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September 23 - 30, 2022

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin’ Friday! 

Know any creative kids? Tell them about the Young Inventor Challenge​! Want to encourage and mentor young Inventors? Be one of our Mentors/Judges! Want to invest in the future of the toy biz? The Young Inventor Challenge is your opportunity to do great things! Be a sponsor.

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.

Not only do I read the Bloom Report every week, I make everyone important in the running of our company across the globe read it as well. -Dennis Callaghan, Tree Toys and Roo Games

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Columnist - Nancy Zwiers

The Joy of Marketing Barbie-a Pop Culture Icon

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I had the pleasure of leading the teams that built the Barbie brand to its highest heights throughout the 90’s--what an amazing professional experience! 

 

For a strategic brand-builder like me, Barbie had it all:

  • A brand reason-for-being that we all could really get behind (allowing children to play out their dreams and aspirations).

  • The passion and brand loyalty of its consumers--kids and collectors alike

  • Marketing partners’ enthusiasm for the brand—retailers, fashion designers, artists, non-profits, fellow big brands—that provided an endless roadmap to business-building innovation

  • Inherent newsworthiness of our initiatives that translated into extensive media coverage.

  • Massive marketing budget—over $50 million each year to strategically invest

  • The best team members who were at the top of their game:

    • Bosses Rita Rao, Diana Pleva and Jean McKenzie

    • Direct Reports Debra St. Pierre, Anne Parducci, Sharon John, Lisa Gaudio, Lisa Licht, Elaine Carovilla, Carol Levine, as well as their own amazing team members

    • Peers Margo Moschel, Sujata Luther, Rick Dellacquilla, Rick DeHerder, Rich Molyneaux, multiple sales and operations leaders across the globe, and a cadre of top inventors

  • The full force of a $5 billion company that was primarily geared to supporting the brand in whatever way was necessary, as Barbie represented the lion’s share of total company profits.

 

Because Barbie’s power was both deep and wide, we were able to forge many new avenues to growth that nearly always succeeded…upending the typical risk/reward trade-off we marketers must navigate.  READ MORE...

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Company of the Week - HEY BUDDY HEY PAL 

FROM SEASONAL COMPANY TO YEAR-ROUND TOY MAKER

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This is the story of how the tradition of decorating Easter eggs hatched a year-round toy company.

 

When the idea for the now Easter phenomenon the Original EggMazing Egg Decorator came about, Scott Houdashell and his best friend Curtis McGill certainly didn’t think that they’d end up in the toy business – let alone grow into a year-round toy company.

 

The launch of the Original EggMazing Egg Decorator in 2015 set the duo on the fast-track into the toy industry. Kids (and parents!) could now easily decorate eggs, eliminating messy hands and stained surfaces and smelly dye! The pair found fame and fortune on NBC’s hit show Shark Tank in 2018 and now continue to enjoy the status of the top-selling product on Amazon during the Easter season.

 

Buoyed by the success of the EggMazing, Houdashell and McGill utilized the same mechanism to create a decorator to sell during the all-important Q4 selling season. The TreeMendous Ornament Decorator lets kids create their own uniquely designed ornaments for the Christmas tree, still without the mess! And thanks to the popularity of the TreeMendous, in 2021 the company launched a sister product the Gift Box Ornament Decorator.   READ MORE...

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Industry Commentary - Shehnaz Safiuddin

KID Launches Design Safety Toolkit Online Course for Children’s Product Developers

Knowing the importance of product safety, Kids In Danger (KID, http://kidsindanger.org) 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. The course, which is free of charge, provides children’s product developers and marketers with the information and tools they need to design, develop, and market products more safely, and is a much-needed resource in the children’s products market. The online course was driven by feedback from entrepreneurs and is the result of several years of work from a cross-functional team of experts in children’s products across all facets of development, from product design to research, safety, testing, legal, marketing and more.

 

“The KID Design Safety Toolkit gives product designers and makers the valuable knowledge KID has gained over 20 years of working to make children’s products safer, along with contributions from other product safety experts,” stated Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of KID. “We believe this focus on real world use will help save lives and prevent injuries.”    READ MORE...

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Don't forget to add your skills and expertise on your POP profile...

if you don't have a POP profile, you're probably missing great opportunities!

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From a ​M​ajor ​C​able ​N​etwork​ Talent Booker​: ​"​We are working on a toy related docuseries. The series is focused on the entrepreneurial endeavors of our characters through interviews. Some of the topics we're interested in covering are the history of video games, action figures, toy designers, dolls/plush toys, building sets, puzzles and tech boosted toys. If any of these topics speak to you, please add the topics to your expertise in your POP Profile. We have discovered great contacts we are using in the series through POP and looking for more!​"​

"I highly recommend that if anyone in this industry wants to be found, they join POP and fill out the skills and expertise section of their POP Profiles. I've had companies and a major media network reach out to me for a show based on my skills and expertise after finding me on POP." - David Yakos, Founder of Streamline Design and Co-Owner of Salient Technologies

I recommend populating your skills and expertise as well as writing about subjects you love. People will discover you on POP - I was just asked to keynote for a big event! -Gert Garman 

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Financial and Legal

 

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...

 

***The above posted after September 30th***

 

Amscan International has acquired Sweden-headquartered online retailer Party King to support its worldwide growth plans by further expanding into the Nordics. The Milton Keynes-based designer, manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler and retailer of party products acquired the business for an undisclosed sum and now has a turnover in excess of £300m.

 

Hong Kong is going to scrap current quarantine regulations, a move expected to make travel to the region far more feasible.  Hong Kong chief executive John Lee and Lo Cung-mau, the Health Secretary, announced the new rules at a local press conference on 23rd September. The change will come into effect from 26th September and will mean travellers will no longer be required to go direct to a designated quarantine hotel.

RAISING THE BAR: THE IMPORTANCE OF INFLUENCER CONTRACTS. For many toy brands, influencers provide valuable customer lead generation. These social media content creators are a significant component of today’s marketing strategy, however, the system can sour if a company does not have clear contracts for its influencer network operations. 

Adobe is acquiring Figma: here’s what Figma users can expect. Both companies just announced the $20B acquisition, and Figma users are wondering what to expect. Here’s what it actually means for Figma’s product, pricing, and community right now—and what it means for Anima users who work in Figma and Adobe XD.

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Visit the York-Jersey Underwriters website at www.toy-insurance.com

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Stories, Comments, and Advice

 

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.

 

***The above posted after September 30th***

 

John Baulch, Toy World - The quids aren’t alright …it’s the Friday Blog! If you have started a new job recently and it hasn’t quite gone according to plan, perhaps you can console yourself by comparing your experience with that of our new Prime Minister and Chancellor. Whatever may have happened to you, it couldn’t come close to the damage the blundering duo has done to the UK economy – crashing the pound...

 

Toycos go after the neurodiversity niche. Kidscreen explores how are toy and game manufacturers are making their products more accessible for kids on the autism spectrum. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that one in 44 children in the US had some form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). That translates into about 1.65 million kids ages 17 and under. In Canada, the incidence is one in 60, according ...

John Baulch, Toy World, Best in show…it’s the Licensing Blog! As a new week dawns, the licensing community is heading back to work after last week’s highly successful BLE show. Following the unforeseen events of the past few weeks, which certainly threw a curveball or three into the mix for exhibitors and attendees (not to mention the poor show organisers), the great news was that the show was back to its best.

‘Andor’ Creator Tony Gilroy Urged His Team to Put Aside Their ‘Star Wars’ Reverence. The showrunner, who crafted a critically acclaimed show by encouraging people to forget they were working in a galaxy far, far away, recalls advice to his collaborators: "You're here because we want you to be real."

 

Standing out in the Roblox multiverseIt’s no secret that kids have embraced Roblox as a platform that allows them to make their own games and play games made by their peers. And while some brands are starting to reach out to them through the platform’s game creation features, the question that’s top of mind for everyone is: How do I succeed on Roblox?

 

Pickleball is exploding, and it’s getting messy. With multiple pro tours and new venues everywhere, pickleball’s growth shows no signs of slowing down. Quaint and complex, the game has been likened to chess on concrete and is most commonly compared to tennis, badminton and table tennis. It also has exploded into a big business with no shortage of deep-pocketed investors and eager opportunists.

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History and Nostalgia

 

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. 

 

***The above was posted after September 30th***

 

History of Crossword Puzzles.  Crossword puzzles got their start in 1913, when Arthur Wynne was putting together the Christmas edition of “Fun,” the jokes and puzzles supplement he managed for the New York World. Believing that readers needed a new challenge, the Liverpool native designed a puzzle with a numbered, diamond-shaped grid with an empty center. He put “fun” at the top as the first “across”...

The History of Jenga. Leslie Scott created Jenga in England in the 1980s. Scott based it on a stacking game she and her family played with simple wooden blocks and named it Jenga, a form of the Swahili word kujenga, which means “to build.” (Scott was born in East Africa and fluent in both English and Swahili). Over time, variations on the classic gameplay were introduced. 

The Sunshine Family from Mattel. In 1974, Mattel released The Sunshine Family line of posable dolls, centered around a wholesome family of three living life in the country. The look and backstory created for The Sunshine Family contrasted with the fashion dolls that had a stronghold during this era. The Sunshine Family eschewed Barbie’s dream boats, fancy homes, and fast cars in favor of a simpler life. 

 

Sea Hunt Underwater Adventure Game from Lowell Toy Mfg. Released in 1961 by Lowell Toy Mfg., the Sea Hunt Underwater Adventure Game was based on the TV series of the same name. Sea Hunt ran in syndication for 4 seasons from 1958-1961 and starred Lloyd Bridges as a former Navy diver named Mike Nelson. 

 

Johnny Seven from Topper Toys. The Johnny Seven toy line from Topper Toys was introduced in 1964. Topper was a subsidiary of Elizabeth, New Jersey-based toy manufacturer, Deluxe Reading. Marketed exclusively to boys, the series consisted of playsets and realistic facsimiles of military equipment. The crown jewel of the line was the Johnny Seven O.M.A. (One Man Army) toy gun, touted as “seven guns in one.”

Collection of Dinky Toys sells for an eye-watering £350,000. A collection of model Dinky Toys cars accumulated over 35 years have been sold for a staggering £350,000. The rare set of around 1,600 figures toy vehicles had been amassed by Dutch collector Robert van der Hoort, who started buying the toys in 1985. 

 

These canceled Japanese Ghostbusters toys from 1985 are what’s strange in the neighborhood. When Ghostbusters became a blockbuster hit in the summer of 1984, Columbia Pictures was caught in a rather precarious spot, given merchandise for the film was virtually nonexistent. Sure, you could buy the odd t-shirt, some buttons, pins, and even bumper stickers with the now iconic no-ghost logo, but anything outside...

 

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Licensing and Entertainment 

 

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...

 

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,...

 

***The above posted after September 30th***

 

Gabby’s Dollhouse enjoys success across EMEA. The newly rebranded Universal Products and Experiences celebrates its successful entry into the pre-school space with DreamWorks Gabby’s Dollhouse. Devised by Blue’s Clues veterans Traci Paige Johnson and Jennifer Twomey, the combined animation/live action show sees presenter Gabby unbox a new surprise each episode, then magically shrink to join her miniature...

 

Arcade1Up announced that Hues and Cues is now available on the Infinity Game Table, Arcade1Up’s hybrid tabletop gaming device, marking the first time the popular game is available in a digital format. A game of colorful communication, Hues and Cues challenges players to make connections to colors with words. Using only one and two-word cues, players guess a specific hue from the 480 colors on the game board. 

Gel Blaster is taking the field during the 2022-23 season of Rocket League. The Texas-based company partnered with New England’s Oxygen Esports (OXG) to develop a custom OXG-branded car emblazoned with the Gel Blaster logo. The car will make its digital debut in October with the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) kicks off its new season.

Paris-based studios Dada! Animation and Wizz have signed a development deal with Canal+ to adapt decades-old French comic book series Pif Gadget for TV. Aiming for six- to 10-year-olds, Pif & Hercule se mettent au vert (26 x 2.5 minutes) introduces a new character named Pifi, who will join adventurous dog Pif and Hercule the cat as they explore Earth and encourage kids to protect the planet.

 

In honor of its 25th Anniversary, Build-A-Bear Workshop is expanding into the Web3 realm by offering NFTs in partnership with Sweet. The three-part launch will take place on Oct. 4, during which Build-A-Bear will offer an auction for a Limited Edition NFT Collectible Bear featuring Swarovski Crystals. The auction will run through Oct. 6 with bidding starting at $2500. 

 

Goliath partners with CrimeCon Glasgow for Casefile: Truth & Deception. CrimeConBilled as a ‘riveting, endlessly re-playable strategy boardgame’, Casefile: Truth & Deception is based on the global, award winning Casefile podcast which consistently ranks high in the podcasting charts with millions of fans stemming from multiple territories. Players can put themselves in a detective’s shoes as they solve a complex crime...

 

PopCult has partnered with Disney Music Group on a new Disney Hits Podcast for kids and families. The 58-episode project is built to be a bite-sized complement to Disney’s soundtrack playlist, which is available on services like Spotify and Apple Music. Each episode clocks in at under 5 mins, featuring singers, composers and songwriters behind massive Disney hits from films such as Frozen, Encanto and The Lion King.

 

British toyco Toikido is putting Roblox first in its rollout plan for Piñata Smashlings, a new range of playthings and trading cards that combine the blind-bag trend with the birthday-party craze. Toikido has partnered with Ohio-based developer Supersocial to create a still-untitled Roblox game that will launch simultaneously in Sept. 2023 with the first wave of products, which includes collectible figures, plush, play...

 

Doubling down on intergenerational comedy, the BBC has commissioned a new live-action TV movie called Gangsta Granny Strikes Again! from London-based King Bert Productions. Aimed at kids and families, the 60-minute special is about a kid who finds himself tangled up in a series of robberies he suspects have been committed by his grandmother, a master thief in her day.

 

Toronto’s Sinking Ship Entertainment has teamed up with comedian Samantha Bee to develop a new kid-starring sketch comedy show called Best Day Ever. Sinking Ship and Bee’s prodco, Swimsuit Competition, will collaborate on the live-action series concept created by Emmy-winning producer and actor Allana Harkin (Dino Dan). The show will have 30-minute episodes, and is aimed at kids eight and older.

 

MGM has signed its first licensing deals for upcoming live-action series Wednesday, which launches worldwide on Netflix this fall. Hot Topic (apparel), Rubie’s (costumes) and Funko (figures) are on board to get things started in consumer products for the young adult series about grim teenager Wednesday Addams. These three deals are for products in the US. 

 

Paper Owl Films is putting the spotlight on the emotional resilience of preschoolers with its newest project, Happy the Hoglet. The 2D-animated series (26 x seven minutes) goes on adventures with a hedgehog and his friends at Sunny River Community Garden, who argue over their differences, but ultimately resolve these conflicts and learn how to deal with their emotions.

 

Disney Branded TV has ordered a live-action adaptation of Jen Malone’s 2016 tween novel The Sleepover (Simon & Schuster) from Imagine Kids+Family, a division of LA’s Imagine Entertainment. The coming-of-age comedy, titled The Slumber Party follows a squad of teen girls who can’t seem to remember what happened the night before at their sleepover party. 

 

Boss Fight Studio, creator of fan favorite action figures and toys, has partnered with The Jim Henson Company to make action figures from the world of Fraggle Rock. The new agreement, brokered by FanGirl Consulting, is the latest in a diverse lineup of pop culture collectibles from Boss Fight Studio.

 

Carte Blanche Greetings, best known for the award-winning Me to You brand and its signature character Tatty Teddy and nursery property, Tiny Tatty Teddy, has announced a partnership with Bulldog Licensing The timeless appeal of Tatty Teddy now extends well beyond its original incarnation as a greeting card character to make it a staple part of the UK brand landscape, propelling Me to You as a true...

 

Precious Moments has expanded its licensing roster with the addition of four new licensees – Diamond Dotz (Needleart World), The Galway Company, Major Trading Incorporated (MTI), and Nu Trendz (Silicon Valley Textiles) – in popular product categories. “We are happy to offer a variety of quality products to the growing demand from consumers for more Precious Moment products. ..

 

WildBrain, a global leader in kids’ and family entertainment, has secured a wave of international sales across seasons one and two of The Brilliant World of Tom Gates and the brand’s Christmas special. A Sky Original kids’ TV series produced by TG Entertainment Limited, The Brilliant World of Tom Gates is based on the multi-million-copy bestselling Tom Gates book series written and illustrated by Liz Pichon.

 

Disguise, Inc, the costume division of leading toy and consumer products manufacturer, JAKKS Pacific, Inc has announced new costumes available in stores and online now for the hugely successful movie franchise and cultural phenomenon, Avatar. Disguise is introducing costumes and costume accessories for the classic Avatar film, which is re-releasing on the big screen September 23, 2022.

 

Angry Birds, the Finnish action-based media franchise created by Rovio Entertainment, and Capsule Skateboards, the manufacturer of one of the world’s most eco-friendly and 100% recyclable skateboards, have announced the launch of Angry Birds skateboards – in a deal facilitated by Angry Birds’ global licensing agency IMG.

 

Toonz Entertainment has acquired exclusive distribution rights for ‘Everything’s Rosie’ from UK-based V&S Entertainment Ltd. The program includes 104 episodes of 11 minutes each for LATAM, IBERIA, US, and Canada. Toonz will now have ‘Everything’s Rosie’ distribution rights for TV, Video-On-Demand, Internet and All Videogram rights.

 

The Lego Group has revealed its latest Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series. The new Star Wars The Mandalorian Razor Crest set measures an impressive 72cm long, making it the biggest-ever Lego model of the starship, ideal for dedicated Star Wars fans. Cesar Soares, Lego designer, commented: “It was amazing to design The Mandalorian’s Razor Crest in brick form. I wanted it to be ultra-detailed so that every...

 

The Beano brand is promising 365 days of mischief to mark the milestone, following success in 2022 with a raft of new licensing partnerships.  Mastering the trick of growing up without growing old, Beano will celebrate its 85th year in 2023, following an amazing 2022 which saw a host of new and extended licensed partnerships for the brand.

 

French producer/distributor Dandelooo has acquired worldwide sales rights to 2D-animated series Our Piggy from Prague-based Bionaut Animation (Hungry Bear Tales). Currently in the final stages of production, the 52 x two-minute series is based on author Jaromir Plachy’s illustrated books Our Piggy Again and This Is Our Piggy. It targets kids ages two to four and stars a curious little pig who transforms objects...

 

The Jim Henson Company and STEAM-focused toyco GoldieBlox are developing Gizmo Girls, an animated series aimed at upper preschoolers that serves up a heady mix of math, science and empowerment. The show’s 11-minute episodes center around three besties who solve problems with the power of DIY, using STEAM-based skills and creativity to tackle a variety of challenges, from growing...

 

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People of Play

 

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+...

 

***The above posted after September 30th***

 

TALKIN’ TOYS: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF BOP IT WITH CREATOR DAN KLITSNER.  The Toy Book caught up with Bop It creator Dan Klitsner for the 25th anniversary of the auditory and tactile toy. First released in 1996 by Hasbro’s Parker Brothers division, the handheld game became a sensation and has gone through many iterations, and continues to engage kids today.

Born from a mother’s desire to give her daughter a doll that looks like her, Orijin Bees‘ collection of Baby Bee dolls are available in an array of skin tones and curl patterns representing features of Black and Brown children. Orijin Bees dolls are now available in Target locations across 40 US states, and Target.com.

Just short of the 5-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s landfall in Puerto Rico, Hurricane Fiona has brought devastating floods and power outages once again to the island. Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez and his Brooklyn based independent creative services studio, SOMOS ARTE, created La Borinqueña (pronounced “la Borinˈkenya”) superhero as a symbol of hope from the wake of destruction left by Hurricane Maria.  

 

Rodolphe Belmer to take over at TF1 Group. TF1 president and CEO Gilles Pélisson is to step down, initially from his role as CEO, to be replaced by ex-Canal+ and Eutelsat CEO Rodolphe Belmer. Péllisson has proposed Belmer to be voted in as CEO by the company’s administrative board on October 27, when the president and CEO roles will be split between the pair. Pélisson will continue to serve as president until February 13...

 

42West/BHI strengthens executive team. The agency known for its work with Funko and Mattel Television revealed a pair of promotions and the hiring of a new VP as it looks to grow the business in the coming months. 42West/BHI Co-Presidents Dean Bender and Shawna Lynch promoted Jonah Keel to SVP and Briana Richard to VP. Keel previously served as VP while Richard was an Acct. Director. Blake Shuster joins the co. as VP.

After a decade at Zinkia Entertainment, Luisa Ramírez is setting up shop at DeAPlaneta Entertainment as a franchise manager. In her new role, Ramírez will focus on driving international growth and increasing the potential of the entertainment company’s extensive intellectual property (IP) portfolio. As brand manager at Zinkia, Ramírez led the expansion of products derived from the hit preschool series Pocoyó

Netflix hires former Zynga Helsinki general manager to lead new internal game studio. Netflix has formed a new internal games studio in Helsinki, Finland, to create "delightful and deeply engaging original games." Notably, the nascent opening will be led by former Zynga Helsinki general manager Marko Lastikka, who'll serve as studio director. Lastikka has plenty of leadership experience, having spent over 5 yrs at Zynga...

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Companies and Brands

 

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. 

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.

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...

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.

***The above posted after tBR started sending on Sept 30th***

 

Family Action partners with Fisher-Price on new early years play programme. The Play Programme’s five modules tackle the why and how of play and its importance for children’s early years development, helps grown-ups to understand their role in play, and provides quick and simple tips and activities to do at home. The activities within the programme are available free of charge online, and have been specially chosen...

 

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 deal for Cry Babies Magic Tears earlier this year.

 

How do pirates plunder but save the earth? The answer is next hit game from McMiller, Fire in the Hole! It’s a plundering pirate game of both skill and scavenge, centered around a large pop-up pirate ship. Fire in the Hole is also saving the seven seas – it’s plastic-free, biodegradable and carbon neutral, making it one of the most sustainable tabletop board games on the market. Created by David McGranaghan and Julian Miller...

 

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants!  Because of his unique position, Paramount Consumer  Products and Nickelodeon hooked him for a brand-new global ocean conservation and sustainability initiative: Operation Sea Change.

Through partnerships with several nonprofit organizations — including the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, the Coral Restoration...

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Inc. became the verified Guinness World Record title holder for the World’s Largest Bobblehead. The fully functional bobblehead is a replica of Ollie, the company mascot, created to honor the company’s 40th anniversary. The giant version of Ollie stands 16 feet 6.73-inches tall. “For 40 years, we’ve been committed to offering huge deals on brand name merchandise, so we wanted to create...

 

Independent toy store Adventuretown Toy Emporium, based in Los Angeles, didn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic stop it from creating a new product exclusively to help parents keep their kids developmentally on track. Fledglings’ Flight, a free app and a customized subscription box, aims to aid parents of kids ages 0-3 in the optimization of their kids’ development with daily exercises created by specialists in...

 

Ugears has released its fourth 3D mechanical marble run puzzle after managing to continue its business in war-torn Kyiv. In the midst of war, a Ukrainian co., Ugears, has released the last model in a series of four 3D wooden mechanical marble runs. Each of the four marble runs can be used as a standalone and a 3D puzzle but any two of the four marble runs can also be connected to make a single, integrated marble...

 

The latest NPD data for July 2022 has revealed Tonies to be the fastest growing pre-school toy brand in the UK during the 12 months to June 2022. with its Toniebox ranking as the fastest growing toy in the overall UK market. Lucia Kreuzer, GM UK & IR at Tonies, said: “We are thrilled with the latest NPD results. Being the fastest growing pre-school toy brand over the last 12 months is a testament to the team’s hard work...

JCPenney has got your holiday with the Top 25 Toys List for 2022This holiday season, JCPenney’s got your holiday by making it easier for America’s diverse, working families to shop the top gifts of the season with unrivaled product selection and value. There is no better way to mark the start of the festive season than with JCPenney’s annual Top 25 Toys list featuring products that are sure to top millions of wish lists this...

McDonald's and Cactus Plant Flea Market Bring the Happy Meal Experience to Adults. The brand shares with Adweek how this new collab continues its 'fan truth strategy'. 

 

Hasbro Heads Back to School with Dungeons & Dragons in Classrooms and Afterschool Clubs. As kids and teens return to the classroom, some for the first time since the pandemic hit in 2020, parents and educators are concerned about how the children will interact with each other and their teachers. A new initiative from Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, hopes to provide a platform using the roleplaying game...

Hamleys’ selection of Top 10 Toys for Christmas 2022 includes fan-favourite properties and a variety of play patterns, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Hamleys, the ‘Finest Toy Shop in the World’, has today unveiled its Top 10 Toys for Christmas, focusing on iconic brands and choosing toys that it says will be for more than just the festive season.

PlayWise Partners is pleased to announce the toy and game industry recognition with five 2022 Toy and Game International Excellence (TAGIE) Award nominations. The prestigious nominations represent PlayWise Partners’ roster of clients and the campaigns they have supported on their behalf. The TAGIEs celebrate the outstanding achievements of toy and game industry leaders from around the world, by honoring ...

 

Today, the iconic 90s Hasbro toy that was (and still is) on everyone’s wish list, Bop It!, celebrates its 25th anniversary! Over the past 25 years and through several different iterations of Bop It!, the game has garnered a huge fan base and become a household name. Even among the pop culture sphere…. or what we like to call, Bop Culture… with everyone from The Simpsons and the LA Dodgers to Robot Chicken...

Geoffrey the Giraffe, the beloved mascot of Toys R Us, touched down in Hong Kong during his first stop in Asia as part of Geoffrey’s World Tour. Before his arrival on 17th September, more than 100 families across Hong Kong participated in an online photo contest for their chance to meet Geoffrey and win a toy shopping spree, one the main events of his visit to Asia’s World City.

Hasbro Is Taking Its Open Innovation Platform Global. Since the leading global play and entertainment company launched its open innovation platform Spark in 2016, it has received thousands of idea submissions from U.S.-based fans of its approximately 1500 brands. As of this fall, fans in five additional markets — including Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong — now have the opportunity to share...

Inside The Strong National Museum of Play’s cavernous concrete and steel expansion, the nonprofit’s president and CEO, Steve Dubnik, can see the emptiness come to life. “Right there will be a giant Donkey Kong game,” he says, pointing to a second-floor space by a bridged crossing over the entry hall. “A 7-foot, 8-foot-tall, playable Donkey Kong game.” The museum expansion is the centerpiece of a series of new...

James Cameron’s Avatar is back in theaters this weekend and it’s already inspiring new products. Zing’s Avatar R/C Classic Banshee was being shown alongside a Deluxe model that the company plans to bring to retail this fall, starting with a direct-to-consumer (D2C) offering beginning Oct. 1.

 

In partnership with One Tree Planted, Hasbro has completed planting 100,000 trees in four key regions around the world, including the U.S., Brazil, India, and Ireland. With a goal of aiding in global reforestation efforts, the global toy and entertainment company chose to plant trees in an effort to improve air quality, protect and improve soil, prevent floods, and provide shelter and diet to wildlife.

Walmart has teamed up with the Roblox platform with the launch of Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play. Walmart has announced the launch of two new immersive experiences in the metaverse mega-platform, Roblox. Called Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play, the spaces offer unique interactive content and entertainment, bringing Walmart ranges to life in a virtual world for the global Roblox...

Toynamics UK & Ireland is pleased to announce the launch of a new eco range, Hape Green Planet Explorers, which offers role-play products made entirely from sustainable materials – wood, plant plastic (made from sugar cane) and bamboo. Highlights include the Hape Green Planet Explorers Panda Bamboo House and Hape Green Planet Explorers Tiger Jungle House.

Toys R Us UK has soft-launched its new eCommerce website, a core part of its comeback to the marketplace it left a little over four years ago. The company has invested heavily into its website to make it as user-friendly as possible. Shoppers can choose to browse via category, brand, property and age range, or be guided by handy additional sections designed to shine a spotlight on toys, games and kids’ products...

Play-Doh launches Parenting is Messy campaign. Research by pre-school brand Play-Doh reveals parents are under more pressure than ever before to be perfect, with social media the main culprit. Pre-school brand Play-Doh has launched its first ever book for parents, Notes on Messy Parenting, as part of a new campaign seeking to celebrate the honest, unspoken truths about parenting.

Macy’s is getting ready for its first official holiday season with Toys “R” Us in the mix. This week, the companies unveiled Geoffrey’s Hot Toy List, a selection of toys and games that will be available in stores and online this season. The promotional push comes ahead of the official Toys “R” Us Grand Opening Celebration, a nine-day promotion taking place Oct. 15-23 in which Macy’s will host in-store events...

 

PlanToys is giving parents a new way to deal with the looming pile of abandoned toys thanks to a new partnership with Toycycle. PlanToys is a manufacturer that championed a commitment to sustainability from the beginning. Since its inception in 1981, it’s used rubberwood to make its products. This wood comes from rubber trees that would otherwise be burned as byproducts of the latex industry. 

Disney Store at Target gets a Marvel-ous expansion ahead of ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ release. Disney Store at Target is getting bigger, and a lot more Marvelous. After opening shop-in-shop locations at 25 stores back in 2019, Disney Store at Target will expand to more than 200 locations by the end of this year. The additional square footage allows for a wider, curated assortment of products from Disney, Marvel...

Britains Farm Toys expands its range. Fans of Britains Farm Toys will be treated to new arrivals this autumn/winter, from remote control tractors to limited edition models. Europe’s oldest specialist in agricultural toys and collectibles offers details of its new products. The John Deere 9RX 640 is the largest tractor in the range and is part of the 14+ prestige collection. 

Hasbro to release new NERF Blaster exclusively at Walmart. NERF, the leader in foam weaponry owned by global entertainment company Hasbro, prepares to lock and load with the Hyper EVOLVE-100 Blaster — exclusively available at Walmart starting October 1. Instant reload capability puts kids ages 14 and up ahead of the competition and gives them the upper hand in each and every battle. 

 

Sylvanian Families hosts star-studded Pony’s Stylish Hair Salon launch event. Epoch Making Toys celebrated the launch of its Sylvanian Families Pony’s Stylish Hair Salon with a celebrity event hosted at London’s Linnaean Spa and Restaurant on Sunday. Stars in attendance with their families included hairdresser Nicky Clarke, radio presenter Vanessa Feltz; ITV meteorologist Laura Tobin, actress Judi Shekoni, and author...

 

Radio Flyer earns B-Corp certification. Radio Flyer is cruising toward a sustainable future. The 105-year-old, Chicago-based company behind the Little Red Wagon and other ride-on toys and mobility aids, is the first global toy company to become a Certified B Corporation.  B Labs certifies companies based on their commitment to environmental and social impact. Radio Flyer earned this certification through offsetting...

 

Lead the deceptions in 'Transformers Deck-Building Game: A Rising Darkness'. Renegade Game Studios has released A Rising Darkness, a standalone expansion to the Transformers Deck-Building Game, to hobby stores as of September 13, 2022. A Rising Darkness can be played standalone, with playable Decepticon characters, or mixed with the Transformers Deck-Building Game base game to enable team...

 

Staff the dungeon at the 'Monster Inn'. Pegasus Spiele will release Monster Inn, a new card game, into retail in Q4 2022. In this new card game by Roman Pelek, players are looking to recruit monsters to staff their dungeon from a local inn where they all hang out. Players bid on the monsters with treasure, looking to not be the player that leaves with the weakest monster or even one of the puny humanoids lurking,,,

 

'Terraforming Mars' gets dicey. Stronghold Games has announced plans to produce Terraforming Mars:  The Dice Game, set to release next summer. Like its namesake, Terraforming Mars:  The Dice Game challenges players to oversee the development of a colony on the planet Mars.  Each turn, players choose to either produce resources by rolling dice, or to use the resources they have collected to advance...

 

Pegasus Spiele reveals 'Micromacro: Crime City 3 - All In'. Pegasus Spiele revealed MicroMacro: Crime City 3 - All In, the third installment in the Spiel des Jahres- winning series of games, for release into retail in October 2022. Following up on MicroMacro:  Crime City – Full House (see "'MicroMacro: Crime City', Heads for Stone Ages"), this game sends players off into the next district of the crime-ridden black and white...

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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!

 

 

 

EA shows off its Monster Hunter-style game called Wild Hearts. Earlier this month, EA announced that it was partnering with Dynasty Warriors studio Omega Force on a Monster Hunter-style action game. Today, the companies finally showed off the first trailer for the title, which has been dubbed Wild Hearts (not to be confused with the excellent indie game Sayonara Wild Hearts). 

 

PlayStation’s new loyalty program launches in the US next week. PlayStation Stars is rolling out in Asia now, then in the Americas, and then in Europe and Australia. Sony’s new PlayStation Stars loyalty program will launch in North and South America on October 5th, the company announced on Wednesday. The new program will let PlayStation fans earn rewards like points and digital collectibles...

 

The era of $70 games truly begins this fall. Some of the biggest games coming out this year, like Gotham Knights and Modern Warfare II, will cost more than $60. The year is wrapping up, and that means we’re nearing the busiest time for video game releases. And even though covid-19 has thrown a wrench in the entire industry and led to numerous delays, a few big games are still launching in the next few weeks.

People are using Among Us Lobbies for sex. Filtering through the Northern American server of Among Us, users will stumble across a variety of oddly-titled lobbies. “HornyRPOnly,” or “SingleGirl,” even “Hrny Bakugo RP.” Inside these lobbies are a multitude of horny gamers, searching for like minded individuals to cyber with. Gamers or not, most people have heard of Among Us. 

 

Free mobile games are helping juice podcast listening numbers. Mobile games often take a moment to stop players to present an ad so the player can either attempt to skip it or win in-game currency. According to Bloomberg, getting that currency automatically sets up a podcast to download onto a player's device, quietly boosting a podcast's listener and download numbers. 

 

Cyberpunk 2077 has topped 20 million sales in under two years. Cyberpunk 2077 has now sold over 20 million copies, according to developer CD Projekt Red. The milestone has been achieved less than two years after the game's rocky December 2020 launch, which saw last-generation console versions of the title in particular lambasted by players over a lack of polish and cacophony of bugs.

Highlighted Press Releases

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.

 

***The above posted after September 30th***

 

THEY’RE COMING TO AMERICA: SHOUT-OUT-LOUD FLETTER F-I-N-A-L-L-Y SELLING HERE THIS FALL. Fletter & Fletter Crunch Are Family Games That Use The Brain To Spell Words Or Calculate Numbers, Then Use The Voice To Claim Them. Mumbai, India (September 27, 2022) – Quick! Can you spell the pocket-sized card game that British and Indian kids have been raving about? American families will soon be cheering aloud F-L-E-T-T-E-R. Partly because you have to shout out the letters and mostly because Fletter (9.99) and its numerical cousin Fletter Crunch (9.99) are finally coming to Amazon in the next few weeks!

 

WIPEOUT THE HOLIDAY SHOPPING IN ONE STROKE WITH KID-APPROVED GEAR (THAT KEEPS THEM SAFE)! Naughty Or Nice, Boo Boos Happen So Surprise Them With Wipeout Dry Erase Helmets, Pads & Skateboard They’ll Want Use Just To Show Off! Port Washington, NY (September 26, 2022) – There are lots of checklists when it comes to the month of December. For outdoorsy kids, it means putting on gloves, coats, boots and scarves before even walking out the door. If they plan to bike, skate or snowboard, they need safety gear too. To guarantee they will actually wear them, savvy grownups have discovered Wipeout™ (https://iwipeout.com/). 

 

NORTH POLE ALERT: IF SANTA DELIVERS A BIKE, HE EXPECTS A SPOKESTER STUFFED IN THE STOCKING!. The Traditional Big Gift Needs This $9.99 Accessory For A Roaring 2023. Midlothian, VA (September 23, 2022) – Kids may not hear the reindeers dropping off goodies under the tree but they will absolutely hear, in days and weeks to come, one of the stocking stuffers left by mom or dad. Spokester® is the amazing $9.99 bike accessory that turns a ho hum two-wheeler into a motorcycle sounding machine! Vrooom vroom. Sold in five exciting colors, each snap-on noisemaker gives cyclists hundreds of hours of roaring excitement.

 

MAKE YOUR PRESENTS KNOWN WITH GORGEOUS GREENTOP GIFTS WRAPPINGS, NOW AT TARGET.COM! Greentop’s Target Market Explodes With Big Box Retailer Online Presence Introducing Clarence Claus™ And Multicultural Representation. Atlanta, GA (September 23, 2022) – Have you ever gotten a thank you for writing a thank you note? It’s just so unexpected these days to receive a handwritten note full of gratitude. The same can be said for gift wrapping. When someone takes the time to pick the prettiest paper, bag and topping, it makes your presents known! Greentop Gifts – makers of multicultural celebration décor that mirror the skin tone and hair textures of its recipients — now has a presence at Target.com.

 

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

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...

 

***The above posted after September 30th***

 

People of Play Announce Finalists for the 2022 Toy & Game International Excellence Awards (TAGIE). Finalists for the prestigious 2022 TAGIE Awards have been announced by People of Play (POP). The TAGIEs, now in its 15th year, honor the best and brightest innovators, designers and marketers in the toy and game industry. Public voting starts Thursday, September 22 and ends on October 31, 2022. Visit the TAGIE Awards...

The British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) has announced that Toy Fair 2023 is now open for all buyers, retailers, licensors, media and the wider industry to register for free. The organisers say the whole industry ‘can expect to be wowed’ with exclusive previews of all the hottest new toys, trends and themes for 2023, all whilst enjoying invaluable face-to-face meetings with the wider industry – and all under one roof. 

Toymaster’s Autumn Catalogue is now available in the buying group’s UK stores and on its website from today. The Toymaster Autumn Catalogue features all the key brands Toymaster members are stocking ahead of the festive season, and the front cover highlights a section of the exclusive lines that shoppers won’t be able to find anywhere but their local Toymaster store this year. 

The trade show landscape for the U.S. toy industry is changing, and now a new player is stepping up. Emerald Holding’s NY NOW national gift and wholesale trade show is welcoming the toy and game industries to showcase products in its new PLAY USA section. Beginning at NY NOW’s 2023 Winter Market, taking place February 5-8, 2023, at the Javits Center in New York City, PLAY USA...

Nostalgia plays key role at New York Comic Con 2022. NY Comic Con 2022 is shaping up to be a blast from the past. Take the film Back to the Future, which co-stars Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd and will be among the dozens of nostalgia-laden properties taking center stage at the four-day event (Oct 6-9). The full cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994), including 82-year-old star Patrick Stewart...

 

BFI loops video games into funding, strategy plans for long-term preservation. The British Film Institute (BFI) is including video games and virtual reality in its newly announced Screen Culture 2033 initiative, which aims to "advocate for the value of the full breadth of screen culture." Established in 1933, the BFI is a charity organization that preserves UK film and television. 

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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.

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.   

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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The Merchant’s Anvil -- Ravensburger's 'Disney Lorcana TCG'
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https://issuu.com/thebuggreport/docs/bugg-magazine-edition-41

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https://www.buggreport.com.au/pouch-australia-introduce-new-paw-patrol-play-pouch/

https://issuu.com/thebuggreport/docs/the-toy-universe-magazine-edition-2

https://www.thetoyuniverse.com.au/a-sustainable-australian-success-story-introducing-resoftables-and-recyclings-by-headstart/

https://www.thetoyuniverse.com.au/stories-from-ggs-toy-box-story-1/

https://www.thetoyuniverse.com.au/from-the-buyers-desk-presenting-products-to-toy-buyers/

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: The Great British Baking Show Released, AEG Announces Verdant
Ravensburger has released a new baking-themed game, AEG and Flatout Games have announced Verdant, and Wonderful World of Board Games has announced a new party game based on your sense of touch

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How Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Coach Inspired Matchbox | WTFF?

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