LM FITS IN THE PA HAND R OF YOU
New Spa Factory Product Coming Soon for Fall 2009
Volume 4, No. 3
Features 30 Hong Kong Toy Show: Consistent Value in Changing Times
by Christopher Byrne
32 Barbie: Five Decades of Fabulous
by Nancy Lombardi
34 Dora Grows with Fans by Nancy Lombardi
36 MEGA Battles to Get Kids to Retail by Nancy Lombardi
38 Learning Curve Line Leaps Off of the Page
by Chris Adams
40 Big News for a ‘Little’ Brand by Chris Adams
42 Specialty Gets Ready for 2009: New Challenges Face a Dynamic Sector by Christopher Byrne
46 Toy Fair 2009
by Laurie Hahn, Nancy Lombardi, and Paul Narula
132 Film Preview
compiled by Chris Adams
Observations & Opinions
Entertainment Marketplace: Wizards of Waverly Place
Merchandise Makers: Patch Products
Industry Forum: TIF
Industry Forum: ASTRA
Industry Forum: Gameplan Europe
Industry Forum: Design Edge
Specialty Emporium: PlaSmart
Calendar of Events
ON THIS PAGE (CLOCKWISE FROM THE TOP): Learning Curve’s Super WHY! Action Figure, Jakks’ Pokémon Buneary figure, Techno Source’s Rubik’s TouchCube, MEGA Brands’ Battle Striker, and Mattel’s Barbie My House Playset COVER BY DESIGN EDGE
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OBSERVATIONS & OPINIONS
THE GLASS BY
ast month, like so many others in the toy industry, I traveled to
Hong Kong. Just about everyone I spoke to is glad that 2008 is over and certainly there is no need to explain why. We all know the challenges that everyone is facing worldwide across every industry. Asking manufacturers what they expect from 2009 is
not very encouraging. Most people want to bury their head in the sand and get through 2009 as quickly as possible. The prevailing wisdom is that the
year ahead will be just as challenging, if not more so, as the one just finished. I am here to tell you why that is the complete wrong attitude to have.
If you expect the worst, chances are that is what you will get. Don’t
allow the doom-and-gloom attitude so prevalent right now to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Children still need—and want—toys.
While in Hong Kong I had the opportunity to visit many toy manufac-
turers and see a vast number of great new products soon to hit retail shelves. The coming year is full of opportunities for retailers and manufacturers. These opportunities will not
be realized by expecting the worst. Give consumers a reason to buy and they will. Maybe the reason is a new fea-
ture added to an existing item that increases play value, or maybe it’s a new product introduction that hits at the right time to get consumers excited. Some manufacturers are making price an important consideration for this year.
Various manufacturers were touting the fact that they are able to bring retail costs down on existing products and introduce new products with lower price points. Bob Glaser (on the left) and Bob Pagano, from Kids Only, enjoy a traditional meal in Hong Kong.
As Wayne Nathan, from Techno Source, said to me, the
toy industry is still a great industry to work in. We could be working in the automobile industry. We could be working
in the financial sector or in the consumer electronics indus-
try. But we are all involved in an industry where children and parents are always looking for new and exciting products to teach and entertain. Consumers want what this industry has to offer. Give them a reason to buy. We wish everyone a successful (and, hopefully, snow-free) Toy Fair.
6 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
MEDIA • Volume 4, Number 3
PUBLISHER BOB GLASER BOB@ANBMEDIA.COM ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER ANDY KRINNER ANDY@ANBMEDIA.COM CONTROLLER MARY GROGAN MARY@ANBMEDIA.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF JIM SILVER JIM@ANBMEDIA.COM EDITORIAL DIRECTOR NANCY LOMBARDI NANCY@ANBMEDIA.COM MANAGING EDITOR CHRIS ADAMS CHRISA@ANBMEDIA.COM EDITOR AT LARGE CHRISTOPHER BYRNE CHRISB@ANBMEDIA.COM ASSISTANT EDITORS LAURIE HAHN; LAURIE@ANBMEDIA.COM PAUL NARULA; PAUL@ANBMEDIA.COM WEB MASTER ERIK KIECKHAFER ERIK@ANBMEDIA.COM WEB CONTENT MANAGER BRENDAN SANABRIA BRENDAN@ANBMEDIA.COM CONTRIBUTORS ANDREW DOBBIE; AMANDA MCDORMAN; KATHLEEN MCHUGH; MATT NUCCIO, MATT@DESIGNEDGE.NET HONG KONG REPRESENTATIVE TONY LEE SMART REGENT PRODUCTIONS LTD., 66–72 STANLEY STREET, ROOM 603, KAI TAK COMMERCIAL BUILDING, CENTRAL HONG KONG PHONE: 2815 0166 • FAX: 2815 6911 • SREGENT@NETVIGATOR.COM PUBLIC RELATIONS REPRESENTATIVE JOSSLYNNE WELCH LITZKY PUBLIC RELATIONS, 320 SINATRA DRIVE, HOBOKEN, N.J. 07030 (201) 222–9118 EXT. 13 • JWELCH@LITZKYPR.COM INTERESTED IN A SUBSCRIPTION? CONTACT SUBSCRIPTIONS@ANBMEDIA.COM ANB MEDIA, INC. 229 WEST 28TH STREET, SUITE 401, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10001 PHONE: (646) 763–8710 • FAX: (646) 763–8727 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT and SPECIALTY EMPORIUM are published monthly by aNb Media, Inc. Copyright 2009 aNb Media, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Printed in the U.S.A. TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT and SPECIALTY EMPORIUM are registered trademarks of aNb Media, Inc. Opinions and comments expressed in this publication by editors, contributing writers, or solicited or unsolicited documents are not necessarily those of management.
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SIZZLERS: WHAT ’S MOVING OFF STORE SHELVES? WHAT ARE THE HOTTEST WEB ORDERS? Here is an alphabetical listing of the hottest-selling items in the toy industry, based on a combined survey of both offline and online retailers, reflecting the previous month’s sales. BAKUGAN BATTLE BRAWLERS Spin Master
NERF N-STRIKE VULCAN Hasbro
BARBIE & THE DIAMOND CASTLE PRINCESS ASSORTMENT Mattel BEN 10 ALIEN CREATION CHAMBER Bandai
PIXOS Spin Master Hyper Dash
ROCK BAND Harmonix SPIKE THE ULTRA DINOSAUR Fisher-Price
ELMO LIVE Fisher-Price
STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS FIGURES Hasbro
EYECLOPS NIGHT VISION GOGGLES Jakks Pacific Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker
GIRL GOURMET CUPCAKE MAKER Jakks Pacific
TAG LeapFrog TECH DECK BOARDS Spin Master
HYPER DASH Wild Planet
WII FIT Nintendo
LEGO STAR WARS ASSORTMENT LEGO Bakugan Battle Brawlers
8 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
SPECIALTY SIZZLERS: WHAT ’S MOVING OFF STORE SHELVES IN THE SPECIALTY MARKET? This is an alphabetical listing of the hottest-selling items in the specialty segment of the toy industry, based on a survey of independent toy and gift retailers, reflecting the previous month’s sales.
BATH TOYS ASSORTMENT Alex Toys
RC DYNO Kid Galaxy
CALICO CRITTERS ASSORTMENT International Playthings CALIN DOLL ASSORTMENT Corolle
SNAP CIRCUITS Elenco
FLOOR PUZZLE ASSORTMENT Melissa & Doug
10 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
STICKY MOSAICS The Orb Factory STUNT COPTER Play Visions
I WANT MY
Original 1979 BARBIE® DREAM HOUSE®
PURRQ^QZ` T[a_Q BARBIE® DREAM TOWNHOUSE™ Available Fall 2009
息 2009 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved. General Motors Trademarks used under license to Mattel, Inc. Vespa速 and Piaggio速 are registered trademarks of Piaggio速 and C.S.P.A.
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MATTEL ACQUIRES GAME MAKER
Mattel announced early last month that it had acquired French game company Sekkoia SAS, maker of the Blokus game. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed. Blokus, which has been an international sensation, has been on the market since 2000 and is currently one of the bestselling board games in the world. With the acquisition, in addition to all versions of the Blokus game, Mattel also acquired the rights to Whac-A-Mole from Bob’s Space Racers, Inc., and plans to develop that franchise into a variety of games.
A RECAP OF INDUSTRY HEADLINES
MARVEL SUES MGA
Marvel Entertainment has sued MGA, claiming that the company breached the terms of its licensing agreement. In the suit filed on January 2, Marvel claims that MGA owes the company $1.88 million for failing to pay licensing fees and for violating the terms of several licensing agreements by making Spider-Man and Ghost Rider toys, which were not part of the original deal. Marvel claims that a November audit report indicates that MGA owes approximately $1.1 million in unpaid licensing fees, including a $375,000 minimum guarantee that was due by January 1. Marvel is seeking nearly $800,000 more to cover sales of toys that were not in the licensing agreement. MGA denies the allegations, and CEO Isaac Larian released a statement saying that Marvel’s claims are “without merit.”
TOY EXPORTERS SHUTTERED IN CHINA
Increased costs and regulation and the global financial situation forced 922 toy exporters to cease operations in China’s Guangdong province last year. That leaves 2,167 exporters still in business in the region, down from 3,089 that were operating in 2007. According to the Guangdong Toy Association, the numbers began declining two years ago. However, most of the operations that were shuttered were smaller companies exporting relatively small amounts of product. Despite overall slower growth in 2008, Guangdong exported approximately $6.1 billion worth of toys, up 3.6 percent from 2007.
HIT ENTERTAINMENT AND FISHER-PRICE ENTER INTO GLOBAL AGREEMENT
HIT Entertainment appointed Fisher-Price, Inc., as the global master toy licensee for Thomas & Friends in a multi-territory, multi-year deal. Under the terms of the agreement Fisher-Price, a division of Mattel, Inc., will bring together some of Thomas & Friends’ core category rights and will begin using its worldwide distribution capability to enhance and grow the long-term business for this iconic brand. The first line of products will be available in 2010 and will expand as existing licensees’ rights expire across key toy categories. Fisher-Price has been granted the global rights for Thomas & Friends, excluding Japan, on vehicles, figures, and playsets, including die-cast vehicles and playsets, and the TrackMaster train system; preschool toys, including electronic learning and developmental toys; plush, games, puzzles, roleplay, and water toys; battery-powered ride-ons; and plastic pedal trikes (North and South America and Asia only). The wooden track system rights remain with RC2.
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 15
A RECAP OF INDUSTRY HEADLINES WOOLWORTHS SHUTS DOWN IN UK
On January 5, the last of the Woolworths stores were closed in the UK, ending nearly a century of tradition and leaving a gaping hole in many shopping districts. The chain had been struggling and had been put into receivership with Deloitte in recent months. Deloitte had sought a buyer and run clearance sales, but the store could not be sold, and the store closed, putting about 27,000 people out of work. The rise of internet shopping in the UK seriously impacted Woolworths’ sales. The death of the chain is a blow for the toy industry as Woolworths had been one of the largest toy retailers throughout the UK. Sales are likely to go to other giants such as Tesco. Woolworths came under British ownership in 1982, and it outlasted its original U.S. parent, which shut down in 1997.
HOLIDAY SALES DOWN
It comes as no surprise that 2008 holiday sales were down from the previous year. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that sales declined 2.8 percent for the November and December periods to $447.5 billion from $460.2 billion in 2007. Bad weather, a shortened holiday season, and the economic climate all contributed to the decline. However, there were bright spots. According to NRF, sporting goods and music stores were up slightly, as were health and personal care sectors. Toys “R” Us reported that same-store sales for December were up 1.9 percent over 2007, though for the entire nine-week holiday shopping period store sales were down 3.4 percent.
RC2 GRANTED MASTER TOY LICENSING RIGHTS FOR CHUGGINGTON
RC2 Corporation announced that one of its wholly owned subsidiaries, Learning Curve, holds multi-year master toy licensing rights for Chuggington, the new character-based children’s television program created and developed by Ludorum plc. The RC2 subsidiary has contributed 50 percent of Chuggington’s development costs and holds 50 percent of Chuggington’s intellectual property rights. As the global master toy licensee, RC2’s Learning Curve brand plans to debut its exclusive international Chuggington toy line in 2010. Chuggington debuted in the UK on the BBC2’s Cbeebies children’s channel in the fall of 2008 and can now be seen daily on the main Cbeebies’ afternoon preschool block. While expanding broadcast in the UK, Chuggington is also scheduled to air in 100 additional international TV markets this year. Chuggington features a diverse cast of train friends including engines Wilson, Brewster, and Koko, who come to life on TV and across multiple digital formats through the use of CGI technology. With a target audience of pre- and early-school boys and girls, Chuggington is a property that has been designed from the start to have expansive interactive online, play, and learning components that engage children, are approved by parents, and provide the same quality experience derived from the TV show.
WII SALES UP 59 PERCENT IN DECEMBER
Nintendo’s Wii system continued its domination of the U.S. market with sales in December up 59 percent over the previous year as consumers snapped up 2.15 million units during the month. Greater availability inevitably affected sales, but Wii remains the most popular system on the market. To date 10.1 million Wii systems have been sold. Nintendo also controlled the handheld sector, with more than 3 million of its DS systems purchased in December. NPD said that the total U.S. video game market grew a whopping 9.3 percent in December to $5.29 billion, the first month that industry revenue has ever exceeded $5 billion. NPD also said that software sales grew 15 percent to $2.75 billion, led by Call of Duty: World at War from Activision Blizzard, Inc., which sold 1.86 million copies. The company’s Guitar Hero and Rock Band, made by Viacom, Inc.’s MTV Networks, accounted for 16 percent of the sales, according to NPD. For the year, U.S. retail sales of hardware, software and accessories rose 19 percent to $21.3 billion, NPD said.
16 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
DISNEY CONSUMER PRODUCTS BY LAURIE
omething unusual has been happening that has Disney viewers tuning in for all the magic and fun of Wizards of Waverly Place. The show follows Alex Russo (Selena Gomez) and her two brothers Justin and Max. These teenagers are wizards in training, preparing for a test of their magical skills that will determine which one sibling gets to keep his or her powers when they turn 18. In each wizard family, only one child is allowed to keep their powers when they grow up. Alex and her brothers try to use their magic to solve their problems, such as household chores and getting even with each other, but outrageous consequences usually follow. Wizards of Waverly Place, which debuted in October 2007, has become a hit among kids ages 6–14 and in Q2 of 2008 ranked as the Disney Channel’s No. 1 series among tweens 9–14 and girls 9–14, according to Nielsen Media Research. Disney will keep the momentum going for the show with the release of two episodic DVDs, one this spring and one in the fall. Disney will also debut the Wizards of Waverly Place Disney Channel original movie this fall. Off the TV screen, viewers can extend their experience with the Russo family through a variety of Wizards products. Disney Interactive Studios will release a Wizards video game for the Nintendo DS this fall. Disney Press released five Wizards of Waverly Place chapter books last year, with additional releases planned for 2009. Disney Consumer Products (DCP) signed a variety of licensees in categories such as apparel, accessories, health & beauty, and footwear. DCP is positioning Wizards as more of a lifestyle brand, so the main focus is on fashion and home. In terms of toys, the program will be more games focused, but that aspect of the program is not yet complete, according to DCP. However, Cardinal Games will release Wizards board games this year. Mattel recently signed on for games and roleplay products. The Wizards brand will get a big push in the mass market during this year’s back-toschool season, especially with bags and backpacks from licensees FAB and Global Design Concepts. With a full lineup of licensees, 2009 is sure to be a magical year for the Wizards of Waverly Place property.
18 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
• Wizards of Waverly Place airs 17 times per week: Mondays through Fridays at 11:30 A.M. and 10 P.M., Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6 –7 P.M., Fridays from 3–5 P.M., and Sundays at 8:30 P.M. • The show was created by former Hannah Montana writer Todd J. Greenwald.
• The show is primarily set on Waverly Place, a street in downtown Manhattan. • Selena Gomez, who plays Alex Russo on Wizards, sings the show’s theme song “Everything Is Not What It Seems.”
• Hollywood Records, a label owned by the Walt Disney Company, will release Selena Gomez’s debut album this summer.
AME/LI & FUNG
AME/Li & Fung signed on to produce Wizards of Waverly Place sleepwear. The dorm nightshirt is made of poly jersey and comes with a key chain. It is available at Sears and Kohl’s.
In Cardinal Games’ Wizards of Waverly Place Pick Your Potion Board Game, players have been invited by Alex to join the Russos in their wizard training. Lesson No. 372 is how to make “magic potions.” Race around the board collecting Potion Ingredient cards, then travel to the center and use the magic wand to find out if you have collected the right ones. Success is collecting three correct magic ingredients to win, but only the wand knows which ones they are. The game comes with a special Wizard Wand, playing board, Magic Potion cards, Potion Ingredient cards, pawns, and a die.
GLOBAL DESIGN CONCEPTS
Jerry Leigh’s Wizards of Waverly Place apparel will be available at JCPenney, Kohl’s, Sears, and Shopko. A new collection (shown) for summer 2009 will be at Disney Stores. The apparel focuses on the character of Alex Russo and her style, mixing prints and fabrications. Jerry Leigh is keeping the clothing layered and bohemian, as well as young and fun.
The Wizards of Waverly Place bags created by Global Design Concepts embody the essence of Selena Gomez’s character Alex Russo by taking trends from the market and mixing them with Alex’s personal bo-ho chic style. The reversible short shoulder handbag incorporates a great mix of fashion with the ability to make magic happen by having two bags in one.
Charm It, the interchangeable charm jewelry program by High IntenCity, introduces Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place charms to the collection. The Wizards charms feature Alex Russo on a heart locket charm and on a star charm edged with crystals. A magical addition to Charm It, Wizards charms can be mixed and matched with an infinite selection of charms to create a unique accessory.
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 19
FROM PRINTING TO PUZZLES BY
hen brothers Fran educational component, though Patch takes and Bryce Patch first care not to make that the dominating aspect of went into business play. “We don’t want it to scream education together in the small when you pick it up off the shelf, but we like town of Beloit, to think that by the time you’re done playing Wisc., becoming toymakers was not a part of with the puzzle or the game, you come away their plan. Rather, the Patch brothers original- with something you didn’t know before,” ly founded a printing company in 1971. A Wuenneman says. One of the company’s bestlarge number of the Patch brothers’ clients were game and toy companies. They were responsible for printing out large quantities of Trivial Pursuit material, and also for many of the Cabbage Patch sticker books that entered the market. After years of producing these products for other companies, the Patch brothers decided the time had come for them to work on their own projects. In 1985, the company known as Patch Products was Buzzword, a trivia game from Patch founded, with the initial release of two sets of children’s puzzles. It wasn’t until selling board games, Buzzword, features a 1992 that the company created its first board wide range of vocabulary words that players game, but after that, Patch’s board game busi- may be unfamiliar with tucked into a trivia ness continued to grow. Today, Patch Products game with a twist. Products such as this make manufactures games and puzzles for children Patch an appealing company for parents and and families. children by catering to both groups. When it comes to Patch’s products, there One thing that Patch prides itself on as a are two qualities the company holds above all company is its openness to new ideas. “We else. “Quality is No. 1 and fun is right up there accept ideas from anyone,” says Wuenneman. with it,” says Lisa Wuenneman, director of In fact, Patch often happily includes first-time marketing for Patch Products. Each of Patch’s inventors or amateurs in its search for new games and toys is held to a high standard of products and ideas. While the company does quality. In addition, the company makes sure look at a wide variety of ideas, whether tried that all of its products are family-friendly and true or new and risky, that doesn’t mean games or activities that won’t leave anyone that these ideas aren’t subjected to the same out of the fun. Each product also includes an scrutiny that any toy concept for a Patch prod-
20 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
uct would go through. “It’s important that a game have unique gameplay, simple rules, and is educational as well,” Wuenneman says. If an idea can fulfill all those criteria, it’s on its way to becoming a part of Patch’s lineup. Patch’s products are available at a wide variety of retailers. The company’s most popular and longest running products are available at mass-market stores. Patch also has a variety of products that can be found in specialty stores and other smaller outlets. “We have been positioned as a mass-market company, but we do have more than 200 items that aren’t at mass,” says Wuenneman. Patch Products also recently acquired the Smethport Specialty Company, which added the Smethport and Lauri brands to the company. “Smethport will really help us broaden our presence in specialty,” Wuenneman says. Patch Products continues to grow and expand its product line with every new year. This year, the company entered into a licensing agreement for the Where’s Waldo? brand and will produce games and activities for the brand. Patch will also continue to release its own original products, such as Pass the Pup—a new plush canine version of the classic “hot potato.” The company remains and will remain family owned. Both the Patch brothers still work at the office. “We’re all working for a high quality product at a great value,” says Wuenneman. “If we treat our customers and retailers fairly, then everybody’s happy.”
TOY INDUSTRY FOUNDATION: MAKING A DIFFERENCE BY
AMANDA MCDORMAN, TIF
t the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), the beginning of another year and another Toy Fair allows us to reflect on our recent work and acknowledge the support of the toy and children’s entertainment industries. TIF is dedicated to bringing joy, comfort, and learning to children in need through play. Through programs, partnerships, grant making, and public education, we work year-round to provide children with the opportunity to dream, to laugh, and to learn. The foundation’s work most recently included the following:
In December 2008, TIF launched a national partnership with My Stuff Bags Foundation, a charitable organization that provides comfort and hope to children suffering from abuse, neglect, and abandonment. The partnership, which includes a pledge of $400,000 in financial support and 50,000 toys over two years, represents the most significant commitment to date from the Toy Industry Foundation. Throughout the coming year, The Toy Bank will manage ongoing toy drives to support the efforts of My Stuff Bags Foundation and industry representatives will volunteer their time in “stuff-a-thons.” With the help of TIF, My Stuff Bags will distribute individual duffel bags filled with necessities to rescued children entering crisis shelters and foster care with nothing of their own.
MY STUFF BAGS FOUNDATION
The Toy Bank, a partnership between TIF and Gifts In Kind International, is the first industry-wide program of its kind. Through The Toy Bank, the foundation’s signature program, charities serving children receive new toys and manufacturers, retailers, and distributors of toys are offered the opportunity to make a difference. In 2008 alone, more than 800,000 new toys valued at more than $5.7 million were distributed to children in need throughout North America.
THE TOY BANK
The Toy Industry Foundation is a proud national partner with Ronald McDonald House Charities. Through Play Heals, children staying at Ronald McDonald Houses receive new toys from The Toy Bank year-round. The program is offered to all Ronald McDonald House programs in the U.S. and Canada. The Toy
P LAY HEALS
22 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
Industry Foundation brought smiles and laughter to children staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Los Angeles with a backto-school visit and toy distribution, and kicked off the summer at the Ronald McDonald House of Manhattan with a distribution of summer-themed arts and crafts, toys, and more. The Toy Industry Foundation celebrated Mother’s Day weekend by sponsoring the inaugural Fighter Mom Friday symposium in partnership with Fight SMA, an organization dedicated to accelerating the search for a treatment and cure for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Thanks to a $35,000 grant from TIF, the daylong workshop featured an expert panel that discussed issues of advocacy, activism, and the lifelong benefits of play for children confined by physical and developmental barriers.
In 2008, TIF redesigned both of its publications: Let’s Play: A Guide for Children with Special Needs and Fun Play, Safe Play (with Spanish version, Juegos Divertidos, Juegos Seguros). Since 2005, TIF has distributed more than 250,000 brochures to 49 states, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and five provinces of Canada. The Toy Industry Foundation continues to provide these materials free of charge to individuals and organizations in the medical, education, parenting, advocacy, retail, and nonprofit fields.
P UBLIC EDUCATION
Looking forward, the Toy Industry Foundation hopes to continue to positively impact the lives of those in need. Clearly the demand for our programs and services continues. It is only with your support, however, that TIF is able to ensure that all children, regardless of circumstances, have the opportunity to play. To learn more visit www.toyindustryfoundation.org, call (646) 454–5581, or visit us during Toy Fair at booth No. 5201 on Level 1. We will be there to answer questions and collect exhibit samples during the show and at the close of the event. Together, as an industry, we are working to make play possible for all.
Amanda McDorman, foundation manager for Toy Industry Foundation, can be reached at aMcDorman@toyindustryfoundation.org
Specialty Retailing 911: Proactive Strategies for Tough Times BY
KATHLEEN MCHUGH, ASTRA
hen the going gets tough, the tough get…proactive. Certainly lots of businesses are facing tough times in this economic climate, and specialty toy retailers grapple with especially difficult challenges. Most are small businesses with little financial cushion. They are dependent on a robust fourth quarter that is many months away. To top it off, they face a new and not entirely clear regulatory climate that requires time-consuming attention to a long list of compliance details. “The word ‘resilience’ comes to mind,” says Michael Ziegenhagen, president of Playmatters, Inc., a group of specialty toy stores in the metropolitan Cleveland area. “We’ve had some good years, and naturally there will be rough ones as well. That’s when we have to take stock, change our expectations, and take positive steps to deal with today’s economic realities.” Jonny Girson, owner of The Learning Tree stores in suburban Kansas City, agrees. “At times like these, it does no good to sit back and worry. It’s all about being smart and taking action to control your own destiny.” Here are a few strategies Ziegenhagen, Girson, and other leading independent toy retailers recommend:
PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO COSTS: If you can trim costs, now is the time to do it. “We’ve cut out all the fat,” says Ziegenhagen. “Labor is our most controllable cost, and I’m putting more energy than ever before into keeping those costs under control—while still providing the great service we’re known for.”
24 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
KEEP THE PRODUCT ASSORTMENT EXCITING: Customers need good reasons to come to your store again and again.
CREATE BUSINESS ALLIANCES: How can you work together with other small retailers in your geographic area to strengthen each other? If you don’t already have an alliance in your region, reach out to other retailers and create one.
LEVERAGE PUBLIC RELATIONS OPPORTUNITIES: What better time than now to get publicity you don’t have to pay for? Timely topics are practically screaming out for attention from independent retailers: toy safety, shop local, and green business strategies, to name a few.
NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK: Share ideas with others who face the same challenges you do. American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) members have built-in tools for keeping connected with other specialty toy store owners, including listserv conversations and ASTRA’s annual Marketplace & Academy (to be held this year in Minneapolis/St. Paul from June 14–17).
READ WHAT ASTRA PROVIDES: “The amount of business-ready information that comes from ASTRA is amazing,” says Girson. “And it’s spot-on, good stuff that we all need for helping to make smart decisions.” Members get bi-weekly e-bulletins, special alerts (especially about toy safety), a monthly newsletter, constantly updated material on ASTRA’s website, webinar slides, and much more.
Ziegenhagen and Girson cite their ASTRA membership as an invaluable business resource, made all the more indispensable thanks to the downturn. “ASTRA provides a long list of business tools,” says Ziegenhagen. “This year, Exhibit A is all the user-friendly information ASTRA has provided to help members comply with the new safety regulations. It’s just what we need during this transitional time.” Girson adds, “One of the most proactive things an independent retailer can do this year is show up at the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Many of the pieces come together for managing your business during the fourth quarter—hot selling products, educational programs to fine-tune business strategy, all the latest on toy safety, and the chance to meet other retailers with whom you’ll share ideas all year long. I consider it to be one of the most important investments I’ll make this year.” “During times like this,” maintains Ziegenhagen, “your life philosophy matters. Is the glass half empty or half full? Even if you’re not growing like you once did, or even if your profits are shrinking temporarily, there is still something in the glass. It’s up to each of us to be proactive—to find strategies that work for us in today’s reality. Just like we did when times were good.” Kathleen McHugh is president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). She can be reached at email@example.com or (312) 222-0984.
A Review of the ‘European Toy Market’ BY
ANDREW DOBBIE, GAMEPLAN EUROPE
alking about the “European toy
in exchange rates is that Irish consumers
etc., the expectations for the toy market are
fying the “American toy mar-
was as much as 30 percent.
in China will be cheaper for the consumer
market” as one entity makes
about as much sense as classiket” as North, South, and
Central America. Even the European Union, with all 27 countries—sorry if I am off a bit, I’ve lost track of the membership—is not a
single market. As a result, I will review some of what is happening in individual markets.
THE UNITED KINGDOM
In the UK toy market the most calami-
tous event in 2008 was the closure shortly before Christmas of the 800-store chain
Woolworths, distant relative of the former U.S. chain of the same name. Woolworths
represented approximately 20 percent of the UK toy market, and for many suppliers far more than 20 percent of their sales.
The relentlessly depressing media cover-
age of the banking crisis and the ensuing
recession has caused a crisis of confidence throughout Europe. It’s been more acute in the UK because our economy is more
dependent on the financial sector than is the
case in other European nations. As a result,
there was an unprecedented level of toy discounting before Christmas this year. Large retailers slashed prices of toys by 50 percent or more in the run up to Christmas.
The prognosis for 2009 is even worse
because in the last few weeks of 2008 the pound sterling lost value dramatically against the U.S. dollar and the euro. This
means that if profit margins on toys are to be
maintained, prices to consumers in the UK
would have to rise by 25 percent in 2009. One of the consequences of the rapid change
26 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
crossed the border in droves to buy cheaper
toys priced in pounds. The price differential
GERMANY & THE EUROZONE The
declined by one or two percent in value in
also poor, reflecting the recession. One pos-
itive note, however, is that all toys sourced due to currency exchange rates.
Russia is not in Europe, but it is normally
2008, which is part of a long-term 10-year
classified as “Eastern Europe” by the man-
schadenfreude that Anglo-Saxon nations
Russian toy market of up to 30 percent, but
downward trend. German politicians and media initially reacted with a degree of
were getting their just reward for years of imprudent government and business policies that encouraged ballooning but unsustainable asset values. Their malicious glee is now fast
evaporating as they are forced to recognize that their fiscal prudence cannot insulate
them from global recession. Germany has the
largest export value of any country including the U.S. That is not just per capita but in
absolute values. Thus they are selling fewer everything as a result of global recession.
Their stringent labor laws mean the unem-
ployed stay without work for 12 months on average compared to four months in the U.S.
Therefore Germany’s recession is likely to recover less swiftly than that of the U.S.
Two of the largest German toy compa-
nies, Playmobil and Ravensburger, have a large manufacturing cost base in Germany.
The euro-based costs are now a great burden
due to the current strength of the euro against most currencies. For example, these
two companies would have to increase prices in the UK by 30 percent to recover
margin lost by the recent change of exchange rate of the pound to the euro.
In the rest of the Eurozone, Spain, Italy,
agement of multinational toy companies. The past two years have seen annual growth in the the recession has hit Russia harder than most.
At the peak of the price of crude oil, Russia
was selling $3,000 worth of oil for each citi-
zen, every year. The current crude oil price of around $50 per barrel at press time is hardly
sufficient to finance the continued investment in new equipment to maintain the volume of
supply. The rapid economic growth of recent
years has come to a shuddering halt. This will be a blow for toy multinationals whose sales
increases in Russia partially compensated for declines in mature markets.
Making forecasts for 2009 is foolish at
the moment, because the macroeconomic circumstances have changed so unprecedentedly in the past few months in a way no one could have predicted. Nevertheless, it is
clear that the uncertainty has made toy company management cautious and reluctant to invest in risks, which are normally the driving force of economic growth. This
caution will itself have a depressing effect on the global toy industry.
Andrew Dobbie is managing partner of the UK’s Gameplan Europe. For more information visit www.gameplaneurope.com.
Breaking Technology MATT NUCCIO, DESIGN EDGE
s I am writing this, I am sitting in a travelers’ lounge inside the Hong Kong International Airport after the second leg of a threelegged journey heading to Singapore. I’m passing my time by trying to keep myself amused. In the past few days I have flown five-plus hours from New York to Los Angeles and just completed a 15-hour flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. I’m now waiting to embark on a five-hour flight to my final destination, Singapore. All in all I’m tired, cranky, and bored to death. I finished reading the book I brought along hours ago and I’m already completely sick of rereading the same two magazines. I just fruitlessly attempted to sketch the passersby. I figure I’m just burnt out from jet lag. Now the question has become, “What to do during my four-hour layover?” It seems like an eternity to waste before my next flight. And if I’m going to stay awake I’m going to need some mental stimulation. I’m heading to Singapore on a threeday trip to meet with new technology partners. I’m hoping to return with something new and exciting for the toy industry, so the concept of technology is on my mind. And so, with time to kill and an expansive airport to explore, I set off on my search for interesting products. For those of you who have never been, the Hong Kong International Airport is essentially a massive mall with a comparatively small tarmac and some planes. One can easily get lost for days on end. BY
28 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
This ridiculously large mall of an airport is honeycombed with trendy clothing shops, make-up counters, coffee bars, restaurants, gift shops, toy shops, bakeries, high-end electronic stores, and much more. Being just too large to fit into any of the clothes on this side of the world, I find myself wandering toward the electronics and toy shops. I’m looking mostly for neat gadgets and gizmos. I pass the time flipping through odd and quirky products that light up, flip around, spin, and make countless noises. In general I’m surprised by the overall simplicity of the products here. I find very little in regard to the high-end technologies I expect to see in Asia. The consumer electronic stores are just filled with iPod accessories, cell phones, and cameras. There is nothing new, nothing odd, nothing I can’t find in the U.S. Directing my focus to the toy and gift shops I start to take notice that most of the innovation I’m spotting is actually very low tech, non-electronic type items. Simple twists on classic stuff. I start to wonder, is there any innovation here? And then I ask myself a more important question: what constitutes innovation? The trend these days seems to be scouting for the latest handheld digital devices. I see it on every toy company’s inventor wish list: “innovative electronics.” But innovation is not only on a motherboard. It can be a simply engineered device, a change of color, or even a new texture. It doesn’t necessarily have to always mean digital or electronic goods. Basically,
anything can be considered innovative as long as it’s clever. Having time to kill and being too cheap to buy anything, I find myself a spot to soak up some free Wi-Fi. I sign onto Google and start searching through key words like “technology,” “innovation,” and “invention.” I am looking for a connection and some clarity by definition. The definitions I find seem to overlap each other. The word “change” seems to keep appearing. I continue to search and after about 30 minutes I stumble across an ancient Chinese proverb (probably because I’m Googling in China) that states, to paraphrase, “Change is like an open field of grass. A new trail is only created after many people have walked along the exact same path.” And then I think to myself, that’s it. . . innovation is the ability to lead the forces of change. Technology, thoughts, inventions can all be innovative. It’s whether or not it’s embraced that leads to change. And so, for the moment, I feel comfortable with my conclusion. I feel a sense of definition to my task ahead. I realize that I’m not necessarily looking for technology for technology’s sake. I’m looking for an innovative way to provoke change. I’m now able to pack up and set off to Singapore with a clearer purpose. My search for change has begun. Matt Nuccio is co-owner of Design Edge, inc., a graphic design and research development studio. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (516) 377–0500.
HONG KONG TOY SHOW: CONSISTENT VALUE IN CHANGING TIMES BY
espite the variety of serious issues confronting the global toy industry in 2009, the 35th annual Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair opened on an optimistic note as representatives of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), organizers of the world’s second largest toy fair, announced that Hong Kong toy exports increased 10 percent for the first 11 months of 2008 to $12.6 billion. The U.S. remained the largest destination for these products, comprising 27 percent of the market. Exports to Europe grew 50 percent over the same period in 2007 and exports to new markets like Russia grew 27 percent over the previous year. More than 2,000 exhibitors from 37 countries and regions were at the fair, and they filled the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center to nearly bursting. Work on the extension to the center is well underway; HKTDC is predicting that the new addition will open in April and will offer an additional 10,000 square feet of exhibit space. It’s space that’s going to be needed: HKTDC also announced that the July Licensing Show in Hong Kong will be moved to January next year to coincide with the Toys & Games Fair, a move HKTDC says makes sense given the interrelationships of the toy and licensing businesses. Opening day attendance was reported as slightly behind last year though no specific figures were released; however, the Toys & Games Fair, and the concurrent Stationery Fair, benefited from a new $15.5 million assistance package, which included $10.3 million in a subsidized package that brought trade buyers from such emerging markets as Russia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and the Chinese Mainland. According to Raymond Yip, assistant executive director of the HKTDC, more than 1,000 buyers participated in the program for the Toys & Games Fair. The program is expected to bring in more than 10,000 buyers to all HKTDC shows over the year. In addition to the subsidized buyer program, 88 buying missions brought 4,000 major buyers from around the world to participate in the fair. During the fair’s opening press conference, Wong Tit Shing, chairman of the HKTDC Toys Advisory Committee emphasized the impor-
30 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
the Hong Kong skyline
tance of emerging markets, noting that exports to the Chinese Mainland grew 8 percent in 2008 versus 2007. While various sources at the fair, who declined to be identified because they were not speaking officially for the fair, said that the growth of the Mainland Chinese market had been slower than initially thought, they believe that this is going to be one of the strongest growth areas for toys over the next years. They cited changes in the overall economy, steadily developing consumers, growing brand awareness, and expanded merchandise choices as factors that will continue to keep this market strengthening. Even if overall traffic was down, exhibitors were pleased with the responses they were getting. Representatives of the Taiwan-based Lancer company noted that they were finding new business from different regions as they capitalized on the popularity of fashion-oriented school supplies worldwide. Crossing the line between stationery and toy, they said they had found a solid niche combining value pricing and fashion. They said that the increased presence of buyers from different countries as well as different retail channels made the fair a very positive and profitable experience. Industrial designer Rafael Eckmann had high praise for the fair and the various services offered by HKTDC. After initial success with his Baby Zoo Sleep Trainer, a clock that has successfully
Richard O’Brien during the U.S. Product Safety Regulations for Hong Kong Small- and MediumSized Enterprises seminar
helped parents train kids to sleep through the night, he said that services such as the Business Matching Service offered by HKTDC has helped him source manufacturing and put his Dutch company together with sources in Hong Kong and China that have helped him streamline production and position his company for anticipated growth in 2009. While this may be a “behind the scenes” aspect of the fair, it is invaluable to companies that look to the fair to help them grow.
Tackling The Tough Issues
In addition to the activity on the floor, one of the defining aspects of the Toys & Games Fair has been its seminar program. A variety of sessions during the course of the fair addressed some of the more challenging issues including updates on regulations, toy directives, and a highly informative session on the Importer Self Assessment Product Safety Pilot Program. Leading experts from around the world shared the latest information with attendees to help them plan for the changes ahead.
One of the best-attended sessions was the one on U.S. Product Safety Regulations for Hong Kong Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Approximately 500 manufacturers participated in the seminar. Central to the presentations was the explanation of new regulations and standards including mandatory consumer product safety and limits on lead and other heavy metals. In one of the most lucid explanations of the changes to the Consumer Product Safety Act, which began being implemented on the 10th of this month, Richard O’Brien, director of the office of international programs and intergovernmental affairs, U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, detailed, in chronological order of their becoming active, the new standards that will be required. O’Brien also encouraged manufacturers and trade associations to become active in airing their opinions on these issues, with as much factual support as possible, so that the new act can strike a balance between protecting child safety and allowing flexibility in implementation. Other presentations in the seminar included Zhang Xiaoplue, chief director of Guangdong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau. He reported that since his presentation last year, an additional 218 manufacturers had been granted export licenses indicating their conforming to current standards, bringing the total for the province to 1,175. He also reported that due to greater compliance efforts over the past year the quality of export toys has improved and the number of complaints of non-compliant toys has been reduced.
Full text and video of the presentations is available for review online at www.hktdc.com.
Supporting Industry Growth
The consensus among fair participants and organizers is that 2009 is going to be one of the more challenging years for the industry. (Though one U.S. manufacturer quipped, “When isn’t it a challenging year? The challenges just keep changing. I’ve been coming here for 30 years, and we always hear that it’s going to be a ‘challenging year.’”) Specifically, buyers and manufacturers are concerned about credit and credit insurance, what impact the economy is going to have on consumer behavior, the increased costs of testing, and, of course, whatever else may be coming down the pike. HKTDC executive director Fred Lam acknowledged the difficulties facing manufacturers, but noted that “it is during these difficult times that the HKTDC has a duty, more so than ever, to help Hong Kong companies, SMEs in particular, prepare for the challenges ahead.” As a product showcase, sourcing fair, and forum for the latest developments in the toy industry, it’s obvious that the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair remains one of the pre-eminent events in the toy year. Challenges to the industry will come and go, but the HKTDC and the Toys & Games Fair remain poised to help attendees and exhibitors understand and manage this dynamic industry.
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 31
BARBIE: 50 YEARS NANCY LOMBARDI
uring Toy Fair 1959, Mattel introduced Barbie the Teen-Age Fashion Model to reluctant retail buyers—all of whom were male—and none of whom believed the doll would be a viable toy. It was unlike anything they had seen before. Until that time, the only dolls that were available to girls were baby dolls. It was Mattel’s co-founder, Ruth Handler, who devised Barbie by watching her own daughter, Barbara, play with paper dolls acting out careers and attending school. Handler then realized that roleplay is an important part of growing up. Mattel advertised Barbie on TV—a daring move at the time—and the 11.5inch fashion doll, which sold for $3, moved 300,000 pieces in its first year, according to Mattel. Additional fashions for Barbie were available from $1–$5. Those in the industry have all heard this story numerous times. Certainly we have also heard consumers, the media, and countless others dismiss Barbie over the years. Many have claimed she is a negative role model for girls while others predicted her sales would cease at some point. Many have tried to replicate her, but there is only one Barbie—even though she is sold in 150 countries, representing countless nationalities with 11 different skin tones. “Barbie has always represented choices,” said creator Ruth Handler, Pictured on the top left is the 50th in a statement years before her death in 2002. “I believe the choices Anniversary Barbie. Shown above is the (original) Teen-Age Fashion Model Barbie. In Barbie represents helped the doll catch on initially, not just with daugh1980 an African-American Barbie (on the ters—who would one day make up the first major wave of women in far left) and a Latina Barbie (below) were management and as professionals—but also with [their] mothers.” introduced. However, Barbie not only represents choice (she’s had 108 careers and counting), African-American fashion dolls under but also fantasy play for Barbie’s youngest fans. A simple $3 doll introduced the “Friends of Barbie” 50 years ago has turned into a multi-billion dollar global brand. Barbie is a line extension featured snapshot of American culture that has been on the cutting edge of social and Christie and Julia in the late 1960s. political trends for the past half century. As Mattel embarks on the next 50 Pictured on the left is years, Barbie is once again on the cusp of change as this generation of girls friend of Barbie, Christie, in 1971. grows up in the infancy of the digital revolution partaking in—and shaping— the rapid rise and ever-changing nature of internet use. In 2007, Mattel launched barbiegirls.com, which Mattel says is the first-ever virtual world designed just for girls. The website further expands how a girl interacts with the brand and how she chooses to express herself through an online world. Throughout 2009 Mattel will celebrate 50 years of Barbie through a variety of events and products for fans of all ages. The celebration will encompass this month’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. Fifty yet-to-be-announced designers will celebrate 50 years of Barbie. It was previously announced that famed shoe designer Christian Louboutin would create a pair of heels in Barbie’s signature pink color, Pantone 219. There is, perhaps, no better way to step into the next 50 years—and Barbie’s feet are certainly designed for it. BY
32 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
Dora Grows with Fans
ora the Explorer was first broadcast on The online game play is centered around solving mysteries in Nickelodeon in a pilot episode in 1999. The series keeping with Dora’s style from the original preschool series. As went into network rotation in 2000. Over the past girls explore and solve the mysteries, the doll’s speech will corredecade Dora the Explorer has evolved into a multispond with what occurs on screen in real-time. million-dollar-powerhouse brand even In addition, when the doll is away from the computspawning a spin-off brand featuring Dora’s cousin, er it will alert the child when new things are uploaded Diego, in Go, Diego, Go! It can be said that Dora is to the site, prompting a return to online play. even the inspiration for Nickelodeon’s newest series The doll is expected to be available in Ni Hao, Kai-lan. As Dora is a positive Latina characOctober for $59.99. A wide range of accessories ter, Kai-lan is a positive Chinese character. and playsets will be sold separately expanding the Dora the Explorer reaches a specific audience of preonline play as well as the traditional offline play. school girls—ages 2–5. This is the age where they conNickelodeon intends to create a new propnect with a character and must own everything relaterty around Tweenage Dora and Mattel’s doll ed to the character from its myriad licensees. line is just the initial step. Nickelodeon and But what happens as soon as these girls grow out Simon & Schuster are currently developof the brand? Where do they turn for entering a series of books to support the brand. tainment? There are countless options, of The release date has yet to be announced. A course, ranging from the many series tarlive-action television movie is also in developgeting tweens on both Nickelodeon and Disney ment with a release date that has yet to be announced. to social networking websites and even the music indusNickelodeon also says that a licensing program is try given the popularity of MP3 players. But, of course, in development. Currently it is discussing line Nickelodeon prefers to retain these girls—and their extensions with apparel and accessories licensees. spending power—and transition them into the next step. As a Launches in these categories will take place in spring 2010, result Nickelodeon and Mattel introduce “Tweenage Dora” (the at the earliest, according to Nickelodeon. official name will be announced at Toy Fair.) Certainly the concept of extending a popular brand in Tweenage Dora, designed for girls 5 and up, is a new this way is not new. However, generally the extensions age brand positioning the character as a bit more grown up just the brand younger through a “baby” interpretation like the little girl who befriended her as a preschooler. The whether it’s Muppet Babies, Baby Looney Tunes, Baby premise of the storyline is that Dora has moved to the Winnie the Pooh, and even baby versions of superbig city, attends middle school, and has a whole new heroes such as Spider-Man & Friends. Most characTweenage Dora will fashionable look. There is a rich online world that ters don’t age up—the recent exception has been receive a new look, which has yet to be revealed. girls will be able to experience through a line of fashBen 10 who got a bit older. The reasoning for Ben ion dolls from Mattel. and Dora is the same—as the child grows why Girls will be able to “plug” the doll into the computer and access shouldn’t their favorite character? Dora’s new interactive world. As girls play online and customize their Dora has been such a success that she is a recognizable character online doll, the doll in their possession will also change hair length, even to those who don’t have children. Nickelodeon and its licensees jewelry, and eye color, for example, as it is happening on screen, cre- will certainly find success by building on this proven, wholesome ating a magical experience for the girl. This mixes real-time online brand. Mattel’s doll line is a first step introducing girls to the characand offline play at a level not yet seen in the toy industry. ter by mixing doll play, hair play, and cutting-edge technology.
34 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
Beware: Dragonoid gets irritable with Bakugan knockoffs. Our team of well-paid lawyers gets even more ticked off.
At Spin Master, we have worked very hard to keep our toys innovative and creative. When you create something as successful as Bakugan™, there will invariably be knockoffs. We actively protect our intellectual property and will go after anyone who buys or sells a Bakugan knockoff. Many manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have already felt the bite.
Bakugan® & © 2009 Spin Master Ltd and Sega Toys
M EGA B ATTLES
EGA Brands introduces MagNext Battle Strikers. This next-generation magnetic spinning top gives kids the power to recharge the top as it spins in the palm of their hand and engages in battle. Using the Turbo Launcher, kids launch the magnetically enhanced spinners, which can be calibrated to different degrees of endurance along with offensive and defensive precision, to knock opponents out of the game using the force of the controller held at the player’s fingertips. “We have given kids the ability to control their top once it’s been launched,” says Harold Chizick, vice-president of media and corporate communications for MEGA Brands. “That’s where the magic of magnets comes into it and takes it to the next level.” The starter pack, launching in the fall, includes the turbo launcher, controller, and one exclusive striker. An arena, also launching this fall, holds three strikers. Sixteen strikers will be available in four themes: attack, defense, control, and hybrid. This new line resurrects the proven play pattern of battling tops and could reignite an entire category. This item is a departure for MEGA Brands—a company that has always been about construction—as it now enters the “promotional-toy” realm. Entering this segment brings with it a radical shift in how to publicize items. “We will take a different approach to marketing than we have
36 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
G ET K IDS
ever done before,” says Chizick. “During these very early before the product hits retail. “We want to be first out there and it has to economic times, when everyone is spending less on marketing, this brand will be the be highly visible and kids need to see it everywhere they turn.” biggest marketing spend The tour will run in in company history not conjunction with an just on TV but on alternaonline campaign so tive ways of marketing.” kids can visit the site The alternative ways and see the list of of marketing that Chizick events happening in is referring to is a tour of their area. In addition, the U.S. and Canada to the website will create get the products into an immersive commukids’ hands. A 15-city nity for Battle Strikers U.S. tour and three-city fans. However, a plan Canadian tour are has not been developed planned that will demonstrate Community events and the web to include a code on prodthe product to kids at fairs, as well as traditional advertising ucts to drive kids to the site. camps, stores, and numerous will help launch Battle Strikers. The battling tops feature magnets An extensive ad camadditional locations where for kids to control the action. paign both on and off telefamilies and kids congregate. “These cities will act as the epicenters vision is underway. “We are running backthat will combine giveaways and to-school print ads as well as running a lot tournament events,” of web ads,” he says. This is the largest TV spend in company says Chizick. “We are not selling to the history, according to Chizick. MEGA is also consumer. This is to planning follow-up TV for spring 2010. He create awareness of says the intended age for this product is 6 the brand, allow the and up with the core user expected to be kids to receive exclu- around age 8–10—the same age as the sive things at the Bakugan fan. Events and the web are key events, and drive ways to reach this age group, yet Chizick says these boys do still spend a lot of time them to retail.” Chizick explains watching television. The strategy of mixing community outthat MEGA Brands is aware that this line will reach with traditional advertising should require a slow but reignite this category and then the real batstrong build, which is tle will begin as other manufacturers will why the company is get- certainly want a piece of this value-focused ting out into communities product line.
Tech Deck速 & 息 2009 Spin Master Ltd. All rights reserved.
If You Play With A Tech Deck Knockoff Someone Will Get Hurt. 速
For over ten years, real skateboard companies have chosen to license their graphics exclusively to Tech Deck速 because we are the authority on fingerboarding. There is nothing cool about knockoffs, and you might get more than a slap on the wrist when our licensors or your consumers realize that.
LEARNING CURVE LINE LEAPS OFF OF THE PAGE BY
any times, when an inquisitive child asks his or her parent a slew of questions on a particular topic, they are told to “look it up.” Not only does this enrich children through knowledge, but it also fosters a relationship with books. For preschool kids, a new property can help encourage this bond. Super WHY! features a team of superhero characters with literacy-based powers who jump into the pages of books to look for answers to everyday problems. Airing daily on PBS Kids, the series is designed to empower kids to play research-based literacy games in the role of a superhero. As the television series gains steam, its production company, Out of the Blue Entertainment, is rolling out a licensing program for the property. “Launching the licensing program was pretty straightforward,” says Samantha Freeman, president of Out of the Blue. “We tried to lead with product categories that are closer to the core educational content of the series, while building off of it with character-based products that kids really want.” First out of the gate last fall was a line of books from Grosset & Dunlap. This spring, limited apparel and toy offerings will hit, with full lines launching this fall. The apparel line
38 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
will be unveiled February 16–19 at MAGIC, while master toy licensee Learning Curve Brands will unveil the toy line at Toy Fair. Learning Curve’s line will include categories such as plush toys, figures, vehicles, playsets, and electronic learning aids (ELAs). “This is our first overt ELA program that we’ve put together,” says Michael Edelstein, vice-president of marketing at Learning Curve. “It was something that we were looking to get involved with, but first and foremost we look for things that appeal both to kids and their moms and tell a great story.” ELA products include the Super WHY! Hand Held Super Duper Computer (shown), the thematic character-shaped Why Writer, and Learning Curve’s Hand Held the Spelling Wand. Super Duper Computer In addition, the company will introduce roleplay kits as well as action figures and dress-up dolls that draw upon the characters’ appeal. “The show has a strong base of characters and each of them has its own learning curriculum,” says Julie Gwaltney, marketing director at Learning Curve. “We tried to take elements from each character and expand upon them.” Using the ever-popular superhero play pattern, Learning Curve and Out of the Blue hope to create a bond between children and reading that they won’t even need a parent to tell them to “look it up.”
Super WHY! airs daily on PBS Kids.
The four main characters are Whyatt Beanstalk (Jack’s younger brother), Red (of Little Red Riding Hood fame), Littlest Pig (from The Three Little Pigs), and Princess Pea (of the classic The Princess and the Pea). Key licensees include Learning Curve Brands (master toy), Kids Headquarters (apparel), Grosset & Dunlap (books), and PBS Home Video (DVDs).
At Spin Master, we’ve worked very hard to become a world leader in radio-controlled toys and are proud to call one of the most popular R/C toys of 2008, the AIR HOGS ZERO GRAVITY MICRO, our own. When you’re the leader, others invariably attempt to imitate your product or knock you off. Some have tried and failed. Our products are number one for a reason. So if you’re thinking of making or buying an imitation Air Hog, remember, we vigorously protect our intellectual property.
Zero Gravity Micro® & © 2009 Spin Master Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
BIG NEWS FOR A ‘LITTLE’ BRAND
ith the introduction of the Safety School Bus in 1959, Fisher-Price launched what was the beginning of one of the most timeless brands for generation after generation of children. “Little People is all about the realistic-looking playsets that allow kids to interact with the figures and sets to help them learn about the world around them,” says Yvonne LoPata, senior marketing director of preschool and girls business at Fisher-Price. “That developmental milestone for toddlers and preschoolers doesn’t change over time and has been the same for generations.” This timeless appeal is what attracts each new generation of parents and children. The brand celebrates its 50th birthday on March 21. IN 1959, the now-classic Safety School Bus was introduced.
the original Safety School Bus
IN 1968, the first Little People playset, the Play Family Farm, was introduced.
IN 1975, Little People figures first took the form of licensed characters with the Sesame Street Play Set.
Little People 50th Birthday Play ’n Go Farm
IN 1985, the product line became known as Little People and the name and logo became registered trademarks of Fisher-Price.
IN 1991, the product was redesigned for younger children. The figures became chunkier and were designed to interact more with playsets.
IN 1997, the Little People figures were redesigned and relaunched at Toy Fair.
IN 2000, electronics were introduced to Little People playsets.
IN 2009, Little People celebrates its 50th birthday with a range of commemorative playsets as well as various promotions.
40 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
ÂŠ2009 Little Kids Inc. All Right Reserved. 800-545-5437 www.littlekidsinc.com 225 Chapman Street, Suite 202 Providence, RI 02905
N IN THE
TOY FAIR 2009 Specialty Gets Ready for 2009 New Challenges Face a Dynamic Sector CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
s 2009 begins, an almost “perfect storm” of issues is confronting the toy industry. While sales figures for 2008 were not final at press time, overall retail sales in the U.S. dropped by 2.7 percent, according to the National Retail Federation. However, Toys “R” Us reported a sales increase of 1.9 percent over 2007 suggesting that toys overall may have slightly bucked the declining trend. Individual specialty retailers did not release numbers, but those interviewed said that they were generally pleased with their results, given the overall state of the economy. As always, the toy industry resists measurement like a commodity business, no matter how hard some analysts try, because certain items did very well meeting, or coming very close to, projections, according to manufacturers. Still, others languished on the shelves. One of the differences of the year just past is that the incremental sales didn’t appear to be there, which may have contributed to an overall decline in sales for the year. The impact of declining sales has been
exacerbated by a shift in consumer buying patterns. Shoppers interviewed by TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT in both mass and specialty stores during the fourth quarter last year said that they were likely to spend about the same or less on toys for the holiday. A majority indicated that they were unwilling to incur additional credit card debt, which would inevitably curtail their spending. There is also fear that drastic price reductions, not just in the toy sector, will have a long-term impact on consumer spending. When previously pricey items are sold at rock bottom prices, the inevitable result is a resetting of consumer perception on value, which, in turn, forces manufacturers to be more innovative in delivering value within this dynamic perceptive framework.
Safety, Regulation, and Compliance Shapes the Year
Trade issues are also having a serious impact on the business moving into this year. New safety regulations went into effect on February 10, and will be rolled out over the
“My strategy, going into the first three quarters, is to try to buy more birthday-oriented, $30-and-under items just to satisfy my local clientele.” Jon Allen, president/owner of J.W. Allen and Sons Children’s Provisions
42 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
year. Manufacturers interviewed in Hong Kong noted that in addition to increased costs, lack of clarity regarding compliance is further complicating matters. Arete Passas, president and CEO of Manhattan Toy Company, says, “If ’08 was the year of regulation, ’09 is the year of compliance. What,” she asks, “is rational compliance?” In response to the reality, she says that Manhattan Toy is devoting a lot of time and energy to making sure that it is in compliance. “It’s not,” she stresses, “that toys are any safer; it’s just compliance that’s tougher.” Elaine Kollias, marketing director of Folkmanis, agrees that negotiating the new regulations is going to be one of the major challenges facing the industry this year. “The challenges Folkmanis expects to face this year include keeping manufacturing costs down, as overseas production and material costs rise. But our biggest challenge in 2009 will be helping our retailers understand the ramifications of the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). As manufacturers, we’ve been fortunate to have the TIA help us understand and comply, but most specialty retailers have not had that privilege,” she says. “TIA has done a stellar job of educating us through their webinars, bulletins, website, etc., and we applaud their efforts. However, our buyers still aren’t very clear about the law and there seems to be a lot of confusion. The monetary penalties for non-compliance will affect
“For the specialty business overall, if there was ever a time that was going to separate the weak from the strong, this is it. If you’re weak you won’t survive.” Arete Passas, president and CEO of The Manhattan Toy Company retailers, so their concern is understandable. We are committed to helping our retailers understand and comply with the CPSIA through our website and through personal assistance. Consumer confidence in toy safety will return in 2009 and our industry will be all that much stronger,” Kollias says. Michelle Winfrey, marketing and public relations manager for Playmobil, says her company has also made education a high priority. She says that the company has addressed online compliance and made sure that everything was in place for the 2009 line. She says that Playmobil assumed that everything was going to go through and designed the line around new regulations. “We’ve embraced the fact that the law is the law,” she says. “It’s going to take time, and you just have to roll with the punches. You have to be smart and communicate.” In addition to safety regulations, availability of credit and volatility of costs (though many think these will stabilize later this year) are also creating uncertainty, and many readily admit that they are guessing where things are going to fall out as the year progresses. Even for seasoned industry veterans, the current climate is more challenging than previous downturns and shifts because of the confluence of issues in a short time. The current conditions are hitting more and
more people at different levels of the economy and are more widespread. Even with all of these issues, the mood in the toy industry is guardedly optimistic moving into Toy Fair. That’s no surprise. The toy industry will continue, of course, and consultants, manufacturers, and retailers are doing their best to stay positive. Some shifts are inevitable, but historically the toy industry has responded to the market effectively and weathered downturns. Throughout Q4 2007, parents and industry representatives, alike, stressed that even if parents curtailed spending on one another, they did buy for kids. That’s one cultural factor that is likely to remain a constant. According to many, the specialty sector of the toy industry may be well positioned to weather the storms. While serving a smaller overall demographic, the specialty sector has many elements that may position it more strongly in the current environment. That’s certainly the position of Kathleen McHugh, president of the American
Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). “I think our marketplace has evolved to a point where it is more meaningful to everyone in the industry,” she says. “We hear more and more that manufacturers are going to introduce products at the ASTRA Marketplace.” Particularly at specialty, she says, consumers want to see new products, and the specialty retailers have to be the ones to do that.” McHugh also sees that one of the upsides to the downturn in the market is the return to a “buy local” mentality among consumers. It’s something that the organization is promoting—as well as to their members. She says that for specialty retailers, it’s very important to get in touch with other retailers in one area and look at opportunities for cross promotion. In addition, she adds that ASTRA is supporting diversification of product lines and introduction of other classes of merchandise into specialty stores both to increase revenues and provide greater service for consumers. That statement has been made so often, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less true. Product is still what is most important at the end of the day. As complicated and challenging as the trade issues are and will continue
Product Is Still King
“For us, we’ve really found that higher price points and unique product work well. It’s really ‘grandma bait.’” Martin Killgallon, SVP of marketing and product development at The Ohio Art Company
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 43
TOY FAIR 2009 to be, the most important competition will be taking place on the retailers’ shelves as products vie for that consumer spend—whatever it ends up being this year. So far, it looks like the trend will be for extensions to established brands and strategic merchandising. Jon Allen, president and owner of J.W. Allen and Sons Children’s Provisions in Park City, Utah, says, “My strategy, going into the first three quarters, is to try to buy more birthday-oriented, $30-and-under items just to satisfy my local clientele. I’m going to try to keep my pricing down. I’ll still be selling Kettler tricycles over the summer, but when it comes to $300–$500 items, I’m not going to be stocking them.” He notes that board games are doing well. “They’re not cheap,” he says. “The average board game I sell is about $30 or more. One game, Stare from CDG Games, is doing very well for me, and that’s a $45 game.” Even with the economy, Allen plans to keep his inventories up, and he anticipates that cool items will appeal to his customers. He notes that he is the only toy store in town now that KB has gone away. “The only other store that sells toys in town is Wal-Mart,” he says. “I am somewhat fortunate in that there is a strong allegiance to buying local and
“You have to say, ‘I’m not selling plastic; I’m creating experiences.’ Since it’s all going to end up in landfills sooner or later you have to ask, ‘Have I done something worthwhile? Has it been worth the plastic?’” Matt Brown, president of Big Boing avoiding the big boxes whenever possible.” Allen also says that pricing is an important strategy. “I think people have learned that, although I’m a specialty store and sell higher-quality items, the pricing is the same as any specialty store or website. Because I’m in Park City and somewhat isolated, that doesn’t mean that I’m jacking my prices up.” Part of being able to keep the inventories high, Allen says, has been advantageous terms offered by manufacturers. He says money, insurance, and credit are harder right now, but given his deals, “I’ve been fortunate with Melissa & Doug, Ravensberger, Samba, and others. I’m able to pack my store, and those companies offer the kind of spontaneous more inexpensive lines of toys that contribute to the everyday business.” He notes that he was surprised at Melissa & Doug. “I hadn’t sold much of it, but I brought in the line and it has sold well at good margins.”
“We really believe that our focus is to help strengthen the retail side of the distribution channel. What’s really encouraging is that we’re seeing a whole younger group of retailers get into the business.” Kathleen McHugh, president of American Specialty Toy Retailers’ Association (ASTRA)
44 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
Martin Killgallon, senior vice-president of marketing and product development for The Ohio Art Company, which distributes the K’s Kids line for specialty channels, says, that in this marketplace, “the biggest struggle is the competition in basic items. We’re working to get customers.” What’s working, he says, are point-of-purchase displays. “Where we’ve done it, we’ve done very well,” he says, adding that FAO Schwarz has been an important showcase for the brand. These are toys, Killgallon says, that seem to defy the current pricing trends. “For us, we’ve really found that unique product at higher price points have really done well.” He cites the K’s Kids I’m the Boss at $90 and Ryan 28 at $100 as items that retailers have been unable to keep in stock. Combining a great product, innovative packaging, and lots of appeal, Killgallon calls the line “grandma bait,” noting that grandparents make up a lot of their buyers. Brand extensions and distribution deals are also effective strategies. Passas of Manhattan Toy says that the company will be distributing the Automoblox line of cars, and that it has added a new Mermaid collection to the Groovy Girls line. The brand is entering its eleventh year, and, Passas says, “It owns a unique niche in the marketplace.
“During economic downturns, people nest more, and in doing so spend more time at home with their loved ones, adding quality time and playtime with children.” Elaine Kollias marketing director at Folkmanis, Inc. It would always be an appropriate gift, and it’s a great way to start out a girl in her first fashion line. There’s a trend away from sexy toward wholesome.” In addition, Passas says, Manhattan Toy has its first license with the Girl Scouts of America, which she calls, “an example of a real appropriate fit for our brand.” Licensing remains an important strategy at specialty. Caren Shalek, consultant and industry veteran, who has consulted to All Aboard Toys, Ty’s Toy Box, and a variety of smaller manufacturers, notes that if parents are going to make a purchase they are going to make one that’s relevant, and that often means licensing because these are characters who are meaningful to kids on a daily basis. “It’s also a great time for the new kids on the block [new properties]. It’s important to break through and get into the specialty market in a meaningful way.” Given the realities of the business in 2009, innovation will be key—at all levels of the business, but especially in product. Matt Brown, president of the consulting firm Big Boing, says, “Toy companies should focus on the experiences they are trying to create for children and families. The key to that is the narrative that the group is going to create.
Once you’ve defined the experience, you create the products that will catalyze the experience. It’s about starting strategic innovation with deep insights about what’s going on with kids and families.” He says that toys are either “consumption,” those that are promoted and people buy as a result of advertising or other media, or “co-authored,” meaning that the play experience is a combination of the child’s imagination and the product. “The most powerful brands going forward,” he says, “will be co-authored.”
A New Promotional Framework
The rise of social media offers fertile opportunities for promotion, reaching
moms where they live and making them your ambassadors. As Shalek points out, today’s moms are asking for products they understand and that are relevant to their kids’ lives and who love that there are hundreds of other moms who want to talk about it and share a solution. Brown believes that user-generated content is going to migrate from the digital into the dimensional, transforming how kids play—and how product is designed. Understanding and mastering these new media and the effects of “narrow casting” will be a competitive advantage in 2009 and beyond. So, yes, the specialty industry will be fine. It may be a bumpy ride this year, but it’s also adapting to meet the times. McHugh of ASTRA observes that as younger people get into the business, they understand the efficiencies that come with advanced systems. “We’re seeing a whole younger group of retailers get into the industry, and those are the ones who are going to change the way we do business.” And change, as we all know, can be as good as it is inevitable.
“The grassroots effort and understanding where moms are and what they’re sharing and doing is critical. If they find something that works, they’ll share it, and that piece of the marketplace is so important. It’s something you haven’t really seen in a meaningful way in the toy world.” Caren Shalek, consultant and toy industry veteran
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 45
TOY FAIR 2009
We first began previewing 2009 toys in October at the Fall Toy Preview in Dallas. And while there were many compelling items from numerous manufacturers at the show, we followed the development of a few toys as well as some specific properties over the past few months. The items will be featured at this month’s Toy Fair and are discussed in the next four pages. —Nancy Lombardi
UNCLE MILTON: SAME TECHNOLOGY, DIFFERENT EXECUTION
oth Uncle Milton and Mattel have developed products uti-
ogy where the filtering, signal amplification, and translation of the brain-
sors who founded NeuroSky. The technology has been in
tion-focus, and meditation-relaxation) to whatever platform has paired
lizing technology that works in conjunction with users’ brainwaves. It was developed by three university profes-
use in the medical, clinical, and research worlds and now
the company is working to bring it to a mass audience. NeuroSky exhibited at its first-ever trade show, CES, in 2007, says vice-president of mar-
keting, Greg Hyver. “We thought this technology has a place in toys. We were really the proactive pursuing party because the toy companies had no knowledge that this technology even existed. Mattel and Uncle Milton
were the first believers and therefore the first adopters of this technology in the toy industry. Toys are just the beginning for us,” he explains. “We hope to crack the video game market wide open in 2009–2010.” But just what is this brainwave technology and how does it work?
NeuroSky’s ThinkGear is the name given to “a ‘dry’ technology,
which means that the electrode doesn’t require gel, as found in medical systems, and our electrode works at the Fp1 location [left forehead; Fp1
is medical terminology],” explains Hyver. “The Fp1 location provides
frontal lobe information related to mental states, such as a person’s focus, relaxation, anxiety, and drowsy levels. A headset (Mattel and
Uncle Milton have designed their own from our ThinkGear components, but we offer our own headset, called the MindSet, to clients that are
unable to build their own) will provide a means to place the electrode at
the Fp1 location. The electrode picks up the aggregate electrical potential from all of the neurons firing around the vicinity of the electrode.
The electrode also picks up noise caused by muscle movement near Fp1 and ambient noise such as 60Hz signals. Both the brainwave (EEG) and the noise are passed through a wire to our ThinkGear component that
resides inside a pod on the headset. The purpose of the ThinkGear com-
ponent is twofold: (1) reduce/eliminate the noise from the brainwave
signal (leaving as pure of a brainwave as possible) and (2) once the ‘clean’ brainwave is obtained, provide special mental-state translations,
called algorithms, on the chip. We call this our fully embedded technol-
46 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
wave is all done entirely on the headset. The headset then wirelessly transmits our data stream (raw EEG, beta-alpha-theta-delta bands, attenwith our transmission (for example PC, mobile phone, toy, etc.).”
In Mattel and Uncle Milton’s case, the Mindflex and Force Trainer
pair with NeuroSky’s data stream. “Once the data stream is captured by the platform, then the platform will parse out the data stream. For exam-
ple, if attention-focus is parsed out, a number from 0–100, representing the range of attention-focus for the given individual at a given moment, is output and can be used by the application to perform some action (in
both cases, to power a fan in correlation with the 0–100 output). Of course, the data stream is constantly being updated with new mental
state information as our minds are constantly changing,” explains Hyver. Shown below is Mattel’s Mindflex and on the opposite page is Uncle Milton’s Force Trainer, which features the Star Wars license.
Mattel’s Mindflex (developed with NeuroSky technology) comes with a lightweight headset containing sensors for the forehead and earlobes, which measures a player’s brainwave activity. Focus concentration and a small foam ball will rise on a gentle stream of air. Relax the thoughts and the ball will descend. By using a combination of physical and mental coordination, players must then guide the ball through a customizable obstacle course—the various obstacles can be repositioned into many different configurations. It is designed for ages 8 and up. It is expected to be available this fall for $79.99.
U NCLE M ILTON ’ S S TAR WARS F ORCE T RAINER
Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination is the
that you are causing something to happen with your
“Our mission is to get kids excited about science,”
line utilizing NeuroSky technology. However, the Star
museum tour that sparked this year’s product line by
mind is very compelling.”
Uncle Milton dubbed “Learning Meets Imagination.”
The Force Trainer is the only item in Uncle Milton’s
says Frank Adler, executive vice-president of Uncle
Wars Science line is rounded out with the following:
Milton. “There will initially be eight products in the
• The Optical Command Unit: This is a multi-
line and there are many concepts in the works right
functional reconnaissance device that can be assem-
now to build out the product line.”
The item in the line generating the most buzz is The
Star Wars Force Trainer (pictured), which is expected
bled into three unique configurations—binoculars, Star Wars Force Trainer
microscope, and mini-projector.
• The Darth Vader Robotic Arm: This kit shows how
to retail between $90–$100. Players can “use the force” to control a Jedi
to build a robotic arm and lets kids grip and move real objects with inter-
waves and converts them into a linear measure of brain concentration.
detailed environment to raise creatures.
Training Remote with their mind. Utilizing NeuroSky’s technology,
(explained on the opposite page) the headset reads and interprets brainThe deeper the concentration and mental focus, the greater effect one
has on the Training Sphere. Progress from Padawan to Jedi Master using “the force” to move the Training Sphere up the cylinder. Familiar Star Wars character voices and sound effects guide and encourage players.
“The idea of being able to demonstrate the force has always been
something we feel consumers would respond to,” says Adler. “The idea
• The Naboo Sea Creatures and Dagobah Frog Habitat: Each is a • The Jedi Telescope: This can be used to scan the skies, or to dial up
images of iconic Star Wars planets.
• The Jedi Projector: It can display crisp projections of starships and
other vehicles from The Clone Wars and comes with a CD audio tour.
• The Mustafar Volcano Kit: It allows users to create realistic volcanic
eruptions and lava flows in a detailed reproduction of the planet Mustafar.
THE REVOLUTION CONTINUES
In 2007 Techno Source reimagined the Rubik’s Cube into an electronic version called the Rubik’s Revolution. Now
for 2009 the revolution continues with the introduction of Rubik’s TouchCube. It took four engineering teams on two continents nearly two years to create the Rubik’s TouchCube, according to Eric Levin, president of Techno Source. “This is the cube we dreamed of doing when Rubik’s initially approached us to do an electronic cube,” he explains.
The Rubik’s TouchCube has the same goal as the original 1980s cube, which is to solve the puzzle. This cube
is touch sensitive like Apple’s iPod and features an accelerometer like Nintendo’s Wii. To play, slide your finger across
the cubes and the colors will change rather than twisting the cube as is done in the original. For players who have trouble solving the puzzle, press a button and the cube will show the next move or it can show users how to solve it step by step.
Once turned off and later turned back on it will resume exact game play. It is expected to retail for $149.99 and comes with a base, which
acts as a charger for the battery. While on the base, the colors in the cube will pulsate, fade, and glow so the unit doubles as room décor.
Levin explains that the most difficult part about creating this unit is the hardware and not the software. “The software has been 90 percent
done for more than a year,” he says. “The hardware has been an unbelievable challenge because there is so much to put inside this little box.”
With an LED in every square executing three colors, multiplied by every side, and featuring a rechargeable battery, the challenge is including the technology in a lightweight, easy-to-maneuver cube. This cube is expected to be the size of the Rubik’s Revolution.
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 47
TOY FAIR 2009 ICARLY
EXPANDS ONLINE AND OFFLINE
Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products is taking the next steps in creating a licensing program for its hit tween series iCarly. Last fall, the line of Npower electronics—including web cams, digital video cameras, micro photo viewers, MP3 players, and digital diaries—by Imation were introduced at Toys “R” Us. Not only will this line be expanded, but Playmates and Hasbro have also been signed on as licensees for the property. “We are looking at products that can truly capture the essence of empowerment, creativity, and customization in keeping with the show,” says Lourdes Arocho, director of toys, games, consumer products, and hard goods at Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products. “The first step was electronics.” This fall it will be vinyl figures and playsets that will be followed up by activities that make sense for the brand, according to Arocho. The line from Playmates Toys will feature an assortment of vinyl dolls that are part of a figure-recognition playset. In addition, the line will include authentic show gadgets. Hasbro has signed on to produce a board game for the property. In creating the licensing program, Nickelodeon had to “make sure that the experience is 360 degrees so the products tie back to what’s going on online,” Arocho says. “We make sure that it ties back to the site and the technology is cool and innovative in keeping with the brand.”
48 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
Astro Boy, created in 1951, made its first appearance in manga in Japan. Created by Osamu Tezuka, known as the father of manga, it told a story set in the year 2000 when robot technology had advanced to an astounding level. In the story, Doctor Tenma, head of the ministry of science, has been trying to create a new type of robot. His obsession with his goal drives a wedge between him and his son. Dr. Tenma is then driven mad by grief over the loss of his son in a tragic accident. He then completes Astro Boy in the likeness of his son, Toby. In 1960, 193 Astro Boy episodes were shown on Fuji television in black and white. In 1982 more than 50 episodes were created in color and broadcast in 40 countries. The TV series made its Japanese premiere in 2003. For more than 50 years, Astro Boy has had an extensive worldwide licensing and promotional program spanning numerous categories. Now Imagi Studios announced that a new iteration of Astro Boy is expected to be in theaters on October 23. The story is set in futuristic Metro City and features Astro Boy as a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist. He embarks on a journey in search of adventure in a world of robot gladiators before returning to Metro City where he finds his place in the world. This animated, action/adventure comedy is expected to receive a PG rating. The film will feature the voice talent of Freddie Highmore (as Astro Boy), Nicholas Cage (as Dr. Tenma), Donald Sutherland (as President Stone), Kristen Bell (as Cora), Eugene Levy (as the robot Orrin), Nathan Lane (as Hammegg), and David Allen Grier (as Windex). Major marketing support is expected for the film with nearly $40 million in marketing spending coming from Imagi Studios and another estimated $100 million coming from its partners. Licensees already on board for the film, which is a separate licensing program from the classic story, include American Greetings (gift wrap, cards, party goods, stationery, ornaments, calendars, tableware, and juvenile boxed Valentine’s Day cards); Penguin Publishing (storybook, novelization with full-color insert, activity book, and movie photobook with pull-out poster), and D3 Interactive (games for Nintendo DS, Wii, PSP, and PS2). Jazwares is the master toy licensee for mass-market action figures, playsets, and roleplay items. Hot Toys will create high-end collector figures for the specialty market. —NL
CREATING A HALO EFFECT
MEGA Brands recently announced that it has entered into an agreement with Microsoft Game Studios to develop construction toys based on Halo Wars, a real-time strategy game based on the Halo universe for Xbox 360. The game will launch this spring. MEGA Brands will develop the first construction sets based on the key characters of Halo Wars under the MEGA Bloks umbrella. The sets are expected to be in stores this fall. “Halo is a consistent license because it is in the home at all times,” says Harold Chizick, vice-president of media and corporate communications for MEGA Brands. “It is a true evergreen and it is a great association for our brand. There will be a lot of cross promotion with Microsoft.” Halo Wars is a prequel to the original Halo. The construction sets will target ages 8 and up, much like —NL MEGA’s Pro Builders line.
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 49
TOY FAIR 2009
HAHN & PAUL NARULA
Welcome to Toy Fair 2009. The following pages represent just some of what will be on display at this year’s show in New York City’s Jacob Javits Convention Center. M ATTEL
Mattel will be expanding the Barbie line with nostalgic and modern products to celebrate Barbie’s 50th anniversary, which kicks off next month. The Bathing Suit Barbie Doll is a throwback to the original black-and-white bathing suit Barbie of 1959, updated with a new look for 2009. Mattel will also introduce a new assortment of dolls called Barbie Pink, which features pink fashions and accessories to match. The My House Playset can be rearranged and configured to girls’ desires and is designed for 360 degrees of play. The Barbie Totally Nails Stylin’ Hands Playset is a pair of fashion styling hands that allow girls to create and design their own manicures before giving one to themselves. Girls can also give the Barbie Totally Nails dolls their own manicure with the easy color-change function. The Barbie Thumbelina DVD, a new animated Barbie movie, will be released in March. Accompanying the release will be a new line of dolls and accessories based on the Thumbelina character. Mattel will introduce Color Shifters, new die-cast cars in the Hot Wheels line that change color in warm and icy water. They will hold their colors in room temperature. Color Shifters are compatible with the new Color Blaster playset. The Hot Wheels Power Revvers can be revved by turning the toy’s handle, with more revs turning into more speed for the car. The vehicles are available in the Speed assortment and the Speed and Power assortment. Hot Wheels Monster Jam Crash Cage is a spinning motorized arena that features a large flame target guarded by two cages. Launching a truck at the target will send it flying, but a miss will trap the vehicle. Mattel is also expanding the Trick Tracks line, with new ready-made stunts. Mattel will be expanding the Radica Games line with new U.B. Funkeys products. The Hidden Realm figures unlock new games and exclusive content online. New Sugar Cubes Digital Charms, from Girl Tech, give girls a new charm that showcases 75 different animations and can be personalized by girls with accessories. Radica will also be producing Tetris 360, which adds a new dimension to the classic game and forces players to take multiple angles into account. Polly Pocket Designables are Mattel’s way of letting girls mix-and-match their Polly Pocket sets. Girls can use the Courtyard and Mall Stores kits to build the perfect mall, or play with the Perfect Party Bag while on the go. Mattel will introduce the Matchbox Croc Escape Pop-up Adventure Set, where kids can take their Matchbox cars through a mysterious swamp and avoid a crocodile with glowing red eyes. Also new to the Matchbox line is the Lights and Sounds Helmet, which gives kids a working light and microphone and plays hard-hitting construction sound effects. The Matchbox Mega Rig line also receives new products: Car Crusher and Trash King. Mattel is adding a new milestone to the Little Mommy brand, with the Scoot So Cute dolls. These dolls Scoot So Cute mimic the first crawling motions of a baby and can be coaxed to crawl toward girls with the use of a motion sensor. The baby dolls coo and giggle as they crawl and scoot and when they are cuddled.
50 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
F ISHER -P RICE Fisher-Price expands its active play and learning products with the Smart Fit Park. This plug and play learning mat encourages children to stay physically active while they learn. Plug the mat into the TV using the included A/V cord and kids can walk, run, jump, and stomp while they play up to 18 different learning encounters, games, and races. Smart Fit Park teaches letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and more. Children can customize their onscreen characters and interact with their learning friends. Kids control the on-screen action—the faster they run, the faster their character will move on the screen. When kids jump on the mat, the character jumps. Smart Fit Park requires four AA batteries, which are not included. It is for ages 3–6. The 3-in-1 Smart Sports is a plug and play learning system that includes a preschool-styled game controller and three attachments— a baseball bat, a tennis racket, and a golf club. All attachments fit into a storage unit. There is a base unit that plugs into the TV, creating a play-safe area so kids know where to stand when they are playing. Use the controller to customize the character. When a sports attachment is connected, Smart Sports launches into learning games for that sport. There are three games for each sport that teach numbers, letters, colors, shapes, matching, math, and more. It requires two AA batteries for the controller and four AA batteries for the base unit, which are not included. It is for ages 3 and up. In its building line, the Trio Basic Tub set with bricks, sticks, and panels provides more ways for kids to build their creativity. The set features easy-to-attach parts that click and hold together. The set comes in bright colors and includes custom parts, such as figures, wheels, and chassis, and a durable tub for storage. It is for ages 3–6. The Trio Fire Station comes with bricks, sticks, and panels. The set features easy-toattach parts that click and hold together. The set also features an action panel and moving
parts such as an opening door, fire bell, fire pole, and a figure. It is for ages 4–7. The Trio King’s Castle features action panels that enable kids to create their favorite scene by changing the card panel graphics. Other features include a working drawbridge, a break-away panel, a catapult/battering ram, a cross-bow, a fire-ball dump, a cannon, six figures, and a horse. It is for ages 5–10. Smart Fit Park It’s Sesame Street’s 40th birthday and FisherPrice is taking two of Elmo’s signature toy features—tickling and dancing—and putting the tickling power right into kids’ hands with Elmo Tickle Hands. These two furry red Elmo hands fit on a child’s hands. One tickle hand is activated with a press of Elmo’s nose. When the child touches a surface, the hand will vibrate and play sound effects and phrases from Elmo. When kids press Elmo’s nose again, the dance mode is activated. Elmo Tickle Hands will be packaged with a special DVD. It requires two AA batteries, which are included. It is for ages 18 months and up. With Manny’s Repair Shop, kids can work on projects just like Handy Manny. Grab the blueprints, choose a project, and slide the blueprint into the diagnostic center. Manny will recognize the project that was chosen and walk the child through the steps to complete the project. There are six main projects, each with a set of blueprints and one jumbo blueprint showing how to do additional projects, totaling more than 20 projects. The set includes more than 40 parts, as well as two of Manny’s tools, Pat the Hammer and Felipe the Screwdriver. The set requires three AA batteries, which are included. It is for ages 3 and up. Mickey’s Magic Choo Choo moves forward and lays pieces of track all by itself. The train then rides over the track and picks up the pieces as the “Choo Choo” song plays. Turn the crazy crank to shift gears for classic train play. Mickey’s Magic Choo Choo includes 10 pieces of track, a train engine, one car, two signs, and a Mickey figure. It requires four AA batteries, which are not included. It is for ages 3 and up.
3-in-1 Smart Sports
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 51
TOY FAIR 2009 H ASBRO Hasbro is updating its Easy-Bake of flexible and durable plastic. Oven & Snack Center. In honor of the Hasbro has introduced the largest tub ovenâ€™s 45th birthday, the oven will be of Play-Doh yet with the new six-pound getting a new look with a return to the bucket. Each tub contains six pounds of original aqua color. The oven includes red, blue, yellow, or green Play-Doh. Also three different mixes, two baking pans, new is the three-pound bucket, which featwo utensils, a pan pusher, two warming tures one pound of red, blue, and yellow cups, and recipes. New in the line is the compound each. The Play-Doh 24 Pack Decorating Sensation Frosting Pen. Once features 24 three-ounce cans of different filled with frosting, the pen can be used colors of Play-Doh compound. Also comto easily create complex decorative eleing up is the Play-Doh Spaghetti Factory. Easy-Bake Oven ments on desserts. Kids can make Play-Doh pasta and top it New from Hasbro are the Kota & Pals Hatchlings. These tiny with Play-Doh meatballs, tomatoes, shrimp, and more using the dinosaurs respond to touch with movement and sound and come included molds. The Play-Doh Coco-Nutty Monkey claps two with a dino fact card. Three AAA batteries are included. coconut halves together to mold Play-Doh fruit, such as bannanas In the Martian Matter Alien Lab, children can capture and ana- and pineapples, and miniature monkeys. lyze creatures from outer space. After creating their own aliens Hasbro will expand its Playskool Clipo line with the new Clipo with Martian Matter, kids can place them on Hippo. Toddlers can attach their Clipo creations to the head, the light-up dissection table and watch the back, or wheels of this movable hippo, which also feaguts ooze from the alien as they inspect it. tures a drop-slot in the mouth. The hippo comes with Hasbro is adding a wide variety of new 20 Clipo pieces that are stored inside the hippo. products to the My Little Pony line. The My Hasbro has added a variety of new products to Little Pony Newborn Cuties are a new collecits Star Wars line. The Clone Trooper tion of baby ponies for girls to play with. The Helmet can be worn by children Newborn Rainbow Dash Room playset features a and plays signature phrases. It also dino ride and a cloud-shaped cradle for the includes a voice amplifier. The Super Soaker 50 included Newborn Rainbow Dash figure. The Clone Trooper Blaster features a Ponyville La-Ti-Da Hair & Spa playset gives targeting laser and three foam darts. It requires two AA batteries girls the chance to style and service their ponies in a full-service (included). Finally, the spring-activated Electronic Lightsaber pretend hair salon with five different hair options before moving springs to life at the touch of a button to extend more than three on to the bubble bath and changing room. Also coming up are two feet. It makes a humming authentic lightsaber sound. new additions to the So Soft Newborn Collection, Belle and Hasbro is relaunching the original Super Soaker 50 in celebraCheerilee. Both say fun phrases. tion of the 20th anniversary of the Super Soaker brand. The clasNew from Hasbroâ€™s Nerf N-Force line is the N-Force Short sic water gun holds 25 ounces of water and can shoot up to 35 feet. Sword assortment. The Nerf N-Force Shadow Fury and N-Force It features the same retro look as the original toy, but incorporates Thunder Fury Short Swords are both 32 inches in length and made modern Super Soaker technology.
52 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
TOY FAIR 2009 J AKKS PACIFIC For spring, Jakks Pacific will expand its line of Hannah Montana dolls. The Hannah Montana Quick Switch Doll switches from Miley to Hannah in seconds by spinning Miley’s hair. It comes with two outfits—one inspired by Miley, the other by Hannah. The Hannah Montana Remix In Concert Dolls sing Hannah’s new remix songs. They are available in two different styles, with different outfits inspired by Hannah Montana’s new style and a guitar pic necklace or bracelet. In time for the new Hannah Montana movie this year, Jakks will introduce the Hannah Montana Movie Collection. The Hannah and Her Horse features authentic fashion from the movie, with a replica of Hannah’s grey horse from the film. New for the fall in the Hannah Montana line is the Hannah Montana Classic Holiday Doll. This doll sings “Best of Both Worlds” with a holiday twist. The doll is dressed in an ’80s-inspired fashion and includes a clutch purse, microphone, and pink glove. Jakks will be expanding its NASCAR lineup in the fall with a variety of new prodPony In My Pocket Stylin’ Pets ucts. The NASCAR Real Racing Helmet can trigger rumbling racing sounds and phrases by pressing buttons on the side of the helmet or via leaning in different directions while wearing the helmet. The racing helmet is styled after Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s helmet. The Daytona Speedway Track Set includes two quick-charging motorized cars that charge on the included Pit Box Charger and race around the replica Daytona track. The NASCAR Voice Command Rumblin’ Racer R/C comes with a life-size headset that allows kids to give commands to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and control the vehicle’s navigation. Spring will introduce new figures and playsets for the Puppy In My Pocket & Friends collection. Pony In My Pocket Stylin’ Pets are bigger than other Pony In My Pocket items and feature rooted hair to brush and style, as well as vanity and salon accessories. The Newborn Care Center is a two-story playset that comes with a Mom and three newborn figures, as well as an elevator, slide, swing, and height and weight scales. For fall, Baby In My Pocket is a new line of Puppy In My Pocket & Friends collectibles. These collectible babies come with their own accessory packs and playsets. Jakks will be producing a new line of figures and playsets for Smurfs. The new Smurf figure Theme Packs feature five 2.25-inch figures following a different theme, such as sports or music. Accessory packs feature three Smurf figures and come in beach, picnic, and bakery themes. The vehicle packs feature one Smurf figure and a vehicle with a backwind motor. The Smurfs Mushroom House playset is available in three different styles and opens up into a detailed playset with one posable Smurf figure. The Deluxe Windmill playset opens up to reveal two levels of play and multiple Pokémon figure play features, as well as two Smurf figures exclusive to the playset. Jakks will also be updating its Pokémon line. The new National Pokédex includes all 493 Pokémon from across the series. It features touch-screen technology to allow access to Pokémon information and games. The Pop n’ Battle Pokéball simulates action from the Pokémon series. When the ball is closed and the button pressed, kids can throw the Pokéball and watch a Pokémon figure pop out.
54 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
s r e s U n o i l l i 50+ M wing! ro
PLUSH & COLLECTIBLES READY TO FLY OFF SHELVES IN 2009! TM & ©2009 JAKKS Pacific Inc., Malibu, CA 90265 U.S.A. All rights reserved.All other symbols, marks, logos and designs (collectively "Trademarks") are Trademarks of and proprietary to their respective owners and used under license by JAKKS Pacific,Inc.www.jakks.com ©2000-2009 Neopets Inc.
TOY FAIR 2009 S PIN M ASTER Throughout 2009, Spin Master will expand its Bakugan Battle Brawlers line of toys. The Bakugan Display case is a lightweight case for transporting Bakugan that comes with an additional large-size Bakugan as a bonus. The Bakugan Hand Launcher gives players the ability to launch Bakugan Brawlers with backspins, sidespins, and other techniques that allow them to direct the ball more accurately. The new Bakugan Character Super Pack includes one Bakugan monster, one metal Gate card, and one two-inch figure. Spin Master will expand its Air Hogs line with the new Wind Chaser Stunt Kite. The Wind Chaser can be controlled via the remote control that doubles as a cord-winder and handle to make kite stunts easy for kids to perform. Also new in the Air Hogs line is the Havoc Razor, a radio-controlled helicopter that can drive on the floor. The F-18 Fighter Jet is a licensed replica of a real F-18 jet and can take off and land on the ground. Spin Master will also add the Air Hogs Nano Zero Gravity and the Air Hogs Laser Zero Gravity to the Air Hogs Zero Gravity line of R/C vehicles. Spin Master will be expanding the PixOs activity line with the new 3-D Character Kit. This new kit lets kids make three different three-dimensional Bakugan Display Case shapes using the PixOs design trays and PixOs pen. The PixOs Superstation is a complete activity center that includes moving parts, as well as a fan and suction tool. Also new are ChixOs, dolls that are compatible with the PixOs playsets. The ChixOs Home TV gives the ChixOs a place to live and comes with three dolls and 300 PixOs to build accessories. Spin Master will also be expanding the Paperoni line with three new studio kits. The Deluxe Studio comes with 2,000 Paperonis to create both 2-D and 3-D designs. Also available are individual 2-D and 3-D design studios that include the appropriate templates. The New Moon Sand Amusement Park features amusement park tents and moving rides. Children can create Moon Sand Characters and play with them at this custom amusement park. Spin Master will add a cooking theme to its Magic Reveal line. The Oven Playset will reveal food in pots, pans, and other utensils when touched by water. The Small Theme Set will reveal eggs and bacon, while the large theme set will create bread, waffles, pancakes, and more. The newest take on Aquadoodle, the Glodoodle board lets kids draw a picture just by touching the screen. Lifting up the screen erases the picture. The Glodoodle lights up in three different colYo Gabba Gabba! Silly Jumper orsâ€”red, green, and yellow. Spin Master will be producing a new line of Yo Gabba Gabba! products. The DJ Lance Dance Hat plays music and teaches new dance moves. It also plays the freeze dance game. The Yo Gabba Gabba! Silly Jumpers say phrases and make sounds when they are jumped up and down. The Brobee Jumpy Jump Feet with Sound plays music and sounds from the television show when the wearer jumps. Play Along Pals feature unique sounds and actions and will react to a childâ€™s actions as well.
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TM & ÂŠ 2009 JAKKS Pacific, Inc., Malibu, CA 90265 U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. MADE IN CHINA. Contents may vary in style, color, shape and decoration from images shown on package or in advertising. Questions or comments? www.jakks.com, email@example.com, or 1-877-875-2557 in North America. ÂŠ Disney/Pixar
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TOY FAIR 2009 B ANDAI Ben 10 Alien Creation Bandai’s line of Ben 10 products With a simple transformation, each Chamber Transporter includes an expanded lineup of four6.5-inch Moto-Morph Figure morphs inch Collectible Alien Figures. Each into one of two modes. Use the included alien figure comes with a unique Engine Cell key to unlock from Tire translucent mini figure. Kids can use the Mode into Ranger Mode. Each Ranger mini figure with the Ultimate Omnitrix (sold comes with weapon accessories and a ramp separately) to project the alien’s silhouette and unlock new to launch the morphed Tire into action. light and sound effects. The aliens also include a collectible bio card New Tamagotchi products include the Tamagotchi Music Star: that reveals fun facts and trivia about their home planet. World Tour Edition. Music Star lets kids raise, nurture, and care New Ben 10 roleplay items include the Omnitrix Illuminator. for their character as they develop a musical career. With more Place the included image discs in the Omnitrix and, with the press of than 20 instruments to choose from, Tamagotchi characters can a button, the Omnitrix will project images of aliens on any flat sur- grow up to play rock, jazz, classical, and more. Once the teenage face. It includes three image discs. Tamagotchi forms a band, the character will audition in front of a The Ultimate Omnitrix lets kids tackle all new alien adven- panel of judges. With the judge’s nod, the Tamagotchi will launch tures. Kids can unleash new alien lights and sounds by attaching a world tour to become the Ultimate International Music Star. Kids the included Swampfire translucent figure. Collect additional will be able to connect to other Music Star owners using infrared translucent figures from the four-inch figure sets to unlock more technology. The expanded TamaTown.com allows kids to connect lights and sounds (sold separately). as their Tamagotchi travels through Music City. Create custom Ben 10 aliens on the go with the Alien Creation The Tamagotchi Clip-It Gear is the cool way to display and wear Chamber Transporter. Mix and match parts to create a unique alien. a Tamagotchi. This accessory clips on to clothing, and kids can pick The transporter includes two figures, an alien key, and two combo from two music-themed designs. Gotchi Gear allows kids to wear cards. The black translucent Alien X edition transporter features an their Tamagotchi around their neck, hooked to a belt, or even on a exclusive Alien X 2.5-inch figure. The portable playset is also avail- backpack. This item also includes a special Music Star charm. All able in blue and green. Tamagotchi products are for ages 8 and up. For Power Rangers, Bandai’s five-inch articulated Racing Bandai will produce items for the live-action series Kamen Rider Performance Machines (RPM) Action Figures bring speed and Dragon Knight. Styled after the warriors on the TV show, the four-inch action. Prepare the Rangers for battle by collectible figures have more than nine points flipping down the helmet’s visor. Once of articulation. Each figure includes its own Moto-Morph Figure protected for battle, the Rangers take on unique weapon accessory and comes with a the Evil Space Aliens using the included bonus Advent Card. Kids can collect Advent weapon accessories. Combine figures and Cards to activate special sound features on the accessories to form a larger weapon. Deluxe Dragvisor weapon (sold separately). Coming late fall, Bandai will continue the The Advent Beast and Figure Sets include Super Legends figures. These limited-edia four-inch Rider figure in civilian mode and tion chase figures feature popular characthe corresponding Advent Beast. The Advent ters from past Power Rangers seasons. Beasts can attach to the figures.
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TOY FAIR 2009 M EGA B RANDS MEGA’s Streetz is a micro-scale vehicle Warriors include Cu29, which comes Streetz Stuntz construction line where buildable city with a carbon saw and mask; Ti22, which environments, super fast vehicles, and comes with an electropulse sword and crazy action stunts come together in one mask; Hg80, which comes with an playset series. With the Chopper Pursuit atmospheric shock spear and mask; and playset, use touch-command-powered Co27, which comes with a radioactive vehicles that activate light, sound, and explosive blunderbuss and mask. The motion to enter a world with speedy car packaging transforms into a storage conchases and stunts. The Chopper Pursuit tainer. It is for ages 6 and up. 175-piece set comes with four vehicles, a MEGA’s iPark is a magnetic building set that allows kids to build and create their block booster, and stunt ramps. own amusement parks. The iCoaster is The Streetz Advance Series transtwice as tall as the original and features forms everyday locales into tricked-out track pieces. Kids can choose between the Blaze Craze set with a more extreme tracks, eight stunts, and more build and rebuild configfire fighter rescue setting or Sky Crane Tower, a construction site urations. Plug in and play an MP3 player for more music mixes and set, to build and grow their Streetz world. The buildable playsets watch as the LED lights synch with the beat. The iPark iCoaster is can be positioned in multiple ways to allow for different configu- compatible with other versions of the iCoaster. The Furious Wheel is a high-capacity ferris wheel ride. Watch as rations and play scenarios. The playsets come with touch command-motorized vehicles that activate light, sound, and motion, a the metallic spheres take a ride around the tracks, perform gravitydefying stunts, or jump into the tricked path configuration. Light block booster, and stunt ramps. Kids can expand their Streetz car collection with seven exclusive- effects add to the fun and kids can connect it to the iCoaster. With the Vortex Rev, launch the metallic sphere up, hit the bell, ly decorated vehicles in one convenient pack. Spin the mag on the and watch as it rides the vortex and spirals through the Collector’s Wheel’s tire-inspired play packaging to tracks. The Vortex Rev can be the booster pack for the see all the different car models. iCoaster but also a stand-alone kid-powered toy. With Streetz Stunt Series, kids can build and Separate the Vortex and the tracks to create an extreme grow their Streetz world with iconic buildings and ride by linking it to the iCoaster and the Furious structures. Choose from four City Blocks with Wheel. All iPark products are for ages 6 and up. hyper-action stunts or activate light and sound on The MEGA Bloks Build’n Go Table comes with the vehicles using the touch-command feature. All 20 Maxi MEGA Bloks pieces. It features easy-toStreetz products are for ages 6 and up. fold legs and an integrated handle. The building Magnext MetalOns are magnetic warrior figplates allow for multiple building configurations so ures that kids can build, destroy, and quickly preschoolers can build bigger and higher. The inteinterchange parts for instant battle action and grated tracks work with all MEGA Bloks vehicles. customization. There are four MetalOns warThe table also promotes discovery and imagination riors, each representing a different element with with four fun scenes, stickers, a figure, and a vehicle. distinct character traits, power, and weaponry. Magnext MetalOns
60 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
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TOY FAIR 2009 LEGO LEGO will be expanding its Duplo line, for ages 18 months and up, with additional classic items and products that feature Thomas & Friends characters. In the new Thomas In the Mine set, young builders can take Thomas through a mining tunnel that doubles as storage for the playset. The set includes Thomas and the tunnel. LEGO will also be expanding its new Bricks & More line, which is a more advanced system than Duplo and includes more detailed step-by-step instructions with each kit. The Builders of Tomorrow set gives children a large collection of basic bricks and is Temple of Doom playset linked to a website that offers new instructions every month. LEGO Creator sets feature three-in-one model kits that can make three separate models with the same pieces. The Family Home set can produce a full family house with stone chimney, sliding doors, pond, terrace, and more and can be rearranged into a Mediterranean-style home or a bungalow. Technic is LEGO’s advanced building set that includes mechanical elements such as gears, beams, pulleys, and more, and supports the LEGO Power Function System in some models. The new Technic Go Kart kit lets builders create a kart that uses a working front steering column and a piston engine that moves up and down. LEGO City features themes based around everyday, downtown heroes and iconic models. The set allows for both roleplay and creative building design. Builders can fill space on Main Street with the City Life set, which provides a pizzeria and bike shop, as well as a bus stop and city bus. New from LEGO are the Power Miners playsets. A team of LEGO scientists and engineers have been sent out to find the source of strange rumblings across the globe and run afoul of the Rock Monsters. The Rock Wrecker kit provides kids with all the material to build a powerful min-
62 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
ing vessel to capture Rock Monsters. LEGO Agents 2.0 brings back Dr. Inferno and new henchmen for the Agents to face off against. The Aerial Defense Unit Kit puts Agents Trace, Chase, and Charge against Magma Commander and his magma drones. The kit includes a new aerial defense center with computers, zip line, jet ski, twin-propellor agent chopper, and more. The LEGO Castle set is expanding to include more battles between the trolls and the knights. Builders can make the King’s Battle Chariot and uses its crossbow to defeat the trolls. The Drawbridge Defense set puts builders in charge of defending the princess in a castle tower. Builders can also use the Troll’s Dark Fortress kit to build the lair of the giant trolls. LEGO Racers combines race car play and building, with race tracks, remote control racers, and Power Racers with pullback motors. The Street Extreme foldout race track combines two tracks that feature a parking garage, police blockade, helicopter, and refueling station. Kids can also recreate a real race car with the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 kit, which has all the pieces necessary to create a scale model of the real race car. LEGO will further expand its Star Wars product line with new sets featuring characters and vehicles from the classic movies, the new movies, and the new Clone Wars animated series. The Endor Battle Playset gives builders control of Han Solo, the Ewoks, and the rest of the Rebel force from Episode VI as they attack the Imperial bunker on Endor. Builders will also be able to build new scenes featuring Indiana Jones. The Temple of Doom building set gives builders the chance to recreate a classic scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, as Indy, Short Round, and Willie escape the temple in a runaway mine cart. The Bionicle line will also see new additions. The Glatorian Legends line features six new Glatorian Warriors to collect and build.The Skopio XV-1 can transform from a scorpion into a high-speed tracked vehicle.
TOY FAIR 2009 4K IDZ 4Kidz introduces Pinky Dinks, a new line of fashion forward finger watches, which will premiere this fall. The company’s artists created graphics that were cute, comfortable, and cutting edge for style-conscience young girls. The range will be available in analog and digital watch formats. The 4Kidz Mattress Bank requires no minimum balance and is being touted by the company as “The Safest Bank in the World.” There is no penalty for early withdrawal. The depositor’s peace of mind is compounded daily. It is made from 100 percent recession-proof fabric. The bank is nine inches tall.
W INNING M OVES G AMES
Winning Moves Games offers the new Rubik’s You Can Do It puzzle. It comes with an easy-to-follow DVD that carefully shows the player how to twist and turn the cube to solve it. Speedcuber Tyson Mao has taught thousands of people how to solve the cube and now he shares his technique on this DVD. It is for ages 8 and up. Scattergories The Card Game (shown) is a fast-paced, portable category game where players shout out the first word that comes to mind for each letter/category combination. Once a player shouts out a correct word, he chooses whether to keep the beginning letter or category the same for the next round. Whoever has the most cards at the end of the game wins. The game is for two or more players ages 8 and up.
A EROMAX Aeromax will introduce more than 20 new children’s outfits in 2009. One is the Jr. Cheerleader. With bright colors, attention to detail, a set of pom-poms, matching briefs, and a hair scrunchie, girls will feel just like a real cheerleader. Choose from three color combinations: red, white, and blue; purple and gold; or classic blue and white. The one-piece outfit with pleated skirt comes in three sizes: 2/3, 4/6, and 6/8.
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E LENCO E LECTRONICS The DeLuxe Snap Rover kit from Elenco Electronics comes with a remote control and features more than 20 projects and 30 parts. The DeLuxe Snap Rover goes forward and backward, turns right and left, and has side lights, a headlight, and a horn. Additional features include a disk shooter, digital voice recorder, and music. All parts snap together with ease and no soldering is required. A fullcolor manual is included.
...IF YOU EVER FIND YOURSELF WEARING A HELMET, WITH A SPOON IN YOUR MOUTH WHILE KEEPING ONE HAND ON THE GROUND AND SNORTING LIKE A PIG EVERY TIME SOMEONE ROLLS A THREE... THEN YOU MUST BE PLAYING QUELF! 300 VI AT BSIT US OOTH #
TO E X THE PERIENCE Q EFFEUELF CT
TO E X THE PERIENCE Q EFFEUELF CT
Quelf has taken the traditional board game and turned it into an experience! To find out more contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Quelf, from the makers of Fact or Crap and Battle of the Sexes.
TOY FAIR 2009 I NTERNATIONAL P LAYTHINGS
T HE W EATHER C HANNEL
International Playthings (IP) introduces several new Calico Critters of Cloverleaf Corners products for 2009, including new characters and playsets, as well as a new line of Calico Critters plush. The new line of Calico plush features Lauren Fisher Cat, Penny Petite Bear, Willow Cottontail Rabbit, and Nibbles Norwood Mouse. Each Critter comes with removable clothing and can easily be placed in a sit- Early Star Cow Animal Snacker ting position. They are approximately eight inches tall and for ages 3 and up. A new line of Early Star products will debut from Earlyears. Animal Snackers are electronic feeding bowls that make animal sounds as babies eat. Each bowl is activated by the special spoon and makes one of four sounds each time the spoon leaves the bowl. The insert bowl is removable, can be placed in the microwave, and is even dishwasher top-rack safe. There are two varieties—Dog and Cow (shown)—that are for ages 10 months and up. Zippy Zoomers are pull-back vehicles that make clicking sounds as they zip along. The farther they are pulled back, the farther they roll forward. Each vehicle rattles when shaken, and the soft, rubbery wheels work on multiple surfaces. There are two styles—a car and a firetruck. They are for ages 6 months and up. Imaginetics favorites get a makeover in 2009. The Beauty and the Beast Imaginetics Playset lets kids recreate the fairy tale with magnets. The playset comes with Beauty and the Beast magnet figures, play scenes, and other accessory magnets. The playset is for ages 3 and up. New iPlay Action and Board Games include Speedy Delivery. Players take turns driving along the game trail, landing on spaces that allow them to load up the dump truck with freight tokens. Speedy Delivery comes with an extra-large game board, a Chubbies pick-up truck, a spinner, and game tokens. It is for ages 3 and up.
The Weather Channel will introduce new products based on Radar, the dog mascot of theweatherchannelkids.com. Radar appears on the Weather Games section of the site, which offers coloring pages featuring Radar in his many meteorologist pursuits. Other interactive games offer experiences in severe weather preparedness, safety, and helping the environment. Radar will step off of the computer screen to become a wide variety of licensed products that will include children’s toys, plush, books, and learning games. Radar has a likability and relevance that lends well to merchandise extensions in the many varied topics on the website, including forecasting activities, careers in meteorology, tips on pet safety for all weather conditions, climate awareness, and exploring the amazing sides of weather and nature.
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U NCLE M ILTON Building on its line of radio-controlled creepy-crawlies, Uncle Milton introduces the R/C Scorpion. Use the multi-direction remote to control this authentic scorpion with realistic movements. It is for ages 6 and up.
TOY FAIR 2009 D UNCAN TOYS
PATCH P RODUCTS
Duncan Toys will introduce Warball to the trading card game (TCG) category. This new TCG combines traditional strategy with innovative, tactical, head-to-head marble action. Warball pits two or more players, ages 8–12, against each other in the quest for supremacy of the planet Garnath. Players use Warballs (marbles) as assault weapons to knock opposing Warballs off the battlefield. A range of assaults is directed by the cards. Battle Boxes include a 60-card set deck, two embedded Savages, six Master Warballs, 16 Core Warballs, a storage pouch, 24 ring stands, six markers, a ruler, and a 24-page rule book. Skirmish Packs are played against other Skirmish Packs or Battle Boxes. They include a 15-card set deck, an embedded Savage Warball, two Master Warballs, four Core Warballs, six stands, six markers, a ruler, a storage pouch, and a 24-page rule book. Boosters are random sets with common, uncommon, and rare cards. Each includes five cards, a Master Warball, and two Core Warballs.
Cards in Patch Products’ family game 100 Really Dumb Things You Have To Do While Playing This Game (shown) tell players to salute the nearest wall, do the Chicken Dance around the room, or walk like a gorilla. Other cards set off chain reactions among players. One player’s actions might cause other players to do a hula dance, pretend to jump rope, or hiss like a snake. The game includes 100 Really Dumb Cards and dumb props such as a cat nose, pirate eye patch, and tambourine. It is for three or more players ages 7 and up. In Pass the Pup, a fast-paced preschool game, one player will be left holding the puppy when the music stops. When the pup’s belly is pressed, the song “Who Let the Dogs Out?” plays for a random length of time. Players quickly pass the pup around the circle until the music stops. Whoever is caught holding the pup will have to bark, howl, roll over, or do some other puppy activity. The pup also serves as a soft and cuddly companion for preschoolers. Pass the Pup is for two or more players ages 3 and up. It uses two button-cell batteries, which are included. In Where’s Waldo? Ahh Ha! games, players try to spot 39 items that Waldo saw on his trip across America, around town, or on a safari. Shake the tube and jiggle it around until everything is seen. Lucky players will discover the hidden Where’s Waldo? token. The top of the Ahh Ha! Tube has easy-to-use write-on, wipe-off lists of the items players must locate. Check them off with the included marker as each item is found. Where’s Waldo? Ahh Ha! games come in three titles: Across America, On a Safari, and In My Town. The games are for one or more players ages 6 and up.
CBS C ONSUMER P RODUCTS
CBS Consumer Products, a division of CBS Entertainment, will introduce new toys and games based on the popular television series and the new film Star Trek. CBS Consumer Products will introduce Star Trek board games from Fundex and USAopoly as well as a wide range of collectibles and gift items from Funko and Vandor.
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TOY FAIR 2009 T ECHNO S OURCE
10V OX E NTERTAINMENT
Techno Source and IAC Consumer Applications & Portals have partnered to create Smiley Central Studio toys and SmileyCentralStudio.com. Smiley Central Studio toys allow kids to show the world who they are, how they feel, and who they want to be. Kids can collect Smiley Central Studio characters in the form of plush, collectibles, and activity kits. Each Smiley Central Studio toy includes a studio token with a secret code to unlock smiley parts, accessories, and even art assets at SmileyCentralStudio.com. Techno Source products include Smiley Central Three-Pack Charms that can be attached to cell phones, bags, zippers, backpacks, and more. Activity kits include the Wall Art Kit, which allows kids to color and decorate their own pieces of art and then stick them on their walls. The Mood Jewelry Kit lets kids decorate beads and pendants with stickers, glue, and glitter. Smiley Central products are for ages 6 and up. The patent-pending technology of Printies allows kids to design, print, and stuff their own toys in three steps. Design online using the design studio at MyPrinties.com. Printies Feed the special Printies fabric paper into any ink jet printer. Once the first side is complete, print the design on the back side. Then pop out the 2-D, pre-stitched creation and use the enclosed stuffing tool to make it 3-D. The line debuts with three starter sets: Printies Pets, Printies Ocean Adventure, and Printies Jungle Safari. Each set includes access to MyPrinties.com, five pattern sheets for making six Printies, stuffing material and the stuffing tool, four display stands, Printies sticker sheets, and two key chain clips. Printies Refill Packs include three Printies sheets, three stands, and stuffing for three Printies. Printies are for ages 5 and up.
10Vox Entertainment’s Tracksters is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) for kids featuring online racing and car customizing paired with an affordable line of diecast, highly collectible, licensed cars. The Tracksters 3-D animated website lets gamers ages 8–14 enter a virtual community of racing and customizing. Each car has a unique code, which allows users to create a free online profile. Players can use their personal avatar to customize their car and race online. By attending TrackCollege, players can participate in trivia-based mini-games to earn TrackBucks and use them to customize their cars with new parts from the TrackMall. Tracksters is a safe and secure website that is constantly updated and enhanced to make gameplay fun and challenging.
70 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
A CT III L ICENSING Oberon Media, a developer of casual games, appointed Act III Licensing as its licensing agency to build on its Dream Day casual game franchise—Dream Day Wedding, Dream Day Honeymoon, Dream Day First Home, and Dream Day: Married in Manhattan. Categories available for licensing are electronic games, DVD games, puzzles, novelty publishing, lottery scratchers, and Vegas-style gaming. Act III has signed Ceaco to produce a line of puzzles for the Dream Day series. Ceaco has translated the art and seek-andfind element of the game into a line of three different puzzles.
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TOY FAIR 2009 4K IDS E NTERTAINMENT
HIT E NTERTAINMENT
4Kids Entertainment will showcase a complement of toy partners with new product lines for the company’s action-packed lineup. Playmates will lead the charge with new toys for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, including the 25th anniversary toy line, and Yu-Gi-Oh! New Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds toys will be unveiled. 4Kids will make an announcement for its hit property Chaotic—the trading card and online game. 4Kids and Jakks Pacific’s Play Along division will also introduce a new Cabbage Patch Kids line—Cabbage Patch Kids Fairies—which will build upon its recent 25th anniversary offerings.
This year, HIT Entertainment’s Bob the Builder embarks on new building projects, including a live stage show, Bob the Builder Live! Spud’s Big Mess. It is set to travel to more than 70 cities from January through June. Bob the Builder is also laying a foundation at LEGOLAND family theme parks worldwide with a 4-D movie. Bob the Builder and the Roller Coaster debuts at LEGOLAND California and LEGOLAND Windsor in the UK in March and will be screened in LEGOLAND theaters daily. And this fall, Bob the Builder’s new CGI series launches on PBS Kids with new machines and building destinations. Thomas the Tank Engine welcomes aboard new partners and introduces new toy items. HIT ToyCo will introduce Let’s Go Thomas. This toy takes little engineers on big adventures as Thomas chugs along by himself. Let’s Go Thomas is a fully interactive toy that will get children up and moving. It requires three C batteries, which are included. Let’s Go Thomas is for ages 18 months and up. Thomas at The Sodor Steam Works is the latest TrackMaster battery-powered Thomas playset. Guide Thomas into the newest repair yard on the Island of Sodor and use the big claw to pick him up. Next, place him in the rotating lift to make repairs. A special tool—with lights and sounds—helps get the job done. The tool requires three LR44 batteries, which are included, and Thomas requires one AA battery, which is not included. The toy is for ages 3 and up. Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps is a new CGI series that sees Angelina Ballerina at a new performing arts school where she’ll experience new forms of music and dance. The show is slated for a fall 2009 premiere on PBS Kids. The program will be supported with a new CGI website this spring.
Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps
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TOY FAIR 2009 D ISNEY C ONSUMER P RODUCTS For Disney Consumer Products’ Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure Disney Princess brand, a 10th anniversary will be celebrated in 2010. Backed by a strong slate of original and classic content releasing from 2009 and into 2012, Disney Princess will bring to market an assortment of toys and roleplay products from key licensees Mattel, CDI, and Playmates. Disney Princess will also welcome its newest princess in more than 10 years, Princess Tiana from Walt Disney Pictures’ animated theatrical film, The Princess and the Frog, releasing this holiday. The film returns to Disney’s classic fairy tale storytelling, hand drawn 2-D animation, and introduces its first African-American Disney Princess. The toy line will reflect the film’s New Orleans setting and will be inspired by elements from the film including the bayou, jazz music, masquerade balls, food, and hospitality. Products
will include dolls, feature dolls, dressup, playsets, and more. Disney will release Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure. In this story, Tinker Bell embarks on a journey where she has to trust her talents and learn lessons along the way. Disney has teamed up with CDI for an assortment of toys inspired by this storyline, from roleplay dresses to playsets. Toy Story 3 is set to release in theaters in 2010. In an effort to reacquaint fans and introduce new audiences, while setting the stage for the movie, Disney will re-release Toy Story as a special 3-D feature in theaters this fall, followed by Toy Story 2 in 3-D in spring 2010. Disney Consumer Products will embark on a ramp-up strategy releasing a focused assortment of new toys inspired by the first two films with a major push behind Toy Story 3.
C OURAGE B RANDS
K IDS O NLY
Courage Brands will expand its line of collectible novelty pens, the Kooky Klickers, with the Kooky Fun Klub. The Klub offers exclusive membership benefits and tools for collectors. Benefits include a special website activation code for members only, an exclusive Kooky Klicker pen named Desmond, a Klub lanyard, Fun Klub bling stickers, a 2009 Kooky Klicker checklist, a Fun Klub member certificate, a Fun Klub window sticker, a 2009 Kooky pocket checklist, Fun Klub peel-and-stick stickers, and a Klub button. Collectors join the Klub by purchasing a membership kit from a specialty retailer or online at www.kookys.com.
The Kids Only Cars Activity Table and Stool Set (shown) includes a table and one stool. The vinyl surface is washable and no tools are required for its easy assembly. The table features sturdy steel construction. The weight limit is 60 pounds. It is for ages 3–7. The Princess Erasable Activity Table Set includes a table, two padded chairs, and dry-erase markers and eraser. Adult assembly is required and tools are included. The table features metal tubular steel construction and patentpending double safety locking mechanisms. The weight limit is 100 pounds. It is for ages 3–7, from Kids Only, which is now a division of Jakks Pacific.
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TOY FAIR 2009 K’ NEX Sesame Workshop and K’nex will introduce the Sesame Street Elmo’s World Adventure Series. Specially designed for children ages 2–5, the new sets allow the youngest builders to go on exciting adventures with Elmo. Each set lets kids build their very own talking Elmo model and themed accessories. With Elmo’s Outer Space Adventure Building Set, aspiring astronauts will help Elmo explore the moon and far beyond. This 42-piece space-themed building set lets kids dress Elmo in a white astronaut suit and helmet, and then help him lift off to the moon by creating a custom red, white, and blue rocket ship. After building, push down Elmo’s head to hear him say, “Today Elmo is exploring the moon, just like an astronaut. Pretend that you are an astronaut too, and let’s explore together!” The building set comes with colorful Kid K’nex rods and connectors, as well as Kid K’nex blocks. It also includes a Play & Learn activity sheet, filled with educational and collaborative activities for parent and child, along with additional building ideas. New Collect & Build sets include Air Action, Racecar Rally, and Moto-Bots. Each aircraft in the Air Action series, for ages 5 and up, comes with its own unique feature, such as flashing lights or motion-activated sound. All sets have more than 200 parts and K’nexmen pilots. All four racers in the Racecar Rally series, for ages 5 and up, feature a high-speed motor, more than 200 parts, and K’nexmen drivers. Each Moto-Bots robot comes with more than 350 parts and a motor that allows for mechanical motion features. Moto-Bots are for ages 7 and up. New in the Thrill Ride collection is the Lava Launch Lava Launch Coaster. Standing more than four Coaster feet high when completed, the coaster is shaped like a giant volcano. This building set includes 1,200 pieces to construct a coaster with more than 20 feet of spirals, twists, and loops. A motorized blaster spools up and shoots cars up and out of the volcano. It is for ages 9 and up.
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S ENARIO Senario introduces My Secret Circle, a secure social networking world designed for girls 8–12 and their internet-cautious parents. Invisible to the online world, My Secret Circle lets younger girls create private communities with friends. Products include online access keys featuring proprietary technology with embedded browsers and unique ID codes. Friends can only connect on My Secret Circle by exchanging these private codes. Special fashion charms are packaged with the access keys, allowing girls to exchange charms along with their private codes. Other options include All About Me profile pages with a Diva Designer avatar creator tool, an online journal that can be private or posted, instant messaging, games, and an extensive photo feature in which girls can upload photos, add text and décor, and create slideshows. Also available is a headset and microphone, allowing girls to voice-chat online in a secure environment.
TOY I SLAND Toy Island and Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP) announced a multi-year deal to create a line of high-quality wood products inspired by several Nick Jr. series. The new line of products will be based on characters from Nickelodeon’s library of series, including The Wonder Pets; Go, Diego, Go!; Dora the Explorer; The Backyardigans; and Ni Hao, Kailan. Featured items will include lacing bead sets, bead chasers, vehicles, figures, and figure playsets, which will make their retail debut in specialty stores worldwide in 2009. Go, Diego, Go!
TOY FAIR 2009 F UNRISE
A LEX TOYS
Funrise expands its Gazillion Bubbles line with the Gazillion Bubble Rocket (shown). Pour the bubble solution into the tray of the launch pad, place the rocket on the launch- Gazillion Bubble Rocket er, and launch the rocket to see it leave a bubble trail. The kit comes with a rocket, launcher, stomp pad, and a six-ounce bottle of Gazillion Bubbles solution. The Bubble Bobble Train features bubbles streaming out of a smoke stack and a removable bobble head figure. The train includes four ounces of bubble solution. It requires three AA batteries, which are not included. The Bubble Bobble Cement Mixer comes with a removable bobble head driver. Push the bobble head and watch the vehicle roll into action, leaving a trail of bubbles behind it. Three AA batteries are required, but not included. Three types of bubbles pop out of the Gazillion Adjustabubble Machine. Just flip the switch to the desired bubble size. It includes 32 ounces of Gazillion Bubbles solution. Six AA batteries are required, but not included. With the Gazillion Bubbler Flyer, insert the flyer into the handheld docking station and fuel with bubble solution. Pump and press the trigger to watch the flyer soar in the sky leaving a trail of bubbles behind. The flyer comes with a launcher and six ounces of bubble solution. There are three styles to choose from. All Gazillion Bubbles products are for ages 3 and up. New Disney Bubbles products include the Disney Bubble Wubble No-Spill Tumblers. Dip the wand into the tumbler and blow hundreds of bubbles without spills. The tumblers are available in favorite Disney baby characters, including Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Mickey Mouse, and Donald Duck. Each tumbler comes with four ounces of Gazillion Bubbles solution.
Alex Toys will introduce more than 100 new items for 2009. Its Alex Jr. line expands with 12 new items as well as 10 new Tub Joy toys. Tub Joy’s Quacky Cups are three colorful duck-shaped cups to stack and drizzle in three different ways. The ducky heads make gripping easy for little hands. The set comes with one phthalatefree duck squirter. Quacky Cups are for ages 6 months and up. Tootin’ Tubmates are four brightly colored sets of animals with rafts that link together. Match the animals with their rafts and watch them float. Dunk them underwater to hear them whistle. They are for ages 6 months and up. Discovery Car is a brightly colored, soft fabric car designed to guide infants through exploration of tactile surfaces, reflection, sounds, and open/close motions. Pull open the doors to see more. It is for ages 6 months and up. Alex Little Hands introduces 23 new learning toys, games, and craft kits designed just for preschoolers. Monsters Play All Day is a deluxe game set with seven monstrously fun games. The threetiered box includes Moody Monsters matching game, a 56-card deck of playing cards with four different game instructions, and a Mix & Match puzzle game. Moody Monsters features 15 different monsters each addressing the social and emotional needs of children. It is for ages 3–5. Alex continues bringing technology to the tub with Tub Target Screaming Monsters (shown). Use the monster squirter to squirt at the three monster faces on the target that suction cups to the tub wall. Hit the targets and hear different sounds from each monster. It is for ages 3 and up. Jump for fun and exercise with Little Jumpers Trampoline. A colorful padded trampoline with cushioned handle offers kids an outlet for their energy. Spring-loaded legs make Tub Target Screaming Monsters assembly quick and easy. It holds up to 70 pounds and is for ages 3 and up.
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TOY FAIR 2009 A LL S TAR B UDDIES AllStarBuddies.com is a new sportsthemed virtual world website, where kids can not only kick balls, but they can shoot pucks and score touchdowns in their bedrooms. Founded by Caryn Burns and Cindy Prince, AllStarBuddies.com is a safe, virtual playground for kids ages 6 and up where a healthy, positive lifestyle is reinforced through fun games, quests, and social interaction. Based in the fictional town of Varsity Heights, members receive a user ID and password for their own private account. Kids select one of seven sports-themed, animated characters as their onscreen persona. The All Star Buddies animated characters in Varsity Heights include Chip (the Golf Buddy), Blitz (the
82 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
Football Buddy), Deuce (the Tennis Buddy), Striker (the Soccer Buddy), Ace (the Baseball Buddy), Swish (the Basketball Buddy), and Deke (the Hockey Buddy.) Kids can visit the Varsity Heights Stadium for playing sports-themed games, The Arcade for challenging friends to arcade-style games, and the School Zone for testing brain power with games and activities. Visit the playground to play kick ball or slide down the slide. In addition, children can collect the seven All Star Buddies plush toys, available for purchase at selected specialty toy and gift stores. Each plush character comes with a unique promotional code that children can enter online to receive extra privileges in Varsity Heights.
A CTION P RODUCTS
W ILD R EPUBLIC
Action Products released the OLogy line of products under its Action Toy line, created in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History. Germ Soap (shown) lets kids make their own glycerin soaps in the shape of common bacteria, while also learning about the role microorganisms play in the ecosystem. Other items include a collection of stylized wood kits that can be easily assembled and painted, a star gazer kit, a compass adventure kit, a shark adventure kit, and wall wraps that allow kids to create a room of wonder. A collector’s card is packed with each product. To feed kids’ hunger for science and fun and to get a free Field Guide, kids are directed to go to www.fieldguide2adventure.com where they can download and print a personalized OLogist certificate and enjoy additional online OLogy activities.
Wild Republic will debut its new bendable skateboarding animal action figures called Mongo Grinders. The new toys are sixinch tall bendables with suction cups that allow for securing the animal figure in a number of positions on the mini skateboard. Mongo Grinders also carry an important mission of teaching environmental concerns when, as the story goes, they sneak out of the zoo one night to skate the streets, only to discover that the planet’s ecosystems are in danger. Now the Mongo Grinders skate to reach and teach others about conservation. Wild Republic will sell individual Mongo Grinders animals such as Kickflip Tree Frog, Backslide Crocodile, Nosegrind Rhino, and Bail Wolf, as well as deluxe twopiece sets with environments and ramps.
P LAY V ISIONS Play Visions’ Club Earth division introduces the Splashy Dashy Otter (shown). This otter is battery operated and glides, turns, and twirls in water, making random swimming motions in the pool and bath. Play Visions has added a new twist to its Clackers—a maraca shape on the ends and small beads inside. This combination produces a swishing sound while kids play with the Maraca Clackers.
S ESAME W ORKSHOP Celebrating 40 years, Sesame Workshop is working with the industry’s top licensees for products that utilize the latest technology as well as offer back-to-basic classics that will engage retailers and consumers alike. This month, Sesame Street co-founder, Joan Ganz Cooney, will be inducted into the Toy Industry Association’s Hall of Fame for her contributions to the trade.
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 83
TOY FAIR 2009 N ELVANA E NTERPRISES
M ONOGRAM I NTERNATIONAL
Nelvana Enterprises’ Max and Ruby are entertaining and mischievous bunny siblings now showing on Nick Jr., Noggin, and Treehouse TV. With the new Max and Ruby plush by Jakks Pacific, children can snuggle up with their favorite bunny buddies and follow along on their adventures through the accompanying storybook and read-along CD.
Monogram International’s Marvel Bust Bank lineup features favorite Marvel Heroes in bright colors. The Spider-Man Bust Bank is available in two styles—classic red and blue, and black. Wolverine is available in masked or unmasked versions. Other Marvel characters include Venom, The Incredible Hulk, and The Thing. All banks are sized so they can be placed anywhere—on desks, bookshelves, and more. Made of roto-plastic, the banks will not become too heavy once they are filled with change. The banks are for ages 5 and up. Venom and The Incredible Hulk Bust Banks
Large Rag Doll Grenadine comes inside bright retro packaging. Her 13-inch soft cloth body features a cheerful painted face with a fleece cap and soft scarf. Nourrisson is a 17-inch toddler doll designed to look just like a real baby for pretend play for girls 3 and up.
Large Rag Doll Grenadine
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FAMILY G AMES Family Games is releasing a new line of games called Cognitive Creations, which challenge players with spatial problems. The line includes games such as Quantumino, where the challenge is to fit 16 of 17 3-D pentamino figures into the playing frame. In Inversé, players position wooden playing pieces on the game grid, turning them so that no two stand the same. Three new strategy games include Stratum, where players reveal or conceal their pieces. Sprocket is all about movement and mechanics. One Up is a calculating game of mounting moves. Each game is designed to sharpen spatial and planning skills.
TOY FAIR 2009 C REATIVITY
New boys’ craft kits from Creativity for Kids include the Planets—Create a Solar System Mobile (shown). The kit, which is for ages 8 and up, lets kids cover foam balls with eight colors of air-dry clay to create an array of planets. Hang the planets from the galaxy base with string and then display. The instruction booklet Planets— Create a Solar contains fun planetary science facts to comSystem Mobile plement the crafting experience. Boys can create 10 paper airplanes with the Sky Diver Paper Airplanes kit. Follow simple folding techniques to turn sheets of patterned paper into slick airplanes. Add sticker accents, then try to land the planes on the punch-out runways. A bonus sky diver with a parachute is included. The kit is for ages 6 and up.
N ICKELODEON & V IACOM C ONSUMER P RODUCTS Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP) will unveil new partners creating educational and interactive toys for Nick Jr.’s Ni Hao, Kai-lan. NVCP will also debut new partners for iCarly. SpongeBob SquarePants kicks off its 10th anniversary with talking plush from Play Along, a line of classic games from Hasbro, and educational toys from LeapFrog. Fisher-Price will introduce an interactive dancing doll inspired by the Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom TV event, along with an interactive kitchen. Go, Diego, Go! and The Wonder Pets will also come to life with new products from Fisher-Price. New iconic green Slime products from Jakks Pacific will debut. Nickelodeon will also unveil environmentally friendly products including organic plush, wooden toys, and a recyclable dollhouse from Toy Island. SpongeBob SquarePants
New games from Haba include Animal Upon Animal—The Duel. In this silly game for two players, anything is possible. Each player starts with four different animal shapes. Roll a large die to indicate which animal goes on bottom. Then roll a smaller die to decide which animal shape goes on top. Two more animals to balance make this a battle of time and wits to be the Paulina the Horse first player to successfully stack all four animals first. The game is for ages 5 and up. Paulina the Horse features a soft velour body and chenille mane and tail. The hooves are made of corduroy. This pink horse comes with a grey removable saddle and bridle complete with a magnetic flower.
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P LAYMOBIL New products from Playmobil include the Research Submarine. The Submarine comes with an underwater motor and two arms that grasp. The depth of the submarine in water can be adjusted with the hand pump. It also includes two figures. It requires one AA battery, which is not included. The Research Submarine is for ages 4 and up. Playmobil’s Family Home (shown) is a two-story house with attic windows that tilt, an extendable marquee, a terrace, furniture, and a grill. It includes four figures. The house also has a functioning doorbell. It requires two AAA batteries, which are not included. It is for ages 4 and up.
Co Coyne oy PR’s toy team is a specialized group of consumer product public relations professionals that th hat a possesses the passion, creativity and experience to impact your business. With in-depth wo working or knowledge of the youth, parenting and trade media, our team is in sync with the in industry ndu d and your target audience. Ou ur toy team has managed and executed product launches, brand-building campaigns, trade Our sh show ho support, inﬂuencer programs, social media marketing, celebrity endorsement programs and media relations for some of the industry’s most prominent brands, including Hasbro, Crayola, Toys“R”Us, and the Walt Disney Company, to name a few.
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TOY FAIR 2009 L ITTLE K IDS
M OOSE M OUNTAIN
Little Kids introduces new animal-themed No-Spill Bubble Friends Bubble Tumbler styles (shown). Kids can tip the tumbler, drop it, or even turn it upside down and the liquid stays inside. New styles include a lion, polar bear, penguin, and monkey. NoSpill Bubble Friends Bubble Tumblers come with a wand and twoounce bottle of Little Kids original no-stain, no dyes, non-toxic premium bubble solution. The tumblers are for ages 2 and up. No-Spill Bubble Friends Bubble Tumblers The No-Spill Bubble Blitzers Bubble Booster Technology continuously feeds bubble liquid to the bubble wand so kids can blow thousands of bubbles. Fill the product with bubble liquid, close the cap, and blow. The Bubble Blitzer Glitter Critter blows bubbles while the mylar glitter wings spin. It comes in pink or yellow. The Nickelodeon Bubble Blitzer assortment features Dora from Dora the Explorer, Diego from Go, Diego, Go!, and Pablo from The Backyardigans. Each Blitzer comes with a two-ounce bottle of Little Kids bubble solution. It is for ages 3 and up. With a flick of the wrist, the Bubble Twister wand spins around creating tons of bubbles. The wand’s rotation makes blowing bubbles easy to do for preschoolers. The Bubble Twister includes two ounces of bubble concentrate that makes up to 18 ounces of bubble liquid. It is for ages 4 and up. Little Kids and NASCAR have teamed up to create Bubble Racers featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Each Bubble Racer is a miniature version of the drivers’ cars. The battery-operated Racer has three modes of operation—continuous bubble machine, free-rolling racecar, or both features together. When used as a bubble machine, bubbles stream out of the racecar’s tailpipe. The NASCAR Bubble Racers include a gas can-shaped 3.8-ounce bottle of Little Kids bubble solution with an easy-fill cap. The Racers require two AA batteries, which are not included. The Racers are for ages 3 and up.
For the ESPN license, Moose Mountain will introduce the ESPN Quarterback Challenge. Complete as many passes as you can with the moveable launcher and rack up the points. The game features electronic scoring, music, and sounds. Moose Mountain’s FisherPrice Golf N’ Go Ride-On (shown) is a wacky golf cart that comes with its own builtFisher-Price Golf N’ Go Ride-On in putting green and golf bag, one golf club, two golf balls, and dashboard that plays sounds. Kids can use the golf club to putt or drop the balls through the side chutes and watch them spiral down the ramp dropping onto the putting green for a hole-in-one.
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Carrera of America is expanding its GO!!! line of 1:43 scale slot car racing sets with two entertainment licenses by Disney and Marvel comics. The GO!!! Cars, the High-Octane Adventure Set sees Lightning McQueen and Chick Hicks going head to head. The two cars fly over and through the competition on almost 18 feet of track, featuring two crossover sections, a spiral overpass, and a lap counter. GO!!! Spidey GO!!! is a 1:43-scale slot car and race track system themed after Marvel’s fourth installment in the Spider-Man series (anticipated for release in 2011 by Sony Pictures). As kids step into the cockpit of Spider-Man’s Webslinger, they’ll have to contend with Carnage, who pilots the Parasite RS at scale speeds of up to 450 miles per hour. Twenty feet of web-slung track, featuring a double loop, four-way crossover, and wall-climbing flyover, bring Spidey’s hometown of New York to life.
TOY FAIR 2009 TOYQ UEST
O HIO A RT
ToyQuest’s new robotic pet is Tekno Spider. This arachnid walks on walls and ceilings by remote control. Using a scatter mode, Tekno Spider may be used for target practice with the duel-action pistolremote control. Tekno Spider can even engage in a game of laser tag. Touch, light, and sound sensitive, Tekno Spider recognizes interaction with it. ToyQuest introduces an action figure series from DreamWork’s newest animation release, Monsters vs. Aliens. Choose from Dr. Cockroach, B.O.B., The Missing Link, Ginormica, Gallaxhar, and the Alien Robot Clone. These fully articulated six-inch figures allow kids to recapture the movie’s action at home or create their own adventures.
With the new Etch a Sketch Doodle Sketch (shown) from Ohio Art, kids can draw, erase, and draw again. The doodle stylus and four doodle stamps make drawing fun and the doodle eraser makes erasing easy. The grab-and-go handle, available on the classic and travel models, lets kids doodle wherever they go. The pocket-sized Doodle Sketch has a special grip feature. Etch a Sketch Freestyle offers a freestyle controller that lets kids draw lines, curves, and curly-Qs. Just shake to erase and draw again. Free overlays can be downloaded at www.world-oftoys.com to help kids trace mazes, pictures, and more. The new Etch a Sketch Magic Pad features two ways to draw and two ways to erase. Use the knobs to draw perfect lines. Use the magic stylus to draw squiggles. The magic stylus eraser lets kids erase a little or a lot. Kids can also use their fingers to erase. All products are for ages 3 and up.
S AKAR The Sakar Crayola MP3 Player, for ages 4 and up, has a built-in speaker/voice recorder and comes with earbuds. It holds up to 1GB of music. It is made to work in connection with a clock radio or on its own. The MP3 player requires one AAA battery, which is not included. Sakar will also produce the LeapFrog Digital Camera with Interactive Software. It features a talking camera that says, “Smile for the camera,” “Say cheese,” “Great shot,” and “Bye bye.” The software will include an extensive creative writing area and games. Kids can easily upload their photos and import them into the various sections of the software to become part of the games/stories. It is a 2.1MP camera and is for ages 4 and up.
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RJM L ICENSING RJM Licensing, Inc., the licensing agency hired by Chorion to manage the Paddington Bear property, announced that Madame Alexander will create miniature plush of Paddington Bear to be paired with its Wendy doll. Yottoy will continue producing its 10inch Paddington Bear and 18-inch Paddington Bear soft toy plush through 2010. Consumers will be able to select different boot, jacket, and hat colors for Paddington Bear and the plush will be offered with or without the bear’s suitcase.
BANZAI SKIMBOARD SURFER
TOY FAIR 2009 U NIVERSITY G AMES
University Games’ Great Explorations division is launching the Splatter Mat, an activity mat for kids that changes color with heat. The mat is composed of seven foam Splatter Pieces that fit together, so kids can create different-shaped, giant Splatters every time they play. Each piece is coated with a patented, unique material called Flip Faze, which changes color with the heat of a hand or foot, warm water, or sunlight. As the Splatter Mat cools, the color changes back, so kids can create images again and again. The Color On! Coloring Roll: Under the Sea introduces a new format to a traditional activity. Rather than opening a coloring book, children can roll out a 10-foot long piece of paper with printed images of creatures and plants from under the sea. With such a large coloring surface, several children can color at the same time. When they’re done they can either roll it back up or tear off sections to show off. There are also hidden images to find to add to the fun. Crayons are included. The roll can either be pegged vertically or shelved horizontally. The game division of University Games has new products for Fancy Nancy. In the Fancy Nancy Tea Party Game, kids race to collect Colorforms pieces and then create a lovely tea party scene with Nancy. The images support important learning tools such as color matching, critical reasoning, and decision-making. In the Super WHY! ABC game, players take on the powers of the Super WHY! characters and move around the board learning key reading skills, such as letter recognition, rhyming, and spelling. Guess What (shown) lets kids create their own wacky animal using different legs, bodies, and heads. Players try to guess what kind of creature their opponent has created using simple deductive reasoning. The game comes with sturdy stands so players can face off in any location.
Cadaco’s new product introductions for 2009 include EnviroBLOX. Building on last year’s success, EnviroBLOX are back with new sets that let kids unleash their imaginations and create incredible builds. New this year are kid-safe EnviroBLOX Tools to create custom shapes and other accessories that let kids personalize their designs. EnviroBLOX are still completely biodegradable and made from cornstarch in the U.S. Simply moisten and connect for a firm, instant hold and endless building fun. The Workshop (shown) and Kitchen sets are for ages 3 and up, while the Pet and Monster sets are for ages 4 and up. The Big Draw Chalk Drawing Machine is an innovative sidewalk art product. With easy-to-follow instructions, kids can create enormous chalk drawings on sidewalks and driveways that are more than six feet and look perfect every time. Using a simple “recipe card,” children use Big Draw’s corresponding letter and number system to plot points for their drawing, then simply connect the dots and color it in. Kids can create drawings such as a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex. Big Draw is for ages 7 and up. Cadaco has once again teamed up with illusionist Ryan Oakes to develop exciting new illusions for aspiring magicians. This time Ryan wants kids to have one “hero” trick that will be a true showstopper during any performance. Tricks include The Sword & The Stone, for ages 4 and up, and The Magic Lunch Box, for ages 8 and up. Kids can learn how to amaze their family and friends with a step-by-step DVD featuring Oakes. New games include GameBytes micro-games. About the size of a thumb drive, GameBytes simply plug into a computer’s USB port, no internet connection required. GameBytes let kids play games on the computer in a safe way. There are GameBytes for everyone from Speed Racer and Bella Sara for younger kids to Color Lines and What’s New for older kids. Just clip them on and take them anywhere. They are for ages 4 and up.
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TOY FAIR 2009 S TEP 2
Step2’s Lifestyle New Traditions Kitchen (shown) features Old World elegance with modern conveniences. The kitchen features a special frying pan and boiling pot with lid that activate electronic frying and boiling water sounds in the stove’s front burner. Other features include a “stainless steel” microwave, refrigerator, and oven. Minimal adult assembly is required and the kitchen requires batteries, which are not included. It is for ages 2 and up. Step2 will add new toys designed for children ages 12 months3 years. Its Basic Rhythm Preschool Band collection features seven instruments that combine ABC’s and music notes into a visual and tactile experience. Color-coded sheet music is included. For ages 2 and up, instruments include maracas, a tambourine, a drum, bongos, and a xylophone. Instruments for ages 18 months and up include a piano and guitar.
The Robot Head Buzz Wire Game, from Russimco, tests a players’ steady hand. The aim is to take the wire loop from one side of the robot’s head to the other, guiding it along his curly antenna. Touch the sides and the robot will buzz his disapproval with light-up eyes. Wind up the robot using a handle on its side. Robot Head is also available with a built-in AM/FM radio.
PARAMOUNT L ICENSING For Paramount’s Hotel for Dogs, Aquarius signed on to produce a colorful 14-inch by 19-inch 500-piece lenticular 3-D effects puzzle (shown) that features the stars of the film surrounded by their canine co-stars. Madame Alexander Dolls will produce dolls for Charlotte’s Web, Grease, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Funny Face, and Sabrina. The Breakfast at Tiffany’s dolls will be in limited edition.
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DCI L OS A NGELES
DCI Los Angeles’ Chop Socky Chooks will debut a variety of new products. Licensee Inkology has created a full range of school supplies, including binders, theme books, composition books, journals, notebooks, and novelty writing instruments. Trends International signed on to produce Chop Socky Chooks posters. Jada Toys will offer a range of six-inch articulated action figures of the three heroes, KO Joe, Chick P, Chuckie Chan, as well as the villain, Dr. Wasabi. The KO Joe figure features launching afro comb action, the Chick P figure features fan throwing action, and the Chuckie Chan figure features launching Pao Kung action. The Dr. Wasabi figure Jada Toys’ Dr. Wasabi figure features launching (pending final licensor approval) bomb action and comes with alternative pinching claws.
TOY FAIR 2009 B ASIC F UN Basic Fun acquired the Fisher-Price Classic Toy line. The line includes the Chatter Phone, Pull-A-Tune Xylophone, Snoop & Sniff, Two Tune TV, and the Music Box Teaching Clock. The line will be marketed and distributed to specialty retailers nationwide, as well as into specialty aisles Fisher-Price within select mass-market accounts. Chatter Phone Basic Fun partnered with Cartoon Network for a Ben 10 handheld featuring action-packed gameplay consistent with the show, its aliens, and their powers. Basic Fun will also offer two series of Ben 10 figural key chains, with each series featuring three unique characters. Two series of Bakugan Battle Brawlers Mega Key Chains feature the familiar Bakugan Battle Brawler ball in a slightly oversized format. Each Battle Brawler springs open and morphs into one of six Bakugan fighters when the button is pulled. Multiple styles of Star Trek key chains will be introduced, based on the original Star Trek series, the Next Generation series, and the upcoming Star Trek movie. The Star Trek Communicator Talking Key
C LASSIC M ETAL W ORKS
Classic Metal Works’ new Hot Rod Magazine Shelby Mustang GT 500 Cobra is one of several die-cast model assembly kits that CMW Holdings Ltd./Classic Metal Works markets around the globe. The kits feature a super high-gloss custom paint finish, a detailed engine and interior, and custom wheels and tires. The kits are easy to assemble with a small screwdriver and minimal gluing.
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Chain is a miniature replica of the original series communicator. When the Communicator is opened, the opening sound effect from the series plays. The inside features two buttons: one button sounds the phaser sound effect and the other button scrolls through seven popular phrases. Based on the new Star Trek, Basic Fun will offer a highly detailed key chain miniature of the Enterprise. Basic Fun will also offer a collectible assortment of vehicle key chains including the original Enterprise ship, the Enterprise from Next Generation, and the original Klingon ship. Basic Fun will release Madballs Series III, which consists of two lines—Classic and Sick. All six character styles are soft foam rubber balls that feature highly detailed faces bursting with freakish personality. Nail Biter has got brains and is not afraid to ooze them. Fist Face excels at hand/eyeball coordination. Other characters include Puck Teeth, Mosh Pitts, Lock Lips, and Snake Bait. This fall, a competition and gaming website Madballs.com will pit four teams against each other for the ultimate site takeover.
D OUGLAS C OMPANY
Douglas Company’s Sassy Pet Sak Sillos are animal silhouette-shaped bags with a long shoulder strap. These bags exude fashion-forward style and are created with new fabric combinations and beautiful designs. Sillos have a zipper closure at the top of the body and a pocket on the outside for additional storage. There are eight new Sassy Pet Sak Sillo designs in all—three puppy styles and five pony styles.
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TOY FAIR 2009 C ARDINAL G AMES
T HINK F UN
The Disney Fairies will star on all of Cardinal’s basic games, including checkers, dominoes, bingo, and card games. The Tub Full of Games will have all the Fairies games inside and a Game Pack on Wheels will allow girls to take their Fairies games with them wherever they go. The Tub Full of Games and Game Pack on Wheels will also feature the Cars, Princesses, and Mickey Mouse brands. The Disney TV show Wizards of Waverly Place will become a board game and a card game. The board game has kids creating spells with unique Magic Wand technology. In The Wizards of Waverly Place Card Game, the first player to collect five different spells wins. New Nickelodeon games from Cardinal include two versions of iCarly Charades—the iCarly Charades Card Game in a Tin and the Board Game in a Box. The games challenge kids to act out unique iCarlyisms such as “groovy smoothie” and “spaghetti tacos.” Nickelodeon’s Ni Hao, Kai-lan will be featured on classic games such as Chinese Checkers (shown), card games, and dominoes. The entire assortment of games will also come packaged in a Ni Hao, Kai-lan game pack and a game tub.
ThinkFun introduces S’Match, a classic memory game with a twist. Instead of matching identical objects, players are asked to make matches according to specific attributes, such as color, number, or category. The S’Match Spinner decides the path to a match. Pictures and words allow pre-readers and early readers to play together. It is for two or more players ages 4 and up. In its Brainteasers category, ThinkFun’s new 36 Cube challenges players to solve the world’s most challenging puzzle. 36 Cube is a multi-colored puzzle comprised of 36 towers arranged in the shape of a cube. The goal is to place only one of each colored tower in every row and column to form a perfect level cube. The game is for one player ages 8 and up.
S CRATCH A RT Kids can draw the wackiest, craziest pictures they’ve ever seen with Scratch Art’s Scratch Magic Wacky Scratch. Use the wood stylus to scratch the black coating and reveal designs that will pop off the page and create the illusion of movement. Each package includes four sheets, a stencil, and a wooden stick.
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F IESTA TOY
Fiesta Kidz is a new collectible line of plush toys from Fiesta Toy. The seven-inch collectible plush animals include brown dog, gray cat, giraffe, elephant, monkey, panda, brown bear, black bear, tiger, and white tiger. The Animal Trolley Back Pack collection offers more than 10 styles. Three new styles are being added for 2009, including an 11inch monkey and bear style, as well as a 10-inch orange clown fish style. These plush toy-shaped bags can be used as a traditional backpack by simply unsnapping from the trolley wheeled frame, and the easily pulledFiesta Kidz out straps turn it into a conventional backpack. The backpacks also feature a retracting handle.
TOY FAIR 2009 G AMEWRIGHT
R OCKET USA
New Gamewright games include Walter Wick’s Can You See What I See? Finders Keepers Game. Reveal a picture tile and try to find the featured object among your set of Keep Me cards. Find a match and turn that card face down. Look carefully as you may have more than one match on your cards. Be the first player to turn all of your cards face down. The game comes with 40 Find Me tiles, 60 Keep Me cards, and instructions in English and Spanish. It is for two to six players ages 4 and up.
The latest brand from Rocket USA is Lubies, created by Dakota Designs. Featuring a round shape and soft material inside and out, kids can grab them and toss them. There are no beans or codes—just simple fun. Included in the first series of eight are the Lubie Cat, Cow, Polar Bear, Pig, Brown Bear, Elephant, Dog, and Penguin, as well as two seasonal releases for Easter, Lubie Chick and Lubie Bunny. Also available will be the first releases of the My First Lubie infant line featuring a baby pink and baby blue Lubie Bear. Licensing discussions are underway with Major League Baseball for Lubie Bears, branded with team logos. A line of Lubies Citybears (Chicago, Boston, New York, etc.) is being developed for the souvenir gift market. A custom Lubie program is also underway.
T HE YOUNG S CIENTISTS C LUB The Young Scientists Club introduces new Magic School Bus kits. The Magic School Bus Going Green kit teaches kids experiments and activities that can save the Earth. Young scientists will recreate the water cycle, build a compost tube, shrink plastic, make packing peanuts disappear, decompose food with fungus, form pulp, create new paper, design recycled paper shapes, learn about the three R’s, and more.
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S CHOLASTIC M EDIA Scholastic Media will unravel the mystery surrounding its new multi-platform property, The 39 Clues, with both University Games and Trends as licensees. Briarpatch has signed on for Scholastic’s Wordgirl, with product set to release in 2010. Scholastic will also introduce its new series on qubo, Turbo Dogs. There are new The Magic School Bus kits from The Young Scientists Club and Clifford the Big Red Dog will have tails wagging in conjunction with licensees, such as Yottoy and Mattel.
TOY FAIR 2009 S CHYLLING
O REGON S CIENTIFIC
Schylling expands its Flatsy doll line with a new assortment of deluxe Flatsy playsets that focus on birthday, slumber, and dance party themes. Each playset includes two Flatsy dolls, two party outfits, and accessories. The new Flatsy Take Along Playsets are for girls on the go. Each set has a doll, pet, take-along purse, and hair accessories. The new Flatsy doll assortment will be refreshed to include six new dolls with updated outfits. Flatsy is a remake of the original ’70s doll. Flatsy dolls are flat and able to be posed and bent into different positions.
The Oregon Scientific SmartGlobe gets smarter with wireless updates and an interactive LCD screen. With the SmartGlobe Elite, kids and families can discover the Australian outback, hear the history of the Egyptian pyramids, take a trip to Mount Everest, and listen to notable facts from around the world in the comfort of their home. Children and adults can play age-appropriate activities learning history, geography, culture, SmartGlobe and other categories. The touch sensitive Elite SmartPen allows for interactive fun. Simply choose a learning category and touch the spot on the globe to learn about currency, climate, politics, and more. The integrated LCD screen shows additional video and still pictures. Always have the most up-to-date world information by wirelessly downloading content for free from Oregon Scientific’s secure online server. The SmartGlobe Elite is for ages 5 and up.
F UNDEX G AMES Fundex Games reintroduces the electronic game Dream Phone. It includes a modern cell phone component with new features including text messaging. Players use deductive reasoning, based on clues they receive by calling different boys, to determine which of the 24 boys is their secret admirer. Dream Phone is for girls ages 8–14. Fundex will expand its card game line with Heist. Players use the tools of their trade to try to crack the vault code. As players compete to dial up the right combination of numbers, they must stay alert. An alarm bell will set off a super-size card shift and a double-cross may force a loss of turn. Heist can be played by two to six players and is for ages 8 and up.
L IFE ’ S B UILDING B LOCKS Life’s Building Blocks introduces a talking plush chameleon named Zaki. Storytelling Zaki sings “Zaki’s Song” and has six fables written into short stories and rhymes starring the Spruce Street Six, a group of best friends in the third grade. Zaki has fins on its back that change colors when kids are in situations where they should stop, slow down, and think, or go for it. Zaki is for ages 3–6. Storytelling Zaki
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TOY FAIR 2009 C RAYOLA
P RESSMAN TOY
Crayola’s Beginnings Baby Rainbow Tower lets babies explore colors with lights and music. Babies 6 months and older can stack the easy-to-grasp TaDoodles on the base and watch them light up in different colors, each with its own melody. Stack the yellow TaDoodle on top of blue and watch it turn to green, or nestle the blue TaDoodle underneath red and purple appears. Stacking and nesting activities help develop a baby’s size perception skills and eye-hand coordination. With the Crayola Glow Station, kids can create glow-in-the-dark art with strokes of light. Stencil sheets create space scenes or a day at the zoo. The light texture sheets reveal textures like spider webs, river rocks, and 3-D animal patterns. Kids can draw by pressing the light wand directly onto the glowing canvas or create funky shadow prints by placing an object on the canvas and waving the light wand above it. The Glow Station also features a plain acetate sheet and a black dryerase marker that serves as a blank, reusable canvas for transferring original works of art onto the glow board. It is equipped with a compartment for the light wand and crystal tip, a pocket for smaller stencils, and hanging posts for larger ones. It requires three AAA batteries. Kids can also create glowing effects on the go with Crayola Glow Station On the Go (shown). The self-contained glow tablet features a carry case and storage space. The kit comes with one light wand, a stencil sheet with light-resist shapes, and one light texture sheet. Both Glow Stations are for ages 6 and up.
New from Pressman Toy is the Seinfeld Trivia Game. Players join the show’s quirky characters and their misadventures with more than 600 trivia questions. Race the board to visit Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer, and go to Monk’s Diner to guess the quote. The first person to get soup from you-know-who wins. The game is for two to four players. In Ring Around the Nosy, players put on elephant masks and put their rings on the playing board. Using only their trunk, players must scoop up the color rings as fast as they can onto their trunks. Keep the rings on the trunk while picking up additional rings. The first player to get all three rings on their trunk wins. The game is for two to four players ages 4 and up. The Original Rummikub Large Numbers Edition (shown) features bright, oversized numbers so that it’s easier than ever for players to see the tiles that have been played. The orange tiles have been substituted with green, offering players a clearer color distinction. Players must create runs and groups of numbers with their tiles and try to be the first player to lay down all their tiles to win each round. The game is for two to four players ages 8 and up. Rummikub Kids Edition is the first Rummikub set for preschoolers. It is designed with shapes that help children self-correct their moves. The game helps children develop number and color recognition skills, teaches players how to build sets of consecutive numbers, and also fosters logical reasoning as they learn the basics of Rummikub. There are three levels of game play. It is for two to four players ages 4 and up.
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A ROUND T HE TABLE G AMES
Around The Table Games will introduce its newest line additions, Camp Talk and Buddy Talk. With Camp Talk (shown), kids get to know new camp friends on the bus to camp, in the bunk after lights out, or around the campfire while eating s’mores. Just draw a card, read one of the 50 questions, and let the fun begin. If the cabin or tent is dark, just use the attached flashlight to read the question. It also has a compass. Questions include “What’s the funniest or most unusual nickname for a counselor you’ve heard?” and “If you designed a camp for kids, what would it be like?” Buddy Talk helps kids find out a ton about their friends at the bus stop, during recess, or at a sleepover. Questions include “What’s your favorite thing about summer break?” and “If you could have picked your own name, what would it be?” Also new for 2009, Around The Table Games is offering a double-deck tin with full playing-card-sized Family Talk and Grandparent Talk decks. In addition, the company will debut new and improved cards. From now on all cards will be full-sized playing cards and be made from heavier paper stock. Cards will now have rounded edges and a circular carabiner for easier flipping.
Aurora has inked a deal to produce an exclusive line of plush product for Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine, the cartoon comic strip syndicated in more than 550 newspapers worldwide. The line will initially consist of seven pieces: 12-inch plush Rat, Pig, and Croc, as well as eight-inch plush Rat, Pig, Croc, and Zebra. Aurora is also producing a new line of Looney Tunes plush as well. The Tazmanian Devil plush features a burger, held in place by Velcro paws, that makes Taz burp when it goes in and out of his mouth. Fantasy Tweety features floppy legs that are designed to help it sit on the edge of a desk or bookshelf. Aurora will also be making a full huggable assortment of plush, featuring Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Daffy Duck, Taz, and Sylvester.
P LAYROOM E NTERTAINMENT Playroom Entertainment expands its Killer Bunnies and the Journey to Jupiter board game with the new Laser Red and Ultra Violet Booster Decks. These decks work with the stand-alone board game to expand the game play with three new sectors for the board, 55 new cards, and more. Also coming up from Playroom is Livingstone. The newest addition to Playroom’s Big-Box Game line, Livingstone is designed by Benjamin Liersch and set in 1855. Players strategically set tents and gather gemstones along the Zambezi River to win.
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TOY FAIR 2009 A LL N EW M ATERIALS All New Materials, Inc., will add more eco-friendly products to its lineup with the Our Children’s Gorilla line from Sweden. The line includes a variety of toys and kids’ room décor for all ages, including the Brownstone and Fire Station Dollhouses made from recycled cardboard, FSC-certified wood, and organic dyes. These houses feature exteriors that depict actual New York City building fronts and interiors that can be decorated to a child’s taste. Other products in the line include The Skullcave Playhouse. This indoor and outdoor playhouse is made from Sensaten, a recyclable, nontoxic material that is both pliDiscovery able and durable. Wooden Apehangers are made from Valchromat, a sustainable wood Deglingos material made from forest waste, and colored with organic dyes. Albert and Albert Jr. coat hooks are finished with a water-based lacquer and made of recyclable material. All products are for ages 3 and up. All New Materials adds baby and toddler extensions to its plush line The Deglingos. Discovery Deglingos are a group of explorative adventure plush toys for newborns. With familiar characteristics of the Original Deglingos, the discovery is found in several different activities such as squeaks, rattles, crinkles, and pull-string tails. Baby Deglingos are super soft corduroy companion mini blankets for newborns. They are machine-washable. Deglingos Rattles are brightly colored grabbing toys sized for a baby’s hands. Deglingos Footwear are slip-on booties.
S KATE R ANGER
Skate Ranger is the world’s newest superhero. This R/C action figure is a roller-blading, body-gyrating, daredevil toy with extreme sport super powers. There are three Skate Ranger versions. The Original Skate Ranger stands at 12 inches tall and features a 27 MHz engine. The style can be adjusted into kneel and go, left leg angle, right leg angle, stand and go, backbend and go, and prone and go. Motorcycle Skate Ranger is an all-terrain vehicle that can be maneuvered forward, backward, left, and right. It comes with a nonremovable Skate Ranger figure with shockabsorbers for a smooth ride and independent steering for sharp turns. Acrobatic Skate Ranger is in a stable crouching position with independently controlled skates. It features a light-up Skate Ranger logo and a voice-over option. Motorcycle Skate Ranger
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B IG B OCCA Big Bocca Productions announced that Upper Deck International signed on as the worldwide master toy licensee for Huntik: Secrets & Seekers. Upper Deck will launch its Huntik: Secrets & Seekers toy line this fall. The line will include six- and nine-inch figures, showcasing the adventure’s heroes and villains, known as Seekers, and mystical creatures called Titans, along with a basic holotome, a key electronic device within the series. Huntik: Secrets & Seekers is an original action-adventure property, developed through a partnership between Big Bocca Productions, animation studio Rainbow S.p.A., and production company m4e AG. It debuted in North America on The CW4Kids network last month.
TOY FAIR 2009 G LOBAL I CONS
3-D F UNTIME
Global Icons has signed a number of deals for its brands in 2009. Jasman Toys will be producing new products for the Chuck E. Cheese line, including the Chuck E. Cheese Alley Roller Classic game with lights and sounds. Tek Nek will be producing a new ATV foot to floor ride-on for the Honda Motorcycle brand (shown), featuring electronic rumbling seat motion and revving and talking sound effects. Dumar International will be handling batterypowered ride-ons for the Honda Motorcycle brand.
3-D Funtime will produce Noah’s Ark Animal Stackers. The Ark can be used as a play environment, shape sorter, puzzle, and storage case. Forty-four detailed figures are included in the set, as well as a bonus DVD that tells the story of Noah’s Ark.
G ATEWAY 4 M Gateway4m International has signed three new deals for its Wunderkind Little Amadeus brand. Naxos of America will release a DVD box set featuring season one of the Wunderkind Little Amadeus television show, as well as the show’s soundtrack. Playgo Ltd. will produce 21 toy musical instruments for the brand. The Games Company will be producing a new interactive video game for the brand for the Nintendo DS.
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P OOF-S LINKY New from Poof-Slinky is the Light-Up Slinky. Built-in LED lights keep the slinky lit up as it goes down stairs. Electronic Arcade Speedballs turns the classic arcade speedball into a home game, featuring automatic scoring and ball return. The Rack N’ Roll Bowl is a 10-pin alley for tabletop bowling that features a hook ball launcher and pin rack. The Electro Shot Shooting Gallery is an enclosed shooting gallery for safe play, featuring single or rapid-fire shooting. Dollhouse Decorator gives kids the chance to design and transform a doll house using paint, stencils, stamps, weaves, and stickers to various rooms in the house. It is available in three different styles. Poof-Slinky will also be producing the Kellogg’s brand No Bake Cooking Kit for various Kellogg’s brands, including Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, and Keebler.
T HAMES & KOSMOS
With Discovery Kids’ Build Your Own Robot Kits from SRM, kids can follow the step-by-step instructions to build a fully working robot. In both the Robocrawler and RobotronX kits, all pieces and tools are provided, as well as the remote control.
Thames & Kosmos will introduce eight new science kits for 2009. Power House Green Essentials Edition is an updated version of the original Power House kit that teaches kids about alternative energy sources with energy-related models, such as a greenhouse or solar cell array. Thames & Kosmos will also update its first science kit with Fuel Cell 10 Car & Experiment kit with a reversible hydrogen fuel cell. The Hydropower kit lets children explore the power of harnessing water energy to do physical work. The Global Warming kit can create a model atmosphere for kids to learn the effects of pollution and chemicals on the Earth’s atmosphere. Optical Science & Art lets children experiment with light and the color spectrum by building and experimenting with refracting lenses and viewing optical illusions. Thames & Kosmos will also introduce the 12th kit in its Little Labs series, Engineering, which will teach basic principles of engineering and explore engineering on land, in the air, and at sea. The company will also release two new kits under the Dangerous Book for Boys brand: Classic Chemistry and Essential Electronics.
Boikido, a French-based wooden toy company, is launching a line of environmentally friendly wooden toys for 2009. Boikido’s Eco-Friendly Wooden Toys are made of Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood that comes from monitored plantation sources. Non-toxic water-based paints are also used and the toys are packaged with recycled cardboard packaging printed on soy bean ink. The line consists of 11 products.
Dodge has partnered with Die-Cast Promotions and The Maya Group for a number of new models and radio-controlled vehicles. Die-Cast Promotions will be creating scaled down replicas of the 2008 Dodge Challenger, 2008 Challenger Concept, and the 1969 Dodge Dart (shown). The Maya Group will be producing the Dodge Rampage Concept remote-controlled monster truck, as well as an R/C Dodge Venom and an R/C Dodge Zeo.
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 111
TOY FAIR 2009 I C AN D O T HAT ! G AMES The Curious George Hide and Seek Zoo Game puts George in charge of the zoo. Players must help Curious George and the man with the yellow hat feed and care for zoo animals, repair fences, and clean up messes. When the electronic “walkietalkie” says that the animals have escaped, other players grab their masks and hide and the player must find them within a set time limit. In Curious George Discovery Beach (shown), players comb the beaches to reach the goals set by flipping a card. Sea creatures and treasures are hidden below five secret beach locations and must be matched to the player’s cards. When the spinner lands on a wave, a player must shake the box and the treasure will hide in new locations. The Curious George Super Helper Game lets kids help Curious George help others around the neighborhood. Players flip over three cards to see who needs help, pick a place to help, and drop the included ball, coin, or cube into the Super Helper tower and try to make a match as they come down on different sides.
E NDLESS G AMES
Quackgammon, from Endless Games, takes the classic game of backgammon and simplifies it for quicker play that can be enjoyed by the whole family, including young children. Players protect their three mallards by keeping them next to each other on the game board’s lake. Endless Games will also be reintroducing its Official Foam Table Tennis Set. The set contains an adjustable plastic net that snaps together and a foam ball and soft plastic paddles for safe play inside or outside. X-Ceter-O is Endless Games’ new version of tic-tac-toe. Players place six numbered pieces—Os marked 1, 3, and 5 and Xs marked 2, 4, and 6—on the play field. Once all six have been placed, play continues sequentially, moving the symbols in order until a row of three is achieved by a player.
T HE B OX
In Out of the Box’s new game Backseat Drawing Junior (shown), players race to identify drawings, but the artist doesn’t know what they’re drawing. The artist follows the directions of a director, while others guess based on the second-hand drawing. In Ninja Versus Ninja, players must lead their teams of ninjas to victory by eliminating their opponent’s ninjas and using the included sword dice. In Word on the Street, one team flips over a category card and must pick a word from the category and pull each letter of the word off the “street” without the other team pulling it back. In 7 ATE 9, players add or subtract 1, 2, or 3 to the top card on a pile to determine if they can play next while other players do the same. Run Wild is a new take on traditional rummy. Players still create runs and sets to get rid of their cards, but they can now additionally steal from a set or run already out, or donate their cards to any existing set or run.
112 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
W HACKY M USIC Whacky Music’s new collection of products are based on the ChromaNotes colors of the company’s Boomwhacker product line. The Whacky Chroma-Notes Composer is a music composition software program that features a set of virtual Boomwhackers tubes that create ChromaNotes-colored notes on a musical score that the computer can play back or print out. Chroma-Notes Stick-Ons are removable stickers colored to the Chroma-Notes color scheme for placement on existing instruments to allow kids to play colored music from Whacky Chroma-Notes Composer on real musical instruments. Whack-a Boom is a new Boomwhackers Card Game that features two card decks, one with different colored cards and one with four-beat rhythmic patterns of varying difficulty.
Z INKOT EK The 276-piece ZinkoTek construction set features brightly colored, soft, sturdy pieces that can be used to build a variety of structures, from animals to play houses, large enough for a child to play in. The system is designed to be easy to use both inside and outdoors.
L ISA M ARKS & A SSOCIATES
Lisa Marks & Associates (LMA) will be developing new programs for popular children’s toy brands. Colorforms, from University Games, will be licensed to a number of new partners. Tara Toy will create mini playset party favors. IDM Group will produce juvenile layette, as well as baby apparel and sleepwear. Briefly Stated/Giant Merchandising has signed on for juniors’ and men’s sleepwear, loungewear, and underwear, as well as juniors’ and girls’ T-shirts, fashion tops, and fleece. LMA is also currently developing a lifestyle brand for the Groovy Girls brand. Design International Group will continue to develop a comprehensive stationery program and Simon & Schuster will expand its line of coloring and activity books. LMA has extended the Just Born licensing program into new markets. Russ Berrie will produce basic, collectible, and novelty Peeps plush, toys, and slippers, as well as Peeps chick and bunny necklaces made with Swarovski crystals. Lenos will create a line of porcelain and ivory fine china home décor and giftware products for the Peeps brand. Chronicle books has released Peeps! Recipes and Crafts to Make with Your Favorite Marhsmallow Treat. Hanna’s Candle Company is developing a new line of Peeps candles and home fragrance.
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 113
TOY FAIR 2009 C ARTOON N ETWORK Cartoon Network has named Mattel as the master toy licensee for its original series, The Secret Saturdays. Mattel will manufacture, market, and sell a wide range of toys inspired by the new series, including action figures, playsets, roleplay, and more.
P LAYMATES Playmates Toys will add a number of new licensed products to its 2009 lineup. Working with Nickelodeon, the company will be releasing new dolls for the channel’s H2O brand, based on three teenage magical mermaids facing everyday teen problems. The Deluxe Fashion Dolls feature a skirt that transforms into a fin and back, while the Basic Fashion Dolls come packaged with a transforming fin that changes to doll legs. Both types can interact with the H2O Ocean Adventure Boat. Playmates will also release a new line of dolls to coincide with Disney’s Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure DVD release. Pixie Fairy dolls will feature 3.5-inch figures with interchangeable wings. The line also include eight-inch fashion dolls, two-inch collectible Fairies, locket jewelry, and keepsakes. H2O Basic Fashion Doll
The Secret Saturdays
E LMER ’ S
Elmer’s is introducing new products in the education and crafts category. The Kinder-Ready Early Learning Products is a line of eight educational items for children 3 and up. Elmer’s has partnered with The World of Eric Carle to provide imagery on the products, which go from basic skills such as learning letters to more advanced activities. For older kids (8 and up), Elmer’s has teamed up with MythBusters for a line of science kits that feature the license based on the Discovery Channel television show. Also coming up for 2009 is a new line of craft kits for kids on the go. Elmer’s has paired with Disney for a number of new travel products featuring brands such as Cars, Toy Story, Camp Rock, My Friends Tigger & Pooh, and more.
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L EARNING R ESOURCES
New from Learning Resources for 2009 are the Number Bugs. These critters introduce children to numbers, counting, addition, and color matching with chunky snap-together pieces. Color Caterpillars help introduce children to colors, patterns, and sizes. The Funny Phone Early Listening Game (shown) features more than 300 challenges, including singing, drawing, and more. Jitterz FastPaced Trivia Game features 250 questions about science, geography, logic, and more.
A W ISH C OME T RUE
P OKÉMON 2009 will see more expansion from the Pokémon line with several new Pokémon video game and TCG releases, the U.S. DVD release of Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior, the 12th season of the television series, and an international QSR promotion. It will be punctuated by a series of TCG and video game tournaments leading to the Pokémon World Championship in August.
A Wish Come True’s new Charmed Dress gives young girls a chance to dress up as a princess and goes along with the company’s new Gold Tiara and Wand. It uses high-quality fabrics to create a more durable and comfortable product for children to wear.
Z IZZLE Zizzle is bringing back P.J. Sparkles with a new line of dolls. The P.J. Sparkles Large Doll features a light-up heart, tiara, bracelet, and earrings, as well as a party dress that changes into pajamas. The Ballet P.J. Sparkles doll includes a changing ballet outfit, water bottle, and hairbrush. The Princess P.J. Sparkles Sparkle Friend doll includes a multi-color light-up heart, wand, and party gifts, as well as a removable tiara and Sparkles’ pet bear, Blaze. Other Sparkle Friends dolls include Princess Glowee and her pet cat, Flash; Princess Dazzle and her pet puppy, Shimmer; and Princess Sparks and her pet puppy, Fire. The Sparkle Friends line is compatible with the Twinkle Town playsets, such as the Twinkle Town Fashion Runway, which includes a hairbrush, magic wand, trophy, and fashion runway, as well as a special Fashion Princess P.J. Sparkles doll. The Twinkle Town Birthday Party comes with a Twinkle Town Park special Birthday Princess P.J. Sparkles doll, as well as party balloons, a cake, presents, and more. The Twinkle Town Beach playset includes a beach umbrella, radio, sunglasses, and the Princess Flare doll with her pet puppy, Silver. The Twinkle Town Park comes with Playtime Princess Sparks and features a light-up Twinkle Totter, water bottle, flying disk, lemonade, and more. The P.J. Magical Lights Bedroom comes with a Bedtime Princess P.J. Sparkles doll, as well as a full set of accessories to get the doll ready for bed, such as a hair dryer, hand mirror, hair brush, and more. Zizzles Skunk Fu line, based on the animated children’s program, features basic action figures, Flingz, and fling launchers. The line will also include small SFX Plush, large feature plush, and deluxe two-pack figure sets.
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 115
TOY FAIR 2009 K ARITO K IDS Karito Kids will release a line of new Travel Charmers this fall, including the first-ever Piper Travel Charmer, Piper goes to Ireland. Each doll comes with its own souvenir charm to attach to the Karito Kids bracelet.
J AX New for 2009, Sequence Numbers expands on Jax’s Sequence series. Each card has an equation and the board has the answers. Players match a card to its correct answer and put down a chip. When a player has five chips in a row, they win the game with a sequence.
C OP C ORP
CopCorp’s It’s Happy Bunny brand will be expanding with the addition of new licensee Anico International. Anico will be producing a full line of It’s Happy Bunny plush products for chain stores and small retailers. The line will include plush hand-puppets, wrist wallets, and hanging plush pocket organizers.
116 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
BBC W ORLDWIDE BBC Worldwide Children’s and Licensing Division will be showcasing its key properties with licensing programs for Planet Earth, In the Night Garden, and Charlie and Lola. Planet Earth, the BBC’s epic production celebrating the beauty of the planet, is the inspiration behind an extensive licensing and merchandising program. BBC Worldwide, together with licensing agent The Joester Loria Group, is continuing to leverage the brand with the continued development of an extensive merchandising program as well as new entertainment. Excitement for the brand will continue to grow in 2009 with the upcoming U.S. release of the Earth film. The Walt Disney Studios is U.S. distributor of Earth, the first feature-length nature documentary from its new production banner, Disneynature. It will premiere on Earth Day 2009. This new film is from British producer/director Alastair Fothergill, whose credits include the Emmy and Peabody award-winning Planet Earth series (A BBC/Discovery Channel/NHK co-production, in association with the CBC) and Emmy-nominated The Blue Planet (A BBC/Discovery Channel co-production). Earth, which is produced by BBC Worldwide and Greenlight Media (a Berlin Atlantic Company) and co-directed by Mark Linfield, takes moviegoers on a tour of our home planet in a similar vein to the original Planet Earth documentary. The film will be narrated by actor James Earl Jones. Licensees such as Scholastic, Imagination International, Modern Publishing and the Canadian Group will be showcasing a new range of products inspired by Planet Earth and the Earth film for 2009. The master toy licensee, Planet Toys, has gone out of business. Existing Planet Toys’ items will remain on shelf. Cache Sales has signed on as the new plush toy licensee for Planet Earth. Cache’s Planet Earth line features multiple sizes of basic plush animals from the series along with mini plush with sound, plush with web play, and plush with exclusive DVDs. The entire range incorporates eco-friendly and recycled materials and packaging.
TOY FAIR 2009 G UND
I T OYS
Gund’s Buggy Buddies Flutter Activity Butterfly is a 10.25inch multicolor butterfly with crinkly wings. The attached pull bug vibrates. The butterfly has two ring teethers and a ring rattle, as well as a tie to let it hang from the crib. The Buggy Buddies Bowling Set (shown) includes one bowling ball and five “Bug” pins packaged in a vinyl carrying case.
iToys is introducing Kenken, a new handheld electronic game based on the Japanese brainteaser puzzle created by Tetsuya Miyamoto. The officially licensed Kenken electronic handheld game will feature a touch screen, stylus, sound effects, help tools, score tracker, and backlighting. iToys will also be introducing two new Platinum Edition Deal or No Deal Electronic Games. Available in tabletop or handheld versions, the Platinum Edition expands the gameplay of the original game versions with enhanced features and more realistic play, and a new “Deal Wheel” feature. The i-TOP is being revamped with a fresh look for 2009 with new features and two ways to play. Top Spin challenges players to obtain the maximum amount of top rotations in a single spin, while Stop 99 challenges them to stop the top on its 99th revolution.
M ODELW ORKS
ModelWorks’ new ActionJetz are sturdy toy planes with handles to help kids see the action as they fly the plane around the room. The collection includes the F-18, A-10 Warthog, B-2 Bomber, and F-16. ActionJetz tie in to the online world at actionjetz.com where kids can create their own personalized avatar, learn about planes, and hang out with other kids.
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M ARY M EYER
Mary Meyer is releasing a new line of Cutsie Caterpillar baby items. The line includes seven baby toys, such as the Wooby Chew Activity toy and the Fluff N Play, as well as a baby blanket and wind-up musical toy. Mary Meyer will also be expanding its Taggies line. New Taggies Naturals are organic stuffed animals with new patterns. The plush use organic cotton fibers, pure silk ribbons, and safe dyes. Taggies Colours include 12 new designs in a European style and will come in Puffy, Hang Around, and Wee One styles, as well as a new 13-inch long Colours Soft Caterpillar. The new Fuzz That Wuzz collection from Mary Meyer recycles plastic bottles into polyester fibers for cuddly toys, such as puppies, bunnies, bears, cats, and more. They are made completely out of recycled materials.
Dunecraft’s Desert BioDome can grow more than 25 different desert plants in a controlled setting. The Medieval Herber kit is a large-format set that provides information on how plants were classified for use in the Middle Ages. The Mini Science Fair Kits come with all the materials needed for a science fair project and more.
G OLDBERGER C OMPANY
A MAV Amav’s new Chocolart Coin Press gives kids a chance to make their own chocolate coins. The new machine creates gold-wrapped bullion of chocolate that can be eaten or given as gifts to others. The kit includes the machine, foil, and chocolate.
Seedlings are Goldberger’s new line of nature-friendly plush, made with natural cotton. All of the Seedlings plush are made without harsh chemicals and using natural fibers. The Goldberger Company’s Basic Training line helps teach children a variety of skills and knowledge at an early age. The Look & Learn baby dolls (shown) feature contrasting colors, patterns, and sounds to encourage exploration and early development. The Molly Manners doll teaches children about manners. Pressing the doll’s tummy plays a song about saying “please” and “thank you.”
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 119
TOY FAIR 2009 P LA S MART PlaSmart’s new i-Gami features unique plastic pieces that bend, fold, and snap together. Based on the Japanese paper-folding art of origami, iGami allows children to create sharks, helicopters, flowers, dinosaurs, and more. There are nine kits, ranging from 54–600 pieces in size.
R AZOR The Razor Spark Kick Scooter takes the classic kick scooter design and adds a foot-controlled spark mechanism. Stepping on the spark bar will make the scooter spark as kids ride. The Razor RipRider 360 is a three-wheeler designed for toddlers that allows for small kids to drift and spin in the same way Razor’s older-oriented riders can, with dual-inclined caster wheels. The Razor Pocket Rocket features a scaled down street bike design that can reach up to 15 MPH. It features pneumatic tires and a single-speed motor. The Pocket Rocket runs off a rechargeable battery and can support up to a 170-pound person. Razor Pocket Rocket
120 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
Can you imagine...
a world without children?
At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, we can’t. That’s why we are working every day to find cures for life-threatening diseases that strike children everywhere. Diseases like cancer, pediatric AIDS and sickle cell. And we won’t stop until every child is cured, and every disease is defeated.
Because we can’t imagine a world without children...can you? Call 1-800-785-5189 or log onto www.stjude.org to learn how you can help.
2/11/2008 12:50:06 PM
TOY FAIR 2009 L EARNING C URVE Learning Curve has teamed up with Out of the Blue Enterprises to launch a line of products based on Super WHY! The line consists of plush, roleplay sets, action figures and dolls, vehicles, and electronic learning aids. Super WHY! Vehicle Two-Packs feature two Super WHY! characters in their plastic Why Flyer Vehicles. The Electronic Roleplay sets feature lights, sounds, and fun accessories for kids to dress up as Super Why and Princess Presto. Super WHY! action figures are also available, featuring Super Why and Alpha Pig. Dolls include Style & Pose Wonder Red and Princess Presto. Learning Curve will be expanding its Caring Corners line with the new Happy Camper Talking RV. The RV plays sounds and messages and provides kids with activities when they press the horn. The RV holds a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, and a slide that makes moving from one level to another easier. Hidden surprises include a swing-out dog bed, a fold-down TV, and an outdoor grill. Learning Curve is also adding to its new Thomas Wooden Railway Talking Railway Series. The Great Discovery Set lets children join Thomas as he explores an abandoned mine. The Stop & Greet Station features Sir Topham Hat, who uses RFID to identify each train. Learning Curve will also be expanding the Lamaze brand with new developmental toys for infants. The Spin & Explore Sea Gym provides a surfboard-shaped cushioned base for tummy play. The Discovery Pyramid is an interactive toy that features a mirror, a turtle with ribbons, and a fish with crinkle flaps. Elephantunes is a plush elephant that plays a different note whenever the child pushes the leg of the toy and comes with a song book.
W ILD P LANET
Wild Planet is introducing new games to keep kids active. 1–2–3 Stomp has kids stomp their feet to send numbers flying and then run to retrieve numbers as the electronic base calls out what to retrieve. The game starts at basic commands and advances to more complex levels. Hyper Blast offers similar play, but at a more advanced level, featuring double-digit numbers and competitive play. Partnering with Crayola, Wild Planet has created Crayon Town, a collection of coloring and activity sets. The sets let kids create an entire town, complete with three-dimensional structures, to color and build. Working with Disney, Wild Planet has adapted the basis of its games such as Hyper Dash and Animal Scramble to the new game, Mouse-ke-TAG. The game features a tagger that looks like the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Goofy calls out descriptions of various Disney-oriented tarSpy Gear Evidence Kit gets and kids must tag those targets as commands get more and more complex. New from Wild Planet’s Spy Gear line is the Spy Gear Evidence Kit. The kit allows kids to collect fingerprints and scan surroundings with ultra-violet light. Tweezers are included for finding extra clues, with a microscope for closer looks.
122 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
This season's most highly trafficked family-friendly website, TimetoPlayMag.com offers parents and gift givers information, entertainment, and services on what's fun for children and their families. The comprehensive site includes: hundreds of toy reviews and recommendations hot toy lists and editors' picks a product/gift finder informative and amusing blog entries from leading toy, family entertainment and parenting experts seasonal stories safety tips and recall information daily giveaways of hot toys and more!
Created by Jim Silver, editor-in-chief at aNb Media, and Chris Byrne, renowned toy and children's lifestyle expert (A.K.A. The Toy GuyÂŽ), Time to Play is powered by aNb Media, TheToyGuy.com, and a team of leading, well-known toy, family entertainment, and parenting experts. Key team members include Elizabeth Werner, chief toy officer, iVillage.com, and Shannon Eis, parenting and toy expert.
For advertising information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org ÂŠ 2008 aNB Media. All Rights Reserved.
TOY FAIR 2009 N OODLEHEAD
The new Pawparazzi Luxury Set from Noodlehead is a full playset featuring pets, purses, fashion, and more from Noodleheadâ€™s Pawparazzi line. The set includes the Hotel Pawparazzi, two Pawparazzi Pet sets, two Celebrity Pet Dress Up sets, Doggy Dining set, and two Plush Pet Beds.
C LOUD B Cloud B will release two new products for the Cloud B Endangered Species line, which benefits the Conservation International Foundation. The Gentle Giraffe offers a compilation of sounds from the plains of the Serengeti, such as rhythmic drums, water falls, and actual giraffe sounds. The Twilight Sea Turtle illuminates a room in blue and green and casts a starry night on the ceiling. Embedded in the shell are constellations that project onto the ceiling. The Dozy Dolphin (shown) is an eco-friendly plush toy that features relaxing water-based sounds to soothe children to sleep with the sounds of dolphins, whales, and ocean waves. It is made of soft bamboo fabric with hypoallergenic stuffing.
A RK B RAND The new Charge Large board game focuses on credit card management and financial success. The game pits players in a competition to become a Black Card Member. Each player starts with an entry-level Gold Credit Card and cash and must upgrade by making strategic investments and managing their cash and credit. The game is intended to teach players how to manage credit cards.
124 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
TransWorld’s 25 th International
Halloween, Costume & Party Show
2009 The Sands Expo & Convention Center
L AS VEGAS, NEVADA
2 5 YEA RS A S THE INDUSTRY ’S #1 OR DER -WR ITING SHOW
The World’s Largest and only Proven Halloween, Costume and Party Trade Show for 25 Years! This Show Means Business!
700+ Exhibitors 1,000+ Product Lines 100+ Product Launches
• Educational Sponsored by:
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Party & Paper Retailer
Fashion Show (March 6)
• Industry Awards Sponsored by:
Fashion Show (March 7)
Fantasy Costume & Apparel Retailer
Featuring large scale animatronics, visual and sound special effects.
Hundreds of Exhibitors Already Confirmed. FOR THE COMPLETE LIST GO TO WWW.HCPSHOW.COM DISGUISE • ROMA COSTUMES/BIKINI CORP • F UN WORLD • AL AN SLOANE & CO • SNA ZAROO USA INC • ELLIE SHOES • SKY HOSIERY • BIG STUFF INC TA B I ’S C H A R A C T E R S • C A L I F O R N I A C O S T U M E C O L L E C T I O N S I N C • S U N STA R I N D UST R I E S • C O Q U E T T E I N T E R N AT I O N A L • D I L LO N I M P O R T I N G P LE A S E R US A • A E R O M A X • E LO P E I N C • B E N N Y E COMPANY • WOLFE FACE ART & F X • FOOTHILLS CRE ATIONS LTD • CHARACTERS UNLIMITED INC PA P E R F I R ST A F F I L I AT E S L LC • G L I T T E R W R A P • H UST L E R L I N G E R I E • PA R A D I S E C OST U M E S • I N C H A R A C T E R C OS T U M E S L LC • L E G AV E N U E FRANCO AMERICAN NOVELT Y • MEHRON INC • F UNHOUSE • LOF TUS INTERNATIONAL • JACOBSON HAT CO • BILLY BOB TEE TH • P RINCESS PARAD I S E S E V E N ‘ T I L M I D N I G H T • H O WA R D I M P R I N T I N G M A C H C O • B A U E R PA C I F I C I M P O R TS • M O R B I D I N D UST R I E S • R H O D E I S L A N D N OV E LT Y
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TOY FAIR 2009 N EXT S PORT New from NextSport is the Fuzion Electron. The new ride-on scooter features patented suspension and a full 360-degree rotation, as well as an aluminum frame for jumps and tricks. The scooter folds up to fit conveniently anywhere for easy transport.
TARA TOY Tara Toyâ€™s new Scratch & Design lets girls scratch away a cover layer to reveal sparkling colors on accessory stickers for their favorite characters. There are more than 100 stickers in each set. Available sets include Disney Princess, Disney Fairies, and Barbie. The Sparkle Fashion Friends Magnetic Paper Dolls features three friends in one die-cut magnetic scene. Girls can mix and match different pieces for hundreds of different fashions on Disney Fairies and Barbie characters. Sparkling Scrunch Art lets girls use special sparkling tissue paper to add dimension and texture to scenes featuring Disney Princess, Disney Fairies, or Barbie characters. They can scrunch the paper and apply the sticky side to the included scene.
20 TH C ENTURY F OX Twentieth Century Fox will introduce a new line of action figures, vehicles, and roleplay toys for the upcoming film Dragonball. Fox will also introduce new flashlights, bobbleheads, and remote-control planes from Excalibur Electronics for Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Ice Age will return with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Fox L&M will unveil Beanie Babies from Ty, Inc., and a new View-Master from Fisher-Price. For Holiday 2009, Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel will be joined by numerous licensees in all categories. Fox will also introduce new toy lines for The Simpsons, Family Guy, and 24, and functions as the licensing agent for Microsoftâ€™s Halo 3 and Halo Wars. There will be a Halo Risk board game from USAopoly, construction from MEGA Brands, and figures from McFarlane Toys.
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THE ONE BANK THAT PAYS INTEREST IN SMILES Since The Toy Industry Foundation™ launched The Toy Bank in 2003, we have distributed over $44 million worth of toys to homeless, at-risk and under-served children—as well as children displaced in times of crisis or natural disaster. Working with Gifts In Kind International, a global leader in new product philanthropy, we’re able to reach children in the United States and around the world through an international network of more than 200,000 charities. We depend on the generosity of toy manufacturers, retailers and distributors to donate available inventory. Please visit www.giftsinkind.org/toybank and complete the Product Donation Agreement. Your company may qualify for a tax benefit of up to twice the cost of the donated product. For more information, contact Virginia Royal, Gifts In Kind International, at 703.836.2121 x550 or email@example.com.
TOY FAIR 2009 A MERICAN G REETINGS American Greetings Properties (AGP) will continue to expand its brands in 2009. The Care Bears brand has a new global master toy and game partner in Hasbro. Hasbro’s upcoming products will complement the release of the Care Bears: Share Bear Shines Movie, in theaters and on DVD. AGP is also continuing to work with Cookie Jar on the Strawberry Shortcake brand. The characters have a new look and Hasbro will be acting as the master toy partner for the brand. Hasbro’s line will feature dolls, mini-dolls, playsets, figurines, and more. Fox will support the relaunch with a new
CGI animated adventure, The Sky’s the Limit. Sushi Pack is one of AGP’s newest properties, targeted at girls and boys ages 4–8. Big Time Toys will introduce a new line of toys for 2009 and AGP is seeking additional partners. Spring 2009 will unveil Madballs Classic Series 3 and Madballs Sick Series 3. The Classic Series includes Puck Teeth, Nail Biter, Mosh Pitts, Fist Face, Lock Lips, and Snake Bait. The Sick Series balls all feature gross functions. AGP is further developing its Twisted Whiskers with an upcoming CGI television series based on the CGI shorts from the AGKidZone.com website. Partners will be sought for home video, toys, gifts, novelties, and more. AGP will also be developing a new Holly Hobbie Classic brand, based on the original image of the Holly Hobbie rag doll. The nostalgic brand will be expanded into categories such as toys, gifts, novelties, collectibles, bedding, and more.
C HICCO Chicco will release a number of new developmental toys for 2009. Billy Big Wheels features a steering wheel controller that turns Billy left and right as the controller is turned left and right, to help develop hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills. The Bilingual Talking Bear teaches children numbers and words in English and Spanish when its buttons, hands, and feet are pressed. The Sing ‘N Learn Orchestra introduces a child to four musical instruments and three musical styles, with multiple play modes and melodies to choose from. Finally, the Talking Vacation Car is made for travel entertainment and can speak in English or Spanish, teaching new words, telling stories, and telling riddles. Talking Vacation Car
128 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
TOY FAIR 2009 P RETTY U GLY LLC
B ACHMANN T RAINS
Pretty Ugly introduces a new UglyDoll character. Trunko freaks out over everything and overreacting is his hobby. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and there’s Trunko using a fire hose to put out his birthday candles. Trunko will be available in four-inch, seveninch, 12-inch, and 24-inch plush.
Bachmann Trains announced a licensing agreement with HIT Entertainment through which Bachmann is granted rights to largescale Thomas & Friends products in the United States and Canada. Bachmann first introduced HO-scale Thomas & Friends products in 2002, and over the years has worked closely with HIT Entertainment to create train sets and separate-sale offerings that deliver railroading adventures to children of all ages.
M ANHATTAN TOY Manhattan Toy will launch more than 100 new toys in 2009. For its Groovy Girls line of soft fashion dolls, Manhattan Toy joins Girl Scouts of the USA in welcoming three new 13-inch Troop Groovy Girls to the line of themed Groovy Girls dolls and accessories. The doll line embraces values inspired by the Girl Scout Law, including fairness, responsibility, helpfulness, consideration, and strength. The three dolls are Fair Faye, Responsible Rilee, and Helpful Haylee. The dolls are for ages 3 and up. Four new toys from the Whoozit collection will be released this year. The assortment of toys are for babies ages birth–18 months and stimulate fundamental learning skills through color, texture, sound, and fun. Manhattan Toy introduces the new Natural Skwish, an un-dyed toy for parents seeking a natural look for their children. All Skwish styles, including Classic Skwish and Color Burst Skwish, are made from replenishable rubber-
130 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
Troop Groovy Girls Haylee
wood with nontoxic, water-based finishes. Natural Skwish is for ages birth and up. Puzzibits, a line of flexible 3-D art, allows kids to imagine, connect, and create 3-D designs with flexible interlocking pieces. Six new sets, featuring 150, 300, and 450 pieces, come with themes such as bugs, circus, and reptiles. The sets contain instructions for designs to spark creativity. As the exclusive licensed manufacturer and worldwide distributor, Manhattan Toy will offer the Automoblox brand, a toy line consisting of modular wooden vehicles that encourage young minds to build cars and trucks of their own design. Each car features the heirloom charm of classic wooden toys fused with an updated modern design. Interchangeable components come with all car models. The line is made up of nine full-size cars, three full-size R-Series cars, six mini cars, and two mini threecar sets. It is for ages 3 and up.
TOY FAIR 2009 FILM PREVIEW
Posted on the next two pages are a sample of high-profile films expected to be released on the big screen in the next few years. These films either have full licensing programs in the works or at least offer licensing potential. The majority of the films are family-friendly offerings or at least have aspects to them that could be translated into toy products.
TITLE The Hannah Montana Movie
EXPECTED RELEASE DATE April 10, 2009
STUDIO Walt Disney Pictures
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
May 1, 2009
20th Century Fox
May 8, 2009
Land of the Lost
June 5, 2009
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
June 26, 2009
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
July 1, 2009
20th Century Fox
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
July 17, 2009
Warner Bros. Pictures
G.I. JOE: Rise of Cobra
August 7, 2009
Toy Story 2
October 2, 2009
Walt Disney Pictures
Where the Wild Things Are
October 16, 2009
Warner Bros. Pictures
October 23, 2009
A Christmas Carol
November 6, 2009
Walt Disney Pictures
132 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
EXPECTED RELEASE DATE
The Three Stooges
November 20, 2009
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
December 25, 2009
20th Century Fox
Alice in Wonderland How to Train Your Dragon Iron Man 2
March 5, 2010 March 26, 2010 May 7, 2010
Walt Disney Pictures DreamWorks Animation Paramount Pictures/Marvel Studios
Shrek Goes Fourth
May 21, 2010
Toy Story 3
June 18, 2010
Walt Disney Pictures
The Green Hornet
June 25, 2010
The Last Airbender
July 2, 2010
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
November 19, 2010
Warner Bros. Pictures
December 17, 2010
The First Avenger: Captain America
May 6, 2011
Paramount Pictures Warner Bros. Pictures
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
Pandamonium (Kung Fu Panda sequel)
June 3, 2011
June 24, 2011
Walt Disney Pictures
FEBRUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 133
PLAYING SMART WITH PLASMART t only takes one successful product to start a company, and in 2002 Timothy Kimber found the seed that would start PlaSmart’s growth. Late in the year, Kimber, an Ottawa entrepreneur and PlaSmart’s founder, was given a chance by a Chinese business partner to take a ride on a toy from China that was powered entirely by a child’s back-and-forth motion. Kimber fell in love with the product. Seeing potential for the ride-on on a grander scale, he developed a marketing plan and brought the product to the 2003 Canadian Toy Fair in Toronto. Taking a cue from Radio Flyer, which was named after two of the most desirable and cutting edge technologies of its day and age, Kimber named the product the PlasmaCar, playing on the popularity of plasma screen televisions. PlasmaCar had a successful show. After two years of tweaking and planning, Kimber brought his product and his company, PlaSmart (named for the PlasmaCar), to the 2005 Toy Fair in New York City and began to sell to the U.S. and international markets. While the PlasmaCar remains PlaSmart’s top product, the company has expanded further into new lines of products, such as the 3D origami product I-Gami and the Rubabbu line of rubber foam-based children’s toys. Throughout its development, the company follows one overarching philosophy about its products: making sure they are smart, but simple toys. “PlaSmart chooses products that are smart, simple, fun, and unique and we avoid electronic toys and toys that are complicated
134 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
to understand or operate,” says Tracey McIlwaine, key and international account manager at PlaSmart. PlaSmart’s products show that philosophy in their design. The original PlaSmart product, the PlasmaCar, is powered only by the back-andforth motion of the child seated on the ride-on. There are no batteries or external power sources to be applied and the toy is completely quiet, except for the sound of the wheels on the riding surface. The product makes use of inertia, centrifugal force, gravity, and friction rather than using a traditional pedal-and-gear system. The product’s simplicity makes it easy for children to use and is rooted in clever design rather than electronics or circuitry.
Rubbabu, a newer PlaSmart product line, also focuses on the company’s ideal of producing “smart, simple toys.” Made from natural rubber foam, the Rubbabu line provides an alternative to classic plush toys. The line consists of vehicles, animals, balls, and more, all made in bright colors. “Unique materials, simple designs, and exceptionally fun, appealing colors make Rubbabu a perfect fit with our philosophy,” says McIlwaine. Rubbabu is made by an Indian manufacturer that was one of the PlasmaCar
competitors of Huggy Buggy, which produced a similar product. PlaSmart’s products have traditionally done well in the specialty toy and educational stores. “[PlaSmart] has only recently begun selling into larger and national retail establishments,” says McIlwaine. However, as the company has grown, so has its scope. While still based in Canada, PlaSmart does business in more than 20 countries spread across five continents. The company has also begun to enter partnerships with manufacturers in the U.S. to expand the distribution of some U.S. brands into the Canadian market. PlaSmart has a standard policy of “under-promising and over-delivering” to its retailers, to make sure that there are enough products to go around and to keep retailers happy with their treatment from PlaSmart. While PlaSmart is continuing to grow and expand its presence in the toy world, McIlwaine notes that the company will not compromise its internal philosophy for the sake of releasing more product lines. Plans for the future currently include expanding the Rubbabu line of products, but the main focus of the company will remain on refining and perfecting its current lines, rather than pushing to introduce more new products. “Although there is an expectation to introduce new products, we resist the pull to add items for the sake of showing retailers something new,” says McIlwaine. “We focus on delivering products that offer a unique value for retailers and their customers alike.”
GAMEPLAN EUROPE LTD Helping toy manufacturers expand internationally.
Since 1988 Gameplan Europe has been helping toy manufacturers and suppliers to develop their export sales. Here are some of our services, which cover the whole world. > Market investigations of opportunities > Viability studies for business set-ups > Finding distributors, sales agencies, etc. > Managing distributor networks > Executive recruitment. Gameplan Europe also publishes the International Directory of Retail Toy Buyers and the International Directory of Toy Importer-Distributors. These invaluable sources of information cover 38 countries and are the essential starting point for building international business.
For further information please contact Andrew Dobbie or Margit Pendl Tel. +44 (0) 1442 870100 (United Kingdom) email: firstname.lastname@example.org web site: www.gameplaneurope.com
INDUSTRY-RELATED TRADE SHOWS MARCH 6–9
Halloween Costume & Party Show
The Sands Expo & Convention Center The Fairplex
GAMA Trade Show
Bally’s Las Vegas
Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair hkgiftspremiumfair.com
Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa
Litchfield Park, AZ
Los Angeles Convention Center
Origins Game Fair
Greater Columbus Convention Center
Los Angeles Convention Center
Western States Toy & Hobby Show
Hawaii Market Merchandise Expo douglastradeshows.com
All Candy Expo
California Gift Show
OASIS Gift Show
Exhibition Hall, Blaisdell Center
St. Paul Rivercentre
University of Phoenix Stadium
St. Paul, MN
LICENSING INTERNATIONAL EXPO 2009 TUESDAY–THURSDAY, JUNE 2–4; MANDALAY BAY CONVENTION CENTER, LAS VEGAS
FALL TOY PREVIEW TUESDAY–THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6–9; DALLAS MARKET CENTER, DALLAS
136 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 2009
Fisher-Price, Inc., a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc., East Aurora, NY 14052 ©2008 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ® and ™ designate U.S. trademarks of Mattel, Inc. unless otherwise indicated. LZR44067_N1415_OCT_TFE_Ad.indd 1
explore. discover. succeed. Go Baby Go! Crawl & Cruise Musical Jungle™ Sitting, crawling, standing, cruising … there’s no end to the fun things babies can discover in this jungle playground. Lots of busy ball play, sing-along songs, music, dancing lights and silly animal sounds invite new discoveries. Each step of the way offers exciting rewards to encourage physical development — and encourage your sales to grow!
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1/16/09 5:08:16 PM
Toys & Family Entertainment is a monthly magazine showcasing the hottest trends in the toy and family entertainment business.
Published on Feb 19, 2009
Toys & Family Entertainment is a monthly magazine showcasing the hottest trends in the toy and family entertainment business.