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Visit Us At Booth #1200 2017 ASTRA Marketplace & Academy

© 2017 Corolle, Inc. - One Corporate Drive, Grantsville, MD 21536 - USA - 800-214-9711 -

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contents | 06/17 Volume 12, No. 2





Company Profile: Funko

by Jennifer Lynch



The Changing Faces of Dolls

Observations & Opinions


by Elaine Andrus


Industry News



Industry Forum: The Toy Association

Dolls: Product Presentation

by Jennifer Lynch


18 Industry Forum: ASTRA

Spotlight on Outdoor Toys


Industry Forum: Design Edge


Brand Profile: Despicable Me 3

by Jennifer Lynch


Company Profile: Pamson Enterprises



Calendar of Events

by Jennifer Lynch


Collectibles: Cornering the Next Craze Collectibles: Product Presentation

by Jennifer Lynch


ASTRA Marketplace Preview

compiled by Jennifer Lynch

page 59

On the Cover L.O.L. Surprise! from MGA Entertainment TFE cover designed by Jennifer Lynch

TFE Licensing cover designed by Jennifer Lynch, image courtesy of Licensing Expo


60 Nostalgia, Viewing Habits Drive Licensing Trends by Ashley Rogers

On this Page Disney Princess Dance Code Belle from Hasbro; Funko Harry Potter Rock Candy vinyl figure assortment from Funko

66 Licensing Expo 2017 compiled by Jennifer Lynch

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Observations & Opinions


Consumers Power Business as Usual by

Bob Glaser

arly this spring, it seemed like every week brought a new announcement of retailers restructuring, brick-andmortar stores closing, and an increased focus on internet purchases. Despite this, as I discussed in my last column, this doesn’t mean death to the brick-and-mortar but rather a shifting focus on how to do business and compete with price and convenience of online shopping. This is a topic that will surely be a focus at the annual ASTRA Marketplace & Academy this month, as ASTRA continues to provide specialty toy makers Bob Glaser, Publisher and retailers new resources to address the evolving landscape. I always refer to the people who focus on the independent side of the toy business as the real passion in the toy industry. While there are certainly those passionate in the mass market, dollars and cents often take a back seat to the process of creating life-long childhood memories of well-played-with toys in specialty. Our coverage of the ASTRA convention begins on page 36. In this issue, you’ll also find our coverage of Licensing Expo (held May 23–25 in Las Vegas) and some of the toy categories seeing the most impact from how consumers are buying and what they demand from their play experiences. In the doll aisles, the demand for diversity is driving more gender-neutral offerings to mass market. And the collectible category has certainly played a role in overall toy sales. L.O.L. Surprise! from MGA Entertainment was among those that topped TTPM’s Most Wanted List for summer 2017. Be sure to visit to see the full list. By many accounts, 2017 should also be a banner year for licensed toys. Nostalgia and multi-screen viewing habits are driving how licensors strategically approach each consumer products program. There are more than 20 theatrical releases this year with licensed toys tied to them, and many industry experts expect some of those films to bring in more than $1 billion each in licensed toy sales this summer. Our coverage of the Licensing Expo begins on page 66. We look forward to seeing you at the shows!

June 2017 • Volume 12, No. 2 Publisher Bob Glaser Associate Publisher Andy Krinner Advertising Director Donna Moore Advertising Manager Kim Anthony Jones Controller Mary Grogan Editor in Chief Jim Silver Creative & Editorial Manager Jennifer Lynch Web Developer Brendan Sanabria Contributors Elaine Andrus; Kristen Morency Goldman; Kimberly Mosley; Matt Nuccio; Ashley Rogers Public Relations Representative Josslynne Welch Litzky Public Relations, 320 Sinatra Drive, Hoboken, NJ 07030 (201) 222–9118 ext. 13 • Interested in a Subscription? Contact Mary Grogan at aNb Media, Inc. 229 West 28th Street, Suite 401, New York, NY 10001 Phone: (646) 763–8710 • Fax: (646) 763–8727

Toys & Family Entertainment (TFE) is published three times per year by aNb Media. Copyright 2017 aNb Media. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photography,

Thank you to those who participated in a successful TTPM Spring Showcase on April 27. Turn to page 12 to see pictures of the event. TTPM’s Holiday Showcase will take place on September 26 in New York City. If you are interested in participating, email me at for more information on how to reach top media this holiday season.

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recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Printed in the U.S.A. TFE, TFE Licensing, and Specialty Emporium are registered trademarks of aNb Media. 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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What’s Trending? These trending lists are based aNb Media’s consumer website, TTPM’s Top Trending Lists are generated by the number of views for that item across toy, baby, and pet categories. Here are the lists, in trending order, for the month of May.


TOP 10 Trending Toys Transformers The Last Knight Optimus Prime Turbo Changer Hasbro

Spider-Man Homecoming Eye FX Electronic Spider-Man Hasbro

Spider-Man Spider Sight Mask Hasbro

Transformers The Last Knight Optimus Grimlock Premier Edition Hasbro

Transformers The Last Knight Optimus Prime Voice Changer Helmet (1) Hasbro

Fast & Furious Stunt Stars Mattel

TOP 5 Baby Products Cuddle & Sing Puppy VTech

Camping Cubs Activity Gym (2) Skip Hop

PetSafe Yookidoo

Go Fit Belt-Positioning Backless Booster Seat




Monkey Mirror

Wooly Snuffle Mat


Paw 5



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Calmz Anxiety Relief System Animal Health Technologies

Disney/Pixar Cars 3 Smash & Crash Derby Playset

Transformers The Last Knight Turbo Changer Barricade

Automatic Ball Launcher

Spin ‘N’ Sort Spout Pro

Jada Toys

Spin Master

Ultra Plush Pet Throw with Custom Giggy Paw Print Vanderpump Pets

Fast & Furious Die Cast

Pirates of the Caribbean Silent Mary Ghost Ship Playset

TOP 5 Pet Products










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HERE’S A RECAP OF INDUSTRY HEADLINES • For more up-to-date news, visit • Sign up to receive FREE News Alerts on

Disney Unveils Disney Digital Network

Disney unveiled Disney Digital Network, which aims to creates digital-first stories and delivers them to Millennial and Gen Z audiences through its platforms and influencers. The network reaches more than one billion followers and publishes more than 6,000 pieces of content every month, according to Disney. It is made up of editorial sites, more than 300 social media channels, and a curated network of hundreds of influencers. The Disney Digital Network will offer a full-spectrum of marketing services, including co-branded Disney content, that are distributed at scale through micro-content, short-form video, and social media influencers across all major platforms. Through diverse distribution options, deep relationships with the largest platforms (Facebook Anthology, Twitter Amplify, and YouTube), and powered by Disney first party data, Disney seeks to deliver a robust slate of solutions to advertising partners. All of this will be packaged for advertisers through an in-house marketing services group, Disney Co/Op, and its four key areas of expertise: custom branded content, audience and distribution, data and insights, and influencer marketing.

Nickelodeon Launches New Entertainment Lab

Nickelodeon announced the launch of its new Burbank-based Nickelodeon Entertainment Lab, which will spearhead long-range research and development efforts around new technologies for Nick and its audience. The lab will work to develop new entertainment experiences for kids by identifying and experimenting with new trends in technology and emerging platforms to create new creative capabilities and entertainment. Some of the areas Nickelodeon is working on include real-time rendering, virtual cinema, virtual reality, augmented and mixed reality, and artificial intelligence.

Spin Master Acquires Marbles

Spin Master announced the acquisition of Marbles, the maker of brain-building games, gifts, and gadgets for all ages. Marbles started as a kiosk in a Chicago-area mall in 2008, and grew into a 40-store retailer, e-commerce, catalog, and product business known for its specialized portfolio of games with brain benefits, including Otrio. The heirloom-quality games, recognized for their coffee table-worthy style, are as beautiful to display as they are engaging to play. Each game within the Marbles portfolio is reviewed by a panel of brain-health experts to ensure the brand is building products with the brain in mind. The announcement marks Spin Master’s ongoing efforts to build its games offering, following the 2015 purchase of Cardinal Industries and subsequent acquisition of Editrice Giochi SRL in 2016. According to the NPD Group, Spin Master is currently among the top three manufacturers in the games and puzzles category. Marbles assets were sold through a bankruptcy court approved sale process and include all of Marbles’ proprietary and licensed games, warehoused inventory, and the Marbles name and website. The sale did not include any of the Marbles retail assets. Spin Master submitted the initial bid for the assets and subsequently emerged as the successful bidder at the conclusion of the sale process on April 24. The court overseeing the Marbles bankruptcy case issued an order approving the sale to Spin Master on April 26. Spin Master closed the acquisition of the Marbles assets on April 28. A transition services agreement is currently in place and Marbles employees will assist in a seamless transition. Scott Brown, Marbles co-founder and chief merchant, joins Spin Master.

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TTPM Reveals Most Wanted List for Summer 2017, Spring Showcase Recap

TTPM (that’s us!) hosted its TTPM Spring Media Showcase in New York City on April 27. The annual one-day press event highlighted the top trends and innovations for spring and summer play. This year’s event fell on Bring Your Child to Work Day for the second year in a row, which added more than 100 kids to the guest list. The event also revealed the TTPM Most Wanted List for summer 2017, which predicts the hottest and most in-demand toys for summer 2017. This year’s list was broken down into three categories: Movie Toys, Outdoor Toys, and What’s New & Hot in play. Shown here, and on page 14, is just a small sampling of the day’s events.

The doors open to guests on the TTPM 2017 Spring Showcase. TTPM attendees, comprised of top media and social media influencers, filled out the showcase floor.

Eastcolight showed attendees how to use its new Galaxy Tracker Nova 175 telescope, which uses an app to help kids to identify stars and more. TTPM’s CEO Jim Silver opened the press conference, which highlighted TTPM’s Most Wanted List for summer 2017, by discussing the current state of the toy industry.

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TTPM Reveals Most Wanted List for Summer 2017, Spring Showcase Recap (cont’d)

Media and attendees will once again gather for the TTPM Holiday Showcase on September 26 in New York City this year. For more information on how to participate in the event and reach key media, contact Bob Glaser at, Donna Moore at, or Kim Anthony Jones at

TTPM attendees lounged on the Rainbow Unicorn raft at the Kangaroo space.

Attendees tested out the Precision RBS blasters at the Super Impulse space.

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Two young TTPM attendees tested out the Tonka Tinys toy vehicles and playsets at the Funrise space.

TTPM’s Chris Byrne wore the Transformers The Last Knight Optimus Prime Voice Changer Helmet around the Hasbro space.

Kids took the new Nerf Nitro for a test ride at the Hasbro space.


New Name. New Mission. Total Transformation.

H by

Kristin Morency, The Toy Association

ow can a trade association better serve its members? What makes an association successful? “Not sitting in our offices, rather being on the road in front of members, listening and learning. Having an ear to the ground. Staying one step ahead of challenges, opportunities, and innovations. And most importantly, acting – that is, serving, supporting, and promoting business growth for all members,” says Steve Pasierb, president and chief executive of The Toy Association (formerly called the Toy Industry Association). Pasierb is speaking from the Association’s new midtown Manhattan headquarters. The office space is colorful and bright, a reflection of the trade group’s recent rebranding and transformation, including the introduction of a new strategy, new mission, and new name. The Association’s goal? To ensure its 950+ members receive best-in-class services and support that help them grow and thrive. “It must be all about our members,” says Pasierb. “From manufacturers and retailers to inventors and licensors, our members are the ‘North Star’ of our new strategic direction, assuring that everything we do is about them. In overhauling the Association, we challenged ourselves to question every aspect of what we do and found ways to be more agile, more relevant, and more effective at bringing members what they need to be successful in a rapidly evolving toy and play landscape.” A GREATER GLOBAL INFLUENCE As part of its new mission to be “a unifying force for members’ creativity, responsibility, and global success, advocating for their needs, and championing the benefits of play,” The Toy As-

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sociation has solidified its role as a leader on the world stage and is dedicated to helping members expand their businesses globally. The group’s expert-led staff collaborates closely with international toy associations and foreign governments to align global standards, reduce barriers to trade, and mitigate the harmful effects of unnecessary regulations that prevent members’ safe, enriching toys from being sold in the United States or from entering new markets. “Advocating on behalf of members is a cornerstone of what we do – promoting and protecting the industry in front of key state, federal, and international legislators,” says Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs at The Toy Association. “Just last year, we saw years of advocacy work come to fruition when the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act was signed into law. We also stopped numerous state bills from negatively impacting our members, and our efforts now touch every part of the world as we work to harmonize standards, lessen trade barriers, and reduce regulations in countries spanning every continent.” The Toy Association’s international reach and influence includes a close partnership with the Canadian Toy Association sustaining their important work; acting as secretariat for both the International Council of Toy Industries and the International Toy Industry CEO Roundtable; and chairing the committee that reviews and revises America’s ASTM F963 toy safety standard – one of the most respected and widely emulated toy safety standards in the world. MEMBER-FOCUSED TRADE SHOWS, PROGRAMS, & PRODUCTS With members top-of-mind, the Association has expanded and strengthened its core pro-

grams and services. The organization regularly conducts and commissions actionable research to help members tackle business challenges – from new market entry opportunities and new chemical regulations to intellectual property protection. It also runs, a first-of-its-kind business-to-business digital marketplace for toy retailers and suppliers, and produces Play Fair, a new business-to-consumer event that brings beloved brands and characters to life for thousands of kids and adult fans. The group’s world-renowned trade shows showcase the brightest innovations in toys and play along with stunning technological advancements. Its North American International Toy Fair continues to shatter records with sold out space and attendees from more than 100 countries, and Fall Toy Preview remains committed to serving the long-lead planning needs of mass and high-volume specialty retailers. “Our trade shows are drawing increasing numbers of global participants who are eager to see the creativity and talent of the North American toy industry,” says Marian Bossard, The Toy Association’s senior vice president of global market events. “And we help members looking to gain a foothold in developing markets – for example, in 2015 and 2016 we hosted a market exploration excursion to Kids India in Mumbai to help companies establish a strategy for entry.”

INSPIRING GENERATIONS OF (SAFE AND FUN) PLAY With a new positioning tagline – “Inspiring Generations of Play” – comes new opportunities for The Toy Association to elevate the importance of play among parents, caregivers, the media, and the government. The Toy Association’s consumer-focused Genius of Play ( initiative educates families about play’s critical role in healthy childhood development, encouraging parents and caregivers to play more often with the children in their lives. And, an online safety resource for families, ensures that parents are kept informed of every aspect of toy and play safety – from selecting age-appropriate toys to the importance of adult-supervised play. “We are committed to maintaining education outreach to American consumers and media on all aspects of toy and play safety, while also highlighting the positive and powerful role of play in children’s lives,” says Ken Seiter, the Association’s vice president of marketing communications. “We are a trusted resource for parents – and a partner to our members in spreading the word on social media and in stores about safe and fun play.”

DIGITAL AND WORKSPACE INNOVATION The Toy Association has also relaunched its digital presence with a new mobile-first website that increases the visibility of the organization’s key initiatives and events and includes simplified content, clear navigation, and a responsive layout for multiple platforms – all designed to make the user experience better for its members. The Association’s new office headquarters in New York City – designed by world-renowned architects HLW International – reflects the energy, creativity, and excitement of the toy and play community and includes meeting and office space for use by visiting member companies. “With strong toy sales here in the U.S. and more opportunities for toy companies globally, it’s an exciting time for the companies we exist to serve,” says Pasierb. “The Toy Association is excited to embark on the next chapter – dedicated to our members every step of the way.” For more info., visit Follow The Toy Association on Facebook (@TheToyAssociation) and Twitter (@TheToyAssoc).

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Make Quality Louder Than Price: Planning for Neighborhood Toy Store Day 2017

o be successful, independent toy retailers must forge strong relationships with customers, demonstrate a commitment to their neighborhoods, and effectively communicate the value-added aspects of their stores.

Differentiating your store with Neighborhood Toy Store Day

This is one of the reasons the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) created Neighborhood Toy Store Day in 2010. Set for the second Saturday in November each year, it provides a platform for communicating these messages to the consumer: • We are right here in your neighborhood, and we understand your toy needs. • We care about our customers, and we give you the excellent service you deserve. • We have high quality product that you won’t find in big box discounters or online. • We are good citizens of your community, and we support local charities. • We hire locally, and the dollars you spend here circulate locally. Each ASTRA store plans and executes its own celebration of the day, generally around a special in-store event. Attractions that store owners have used in past years include local celebrities, musicians, clowns, storytellers, the high school cheerleading squad, scavenger hunts, and face painters. Retailers have found a variety of ways to participate, which reflects the flexibility built into the program’s design. Roughly one in five stores keep it simple, packaging mostly business-as-usual Saturday activities as a “special

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event.” Two-thirds of stores promote events designed to make the store a destination on the big day, and one in 10 stores mount what could be considered a true extravaganza.

Start Planning at Marketplace

ASTRA puts a special spotlight on Neighborhood Toy Store Day this year at ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy in Philadelphia. To jumpstart your planning for the November 11 celebration, visit a new approach to shaping your strategy and tactics: the hands-on, experiential Neighborhood Toy Store Day Zone on the exhibit hall floor. The area replicates a toy store and provides a range of resources, including: • Planning resources such as timelines, to-do lists, outreach ideas, social media tips, press release templates, and more • Inspiration through demos, examples, and stories of successful Neighborhood Toy Store Day events nationwide that resulted in increased traffic and sales • Information about manufacturer specials for Neighborhood Toy Store Day, which may include super-eight specials, discounts, free freight, displays, contest materials, prize packs, or customer giveaways. The momentum starts to build now, and the more stores that participate, the greater the impact we will have in collectively communicating the specialty toy advantage.

Take Advantage of ASTRA resources

ASTRA’s support for your event continues after you leave Marketplace & Academy. Here are additional ways to maximize your success: • Quick and easy resources. On the members-only part of its website (,

By Kimberly Mosley

the resources you need to start your Neighborhood Toy Store Day planning are a click away. In its online discussion groups, ASTRA provides a forum for members to exchange ideas. • ASTRA exclusives. Feature ASTRA-exclusive products in your store. This program helps retailers make their stores a destination by offering top products with exceptional play value that customers cannot find anywhere else. • Best Toys for Kids award program. Top toy lists are always popular media stories around the holidays. The ASTRA Best Toys for Kids award list is an excellent tool for reaching out to your local media and bloggers. • Promotional materials. ASTRA members can get free Neighborhood Toy Store Day window clings and stickers for Best Toys for Kids award-winning products. Online, members can download professionally designed art for posters, advertisements, and postcards.

Start planning now

To be successful in today’s competitive toy market, you need to make customer service and shop local messages—which differentiate your store from big box and online competitors— louder than the drumbeat of price, price, price. Neighborhood Toy Store Day is one big tool to do that, and over the past several years ASTRA has enhanced the resources you have told us you need. Check them out, starting with a visit to the Neighborhood Toy Store Day Zone at Marketplace in Philadelphia. The time to plan is now, and ASTRA is ready to help. Kimberly Mosley is president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). For more information, visit

417714 GFX01 Toys & Family Entertainment full page ad V01 05-2017.pdf



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American Design & Manufacturing

CONNECT WITH US! ASTRA Booth # 1714 K’NEX is a registered trademark of K’NEX Limited Partnership Group. Where Creativity Clicks is a trademark of K’NEX Limited Partnership Group. ©2017 K’NEX Limited Partnership Group

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Toys & Hollywood: A Two-Way Street

R by

Matt Nuccio, Design Edge

ecently, Mattel and ABC teamed up to bring toy inventing to primetime television with their new competition show, The Toy Box. The concept is simple: aspiring toy inventors present their concepts to a panel of seasoned toy industry veterans with the hopes of moving onto a second round of child judges who make the final decision of which toy Mattel will bring to market. The toy industry and Hollywood have a long history of criss-crossing each other. These days, toy executives have major in-roads into the television and film industries. There is a symbiotic relationship that is part and parcel with play and entertainment; toy companies bring ideas to Hollywood, and Hollywood brings ideas to the toy industry. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Over my 25-plus year career, I have met and/or worked with celebrities such as Kevin Bacon, Daryl Hannah, Gene Simmons, Michael Madsen, Quentin Tarantino, Run-D.M.C., Jane Seymour, Gary Dell’Abate, and the 2010 cast of Saturday Night Live to name a few. Almost all my experiences were pleasurable—with the exception of one. A few years ago, a Design Edge client signed a deal to launch a toy line with a particular celebrity who will remain unnameless. At the time, this celebrity was one of the world’s most famous and recognizable people on television. The deal seemed like a slam dunk. The celebrity was a household name—what could go wrong? Initially, I wasn’t part of the deal. The client was working with the celebrity internally and everyone was excited. Hollywood executives flew our client back and forth to meet at the celebrity’s home in Beverly Hills to work on “their

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vision.” But, it didn’t take long before the excitement waned and the project was outsourced to Design Edge. We put a lot of work into it, and in a few weeks developed a strong line around “their vision.” But, there were still problems. The executives and this celebrity didn’t get along. The celebrity didn’t enjoy working with “the suits” and wanted to “deal with the creative team directly.” I was asked to fly out to the celebrity’s home but, unable to go at the requested time, we skyped instead. The celebrity was pleased, and so was our client. We were meeting all challenges and turning out good products— until the day it all went sideways. We had worked late to finalize prototypes for a rather important upcoming sales meeting. We sent the celebrity photos of the prototypes before leaving that night and received a quick and favorable reply. But shortly after 8 a.m. the next morning, I received a phone call from the celebrity which began a strange series of events. At first I was praised. They said Design Edge had nailed their vision, and invited me and my family to their home. By all means, it was a terrific and exciting conversation. I reported back to my client and everyone in its office was ecstatic as well. But, only a few hours later the celebrity called again, and this time seemed frantic. They spent a few minutes rambling about how much they hated my client, before turning their sights on me. I was told, “You are not allowed to do that” and “People know what you’re doing.” I was warned, “You can’t get away with this.” And then I was accused, “You can’t go inside people’s heads and take their ideas.” At this particular statement, I was taken aback, confused, and nervous all at the same time. Surely I’d misheard them. Was I being accused of psychic es-

pionage? I tried to clarify what the problem was but was instead subjected to a long accusation about how I went into their head while they were sleeping and stole the color they wanted for the toy. How did I know they liked red? I still was in doubt as to what was going on. Was this a joke? Was I on a Punk’d version of Candid Camera? Was this celebrity crazy or on drugs? Then the celebrity started to cry. Their assistant then took the phone and started yelling at me. This famous person’s last words to me declared that “my evil wizardry won’t work in this world” before hanging up. That was the last time the celebrity ever spoke to me or my client. A few weeks later the celebrity quit their TV show. Their toy line was never launched. The consensus was, among my team at Design Edge and our client, that we all narrowly avoided the proverbial bullet.

Matt Nuccio is president of Design Edge, a New York-based graphic design and research development studio. For more information, he can be reached at (516) 377–0500 or

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Voiced by Despicable Me 3 director Pierre Coffin, the Minions distinct language is actually a mix of languages such as French, Spanish, English, and Italian as well as food references.

Balthazar Bratt is the newest villain in the world of Despicable Me. Past villains include Vector, El Macho, and Scarlet Overkill voiced by Jason Segel, Benjamin Bratt, and Sandra Bullock, respectively.


ru, Lucy, their daughters (Margo, Edith, and Agnes), along with the fun-loving Minions, return to the big screen this summer as they embark on a new adventure in Despicable Me 3. In the latest chapter of the film franchise, Balthazar Bratt, a former 80s child star, has hatched a scheme for world domination and it’s up to Gru and his gang to put a stop to it. The film marks the fourth installment in the film franchise, following the most recent animated hits of 2013 and 2015, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, respectively. The 3-D computer-animated movie is produced by Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, and executive produced by Chris Renaud. Voiced by Steve Carell (Gru) and Kristen Wiig (Lucy), the new film is joined by Trey Parker (co-creator of South Park and The Book of Mormon) as the villainous Balthazar Bratt. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, co-directed by Eric Guillon, and written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, Despicable Me 3 will be released in theaters on June 30. The Universal Brand Development team has already unveiled a comprehensive licensing program in support of the film’s launch, which continues to emphasize the playful, toyetic nature of the property. The film will be anchored by long-time master toy partner Thinkway and supported by an extensive multi-category program featuring key partners such as WowWee, Moose Toys, Hasbro, Mega Brands, Cardinal, Crayola, Funko, KidDesigns, Ty, Wonder Forge, and more.

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In the latest Despicable Me 3 movie, Steve Carell does double duty as the voice of Gru and his long-lost twin brother Dru, who tries to tempt Gru to go back his villainous ways.

Partnerships with WowWee and Moose Toys mark both companies’ first forays into licensed tech toys and collectibles.

PARTNER ROUNDUP Clockwise from top left is a highlight of best-in-class partners for Despicable Me 3.

• As master toy partner, Thinkway is producing a comprehensive assortment of interactive plush and figures including the new Despicable Me Mini Music-Mates, which are stylized 3.5-inch versions of popular Minions and Despicable Me 3 characters that talk, sing, and dance. Press the button and watch them go. Connect their bases together to make them sing and dance in unison. • WowWee’s Minion MiP Turbo Dave is an interactive toy robot. It responds to hand gestures and can be controlled remotely with the Turbo Dave app. Kids can also program paths for Dave to self-navigate and have him interact with other characters or props from the Despicable Me franchise. • Moose Toys has teamed up with UBD and Illumination to launch Despicable Me Mineez, its all-new line of collectibles featuring characters spanning the Despicable Me universe. Marking the first ever toy collectibles line for the franchise, Mineez will feature micro collectible figure packs, playsets, backpack hangers, novelty collectibles, and plush. • A collaborative footwear and apparel collection with PUMA will debut for fall/winter 2017, giving PUMA’s classic silhouettes, like the PUMA Suede, a fresh makeover in premium tonal black upper with custom Minions-painted graphic insoles that are finished with a debossed collaboration logo. • With the Mega Construx Despicable Me 3 Agnes’ Toy Sale set, Agnes is raising funds to help her family. Build her stand and showcase her adorable toys for sale. Then, have her Minion friends attract some customers by bouncing around on the swinging arrow sign.

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: The Collectible King

t Toy Fair, it’s a typical scene for most major companies to have walls towering around their booths. But a walk past the Funko space tells a different story. Instead, show attendees stand face-to-face with characters like Stranger Things’ Eleven, Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy’s Groot, and Batman— life-sized versions of popular Funko lines such as Pop! Vinyl and Dorbz. And while the company doesn’t display product pending licensor approval at the annual trade show, its layout is representative of the open-book approach to business Funko’s taken from its beginnings. When current CEO Brian Mariotti took over the bobblehead company in 2005, he set up shop in a 10-by-10 booth at shows like Toy Fair and San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) with the help of its fans, who also helped staff the booth. Now, Funko doesn’t need to rely on fans to staff its booth, but loyal fans still enter a lottery at shows like SDCC each year to do so. “Those are the people that made Funko,” says Mark Robben, director of marketing, Funko. “I don’t think anyone here has forgotten that, and we make a lot of efforts to continue to be close to our fans.” Earlier this year, Funko was awarded the Collectible Toy of the Year Award for Pop! Vinyl at the annual TOTYs, but it’s perhaps most proud of its People’s Choice Toy of the Year Award. “We are deeply honored to be recognized not only for putting our own spin on iconic moments in pop culture but also our ability to create collectibles that resonate with our fans,” Mariotti said in a statement. “Both awards we earned were largely due to their loyal voices and we are incredibly humbled by their actions.” For Funko, it goes without saying that its fans come first. The company has a small army

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of social media gurus that engage and interact with its fans daily, whether via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or in its weekly Q&As through its blog. “I can’t think of anyone else that spends as much time just talking and listening to its fans and consumers, and we take it seriously,” says Robben. “We bring that feedback into line list reviews and product meetings. It’s feedback that definitely finds its way into everything that we do.” For Funko, this strategy is paying off. Today, the company is a sought-out partner in the collectible space, not just for its ability to drive fan engagement, but also for its relationships at retail. Having cultivated relationships with its retail partners has allowed the company to act as an axis between its retailers and licensors. For retailers seeking a company with multiple licenses to occupy the collectible space, Funko is a one-stop shop. And, because of these relationships at retail, it’s given licensors a reliable partner to bring their IPs to life through Funko’s

Funko Pop! Stranger Things Eleven

by Jennifer


distinct artistic stylings. The company currently has more than 200 licenses. “If you look at the way we are able to get products out on the marketplace, whether it is turning around Dancing Groot the week after seeing Guardians of the Galaxy in theaters, or getting something like Stranger Things into the marketplace as fast as we have, it has to do with how we move products through product development and licensor approval; it has to do with our manufacturing processes and how we work with them overseas. There are a lot of different variables that we can play with,” says Robben. Part of its ability to continue to be quick to market and expand its offerings with new lines, such as the 2015 introduction of Dorbz and last year’s Rock Candy, have been made possible by ACON Investment’s acquisition of the company in 2015 from Fundamental Capital. Further signs of its future growth were indicated earlier this year by Funko’s acquisition of the collectibles category competitor Underground Toys. But it’s not simply its lines that have changed, but Funko’s expanding role as a competitor in the toy industry. Last year, the company began moving beyond its traditional role as a collectibles licensee and into the role of master toy partner. It began last year with Five Nights at Freddy’s and expanded with master toy licenses for Cartoon Network’s Rick and Morty and DreamWorks’ Trollhunters this year. The deals have allowed the company to experiment in product categories it was previously restricted from, such as plush, while also showing Funko that it has the ability to monetize these areas as well. “Vinyl figures are our bread and butter, and we’re not changing our focus away from that,” says Robben. “But we want to grow and expand and that’s what these agreements let us do.”


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charged times, this concept might sound naive,” says For Good’s website. “But we believe that there has never been a better time to reach out and do something positive for someone else.” Enhancing Play for Boys and Girls Alike Parents, fans, and collectors are still buzzing about the first 18-inch male American Girl doll unveiled in February. The sandy-haired Logan Everett was introduced as the drummer in his singer-songwriter pal Tenney Grant’s Nashville band. “An 18-inch boy character was one of the top requests we’ve received from fans for many years,” says Stephanie Spanos, American Girl’s senior public relations manager. “Many parents wanted their boys to have a quality doll they can identify with and love. Many girls were also interested in adding a boy doll to their collections to help enhance the play experience.” Even though Logan Everett and Tenney Grant dolls were often backordered online this spring, Logan has received some backlash. According to a New York Times op-ed, the boy doll is marketed as a “glorified background player” without traditional historical connections. “If Logan were being advertised as the company’s first transgender doll, his story would fit right in line with American Girl’s origins, imploring kids to consider sophisticated issues at a second-grade reading level,” GQ editor Cathy Weaver wrote in the op-ed. In developing a new character, American Girl says its brand, editorial, design, and research teams consider a variety of story ideas, time periods, and issues and interests. “Given Logan’s popularity, it’s possible we may introduce more products for Logan or additional boy-related products in the future,” Spanos says.

ing the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jyn Erso wielding a blaster in Rogue One, fans were eager for action figures based on their favorite female heroines. Following blockbuster sales of Jyn Erso and Rey action figures, Disney and Lucasfilm unveiled Star Wars: Force of Destiny, an animated micro-series focused on the adventures of Princess Leia, Rey, Jyn Erso, and other female heroines in the galaxy. With the series set to debut on YouTube in July, Hasbro is launching a corresponding set of 11-inch “adventure figures” that bridge the gap between dolls and action figures. Targeted to both boys and girls, these figures feature multiple points of articulation that allow dynamic action, such as swinging a light saber. Also building off its successful launch of DC Super Hero Girls last year, Mattel expands its Wonder Woman doll offerings just in time for the new movie. The Amazonian princess also inspired an adult collector’s edition Barbie doll. “Wonder Woman is the world’s most iconic female DC Super Hero, and we know that fans want to play out scenes from their favorite movies,” Mattel’s Beck says. “Mattel’s new line based on the film will enable fans to play out key iconic movie moments through dolls and roleplay items targeted at girls 6 years and up.”

High Tech Dolls

STEM-related toys will account for 76 percent of child development toy sales worldwide by 2019, according to the market research firm Euromonitor International.

In launching one of the first coding dolls, Hasbro says it wanted to empower Disney Princess fans in a realistic and magical way. Hitting shelves this fall, Dance Code Belle uses basic coding techniques to choreograph dance sequences for the iconic Disney princess. Through an interactive, story-driven app, kids can program Belle’s movements by drawing lines to connect dots or selecting drag-and-drop commands. “Kids today enjoy toys that they can help bring to life, both realistically and imaginatively,” says Sarah Selbach, Hasbro’s manager of global communications. “Belle’s passion for reading and learning makes her the perfect princess to introduce coding literacy to fans of the Disney Princess brand.” Mattel’s Hologram Barbie will also launch this year, allowing kids to give Amazon Echostyle voice commands to an animated projection of Barbie to change her clothes, skin tone, body, and more. “Learning from Hello Barbie and Hello Dreamhouse, we wanted to create a toy where girls could have an interactive friend in a character they know and love,” Mattel’s Beck says. “Hello Barbie Hologram responds in real time and gives a glimpse into Barbie’s life that fans ask for.” But it removes the tactile element of fashion play Barbie is known for. So how consumers will respond is yet to be determined. Fashion play and nurturing play patterns will remain mainstays in this category. But the face of dolls is changing, and it’s up to toy makers to keep giving it the face-lift all its consumers demand.

Empowering Female Figures

Last year gave girls a dose of empowering female superheroes with the launch of DC Super Hero Girls and Star Wars. With Rey steer-

Star Wars Force of Destiny Rey with BB-8

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Baby Dolls & Large Dolls Top baby dolls and large dolls hitting retail are honing in on consumers’ demand for diversity in the doll aisles by introducing more interactive and engaging characters that look and feel a lot more like them.


This fall, Spin Master will introduce Luvabella, a hightech interactive robotic baby doll that responds to a child’s attention. Nurture and care for Luvabella by feeding her with her spoon, giving her a bottle to help her fall asleep, and soothing her when she is upset. Kids can also play games with her using her interactive teething ring and tickling her tummy and toes. The more interaction Luvabella receives, the more she learns. It’s for ages 4 and up.

Hearts for Hearts Girls

Hearts for Hearts Girls is bringing two of its most popular dolls out of retirement with the return of Tipi of Laos (pictured) and Lauryce, a New Orleans hurricane survivor. All Hearts For Hearts Girls dolls are 14-inches tall with poseable, smooth vinyl bodies and high-quality rooted hair. Each doll also comes with a hair comb, a girl-sized heart charm bracelet, and a mini storybook about each girl’s life. For every doll sold, $1 is donated to World Vision to help underserved children worldwide.

American Girl

American Girl brings to life Z Yang, based on the company’s Z’s Crew web series inspired by the American Girl Stop Motion (AGSM) phenomenon. Z (short for Suzie) is a Korean American hailing from Seattle and is the latest addition to American Girl’s new series of contemporary characters and stories. The 18-inch Z doll comes dressed in her signature outfit, along with the first book in the series. The full Z product collection includes several doll outfits and accessories that reflect her film-making interests, such as a wooden foldout desk—complete with a chair and several pretend video-making supplies such as a laptop and video monitor, as well as her own filming accessories such as a camera, smartphone, and tripod.


Launching for holiday comes Jakks Pacific’s Giggling Baby Moana, which laughs when kids put her in water and comes with a seashell and turtle friend. This interactive toy aims to make bath time more fun for young Moana fans. The company will also unveil an Elena of Avalor Action & Adventure Feature Doll and DC Super Hero Girls toddler dolls later this year.


Corolle’s Babibear Nightlight Pink expands the Mon Doudou collection for babies. With a press on its tummy, Babibear’s soft nightlight comes on for five minutes to soothe baby. A series of eight tunes lull baby to sleep and stop automatically. Babibear is also machine washable, with its battery casing easily removed. Babibear is for ages birth and up.

Baby Alive

Hasbro’s Baby Alive introduces a baby boy doll this fall with Snackin’ Luke. Luke wears a removable outfit and comes with two containers of reusable doll food, spoon, plate, mold, and diaper. Available in three ethnicities, each of the speaking dolls allowing kids to choose between a “Mommy” or “Daddy” play mode.

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Outdoor Toys Bubbles, water toys, ride-ons, playsets, and more­—when it comes to outdoor toys, toy makers continue to find new ways to bring innovation while also maintaining classic elements of play that have made them staples for kids and parents alike. Below is a sampling of the latest in outdoor play.

Compiled by Jennifer Lynch Ice out your foes this summer with the new Nerf Super Soaker Freezefire water blaster from Hasbro, a handheld pump-action water blaster with a 23-ounce capacity tank that lets kids add ice. Blast away enemies from up to 38 feet away this summer. It’s for ages 6 and up.





(1) The Disc Jock-e from Tucker Toys is a flying disc that has a built-in speaker that lets you stream music to the disc from any device using Bluetooth. Control the music as you play via your Bluetooth-enabled device or on the disc itself. There are buttons on the disc that allow you to skip songs or control the volume. It’s for ages 8 and up. (2) The Grow to Pro Triple Hit Baseball set from Fisher-Price gives kids three ways to practice their swings: tee ball in Beginner mode, an automatic ball launcher straight up to practice hitting in Rookie mode; and the automatic ball launcher from up to 10 feet away in Pro mode. (3) With the XShot Bunch O Balloons Filler/Soaker from Zuru, fill the self-sealing Bunch O Balloons water balloons or use it as a traditional water blaster that works up to 30 feet. It’s for ages 6 and up. (4) The Funrise Giant Gazillion Giant Bubble Mill is a battery-powered bubble blower using a specially formulated Gazillion Bubbles bubble solution that produces bigger bubbles. It’s for ages 3 and up.

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ations of package designs that supplement the toys hidden within them. Moose Toys’ Shopkins began by packaging its shopping-inspired characters in miniature carts and baskets. Jakks Pacific’s mini doll line Gift ‘Ems opens to reveal a miniature backdrop for its international characters. Jazware’s line of Roblox-inspired collectible figures spell out the name to look like its logo. “We were pleasantly surprised about spelling out Roblox, because we felt like it was a fun twist, but would anyone notice?,” says Laura Zebersky, COO, Jazwares. “They did, and now there are images online and in every YouTube video spelling it out.” For consumers, the packaging can be just as fun to collect as the toys themselves.

The Thrill of the Hunt

At the heart of each successful collectible toy line is still the characters themselves. When positioned at low price points, offering lots of engaging characters is what ultimately drives kids to buy often and buy deep. “Variety and rarity play a key role in keeping kids engaged in building their collections,” says Stephen Berman, chairman and CEO, Jakks Pacific. “Brand loyalty also plays a role as it drives kids’ aspiration to grow their collection and accumulate their favorites. A great example is our Tsum Tsum line inspired by the vast portfolio of brands and characters within Disney’s stable of properties, plus the Marvel library.” Rare and limited-edition characters add to the chase, while also offering something that today’s connected collectors are going to want to share. These days, toy makers say they no longer need to invest in large TV campaigns to keep kids and collectors coming back. Thanks

to digital platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and even Roblox, social media influencers are doing the leg work for them. Only on the market for five months and MGA’s L.O.L. Surprise! has quickly ascended the ranks in the category, with more than 2.5 million sold. “Marketing has evolved and has changed,” says MGA’s Larian. “We haven’t spent one penny on Nickelodeon for L.O.L. Just 15 years ago, in order to make Bratz dolls successful, we had to put it on there and spend a lot of money advertising; that’s where most kids were at the time. But they’re no longer watching [traditional] TV.” Teaming with the right social media influencers can help build brand awareness almost overnight for any toy, but in the collectibles space it’s an especially useful tool when it comes to unveiling new characters, new series, and rare or limited-edition characters. Real reviews by real people continues to help drive purchases and plays into the FOMO (fear of missing out) effect associated with any collectibles craze.

Beyond Collectability

Beyond the classic play patterns associated with the category, toy makers are also introducing new play patterns to further differentiate themselves in the space. For Disney lines like D-Lectables and Tsum Tsums, this means stacking. Disney’s D-Lectables from Imperial are similiar to Tsum Tsum in that they are stackable, only this time, each dessert-themed character separates into four pieces. “D-Lectable is much more geared to the excitement of the play pattern,” says Peter Tiger, president of Imperial Toy. “It’s more about the pieces. You can have Mickey’s ears on another

piece and mix and match it with other Disney characters. Disney has never allowed you to mix and match its characters and their characteristics before, so that’s pretty unique.” Differentiation also means keeping things fresh for established toy lines. With most collectibles looking at a maximum four-year cycle before kids move on, it’s critical to keep offering newness in this space. “We are constantly looking for new opportunities to grow our existing brands and create new ones,” says Paul Solomon, co-CEO, Moose Toys. “We saw a fantastic opportunity to develop our own doll line when we saw how kids were first interacting with Shopkins and from these insights, Shoppies was born. The success of Shopkins is in part due to creating quirky, collectible characters that kids could easily recognize as everyday items. To build longevity though we ensured the world of Shopkins had a reason for being and created content to inspire their imaginations.” This year, Shopkins further expands its world with the launch of the Shopkins Cutie Cars, which adds vehicle play.

Nothing But the Best Earns Reward

Bringing any toy to market is no easy feat, especially when predicting what collectibles will be the next craze. But whether it’s a limited-edition collectible figure or a novelty mini doll, innovation paired with engaging and beloved characters will keep driving success in this competitive market. Anything else, consumers will recognize as just another me-too product. “Kids are always looking for the magic in the box,” says MGA’s Larian. “We cannot constitute the magic. We do that, we basically kill the goose that lays the golden egg.”

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Num Noms

Nums Noms, from MGA Entertainment, are collectible scented food-themed characters that kids can mix, match, and stack. To create scented flavor fusions, mix and stack Nums and Noms for wacky combos. Series 3 Num Noms introduce all-new menu themes such as Fruits and Veggies (pictured), Marshmallows, Donuts, and more. Num Noms mystery packs now include surprise pencil toppers and dual-flavored lip glosses. There are more than 85 Num Noms to collect in Series 3.


Shopkins Season 7 is the latest party-themed Shopkins to collect, including all-new Topkins that can be stacked together to create a tower of cakes, a head-to-toe outfit, and more. Each pack includes 20 Shopkins and four gift box containers. Launching later this year are Shopkins Cutie Cars, which will merge the world of Shopkins with diecast vehicle toys.

Disney Delectables


Imperial Toy’s D-Lectables is a collectible line based on Disney characters. Each D-lectable separates into four interchangeable elements that snap together, creating hundreds of unique configurations to mix, match, build, trade, and collect. D-Lectables collection one features miniature sweet treats, such as ice cream, milk shakes, and cupcakes. They feature 12 Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Tinker Bell, Winnie the Pooh, Cinderella, and more.


Now available from Jakks Pacific are the series 5SE and six Tsum Tsum limited-edition figure packs with pastel and glitter finishes. They are available as mystery packs, three-packs, and six-packs. Also launching later this year are Tsum Tsum story packs, featuring Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana, The Palace of Agrabah, and Through the Rabbit Hole. Each includes one exclusive medium glitter figure, two small figures, and themed accessories.

Jay At Play is expanding its FlipaZoo line with new FlipaZoo Mini Collectibles. The first series features more than 101 limited, special, common, and rare styles to collect and share. The FlipaZoo toy is two buddies in one. Each mini FlipaZoo features two animals that flip back and forth for two sides of play. They are available in blind bags, three-pack collectibles, and seven-pack collectibles.

Funko rolled out a Pop! line inspired by ’90s Nickelodeon programming. Included in the first wave are characters from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and Rugrats as well as the conjoined twins CatDog. Rugrats’ Tommy Pickles and Reptar each have a chase variant for collectors (pictured). [For more on Funko and all its collectibles, read our profile of the company on page 24.]

Tsum Tsum

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This year, the 2017 ASTRA Marketplace and Academy will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. For the first time, the show will expand to a three-day show and feature new, interactive areas. The theme of the show is Mighty Together: Inspired by the Power of Play. Below is just a sampling of some of the companies that will be showcasing product. Compiled by Jennifer Lynch


This fall, control K’NEX with the K’NEX Rotor-Powered 10-in-1 Model Remote Control Building System. Build 10 different models and move them with the included remote control. A newly designed motor includes four rotor blades that allow you to build a tank, a ship, a car, and a flying quad copter. It’s for ages 8 and up. K’NEX expands its Thrill Rides line for fall with the Web Weaver Roller Coaster Building Set. The 399-piece Web Weaver features glow-in-the-dark track and an air-propelled, spider-themed coaster car. It’s for ages 7 and up, and includes downloadable building instructions for a second coaster. K’NEX will introduce six new My Little Pony-themed Tinkertoy building sets. Each features a buildable pony and a scene related to the character that can be constructed out of Tinkertoys. The current assortment will include Rarity, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie. They are for ages 3 and up. Also new for Tinkertoy is a deluxe 100-piece wood set. K’NEX will also celebrate its anniversary this fall with the re-launch of the classic K’NEX “suitcase,” the 25th Anniversary Ultimate Builder Case. The sturdy, portable storage case comes with 750 Made in the USA K’NEX pieces. It also includes instructions for 50 different model builds. Designed for builders ages 5 and up, the 400-piece Creation Zone Building Tub comes with 50 unique building ideas. Construct cars, planes, boats, or use your imagination to create your own model.

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Build & Imagine’s Marine Rescue Center is a magnetic building and storytelling playset that helps little ones develop foundational STEAM skills through left and right brain play. Construct the magnetic panels into a building or boat, then take the included doll Thea on a sea-worthy adventure to rescue and rehabilitate her marine animal friends. This set is also compatible with other Build & Imagine playsets, which are sold separately.


Learning Resources’ 1-2-3 Build It! CarPlane-Boat is a construction toy that can be built three different ways. Teach early STEM skills, such as engineering, with mix-andmatch pieces that create a car, airplane, and tugboat. Use the play screwdriver to put parts into place. The Puzzle Globe’s matching posts and holes make it easy to put continents in place. The globe can 1-2-3 Build It! be rotated and highlights landmarks Car-Plane-Boat and animals. The STEM Engineering and Design: Building Set Playground encourages kids to come up with their own designs or follow the challenge cards. Cards feature how-to guides to build different pieces of playground equipment (a twisty slide, a swing set, a seesaw, and more).


The Rose Art Sidewalk Chalk Paint Shake It Up Color Mixing Set is a color-mixing chalk set that features a color-mixing tray, a color-mixing chart, three powder buckets, three 75-gram powder packs, a mixing bucket, three brushes, and a scoop. Learn and experiment with color combinations with just a little bit of water to make your own paint-ready, washable chalk art. It’s for ages 3 and up. The Sidewalk Chalk Paint Jumbo Paint Brushes, for ages 3 and up, features three jumbo paint brushes and three primary colors. Just mix with water, stir it up, and paint. The certified non-toxic paint is also washable to provide kids with an artistic, yet non-permanent play experience.


The Lil Lockitz Mini Mystery Lockitz Blind Bag Assortment comes in a variety of styles so you never know what locket you’ll make until you open it. Styles include Fairy Tales, Campin’ Out, Just Chillin’, Cutie Cafe, Country Charm, and Up in the Sky. There’s also a rare Princess set with a golden locket. Each includes a two-piece mini locket, necklace cord or clip, one background, three charms, four mini charms, and instructions. With the Shrinky Dinks Mini Artist Activity Set, kids can color detailed art designs on pre-printed Shrinky Dinks sheets, then bake to shrink their works of art to one-third their original size. New DIY crafts for ages 8 and up include the Alex Toys DIY Weave and Wear Metallic Cuffs, Sweetlings Sprinkle Shop, Pom Tassler, and Happy Little Loom. With the Weave and Wear Metallic Cuffs, weave and string together metal jewelry elements to create handmade pieces. The Sweetlings Sprinkle Shop is a decoration station where kids can frost and finish three cupcake characters. The Alex DIY Pom Tassler lets fashionistas spin yarn into pom poms and tassels. Make fashion accessories, keychains, toys, and more. The Happy Little Loom is a portable handheld loom that lets you weave in multiple widths to make belts, bracelets, scarves, headbands, purses, phone cases, and more. Make hair sparkle with the Alex Spa Glitzy Locks set. It features a special tool to add sequins and butterfly shapes to your hair. New STEM toys expand the Scientific Explorer line and add a new preschool line. In the Scientific Explorer Auto-Motion Gear Horse set, learn the mechanics and craftsmanship of Automata engineering. Build a mechanical wooden horse with gears, connectors, and axles. Turn the crank to animate the horse with life-like movement. The Future Coders line, for ages 4 and up, helps foster computing skills such as sequencing, problem-solving, estimation, and directional language. The current line includes Alex Toys Future Coders Robot Races, Cube Stackers, Bunny Trails, and Poppin’ Pictures. The Janod collection expands with new wooden toys and games. The Janod Acrobat Skill Game is a balancing game for two to eight players. Each player starts with a four-inch diameter cardboard disc that contains random color dots and three adorable 1.3-inch wooden acrobat playing pieces. Players roll the three dice to determine which color dots to place the pieces on, before stacking another disc on top. Play continues until one player’s tower topples. The Janod Tactile Puzzle-Farm Animals is a 20-piece puzzle featuring seven types of farm animals in their habitats. One of each animal is textured, so you can feel its fur or skin. Touch a cow, pig, frog, sheep, and more. Additional new Janod toys include the all-wood Green Market Grocery Stand, Baby Forest Activity Table, and Mini Story Knights figures. The Kaloo Les Amis 2-in-1 Pull Along Puppy Caramel is a seven-inch by eight-inch super-soft puppy with long floppy ears and a bell inside its head to make music when played with. The puppy also attaches to a little cart so you can walk it around.

Janod Wooden Table

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Endless Games introduces The Original Slappys: The Dare You Wear, a slap-bracelet party game featuring hundreds of dares and challenges to choose from and pass around. Hit your unsuspecting friends with a Slappy, and they have to do what it says. Then, it’s their turn to pass it on. With challenges such as Shake someone’s hand without letting go, Sing “I’m a Little Teapot” with all of the action, and Constantly interrupt everyone, the Original Slappys are an instant party, says Endless Games. The Original Slappys will debut in three different series of eight Slappys.


Magformers My First Pastel 30 Set comes with new pastel-tone triangle and square pieces. Build and create with 2-D puzzle cards and 1:1 figure cards, and follow the different activities. Lay Magformers flat and match them to animals, and learn to build in 3-D by ‘pulling-up’ into Magformers structures. It’s for ages 3 and up. Also new for 2017 is Magformers new line, Clicformers. Clicformers construct using a patented rotating clicking mechanism. Available in nine SKUs, starting from $24.99 for the basic 50-piece set, children ages 4 and up can create vehicles, animals, towers, and more. Magformers also introduces its first plush toy line, made to help develop sensory skills through a variety of sensory fabrics, colors, and soft mirrors. The large Activity Zebra is equipped with rattles, rings, mirrors, ribbons, and more to entertain and soothe at bedtime. Pull Zebra’s tail to hear songs. Activity Zebra also comes with signature Dolce teether and its own dragonfly friend.

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Blast Box from Zing is a new balloon explosion game that combines suspense and strategy. Begin by blowing up one balloon for each player using the included inflater. Next, tuck the balloons under the Blast Box. Players then use the spinner to determine how many pins to hammer into the box. But watch out. Players must choose their pin placement carefully or else one of the balloons will pop. The last player to successfully avoid the explosion wins the game. Players can also use the free Blast Box app, available on iOS and Android, to “spin” the spinner. The app is also loaded with trivia. Blast Box is for ages 4 and up.


The Playmobil Ghostbusters Firehouse set is packed with accessories for hunting down ghosts, including a detachable proton pack and laser, ghost trap, PKE meter for measuring psychokinetic energy, silicone slime splatters that stick to smooth surfaces, and more. The Ecto-1 is sold separately. It’s for ages 6 and up. Kids, ages 6 and up, can unlock ancient secrets and mysteries inside Pharaoh’s Pyramid. The five chambers within hide treasures protected by puzzles and traps. Discover the room filled with jewels and golden riches or climb the stairs to enter the tomb chamber complete with a mummy. Remove the pyramid walls to discover more ways to play. The set includes three figures, a tomb, one mummy, two skeletons, treasures, and other accessories. The 1.2.3. My Take Along Farm features a bright and colorful design with large rounded pieces ideal for toddlers. Feed the animals and store all supplies in the loft. Pay careful attention to which shapes fit in the holes. When playtime is over, store all the pieces inside the farm, close it up, and grab the carrying handle to go. The set includes one figure, cow, pig, dog, car, bird, and other accessories.

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Playmobil Ghosbusters

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CuddleBarn’s Preston the Storytelling Pig recites the story of the Three Little Pigs with head-swaying and synchronized mouth movement. It also comes with four finger puppet pals representing the big bad wolf and the three little pigs. Preston is packaged in a colorful box with illustrated, perforated windows and doors that can be used as a stage for the finger puppets.


Pacific Play Tent’s Izzy The Friendly Monster Dome Tent is a dome tent featuring a playful monster design to stimulate a child’s imagination and channel their inner friendly monster. Measuring in at 48-by-48-by-42-inches, this tent includes color-coated fiber glass poles and a tunnel port with a hook and loop roll-up flap. The tent’s door is a mouth with teeth, googly eyes, feet, and ears.


Whiffer Sniffers Series 4 includes 11 new scented characters. Each offers its own personality. The line includes scented Backpack Clips, Super Sniffers, and Scratch ‘n Sniff Stickers. Part one of the new Series 4 characters includes Sour Saul, Izzy Sodalicious, Howie Rolls, Maci Macaron, Jay Bean, and the ultra-rare Minty Macaron. Part two includes Sonny Shine, May B Minty, Phil O’ Jelly, Mikey Milkshake, and the ultra-rare Bitsy B Shakin’.

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TILT’s SpinTales Enchanted Duvet brings classical stories to life, such as TILT’s Little Red, Jack, and Three Pigs. Help Little Red find her way to grandma’s house on the other side of the forest, but beware of the wolf. Play the story and find out if this wolf is really all that bad. The second story is about Jack, a curious boy who loves magic. Join him on an adventure up the beanstalk, all the way to the sky and back. In the third story, help the three pigs build their homes and huff and puff along with the wolf who tries to blow their houses down.


In The Purple Cow’s Crazy Scientist Lab line, there are four new sets. Each features more than a dozen experiments. In Young Survivor, kids, ages 6 and up, learn survival techniques such as how to distill, purify, and generate water from plants; how to light a fire without matches; how to build a solar stove, a sundial, and a compass; how to use Morse code; and more. Magical Mirrors looks at mirrors from a science perspective. It includes experiments such as the Infinite Mirror, the Disappearing Face, and teaches how to build a kaleidoscope. It’s for ages 6 and up. In the Magnetic Wonder kit, kids will get acquainted with various magnets, including the Neodymium magnet and Magnetic Putty. They can build a working compass, create electromagnets, and more. It’s for ages 8 and up. In Optical Illusions, kids learn seeing is (not always) believing as they explore different types of optical illusions. It’s for ages 6 and up. For games, Dare for the Truth is a series of card games from The Purple Cow that put a twist on the classic game of truth or dare. Each game comes packaged in a bottle. It is available in a teen version for ages 12 and up, a family version for ages 5 and up, and an outdoor version for ages 5 and up. Magnetic Rummy puts a new twist on the classic game of Rummy with new rules, new themes, and a travel game tin box. Choose from Backpack World Rummy for age 7 and up, Elefunto Rummy for age 5 and up, or Zoo Rummy for ages 6 and up.

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The Slimeball Gobzooka is a blaster that shoots Slimeballs more than 25 feet. Pump, aim and shoot. The Gobzooka is the only air-powered blaster that can launch Slimeballs. The blaster comes with two Slimeballs. Spinos It’s for ages 6 and up. Launch Slimeballs with the Slimeball Bow, which features a built-in recoil launch mechanism, contoured grip, and easy-to-use aiming system. The viewfinder helps line up shots for accuracy. Or there is the six-inch Slimeball Dodgeball. Each is soft and slimy, leaves no marks on any surface, and sticks only to the included poster, says Diggin. The Slimeball Bow is for ages 8 and up. There is also the six-inch Slimeball Dodgeball, which is for ages 6 and up. Test your aim with the Slimeball Splat Set, which launches the slimy Flinger Balls more than 30 feet. For ages 6 and up, Slimeball Flingers have a built-in launch mechanism to easily shoot. Diggin also introduces Spinos, a force field ball that is controlled with a “power” ring. Spin the Spinos and a magnetic force field is created around the ball. Use the power ring to remotely control the magnetosphere without batteries or electricity. Players can feel the power between the ball and the ring, says Diggin. Spinos Solo is the starter set that teaches kids to control the spinning sphere with the power ring. It comes with one Spinos and one power ring. With Spinos Trax, guide the Spinos over the trax using the power ring. Spinos Trax comes with one Spinos, one power ring, and a five-piece Trax system that includes tight ropes and ramps. There is also a Spinos MEGA Trax Challenge set that comes with a 20-piece Trax system featuring tunnels, tight rope, see-saw, ramps, swerve trax, and a launch pad. Spinos Battle Game is a force field-battling game in which players maneuver their Spinos and try to knock their opponent out of the arena. The set includes two Spinos, two power rings, and a battle arena.


PlayMais is a biodegradable crafting material made in Germany. Made from corn and food coloring, it is safe and only requires a little water on the included sponge to stick together. Squeeze it, roll it, and cut it to make it into any shape. PlayMais aids in the development of creativity and fine motor skills. The new 12-inch PlayMais Fashion Bucket includes 1,000 vibrantly colored PlayMais, 25 design cards, two sticker sheets, a sponge, a knife, and instructions. Kids can decorate the outfits on the cards with PlayMais, and then add stickers of various accessories.


People Toy Company’s Brain Builders puts the focus on sensory toys designed for baby’s earliest months. With the Baby Senses Coordinator, for ages two months and up, baby can follow the colorful beads that move left and right. Then improve motor skills as he learns to grip the coordinator and watch as the beads roll back and forth. The Baby Yoga Exercise Ball, for ages 4 months and up, is a soft washable ball that features soothing rustling and bell sounds. The Educational Eddie Rattle, for ages 5 months and up, is a 6.2-inch multi-sense rattle with a variety of shapes and textures. Chewable rope, teething feet, hinged limbs, and a soft ripple hat stimulate the senses whether in the mouth or hand. The Lullaby Rattle, for ages birth and up, offers a calming jingle and features a sparkly applique. For ages 6 months and up, there is the Push and Pull UFO. It has eight colorful and interactive push-and-pull buttons. Push the landing button to hear melodies play. The Mochi toy series is created with rice harvested from Japan. Mochi, the Japanese word for rice cake, is a rice-plastic technology that’s 51 percent rice. The Mochi Blocks Premium Set is a 28-piece gift set that carries baby through milestones such as grasping blocks to stacking, sorting, and solving puzzles. The Mochi Teething Plate is made to look like a painter’s palette. People Toy Company is also importing two of its wooden magnetic building block sets. The People Blocks Zoo Animals comes with a zoo-themed playmat and 17 animal-inspired shapes. In the People Blocks 31-Piece Set – Classic Colors, little ones can stack these chunky blocks with smooth edges. Build something abstract Brain Builders or replicate the family car or cat. A playmat is also included. Baby Senses Coordinator

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Schylling has been named the exclusive distributor for Tiger Tribe products for North America. Tiger Tribe is a line of compact and portable activity sets. Tiger Tribe product lines include Oodle Doodles, Colouring Sets, How to Draw and Paper Doll Kits, stickers, flash cards, Magna Carry Playbooks, Magic Painting Worlds, Bath Stories, Paper Crowns, the Card Making Kit, and the Beat the Clock Stopwatch Set. Polka Puppy Also available are new additions to its tin toy line: Polka Puppy Dancing Jackin-the-Box, Atomic Sparking Ray Gun, and Fairy Tale Tin Nesting Dolls. The Polka Puppy Jack-in-the-Box brings a new dancing feature to the traditional jack-in-the-box. The Polka Puppy pops up like a traditional jack-in-the-box, but then dances back and forth to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel.” The puppy dances for as long as the handle is turned. The Fairy Tale Nesting Dolls feature nesting characters from Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Schylling’s Fairy Tale Nesting Dolls are the first-ever to be made of tin, allowing for colorful lithographed printing over the entire surface of the toy creating detailed character designs on each doll. The Atomic Sparking Ray Gun captures the spirit of 1950s tin toys, producing a continuous stream of sparks and classic mechanical whirring sounds when the trigger is pulled.

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In Roller Coaster Challenge, players, ages 6 and up, build their own roller coasters. Choose a challenge card and set up the pieces to match. Players then use the remaining pieces to build a working roller coaster that meets the build conditions on their challenge card. Once each challenge is solved, you get to watch a real coaster car glide down the track, complete with dips, curves, and loops. Spin-a-roo is a counting and sorting game that offers young learners two ways to play. Players, ages 4–7, take turns cranking the spinner and watching the colorful tokens appear. The race is on to collect the most tokens as you sort numbers and colors, or count up and down from one to 10. Color Cube Sudoku is a re-imagining of the classic Sudoku puzzle using colors instead of numbers. Players, ages 8 and up, flip and arrange nine color cubes until no colors repeat in any row or column. Fidgitz, the 3-D mechanical puzzle, twists and turns in a fluid motion. The goal is to twist and manipulate the puzzle until one side is all blue and the other side is all white.


Originally introduced in 1969, Super Impulse is bringing back the Original Wiz-z-zer with a new look and line extensions. Spinning at 10,000 RPMs with balance and stability, Wiz-z-zer can spin on the tip of your finger, across pieces of string, or even on top of each other. The Original Wiz-z-zer, for ages 5 and up, is available in two styles, Rounder and Wedge, with eight new graphics. The classic character Gumby is now available as a new super stretchy figure. Bend, twist, and stretch Gumby in any way you’d like. Gumby stands at 12-inches tall and stretches to 48 inches. The figure will always return to Gumby’s original shape. It’s for ages 5 and up. Super Impulse and The Jim Henson Company have also partnered to bring the characters from Fraggle Rock to life as plush and vinyl figures, for ages 3 and up. Fraggle Rock 10-inch Plush Characters include Gobo and Red, the leaders of the Fraggle Rock crew. Each features a poseable tail. Fans can also grab a four-inch Red or Gobo Fraggle Rock Backpack Clip to take the characters on the go. Vinyl figures and beanbag and feature plush will follow.


GUND will present plush toys based on We Bare Bears, the hit Cartoon Network comedy about three brother bears and their adventures. Grizz, Ice Bear, and Panda are available as 12-inch plush and three-inch minis with magnetic stacking. GUND will also present a collectible series of box sets showcasing internet sensation Pusheen and her sister and sidekick, Stormy. The Pusheen Baking Collector set features the best friends packed in a decorative gift box with window-style display. An 8.5-inch Pusheen wears an apron and chef hat, while Stormy sports a matching mini chef hat with accurate details for fans. Both lines are surface washable for easy cleaning. Each is for ages 1 and up.

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The Pusheen Baking Collector set


Popular Playthings’ Mix or Match Junior features buildable magnetic toy vehicles. With eight magnetic pieces, build an imaginary vehicle such as a plane, train, boat, or car. Or, mix the pieces up to reassemble them by matching colors. Mix or Match can also serve as a child’s first 3-D matching puzzle.


Watermelon Ball


In Catch & Learn, learn by playing one of four ways. In Catch & Learn Spelling, pick up the letters in the proper order to spell a word. In Catch & Learn Grammar, select the nouns and reel them in. In Catch & Learn Addition/ Subtraction, choose a question, and the right answer. In Multiplication, multiple two cards, and find the correct answer. In each game, press the button to retract the worm magnet and haul in your answers. The game helps improve math, spelling, memory, and fine motor skills. It’s for ages 4 and up. The Watermelon Ball looks and feels like a watermelon in water. Kids ages 8 and up, can dribble, kick, bounce, pass, and intercept the Watermelon Ball under water. A creativity mat with an edge, the Messmatz protects surfaces while the edge confines messes. It holds up to 32 ounces of spills and it won’t slip and slide on hard surfaces. It’s for all ages. For ages birth and up, PlaSmart’s tactile, sensory ball by Sillibaby features a bell inside and is made of 100-percent food-grade silicone. It is also free of BPAs, PVC, lead, and Phthalates. It can be washed with warm, soapy water.

Miniland’s Maze Balance Board is a balancing game, which asks you to build different courses and mazes that the ball can move around, putting your craftsmanship and equilibrium to the test. It develops spatial orientation and balance by rewarding precision and coordinated movements, says the company. First Senses: Rattle is an infant rattle with contrasting colors. Its design makes it easy to grasp as well as aid hand-eye coordination. It stimulates sensory development, practicing visual, auditory, and tactile perception, says Miniland. Diversity Hotel is a game of questions and answers, in which players work to find out about different cultures by identifying different characters. The game is meant to encourage respect for diversity and friendly behavior, encouraging equality and social integration while enriching vocabulary. Pre-Writing Basic Templates help early learners practice drawing lines in a way that aids fine motor skill development. They can be used on a range of surfaces with pencils, crayons, chalk, or finger paints. Family Diversity Blocks is a game with a wheel to build different kinds of families. The game’s goal is to aid kids in understanding the different kinds of family that they may encounter in modern society. It encourages a respect for diversity with activities involving moving and building. Water Mystery is a game for delving into science by playing with and investigating things that float and things that sink. It helps with analytical processes and thinking logically, such as inductive and deductive reasoning. Emoticapsules are capsules, which represent basic emotions and store pictures or objects related to each emotion. They help with identifying and developing emotions. Their nested design makes them easy to store.

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In Monster Trap, the monsters are on the loose again. Catch all the monsters and hide them from Grandma Frieda before she sees them. Use the sliders to push the monsters as quickly as possible to the middle of the mansion and into the monster trap. Work in teams. Whoever pushes the most monsters into the trap by the end of the game. Monster Trap helps kids practice gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and verbal communication skills. It’s for ages 6 and up. MAGIC Hat is a magic kit that comes with a magic hat, rabbit puppet, as well as more than 40 other magic props kids can use to learn and perform 35 magic tricks. The manual teaches most of the tricks in three easy steps accompanied by color illustrations. First clearly explaining which magic props are needed, then how the trick is prepared, and finally how it is performed. The Remote-Control Machines: Construction Vehicles builds off Thames & Kosmos’ Remote-Control Machines line. Build eight remote-controlled construction vehicles and use a wireless remote to move the models around. You can also control the models’ construction apparatuses (diggers, shovels, etc.) to move play construction materials. Instructions for two additional models are also available online.


The Manhattan Toy Company’s Farmer’s Market Baby Beads Grapes is a grape-themed teething toy. It is made of wood beads strung together by an elastic cord to make a cluster of purple grapes with green wood leaves. New to the MiO collection comes the MiO Food Truck. The eight-piece set includes a food truck, small block, large block, four disks, and one MiO beanbag person. The truck has functioning wheels, a back door that loops shut, and a side window that opens for business. The Farmer’s Market Mother Hen Travel Toy jiggles with every pull of the teething ring. Its attached baby chick features crinkle paper and tucks away under the hen’s wing. Lift up mama hen’s other crinkle paper wing to reveal a discovery mirror. It also includes a plastic C-clip to attach it to strollers, carriers, diaper bags, and more. The Camp Acorn Play Map is a soft woodland-themed play mat for tummy time. Follow dashes to discover playful attachments and sensory features. It features a crinkle paper tree, squeaker, two teething rings that store in a fabric pouch, discovery mirror, colorful ribbons, and textured fabrics. It folds for storage and take-along play. The Atom Teether Toy features a plastic center sphere surrounded by 12 bendy arms for teething. Each arm features plastic clacking rings for added enjoyment. The Wee Baby Stella Snuggle Strawberry, for ages 6 months and up, features a peach Wee Baby Stella doll in pajamas, swaddled inside a strawberry sleeper. Go on a prehistoric journey with the Jurassic Adventure playset. It features five wooden dinosaur characters, two poseable wooden explorer figures, one wooden tree, a felt pond, and a fabric volcano carrier. The carrier has a Velcro-like closure and carrying handle for storage and take-along play. Groovy Girls Special Edition Velvet Equestrian Doll features a riding outfit with removable jacket, pants, and hat. The Luxe Liam Elephant is a large plush elephant made with extra soft fabrics. Baby Stella Sweet Dreams Sleeper is an ice cream cone-themed sleeping bag accessory for the Baby Stella soft doll collection. The sleeper has a built-in pillow and a zipper closure on the side. Atom Teether

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For 2017, Identity Games offers an assortment of games for all ages. Crozzit is a two-player strategy game for ages 8 and up, which features the tagline “the game you always almost win.” Who’s The Dude? is an edgy yet family-friendly game for ages 16 and up. The game includes an inflatable ‘Dude’ that’s part of every round. One person picks a scenario card. Then players need to guess what their friend and the Dude are up to, as they act things out much like a game of charades. In the game Poopyhead, players lay cards on a pile in the right colors and sequence: toilet, poo, wipe, and wash hands. As soon as a player is unable to play a card, they squeeze the whoopie cushion to end the round. The player with the most cards left must place a pile of poop headband on his/her hair. After five rounds, the player with the most piles loses the game. Miffy Hide & Seek and Elmo Hide & Seek are games for ages 1 and up, where players must uncover Elmo or Miffy as they hide. In Miffy Hide & Seek, other players use the enclosed clue cards to find Miffy. In Mouthguard Challenge, for ages 16 and up, try not to laugh as players try to read off challenge cards with mouthguards distorting their words. The game includes 51-card challenges, four revenge cards, and five mouth guards. The company also expands its Find It Game with new licenses, including Where’s Wally?, Captain Underpants, Sesame Street Jr, and Animal Jam.


Charm It! is a charm jewelry line for girls ages 4 and up. The line features more than 300 charms to create and customize bracelets, necklaces, phone cases, and more. Charm It! offers an infinite selection of signature and co-branded collections. The brand is available worldwide and sold exclusively at independent specialty retailers and premium department stores.


While a Tooth Fairy might visit a few times a year, a Dreamland Fairy might fly in from Fairyland on any given night. For this, there’s the Dreamland Fairy Kit. Kids can paint this little wooden home, which features a peaked roof that stands eight-inches tall. The final touch is a packet of glittery fairy dust. The fairy kit includes an illustrated book. There is also the Tooth Fairy Fort, featuring a miniature wooden tree fort with tooth chest. Keep it near the bed to give tooth fairies a place to visit. The kit also includes paint, craft supplies, and a storybook about Toozle the Tooth Fairy.

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PlayMonster will showcase its new Wonder Crew Buddies. The toy line is designed for boys ages 5 and up. The 15-inch Wonder Crew Buddies feature smooth vinyl heads, arms, and legs, and soft bodies. The crew includes Will (Caucasian), Marco (Hispanic), James (African American), and Erik (Asian). Each comes dressed in superhero gear, complete with a matching mask and cape for kids. Wonder Crew also has three Adventure Packs. Each is sold separately. Mirari adds new classic toys. Available now is Juballees, which are three 2.75-inch balls that pull apart into halves to mix and match, click together to make different color combination balls, or stack in various ways. Each ball rolls, or roll all three together when stacked. Plus, when babies shake them, they make noise. They are for ages 6 months and up The new snail-themed Mirari pick-up/release ball toy, Shellby, is designed for ages 1 and up. It comes with four two-inch balls that children drop into the shell, and then push on the head to watch them come popping back out. Automoblox is a high-quality line of buildable and mixable vehicles that reinvent Wonder Crew Buddies the classic wooden toy car. Each vehicle includes multiple interchangeable components and sports a body made of European beechwood. Kids can play with and collect sedans, trucks, vans, and more. The more they collect, the more customizing they can do. They’re for ages 3 and up. The Autoblox C9 Sports Car and Automoblox Mini Rescue three-pack are available now. Tinkineer’s Marbleocity introduces children to engineering principles and physics concepts with hands-on model kits. Its precision-cut wooden parts are created using laser-cutting technology in the U.S. The kit requires only household white glue; no other tools are needed. It’s for ages 9 and up and is now available.


The Great Pretenders Belle Tea Party dress is based on the iconic fairytale. Each dress in the Tea Party collection is designed to be tea length and capture the essence of a princess. Princess Belle features off-the-shoulder sleeves with elastic gold straps to keep the dress in place and an elasticized waist for size flexibility. Red organza roses complete the princess look. The Meiya & Alvin Collection combines soft textile and natural rubber to promote infant development and meets the growing consumer market seeking natural and sustainable products, says The Great Pretenders. Meiya and Alvin are made from natural, sustainable, and recycled materials making these products safe for babies and children of all ages. The Great Pretenders is a division of Creative Education of Canada.

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The Young Scientists Club

The Young Scientists Club has designed four basic robot kits for kids ages 8 and up, build and then operate Hurdle, Sunny, Infra, or Metali the robots. In each Funtastic Robotics kit, young scientists have the option of learning about light, infrared signals, metals, or steering their robot around obstacles. Look inside each kit and explore a double-sided 24-by-24inch instruction and activity poster. Also included are directions to discover an online tutorial video. Building components include a motor, computer module, chassis, and gears. The illustrated instruction sheet offers stimulating learning activities. Kits are available in stores and online.


Ozobot builds smart, small, and social robots. By coloring on a piece of paper, bring your Ozobot to life through a patented language of color commands. These commands make Ozobots spin, dance, moonwalk, zig zag, and more. The Ozobot Evo measures 1.25 cubic inches. From coding with color to reading block-based programs, it’s for ages 8 and up. With the Ozobot Evo app, direct the Evo with the app’s remote control and interact with friends by sending Ozojis. Send an Ozoji, and a friend’s Ozobot Evo will act out the received expression. Ozobot Evo also comes with interchangeable skins, including characters from The Avengers, such as Iron Man and Captain America.

GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope


Educational Insights will highlight its GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope, which is an updated version of its best-selling Talking Microscope. It introduces preschoolers to even more animals and plants and is voiced by wildlife conservationist, Bindi Irwin. The GeoSafari Solar Rover is a kid-controlled solar rover that harnesses the power of the sun and casts shadows to drive, turn, and stop the rover. It includes an activity guide and three training course cones to create a rover challenge course. Wiggle Waggle Whiskers is a two-player strategy and spatial-reasoning game for preschoolers. To win, build the most fences for your kittens or puppies.

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Green Toys’ House Playset


The Money Savvy Pig is the piggy bank for the 21st Century. The four-chamber bank introduces kids to four choices for their money: save, spend, donate, and invest. Each bank includes goal-setting stickers and a How to Get Started guide. It’s available in translucent blue, pink, green, and purple as well as opaque platinum. The four-chamber bank is also available as Money Savvy Cow, Football, and Soccer Ball banks.



Green Toys’ House Playset features a multi-level house, bright yellow convertible, two mouse characters, staircase, bed, bathtub, table, and two chairs. The moveable stairs can be placed anywhere along the second level. The bathtub, bed, table, and chairs can be set up in any room. The back and balconies on the house make arranging and re-arranging all the accessories easy. It also encourages cooperative, interactive play. All pieces fit inside the house, for easy cleanup and storage. The Green Toys Dough Sets each contains several tubs of non-toxic dough, made in the U.S. from simple ingredients such as organic flour. It comes bundled with tools and accessories, also made in the U.S. from 100-percent recycled plastic. Press, squish, roll, squeeze, and shape. Sets include the Race Car Maker Dough Set, Cake Maker Dough Set, Meal Maker Dough Set, and Flower Maker Dough Set.

In support of ASTRA’s Neighborhood Toy Store Day on November 11, MindWare has created kits that include everything toy stores will need to host a playdate. In addition to T-shirts, balloons, and posters, the kit product options include: Dig It Up! Dinosaur Eggs, Minerals and Fossils, and Big Bugs, each with chisel and excavation guide; Paint Your Own Ornaments, each with paints and paint brush; and Paint Your Own Picture Frames, each with paints and paint brush. Q-BA-MAZE 2.0: Extreme Rails’ unique design of Q-BA-MAZE cubes allow for a limitless range of configuration options. The 7.5-inch straight-away rails connect easily to any cube or to each other to create tracks that send marbles zigzagging through the maze of colorful cubes. It also features double exit cubes so you never know which way the marbles will go. Conduct Dough Lights uses the power of science to turn soft dough designs into glowing art. Choose from 16 design options and use the included dough to complete the picture. Learn about basic circuitry and currents as you position custom-engineered LEDs onto your creations, plug in the wires, and watch them light up. It’s for ages 5 and up. Invisible Think is a drawing game in which players race against time to get their teammates to guess the word instructed on the drawing card. But, there are two twists: forbidden words and special red-lensed glasses that make the red-ink drawing appear invisible. The spinner will determine if the drawer, guessers, or the entire team will be required to wear the glasses for each round. The game is for four to eight players ages 10 and up. With Paint Your Own Porcelain Expressions, paint porcelain letters using the included color guide or choose your favorite palette. The expressions include Love, Wish, and Peace. Full-color instructions teach how to create different artistic effects, such as color mixing, brushing, sponging, and more. Then oven bake the painted expression for a glossy, permanent finished product. It’s for ages 8 and up.

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Be Amazing Toys’ Get Slimed is a safe, non-toxic slime-making kit. The kit has additives such as beads and glitter, and kids can even make slime worms.  The Cool Slime kit is another slime kit with detailed instructions that help you understand the safe polymer substance you are smooshing and gooshing through your fingers.  The Science After Dark kit explores ideas such as what phosphors are and other concepts of luminescence. Kids can make a glowing test tube and glow-in-the-dark putty or grow glow-in-the-dark crystals. There are 13 experiments for ages 8 and up. With the Simple Circuits kit, kids can gain a basic understanding of energy. Kids can make a circuit with LED lights, copper tape, and disc batteries. They can design their circuit with switches and make it as complex as they want or build their own night light. The kit also includes Be Amazing’s Energy Stick, which lights and buzzes only if a circuit is connected through people’s hands at either end of the stick. The stick also teaches that the human body is a conductor of electricity.

With the 25-piece SmartMax My First Animal Train, babies ages 18 months and up, build and drive a train, play with the animals and the train driver, or mix and match to create new combinations. The extra-large train and animal parts click onto the bars. All parts are 100-percent compatible with all other SmartMax sets. With SmartGames Temple Connection, place the puzzle pieces with roads and bridges on the board to create paths that connect the temples. Find a way through the high bridges, low roads, and temples with ground and second floors, to solve the 80 challenges. It’s for ages 7 and up. The GeoSmart geomagnetic construction line expands with new space-themed additions. The GeoSmart’s UFO set features 25 magnetic pieces, shaped like squares and triangles with LED lights, that kids can connect using the natural push and pull of magnets. With the 31-piece Moon Lander set, make a moon vehicle that can roll across tables or carpets using its wireless remote control.


Ultimate Source’s new 8-Bit Art kits let kids create images and characters on any flat surface. With a retro 8-bit style, each kit comes with custom sticky paper notes to build a mosaic design of characters. The product lines include the Nintendo Mario franchise, The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong. Ultimate Source will also introduce 8-Bit Art holiday product lines, which will include Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween. Each kit in the 8-Bit Art line comes with detailed instructions on how to assemble the paper pixel art. The kits include approximately 200 paper squares, depending on the design.

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With the addition of pulleys, string, a crank and a bucket, kids 4 and up can design and create zip-lines, cranes, elevators, draw-bridges, and more in Brackitz’ Pulleys Set. The set comes with 77 pieces. With more than 20 play parks and obstacles, the Bugz Play Park lets kids create tumbling towers, falling dominoes, barrel rolls, and more. The set comes with 47 pieces. The new Driver Kit, for ages 3 and up, adds motion to Brackitz. The connect-anywhere system is simple and Brackitz encourages STEM learning, Pulley Set collaborative play, and social skills. The set includes 43 pieces, which includes four wheels. It also includes directions for 10 driving machines.


Bumper Drone


ARIA’s Adventures is an augmented reality (AR) interactive application combining physical playing cards with the company’s own cell phone-compatible VR headset to teach memory skills and facts about different animals, among other early learning skills. ARIA’s Adventures offers several interactive gaming options utilizing AR. Sixty different animal cards all come to life to teach the player facts about itself. It’s for ages 4 and up. The Bumper Drone, for ages 8 and up, features a crash-proof protective airbag. No matter where the drone goes, the hardware will remain intact. The Bumper Drone is also equipped with hi-tech gear found in professional drones, such as altitude hold, auto take-off, and auto landing. With the Build-A-Drone set, use the building block pieces to construct your own drone and then insert motors to fly it. Build-A-Drone can be made with an eight-inch or 12-inch body. It’s for ages 12 and up.

Douglas Company introduced Princess Mermaids with brushable hair. The line includes new 15-inch large mermaids Ciara the Aqua Mermaid and Serena the Pink Mermaid. Ciara features a plush body and textured tail with translucent blue organza fins. Serena features a tail in an iridescent metallic with textured fish-like scales in pink, salmon, and lavender. Each wears an organza ruffle at its mid-section, a plush bikini top, and a seashell crown. Both are also availCiara the Aqua able as 14-inch dolls. Mermaid Seahorses Calla and Nina are 11.5-inch plush with brushable hair. Calla and Nina match the coloring of Serena and Ciara respectively. Sassy Pet Saks’ latest series now feature brushable hair. The Golden Princess Sak features a pale pink print sprinkled with red boots with a spur, pink cowgirl hats, and pink star badges. The bag is corded in red with a thicker red trim at the top accented with classic brown cowgirl fringe. Inside this lined, six-inch wide, double-handled bag is a cream-colored pony. The Unicorn Princess Sak is a tote-style bag with a shiny, white roped double handle. It features a pale pink unicorn print with gold leaf accents and a metallic gold cording. The 6.5-inch wide bag contains a pink unicorn with gold horn and white mane. Additional new Sassy Pet Saks include the Pink Princess Sak with white pony, and Princess Mermaid Sak with mermaid. Douglas’ new six-inch Toddler Board Books feature soft fabric insert covers and high-gloss, bright-colored pages. Each has a story line about a favorite and recognizable Douglas plush animal, such as Pauline the Spotted Pig.

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New for 2017 is a collection of games for two-year-olds that help teach learning skills such as color and shape matching, problem-solving, listening, and social-emotional skills. Bunny Bedtime is a make-a-choice game in which players roll a chunky die and move Bunny on the game path. Along the way, players help Bunny make choices about her bedtime routine such as which bath toy she’ll play with or which pajamas she will wear. Monkey Around’s 40 cards prompt players to do movements together, from hugs to high fives to simple skills such as balancing, hopping, and marching. It also includes a bean bag banana to add to the gameplay. Where’s Bear? combines two activities—stacking blocks and finding hidden objects— into a game. Parents and kids take turns hiding and finding Bear under the sturdy nesting boxes. Each box illustrates the rooms in Bear’s house and includes a matching game. There are five mini games in total. In a space station, a team of Mole Rats are busy at work when a band of snakes infiltrates their station. In Mole Rats in Space, two to four players work together to help the Mole Rats gather their equipment and make it to their escape pod before time’s out. Climb the ladders, slip down air shafts, but don’t get bit by the snakes.

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Rhino Hero Super Battle

Exercise coordination and imagination with HABA’s twoin-one Whimsy City Play Station. It features a soft blanket bottom; plush fold-up or fold-down sides with whimsical designs in shades of blue, green, orange, and red; and a detachable play arch with dangling toys. It’s made for play or changing baby. The City Tour Soft n Fuzzy Blanket is perfect for nap time, tummy time, or playtime. It features puppy, kitty, and froggy friends flying, racing, and playing in the city. It measures 35-by51 inches and is machine washable. The Little Friends line expands with Naomi and Erik, the latest in HABA’s bendy doll collection. Naomi features dark skin and a sweet smile and sports a yellow floral print dress and red shoes. Erik features dark skin and a sweet smile and sports a yellow shirt, blue pants, and blue tennis shoes. Completely posable, the four-inch tall Naomi and Erik dolls are compatible with all Little Friends furniture and homes. All Little Friends are made from soft, flexible, phthalate-free plastic. Rhino Hero Super Battle is a 3-D stacking game. Rhino Hero is back on the job and this time, not only does the wobbly skyscraper need to be climbed, but there will be a battle between four superheroes: Rhino Hero, Giraffe Boy, Big E., and Batguin. Who will win the battles and successfully fend off the spider monkeys? Tiny Park is a dice game, where players compete at building a new amusement park. Good planning is half the battle. With the right mix of risk-taking and luck rolling the dice who will manage to perfectly place the attractions and complete their construction site first and open their park wins. Also available is the memory stacking game, Animal Upon Animal. All games are for two to four players, ages 5 and up.

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Haywire Group introduces a line of four card games available exclusively at specialty brick-and-mortar stores. Hey! Those Are My Glasses is a game of shapes, for ages 4 and up. Match the shapes of the glasses with the shapes on the die, and then collect every match made. Slow Poke is Haywire’s take on the classic game of Old Maid, featuring a colorful collection of nature’s slow-moving creatures including sea horses, koalas, basset hounds, and sloths. In Beekeeper, for ages 6 and up, handle the hives as your swarm of drones and queens is flipped and rearranged. Create two colonies before your opponents do to earn the title of “honey-harvesting hero.” In Mars Needs Heroes!, a Martian colony is under siege from galactic invaders. Use your team of allies (the Bot, the Doctor, the Technician, and two Squad Leaders) to outplay your opponents and capture as many evildoers as you can. This game is for ages 8 and up. All games are available now.


The About Friends Recycled Collection is the newest children’s bag collection from Lassig. Made with 30 percent post-consumer recycled PET, the collection includes backpacks, school bag, as well as complementary lunch boxes, water bottles, and more. The products are available in the three shades of blue, pink, and gray accented in bright colors. The main themes of the About Friends collection are friendship, open-mindedness, and international solidarity. The five animals in the About Friends collection, which are depicted on the products, stand for the five continents.

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Licensing Expo 2017 Coverage Nostalgia, Viewing Habits Drive Licensing Trends

Playmates Toys, the master toy partner for Ben 10, will launch a new line of toys inspired by the reboot. Pictured is the Ben 10 Rustbucket, which launches at retail this fall.

Pictures Entertainment. “This technology inspires the kinds of toys that today’s kids expect.” Sony is already working to integrate its properties into augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences. While these are still relatively new (and in the case of VR often require significant consumer investment), the potential for integrating the audience more deeply into the property is driving development at studios. At the same time, today’s audiences have become programmers, freed from schedules and even traditional networks. “Kids today have unlimited access to content and the ability to watch whatever they want, whenever they want,” says Julian Montoya, senior vice-president of global toys, Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP). “We work closely with our partners across the studio to ensure that together we’re able to reach our consumers with our content on all key platforms. As kids engage with our franchises across these multiple platforms, from the big screen to the mobile screen, we see toys as a platform to create another touch point for us

to connect.” In March, Warner Bros. announced plans to extend its linear Boomerang TV channel into a Netflix-style OTT service with Cartoon Network. The new channel will evolve, Montoya say, to feature more than 5,000 titles from cartoon franchises such as Hanna-Barbera and Looney Tunes. On the positive side, there is more content available than ever before. That’s also the negative. With so much content available 24/7/365, generating awareness and preference requires more strategy than ever. It also adds to the challenge of creating strategic merchandising programs that are relevant, giving rise to fan bases that are narrower than in the past but also more loyal and likely to purchase products in a variety of categories.

Leveraging Brand Heritage in a Dynamic Environment

Given the competitive and unpredictable nature of the market, licensors will often look to

reintroduce brands or re-imagine elements of established brands to make them more relevant and appealing to the contemporary marketplace. This year, Cartoon Network is relaunching Ben 10, for example. “Ben 10 is our largest and most important initiative for 2017, “ says Pete Yoder, vice-president, Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE) for North America. “It’s also a perfect example of long-term franchise planning for the network. Knowing that the brand and content softened after a strong six-year span, we made the challenging but long-term decision to remove the brand from the network and retail shelves to allow it to rest. We then used the next four years to plan for the re-launch in 2017.” For CNE, this meant combining what kids love about Ben 10 with a multi-platform approach. CNE has created content specific for each platform so kids can watch Ben 10 anywhere at any time that is relevant to them. It also means that there is an entirely new audience for the show that hadn’t been born when it aired previously. The appeal of Ben 10 has always been its empowering storyline that makes a kid the hero, a classic theme that has consistently driven toy sales for the series’ fans. Sesame Workshop, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019, has throughout its history continually updated and refocused its narratives and characters to reflect the changing world of children. The fact that its stories and subject matter have always felt authentic to kids has been central to the core brand identity and the reason Sesame Street has endured. “We focus on a core cast, meaningful storylines, and an unwavering commitment to our educational mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder,” says Gabriela

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Firefly Brand Management was appointed the licensing agent for the following Endemol Shine North America (ESNA) entertainment properties: Fear Factor, Wipe Out, and Deal or No Deal. Firefly is showcasing the properties at Licensing Expo. The new management deal falls on the heels of MTV’s announcement to relaunch an all-new Fear Factor, premiering Tuesday, May 30 at 10 p.m. EST. Grammy Award-winner Ludacris hosts the refreshed series filled with new stunts inspired by urban legends, popular scary movies, and viral videos. Firefly is seeking licensing partners in key categories that include toys, games, publishing, food, and apparel.

Tinderbox Named Call of Duty Licensing Agent for Europe

Tinderbox, the digital division of Beanstalk, was appointed by Activision to handle licensing for Call of Duty in Europe. Tinderbox will support the Call of Duty franchise by expanding its European consumer products footprint, and create new touchpoints with fans beyond the award-winning franchise. Tinderbox will actively pursue opportunities in the lifestyle sector, including apparel, fashion accessories, gift and novelty, consumer electronics, and home décor. Call of Duty was 2016’s No.1 top-selling console video game franchise worldwide for the seventh time in the last eight years. Dan Amos, head of Tinderbox, says, “Call of Duty is one of the most iconic video game franchises in history. Its reach extends into the fabric of pop-culture with references in all forms of media, globally. Tinderbox is proud to join the team at Activision in developing consumer product extensions for this massive franchise throughout Europe.”

Sunny Bunnies Taps Evolution for Licensing

Media I.M. Incorporated Ltd appointed Evolution to represent the North American licensing, merchandising, and promotions rights for its Belarus-originated non-dialogue animated show Sunny Bunnies, which has now been licensed to key broadcasters globally. The first season of Sunny Bunnies has already launched on Disney Junior and Disney Channel in the U.S. and other regions around the world. It also has more than 90 million views to date on its YouTube channel. Through the agreement, Evolution will aim to expand the content into an array of licensed products for kids including apparel, accessories, publishing, toys, plush, home, stationery, food and health and beauty. The agency will also handle promotions and marketing alliances in region.

Moose Inks Subscription Box Deal for Shopkins

Moose Toys and CultureFly, a pop culture collectible box company, have teamed to launch a new licensed subscription box featuring Shopkins. Each new subscription box, called Shopkins Direct, will feature a unique theme and will contain approximately six to eight exclusive Shopkins items that are not available at retail. Items include apparel, accessories and collectibles. Shopkins Direct will begin shipping this summer with the Rainbow Celebration box and will be distributed quarterly to consumers in the U.S. and Canada.

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Visit Us At Booth M204 For Licensing opportunities please contact: Gary Hymowitz, VP Consumer Products 212-389-3934

™ & ©Scholastic Inc. SCHOLASTIC, GOOSEBUMPS and associated logos are trademarks of Scholastic Inc. All rights reserved.

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Licensing/2017 EXPO Licensing Expo 2017

Premier content with a multi-platform approach continues to drive success at retail for today’s toy makers and content creators, and licensing plays a big role in that growth. Contributing to a nearly six-percent sales boost in toy aisles last year, properties such as Shopkins, Star Wars, Disney Princess, PAW Patrol, and more drove sales up across the aisles. This year’s Licensing Show anticipates more than 500 exhibitors, representing top properties across every medium, with more than 16,200 retailers, licensees, and manufacturers on hand to ink new deals. The companies listed as follows represent just a sampling of what will be on display this year in Las Vegas.

Compiled by Jennifer Lynch

The Jim Henson Company

Licensing programs for The Jim Henson Company’s newest series are anticipated to launch in 2018 and include Dot., the digital citizenship series for preschoolers airing in the U.S. on Sprout, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment’s 24-hour preschool network; and the marine-biology themed animated series Splash and Bubbles, airing in the U.S. on PBS KIDS. The Henson classic Labyrinth, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, will continue to be a focus. The second season of Word Party debuted on Netflix in October 2016 in the U.S. and in territories around the world where Netflix is available. The vocabulary building show invites young viewers to help teach baby animals new words, learn new words themselves, and celebrate these achievements with a word party. The series is produced using the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, a proprietary CG-animation technology from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop that allows puppeteers to perform digitally animated characters in real time. Snaptoys serves as global master toy partner (excluding China), with a range of product categories including plush (pictured), figures, playsets, and kids electronics to debut this fall into 2018. Henson is seeking new partners in publishing, sleepwear, promotions, health, arts and crafts, party, home décor, and seasonal play. Created by Jim Henson, Fraggle Rock is newly remastered in HD, and premiered in December 2016 on HBO, the original home of the series when it first premiered in 1983. New products launched at retail in March include novelty items from Super Impulse. Products to debut this fall include prize redemption toys from Toy Factory, featuring 28-inch Red, Gobo and Boober characters, and 8-inch and 11-inch character assortments; plus collectibles Funko Pop! figures of the five main Fraggle Characters, each packaged with a Mini Pop! Doozer figure. Henson seeks new partners in apparel, promotions, stationery, and home. The show has been seen in more than 80 countries. It encourages friendship, tolerance and diversity with adventures and a unique mix of music from all genres including folk, blues, gospel, country, and rock. All new episodes of the fourth season of Dinosaur Train debuted on PBS KIDS in February, and new products debuted last fall from global master toy partner Jazwares. From figures to playsets to plush, the new toy line offers a fresh array of products for children. The Magic House Museum partnered with The Jim Henson Company to bring the series to life with a new exhibit that begins in Spring 2018 to transport kids back to the time of dinosaurs and encourages basic scientific learning; and a new DVD release, Dinosaur Train: Dinosaurs Take Flight! debuts in June. Henson is seeking new partners in apparel, promotions, health, and back to school.

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Visit Us At Booth M204 For Licensing opportunities please contact: Gary Hymowitz, VP Consumer Products 212-389-3934

™ & ©Scholastic Inc. SCHOLASTIC, THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS and associated logos are trademarks of Scholastic Inc. Based on the book series © Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. All rights reserved.

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Licensing/2017 EXPO The Fred Rogers Company

The animated preschool series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood from The Fred Rogers Company continues to broaden its consumer products offerings. The company also renewed its master publishing partnership with Simon & Schuster until 2022. New partners include Party City for party goods to launch this fall; Hallmark for Christmas 2017 ornaments, including a Hallmark Gold Crown store exclusive Hallmark Keepsake item; SCS Direct for melamine tableware, ice packs, and lunch bags for fall; Church & Dwight Co. for dental care for August/September; and Fabric Traditions for printed fabric due out late 2017/early 2018. Arriving at retail this summer is swimwear for boys and girls from The Bentex Group/Dreamwave in sizes 2T-4T, available at The boys’ swim trunks are also available at Running Press, which introduced the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Finger Puppet Kit to retail in April, will add a Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Mini Plush Kit in September. Sing Along with Daniel Tiger The kit will come with a three-inch plush Daniel Tiger and a 32-page mini book with quotes and illustrations from the series. Also this fall, Jakks Pacific will expand its offerings to include Sing Along with Daniel Tiger, a karaoke machine shaped like Daniel Tiger’s head. The unit includes a working microphone and four full-length songs from the series for kids to sing along. The unit lets kids record their own voice and play it back. It’s for ages 3 and up.


Brandgenuity is building a licensing program for the animated series, Oddbods, in the U.S. and Canada. The non-dialogue, slap-stick comedy follows seven quirky friends, surviving the perils of everyday life with hilarious consequences. Told in seven-minute, five-minute and one-minute episodes, Oddbods broadcasts on YouTube, Disney Junior, and Netflix. The agency is seeking licensees in categories including publishing, toys and games, apparel and accessories, back to school, home, gifts, social expression, and more. Brandgenuity is also leading the licensing push behind the red-coated, fedora-wearing, globetrotting super thief, Carmen Sandiego. An ’80s and ’90s icon, the Carmen Sandiego games featured Carmen and her team of henchmen who kept fans on their toes as they tracked Carmen’s every move around the globe, from Madrid to Melbourne and everywhere in between. Brandgenuity is seeking licensing opportunities in toys and games, gifts, collectibles, apparel and accessories, and more. The company is also handling licensing for another computer game of the same era, The Oregon Trail. In the game, players had to overcome the elements of traveling the treacherous 2,000-mile trail to get their wagon load of family members from Missouri to Oregon, while encountering low trading supplies, sick oxen, hunting duties, and even dysentery. Now the mainstay of ’90s elementary school computer classes across the country is available for licensing in a variety of product categories, including toys and games, gifts, collectibles, apparel and accessories, and more.

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2017/Licensing EXPO Cartoon Network Enterprises

With a target demo of boys ages 4–8, Cartoon Network’s re-imagined animated hit Ben 10 introduces 10-year-old Ben Tennyson, his cousin Gwen, and Grandpa Max as they travel the country on summer vacation. Once Ben finds the Omnitrix, a mysterious watch that transforms him into 10 different heroic aliens, a world of extraterrestrial superpowers opens up to him. Ben 10 remains CNE’s No. 1 property with a lifetime revenue of more than $4.5 billion globally. Playmates Toys has served as global master toy partner since 2015 and will launch a new Ben 10 toy line this fall. Additional partners include Rubie’s Costume Co. for dress-up and costumes, Toy Factory for amusement plush, and Penguin for publishing. Ben 10 Transform N’ Battle Roleplay Bundle from Playmates Toys Penguin will launch four titles this fall. The Powerpuff Girls juggle school, homework, and fighting a regular parade of villains. The new series premiered in the U.S. on April 4, 2016, before rolling out worldwide. The #powerpuffyourself avatar maker has created more than 12 million avatars since it was introduced in April 2016. The Powerpuff Girls is one of the top-grossing Cartoon Network brands of all time, with more than $2.5 billion in retail sales generated since its debut. A consumer products program launched around the new series in 2016, with global master toy partner Spin Master releasing toys in key markets last fall. There are currently 35-plus partners on board in North America. Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe follows Steven, the little brother to a team of magical guardians of humanity, the Crystal Gems. He may not have much control over his powers, which originate from the gem in his bellybutton, but that doesn’t stop him from joining Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl on magical adventures to save the day. The series, which originated from the Shorts Program at Cartoon Network Studios, was recently greenlit for a fifth season. There are currently 30 North American partners on board. CNE seeks to expand the program targeted to young men and teen/tween girls at mid-tier and specialty for 2017. It will also launch a kid’s product program at mass this year. Adventure Time, Cartoon Network’s original animated series introduces viewers to unlikely heroes Finn and Jake the dog, buddies who traverse the mystical Land of Ooo and encounter its colorful inhabitants. Currently in production on its final season, the series is created by Pendleton Ward and produced at Cartoon Network Studios. The series appears on all Cartoon Network channels worldwide, across 27 feeds in 26 languages, covering 192 countries and 370 million homes. Adventure Time has more than 100 licensees globally, with product in all categories and all channels of distribution. Collaborations and strategic partnerships play an important role in expanding the Adventure Time brand, with a roster of existing partners including Minecraft, LEGO, DC Shoes, Dr. Martens, H&M, Kidrobot, Daylight Curfew, and others. Rick and Morty is a half-hour animated comedy series that airs on Adult Swim. Created and executive produced by Dan Harmon (Community) and Justin Roiland (Adventure Time), the series follows a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his timid grandson on dangerous adventures across the universe. Rick Sanchez (Roiland) is living with his daughter Beth’s (Sarah Chalke) family and constantly bringing her, his son-in-law Jerry (Chris Parnell), grand-daughter Summer (Spencer Grammer) and grandson Morty (Roiland) into intergalactic escapades. The third season of Rick and Morty is currently in production. The series’ season two premiere (July 2015) ranked No. 1 in its time period among all key adults and men and charted triple-digit delivery gains over its prior season premiere. Funko was recently named master toy partner, anchoring the consumer products program and pushing the property into mass retail. The Rick and Morty Volume 1 comic from ONI Press was a New York Times Best Seller. Licensing opportunities are available in comics, apparel, accessories, home décor, toys, games and puzzles, and electronics.

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Licensing/2017 EXPO Striker Entertainment

Striker Entertainment celebrates its 10th year in business this year, and will feature several new properties at Licensing Expo. Striker’s television roster includes The Tick, an upcoming live-action television series from Sony Television based on the classic comic book character; Ultimate Beastmaster, the new Netflix competition show; Preacher, based on the DC/Vertigo comic book series which begins its second season on AMC in June; AMC’s The Walking Dead, which returns this fall; Fear the Walking Dead, the companion show; Into the Badlands, the martial arts series; Mr. Pickles, the Adult Swim animated comedy; and several other upcoming shows to be announced at the Expo. Striker continues to represent Five Nights at Freddys, the video game franchise from Scottgames that is already expanding its footprint internationally (pictured); We Happy Few, from Compulsion Games; Exploding Kittens, the Kickstarter card game sensation; Kitty Cones, the mobile app and digital sticker brand; and It’s Happy Bunny, among others.

Epic Rights

Coinciding with the launch of a European tour, KISS recently reached 125 new licensing partners worldwide, adding to its thousands of products at market over its 43 years. Newly licensed products include the band’s first mobile game (for iOS, Android, and Kindle), KISS digital emojis, KISS sticker packs for mobile messaging; KISS photo booths and crane games in malls, parks, and entertainment centers worldwide; and a KISS high-performance racing bike. Epic Rights is looking for partners in food and beverage and growing markets such as India, South Africa, South America, and throughout the Middle East. Epic Rights and Perryscope partnered to represent the legacy of David Bowie. The companies are collaborating to develop a comprehensive range of products using Bowie’s imagery. Licensees that have been secured include ABG Accessories, Aquarius, Angotti Designs, Bentex Group, Bioworld, Brown Trout, C&D Visionary, CMD’s FiGPiN, Cotton Division, Creative Apparel Concepts, FIPO, Freeze, Impact, Lauren Moshi, Liquid Blue, Midnight Rider, Perri’s Leathers, Raymond Weil, Ropa Viva, Trevco, and Z Supply. The program will offer a library of assets which features new photos, logos, concert passes, and album cover art that span Bowie’s career. At Licensing Expo, Epic Rights and Perryscope will build out the licensing program into new categories and new markets globally. Lyrics by Lennon & McCartney is a global program that incorporates the iconic lyrics of the songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney into licensed products across consumer product categories. Categories include apparel and accessories, stationery, wall art, home goods, and more. Epic Rights has secured more than a dozen new licensees, including Bentex Group, Freeze, Tervis, ABG Accessories, Ecell Global, Artissimo, Crayola, Retro Brand, Decor-Ware, Manic Merch, Aurimoda, and more in development. In 2019, Woodstock celebrates its 50th anniversary and Epic Rights, in partnership with Perryscope, is developing an anniversary program. As part of the anniversary program, a new brand guide is being developed and marketing and PR initiatives are underway. The brand has nearly 50 licensees globally and has seen retail placement across all channels of distribution. Epic Rights will preview the program at Licensing Expo. Last year, Epic Rights partnered with Prominent Brand + Talent to create a new lifestyle brand for Céline Dion. Dion has sold more than 240 million records during her 30-plus year career and completed four sold-out world tours. Her first collection, a collaboration with The Bugatti Group, was unveiled in February at Project Women and will arrive in stores this fall. Future collections will include luxury products from health and beauty, home furnishings, and apparel to small electronics, jewelry, and food and beverage products.

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2017/Licensing EXPO 4K Media

4K Media Inc. will showcase its iconic Japanese manga and anime brand, YuGi-Oh!, and girls’ fashion brand, Rebecca Bonbon, as well as key Konami Digital Entertainment gaming properties such as Bomberman, Castelvania, Contra, and Silent Hill. The Yu-Gi-Oh! anime brand celebrates its 16th anniversary in the U.S. and globally outside of Asia through its TV series (more than 800 episodes), three feature films, consumer products, the recently launched mobile game Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, as well as its trading card game. Rebecca Bonbon is the French bulldog character drawn by Yuko Shimizu, the original creator of Hello Kitty. 4K Media is re-launching the brand with a fresh licensing program, including such product categories as apparel, accessories, cosmetics, home décor, plush, and pet products.

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Stephen King’s The Dark Tower makes its launch to the big screen this August. The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower that holds the universe together. In Marvel’s Spider-Man Homecoming, out this July, a young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home to his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine, but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened. The Emoji Movie: Express Yourself, which also hits theater this July, unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside our smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where the emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression except for Gene (T.J. Miller), an emoji born without a filter that’s bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to be “normal” like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 (James Corden) and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak (Ilana Glazer). Together, they embark on an epic adventure through the phone’s apps, each its own world, to find the code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone and the world of Textopolis, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends. In Sony Pictures Animation's The Star, due out this November, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep, who has lost her flock, and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the first Christmas. In the re-imagined adventure Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the tables are turned as four teenagers are sucked into the world of Jumanji when they discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of, Jumanji. They are immediately drawn into the game’s jungle setting, becoming the avatars they chose: gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer (Dwayne Johnson); football jock Fridge loses “the top two feet of his body” and becomes an Einstein (Kevin Hart); popular girl Bethany becomes a middle-aged male professor (Jack Black); and wallflower Martha becomes a female warrior (Karen Gillan). To beat the game and return to the real world, they’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago, or they’ll be stuck in the game forever. Additional upcoming releases include Peter Rabbit, the new live-action/CG motion picture; Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3, Slenderman, based on the supernatural Internet legend; Barbie, a live-action film based on the Mattel character; and Goosebumps 2.

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Licensing/2017 EXPO


Sunrights has signed a flurry of broadcast and merchandising partners in the western markets for Beyblade Burst, the newest generation of the Beyblade franchise. Canada was the first to launch the show in September 2016 on Teletoon with recurring broadcasts on weekends and reruns on Disney XD Canada. In December 2016, the series premiered in Australia on Channel 9 GO! and GO! Kids, and is now airing regularly on weekdays. The U.S. premiered Beyblade Burst with a two-week stunt event on Disney XD in December. The series is also available on Disney XD’s digital platforms and the official Beyblade Burst YouTube channel in the U.S. The animated series debuted in French markets in March on Canal J and Sunrights secured a partnership with Gulli to begin airing the series this fall. Programming is set in other European markets including K2 in Italy, Boing in Spain, Nickelodeon in Israel, Kadet in the Netherlands, Panda in Portugal, and Star Channel in Greece. Cartoon Network also picked up the series for Latin America and Turkey. Corus Entertainment will launch the second season of the animated series Beyblade Burst: Evolution in Canada this fall, with other partners to be announced. The second season was produced by d-rights and premiered in April in Japan on TV Tokyo. The Beyblade Burst toy line from Hasbro launched in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. at all major retailers. European and Latin American markets will follow later this year. In the Beyblade Burst app, players scan their Beyblade Burst tops into the app and battle both locally and internationally in the Wi-Fi enabled multiplayer mode with virtual tops. In the U.S., Sunrights has also partnered with Bioworld for apparel, Super Impulse for novelty toys, and Amscan for party goods. The brand has also secured more than 20 licensees in anticipation of its European launch across back-to-school, puzzles, publishing, apparel, home video, footwear, and food categories. Sunrights plans to fill remaining open categories during Licensing Expo.

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Alpha Group

Alpha Group will showcase its preschool 3-D CGI-animated series Super Wings at the Expo. Super Wings follows the adventures of a plane named Jett who travels the world delivering packages to children. On every delivery, Jett encounters a new problem that he and his friends must work together to solve. The show focuses on issues of creative problem solving and cultural diversity. The characters visit 52 cities in 45 countries over the course of the series. Season two of the series recently launched on Sprout on April 3, introducing new characters, adventures, and destinations. Super Wings is also available for viewing on YouTube and Amazon Prime. Alpha Group is seeking partners for the property in publishing, party goods, sleepwear, footwear, back to school, headwear, hosiery, home, and sporting goods.

Brand Central

Brand Central is highlighting several clients at this years’ Licensing Expo. The agency works across a variety of licensing genres ranging from food and beverage brands (Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, SONIC Drive-In, Snyder’s-Lance, and Tapatio Hot Sauce) to lifestyle and entertainment brands (True and the Rainbow Kingdom, Rube Goldberg, and Pantone) and digital and media brands (WIRED,, Roman Atwood, and Cute Girls Hairstyles).

2017/Licensing EXPO Spotlight Licensing and Brand Management

Spotlight Licensing and Brand Management has been appointed to represent the Vera design brand for licensing. Known for bright florals, bold geometrics, and travel-inspired motifs, the Vera brand was created by artist and entrepreneur Vera Neumann. As global agent for the Vera brand, Spotlight Licensing will oversee existing licensees such as Duck River Textiles, Liberty Pro Co., Mann & Bros., Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Upper Canada Soap, while also working to expand the brand into new and complementary product categories.

Ink Group

Ink Group will present a range of projects at Licensing Expo. The Mojicons is a new show that reveals the behind-the-scenes world of the internet, inhabited by the emoticons that populate emails and text messages. When a digital villain steals the @ symbol, all electronic correspondence grinds to a halt. The Mojicons must undertake a quest to restore the system. The first series of the show will air on digital platforms and broadcasters across Greece, Turkey, MENA, South-East Asia, Portugal, and Israel. There are also three movies in the pipeline. Zafari is the creation of David Dozoretz and tells the story of a group of friends who inhabit a land where all the resident animals have been magically born with an amalgamation of varying skins, patterns, and characteristics. A host of broadcasters are onboard on a pre-buy level and include France TV, Lagardere TIJI, SRC Radio Canada, and SpaceToon. NBCUniversal has picked up the global distribution rights and the first series will be delivered soon. The global wooden toy brand BRIO includes toys such as the BRIO Dachshund and wooden railway. The company now has a presence in more than 30 countries. Brand awareness is particularly strong in the four Nordic markets, the UK, U.S., Germany, and France. Beat Bugs is an animated family series inspired by the music of The Beatles, using some of Lennon and McCartney’s most famous tracks to tell stories. The show follows the adventures of the Beat Bugs, five young insects who band together to explore and learn in an overgrown suburban backyard, which to them is their entire universe. Each episode features a Beatles cover by artists such as Pink, James Corden, Eddie Vedder, and The Shins. Beat Bugs is broadcast on Channel 7 in Australia and on Netflix in 190 territories. Beat Bugs

Insight Education

With IncrediBuilds, build 3-D wood models of characters, animals, and monuments. Each kit includes a laser-cut, FSC-certified wood sheet with easy-to-assemble pieces, step-by-step instructions, and guidebooks with coloring and crafting ideas. New for 2017 is the New York: Empire State Building, the Paris: Arc de Triomphe, and the Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Groot and Guide to the Cosmic Adventurers 3-D Wood Models. Also available are Finding Nemo’s Dory, Harry Potter’s Dobby, Star Wars’ R2-D2, the Eiffel Tower, and more. IncrediBuilds are for ages 10 and up.

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Licensing/2017 EXPO Licensing Works!

Licensing Works!, the North American licensing agent for Paris-based Millimages, expands its preschool-to-teen property, Molang. Scholastic will introduce a Molang publishing program with products launching for back to school this fall. Beginning with eight-by-eight sticker storybooks, Scholastic will follow in 2018 with board books, readers, and novelty books available to all national retailers, independents, special market channels, and through Scholastic Reading Club and Scholastic Book Fairs. Molang is the story of a gentle rabbit and a scatterbrained chick who enjoy a unique friendship and share humorous adventures together. The property was created in 2010 via the personal blog of Korean creator Hye-Ji Yoon. It achieved popularity through a series of instant messaging apps in South Korea and in 2013, Millimages signed to represent Molang and translate the property into an animated series. The non-dialogue series is already broadcast in more than 200 countries with major broadcasters including Disney Junior, Canal+, Cartoonito, and BBC Kids. Amassing more than 100 million unique views, Disney picked up a second season of Molang. Disney also airs Molang outside the U.S. in Australia, throughout Latin America, Italy, Germany, Southeast Asia, Korea, and Japan. Bioworld also joins the program with a line of teen-targeted apparel and sleepwear. North American DVD partner, NCircle, will release its first Molang product for fall timed with other key product releases. Previously announced U.S. licensees include master toy licensee, Jazwares for figures, plush, and playsets for fall; master bedding licensee Jay Franco, Children’s Apparel Network for toddler, boy and girl apparel ranges, outerwear, and swimwear; Komar for sleepwear; Intimo for girls underwear; Berkshire Fashions for headwear and cold weather accessories; Accessory Innovations for bags, cases, luggage, and small leather goods; and Riley Blake for fabric embellishments and fabric kit products. Licensing Works! is seeking interactive game partners to replicate its success in France, along with the mobile success experienced by the series creator in Asia. The Molang app available on iOS and Google has already seen 100,000 downloads in France with one million sessions. Licensing Works! seeks partners for consumables, HBA, footwear, party goods, stationery, back-to-school supplies, board games and puzzles, costumes, watches, hair accessories, gifts, and more.

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TCG (The Canadian Group) is growing its product offerings to include a wide range of puzzles, games, and play accessories featuring some of today’s most popular licenses for kids and families. The company has acquired the Hometown trademark, a leading brand for 25 years featuring the work of folk artist Harry Wysocki (Heronim). The debut Hometown puzzle collection includes more than 20 puzzles in 300-, 500-, and 1,000-piece offerings featuring Heronim’s interpretive works that meld Americana and Impressionism into his own artistic style. Each puzzle in the collection was produced with TCG’s proprietary Sure-Lox system. TCG will also make its first foray into home décor with its new Tidy Town line of storage and play units inspired by kids properties. The company’s introductory range of Tidy Town original storage solutions are designed to make playtime cleanup easy for kids ages 3 and up. Each item is made of sturdy, coated cardboard that stores flat for transport. TCG’s debut Tidy Town collection features a wide variety of properties such as Hot Wheels, PAW Patrol, Peppa Pig, PJ Masks, and Thomas & Friends. Also new from TCG this year is the company’s Gelli Mat collection of non-toxic foam playmats that wipe clean and roll up for easy storage. Designed for ages 6 months and up, the mats feature a 5.75-by- 3.75 foot double-sided surface. One side highlights familiar licensed characters and the other offers a non-licensed design to complement room décor. Licenses include Disney Princess, Disney Cars, Fisher-Price, Mickey Mouse, PAW Patrol (pictured), and PJ Masks. Other new licenses featured in TCG’s 2017 product line-up include Animal Jam for games and puzzles as well as Blaze and the Monster Machines and Super Wings for the company’s Mega Mats collection of playmats. The company is also readying a host of Super Wings games and puzzles. TCG’s 2017 product line-up will launch at mass retailers in the U.S. and Canada this fall.

2017/Licensing EXPO The Licensing Shop

Moose Toys signed a license agreement with Build-A-Bear Workshop for the Shopkins brand. The global agreement, brokered by The Licensing Shop, covers Build-A-Bear Workshop locations in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Puerto Rico, the UK, and China, as well as franchise stores in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Mexico, and the Middle East. An assortment of plush and accessories will launch at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores and at late this summer.

MGA Entertainment

MGA Entertainment’s Num Noms are scented novelty and collectible toys that girls can mix, match, and stack. Since launching series one in the U.S. in December 2015, Num Noms, which targets girls ages 5–9, has become a hit across all retail channels. The brand has a strong digital presence with more than 165 million views on YouTube. With the debut of Num Noms series two in June 2016 and series three in December 2016, Num Noms is now in full distribution in the U.S. and Canada with product available across mass retail, including Toys “R” Us, Walmart, Target, and L.O.L. Surprise! Amazon as well as mid-tier and specialty retailers. The Num Noms toy line features more than 400 characters and MGA is in development on series four and five, which will start rolling out this summer. MGA has created a global licensing program with more than 80 partners worldwide across all major categories, including apparel and accessories, toys, party goods, electronics, home goods, back to school, stationery, sporting goods, confectionery, seasonal, and publishing. The first Num Noms licensed products hit retail in the U.S. in Q4 2016 with key categories launching in spring and the full program available this fall. Internationally, it is growing in European markets, including the UK, Spain, France, Benelux, and Italy. MGA’s key focus for the Num Noms at Licensing Expo will be meeting with potential partners in the ancillary categories, and further expanding the brand in key international territories throughout Asia Pacific including Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, the Philippines and throughout Latin America including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Colombia. L.O.L. Surprise! launched in early December 2016 and sold out within a week. L.O.L. Surprise! is currently at major retailers, including Toys “R” Us, Walmart, Target, Amazon, and Michaels. For girls ages 6–9, the dolls offer seven layers of surprises, with a mini fashion doll as the final surprise. MGA will expand the line for fall, supported by an influencer campaign, promotional partnerships, and advertising. MGA is developing a global licensing program to launch at retail in 2018, which will be unveiled at Licensing Expo. Little Tikes has been a trusted brand for parents for more than 45 years with 89-percent brand awareness. Targeted for ages birth–6, Little Tikes is the No. 1 brand and market leader in outdoor and ride-on toys, according to MGA. MGA has secured more than 35 licensees for Little Tikes worldwide across a broad range of categories including toys, sporting goods and outdoor, home goods, infant accessories, publishing, footwear, costumes, and more. At Licensing Expo, MGA will launch Little Tikes Kids, a lifestyle brand bringing the brand’s key attributes to non-toy categories for fall 2018. Products will feature special fabrications such as tactile heat transfer, rubberized extras, and re-enforced stitching. MGA Entertainment will also seek new licensing partners across multiple product categories for Little Tikes Baby to complement the line of newborn toys designed to target baby’s specific developmental needs for fall 2019.

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Licensing/2017 EXPO National Geographic

National Geographic Partners (NGP), a joint venture between 21st Century Fox and the National Geographic Society (NGS) is unveiling a new and revitalized global licensing business at the Licensing Expo. NGP is leveraging its media and commercial properties (the channel, the magazines, books, maps, kids business, travel business, social, digital, web, consumer products, and global licensing) and 21st Century Fox’s global distribution, to reinvent the brand and transform its storytelling into experiences, products, and content for what it calls “The Curious Class” of consumers. National Geographic’s media platforms reach 730 million consumers a month with the channel reaching 438 million households in 172 countries and in 43 languages. There are 54 million print and digital readers in 33 languages, with 4.1 million young readers in 15 languages. Expeditions take place in 80 destinations across all seven continents. NatGeo has 345 million social media fans and has held the No. 1 spot on Instagram with more than 100 million followers. NGP returns 27 percent of its proceeds to the non-profit NGS to create a cycle of storytelling and philanthropy committed to research, science, conservation, and exploration. The company is taking a strategic approach to revamp its licensing program by focusing the first phase of its rollout on apparel, outerwear, accessories, travel gear, and STEM products. The program is bringing the brand to life through its Ultimate Explorer Family Entertainment Centers rolling out internationally in partnership with iP2 Entertainment (countries to be confirmed). The first location will open this summer in Changzhou China. SPE Partners will open the holographic 3-D attraction, Encounter: Ocean Odyssey this fall in Times Square, New York. The Nature Company is NGP’s fastest growing licensee, operating more than 24 National Geographic-branded flagship stores and retail spaces throughout South Korea. It features outdoor adventure apparel, accessories, bags, luggage, and camping gear. It’s scheduled to have more than 40 stores by 2018. NGP has appointed Eagle Creek as its adventure travel gear partner in North America. It will create a custom-designed range of bags and packing gear expected to launch at retail by summer 2018. Additional partners include Manfrotto for branded camera and media bags, Buffalo Games for board games based on the Brain Games TV series, and a continued direct-to-retail partnership with PetSmart in North America.

Lisa Marks Associates

Lisa Marks Associates continues to develop the PEZ brand licensing program, signing strategic new partners in multiple categories for the pop-culture brand. Wilton Industries is currently developing PEZ-themed gingerbread houses and cookie-making kits, gingerbread decorating kits, and candy. The program will launch for holiday 2018 in North America and will be available across multiple retailers including mass and mid-tier stores; specialty housewares; craft, party, and toy stores; grocery, drug, and supermarkets; and others. Super Impulse recently introduced the World’s Smallest PEZ, the smallest versions of classic PEZ dispensers. The toys have working features and are packaged with full packs of PEZ candy. The company will also create a line of keychains featuring PEZ designs. The items, created for the U.S. and Canada, will be sold at toy and gift stores as well as mass, regional, grocery, drug, and book chains, among other retailers. A line of detailed diecast vehicles is being produced by Castline for the North American market. The collection incorporates vintage PEZ graphics on a range of vehicles, including cars, vans, haulers, and trailers. The line will launch this year. Watchitude has introduced a colorful collection of graphic PEZ watches at retail. Its line will be available in mass, specialty, mid-tier, and department stores throughout North America, including the Pez Visitor Center in Orange, Conn. Brush Buddies is creating an innovative PEZ Poppin’ Toothbrush program for mass, drug, specialty, and mid-tier accounts in North America. The interactive line for kids features a removable PEZ character cap on a PEZ pop-up toothbrush. The PEZ Brush Buddies program includes licensed characters as well as original PEZ characters and designs.

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2017/Licensing EXPO Nelvana


Dark Horse Comics, the largest independent publisher of comics, has signed a multi-year deal with Nelvana for comics and graphic novels based on the Mysticons animated series. Under the terms the agreement, Dark Horse will distribute a range of comics and graphic novels throughout the U.S., Canada, and the Americas. The first release is planned for spring 2018.

Universal Brand Development

Universal Brand Development will showcase properties from the company’s film and television creative partners including Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment, and DreamWorks Animation (DWA). As a follow-up to the $1.5 billion Furious 7, the eighth chapter, The Fate of the Furious, debuted in theaters on April 14. Anchored by global master toy licensee, Mattel, the Fast & Furious franchise will be highlighted by key partnerships with Jada Toys, lifestyle brand Affliction, and more. Tom Cruise headlines an all-new cinematic version of The Mummy (June 9). From the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters. Premiering in theaters on June 30, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present Despicable Me 3, the next chapter in the Despicable Me franchise. Anchored by Thinkway Toys, Despicable Me 3 is supported by a broad toy and lifestyle program that includes partnerships with Mega Bloks, PUMA, Moose Toys, WowWee, Hasbro, and others. Also from Illumination, in collaboration with Universal Pictures, comes a newly imagined version of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role of The Grinch, which is set for release November 2018. Scheduled for release in June 2018, the next installment of the Jurassic World franchise is currently in production in London. Executive producers Steven Spielberg and Colin Trevorrow and stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return for Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s Jurassic World sequel. Producers Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley join Spielberg and Trevorrow in the next chapter in the franchise. Directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible), the film is written by Trevorrow and Derek Connolly. Belén Atienza joins the team as a producer. Following the success of DWA’s Trolls, an all-new feature film is set to debut in 2020. In collaboration with master toy partner, Hasbro, Universal will continue to expand the breadth and scope of its consumer products program with more hair, more music, and more characters. New content across multiple media platforms is also planned through 2019. From the DWA Television portfolio, Universal will showcase the all-new Netflix original series, Spirit Riding Free, which premiered on May 5. The series is inspired by the 2002 Oscar-nominated film, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, which introduced the world to a resilient mustang named Spirit. Master toy licensee Just Play, specialty partner Breyer, and book publishing partner Little, Brown Books will be among the key programs supporting the upcoming launch of Spirit Riding Free. Also part of the DWA Television portfolio is one of Netflix’s most watched series, Trollhunters as well as Voltron Legendary Defender and Dinotrux.

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Licensing/2017 EXPO Spin Master

Spin Master has partnered with Penguin Random House Children’s divisions in North America and the UK to develop a new line of books based on Hatchimals. The publishing series will build and create the world of Hatchimals across a mixture of formats including paperback fiction, handbooks and collector’s guides, activity and sticker books, picture books, and eight-by-eight storybooks. The books launch at retail this summer. A fiction title and activity book will launch in the UK, followed by an activity book in North America. For fall, additional activity books and a comprehensive collector’s guide will release globally as well as paperback storybooks in the U.S. and Canada. Hatchimals are interactive toys that children can nurture and hatch to life. Following its successful launch, the Hatchimals brand is expanding this year with the introduction of Hatchimals Colleggtibles, miniature collectible versions of the original that also introduce the world of the Hatchimals. The company will also highlight Etch A Sketch, which Spin Master acquired in early 2016 and re-launched with new innovations to the original iconic design. The Etch A Sketch Freestyle updates the classic Etch A Sketch to allow kids to freestyle draw and stamp in color for the first time with Etch A Sketch. Using LCD technology, the new design makes it even easier for kids to exercise their creativity, while retaining the classic shake-to-erase feature. Ergonomically designed to make it easier for little ones, Etch A Sketch Junior Joystick lets kids now easily draw lines, loops, and circles effortlessly using a joystick. Both are for ages 3 and up and launch this fall.

Discovery Consumer Products

Discovery Consumer Products, the global licensing arm of Discovery Communications featuring a retail footprint in more than 50 countries, will focus on licensing programs from Discovery Networks’ entire portfolio. Shark Week is a comprehensive licensing program based on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, the long-running summer TV event. Each year, Shark Week takes viewers on a week-long journey to the depths of the sea to uncover the secrets of the ocean’s top predator. Shark Week is found in 220 countries and territories around the globe, where it is customized for each market as Shark Week, Shark Month, or Shark Weekend. This year, for the first time, Shark Week will coincide with the U.S. broadcast in the UK, Canada, and Argentina to globalize the franchise. Macy’s is the exclusive retailer for the Say Yes to the Prom dress and jewelry lines. Featured as a shop-in-shop in Macy’s juniors’ department, the collection consists of 28 different styles of dresses from two manufacturers, Bee Darlin and City Triangles. The retail tie-in is part of a larger TLC philanthropic initiative created by Discovery Communications now in its sixth year. The initiative serves nearly 1,000 deserving students nationwide by providing a complementary dress or tuxedo for the high school prom; one-on-one style sessions with TLC’s Monte Durham and Betsey Johnson; and mentorship, scholarship, and internship opportunities as students prepare for college. The initiative was inspired by TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress. With the launch of the new Discovery Adventures lifestyle brand, fans have a new way to engage with the brand, whether it’s through hiking, mountain biking, or taking a road trip. The Discovery Adventures brand will begin rolling out products in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific regions this fall with apparel, camping and sporting goods, and accessories including travel cups, battery-operated fans, travel notebooks, and more. Some of its current licensees include Craghoppers, Summit, Ninja, Sakar, M5, Semiline, Barcomm, and TCC. A recent deal with Academy Sports and Outdoors brings branded camping tents and sleeping bags to its 225 stores.

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2017/Licensing EXPO The Joester Loria Group

The World of Eric Carle is the award-winning publishing franchise that features The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The global consumer products program has experienced exceptional growth in more than 45,000 doors in better retail channels in 15-plus countries. With more than 135 licensees and promotional partners, the brand extends into all major categories. Highlights include Penguin’s Love from the Very Hungry Caterpillar, which was No. 1 on The New York Times Best Sellers list; The Hungry Caterpillar Live Show, which continued its Australia and off-Broadway run and 13 city tour in the UK; WEC Super Dough; and the My Very Hungry Caterpillar app, featuring new content. New apps Hungry Caterpillar Creative Play, Very Hungry Caterpillar Shapes & Colors, and Brown Bear Animal Parade topped iTunes charts in the U.S., the UK, Japan, Germany, and Australia. In Germany, infant nutrition leader Milupia’s year-long media, in-store, and online campaign featured The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Retail initiatives included WEC buybuy Baby brand page, year-long marketing of licensed products on WEC’s Amazon brand page, infant apparel programs at M&Co in the UK and Big W in Australia. Additional brands available for licensing include food and beverage brands Entenmann’s, Kellogg, Pepsi, Cabot, and Jack Link’s; fashion brand Dena Designs; and corporate brands Mountain Dew, Aquafina, Waste Management, Car and Driver, and the Constellation Brands beer portfolio.


Targeted for ages 6–9, Oggy & the Cockroaches is growing globally with new partnerships. Xilai recently tapped Lansay as master toy partner, which will release product at retail in France in the first quarter of 2018 following the re-launch of the show on Gulli in France. Xilam also has several licensing agents on board including Southeast Asia’s Empire Licensing, Italy’s Discovery, and Dream Theatre for India, with new collaborations in various regions to be announced. Season five of the series is set to roll out internationally this year on broadcasters in key territories including France’s Gulli, which will air the new season in September. Additional broadcasters include Cartoon Network Asia, Latin America, and Africa; RTBF and VRT in Benelux; and K2 and Frisbee in Italy. Season five will see Oggy exploring the great epochs of civilization, meeting legendary figures on his quest to destroy pesky roaches. Momentum is growing for Xilam’s first preschool series Paprika with the 78x7 2-D-animated series currently in production. The new comedy series follows the lives of adventurous twins, Olivia and Stan. The show is commissioned by France televisions, K2 and Frisbee (Italy) and Disney Junior (EMEA). Xilam is seeking licensing partners for the property. Paprika is set to air in France this fall, followed by premieres in EMEA on Disney Junior and K2/Frisbee in 2018. Zig & Sharko, Xilam’s new comedy for ages 6–10, airs on Gulli in France, K2 in Italy, Super RTL in Germany, Nickelodeon India, and Disney Asia. Season two continues the chronicles of a hungry hyena’s schemes to take a bite out of a mermaid named Marina, protected by a shark.

DGL Group

DGL Toys, a division of DGL Group and manufacturer of R/C and educational toys, has acquired iPlush’s patented technology for inflatable soft toys. From the makers of iPlush inflate-a-toy, DGL introduces a line of inflatable soft toys called Inflate-A-Mals, which are custom designed to depict favorite characters, animals, seasonal icons, and superheroes. Inflate-A-Mals will come in assorted sizes ranging from two to six feet. They are customized to be lightweight, machine-washable, hypoallergenic, soft, and durable. Inflate-A-Mals also deflate for storage. While Inflate-A-Mals represent characters up to six feet in size, their shelf space takes the opposite approach, packaged in boxes that range from 12- to 18-inches. DGL Group has also inked a licensing partnership with NFL to launch a new line of NFL-branded drones, R/C vehicles, 3-D puzzles, and talking banks. The official drone collection depicts NFL teams and engages fans in a competitive team experience. The DGL NFL line of drones will feature stunt capabilities, nano drones, and a racing drone series. DGL’s R/C vehicles will include collectible race cars and monster trucks.


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Licensing/2017 EXPO Jazwings

JazWings is a platform that allows creators to upload ideas for an opportunity to partner with global toy company, Jazwares. The following are highlights from JazWings that are seeking partners for licensing.Panda-a-Panda is a quirky lifestyle brand hailing from Hong Kong. Focusing on moods and attitudes, Panda-a-Panda embraces the fact that life’s not just black and white. MeBears is a collectible brand created by kids for kids that aims to celebrate uniqueness, differences, and friendship. Follow Pepper, Sagie Star, Chef Carmin, Bolt, Uni, Drago, and the rest of the MeBears in the world of MeTopia. Inspired by mythic creatures, CryptoTrucks is an action-packed animated brand featuring a motley crew of four-wheeled warriors who defend the world from the destructive power of the evil Carnage Crew. The brand is launching in partnership with USP Studios. Also from JazWings is the art brand Blue Rabbit, a reflection of this little bit of blue in all of us. A fictional character with a caring nature, Blue Rabbit encourages positivity through everyday challenges and happenings. Hazel Says is a brand about recognizing the beauty and joy in everyday life featuring the pink chick, Hazel. The humor brand Deviled Eggz takes Benedict, Sunny, and their prankster friends on epic and funny adventures. Deviled Eggz has an animated series and Kickstarter campaign for a fast-paced card game launching this year. With Battle Bites!, snack foods battle it out. Create your own snack armies to determine who rules the kitchen. Through animated shorts launching this year, Bunny Ninja will show kids how to face new adventures with a positive outlook. Go! Go! Sports Girls is a brand that captures the active, athletic, and adventurous lives of today’s girls. Through JazWings, the brand will be reimagined for mass appeal, launching with specialty product later this year and in mass retail for 2018.


Synchronicity has signed multiple animation partnerships for Sean Danconia’s SupaPop Studios and his SupaPop Universe. Rollman Entertainment has signed animation development deals for two SupaPop characters, Suzi Sixty-6 and J.Soul 7. Manga Entertainment/Animatsu (Ghost on the Shelf) is also on board to develop SupaPop’s Bebe Bardo and Loli Pop together in an upcoming animated series. Al Kahn of Pokémon, Yu-GiOh, and Cabbage Patch Kids is also partnering for the creation of a SupaPop toy-based animation property. SupaPop licensees include Mighty Fine for apparel, Loungefly for bags and accessories, BareTree Media for emojis and digital stickers, Facer for smart watch apps, NeonMob for digital trading cards, Modify for watches, Floor 84 for apps, Eye5 Toys for collector figures, Sweet! for chocolate bars and candy, and The Mutiny for a variety of Made in London accessories. Hot Properties! also came on board for buttons, stickers, magnets, can coolers, and key chains. Tootsie Roll Candy Brands (Tootsie Roll, Tootsie Pop, Sugar Daddy, Sugar Babies, Dots, Junior Mints, Blow Pops, Charms, Charleston Chew, Andes Mints, Fluffy Stuff, Cellas and Mr. Owl) celebrates the record-breaking third season of Tootsie Roll Candy Brands Hot Chocolate and flavored coffees and the introductory season of Tootsie Roll, Junior Mints, and Sugar Babies Hot Cocoa Packets. Available in all 50 states and Canada, the Tootsie Cocoas and Coffees are sold at more than 6,000 doors, including 3,000 Walmart locations. F84 launched a Tootsie Pop app and Baretree Media’s Tootsie Candy Brands digital stickers are available on Viber and EmojiTap. Joining its 50-plus Tootsie licensees are A Classic Time Watch Company for watches; A&A Global for redemption and vending charms, high bounce balls, and inflatables; and more. Additional properties that will be on display at Licensing Expo include Jay At Play’s FlipaZoo and Flipzy Girl toy brands, Wham-O toy brands, New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA), Sign of the Apocalypse: Ruminations of the Roadside Prophet, Holly Ross Art, and the Erhard Retro Holiday Collection.

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My business. My show. My business is retailing. That means I have to stay one step ahead of the trends, the competition and the changing preferences of my customers. My show is ABC Kids Expo, where I get up-close, hands-on access to the products, people and retailing strategies that will help me make better buying decisions, increase profit margins and find broader selling opportunities. Register today at

Licensing/2017 EXPO Precious Moments

With $12 billion in worldwide sales, 93-percent brand awareness, and thousands of social followers, Precious Moments nears its 40th year as a globally recognized inspirational brand. The brand has forged relationships with licensees and retail partners such as Walgreen’s, Hobby Lobby, Amazon, and buybuy Baby, to name a few, and has renewed or signed more than 12 licensees in categories including books, personalized gifts, stationery, mobile digital content, bedding, infant apparel, and more. Highlights of new Precious Moments-branded products that hits retail this year include a full complement of personalized children’s books, educational books, and adult devotional books by new licensee Sourcebooks. Sourcebooks will develop its Put Me In The Story, a personalized book platform, with Precious Moments branding.

Genius Brands

Genius Brands is developing a global merchandising, licensing, and retail program across all key categories for Rainbow Rangers to coincide with the series’ launch in 2018. Fisher-Price, the global master toy partner, will create a broad range of preschool toys, including dolls and figures, playsets, plush, vehicles, tech and interactive toys, musical toys, roleplay toys, and more. Currently in development on seasons one and two with Nickelodeon on board for North America, Rainbow Rangers is an all-new CGI-animated preschool series that gives a behind-the-curtain peek at the “real lives of superheroes”: Earth’s First Responders. The series blends fantasy and action-adventure with stories about friendship and saving the environment. The Rainbow Rangers live a rainbow’s ride away in Kaleidoscopia. But whenever there’s trouble for the people, animals, or natural wonders on Earth, the Rangers zoom into action and ride a rainbow across the sky to save the day. Currently in production, Genius Brands’ all-new animated preschool series, Llama Llama, is anticipated to premiere globally on Netflix later this year. Llama Llama is based on The New York Times best-selling book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. Llama Llama is being produced in 20 different languages, which will be distributed worldwide. Genius Brands is developing a supporting consumer products program based on the classic literary style, and has signed multiple strategic licensing partners to begin rolling out initial product with the series debut, including boy’s toddler apparel from Hybrid, bedding and room décor from Franco Manufacturing and Jack-In-The-Box, and plush and puppets from Kids Preferred. A full-scale, mass retail program launch is anticipated for spring 2018. Following a 2016 holiday launch at mass retail, Genius Brands’ music-driven brand SpacePOP is expanding the program in the U.S. with the development of season two of the animated series and expansion of product lines with more apparel and accessories for a broader age range. Genius Brands has also secured new retail partnerships in the U.S., including a Spirit Halloween program as well as the development of international retail programs, which will follow content launches worldwide. Internationally, content distribution agreements are in place across traditional broadcast channels and digitally, including 2017 launches in Europe and China. New promotional partners for SpacePOP kicked off with a partnership to fight childhood obesity with Zumba Kids. Across the U.S., Zumba Kids utilizes SpacePOP original music in its classes and a new initiative is in development for September, which is Childhood Obesity Awareness month. The 2016 product launch featured SpacePOP beauty and bath products (Taste Beauty); books, with the launch of the second SpacePOP chapter book Rockin’ The Rebellion (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group); blind bags (Commonwealth/License 2 Play); deluxe collector fashion dolls of the five princesses (Madame Alexander); headphones and microphones (KIDdesigns); bags, backpacks, and water bottles (FAB Starpoint); socks, umbrellas, and cold weather accessories (Berkshire Fashions); activity sets (Canal Toys); board games and puzzles (Goliath); novelty candy (Flix Candy); DVDs (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment); and music (Sony Music/Legacy Recordings). SpacePOP is also available on Toon Goggles, PopJam, BatteryPOP, and the Kid Genius Cartoon Channel on Comcast, as well as on OTT platforms, including Amazon, Apple, Roku, Google, and more, which brings the combined audience reach to nearly 50 million, according to Genius Brands.

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Pamson: Bringing Global Innovation

W by Jennifer


hile Pamson might be a newer name to the toy aisles, it’s a company that’s been in business since the late forties. The company got its start in product development, printing, manufacturing, and marketing for licenses and brands worldwide. But it wasn’t until 2013 that it started to dip its toe in the toy waters and leverage its manufacturing capabilities and relationships at retail. For Pamson, this meant utilizing its existing partnerships with brands such as Chuggington, Once Upon a Zombie, Moxie Girls, Peppa Pig, and more to help launch its global toy division, Toy Trendz. It began by tapping into tried-and-true categories such as novelty, outdoors, and collectibles with licensed product. Peppa Pig, for example, is a character that is well known for its emphasis on outdoor fun; the character is an avid puddle jumper and bubble blower. Some of the first products Pamson launched with under Toy Trendz division in 2015 were Peppa outdoor products, including the Peppa Pig 3-D Bubble Playset and Spinning Sprinkler. The company also moved beyond its growing licensed lines by establishing its own inhouse brands such as Gemlins, a gem-themed line of characters, and Beary Sweet, which merges classic teddy bears with sweet treats to create a sweet assortment of collectible bears. You Are A Princess, a princess-themed doll line, is the latest proprietary line that the company is introducing to market this year. And while princess dolls aren’t new, Pamson’s goals for the line are what it hopes will differentiate it from others in the category. It aims “to encourage young girls to devel-

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op and create their doll’s own unique character, backstory, and identity,” says Clayton Kwan, CEO of Pamson Enterprises. The line, which launched this spring at mass, including Walmart, and specialty, features princess sets that each come with a doll, a design-your-own story and coloring book, and a patented stand for each doll. It is currently available as a large-scale (pictured) and a small-scale version in assorted colors. “We don’t tell kids what it means to be a princess, but rather let them use their imaginations and decide on their own,” says Kwan. “This play pattern helps teach important developmental skills, such as empathy and understanding, which is so important in today’s world. The line also enables girls to explore their imaginations by developing their own unique backstories, in turn empowering them while teaching them important moral lessons.” While the company has built much of its success both stateside and abroad on its experience with licensed products, the size of the market and Pamson’s ability to bring a differentiated doll line to consumers was its core motivation to introduce You Are A Princess into the U.S. market this year, says Kwan. “A license wouldn’t allow us to underscore the unique attributes of the line, but would likely only stifle this creativity. And that’s not what the brand is about,” he says. “It’s about

empowering girls to be who they want to be.” Thus far, the company says it’s received a strong response from the retail community and hopes consumers will readily embrace the line as well. But Pamson still recognizes the competition it’s up against in the doll space and is putting forth a comprehensive marketing strategy to support its launch. This includes targeted public relations, social media advertising, and digital marketing. “We are working with some of the leading experts in marketing in the U.S. and anticipate a very successful launch as we bring forth a product that we feel children and parents alike will love,” says Kwan.

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CES Asia

Jacob Javits Center New York City • Shanghai New International Exhibition Center Shanghai •

13–15 e3 Expo Los Angeles Convention Center Los Angeles •


17–19 ABC Kids Expo Las Vegas Convention Center Las Vegas•


Play Fair

Jacob Javits Center New York City •

16–17 CHITAG New Inventors Track Navy Pier Chicago•

(formerly T&GCon)

Pennsylvania Convention Center Philadelphia •

16–19 Chicago Toys & Game Fair (CHITAG) Navy Pier Chicago•

18–20 Licensing Expo China Shanghai Nat’l Exhibition & Convention Center Shanghai •

5–8 International Halloween Show The Halloween Tower New York City•


ASTRA Marketplace



20–23 Comic-Con International San Diego Convention Center San Diego •



21–24 New York NOW Jacob Javits Center New York City •

8–10 Hong Kong Int’l Licensing Show Hong Kong Convention Center Hong Kong•

International CES

Las Vegas Convention Center, additional locations Las Vegas •


PAX West

8–11 Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair Hong Kong Convention Center Hong Kong•

TTPM Holiday Showcase

23–25 The Toy Fair Olympia London London•




Washington State Convention Center Seattle • Metropolitan Pavilion New York City •

Fall Toy Preview

Dallas Market Center Dallas •

New York Comic-Con

Jacob Javits Center New York City •

10–12 Brand Licensing Europe Olympia London London• 14–15 MIP Junior Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez Cannes, France•

16–19 MIPCOM Palais des Festivals Cannes, France•

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31–2/4 Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nuremberg Exhibition Center Nuremberg •


12–15 Kidscreen Summit InterContinental Miami Miami • 17–20 American International Toy Fair Jacob Javits Center New York City • 19–20 Digital Kids Conference Jacob Javits Center New York City•

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5/2/2017 2:23:10 PM

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TFE/TFE Licensing, June 2017  

TFE/TFE Licensing is a monthly magazine showcasing the hottest trends in the toy and family entertainment business.

TFE/TFE Licensing, June 2017  

TFE/TFE Licensing is a monthly magazine showcasing the hottest trends in the toy and family entertainment business.