment will release DC Deck-Building Game: Rivals - The Flash Vs. Reverse-Flash, a stand-alone game that is compatible with other games in the DC Deck-Building Game series, in Q1 2023, the company announced.  The game was originally scheduled for 2021. Players take on the role of one of the two Flashes, and with three unique Character cards...

 

CMON to distribute Lucky Duck Games. Lucky Duck Games products will be exclusively distributed in Asia by CMON Asia, the companies announced.  The deal, which has already begun, includes the countries of China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Burma, Laos and Cambodia. CMON Asia has been increasingly focusing on distribution in Asia as a path to growth...

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

Overwatch 2 Launches with Character-Inspired Merch for Fans. The wait is finally over. Blizzard Entertainment is kicking off the launch of the highly anticipated team-based action game Overwatch 2 with a range of merch and collectibles themed around several of the game’s heroes, both new and familiar!

Gotham Knights brings the Arkham flavor with a new cast of heroes. The streets have not had a proper Batman: Arkham game since 2015, and Gotham Knights aims to remedy that. I got to try my hand at being a caped crusader in an extensive, hands-on preview event, and if you were aching for another Batman game, clear your schedule because this one seems like a doozy. 

 

Garbage Pail Kids NES video game enters the market. A Garbage Pail Kids NES video game has been released. In collaboration with iam8bit Retrotainment and under license from Topps, “Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and the Quest for Stale Gum” cartridges are now available for pre-order on Iam8bit.com. 

 

You can now sign up for Sony’s PlayStation Stars loyalty program in the US. PlayStation Stars, Sony’s new loyalty program for PlayStation customers, is now live in the Americas, including the US. You can sign up for the program for free on the PlayStation Stars website or the PlayStation app as long as you have an adult account for the PlayStation Network. 

 

Dune GBA game releases on PC, 20 years after being canceled. A Dune-themed Game Boy Advance game that was canceled in 2002 is seeing the light of day. First spotted by Twitter account The SpaceShipper, the recently released Steam title Elland: The Crystal Wars was previously the game Dune: Ornithopter Assault. It's not uncommon to hear about a game that was canceled years ago. 

 

Overwatch 2 is less of a sequel and more of a remix. Overwatch 2 is out. After its somewhat clouded announcement, a couple of years of damn-near radio silence punctuated by frequent news of delays, the almost complete material neglect of the base game, the departure of the beloved Papa Jeff, several lawsuits resulting in the renaming of a central character, a fractured release schedule, a couple of closed betas...

CDPR's long-term plans include new IP, Cyberpunk and Witcher sequels. During its group strategy update outlining its long-term plans, CD Projekt Red announced the next slate of projects it has in the works. In various states of development are several games in the Witcher franchise, along with a sequel to Cyberpunk 2077 and a third title in an entirely new setting.

My Little Pony gallops into Roblox to promote Netflix series. My Little Pony, a toy line and entertainment property from Hasbro, is turning to Roblox in a new effort to reach young consumers where they are. The Visit Maretime Bay game is intended to immerse players in the brand’s extended universe while reinforcing themes of “friendship, fun and adventure.” 

Highlighted Press Releases

Gray Matters Games, a Glen Ellyn, Illinois-based game publisher, announced the release of Word Wipeout, a new, fast-paced word game in which players race to collect the most letters by spelling a word related to over 200 fun categories. The rounds get progressively more challenging as fewer letters remain in a race to get the word out! Word Wipeout is the result of a wonderful collaboration between Gray Matters Games and the College of DuPage. What started as a capstone project for three students, Jess Pistone, Samer Abdelmalek and Elizabeth Mendoza, is now a game that will be sold nationwide in the US and Canada at Barnes & Noble and Indigo along with hundreds of independent toy & game stores. The students won the College of DuPage award for best packaging and received incredible real-world experience by taking a game from concept to finished product.

 

GIFT THE LITTLE PICASSO OR DALÍ ON YOUR LIST THEIR NEXT MODERN MASTERPIECE WITH SQUEEGEE ART. Priced Nice At $29.99 And Chosen As A Top Holiday Toy In The Toy Insider’s 2022 Holiday Gift Guide For Kids To Drip, Slide, & Create! Bloomfield, NJ (October 7, 2022) — Some kids color in the lines. And others go abstract. For families with a budding artist on their holiday list, consider giftwrapping a squeegee kit that could turn into a modern masterpiece! iHeartArt Squeegee Art ($29.99) skips the crayons and paintbrushes and introduces a whole new way to splash color across a blank page.

 

***The above posted after tBR was sent on October 7th***

 

KIDS LEARN TO LOVE THEIR CURLS WITH ZOE’S NEW CURLFRIENDS, GAÏANA AND MARISOL, FROM HEALTHY ROOTS DOLLS. Healthy Roots Dolls Introduces Multicultural Line Of Dolls Featuring Curl Power. Detroit, MI (October 4, 2022) – Healthy Roots Dolls, a rising black-owned toy startup, is making heads turn with the expansion of their Curlfriends line following the popularity of their first doll Zoe. Introducing her two new Curlfriends, Gaïana and Marisol, here to teach kids to love and care for their curls with hair you can style like your own.

 

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

Knowing the importance of product safety, Kids In Danger embarked on a project to provide developers of children’s products with a free online tool to help create a safety mindset when embarking on new product development or a new marketing campaign. The KID Design Safety Toolkit, which launched in July 2022, is a new online course geared towards entrepreneurs and businesses that create children’s products.

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Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

The Rose d'Or 2022 shortlist is out, and 20 kids shows are in the running. The Rose d’Or is pleased to announce that over 200 programmes from 30 countries have been selected for consideration in the final stages of Rose d’Or 2022. Mark Rowland, Chair of the Judges said “the quality of entries from across the globe gets ever higher, we’ve been presented with some very tough choices to arrive at this shortlist...

 

Toymaster, the largest buying group for independent toy retailers in the UK & Ireland, has presented awards to three more of its retailers who this year are celebrating 25 years of membership. Awards were accepted by Robert & Diane Gliddon from Gliddons Toymaster in Sidmouth; Stephen Miller from Stewart Miller Toymaster in Northern Ireland and Mike Slocombe from Watkin Toys in Taunton.

Paramount Consumer Products & Experiences UK proudly showcased its annual PAW Patrol Awards presented by celebrity mum of three, Vogue Williams, at London’s Soho Hotel on Saturday 8th October. Six of the UK’s bravest little heroes were honored with trophies at the exclusive star-studded ceremony where Vogue and her son Theo were joined by a host of celebrity families including Lauren Goodger...

 

***The above posted after October 7th***

 

Licensing Expo to now take place from 13th to 15th June 2023, at Mandalay Bay Convention Center and the theme will be fashion. Licensing Expo, is organised by Informa Markets and sponsored by Licensing International. The licensed consumer product and brand extension tradeshow, which was originally due to take place from 23rd to 25th May 2023, will now return three weeks later to accommodate event venue renovations. The new show dates will ensure smooth experiences for attendees and exhibitors at Licensing Expo.

 

BLE 2022 hailed a huge success with new attendance records setThis year’s BLE exhibition enjoyed the busiest days two and three on record, the organisers have announced. Brand Licensing Europe 2022, which took place at ExCel London from 20th to 22nd September, attracted 230 exhibitors, including more than 30 first time exhibitors, and exhibitor and visitor numbers were also back to 80% of pre-Covid levels

 

LatAm and UK titles topline the 2022 International Kids Emmy noms.  This marks back-to-back multiple-nomination years for Britain, with Chile, Mexico and Colombia also heating up the three kids categories. The spotlight will be shining bright on companies from the UK and LatAm at this year’s International Emmy Awards, which is gearing up to single out the best kids programming in categories spanning animation, live action...

Winners of Play for Change 2022 announced. Toy Industries of Europe announced the winners of the three toy awards at a ceremony in Brussels with Micki, Mattel and Lego taking top spots. Awards were given to toys in three categories: Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainability and Life Skills. Independent juries composed of experts from the three categories spent several weeks examining a large pool of high-quality...

 

Are we entering a new era for conventions? Column by Rob Salkowitz. This week New York Comic Con mounts its 2022 edition at the Javits Center on the west side of Manhattan. According to organizers, the event is expecting 200,000 over the course of the weekend – a small step down from the pre-pandemic heights, but still an awful lot of people. That’s encouraging for the return of in-person events, but the comeback...

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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.

Diana Wallman - Toy World is sad to report that UK retailer and toy industry veteran Diana Wallman has passed away after a short illness. Both Diana and her husband Ken have been fervent supporters of the Fence Club since Ken joined in 1989. The couple were regular supporters of functions until they moved to Australia about 10 years ago. Clive Jones of The Fence Club shared the sad news with members who knew the couple.

Many will remember Ken and Diana’s successful toy shop, Young Folk, and their sports shop, in West Wickham. Diana was heavily involved in both businesses; she loved working in the shops and being part of the wider toy trade through the Fence Club and the BATR. The couple were members of Upper Thames Wholesalers and subsequently Youngsters for many years.

Clive, a friend of the couple, explained that Ken and Diana were in the UK for their granddaughters wedding in July which they thoroughly enjoyed. Before they left Australia for the occasion, Diana had been given the news she had terminal cancer.

Following the wedding, the couple decided to stay on in the UK to catch up with family and friends, however, in late August, Diana’s condition deteriorated suddenly and their plans were put on hold. “Sadly, she continued to decline very quickly and then entered a hospice a few weeks ago,” explained Clive. “Ken says the care she received there has been fantastic and it was a very peaceful last few days.”

 

David Yeh - more information to share soon. 

 

Arnold Thaler, former Chairman of Viewmaster-Ideal, passed away on September 12th, 2022. He was 99 years. Here is an old video of Arnold Thaler talking about View-Master International old.   

Rob Smith Game journalist and author Rob Smith, who served as editor-in-chief of publications including PC Gamer, Official Xbox Magazine, and Official PlayStation Magazine, has passed away. The news was shared by The Game Awards organiser Geoff Keighley, who previously worked with Smith for over two decades on the Game Critics E3 Awards. Keighley added that Smith was the author of 'Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts,' which charted how George Lucas formed and shaped the legendary game studio.

Smith also stepped into the development trenches during spells at EA and Treyarch, where he served as QA Manager and Community Manager, respectively.

More recently, he spent time working as a creative copywriter at Xsolla and was involved in producing the 2022 New York Game Awards.

Friends and colleagues shared their memories of Smith as news of his passing spread, describing him as someone who looked out for his co-workers to help spread kindness and sincerity, and "one of the most knowledgeable, experienced, professional people" to grace the games industry.

Brian Ayers. Sega Europe developer Brian Ayers has passed away at the age of 42. Ryan King confirmed during the weekend, saying that Ayers passed after a "short illness." "[Brian] was truly the best of us - warm, funny, brilliant, a huge loss to us all," wrote King. Ayers joined the game industry in 2008 as a sales executive for Konami. He was promoted to the rank of PR manager in 2010. He'd serve as the publisher's European brand manager until 2014, when he jumped ship to be Capcom's brand manager. Come 2021, Ayers left Capcom to become a senior product marketing manager at Paradox Interactive. Towards the end of 2021, he worked at Sega Europe for a similar position. Prior to working in games, Ayers was a vocalist for the London punk rock band Hitechjet. Ayers is survived by his partner Kay, and well-wishers can provide support via Ayers' JustGiving page.

 

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Wizards of the Coast Unveils 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Secret Lair 30th Anniversary Countdown Kit'
'Heroscape Age of Annihilation: Vanguard Edition' Hits Hasbro Pulse
Wizards of the Coast's $999 'Magic: The Gathering: 30th Anniversary Edition' Displays Feature Reserved List Beta Reprints
Prank Adventurers with 'D&D Icons of the Realms: Adult Copper Dragon'
Hasbro Adds SVP of 'D&D', Strengthening Online Side of Brand
Wizards of the Coast Announces 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Universes Beyond'
A New Wave of 'D&D Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures' Monster Packs are Headed to Retail
Harness the Necrotic Power of the Negative Plane with 'D&D Icons of the Realms: Adult Topaz Dragon'
Rolling for Initiatives -- Feeding the Whales
Renegade Game Studios Launches 'Power Rangers Zordon Dice Tower & GM Screen'

 

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The Toy Universe by The Bugg Report and The Bugg Report(Australia)

Australian Toy Association name Bugg Media as Official Media Partner for 2023

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News Flash: Wildstyle Released, Space Mountain Board Game Announced
Pandasaurus has released a new game, Ravensburger has released a game themed around Space Mountain, and Keymaster Games is running a pumpkin carving contest

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World's Biggest Rubik's Cube Revealed - Guinness World Records

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