Page 1


Volume 4, No. 2

January 2009

Features 20

e!

A Picture Is c Ex Worth a Thousand Words iv lus

Techno Source Combines Technology with Arts & Crafts by Nancy Lombardi

22 Sports Toys: Where Innovation and Fun Collide by Chris Adams

24 Sports Toys: Product Presentation by Chris Adams

26 Toy Fair 2009 Preview

compiled by Laurie Hahn and Paul Narula

:

30 Klutz

by Laurie Hahn

Departments

Observations & Opinions

page 6

Sizzlers

page 8

Specialty Sizzlers

page 9

The Ticker

page 10

Merchandise Makers: Pressman Toy

page 12

Entertainment Marketplace: The Smurfs

page 14

Store Check: FAO Schwarz Boutique in Macy’s

page 16

Industry Forum: TIA

page 18

You’re Hired!

page 32

Calendar of Events

page 34

ON THIS PAGE (CLOCKWISE FROM THE TOP): MGA’s Little Tikes Grand Slam Hitting Trainer, Playmobil’s Family Home, Action Products’ OLogy Germ Soap, and Spin Master’s Bakugan Display Case ON THE COVER: Techno Source is launching Smiley Central Studio with IAC. It combines arts and crafts with online play. COVER BY DESIGN EDGE


OBSERVATIONS & OPINIONS

WWW.ANBMEDIA.COM

CATCH MORE FLIES WITH HONEY

I

BY JIM

SILVER

’ve spent 25 years in the toy business, and 2008 was one of the most difficult the industry has ever seen. However, I always try

to look at the glass as half full rather than half empty. Negative energy generally produces negative results. Yet if one looks at the positive, there will be a better chance of devising a game

plan for the tough times, which can hopefully turn things around faster. Right now, I can’t think of a better industry to be in. Imagine being

in the floor-covering business, apparel business, or auto industry. We’re in the business of making entertainment products for children. That’s

the last expense a parent will cut back on. Plus, there are new consumers

entering the market every day. The fact is many industries had nothing that was deemed “hot” during the past holiday season. Our industry had items such as Bakugan, Girl Gourmet Cupcake

Maker, Elmo Live, Star Wars Clone Wars Voice Changer Helmet, Imaginext Spike the Ultra Dinosaur, Tech Deck, games for Nintendo’s Wii System, EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Goggles,

and the list goes on and on. Those who were innovative, or

acquired the right properties and used good applications, and then promoted the items found success in this economic climate.

After this tough economic year, I would say the biggest issue facing

the industry is caused by uneducated politicians. I am all for the safest

PUBLISHED

BY ANB

MEDIA • Volume 4, Number 2

PUBLISHER BOB GLASER BOB@ANBMEDIA.COM ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER ANDY KRINNER ANDY@ANBMEDIA.COM ADVERTISING MANAGER DAYNA KNEE DAYNA@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

products for children—after all, I am a father of three girls. There is no

CONTRIBUTORS ANDREW DOBBIE; ANDREW@GAMEPLANEUROPE.COM MATT NUCCIO; MATT@DESIGNEDGE.NET LAURA QUARTUCCIO; LQUARTUCCIO@TOYASSOCIATION.ORG

the business, I have not seen one child who has had lead poisoning

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

amounts of money to test for something that’s never been a factor.

PUBLIC RELATIONS REPRESENTATIVE JOSSLYNNE WELCH LITZKY PUBLIC RELATIONS, 320 SINATRA DRIVE, HOBOKEN, N.J. 07030 (201) 222–9118 EXT. 13 • JWELCH@LITZKYPR.COM

question that lead levels need to be at the safest level possible. But let’s

not forget that those levels are already safe. In my 25 years covering from a toy. From old paint in a house, yes. From swallowing jewelry,

yes. From toys, NEVER. Now manufacturers are spending large What can we do? The industry must continue to educate politicians from the local level to highest reaches in Washington.

The industry’s best defense is to create innovative products, look for

properties to enhance product lines, and promote smartly for the world we

now live in. And try to accentuate the positive. It’s easier to be negative, but it’s counterproductive. Everyone knows you catch more flies with honey.

6 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009

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.


BANZAI SKIMBOARD SURFER


SIZZLERS

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.

NERF N-STRIKE VULCAN Hasbro

BAKUGAN BATTLE BRAWLERS Spin Master BEN 10 ALIEN CREATION CHAMBER Bandai

My Meebas

ROCK BAND Harmonix

ELMO LIVE Fisher-Price

SPIKE THE ULTRA DINOSAUR Fisher-Price

EYECLOPS NIGHT VISION GOGGLES Jakks Pacific GIRL GOURMET CUPCAKE MAKER Jakks Pacific Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker

HYPER DASH Wild Planet

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS CLONE TROOPER VOICE CHANGER HELMET Hasbro TAG LeapFrog

LEGO STAR WARS ASSORTMENT LEGO

TECH DECK BOARDS Spin Master

MY MEEBAS Mattel

WII FIT Nintendo Bakugan Battle Brawlers

8 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009

PIXOS Spin Master


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,

SPECIALTY SIZZLERS

SPECIALTY SIZZLERS: WHAT ’S MOVING OFF STORE SHELVES IN THE SPECIALTY MARKET? reflecting the previous month’s sales.

CALICO CRITTERS ASSORTMENT International Playthings

Calin

KNIGHTS AND HORSES FIGURES Papo MAGFORMER SETS Rainbow Products

CALIN DOLL ASSORTMENT Corolle DINOSAUR ASSORTMENT Playmobil

PLASMACARS PlaSmart SNAP CIRCUITS Elenco

Snap Circuits

DOINKIT DARTS Marky Sparky

TEACHING CASH REGISTER Learning Resources

FANCY NANCY CLOTH DOLL Madame Alexander Calico Critters

JANUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 9


s y s y o

s

-

f -

o , y

THE TICKER

e . h e ;

A RECAP OF INDUSTRY HEADLINES KB TOYS FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY; GOING OUT OF BUSINESS

Last month, KB Toys filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in four years and planned to begin going-out-of-business sales at its stores immediately. The 86-year-old company said in a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware that its debt is “directly attributable to a sudden and sharp decline in consumer sales” because of the poor economy, according to a report from The Associated Press. KB Toys, which says it has about $480 million in annual sales, said in the filing that it had debts between $100 million and $500 million and total assets in the same range. Along with going-out-of-business sales, KB Toys also plans to sell its wholesale distribution business, according to the filing. The company operates 277 mall-based stores, 40 KB Toy Works stores that are mainly in strip malls, 114 outlet stores, and 30 short-term holiday stores. It has 4,400 full-time employees and 6,515 seasonal employees.

MATTEL AND BANDAI PICK JAVITS AS SOLE NEW YORK TOY FAIR LOCATION

Mattel, Inc., and Bandai America will exhibit exclusively at the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) annual International Toy Fair in New York City, February 15–18. The switch to Javits in 2009 marks a change in strategy for the global toy companies and is being viewed as an affirmation for the convention centerbased trade event. Mattel has added more than 20,000 square feet of private exhibit space in the Galleria in addition to the 3,500 square feet of space located on Level 3 where it has traditionally exhibited. Bandai has committed to 1,800 square feet of exhibit space for its first exhibit in Javits to celebrate the sale of the 100 millionth Power Rangers action figure in the United States.

10 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009

THE MIGHTY DOLLAR by Andrew Dobbie

Given the extraordinary convulsions in the financial markets in 2008 it is a testimony to the faith in the mighty greenback that the pound sterling and the Euro have declined in value dramatically relative to the dollar since the financial tsunami engulfed us. The pound sterling was worth U.S. $2 at the beginning of June and at the time of writing this had declined to $1.50. Because FOB prices of toys are usually designated in U.S. dollars, that means that to maintain percentage margins in the supply chain, prices to consumers in pounds would have to rise by 33 percent. This comes on top of general price increases in dollars, which have been as high as 20 percent, due to labor rate hikes and raw material price rises—now thankfully declining again due to the sharp drop in the crude oil price. How is the consumer in the UK going to react to huge price increases, which are bound to occur in 2009? I suspect that the unit sales of well-known toys will decline in percentage terms by far more than the price will rise, resulting in much reduced sales revenue. New toys that have no previously known price will not be quite so susceptible to consumer rejection, but we must bear in mind that toys are rarely “must- have” purchases. There are so many toys on the market that cheaper substitutes are often acceptable gifts. And of course toys compete with many other categories as gifts. Electronics continue to decline in price and compete with toys for even younger kids. Lest my U.S. readers feel insulated from the effects of turbulent exchange rate fluctuations, you should keep an eye on the exchange rate of the Chinese Renminbi to the U.S. dollar. The Chinese government has let the Renminbi rise a little against the dollar in the last couple of years. If it let it float freely, the U.S. toy market would be hit by similar pricing problems that the UK is now experiencing.


9TH ANNUAL TOTY AWARDS NOMINEES

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) released its list of 74 nominees for the 9th annual Toy Of The Year (TOTY) Awards, which reflects the most exciting new products from a diverse range of toy companies. The TOTY Awards will be held at Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers on February 15 at 6:30 P.M. Jack Pressman, founder of Pressman Toy, and Joan Ganz Cooney, creator of Sesame Street, will be inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. Below is a list of the nominees. INFANT/PRESCHOOL TOY OF THE YEAR Kota the Triceratops—Hasbro Tink’s Talking Café—Jakks Pacific Giddyip ’N Go Pony—Little Tikes ’50s Diner—The Step2 Company Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train—Vtech Elmo Live—Fisher-Price GIRL TOY OF THE YEAR Pretty Pedicure Salon—Creativity for Kids/ Faber-Castell USA Barbie iDesign Ultimate Stylist Cards and CD-ROM—Mattel Mrs. Goodbee Talking Dollhouse— Learning Curve Brands Disney Hannah Montana’s Malibu Beach House— Play Along Playmobil Horse Farm—Playmobil Clickables Fairy Charms Starter Set— Techno Source BOY TOY OF THE YEAR Handy Manny 2-in-1 Transforming Tool Truck— Fisher-Price Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25—Hasbro EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles— Jakks Pacific Legends: King Arthur Battle Action Castle— MEGA Brands Sprig Adventure Series Discover Rig—Sprig Toys Air Hogs Zero Gravity Micro—Spin Master Bakugan Battle Brawlers Battle Pack Series 1 Spheres—Spin Master GAME OF THE YEAR Bananagrams—Bananagrams LLC Haunted Ruins 3-D Adventures Pop-Up Board Game—Basic Concepts The Cat in the Hat, I Can Do That!— I Can Do That! Games Monopoly Here and Now: The World Edition— Hasbro Pictureka!—Hasbro Rush Hour—ThinkFun Zingo!—ThinkFun

OUTDOOR TOY OF THE YEAR Crayola 3-D Sidewalk Chalk—Crayola Power Wheels A.T. Rex—Fisher-Price Cosmic Keep Away—Hasbro Fropper—International Playthings Junk Ball—Little Kids Backyard Safari Bug Vacuum—Summit Products Banzai Skim Board Surfer—Toy Quest

EDUCATIONAL TOY OF THE YEAR Computer Cool School—Fisher-Price Idbids Eco-friendly Starter Kit—Idbids LeapFrog TAG Reading System—LeapFrog Zillions Touch Screen ATM—Summit Products V-Motion Active Learning System—Vtech Discovery Kids Smart Animals Scanopedia— Jakks Pacific EyeClops BioniCam—Jakks Pacific

ACTIVITY TOY OF THE YEAR Crayola Color Wonder Magic Brush—Crayola Clipo Creativity Table—Hasbro Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker—Jakks Pacific Star Wars AT-TE Walker—LEGO Circus Ring—Playmobil PixOs Super Studio—Spin Master KidiArt Studio—Vtech

ELECTRONIC ENTERTAINMENT TOY OF THE YEAR Ultimate Wall•E Programmable Remote Control Robot—Disney Imaginext Spike the Ultra Dinosaur—Fisher-Price FurReal Friends Biscuit My Lovin’ Pup—Hasbro U-Dance—Tiger Electronics KidiJamz Studio—Vtech RS Tri-bot—WowWee

MOST INNOVATIVE TOY OF THE YEAR The Pieceless Puzzle—Cadaco Imaginext Spike the Ultra Dinosaur—Fisher-Price Kota the Triceratops—Hasbro EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles— Jakks Pacific Sprig Adventure Series Discover Rig—Sprig Toys Air Hogs Zero Gravity Micro—Spin Master Bakugan Battle Brawlers Battle Pack Series 1 Spheres—Spin Master

SPECIALTY TOY OF THE YEAR Deglingos—All New Materials Create Your Own Pop-Up Books— Creativity for Kids/Faber-Castell USA 18-inch Fancy Nancy Cloth Doll—Alexander Doll Totem Boys/Girls—Kidsonroof Circus Ring—Playmobil Sprig Adventure Series Discover Rig—Sprig Toys Wind Power—Thames & Kosmos

PROPERTY OF THE YEAR Barbie—Mattel Fancy Nancy—HarperCollins Star Wars: The Clone Wars—LucasArts Entertainment Disney Fairies—Disney Handy Manny—Disney Bakugan—Cartoon Network Yo Gabba Gabba—Wildbrain

TOY OF THE YEAR This is an overall category award for the entire program. Voting members chose from the list of nominated toys or filled in the name of another product on the ballot.

JANUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 11


MERCHANDISE MAKERS

PAST AND FUTURE BY

PAUL NARULA

hen Pressman ty to keep its prices down has helped Toy was foundPressman during this economic crisis. ed in 1922, it Coupled with its low costs is Pressman’s was literally a ability to bring big-ticket licenses to the different commarket. The company produces games pany. Jack Pressman (father of current for popular children’s licenses, such as president Jim Pressman) formed a partBen 10 and Pokémon, as well as nership with another businessman, Max teen/adult licenses such as The Office Eibigz, to create K. Pressman and and Seinfeld. Licensing has helped Company. It wasn’t until 1947 that Jack Pressman reach a wider audience. Not Pressman split off from Eibigz to create Rummikub is one of Pressman’s oldest and most popular games. only do licenses bring in fans of a particthe stand-alone company Pressman Toy, ular property that may not have been which has remained under the same name and Pressman’s games cover a wide range of interested in the game otherwise, they estabremains a family-owned business under the audiences, from young children to adults and lish a media presence for Pressman. “We used reins of Jim Pressman, who took over the families. Many of its games are licensed, to advertise on TV and it would be a very company in 1979. Now, Jack Pressman will while others are classic games, such as effective way of reaching children,” says be inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Rummikub and Mastermind. Both of these Pressman. “In today’s fragmented world, it’s Fame during next month’s Toy Fair for his games have been around for roughly 30 years much harder to reach them. Licensing has contributions to the early toy business. “We and both continue to do well. “What’s nice taken over what television used to do.” are honored and excited that my father and the about games is that they’re generational,” says The future for Pressman Toy looks bright. founder of this company, who started this Pressman. “You play it as a kid, you grow up, “I think that companies like us, in times like company 87 years ago, is being recognized as and you buy it for your kids and play it with these, become more important, when lowerone of the earliest founders for the modern them.” The company’s longevity has played priced games can be more important in enterday toy industry,” says Jim Pressman. neatly into that trend, allowing its classic tainment value,” Pressman says. The compaWhile the name is the same, the company games to gain popularity again as the genera- ny will continue to produce a full line of has morphed from its roots. It was originally tion that grew up on them plays with children games, licensed and unlicensed, for adults and an all-purpose toy company with products in and grandchildren. Pressman points to the children. In keeping with its goal of being multiple categories, but today Pressman Toy trend of nostalgia in licensing and indicates friendly to consumers, Pressman will be focuses primarily on games and puzzles. that it lends itself to toy and game products as releasing a large number version of Pressman feels that this specified focus allows well and that Pressman’s classic games have Rummikub for the older set of players. The the company to bring more to the market, been enjoying additional attention from for- company will also be introducing a new pleasing the consumer, which in the end mer childhood fans. Seinfeld trivia game. For younger audiences, serves the retailer. “When we look at games, The games market is a crowded one, with Pressman has a number of new Pokémon we look at what we can bring to the con- many companies competing for a spot on toy product introductions lined up. Overall, the sumer,” says Jim Pressman. “We try to bring store shelves. There are a number of factors goal and mission of Pressman Toy will remain something that is going to be a satisfying that set Pressman apart. One of these is price. the same. “We respond to the world around us experience. We believe that what we stand for “Everything in our line is under $20, and a lot to deliver to the retailer and to the consumer is something that can deliver that.” of it is under $10,” Pressman says. The abili- what they need now,” says Pressman.

W

12 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009


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ENTERTAINMENT MARKETPLACE

SONY PICTURES CONSUMER PRODUCTS

BY LAURIE

HAHN

fter celebrating their 50th anniversary last year, the future looks bright blue for The Smurfs. In an effort to reinvigorate the brand, Sony Pictures Consumer Products (SPCP), which represents the licensing and merchandising for both the classic and film property in the U.S. and Canada, developed publicity/marketing stunts and retail events. For the first time, a Smurf balloon made an appearance in the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. SPCP signed a three-year deal with Macy’s for the balloon and a Smurfs float to appear in the annual parade. It all started on October 23, 1958, when Belgian cartoonist Peyo (aka Pierre Culliford) created the blue heroes in the pages of the Belgian magazine Spirou. Johan and Peewit, the heroes of a cartoon taking place in the middle ages, suddenly hear a small voice yelling, “Can’t you look where you smurf? You nearly smurfed me!” And then a small, blue gnome emerges from behind a rock. Since then The Smurfs have become legendary. The stars of comic books, the big screen, and the long-running NBC television series (the 256 half-hour episodes are still aired around the world today), The Smurfs have also inspired record albums, video games, toys, and a collection of figurines. According to SPCP, a new live-action/animation Smurfs film is in the works, tentatively scheduled for release in Q4 2010. SPCP hopes to introduce filmbased licensed merchandise targeting kids of all ages around the movie’s release. Until then, many licensees are signing on to produce licensed product around the classic Smurfs property. Jakks Pacific is the master toy licensee and launched an initial product line late last year. Junk Food signed on to produce a line of Smurfs apparel. Too Faced produced a collection of Smurfs beauty products. SPCP has deals in place for all apparel including sleepwear for men, boys, women, juniors, and girls; accessories including handbags, totes, wallets, and socks; room décor; and bakery, however, at press time, the specific licensees for these categories could not be announced. SPCP’s goal is to bring on unique licensees that offer nostalgic products for every generation of Smurfs fan. With new products and a film in the works, The Smurfs sure have something to smurf about as the property enters 2009.

A

14 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009

NEED

TO

KNOW

• The animated Smurfs cartoon aired for nine consecutive years from 1981–1990. • The Smurfs are only three apples tall.

• The Smurfs often use the word “smurf” or “smurfing” to replace certain nouns, verbs, and adjectives. • There are more than 100 Smurfs in the village all with different personas and characteristics.

• The Smurfs comics have been translated into 25 different languages with more than 25 million copies sold in French alone.


TOO FACED

JAKKS PACIFIC

As master toy licensee, Jakks Pacific will be producing a variety of Smurfs toys. Two new products for the fall are Smurfs Plush and Smurfs Figure Packs. Each 12-inch Smurfs Plush (shown) features sounds and comes with a DVD. Kids can sing a happy song with the plush and squeeze its hand to hear phrases and sounds. The DVD features an episode of the classic ’80s cartoon, as well as a bonus music video. The plush are for ages 3 and up. Smurfs Figure Packs come with 2.25-inch classic figures. Kids can collect them all—Smurfette, Handy, Papa, Gargamel, and Azrael. Each Smurfs Figure Pack comes with either two Smurfs or one Smurf with accessories.

Too Faced will produce a line of Smurfs-branded beauty products, such as So Smurfy Illuminating Face Powder. The collection, a five-item range of color items for the eyes, lips, and face, launched in December at Sephora. The items, which also include eye shadow, lip gloss, and liquid eyeliner, are heavy on blues, pinks, and lavenders.

JUNK FOOD

For the classic Smurfs property, Junk Food will produce a variety of T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts. Apparel will feature favorite Smurfs characters, as well as phrases such as “I Love Smurfette.”

JANUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 15


STORE CHECK

FAO Magic Comes to San Francisco Macy’s BY

CHRISTOPHER BYRNE acy’s, one of the classic names in retailing, celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2008. During that time the company partnered with another name that defines retail experience—FAO Schwarz. Earlier in 2008, FAO and Macy’s announced that they would be joining forces to open nearly 75 fullsized stores and approximately 200 smaller shops. Specific locations can easily be found on macys.com. The smaller shops, like the one in the San Francisco Macy’s on Union Square, is nestled within the children’s apparel department. Measuring about 300 square feet, the boutique showcases a variety of plush, FAO exclusives, “green toys,” and a handful of promotional items, such as Barbie and the Diamond Castle Dolls. Strategically placed signage at the main entrance and the escalators directs shoppers to the boutique. The shop is obviously positioned to take advantage of foot traffic through the department and cleverly merchandised so that hugging of the plush in passing is decidedly encouraged. On the day we visited, traffic was fairly heavy during an afternoon at the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Consumers were purchasing plush and the discount racks were heavily picked over. Many of the visitors were tourists—not surprising as the Union Square neighborhood is a tourist shopping haven—and none of the people purchasing items said that they had planned to purchase toys on this particular trip. In one case, however, a child’s instant affection for a stuffed dog helped seal the deal.

M

Signage directs shoppers to the FAO Schwarz boutiques in Macy’s (top right). On the bottom right is a snapshot of the FAO Schwarz boutique store in Macy’s Union Square San Francisco.

16 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009


LZR44685_M6635_TFE_Jan_Ad.indd 1

12/17/08 4:35:50 PM


INDUSTRY FORUM

N EW Y EAR , N EW O FFERINGS FROM TIA BY LAURA

QUARTUCCIO, TIA

t’s a new year and the Toy Industry Association (TIA) is gearing up for another great Toy Fair. The membership department has been diligently working to acquire new members, enhance member benefits, and continue to provide valuable information about the safety issues facing our industry.

I

VISIT US AT THE TIA INFORMATION BOOTH Once again, the TIA’s information area will be set up in the Crystal Palace just off the show floor at the Javits Center. Representatives from the membership department will be on hand to help you navigate through the valuable benefits you receive as a TIA member. Join the Association and network with fellow toy industry colleagues in this central meeting point before hitting the trade show floor. Be sure to ask about the Toy Safety Certification Program (TSCP), an ANSIaccredited program led by an expert team that addresses safety in toys and identifies and remedies problems before toys enter the supply chain. The program offers a webbased, cost-effective certification solution allowing participants to create electronic certificates for regulators and retailers to access at ease. And don’t miss the annual Toy Safety Update to learn about developments in toy safety regulations taking place February 16 at 9 A.M. in room 1D of the Special Events Hall at the Javits Center.

18 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009

Also, sign up to be a part of the Credit Interchange Program, a comprehensive resource available at no cost that provides qualified members the opportunity to access important retail industry news, SEC filings, and credit reports outlining payment history. We are about to launch a new software module for greater efficiency and ease of use. Finally, take a look into the TIA’s many cost-saving programs such as our comprehensive business insurance offered through HUB International, the discounted advertising and creative services from Blue Plate Media Services, and discounted retail analysis software and consulting from Enhanced Retail Solutions.

FIND THE PERFECT EMPLOYEE WITH THE TIA JOB BANK TIA now offers a web-based career center that connects job seekers with prospective employers in the toy industry. The TIA will supply internet lounges located on levels 1 and 3 for candidates to browse through job listings. Create a company profile and post all available job offerings to find the perfect candidate. MEET MEDIA EXECUTIVES AT BLUE PLATE MEDIA SERVICES’ MEDIA LOUNGE TIA program partner Blue Plate Media Services is happy to offer Toy Fair 2009 participants the opportunity to meet with top media executives and learn about the toy industry media landscape. On Tuesday, February 17, Blue Plate Media will host a media lounge in room 1E of the Javits Center where both members and nonmembers can meet with media providers.

Blue Plate Media’s president David Becker will also be available to discuss media solution packages that will allow you to buy media more effectively to maximize the impact of your targeted message.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ENHANCED RETAIL SOLUTIONS’ NEW WEB-BASED SOFTWARE TIA is pleased to announce a new product offering from partner Enhanced Retail Solutions. Their new web-based software service, weeklyanalyst.net, allows users to track sales, inventory, and store-level performance for all retail accounts in one place. With a subscription, receive a consistent platform storing all data; a robust system to track items; and valuable sellthrough information for Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, Target, and others.

SIGN ON AND EXHIBIT AT TOY FAIR 2009 Toy Fair attracts more than 13,000 buyers representing 7,000 unique retail outlets. There’s simply no better place to expand your opportunities in this $22 billion market. TIA members receive significant savings on booth space and a 30 percent discount on material handling charges for advance crated or skidded shipments. Visit www.toyassociation.org and click on Toy Fair 2009 for more information. If you are interested in receiving more information about the benefits TIA offers or joining TIA, please contact the TIA membership department at memberservices@toyassociation.org. Laura Quartuccio is the Toy Industry Association’s membership manager.


A PICTURE IS WORTH

A

TECHNO SOURCE COMBINES TECHNOLOGY

THOUSAND WORDS

WITH

ARTS & CRAFTS

BY

NANCY LOMBARDI

very day millions of emails are sent and received—essen- software industry and worked on CD-ROMs such as Kid Pix and Print tially a letter from one person to another. But the trouble is Shop. Just a few years ago, CD-ROMs for kids was a huge industry. But most people are not very good at written communication— as he points out, “When activity CD-ROMs lost out to the internet no especially kids. Luckily, a picture is still worth a thousand one really picked up the torch in the creativity space,” he says. “We words. Combine a written email message with a Smiley think there is a real opportunity both online and offline.” emoticon from internet company IAC and the receiver will know just While Levin has the technology and activity background, Wayne what the sender implied. Apparently this tactic Nathan, co-founder of Techno Source, has the clasworks because more than three billion Smileys sic activity background, having spent six years at have been sent since 2003, according to IAC. Rose Art. So while this may seem like a departure Now IAC is partnering with Techno Source for Techno Source, Smiley Central Studio marries for a new kid-targeted, COPPA-compliant webthe company’s strengths, according to Levin. site and product line called Smiley Central “We see this as a further extension of what we Studio. (IAC’s original Smiley brand and site, have been doing, which is taking classic play patterns SmileyCentral.com, will continue to operate and updating them through technology,” Levin says. Techno Source’s Smiley Central Studio product separately.) IAC will build, maintain, and own IAC agrees. “We were looking for a partner who line will encompass two sizes of plush, the Smiley Central Studio site. It will become we could collaborate with to create the next generabobbleheads, figures, cellphone charms, and activity kits (not shown). All items will retail for part of its vast portfolio of sites, which now tion of creative and collectible online toys utilizing less than $10 and contain a code to link to include zwinky.com, evite.com, match.com, our incredibly popular Smiley Central characters,” www.smileycentralstudio.com. and countless others. says Mike Primiani, senior vice-president of strateSmiley Central Studio is a new concept that will marry both the gic partnerships and product operations for IAC. self-expression and communication aspects of the original Smileys The concept is collect (buy the product), click (use the code on the site), with the classic arts and crafts category. create (make Smileys online), and communicate (seamlessly insert them “We saw an opportunity for bite-sized experiences online,” says into your communication through the included downloadable application). Eric Levin, president of Techno Source. “This is not to change how The PC-only site features an elaborate rewards model. As kids earn kids are communicating or playing but to enhance what they are points on the site they unlock layers. Each product purchased unlocks difalready doing. Creativity is a huge category for the toy industry but it’s ferent features on the site as well. Once a Smiley character (or an evite, wallalso a very important part of childhood development.” paper, calendar, etc.) has been created by the user, it can be saved and criTechno Source is the master toy licensee for Smiley Central Studio. tiqued by others in the Smiley Gallery, or the Smileys can be sent to others. It’s Techno Source’s first master toy deal. The company will create a It is the transmission of the Smileys that really makes this a magiline of plush characters, bobblehead figures, cell phone charms, and cal experience for kids. When a product is initially purchased and basic figures as well as basic and deluxe activity sets to make jewelry, access is granted to the site using the code, there is an application to room décor, etc. The product line, for ages 6 and up, will be available download. This allows kids to seamlessly drop their Smiley into their in fall 2009. Each item will be less than $10 at retail. And each product Gmail or Yahoo browser, for example, much the same way adults now will come with a code to visit the website, smileycentralstudio.com. use the application. The permanent icon is added to the email program. “We want to do for online creativity what Webkinz did for virtual When a child writes an email and then clicks on the Smiley icon, the worlds,” says Levin. “The worlds were out there before Webkinz but, customized Smiley appears in the email. for the first time, Webkinz got kids engaged. They had first-mover A television ad campaign is in development. In addition, IAC says it advantage. We think we have the same opportunity also with first- makes one billion impressions per month through its numerous websites, mover advantage in arts and crafts.” which will obviously help support the brand. Combined support from Not only will Techno Source be first to market but they are working IAC and Techno Source coupled with seamless technology, classic play with a classic, proven play pattern. Levin comes from the consumer patterns, and a low price point should have everyone smiling.

E

20 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009


Sports Toys:

Where Innovation and Fun Collide nnovation and fun are two words that continually came up in discussions with sports toy manufacturers. For all of the benefits that sports toys can offer children, the benefits can only be reaped when children actually engage with the products. In order to get kids to engage, the products must be fun. While a May 2008 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that childhood obesity rates may be leveling off after surging for nearly two decades, experts still warn that the rate at which children are becoming overweight is still very high—more than triple the rates of those in the 1960s and 1970s. By adding a healthy dose of fun and innovation into their offerings, sports toy manufacturers are doing their part in the fight against childhood obesity. “Getting kids moving is very important—so you have to make it fun for them,” says Isaac Larian, president and CEO of MGA Entertainment, which offers a Little Tikes line of sports toys. “Kids should be able to play sports in the traditional play pattern and learn the rules, but also be able to entertain themselves and just have fun.” Manufacturers go to grueling lengths to ensure that their sports toys are fun. They fine tune their products through a series of meetings, focus groups, and trials. It sounds like strenuous work. “When we first started to invent Junk Ball, every time we got a new prototype in, we would stand in the hallway and play catch for a half an hour,” says Jim Engle, president of Little Kids. “Then you decide that since it is a beautiful day that you should go to the park and see how it works.” Tough work, huh? While developing Junk Ball was a literal day at the park for Little Kids, that research has certainly paid off. The brand has established itself in the marketplace and is poised for growth this year. While it was too early for Engle to discuss the details, expect product introductions in the third and fourth quarters that take Junk Ball beyond the baseball space and into other sports. “There is always opportunity for well-thought-out, innovative product in this category,” Engle adds. Innovation is key to establishing a presence in this category. For instance, longstanding brands like Nerf and Frisbee continually innovate to maintain their iconic status in the sports toys world. Nerf has BY

CHRIS ADAMS

I

22 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009

MGA’s Little Tikes TotSports T-Ball Set

had some hits through licensing entities, such as NFL teams and Peyton Manning, but that is secondary to the products themselves. “Licensing is complementary to the category, but innovation is king,” says Jonathan Berkowitz, global brand director for Nerf. “Kids will look for what enhances their play first and foremost.”

Active Avenues

Today’s kids have more options than ever before when choosing avenues for an active lifestyle. Not only are traditional sports like basketball, football, and baseball holding their own, but team sports like field hockey, lacrosse, ice hockey, and indoor and outdoor soccer are attracting increased attention. In addition, individual sports have seen the greatest rise in participation over the past 15 years.


Wham-O’s Frisbee Ultimate Kit with Bag and DVD

“Individual sports have been properly promoted and children have been given opportunities to participate,” says Mike May, spokesman for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. “People involved in these sports realize that when you get a child involved there is a chance that they’ll stay with the sport for a very long time.” Giving kids more options of sports to participate in translates into increased opportunities to offer the wealth of advantages that an active lifestyle offers. Sure, sports are beneficial from a physical fitness standpoint. But the benefits transcend the physical realm. “It is well known that sports provide positive physical benefits, which carry with them positive mental benefits including greater energy, sharpness, and calm,” says Chris Guirlinger, vice-president of marketing and licensing at Wham-O. “In addition to these benefits, sports teach children valuable social skills in terms of how to interact with each other, resolve conflicts, work together as a team, and enjoy competition.”

Fun Way to Play

When most people think of sports toys, they often think of safer, smaller versions of adult sporting goods items. There is often crossover between sports toys and sporting goods classifications. Also, typically, toys involve a simple play pattern that doesn’t have

the same level of rules, regulation, and difficulty of a sporting good item meant for regulation play. “We focus on developing children’s products that spark the imagination and inspire open-ended play,” says MGA’s Larian. “We look for ways to make traditional play more fun yet provide a value for parents—for example, by adding lights or sounds or fun characters.” And sometimes sports toys combine a few different play patterns to make a new twist on an old favorite. The popularity of the Frisbee has really grown over the years with this approach. People young and old have applied the rules of football and golf to the popular flying disc and these spin-off sports have thrived. The simplicity and open-ended play patterns that the Frisbee offers has played a role in its sales strengths during the current economic downturn. Wham-O’s Guirlinger says that its sales for fourth quarter 2008 were ahead of those for 2007 and that listings for first quarter 2009 are ahead of those for 2008. “Mom is looking for toys that are affordable and will last so she can stretch her budget farther,” he adds. “We pride ourselves on making a quality product that will hold up over time.”

Active Promotion

There are many different avenues for achieving success within the sports toy category. The key is for manufacturers to properly execute whatever game plan they utilize. “There are an infinite number of opportunities out there,” says Issa Sawabini, partner at Fuse Marketing, a youth marketing agency that connects brands with youth through sports, music, fashion, and other relevant cultural interests. “Marketers might want to try an experiential program where they take their brands to kids while they participate or they may take a more mediabased program that lives by delivering great content through television and other media.” Regardless of the marketing approach, Sawabini says, “Being active and making sure that your brand is promoting a healthy, active lifestyle is really important. Any brand that is marketing in this space needs to consider its message and how it is promoting an active lifestyle.”

JANUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 23


Sports Toys

BY

CHRIS ADAMS

Today there are a wide range of sports toys to help get kids active. After all, the means to getting kids active doesnʼt matter, just that theyʼre up, moving, and having fun. Below are a range of items designed to suit that purpose.

Little Kids

Xtreme Sky Slasherz are pocket-sized boomerangs that take different flight paths depending on how they’re thrown. In addition, Little Kids plans to expand its Junk Ball into other sports in the third and fourth quarters of this year. Details are expected shortly after Toy Fair.

Hasbro

For its Nerf line, Hasbro plans to combine its Vortex Howler concept with its Pocket Vortex ball, while adding on NFL licenses. This small, foam football can be thrown great distances while making a howling sound as it flies.

Saturnian 1 Sport Saturnian 1’s Fun Gripper Grip Zone 10.5 Junior Football (shown) is easy to grip and throw thanks to the company’s patented Fun Gripper technology. An 8.5-inch model is also available. In addition, the company introduces the Fun Gripper Lacrosse Stick, which comes with a 2.5-inch bean ball.

24 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009

MGA Entertainment

MGA Entertainment introduces a range of Little Tikes sports toys. The Little Tikes Drive, Chip & Putt Golf Trainer (shown) is a five-in-one golf set that is adjustable for indoor and outdoor play. The tethered ball arm rotates for safe hits off the tee and chipping indoors, while the free ball hits off the tee and can be chipped and putted outdoors. It includes two balls, two clubs, and a storage base. The Little Tikes Grand Slam Hitting Trainer is a grow-with-me pitch trainer that helps little ones develop a range of baseball skills. The beginner setting is an adjustable-height T-ball with a brush on top, while advanced pitching function offers adjustable heights for high and low balls and adjusts for speed. All of the included pieces store in its base and its post doubles as a handle.


Wham-O

Wham-O’s Frisbee Ultimate Kit with Bag and DVD includes everything needed to play ultimate Frisbee. Its two UPA-approved Frisbee discs, one in competition white and one glow-in-the-dark, are 175g regulation models. It also includes an instructional DVD called Ultimate 101: Laying Out the Game. In addition, it includes an ultimate Frisbee disc carrying bag. The company also offers a starter Frisbee golf set— Flyright Frisbee Golf Starter Set—that includes everything needed to get started in the sport. Wham-O also produces a range of snow sleds. The Woody (shown) is a 46-inch new update of the classic wooden sled. It seats two people and includes a structured foam top for added comfort. Attached to the wooden base are tracking rails that offer added control as well as four handles.

Moose Mountain

Moose Mountain’s ESPN Electronic Coast to Coast Basketball features electronic timing and scoring, electronic arcade sounds and phrases, flashing lights, two differentsized hoops, two basketballs, and four games to choose from.

Aviva Sports

Aviva’s Kiddie 10’ Ice Rink is an inflatable ice rink that can be set up right in your backyard. It is made of a tough PVC vinyl that is designed to weather the cold. Just add water and wait until it freezes.

Pelican International

Pelican International’s Snosorus is an inflatable pull sled that includes a padded seat and backrest. It includes a pull rope. The lively looking sled features two handles, doublewelded seams, and a repair kit. It is constructed of cold-resistant PVC.

JANUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 25


TOY FAIR 2009 PATCH P RODUCTS

N ELVANA

In Patch Products’ 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.

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. Planet Toys has signed on as the North American toy partner for Grossology, Nelvana’s animated series for kids ages 6–11, which is on Discovery Kids in the U.S. and YTV in Canada. Planet Toys will manufacture science kits and distribute the Anjar line of roleplay items and action figures based on the science-based comedy series.

C REATIVITY

FOR

K IDS

Creativity for Kids introduces new craft kits for boys in 2009. Customize a cool car with Custom Street Machine. Paint the car and then add rub-on transfer designs and 3-D stickers. The car is made of solid wood with chrome-effect rims, and comes with a stand to display the model. The kit is for ages 5 and up.

26 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009

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.


P LAYMOBIL

P LAY V ISIONS

New products from Playmobil include the Research Submarine (shown). 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 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.

Play Visions’ Club Earth division introduces the Splashy Dashy Otter. 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.

A CTION P RODUCTS

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 the 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.

JANUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 27


TOY FAIR 2009 P OKÉMON

M ODELW ORKS

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.

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.

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.

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.

28 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 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, i-Gami allows children to create sharks, helicopters, flowers, dinosaurs, and more. There are nine kits, ranging from 54–600 pieces in size.


S PIN M ASTER 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. 2009 will also see expansions to the Bakugan Battle Brawlers line of toys. The Bakugan Display Case (shown) 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 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 be expanding the PixOs activity line with new 3-D Character Kits. These new kits let kids make three different three-dimensional shapes using the PixOs design trays and PixOs pen. The Tini Puppini Sparklini Hair Salon lets girls add sparkles to any Tini Puppini’s hairdo or to their own. It comes with 60 reusable sparklini hair sparkles.

JANUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 29


BY LAURIE

HAHN

LEARNING HOW-TO WITH here are many variations of the genesis story of Klutz. The one that John Cassidy, co-founder of Klutz, is telling these days begins with three California friends leading trips down a river. Cassidy, B.C. Rimbeaux, and Darrell Lorentzen graduated college in the late 1970s, a time period when the atmosphere, as Cassidy says, was not career-oriented. “At that stage in our lives we weren’t interested in going to work every morning,” he says. Instead, the friends lead tourists on white water trips and found that one of the things they had to be on those trips was entertaining. Because Cassidy and Rimbeaux knew how to juggle, they would gather their passengers around and teach them how to juggle using rocks. “It occurred to us that there was a lot of interest in it and it didn’t seem like anyone had commercially tried to publish a book on juggling,” Cassidy says. This was also the time period of the Pet Rock and Cassidy and his friends wanted a part of the “make a fortune in about 45 min-

T

The newest Klutz book teaches kids how to make videos with cell phone and digital video cameras.

30 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009

utes and then retire to a lifetime of excess and indulgence” lifestyle, as Cassidy puts it. So they raised some money, wrote, and self-published a book on how to juggle—Juggling for the Complete Klutz. Each person brought his or her own skill to the task: Cassidy, the English major, put the instructions in book form; Lorentzen, the business major, wrote up a business plan; and Rimbeaux, the psychology major, secured a bank loan. Packaged with the book were three beanbags so that consumers had the tools to put into practice what they were reading. “We were trying to make it practical because you can’t learn how to juggle with balls because they roll,” Cassidy says. “And since so much of juggling, at least in the beginning, is about dropping, balls are the worst things.” Over the course of one fall/Christmas, the three friends sold their book in a handto-hand way, distributing the books via bicycle and backpack all over the Palo Alto, Calif. area. The book wasn’t an enormous failure, but the friends’ get-richquick scheme hadn’t panned out. Instead of being a popular hit, the book had simply sold well and continued on that same path. After four years, each of the friends got married and had children. It was Cassidy’s children that sparked an idea. “I started looking at the Klutz book as maybe containing more than we’d originally thought,” he says. “There may be something there. . . the idea of taking a book and publishing it or marketing it with the tool of its trade attached.”

Rimbeaux and Lorentzen stayed financial partners in Klutz while Cassidy pursued his idea. Now 33 years and 140 titles later, Klutz is a publishing industry staple, becoming a part of Scholastic in 2002. There are hundreds of things Klutz books teach consumers and the company continues to come up with new ideas. A new book, set for a spring 2009 release, is called Tricky Video. In this book, kids learn how to make videos using cell phone and digital video cameras. “All the kids are running around with cell phone cameras and video cameras and this is a book on how to have fun with those things and make it look like your dog is talking or your head falls off or some special effect kind of thing done very low-tech,” Cassidy says. Example videos will be available on the Klutz website. A link to each video is included within the book. Klutz has been around long enough to make a name for itself in the book industry but also to see many changes. Cassidy says that Klutz ships to fewer retailers than it once did. There has been consolidation among the chains and there are less independent booksellers. In addition, the emergence of the internet has changed how people shop for books. “The U.S. probably buys as many books as it did 10 years ago but [consumers] go to fewer places to do it,” he says. “We’ve been around long enough to see these trends come and go. The only constant is change.” However, the one thing that will never change is the company’s commitment to showing children how to have fun.


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YOU’RE HIRED

LIONSGATE ENTERTAINMENT

MICHAEL RATHAUSER, SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT, MARKETING

Lionsgate Entertainment promoted Michael Rathauser to senior vice-president of marketing for its home entertainment businesses. He will continue to oversee the strategy, marketing, and management for Lionsgate Family Entertainment as well as the StudioCanal library. Rathauser has helped develop partnerships with children’s entertainment brands including Marvel, Scholastic, American Greetings, and Mattel. He has also been responsible for overseeing the StudioCanal library, which includes Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Total Recall, and Rambo.

COPYRIGHT PROMOTIONS LICENSING GROUP

KELLY ELWOOD, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CPLG CANADA

Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG) named Kelly Elwood to managing director, CPLG Canada. She will head up the Toronto office. Prior to this, Elwood spearheaded the international consumer products division for Cookie Jar Entertainment. CPLG Canada is the Canadian affiliate of the CPLG group of companies, recently acquired by Cookie Jar Entertainment.

ENTERTAINMENT RIGHTS PLC DEBORAH DUGAN, CEO

Entertainment Rights Plc appointed Deborah Dugan to CEO. Dugan has served as president and CEO of Entertainment Rights North America since April 2007, prior to which she was president of Disney Publishing Worldwide.

32 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009

SESAME WORKSHOP

DRISCOLL & POLVERE, NEW HIRES

Sesame Workshop hired Karen Driscoll as vice-president of marketing services and Diana Polvere as vice-president of market intelligence. Driscoll will oversee the development and execution of marketing plans and programs in support of Sesame Street and The Electric Company. She will lead a team responsible for both consumer and trade marketing programs that build affinity and affection for the Karen Driscoll Sesame Street brand, growing its audiences across multiple distribution platforms. Driscoll will also help shape and drive campaign ideas, connecting activities across departments and proposing synergies to maximize resources and opportunities. Most recently, she worked as a marketing consultant for Worldwide Biggies, a digital Diana Polvere entertainment studio. Polvere will provide producers and businesses with valuable insights about their audiences, markets, customers, and performance relative to the competition. She will lead a team responsible for primary consumer market research, syndicated research, and media research. Polvere comes from American Express, where she led a team in their global marketplace group, providing research insights for key business initiatives, new product development, product line strategy, brand communications, and positioning.


ONE LAYOFF IS

A

TRAGEDY, ONE MILLION IS

A

STATISTIC

AT&T lays off 12,000. Mattel lays off 1,000. Citigroup lays off 50,000.

everyone else does. . . and he got nowhere. And, as they say, drastic times

ly just start to sound like, well, numbers. But each of these numbers is an indi-

Central Terminal in an effort to find a job (see picture below). His out-of-

Viacom lays off 850. NBC Universal lays off 500. These are staggering numbers, but when repeated over and over throughout the course of a news day they realvidual employee who worked late, rescheduled a vacation, came in on Saturday, or neglected time with their children for their job. Each of them has their own

individual story. For some, a layoff may be the push they need to start something they really wanted to do. But for the vast majority, job loss is devastating.

And that brings us to PAUL NAWROCKI, a toy industry veteran. Google

his name and see that he has become an international media sensation. He

is now, quite literally, the poster-child of the economic crisis. After being

laid off from Sababa months ago he started looking for a job the same way

PAUL W. NAWROCKI

call for drastic measures. So Nawrocki put on a suit, donned a sandwich board detailing his plight, and stood in front of New York City’s Grand the-box thinking has catapulted him into the media spotlight. Even though he is making headlines he is also still looking for a full-time position.

We have certainly been in touch with many people who have recently been

laid off and we thought we’d profile two of them this month: Nawrocki and

RACHEL BRENNER (formerly of Steve and Barry’s). The goal is to find each

person a new position. If your company is hiring for these positions, please read below and contact these individuals. If you would like to be profiled in an upcoming issue, please contact Nancy Lombardi at nancy@anbmedia.com.

OPSMAN2008@AOL.COM HOME (845) 831–1802 • CELL: (646) 584–3900

SEEKING: I would like a position in a company that works as a

team for the common goal, that can find a sense of fun in the toy business even though it is business. I would like to work for a company that is financially stable with realistic goals for the company and its employees. I live in Beacon, N.Y., which is easily accessible to most of the tri-state area.

RACHEL BRENNER

RACHEL.A.BRENNER@GMAIL.COM

SEEKING: full-time corporate and/or consumer public relations position in New York City. Also interested in freelance opportunities and/or work-from-home situation.

PREVIOUS POSITION: senior manager of public relations

Steve & Barry’s (New York-based national apparel retailer)

PREVIOUS RESPONSIBILITIES: I handled media relations

PREVIOUS POSITION: director of operations, New York-based Sababa Group, Inc.

and corporate communication, also serving as company

opment to coordinate production—taking into account sales projections, time lines from product development, lead times, and MOQs from vendors. I acted as liaison between the N.Y. office and Hong Kong contacts and vendors. I placed master purchase orders for production of inventory to cover our projected needs for domestic inventory and FOB orders from our customers. I oversaw the order processing department for the input and fulfillment of our domestic orders, FOB orders, and international orders.

Jessica Parker, Venus Williams, Stephon Marbury,

PREVIOUS RESPONSIBILITIES: I was in the middle of operations, sales, and product devel-

STRENGTHS: I am tenacious and reliable. I always make a point of understanding the processes around me so I can work with the limitations that exist while looking for ways to improve the system. Proficient in Excel and Word.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: I have worked in almost every area of operations, from sales

administration to import management. I have traveled to see vendors in China during peak shipping season for a month at a time.

spokesperson. My work included the launch and ongoing publicity efforts for brands including Sarah Amanda Bynes, WWE, Hershey’s, and Marvel.

STRENGTHS: I am a media relations and communication professional with experience in attaining bottom-line

results. I’m a team player skilled in working with all levels

of management. I have expertise in television, print, and radio media; crisis communication; company profiles;

media-plan development; market and competitive research;

and staff management. Proficient in Excel and PowerPoint. PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: public relations and communication intern for Hadassah (an international non-profit women’s organization) in Jerusalem, Israel

JANUARY 2009 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT 33


EVENTS OF

CALENDAR

INDUSTRY-RELATED TRADE SHOWS FEBRUARY 5–10

Nuremberg Toy Fair

7–10

San Francisco International Gift Fair sfigf.com

6–8

12–14 15–18 17–19

MARCH 6–9

nurembergtoyfair.com

New York Comic Con

nycomiccon.com

Nuremberg Exhibition Center

Nuremberg, Germany

Jacob Javits Convention Center

New York City

Moscone Center

San Francisco

Global Pet Expo

globalpetexpo.com

Orange County Convention Center

Orlando

MAGIC Marketplace

magiconline.com

Las Vegas Convention Center

Las Vegas

Toy Fair 2009

toyassociation.org

Jacob Javits Convention Center

New York City

Halloween Costume & Party Show

hcpshow.com

The Sands Expo & Convention Center The Fairplex

Pomona, CA

14–17

GAMA Trade Show

gama.org

Bally’s Las Vegas

Las Vegas

27–30

Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair hkgiftspremiumfair.com

Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center

Wanchai, Hong Kong

ToyCon 2009

toyassociation.org

Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa

Litchfield Park, AZ

2–4

E3

e3expo.com

Los Angeles Convention Center

Los Angeles

24–28

Origins Game Fair

originsgames.com

Greater Columbus Convention Center

Columbus, OH

7–10

APRIL 18–20

MAY 6–8

19–21

JUNE

14–17

Western States Toy & Hobby Show

wthra.com

Hawaii Market Merchandise Expo douglastradeshows.com

allcandyexpo.com

All Candy Expo

ASTRA

astratoy.com

Exhibition Hall, Blaisdell Center

McCormick Place

St. Paul Rivercentre

LICENSING INTERNATIONAL EXPO 2009

Las Vegas

Honolulu

Chicago

St. Paul, MN

TUESDAY–THURSDAY, JUNE 2–4; MANDALAY BAY CONVENTION CENTER, LAS VEGAS

FALL TOY PREVIEW TUESDAY–THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6–9; DALLAS MARKET CENTER, DALLAS

34 TOYS & FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT JANUARY 2009


. . . k r o Y w e N o t e Com

Register to Attend Today!! ! Register by

AT TOY FAIR YOU WILL FIND MORE THAN 100,000 PRODUCTS FROM OVER 1,200 COMPANIES ALL IN ONE PLACE.

J 2008 and beanuary 30th dinner for 2 entered to win NYC restauranat a top-rated t TFE0109


Fisher-Price, Inc., a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. East Aurora, NY 14052 U.S.A. ©2009 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ® and ™ designate US trademarks of Mattel, Inc. Items shown sold separately and subject to availability. TV not included. LZR44750

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Toys & Family Entertainment, January 2009  

Toys & Family Entertainment is a monthly magazine showcasing the hottest trends in the toy and family entertainment business.

Toys & Family Entertainment, January 2009  

Toys & Family Entertainment is a monthly magazine showcasing the hottest trends in the toy and family entertainment business.

Profile for anbmedia