TOY NEWS AUGUST 2018
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Toy News Full Page template.indd 1
TOY NEWS AUGUST 2018
ToyNews August 2018 COVER FINAL.indd 1
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No. 197 | July 2018
Played in China
Editor Robert Hutchins
Sales Manager Sophia Jaques firstname.lastname@example.org
Production Executive James Marinos email@example.com
Designer Mandie Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us @toynews online
t's not just my opinion; it's a black and white printed fact that Hasbro is moving more of its production outside of China, and it is doing so at an accelerated rate. In a recent earnings call that was subsequently transcribed and printed, CEO Brian Goldner confirmed the company's current position and reaffirmed its aim to have 40 per cent of its production outside of the country within the next year or so. By anyone's measuring stick, that is no small percentage and regardless of your interpretation of 'a bulk', Hasbro's leap from 30 to 40 per cent in such short space of time is a clear indication that maybe now - as its government continues to implement its environmental crackdown on pollution and the collective nation sets greater sights on higher-end production and technology - the monopoly China holds over overseas production may be on the cusp of a wane? I will let Fantastic Factories' David Snow take over from here with his wonderfully written opinion piece on the matter, but suffice to say that while it may be another decade before production outside of China - and the likes of India or Vietnam - become truly viable options for the industry, there's little to no harm in taking the issue seriously now, and avoid being caught short in the long-run. Robert Hutchins, Editor Robert.Hutchins@futurenet.com
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THrEe nEw gAmEs wE tHiNk aRe tOp dRaWeR This September we’re going to be at Top Drawer, products, and Obama Llama II – the sequel to our London for the first time, laden with the fruits classic rhyming charades game with the ridiculous of our summer labours. sounding name. We’ve got three brand new games to show off. Contact Emily Polglase on 07472 824 526 or at There’s Don't Get Got, our secret missions party email@example.com to arrange a meeting or game, Clickbait, a game all about selling pointless just pop by and see us at stand H35.
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COVER STORY REAL 'ZING! P10
Contents August 2018 Features
BIG INTERVIEW: BEN HARPER Magic Box Int UK and Ireland director talks us through Series Two of SuperZings.
Opinion 06 Brian Parrish 07 Jane Crowther 08 David Snow 09 Ian Douthwaite
HAIR TODAY We chat with Flair about its newest launch in the girls' collectables space, Hairdorables.
FALL'S FAIR Roll up for our exclusive interview with Autumn Fair organisers ahead of our show guide.
REALLY WILD SHOW DHX Media's digital arm WildBrain launches a new monthly column with insight on the digital
Market Data 28 Campaign of the Month 29 Generation Media Product Guide 30 Girls' market 36 Plush 41 Pocket money Back pages 48 Industry Moves 49 Team of the Month 50 Final word
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In the slime light: We need to call time on cheap brands damaging this industry By Brian Parrish
By now we have all seen the damning report from the consumer magazine Which? highlighting the lackadaisical approach of Amazon in enforcing product safety. The big question, after reading, now is, however, did the report go far enough? We here at Toys For Play certainly don’t think so. Just one week after the report came to light, we took it upon ourselves to do some online digging of our own, and the results don’t look good. Almost immediately we discovered two rather questionable slime products retailing on the Amazon platform, both produced in China, one selling at 42p and the other at 50p. This took all of two minutes to find, so you can only imagine, had we spent all day trawling Amazon and eBay or other major e-commerce platforms of the same ilk, that the results would soon rocket upwards of 50, 100 or even 200 hits of slime related product that, at best, can be described as dodgy. Slime is an evergreen product, like games, selling year in year out, akin to the likes of Monopoly, Operation and many others. Its year round popularity makes it a prime target for the ‘cheap buck’ companies out there bringing sub-standard product to the online platform and ultimately the consumer.
Must it really be down to the likes of Which? to be the safeguard for our industry, or our children and the products they play with? Unfortunately, until the likes of Amazon and eBay tighten their screening process when it comes to these cheap brands, the answer is sadly ‘yes.’ Toys For Play is the UK and Ireland distributor for the world famous Slimy brand, manufactured by Joker Entertainment. It uses a special Swiss quality formula that dates back to 1984, when a meeting between the original inventor of Slime (sold by Mattel since the ‘70s) and chemist Rene Dietrich, saw Joker develop a safe and new slime compound. Since it’s launch, a Slimy product has sold every 15 seconds worldwide. That kind of quality doesn’t sell for 42p. Thanks to the careful work of reputable brands, sales of slime won’t slow down. Slimy will continue to develop innovative products throughout the course of a year – it’s why Super Brain Putty is often mistakenly referred to as Super Brian’s Putty (and I am not complaining). Where reputation precedes, stringent safety standards follow. And that is the way we like our products. I'd like to end with a little note to Amazon, who has just posted record Q2 profit of $2.4bn: you are clearly where shoppers are heading, to make their purchases today, it’s imperative you do more to protect your consumers, protect our brands and protect this industry from these rogue traders.
"It is imperative Amazon does more to protect this industry." Brian Parrish is the managing director of Toys For Play, a leading UK and Ireland distributor for the iconic Slimy brand and champion of the reputable toy brand
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Dr Simon Hayward is CEO of Cirrus and author of the new book, The Agile Leader, p 31/07/2018 13:38 and priced at £14.99
Totally film: What has the cinema got to offer retailers ‘til year’s end? By Jane Crowther
School’s out, so naturally the multiplex becomes the mecca for kinder-fare. Thank goodness that in this current heatwave, cinemas are a sanctuary of AC for run-ragged parents. We’ll forget the over-priced packets of e numbers on sale, for now because there’s plenty on over the summer and throughout the remainder of the year to keep the little darlings occupied. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies and its annoying punctuation (August 3rd) sees the Cartoon Network heroes go feature length with whimsical French animation The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (Aug 3rd) offering a less frenetic option. Chasing both of these up on August 10th is the cartoon canine caper Dog Days, while perhaps offering the most merchandise cash-in potential is the August 17 release, live action Christopher Robin in which Pooh and friends reunite with their grown-up human buddy (played by Ewan McGregor). Summer closes with the non-essential family flick Luis and the Aliens on August 24th, the last before we head into the long run of big hitters, each with their eyes on the Oscars prize.
The House with a Clock in its Wall is based on a best-selling kids’ book and stars Jack Black and Cate Blanchett as guardians of a young boy tasked with finding a magical timepiece and saving the world this September. And wizards have proved popular before… Meanwhile, Black’s pulling a double shift in Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween out October 12 while numerous stars provide vocal performances for Andy Serkis’ ambitious Jungle Book re-do, Mowgli on Oct 19. From there, half-term treats continue with the Disney imagining The Nutcracker and the Four Realms with Keira Knightley getting her Sugar Plum Fairy on this October 26th as the race to Christmas kicks off with Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Grinch (Nov 9) and the Potter-verse heavyweight Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald (Nov 16). Hardcore tie-ins with Oh My Disney, retro gaming and Star Wars arrives in the form of Wreck It Ralph 2 (Nov 30) as Marvel’s animated youth-skewed Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse looks to keep the web-slinger love alive this Dec 14. By this yuletide month there’s multi-generational entertainment promised in Mary Poppins Returns and Transformers’ finest getting his own vehicle with Bumblebee opening Boxing Day – requiring plenty of Transformers gift planning for stockings the day before, no doubt.
"Bumblebee's movie will require lots of stocking gift planning." Jane Crowther is the editor in chief of Total Film, a leading consumer title in the world of cinema..
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Fine, China: Why it’s time for us to start looking outside of Chinese production By David Snow
Recent trade tariffs on Chinese produced goods have raised concerns around President Donald Trump’s potential to extend such actions to toys in the future. The global toy industry has apparently begun accelerating the shift of some low-end labour intensive production from China to other Asian countries. Clearly, Trump is highly unpredictable, so whether tariffs will be applied to toys or not is currently all conjecture. But it’s certainly something that toy companies might want to start thinking about seriously and possibly quite soon. In Hasbro’s recent earnings call, CEO Brian Goldner suggested the company will accelerate its out of China manufacturing programmes. Hasbro has lead recent moves to look outside of China for lower cost toy manufacturing in the face of considerable cost inflation over the last decade or so. While there is no doubt that China has amassed huge manufacturing skills and production capacity, its economy is moving away from low end labour. Its government has made big shifts in policy in the last few years to enforce environmental protection to reduce issues of smog, while the economy is looking to go higher end in manufacturing with automation and high tech.
China will retain a large amount of toy manufacturing for the next decade at least, but clearly some of China’s current business is headed elsewhere. Two lead candidates are Vietnam and India. The challenge is that while both of these countries host some highly advanced export level toy factories, there aren’t (yet) that many of them and so this process of relocation is bound to take years. Vietnam was the original hope, and over time has established some world leading toy factories, especially for plush and small collectables. The challenge is that local infrastructure is not great, the working population is nowhere near China’s scale and in general, it is not an easy place to do business. Most of the export level toy manufacturing in Vietnam is owned or managed by Chinese/HK manufacturing groups. India is by far the most likely long-term solution in scale and infrastructure. It currently has around 20 export level toy factories with considerable expertise based on decades of supply to the automotive manufacturing sector. However, India does come with some challenges – working culture, factories on a steep growth curve tend to cause ‘teething pains’ and a lack of depth of toy expertise and supply. That said, things are moving apace with key areas of plush, games and plastic injection at the forefront. India looks like it has potential to increase its share of the global toy manufacturing budget.
"Tariffs aside, China is slowly shifting from low-end labour." David Snow is the UK owner and MD of Fantastic Factory, a toy, game and gift design company specialising in own brand and IP creation. He can be contacted at David@thefantasticfactory.co.uk
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Dr Simon Hayward is CEO of Cirrus and author of the new book, The Agile Leader, p 31/07/2018 14:42 and priced at £14.99
We are VR: Implementing virtual reality in products as a tool, rather than a gimmick By Ian Douthwaite
After decades of virtual reality being the ‘next big thing’ that never quite arrived, technology capacity has finally caught up with the vision. It’s why there’s been a buzz around VR for the past couple of years. As a kids’ research and digital developer, we debated how you could deliver a VR experience without it just being a short-run gimmick. This led us into some in-depth research with kids and families, which can be found at childrenvr.org, and into developing some products that harnessed what VR is best at. Working closely with the toy trade, we identified a few areas where VR can truly be a tool to enhance the product in question. The first is in imagination. Kids play with many toys as though they were the real thing. Bringing these to life, allowing the child to recreate what is in their head and see the toy from ground level, is an incredible realisation of what the child is truly thinking, providing a more exciting play experience. It actually makes a toy more personal to a child, which may be going against the grain of common belief..
Next is emotion. VR is an incredibly useful tool to deliver emotion. You can feel a sense of place and a connection with others in that same space. You can see how popular it would be to have Fortnite in augmented reality, where kids can take the game into the real world. It’s basically kids playing hide and seek outdoors, but with all the gameplay and fantastical assets of a video game, And we all know the power of creating emotional connections with physical products. Creation comes next. Kids design very carefully, they imagine what it’s like being inside the construction. It’s what inspired us to create the K’NEX Ride It app. Kids can buy the kit to build one of the company’s roller coasters, and use the app to ride it as though they are on the kart. What makes K’NEX Ride It unique is users’ ability to design and ride virtual coasters instantly. Rather than a passive experience that never changes, VR lets them share their inventions, and build their own designs on the bedroom floor. Much has changed in young people’s lives, but much remains constant. The best toy/tech combinations tap into classic play patterns that have been part of children’s lives forever. VR should be a tool to improve these patterns, give kids more control of the physical space, not just take them away from it.
"VR should give kids more control of the physical space." Ian Douthwaite is CEO of Dubit Limited, kids research studio and development house. Dubit create number apps for kids brands such as LEGO, PBS Kids, Mattel and MBC, and advise Turner, Nat Geo Kids, Sky, and more.
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KING OF THE
ZINGERS SuperZings Series One is just about to bank Magic Box Toys £4 million in retail value, outperforming the ﬁrm’s latest hit Zomlings. Now, the collectables specialist is leaping into the world of toys and play-sets with SuperZings Series Two. Robert Hutchins ﬁnds out more
t was while researching a bit of additional history behind the Magic Box Toys outfit in order to colour this month’s big interview with a smattering of facts and figures for your pleasure that I realised something quite remarkable. This is a toy firm that has grown alongside me through every step of my own childhood; from the launch of its Football trading cards in 1994 to the second generation of GoGos in 2000. That even includes Mad Caps, GoGos first generation and a Spice Girls Photo Album, too. Yes, I mean every step. However, while – regrettably – I became distracted by other vices such as showing off to girls and scraping through an education during the later noughties, Magic Box Toys kept its eyes firmly on the prize with a focus that saw it grow and evolve with the toy space around it. It’s drive like this that is probably why now, in present day, the toymaker is on its way to banking a further £4 million in retail value from the launch of Series One of its SuperZings collectables range, while I’m sat rubbing two peanuts together for warmth in a newspaper office. If only I had kept pace alongside this entity I shall now only refer to as my ‘surrogate parent’, I too could be sat on an enormous pile of multi-million pound collectable toy franchises.
The real kick is that for Magic Box Toys, business is only going to be getting stronger and stronger from here on. “We have had an exciting year,” gloats (he’s actually a very humble and down to earth bloke – ed)Ben Harper, UK and Ireland director of Magic Box Toys. “The main focus being the launch of our new collectable range – SuperZings – which has gone very well.” Just how well it has gone, we have already touched upon. “Our results for SuperZings Series One put us well ahead of where we were at the equivalent point for Zomlings,” he continues. “With sales for Series One on track to deliver more than £4 million of retail value. “This gives us a great platform to build upon in the second half of 2018 with the launch of Series Two and beyond.” Yes, you read that correctly, there will be a second series of this hit line heading your way for the second half of the year, and yet another addition to the increas-
ingly crowded collectables market. But among the noise being made, SuperZings has standout. Why so? Harper would put it largely down to the Magic Box Toys distribution model. I wouldn’t stop there. Magic Box Toys, after all, has been attacking the collectables market since I was aged seven. That’s at least a quarter of a century: time enough for the team to acquire an expertise in what they do. And that is to never get complacent. “The collectables space is tremendously competitive at the moment,” Harper tells ToyNews. “But it’s also a fascinating category to be in. I have never seen so many collectable brands come to market in such a short period of time and there has been a lot of innovation in both product and packaging. “It is fascinating to see companies pushing in new directions. Magic Box maintains a strong and unique position with our products. We are truly pocket money friendly, while SuperZings appeals August 2018 | toy news | 11
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to both boys and girls and our distribution model takes us to places that other people do not reach.” The creeping prices among some of today’s leading collectable and trading card brands have been the focus of some negative attention from consumers of late, the effects of which may or may not be felt in the years to come. Magic Box would rather not take that chance. “One SuperZing blind bag is available to buy for just 80p as well as other complimentary products for under £2.50, which is often the starting point for many other brands,” says Harper. By holding fast onto its pricing, Magic Box Toys has manoeuvred itself into a rather enviable position of strength, building a brand to such popularity that it has been met with a public demand to take the SuperZings IP beyond collectables and into the toy and play-set space. In retrospect, it was a move that was always waiting to be acted upon. With a storyline, a series of webisodes and a SuperZings universe being built in the background, a launch into the toy and playset space was somewhat inevitable. “SuperZings has enormous potential to go beyond just the fun and entertainment of collecting the figurines,” explains Harp-
er. “We have developed a story and with it, a range of skus that all link with this, the world and each other. “This is part of our product development and consumers and retailers have regularly asked us for items that can take the brand and experience to the next level, as this is something that they are seeing with other successful ranges.” The obvious example would be Shopkins. This really is representative of a brand that today crosses categories and markets and was all born from the humble beginnings of the collectable phenomena. To date, what Shopkins has achieved in the girls’ collectables space, few have replicated for the boys’ market. Could SuperZings be the brand that unlocks this? Even if he thought it, Harper wouldn’t say it. It’s a sensible and ever-humble head that sits atop of those shoulders. But suffice to say that having spent time creating play-sets and larger toy items to fit in with the SuperZings brand, Harper and the Magic Box team are confident the range will appeal to fans old and new when they land this autumn/winter. “Consumer are very much involved with SuperZings as a brand and not just as items to collect,” he says. “The concept is engaging, the characters and world are well
developed and there is a wealth of content available to inspire further interaction and further play.” The move is certainly reflective of the way children are playing today and more and more, companies who launch major collectable brands are adopting this method of creating ranges across a variety of price points. “It’s not only good for us as a way of growing the business,” enthuses Harper, “but it also appeals to consumers and retailers too. I think it reflects what is possible for a successful collectable IP. “However, first and foremost, the core collectable items need to succeed and be engaging with customers.” The competitive nature of both the collectables market and the wider toy market – with a constant battle for shelf space – only attests to Harper’s sentiments. Proven value is a must. Retailers, after all, want to know the brands they are backing are winners. For Harper, it’s all about meeting the challenges head on and evolving. “We have certainly made some development mistakes along the way in our journey to moving into the toy and play-set market,” he tells ToyNews candidly. “But this is normal and often the best way to learn. “Our skills in this area have improved immeasurably in the past couple of years and we are well placed to launch some truly excellent toys.” It’s all I can do to reach out to Harper and reassure him: Magic Box Toys has never let me down, not throughout my childhood. If this firm can replicate half the impact it left upon this once upon a time collctable toy fanatic, Magic Box will be laughing its way to the bank for some time.
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ee p u o T
GP Flair is taking hairplay to a whole new level this season with the launch of its new range of girls’ market collectables, Hairdorables. Robert Hutchins sits down with Flair’s marketing manager, Emmanuelle Cadet to discover the highlights
ne thing we can all agree on is that, of late, there have been very few consistencies within this crazy old ride we call the toy industry. If it’s not the global demise of Toys R Us, it’s concerns around the falling market value as reported by the NPD. And if it’s not the perpetuated fears of the health of the High Street, it’s Amazon letting everyone down by allowing some cheap and potentially harmful product slip through 'the net' as unqualified companies attempt to piggy-back off what was one of the year’s biggest growing trends.
But just before I pull the emergency brake, there appears to be some glimmer of reassurance on the horizon. And it’s down to this month’s ToyNews cover stars to deliver it. Flair is back doing what it does best: launching a new line of collectables for the girls’ market in the form of Hairdorables, and it’s ToyNews’ pleasure to chat with the company’s head of marketing, Emmanuelle Cadet to bring you the very latest on this major new IP. August 2018 | toy news | 15
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Firstly, Emmanuelle, how has business been overall for Flair and Just Play so far this year? How is it comparing to the same period last year and how are you set up for the end of the year? We know very well that the market and retail conditions have been challenging for the first half year, with the loss of Toys R Us and NPD reporting the market still down nine per cent in value YTD June. However, we had strong launches with Pikmi Pops, the number one new property for 2018 YTD and the second half of the year is looking very strong for GP Flair and Just Play with major new introductions: outstanding new innovation for Shopkins, the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line, new themes in our PJ Masks range and, of course, the hugely anticipated Hairdorables.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;2017/18 has seen unprecedented levels of innovation, driven by toy companies. But the consumer is very trend focused, so it is important to anticipate the next trend. We are well positioned to do this with a great team." Emmanuelle Cadet, Flair What level of growth are you seeing and what are the strongest categories for you at the moment? GP Flair and Just Play are strong across many categories and once again 2018 shows a balanced portfolio that covers girls, boys, pre-school and creative play. Our preschool category is very strong due to the continued success of PJ Masks, the launch
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of Vampirina, and we just added th adorable Puppy Dog Pals. Ben 10 continues to grow in boys while, of course, another key area where GP Flair remains a major player is girls’ collectables and the launch of Hairdorables will add even more weight to this category. Can you talk us through the new Hairdorables range, what is this bringing to the market this year? Hairdorables is the hot new surprise dolls that combine fun, fashion and lots of gorgeous, colourful hair. The lead character Noah and her BFFs make up the 12 iconic, vibrant friends who love to share their passions with the world via the Hairdorables channel on YouTube. Each doll package is a surprise; just pull, peel and reveal 11 accessories and fashions that unwrap the unique personality, style and talent of the Hairdorables girl hidden inside. There are 36 Hairdorables dolls with mix and match outfits and accessories to collect for endless styling possibilities. Why is this primed to be a big launch for Flair this year? How will you position Hairdorables as a leading brand in this category? Hairdorables has been created with girls aged four to nine in mind; their interaction with YouTube, their love for surprises and unboxing, and more popular than ever, fashion forward hair play.
There’s a great back story to the range that is on point with today’s girls – kids can follow the Hairdorables stories online and get to know the characters. The Hairdorables all have unique personalities that will inspire individuality and encourage young girls to be whoever and whatever they want to be. What marketing support have you got planned for the range? How is this in line with current consumer trends? Hairdorables is bringing freshness to the market which will be key to our marketing plans. Our pre-awareness campaign kicks off on August 3rd when the Hairdorables YouTube channel goes live. We will be launching a Hairdorables PopJam channel and full microsite. When product hits shelves on August 17th, the brand will be supported with interactive FSDUs in store, heavyweight TV and YouTube pre-roll campaigns and a full schedule of social activity. Naturally, the brand lends itself perfectly to influencer activities, driven both by Flair in the UK but also by Just Play in the US. We will also be hosting a Hairdorables party for consumers at the end of the month. It would be rude not to.
What do you make of the current state of innovation in the toy market and how is Flair continuing to push and explore this with new launches? 2017 and 2018 has seen an unprecedented level of innovation driven by toy companies, which is very exciting. The consumer is very trend-focused, so it is important to anticipate the next trend. At GP Flair/Just Play, we are fortunate to have a strong pool of inventive minds with our own product development teams at Giochi Preziosi HQ in Milan and GP Flair in Cheam, plus teams at Just Play in the US, all focused on driving innovation.
What are your expectations for the line this year and beyond? What are the wider plans for Hairdorables this year and beyond? Obviously, it is early days, but yes there are huge plans for this brand with multiple seasons to come for Hairdorables. August 2018 | toy news | 17
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AUTUMN ANTICS FOR THE PEOPLE Autumn Fair is making its return for another year, championing the on-going efforts of the UK’s brick and mortar retail scene and this year, more than ever, the show is looking to reignite the consumer’s spark for the High Street. Robert Hutchins catches up with the show’s MD, Louise Young to find out what next month's show has in store
espite the woes the UK’s high street has been met with during the first half of the year, it’s far from game over for this robust and versatile sector. According to analysts, the UK toy market is at a turning point; forecasts suggest that the market will rise 16.2 per cent to £4.49 billion over the next five years. Not only is this encouraging for the children’s gifts, toys and gadgets sector, but good news for its retailers as they continue to carve out their new place among the order of balance in a post-Toys R Us world. This will, it goes without saying, be the focus of this year’s Autumn Fair; the annual gathering of gift, toy and gadget suppliers, manufacturers and retailers as, across the board, preparations are made for that crucial Golden Quarter. Already, the toy line-up for this year’s offering is looking robust with the likes of Ty UK, Tobar, Keel Toys, Paul Lamond Games and The Source Wholesale each returning to the show, with a ‘significant number of exhibitors’ going bigger and bolder than ever before. Whether this is perhaps a show of arms or a triumphant stance in the face of the year’s adversity, it certainly highlights that greater investment is being made, in both the show and its audience of retailers from across the UK. High Street retail is for from done. “At this stage, we are looking to have over 100 companies in the toy sector, with over 33 per cent of them being new to the show,” Louise Young, managing director of Spring
and Autumn Fair at Ascential Events, tells ToyNews. “As such, Autumn Fair is set to be a great opportunity for retailers to explore the products that they’re unlikely to be able to see anywhere else – the
"Autumn Fair is set to be a great opportunity for retailers to explore the products that they’re unlikely to be able to see anywhere else – the likes of new exhibitors like French plush supplier Doudou et Compagnie, as well as Stax Europe and Arckit - and is ideally timed for buyers to get their orders in for the key Golden Quarter period.” Louise Young
likes of new exhibitors like French plush supplier Doudou et Compagnie, as well as Stax Europe and Arckit - and is ideally timed for buyers to get their orders in for the key Golden Quarter period.” The show will once again take over Birmingham’s NEC this September 2nd to 5th and once again it will be championing the brick and mortar retail scene with its line up of educational programming designed to encourage and empower the High Street, which, for toys, means capitalising on the closure of Toys R Us. In fact, Autumn Fair will play host to four theatre and workshop spaces each delivering a unique and dedicated area of retail insight (including the Master the High Street and Master Online Retail stages). These will deliver myriad speakers and workshops, “affording attendees some excellent opportunities for networking and connecting with buyers and suppliers.” Bolstering the educational aspect of this year’s show, notonthehighstreet.com co-founder Holly Tucker, will join representatives from Pinterest and Google as well as Dragon’s Den Theo Paphitis to share knowledge and insight. “We’re looking to offer retailers sensible and accessible solutions to the problems
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they have been seeing with footfall and consumer confidence,” continues Young. “We will be exploring how retailers can accelerate the progress and adoption of innovations to revolutionise in-store experiences. So called ‘experiential shopping’ is all about augmenting in-store and online experiences from in store signage and instore exclusives to touch screen enhanced mirrors and VR experiences. “Particularly when it comes to children, toy retailers have a captive audience of young people who want the products they’re offering. The key is to keep their short attention span engaged with opportunities to personalise products or join in with an AR experience.” It’s this message of innovation that will be the thrust of Autumn Fair’s educational slot as Young notes that if the last year has taught retail anything it’s that ‘even the biggest players in the industry aren’t safe from financial stress.’ And while the bigger players are often weighed down by bureaucratic red tape, the smaller, independent retailers can adapt rapidly. Just look at Toys R Us as the prime example.
“The areas in which Toys R Us hit difficulties – in-store experience, flexibility of business model and online presence – are all areas in which nimbler and more innovative independent retailers and brands can lead by example,” says Young. “Indeed, having a grasp of what experiential shopping is and what innovative in-store experiences can offer is crucial, and invariably it’s smaller retailers who are best positioned to adopt such strategies. “Likewise, smaller toy makers and sellers are often better placed to pick up on important societal trends.” For instance, she explains, unique brands often have the benefit of opportunity to own sustainability, making it an integral part of the fabric of their business. “They should take advantage of the fact that they are more flexible than their larger counterparts and make offering ethically sourced products their modus operandi. We know this is increasingly what consumers will come to expect of all businesses, so it's a chance for indies to get ahead of the curve and pose a real challenge.” So what’s the next step for retail? How does the UK High Street evolve from here,
and make sure it stays on top of meeting the consumer where they are spending? “High Street retailers need to ensure they’re looking to develop their online offering to complement the in-store experience, utilising and engaging with social media and bridging the brick and mortar online gap,” says Young. “Autumn Fair is set up to make this a key focus of many of its workshops this year with representatives from the likes of Pinterest and Google talking about how brands can improve their online visibility.” Along with this comes the necessity to revolutionise what it means to shop in a physical store, through social media and online engagement. “At a fundamental level, retailers need to ensure that shopping is less of a bore or a necessity: a shopping experience that feels like a chore will only push more potential customers to seek the convenience of online,” Young continues. “Enticing people back in to stores is a must for the high street going forward. It’s why retailers who invest in experiential shopping concepts will likely see dividends being paid throughout the Golden Quarter,” she concludes.
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ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM Yes, the Jumbo Games elephant is in the room, heading to Autumn fair with a brimming portfolio of new titles across Falcon de Luxe, Wasgij and four new launches as it embraces the growing strategy games trend Hall 5
Stand A36 Jumbo Games will be returning to Autumn Fair this year with a variety of new, eye-catching puzzles, games, wooden toys and arts & crafts lines from across its ever expanding portfolio. At this year’s show, you will be able to get the first look at the 17 new adult jigsaw puzzles being added to Jumbo’s popular Wasgij, Falcon de Luxe, Jan van Haasteren and Disney ranges. To continue the growth of its number one adult puzzle brand, Wagij, Jumbo is releasing an entertaining new Original 30 1,000-piece puzzle titled Strictly Can’t Dance – focused on one of the nation’s favourite TV talent shows. This is the tenth new release from the range this year, adding to the latest Wasgij Mystery 15 ‘A Typical British BBQ’ and Wasgij Original 29 ‘Catching Wedding Fever’ and Christmas 14 ‘Santa’s Little Helpers!’ puzzles, all in 1,000-piece formats. There are ten new puzzles being added to Jumbo’s Falcon de Luxe range, covering popular autumnal and wintery themes ahead of the seasonal buying period, including ‘Playing in the Snow’, ‘The Whitesmith’s Cottage in Winter’, ‘Winter Birds’ 1,000-piece puzzles and ‘Christmas Cats’ 500-piece puzzle. There will also be the Christmas puzzles in the Falcon range that Jumbo released this June with the ‘Christmas Market’ 500-piece and the ‘Christmas Shopping’ 1,000 piece puzzle that includes a free 1,000-piece Christmas puzzle. Having witnessed the growing demand in the strategy games category over the past couple of years, Jumbo is leaping on board with its own selection of four new titles. How to Rob a Bank sees players take on the roles of the robbers and bank guards to try and escape with the loot or apprehend the bandits. The title has already launched
in the US to strong reviews and sales. Other titles in the Strategy Games range include Forbidden City, Okavango and Isidore – School of Magic. Elsewhere, and Jumbo’s new focus is on Goula, a range of high-quality traditional wooden toys. New items for 2018 include the Three Little Pigs Game, Antarctica Game, Pull-Along Duck and Dog, Stamp Activities as well as the Wooden Construction
Steve Washbourne, sales director Why is Autumn important for Jumbo Games? Last year was the first year that we exhibited at the show and it was a huge success, so we immediately signed up for this year. The chance to meet up with indies and key accounts ahead of the key Q4 selling period is ideal for showcasing all our new releases. How healthy is the independent retail scene at the moment? With multiple retailers struggling to diversify with little flexibility, indies have a great chance to reclaim the market. Consumers seem to be focused at the moment and genuinely want to do the right thing. Saving the environment, veganism and supporting local high streets seem to be at the forefront of a generation’s mindset.
Pack that features 41 chunky pieces for little ones to create their own towns and villages. Finally, if you’re on the look out for Arts & Crafts toys, look no further than Jumbo’s award-winning Dessineo range. Having launched the ‘Learn to Draw’ item last year and winning several consumer awards for it, Jumbo has released five new Learn to Paint items across Painting by Numbers, Painting by Stencils and Artists Painting Easel.
How important are indies to Jumbo’s business? Indie retailers have always been important to us and it has been a very difficult few years for them. We've worked closely making significant operational changes, focusing on new product development and launch dates with bespoke POS specifically to meet the challenges they face. What will you achieve at the show? Hopefully sales. Having the time to sit down and discuss sales, new releases and any ideas with new and existing customers is what it’s all about for us. What’s your big product this year’s? Our new range of Strategy Games that have just launched. We have seen this market grow in popularity and we're excited to now be a part of it. August 2018 | toy news | 21
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TABLETOP TITANS The board gaming behemoth Asmodee’s UK arm is joining in the Autumn Fair shenanigans this year where the ensemble will be showcasing an amass of perennial favourites, new launches and how to demo a game in ten seconds
Stand D23 Asmodee UK is bringing its portfolio of can’t miss products to Autumn Fair this year, offering a smattering of something for every kind of board game enthusiast. Chief among the titles being displayed will be the firm’s new Fun Fast Games range; a selection of games that are quick to both learn and play. The family-friendly range includes established favourites Rory’s Story Cubes and Bananagrams as well as the superb Who Did It? Cobra Paw and Set – plus, that old favourite, Dobble – the biggest selling game in the UK this year. Also on show will be Asmodee’s Modern Classics range, which comprises the best games that have driven the huge growth of tabletop gaming in recent years. Featuring engaging family favourites like Ticket to Ride, Catan and Pandemic, these titles remain the perfect first purchase for anyone interested in discovering the wide variety of games on the market. Now, as the industry gears up for its busy Christmas sales period, there will be plenty of unmissable special offers to take advantage of. One such opportunity will spotlight Asmodee’s range of games from popular family publisher Haba, including titles such as Rhino Hero, Dino World and Karuba. Be sure to visit the Asmodee stand to review all the show special offers. There will also be the chance to look ahead to some big upcoming releases, including the August unveiling of the new expansion for the perennially popular
Pokémon Trading Card Game. Sun & Moon – Celestial Storm features over 160 new cards to collect and will have fans excited to continue their journey through the Alola region. It's the ideal collection for Pokémon fans young and old.
Ben Hogg, marketing manager Why is Autumn Fair important Asmodee UK? It provides an opportunity to catch up with our customers who may not be able to attend other shows during the year. Additionally, the proximity to Christmas means we can tailor our deals to suit stores looking to stock up on games for the festive period. How healthy is the independent retail scene at the moment? We continue to see growth within our business with independents, working with more than ever before but also on a greater range of products. The independents are the building blocks of our business and we are very proud to work closely with so many of them. One of our great strengths is reach within the market and this is only made possible through forging long-term relationships with our independent partners.
Finally look out, too, for the upcoming Series Two of SuperZings, the hit collectable toy range that reimagines everyday objects as incredible heroes and villains. The brand has leapt into the toy space with new sets to excite about this year.
What are you looking to achieve at the show? We want to show buyers both our Modern Classics and Fun Fast Games ranges as these will be major long term marketing focuses for us. We have developed POS materials to support the games instore and will be offering special deals to stores to help encourage listings. What will be your big product or titles for 2018? We release product every week, so it’s hard to pick one star out. There are some top titles in our Fun Fast Games range, one of which is Cobra Paw – brand new for 2018 and reliant on lightning fast ninja-like reactions to win. The game is made by Bananagrams and takes ten seconds to demo in-store. Retailers who have demonstrated it have reported fantastic sales. It has been a huge success for us so far this year and we think it has massive potential.
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Trends UK Wind Designs (Indies) – 01353 724 140 • Trends UK (nationals) – 01295 768 078 Trends UK and Wind Designs will be taking up residence in Hall 5 at this year’s Autumn Fair where the pair will be showcasing the latest in Peppa Pig ELAs, STEM exploration lines, SpyX new launches and more. Trends UK Electronic Learning Toys kick off proceedings as the range sees a new addition for autumn. Offering a unique and engaging play pattern, the new Count with Peppa will enable kids to have fun with colourful coins and learn about numbers and colours. Give the coins to Peppa and she will count and respond. Retrieve them from the purse on her tummy and the fun starts over again. The Peppa Pig ELA range will be supported with TV aimed at key target audiences during the important buying periods and a specific year-long ELA PR programme securing coverage in all types of media. Next up, it’s Discovery toys. Encouraging children to have fun outside and learn from the natural world, Trends UK is launching a range of new Discovery toys for 2018 that explores nature and the world. The new Nightlight Illuminated Globe shows a polit-
ical global map with countries in colour blocks, names of seas and oceans and capital cities. The SpyX range offers sophisticated spy gear with working features to fuel the imagination. Kids can role play with cool crime fighting gear and gadgets. Supported by PR and marketing campaigns, the SpyX range includes an exciting selection of strategically priced listening devices, laser alarms, night mission goggles and communication devices. Following this is the Xtrem Bots’ Guardian Bot, featuring 20 different functions, a spy mode and 50 programmable actions, the new Guardian Bot comes with an ultrasonic detector that will alert the presence of intruders in a room. Guinness World Record Challenge arrives courtesy of Megableu, with a series of tests of just how much you know about Guiness World Records, giving your opponents the chance to demonstrate some nifty record-breaking skills, too. The kit includes
600 Guinness World Record questions and if you can do the challenge, you get to keep the card. Cross the finish line with three challenge cards and be declared the winner. Finally, the new Fabric Paint Sticks allow kids to decorate their own stylish clothing in suitable materials. Paint the fabric item, seal with an iron and it can be washed at up to 40-degrees.
The Toy Box Company has put together a great range of licensed boy and girl products and is having some great success listing their products in major retail groups in the UK. The firm, in fact, is experiencing “strong demand for its toy collectables and is delighted to be showing new ranges that deliver value backed up by competitive price points,” says The Toy Box Company director, Jonathan Simpson. The range will be distributed via Asmodee UK and includes key product launches at the show such as Oorbs Mini Figures, featuring Justice League super hero
characters and new ranges of Hot Wheels, Puppy Club and Care Bears blind bags. Also showing will be The Magic World of Hatchicorns, a collectable range of squishy little unicorns. The Justice League Oorbs are 3D mini figures in a blind capsule, featuring all the popular super heroes, retailing between £2.49 and £2.99. The Hot Wheels blind bags include Speed Bikes, Rally Cars and Quad Bikes and retail between £1.99 and £2.49. The 3D Care Bears danglers arrive in a keepsake tin and with their own fragrance. They retail at between £1.99 and £2.49. Lastly, Puppy Club come in a keepsake tin and retail at £1.99.
The Toy Box Company Asmodee UK: 01420 593 593
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Baby Republic 0800 009 6177
Celebrity favourite and the UK’s number one Christmas toy, The Elf on the Shelf returns this year with all new products and a national marketing campaign. With that, a record number of Scout Elves are anticipated to fly off shelves in the run up to Christmas as The Elf on the Shelf returns from the North Pole for its tenth anniversary year in the UK. To celebrate, The Elf on the Shelf is putting its biggest ever media and digital investment in its 2018 family-friendly campaign. This includes new products for retail, executing a 360-degree marketing strategy, a major UK partnership with the world’s best-loved
breakfast brand Kellogg’s and releasing a new animated special. Demand for Santa’s official Scout Elf has reached an all-time high and The Elf on the Shelf is seeing a significant increase in distribution with leading high street retailers stocking up on the best-selling The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition box set, which was listed as Amazon UK’s number one toy last year. The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition is an official box set, which includes a Scout Elf
and an enchanting children’s storybook. It is the Original Scout Elf found in the homes of celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham and Holly Willoughby. This year, The Elf on the Shelf will showcase its newest products as a first-see at Autumn Fair 2018. There will also be a new licence range available, as well as a Chirstmas campaign featuring the Original Scout Elf on millions of boxes of Kellogg’s Coco-Pops, Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies. This season, The Elf on the Shelf will launch a localised social media campaign and brand new website at www.elfonetheshelf.co.uk With strong family-friendly values, the universal brand, and timeless tradition, has been creating memorable family moments for 13 years, with adoption centres set up in nine countries across the globe. Since its launch, more than 12 million Scout Elves have been adopted by families all around the world.
mass media coverage on the craze. Now the range of slime and putty has doubled in size with all sorts of innovations. New is Genius Putty with two tone mixed colours in various permutations to add a new twist to this phenomenal line. The Grow range, which consists of eggs immersed in water
which then hatch to reveal their contents, has been a great success. Grow Aliens, Dinosaurs and now, Unicorns. This year sees the range treble in size with prices still kept at an affordable 99p to £2.99 for the larger eggs. Ideal for pocket money pick ups for boys and girls.
H.Grossman 0141 613 2525 Squidgies are massive for HGL this year with Grossman harbouring a huge variety of the squeeze and pop back characters all in lovely summery pastel colours with a new range of Unicorn Squidgies to appeal to those with a love of all things mythical. Unicorns are everywhere this year and now they are a part of the Grossmans Squidgie line up. It’s part of a general increase in the number of pocket money toys throughout the product range from Grossmans this year. Cost effective, child led purchases with plenty of play value; over 100 new lines have been added. How could you forget the story that started last year, and has grown into mammoth sales – slime and putty? As usual, Grossmans has been a leader in delivering variety and design in the world of slime. Unicorn Poo was a sell-out range with 24 | toy news | August 2018
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TUBE MAPPING In the ﬁrst of a new monthly feature by WildBrain, the DHX Media-owned kids’ network and studio, we take a look at emerging brands and trends based on online video viewing
Tubular Spells June is always an interesting month on YouTube. Children in the US (the number one territory by volume of views on YouTube) are in the final month of their school
year and thinking about summer fun. Brazil, meanwhile, the number two territory, is in the middle of its winter. Children in Russia – the world’s number three territory
– have just broken up for their summer holiday, this time to the sporting event, the FIFA 2018 World Cup, a target tent-pole for brands and creators around the world.
Top 10 Countries (Kids Content on YouTube) Countries
t wouldn’t have escaped the attention of readers of our licensing industry sister title, Licensing.biz that WildBrain is an outfit on an upward trajectory of growth. Over the course of just a few years, the platform has increased its portfolio to some more than 600 premium kids’ brands; making it a veritable feast of an IP network to preside over. As such, WildBrain is positioned perfectly to provide an overview and analysis of the latest trends among online audiences. And it just so happens that this is exactly what WildBrain’s head of strategy, Will Mahmood is here to do for ToyNews readers today.
Percentage (%) of views
*Source:Tubular Video Intelligence, WildBrain Analysis, 11th July 2018 to 12th July 2018 (30 day period)
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Will Mahmood, WildBrain
In the month of June, there were 62.7 billion views of kids’ content on YouTube. Kids’ content is YouTube’s third-largest genre, behind music and entertainment. Of these views, 18 per cent (11.2 billion) came from 153,000 new videos that were uploaded in the month. This is higher than it sounds, considering that newly uploaded videos must compete with a library of 13.3 million kids’ videos already on the platform, many of which have reached an evergreen status and continue to be watched months, or even years after their original upload dates. The corpus of kids’ content on YouTube is so large and diverse that, in order to interpret and analyse trends on the platform, our data science team has identified 350,000 distinct topics that appear across the millions of YouTube videos on the platform at the time. When looking at newly uploaded content in June 2018, toys were the second-biggest topic, even larger than pre-school music (the Nursery Rhyme topic was sixth in June), which generally garners the most views given that music videos are more
likely to be repeat ‘watched’ at a greater rate (grown-up music is YouTube’s largest genre by views for the same reason). Additionally, most views of pre-school music content come from evergreen videos uploaded many years ago. Successful toy content tends to be centred around ‘play’ (number one), ‘pretend play’ (number four) and ‘surprise (at number seven). Toy sets that lend themselves to imaginative play or exciting ‘surprise’ moments are more amenable to content creation. Collectable toys also work well, because they allow creators to easily build narrative episodes. One of our partners, Moose Toys, has seen massive organic exposure on YouTube because its toys reflect these traits and have been embraced by the creator community. To date, over 149 thousand channels have uploaded 373 thousand videos about Moose’s Shopkins, amassing in an extraordinary 11.5 billion views. This is equivalent to £575 million pounds of paid advertising at the average auction rate of in-stream YouTube advertising (£0.05 per view). With such levels of interest from creators on the platform, the focus from Moose Toys for its channels is to publish content that YouTube creators would find difficult to create, such as animation (Cartoon content was the third largest topic in June.) Tent pole events Programming content around shared global and regional events is a cornerstone of the audience growth strategy in the YouTube Kids App. Content creators and publishers
Top 10 Topics (Kids Content on YouTube) 1,023,732,028
550,000,000 825,000,000 1,100,000,000
Number of views
*Source:Tubular Video Intelligence, WildBrain Analysis, June 2018 Kids Uploads
react to make topical content and jump on widely searched and discussed events. When looking at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it is useful to compare the event to the two largest major seasonal peaks in the kids’ calendar: Halloween and Christmas. For Halloween in 2017, out of the total 7.7 billion views of fresh Halloween content, kids’ creators grabbed 2.7 billion views, or 35 per cent. On average, the share of viewing on kids is 10 per cent of all YouTube traffic, meaning kids’ creators over indexed at this tent-pole event significantly. Christmas also skews to kids’ content significantly. Of the 6.8 billion views of newly uploaded Christmas-themed videos in 2017, 1.6 billion came from kids’ content (23 per cent). By comparison, World Cup themed content uploaded in the past 90 days generated 3.3 billion views, but kids’ creators only captured 1.2 per cent of this. There was a slightly higher rate on Russian-language themed World Cup content (1.5 per cent) but the picture was essentially the same. So, while the World Cup was not a major event for kids’ creators, compared to Halloween and Christmas, some related kids’ content did have notable success. For example, the original, animated YouTube IP ‘Morphie’ has a newly uploaded football themed video with nearly 3m views. WildBrain’s best performing Caillou video (pictured left) from the last 90 days was also football focused and generated 2.5 million views. Both videos are highly relatable to children and include a child as the lead character engaging with football in a relatable way – something for all brands and creators to consider, when working out how to best maximise kids’ content for tent-pole events. WildBrain's Will Mahood returns next month for more YouTube insight and analysis to help brands in the digital age. August 2018 | toy news | 27
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Campaign of the month
WEIRD THINGS HUMANS SEARCH FOR... The Big Potato Games team launched its new internet search party game, Weird Things Humans Search For in June this year with an eclectic marketing mix. Here’s how they did it…
ack in June, Big Potato Games released its new internet search party game, Weird Things Humans Search For. It was supported by a mixture of events, an influencer campaign and social media. Weird Things Humans Search For is a party game all about the strange searches on the web. In the game, your job is to predict the most popular endings to internet search questions: Does the tooth fairy… have a boyfriend?, Has a monkey…ever touched a whale? And why do my shoes… fart when I walk? The more popular your guess is, the more points you win. Big Potato used UK Games Expo, the largest Hobby Gaming Convention in the UK, to officially launch Weird Things to the public. The team brought along its Big Potato branded van, with tables set up for visitors to try out the game. Another key part of Big Potato’s marketing was gifting relevant influencers and press. The games were sent out in bright orange packages to match the colour of the box inside and were accompanied by an eye-catching postcard featuring artwork from the game. Several influencers also received customised content cards, either relating to them or their niche interest. Marketing manager, Becky McKinlany, said: “We have got a small marketing budget because we are still a small company and this can some-
times be a challenge when we’re up against larger brands. “When we plan a game launch, the two things we focus on are standing out from the crowd and being friendly and personal with infleuncers and press. Handwritten notes may seem a thing of the past, but we think they have more of a meaningful impact over digitally printed notes.” In addition, Big Potato used its social media channels to spread the word of its new release by changing its cover photos and backgrounds to match the artwork from Weird Things. They also created a how to play video
for the game, and posted the video across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter when announcing the release. Social media manager, Nat Aves was delighted with the reception the game received online. “It’s always exciting to see people post about their games online, but the reaction to Weird Things has been amazing do far,” said Aves. “We have had influencers, board game cafes, customers and even Monzo (who helped inspired the colour of the box) post about it online.” Big Potato Games is now hoping that Weird Things Humans Search For will follow in the footsteps of The Chameleon – the sneaky, bluffing party game which was its bestseller in 2017.
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VIDEO NASTIES Sam Packer One year after the YouTube Kids’ disturbing content controversy, has Google done enough to protect children online? Generation Media’s assistant media executive, Sam Packer discusses Source BARB May 2018
ames Bridle recently held a TED Talk in which he discussed The Nightmare Videos of Children’s YouTube – and What’s Wrong with the Internet Today. During his talk he showcased the extensive library of children’s content on YouTube, which ranged from Kinder Egg opening videos, to the tens of thousands of finger family song videos to an extremely questionable Mickey Mouse cartoon. Bridle isn’t the first to point this out. The news hit mainstream media over a year ago, and has been the topic of discussion on the Reddit community, Elsagate, for even longer. To this day, people are still posting disturbing thumbnails, videos and adverts, which are all being shown to children. Both Google and YouTube are heavily dependent on algorithms to suggest more enticing content to its users. Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist, mentions this in her talk about algorithms, detailing how she was served white supremacist videos after watching a few of Donald Trump’s speeches on YouTube. While it's step in the right direction, the YouTube Partner Programme (which requires channels with over 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours to be submitted for re-evaluation before monetisation is permitted) is not doing enough to combat the issue.
A service specifically designed for children should really not be algorithmically controlled and monitored by humans afterwards. It should be curated by people and vetted for inappropriate content in addition. You can't depend on algorithm to protect children. Well, for advertisers, the SuperAwesome network, which has an emphasis on child-friendly content is an effective way to reach many children, although not to the same extent that YouTube can. Its influencer programme ‘Safe Fam’ is taking necessary steps to ensure sponsored content is made by certified child-friendly content providers. One alternative which advertiser were flocking to was Roblox, however the scandal that broke last month concerning a pornographic advertisement that had slipped through the filter has raised serious questions. It will come as no surprise that TV remains the top performing medium to deliver mass reach across a short time period. However, there is no question that attention is being diverted to digital online platforms namely YouTube, as one of the top content providers online, in an internet age. If YouTube continues to allow disturbing content, designed to entice children, it won’t be long before a tech-savvy competitor that delivers a far-reaching platform that offers absolute safety for children does.
ToyNews PlayTime is provided by Generation Media 0207 307 7900 | www.generationmedia.co.uk
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FAIR PLAY It’s the 21st century which means one thing, the girls market is packing a real punch with some exciting, electrifying and enjoyable new launches, so let’s dive in to this month’s round-up
Mattel 01628 500 111 In 2018, Mattel continues to bring fun and innovative products to the toy market, introducing new content, exciting new properties, and the return of an iconic retro brand. That’s right, Polly Pocket is back. Launching this autumn, Mattel will re-introduce the much-loved retro icon with a brand-new look, along with a new animated series and ethos; that Tiny is Mighty, and the new Polly Pocket inspires kids to be adventurous, courageous and tenacious. The re-launch sees Polly return to her miniature one-inch scale that made her a 90s phenomenon and the new range includes two different sized compact worlds, miniature compacts with the Polly Pocket Tiny Pocket World and a larger scale compact with the Polly Pocket Big Pocket World. Each compact comes complete with a fun theme, unexpected surprise elements with secret reveals, three accessories and a micro-figure. The toy launch will be supported with a robust marketing campaign including retail activations, digital, influencers, kid and mum social targeting, online and TV content, TV advertising and PR. Meanwhile, Barbie continues to inspire the limitless potential in every child through cool, fun and innovative content and product ranges. This autumn, Barbie debuts a brand new TV series. Airing this October on POP, Barbie’s Dreamhouse Adventures follows Barbie, her sisters and her friend’s adventures.
Kids can enjoy creating their own new stories and adventures with product ranges such as the super-sized Barbie Dreamhouse, which has three floors, eight rooms and a working elevator. Along with fun vehicles, the Care Clinic Play-set is both an ambulance and a hospital, offering two in one fun with an easy transformation. This year, Barbie invites kids to cook up some fun with a new campaign. It will support new product including the Barbie Ultimate Kitchen and Barbie Bakery Chef Doll and Play-set, which comes complete with fun working features. A fully integrated marketing programme will support the new campaign – including a celebrity ambassador and retail promotions. In AW18, Barbie continues to show diverse dolls and careers with Barbie Core Career Doll Assrotment and Barbie Fashionistas Doll Assortment.
Mattel taps into new trends with the launch of Pooparoos Surpriseroos – the new collectable which combines toilet humour and surprise collectables. The range is a guessing game, starting when kids open the toilet seat to find out which Pooparoos Surpriseroos squishy figure is hiding inside. Pooparoos has a total of eight Surpriseroos and 46 different treat variations to collect. Elsewhere, the animal-themed Enchantimals dolls introduce new characters in the Enchantimals Doll Assortment and a new play-set called the Enchantimals Cozy Deer House, while this autumn will see Mattel debut six Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets character dolls inspired by the film series. It includes Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron and Ginny Weasley, Dumbledore and McGonagall, each dressed in Hogwarts uniform and a personalised wand.
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Hasbro 0208 569 1234 Hasbro delivers friendship fun this autumn with new arrivals from My Little Pony – the Singing Rainbow Dash and the Magical School of Friendship play-set, as well as new doll the Baby Alive Potty Dance Baby. My Little Pony Singing Rainbow Dash provides three ways to have musical fun – listen to her sing, press the button on her microphone and sing with her, or press and sing any song without the music or help from Rainbow Dash. With her sunglasses and attached microphone, Rainbow Dash sings Time to Be Awesome from My Little Pony: The Movie, the theme to the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic animated television series and three more songs when you press her Cutie Mark. She also has 15 phrases, rocks her signature rainbow hair and her sunglasses can move up or down. The My Little Pony Twilight Sparkle Magical School of Friendship play-set stands 22 inches tall with three tiers to explore using a movng elevator. The school also includes 24 accessories and a Twilight Sparkle pony figure to imagine fun school stories. Place the Twilight Sparkle pony figure on the grand entrance to open the door and activate the lights and sounds. Also new this year is the Baby Alive Potty Dance Baby. Kids can share important moments with her by helping her use the potty. When she is thirsty, her water bottle can be filled with water to give her a drink. When it’s potty time, she’ll do a potty dance. Once helped on the potty, she will sing and say ‘pee-pee’. The Baby Alive Potty Dance Baby comes with an included outfit, rewards chart and stickers.
Spin Master 01628 535 000
Spin Master’s girls’ range is strengthening this autumn with the new Party Popteenies, a line of collectable dolls and accessories. With five party-themed toys to choose from Party Popteenies are packaged in a fun way, designed to look like party favours and gift boxes. No celebration is complete without an anthem and Spin Master has created a custom song and special music video just for the Party Popteenies range. Since its launch last month, the video has hit five million views. With more than 25 dolls to collect from three different themed parties: Winter Wonderland Surprise, Cutie Animal Surprise and Rainbow Unicorn Surprise, kids will be surprised by what they find inside. Each item in the Party Poteenies line comes with a mix of dolls, accessories and even confetti to match the theme. Meanwhile, Spin Master has launched Twisty Petz to a chorus of marketing activity including TV and core influencer activities. The line will be supported in the run up to Christmas. Twisty Petz transform from a pet collectable into a gem bracelet or accessory, all with a simple twist. The range features an array of colours from rainbow, pastel and gold to pearlescent finishes. Connect more Twisty Petz together and you’ll have a necklace in no time. There are over 70 pets to bring to life.
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GP Flair 0208 643 0320 Looking for hair-raising new lines for the girls’ aisle? Look no further than GP Flair/Just Play. A brand new global launch from the Just Play/Flair portfolio is Hairdorables. This fashion forward property hosts sassy collectable dolls with a difference, each pack opens to reveal 11 unique surprises inside. Series One has 12 characters but 36 different dolls to collect, all with their own style and accessories. Sure to be a hit with the YouTube generation, the launch will feature global influencer activity, heavy weight TV, digital activation, webisodes, as well as in-store events and more. New from the Just Play/Flair portfolio is the master toy line for Dreamworks’ latest Netflix series Spirit Riding Free. Dolls, figures and play-sets feature horses and their riders Lucky, Prudence and Abigail along with accessories for girls to create equine adventures at home. The Spirit Barn Playset has 24 pieces plus a Lucky Doll and Spirit Horse, an upstairs hideaway and stickers to decorate the barn, while the TV-promoted Spirit and Lucky Deluxe Feeding Set features a 35cm tall horse figure. To celebrate 10 series, Shopkins introduces mini supermarket packs to the play pattern. The Shopkins Mini Packs Collection enables fans to create their own tiny supermarkets at home, and has some favourite friends from the original Seasosn 1-3 to find. Or why not unlock the code to the Shopkins Lil’ Secrets collection and discover a miniature world? Hot new property Pikmi Pops and its collectable plush characters enter a new season, allowing girls to unwrap their inner-chic with the Pikmi Pops Style Series. Later in the year the Pikmi Pops FlipMi assortments add a Flip N Pop feature and introduce new fluffy plush.
Vivid 01483 449 944
Vivid has introduced a cross-category range of plush, dolls, role play items and play sets based on the popular animated show: Nella The Princess Knight. Hero product Transforming Princess Knight Nella Doll can change from Princess to Knight. Hear her talk and sing by pressing her tiara with accompanying brush accessory to encourage hair play. Vivid's new Tiana Toys AndMe inspired, unboxing themed toy range features across micro toys, gifts and fashion accessories, with design input from Tiana herself. BFF (Best Furry Friends) encapsulates the elements of a girls’ collectable with mini pets, blind bag storage designs and individual character personalities within each wave introduction. With their own unique, interests and attitude, each of the 60 BFF’s in the #BFFSquad is one of a kind! The six core BFFs lead a collection of characters including Furry, Jelly, Fluffy Tails and Metallics, all looking for a Bestie and their forever home. Each pet comes with its own travel bag which doubles as a fun fashion accessory so you can take them anywhere. Available from summer, the BFF range includes Mystery Packs; Three BFF’s Squad Packs; Six BFF’s Deluxe Packs and Bestie Doll Pack. As the UK’s exclusive distributor of Shimmeez, Vivid is launching its range of soft plush creatures covered in reversible sequins enabling kids to create patterns with ease. Hitting the shelves this month, the stage is set for Shimmeez to shine and Vivid has plans in place to maximise and maintain high brand awareness from launch and beyond.
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PB £5.99 9781474947978
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The biggest baby book of 2017
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Share the magic of unicorns Available from your Usborne Territory Manager www.usborne.com/uksales or from your preferred wholesaler Untitled-1 1
Zimpli Kids 0845 459 1818 Zimpli Kids is introducing new products, perfect for girl’s time; Gelli Spa, Gelli Worlds Fantasy Pack, Glitter Slime Baff and Unicorn Slime Play. All Zimpli Kids products are 100 per cent safe, non-toxic, environmentally friendly and all products are easily disposed. After the recent investigations into dangerous levels of Boron in some slime, Zimpli Kids is happy to confirm that its products contain no boron, boric acid and any other boric acid derivatives. Zimpli Kids is launching its first ‘tween’ product this year; Gelli Spa, a unique foot spa you can use at home. The box comes with an inflatable foot spa, five bags of Gelli, a bottle of minty essential oil, massaging marbles and a mini pedicure set. What more could you need for a girl’s night in? All you need to do is fill the inflatable foot spa with Gelli, add a drop of minty essential oil and put your feet in. Afterwards, you can treat your feet with the mini pedicure set. Zimpli Kids is also bringing out the new Gelli Worlds Fantasy Pack. Each comes with an inflatable tray, five sachets of Gelli powder and an eight-piece toy set including fairies and unicorns. Simply fill the inflatable tray with water, sprinkle over the Gelli Powder and watch it transform into pink goo. Glitter Slime Baff safely turns your bath into a gooey, oozy bath of Glittery slime, while coming out this year is the Unicorn Slime Play, transforming water into 100 per cent safe slime and includes two unicorn figures. All that is needed is a bowl of water, sprinkle the sachet of slime powder and when you’ve finished, just add more water and it will go down the drain.
Tomy 01392 281 928 TOMY will strengthen its girls collection with the launch of a brand-new product for older children from the ever-popular creative play range Aquadoodle. Aquadoodle is making innovation developments this year as it enters a new territory with the launch of its 3D model, Dress Designer (SRP: £16.99). Launching in AW18, Aquadoodle Dress Designer allows children aged two plus to design their own dress. Included is one stamper and one pen for children to create endless designs by stamping or drawing their way to the perfect dress. Once finished, the designs fade ready for another creation.. Meanwhile, Stink Bomz (SRP: £9.99) are the newest pocket money toy range from TOMY. The line is set for release in Autumn/Winter 2018 and is sure to set kids into hysterics with collectable toys featuring fart friends known as a Stink with their own smell and fart noises. TOMY knows gross toilet humour is very popular and never goes out of style. The Stink Bomz collection will be targeted mainly to kids aged three plus, with misbehaving characters who feature their own personality. Stink Bomz will launch in October with eight main characters and two special ones, each featuring unique colours, dedicated scents and three naughty sounds. At retail, shoppers can expect fun packaging as well as engaging merchandising solutions including counter holders and free-standing display units.
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Character Options 0161 633 9800 Character Options has launched a new girls collectable this summer while its powerhouse brand Little Live, has even more cute characters to explore. Girls will be able to discover, collect, build, and display their favourite Disney-themed play-sets with the Disney Doorables series of collectible mix and match, stackable play-sets. With its Mini, Multi or Mega Stack Play-sets the aim is to Mix, Match, and Stack your way to a whole Doorable world where behind every door, there’s a surprise in store. Each pack has its own number of favourite Disney characters with adorable glitter eyes, accessories and connector pieces that allow you to recreate magical story moments or mix up your own Disney Doorables world. Launching in August, Disney Doorables will benefit from a heavyweight marketing campaign including TV advertising, impactful in-store displays, digital activation including its own PopJam channel and influencer videos, plus an abundance of kids press. Little Live Pets will also be high on the agenda for girls this autumn when the Lil’ Unicorns come to life. Sparkles My Dancing Unicorn is a must-have unicorn of the season with its many interactive features to discover. Sparkle’s horn lights up and changes colour when she is petted and you can watch her nuzzle, when this magical creature receives affection. Sparkle’s unique trotting action really makes her come to life and when play is over, you can reward Sparkles by feeding her a magical cupcake or combing her long, colourful mane. September will see the emergence of Little Live Wrapples too. These ‘take anywhere’ buddies have a special snap-on feature, that is perfect for wearing
on the wrist or school backpacks and make the ultimate style statement. Each soft and unique character is totally interactive with light-up eyes, giggling, singing and purring sounds, plus mouth movements. Tip them upside down and they go to sleep. With over 50 sounds and reactions, Little Live Wrapples are the non-stop, wearable entertainment for girls.
Jumbo Games 01628 535 000 Jumbo’s new and entertaining pre-school Disney Vampirina range features its popular formats of a 4 Shaped Puzzles Box and 4in1 Puzzle Pack formats. The two puzzle box sets feature everyone’s favourite characters, brightly coloured images and increase in piece counts, to ensure children develop while having fun. For every aspiring pre-school princess, Jumbo has a puzzle for you. The Disney Princess 18-piece Puzzle & Colour features a double-sided jigsaw that has a brightly coloured image on one side. When finished, flip the puzzle over and on the reverse is a black and white image that can be coloured in with the free crayons that come with the puzzle. Also in the range is the Disney Princess 4 Shaped Puzzles Box Set, 4in1 Puzzle Pack and 50-piece Giant Floor Puzzle. Jumbo has also expanded its Disney ‘My First Puzzles’ range, with the new Minnie Mouse box set, in an infant targeted style. These ‘My First Puzzles’ are designed with little puzzlers in mind, the extra thick cardboard and specially shaped pieces easily fit together and are safe for children 2 years and up.
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While this searing heatwave suggests that the last thing you want to do is snuggle down with a plush character or two for the evening, winter will – one day again – be upon us. Then where are you going to turn? Well, why not start with this quick fire look at the plush market?
Posh Paws 01268 567 317 From blockbuster movie licenses to classic properties, there’s something for everyone in the Posh Paws plush portfolio. Being a property that lends itself perfectly to plush, the Posh Paws Winnie the Pooh offering is a major focus for the firm in 2018. In line with the much anticipated film, Christopher Robin, due for release this month, Posh Paws has the official movie range including Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet in a range of sizes. The My Teddy Bear Pooh range will also be a must have for all ages and includes Pooh in his classic red jumper, Eeyore, Piglet and Tigger in seven and ten-inch sizes as well as XL. Also available as part of the Winnie the Pooh collection is Winnie the Pooh Vintage, Winnie the Pooh Tonal and the award-winning Winnie the Pooh Snuggletime. Launched earlier this year, Posh Paws’ exciting, wide-eyed, cute and collectable Disney
Collection has already proven popular with Disney fanatics of all ages. The glittery plush toys feature fan favourites from both Disney’s back catalogue and most recent films. POS stands are available and are ideal for filling and refreshing with new characters as they are released throughout the year. Fans of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will enjoy the Posh Paws JW2 collection, featuring the eight-inch Jurassic dinosaur assortment in CDU, plus larger ten-inch plush presented in gift boxes. Finally, and certainly not to be missed is the Battersea Charity Collection which launches this month. Featured in the range is a selection of plush dogs and cats that are based on real life case studies of some of the thousands of animals that pass through the charity’s doors each year. They are available in eight-inch and teninch versions and on top of royalties, Posh Paws will also be donating funds to the charity for each product sold.
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Spin Master 01628 353 000 Straight up, what the heck is a Fuggler? According to Spin Master and the seriously weird Fuggler website, Fugglers are funny-ugly monsters that will ruin your life and warm your heart with their antics and bonkers appearance. They’re hard-wired to wreak havoc, but their shrivelled little hearts can still hold a little love for you, their very own human. Retailers are being urged to get ready for fun antics and a very different marketing campaign from Spin Master that aims to ensure Fugglers become a plush craze for the hard core. With the launch, the company has even issued the following retailer warning: Each Fuggler toy may generate excessive excitement with its unpredictable personality and toothy grin. Whether you love them or hate them, their distinctive look and creepy teeth means you’ll definitely want to talk about them. Sleep with your mouth closed and one eye open. Adopt at your own risk – Fugglers are about to launch. Now, to business. The Medium Fuggler Assortment offers over 40 unique characters to collect. Each nine-inch Fuggler character features a unique toothy smile or grimace, eyes, material patterns and a signature button hole. Discover rare chase characters by checking for a golden button hole on the back. Each box also includes an adoption certificate which means…yes, there’s a Fuggler out there waiting just for you.
Zuru Contact: Geemac – 01604 401 719 Is it just us or are plush toys getting stranger? Leading international toy and consumer products company Zuru has launched Rainbocorns, a new range of collectables that combines some of the year’s hottest trends such as unboxing, unicorns and sequins. Each Rainbocorn comes in a bright pink mystery egg, with every egg containing one of 12 collectable animal characters – Unicorns, Puppycorns, Hamstercorns, Kittycorns, Monkeycorns and Bunnycorns. Open the egg to reveal the mystery character and swipe the sequin heart to reveal the secret surprise hiding beneath. Each Rainbocorn also comes with a baby Boo-Boocorn – a tiny collectable baby hidden in a secret egg for another layer of surprise. There are over 20 Boo-Boocorns to collect including the rare twin Boo-Boocorns. The launch of the range will be supported by a dynamic and integrated marketing campaign incorporating a new TVC, PR and digital content. The TVC launches in August and features YouTube influencers Naiah and Elli Toys Show and Tic Tac toys as they discover the sequin surprise nature of Rainbocorns. Meanwhile, digital content will support the TV ad and follow the same YouTube influencers in the boardroom as they work with toy executives to create the perfect toy. To round out the robust narrative of the Rainbocorns, Zuru will also create an animated web series that follows the Rainbocorns on their adventures in Rainboville. The episodes will follow the gang as they hatch new Rainbocorns, go on Halloween and holiday adventures and various escapades around Rainboville with friends. August 2018 | toy news | 37
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Vivid 01702 200 660
GP Flair 0208 643 0320 Whether it’s the lovable Care Bears with their retro appeal or number one new property Pikmi Pops, GP Flair really believes it has the pick of the plush aisle this year. The Care Bears are back for autumn 2018, making up a colourful part of the Just Play/ Flair portfolio. You’ll remember that Care Bears are a group of cuddly bears with a mission to teach the importance of caring for others. Well, this iconic heritage brand has lost none of its appeal with age, and with a strong marketing and social media campaign, the bright collection of high quality medium and jumbo plush characters will appeal to children, parents and collectors alike. Featuring cheerful colours and soft, huggable fabrics, the Flair/Just Play bears are suitable for kids aged two and upwards and will aim to bring companionship to a new generation of kids. Next up, plush meets collectables with the successful Pikmi Pops, soon to enter its third season. Having achieved the status as number one new property just a few months after launch, Pikmi Pops is already a resounding success. The sweet scented mini plushies come packaged inside iconic lollipop vessels which appeal to girls. In September, season three will be launching with new scents and more surprises to discover. Also for late autumn comes the FlipMi collection – fluffy Pikmis you can flip inside out to reveal which character you get. There are 12 to collect in a new cotton candy style vessel, along with three giant Super Pop characters which come with plushies and eight items.
Vivid has developed its already established Animagic brand with the aim of developing Animagic characters alongside product and introducing two new Animagic pets – Waggles & Woofles puppies – to the range with bespoke TV ads and animations. Waggles is a waggling sausage dog who can walk along, smile and bark just like a real sausage dog. Meanwhile, Woofles is a playful pup with life-like movement. Woofles responds to his own bone accessory; so give it a squeak and watch him react excitedly. Waggles & Woofles will be heavily TV advertised in the company’s strongest Animagic TV campaign to date, alongside influencer activity with dedicated unboxing videos and a round of digital advertising. Next up, Vivid is introducing the world’s softest Squeezamals collectable plush. Covered in soft furry fabric, each Squeezamal is looking for a new home and with a slow rise foam interior, they can be squashed as much as you like before springing back to their original shape. There are 16 collectable Squeezamals to collect, each measuring around 3.5 inches and 16 mini clip-on versions to accompany. Launching in AW18, there are four larger eight-inch Squeezamals available to add to your collection.
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HOT POCKETS What a feast we have in store for you with a run through of this season’s must-have pocket money and collectable lines. It’s a brimming market, so take a look what it has in store for you this year…
Funko 0203 376 3223
Eolo Geemac: 01604 401 719
This season, Eolo is bringing you Fartist Club, the newest gross-out collectable concept to hit stores across the UK this August. Introducing a new gassy gang of farting friends, each Fartist Club gang member has a different back story and ten unique fart sounds that activate when their finger is pulled. There is also a ten-second fart delay function, perfect for surprise pranks on friends and family. A series of webisodes will let kids delve deeper in the adventures of Fartist Club founders Farty Flip, Windy Wendy, Munchy Max and Ripping Randy and their ongoing fight against all things clean in San Fartsisco. The toy range will also be supported via the Fartist Club app to bring the interactive toys to life and extend playability by creating Fart-tastic tunes with the help of DJ Fart. The app is packed with Fartist Club content to allow children to explore each character. They can even create personalised fart soundtracks by mixing a bass track with a selection of farting sound effects via a ‘scratch’ and interactive fart mixing deck. Each toy includes codes to help unlock more content such as new music and sound effects.
Fun isn’t something one considers when balancing the Universe, but these Avengers: Infinity War Pocket Pop! Keychains will put a smile on your face. With the Marvel smash-hit Infinity War coming to DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital Download in September, Infinity War hype is back again. And what better way to celebrate the release than with a mini Thanos or Hulkbuster keychain. Pocket Pop! Keychains resemble mini Pop! Vinyl and feature the same eye-catching visualisation. Retailing at approximately £5.99, these are perfect to add onto a set of keys, or to help jazz up a school bag. Marvel fans are also bound to love Avengers: Infinity War Mystery Minis – available in blind boxes, these distinctive and fun figures are painted and feature memorable heroes and villains from the film including Iron Man, Thor, Thanos, Gamora and more. Retailing at approximately £5.99 the attractive price point makes these the ideal fun collectable for any Marvel fan.
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Mattel 01628 500 111 Mattel represents an impressive portfolio of pocket money toys in 2018 from brands including Hot Wheels and Thomas & Friends, with new launches from Polly Pocket and Pooparoos Surpriseroos. Hot Wheels introduces commemorative diecast; perfect for collectors and including the special edition Zamac Flames and Black and Gold 50th Anniversary cars, adding further excitement to existing collections. Polly Pocket is back, launching this autumn and Mattel will re-introduce the retro icon with a brand new look and ethos: that Tiny is Mighty. Polly returns to her miniature one-inch scale and the new range includes two different sized compact worlds, miniature compacts with the Polly Pocket Tiny Pocket World and a larger scale compacts with the Polly Pocket Big Pocket World. Each one is themed and comes with secret reveals, accessories and a micro figure. The firm is tapping into new trends with Pooaroos Surpriseroos, the collectable which combines toilet humour and the collectables kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; craze. It's a guessing game, starting when kids open the toilet seat to find out which squishy figure is inside. Pooparoos has a total of eight Surprisearoos and 46 different treat variations to collect. The Thomas & Friends Minis range targets pre-schoolers with miniature engines. The Blind Bag Assortment features over 100 mini engines with new themes, like the globe themed engine representing Thomas as he leaves the Island of Sodor for the first time for his adventure in the new film, Big World! Big Adventures The Movie in cinemas now. The range also includes Light Up Minis 2 Pack Engines that illuminate when pressed down, while the Three-Pack Assortment and Super Heroes with the DC Super Friends Engines, including Batman and Wonder Woman also feature.
Zuru 01604 401 719 Following a successful Boxing Day launch of its collectables brand, Smashers, Zuru has unveiled a second series for the A/W 18 period. With series one exceeding forecasts, series two will continue to drive the brand through its innovative Smashball element and all-new Eyeball Smashball to house a crew of Gross Smashers characters. Offering a nod to the global unboxing trend, children can only discover which Gross character they have by smashing open the Smashball. Zuru introduces 100 new creatures to collect, tapping into the appeal of all things grotesque. With series two hitting shelves during the Q3 period, the Gross collection is a timely addition to the ever-growing Halloween market. Once unboxed, children can battle, collect, swap and score with their Gross Smashers, as each one has its own Smash Point Value, allowing for extended play. Inside select eyeball Smashballs will be Smashers polybag with characters inside covered in slime. The newest slime trend will drive the desire to find the few Smashball eyeballs with a slime surprise. Will you find it? Series two includes Odd Bodies, Icky Insects, Ooze Dudes, Awful Animals, Filthy Food, Toilet Humour and Smash Trash, with rare, ultra-rare see through characters and playset exclusive characters to collect. One, three and eight packs all feature alongside bigger hero items such as the Scary collectorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tin and Smashers Sludge Bus that unfolds into a restroom to shoot Smashers into the toilet, what could be more fun? Extensive marketing support is planned for the launch of Series Two, including traditional on and offline media, unboxing outreach, events, sampling and social media.
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EGG CUPS CUTTING BOARD
STORAGE TIN OVEN GLOVE
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GP Flair 0208 643 0320
Vivid 01483 449 944
Best Furry Friends encapsulates all of the elements of a girls’ collectable concept incorporating mini pets, unique blind bag storage designs and individual character personalities within each wave introduction. With their own unique, interests and attitude, each of the 60 BFFs in the #BFFSquad is one of a kind. The six core BFFs lead a collection of colourful collectable characters including Furry, Jelly, Fluffy Tails and Metallics, all looking for a Bestie and their forever home. Each BFF collectable pet comes with its own teeny travel bag which doubles as a fun fashion accessory so you can pop them in and take them anywhere. Available from summer, the BFF range includes Mystery Packs, Three BFFs Squad packs, Six BFFs Deluxe Packs and Bestie Doll Pack. Next up, Vivid is introducing the world’s softest Squeezamals collectable plush. They feature a slow rise foam interior that means they can be squished as much as you want and will always spring back to their original shape. Push and pop a scrumptious surprise sensation with new Pop A Lotz, packed with collectable cuddly cuties, cheeky chips and playful pom poms, pushable Pop A Lotz Surprise Pops are a new way to collect and play. Every Pop A Lotz Surprise Pop has a reusable pushable plunger which pops the top and shoots out a rainbow of playable wrapped presents. Character licensed collectable range Ooshies is being expanded for A/W 2018 to include new characters from DC Comics and Marvel, while the collectable Washimals range introduces 11 different pets to colour and wash so children can be creative time and time again.
Get ready for a stand-out year with a whole host of pocket money collectables for girls and boys to discover from GP Flair. Having achieved the status as number one new property just a few months after launch, Pikmi Pops is already a resounding success. They arrive in lollipop vessels and each with their own scents. This September will see the launch of season three with a selection of new scents and more surprises to discover as part of its new ‘style’ series. Meanwhile, the other pocket money collectables from Flair still going strong is Shopkins, Shopkins Mini Packs sees some favourites from Season One to Three return with gold, silver and bronze embossed stamps to depict their series. The shopping packets, from Bakery to Homewares and Frozen to Dairy are now part of the play pattern and with over 80 to collect, they’re as collectable as the Shopkins. Mini Packs will be launching on August 3rd with a heavyweight TV campaign. Autumn will also see a new collection called Shopkins Lil’ Secrets, a range in which kids have to crack the code on the Lil’ Secrets map to unlock a world containing the littlest Shoppies and Shopkins, yet. Thanks to TV promotion the Shopkins Lil’ Secrets Lockets won’t be a secret for long. Once open, they reveal one of nine tiny themed worlds inside, each including one teeny Shoppie and one tiny Shopkin. For boys, the Grossery Gang is about to enter its fifth series – Time Wars will introduce the grossest battle of all time, where fans will be able to collect 150 of the newest ‘mucky’ mob yet. The surprise pack will be the must have pick up line in the pocket money aisle and includes two Grossery Gang characters found in a toilet and complete with its own fizzing action.
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Schleich 01279 870 000
Tomy 01392 281 928
TOMY is reaffirming its position in the collectables space with the launch of a new boys’ market range called Stink Bomz. It’s the newest pocket money toy range from the global outfit and it’s set for release this autumn/winter. TOMY guarantees Stink Bomz will have boys in hysterics with its line of farting collectable toys, each featuring their own distinctive smells and unique farting sounds. TOMY knows that gross fun toilet humour is very popular and never goes out of style. The Stink Bomz collection will be targeted mainly towards boys aged three years old and upwards, with misbehaving characters who feature their own unique personalities. Stink Bomz also appeal to consumers for its collectability and affordable price points. The range launches this October with eight main characters and two special characters, each featuring unique colours, dedicated scents and three naughty sounds. At retail, shoppers can expect fun packaging as well as engaging merchandising solutions including counter holders and free-standing display units. TOMY will support the brand with a strong 360-degree marketing campaign that combines TV and digital advertising, social media and influencer reviews. Unleash one of the Stink Bomz and #jointhefarty.
From favourites Farm World and Horse Club through to prehistoric dinosaurs and new fantasy creatures, Schleich has many pocket money purchases and collectables to choose from. The dinosaur range has fearsome new reptiles such as the Oviraptor, Triceratops and Tawa to collect, while refreshed existing favourites such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor also add to the collectability. Another key franchise to see is the exciting Eldrador Creatures range. Under this refreshed boys’ franchise will be four key collections for boys to explore; Lava, Ice, Water and Stone worlds will each have three figurines to collect at three different price points such as Stone Monster, Ice Dragon and Hellhound. One of the most celebrated collector’s themes within the Schleich portfolio is Horse Club and this year new breeds and play-sets have joined the line-up. With the same beautiful hand painted detail that the company is renowned for, brand new breeds such as the new Quarter Horse, English Thoroughbred and the Holsteiner will no doubt be top of the wish list for Horse Club collectors and make the ideal pocket money purchase. Of course, as collections grow, each of Schleich’s play worlds has many play-sets too, making the whole play experience complete.
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Trends UK 0208 643 0320
Toys for Play 01642 710 064
Toys For Play is a UK based toy distributor and family run business that has been operating in the toy industry for over 50 years. The company specialises in the distribution of the World Famous Slimy and Super Brain Putty brands, manufactured by Joker Entertainment, the world’s largest supplier of safe compounds with all products originating from safe and all-natural compounds. There are no parabens in Toys For Play’s portfolio. Slimy and Super Brain Putty are made from all-natural materials with a unique patented Swiss formula that guarantees safety first. Slimy was successfully introduced to market and registered internationally as a trademark in 1985. Since its introduction, some 37 years ago, consumers worldwide have bought a Slimy product every 15 seconds. Some of the Slimy products have even found their way into the TV and movie studios and become well-known in the motion pictures Flubber and Aliens. The original Slimy provides endless entertainment for all ages as it oozes and drips while easy to clean. Playing with Slimy packs an educational benefit, too. Kids can squish it, make cool shapes, stretch it and awaken their inner Michelangelo while improving their fine motor skills and having some creative fun. Toys For Play is very excited about three new ranges of Slimy that will be available from October, including the Slimy Squeeshy, Slimy Mega Elastic, Slimy Creations Mix, Shake and Make Your Own Slimy, as well as Marble Slimy. The company also stocks Super Brain Putty, the putty with a brain. The putty never dries out and packs some serious bounce. Form it into whatever you want, stretch it, pull it: you can even print with it.
Slither.io has been an instant hit with UK fans when it was first introduced in autumn 2017. These cool, collectable Slither.io toys are based on the huge gaming phenomenon and YouTube hit of the same name. 60 per cent of British kids aged 0 to 14 have downloaded Slither.io and 124 million games are played a month in the UK. The Slither.io blind bag collection includes collectable bendable slither creatures, including rare and ultra-rare ones for $3.99 each. The bendable slithrs also come in a collectable three-pack with two mystery slithers at £10.99. Mystery mini Slither.io are adorable squishies that come in hexagonal pots at £3.99. The blind box bendable hanger keychain plush (£5.99) is the ideal bag accessory, while the eight-inch bendable slither.io plush is too adorable for words, says Trends UK. For 2018 Trends UK is expanding the range with a host of new items. The Biuld-a-Slither lets collectors construct their own Slither.io creature with connectable colourway pieces, creating unique skins, just like in the game. Available as a Blind Bag Assortment with pieces to make one Slither and a multi-pack assortment which has four buildable Slithers including a mystery one, the Build-a-Slither comes with rare and ultra-rare colourways in the collection to make ultra-desirable Slither.io creatures.
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Industry moves HTI Group is expanding its international team with a new VP of international sales and new licensing and marketing manager, Thames and Kosmos is preparing for another year of growth in board games and MGA has welcomed a new senior brand manager Thames and Kosmos
HTI Group A double hire and a promotion at the expanding international toy firm has seen MARC EYER (above) take the reigns as the company’s new vice president of international sales. Bringing to the role more than 20 years’ experience, Eyer has most recently held tenure at Smoby where he spent 14 years as sales director. Prior to this he has spent a number of years as international sales director at Giochi Preziosi. Meanwhile, the firm is growing its product development and licensing departments, promoting MICHELLE DALZIEL (right) to licensing and marketing manager, following her over four years’ experience with HTI. Completing the appointments, ZOE PARSONS has joined as product assistant, a role in which she will provide support to Alison Downie’s product development team.
The firm is preparing itself for further growth across the board game category with the essential new hire of KAY HARRIS to its growing sales team. As national account manager, Harris will help the team prepare for what will be a busy period ahead while it readies a plethora of new board gaming titles. Harris has been referred to as a ‘gem within the industry and great at what she does,’ by Thames and Kosmos’ sales director, Joanna Drage. MGA Entertainmenti The toy manufacturer has appointed a new senior brand manager for the UK Little Tikes outfit in the form of SIMONE INSKIP. She joins at what the firm has cited as an "exciting time, going from strength to strength following last year’s record sales." Inskip boasts almost ten years of marketing experience, having initially joined the world of marketing through the fashion industry where she worked for brands such as Fossil Group and New Era Cap Company. She has been welcomed to the brand management team by Michelle Lilley, head of marketing at Little Tikes
Wildbrain DHX Media’s digital kids’ network and studio has appointed JON GISBY to the role of managing director, bringing 20 years experience to the title. Gisby has held senior roles at platforms such as Velvo, BBC and Channel 4 and will look to continue WildBrain’s growth in the online and digital space. WildBrain’s branded YouTube network is one of the largest of its kind, featuring more than 110,000 videos for over 600 kids’ brands in 22 languages. He has been welcomed to the new position by the firm’s executive chair and CEO, Michael Donovan. Gaumont Former Spin Master executive, ALEX SOTO has been welcomed to the newly created role of creative director at the company’s animation and family division. Soto will report to Terry Kalagian, SVP for the group and will work alongside Kimberley Dennison, VP of creative development. In his new role, he wil be responsible for the creative vision of Gaumont’s series, building the teams for each. He most recently served as executive of creative development for Spin Master Entertainment, overseeing Super Dinosaur and collaborating on the rebrand of Bakugan.
We can help. Whether you’re in Sales, Account Management, Design or Marketing, we’ve got the experience and toy industry know-how to find your perfect role.
01709 834777 • email@example.com • aswift.com 48 | toy news | August 2018
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Team of the month
JAZWARES Home of 2017’s breakthrough mega-hit, Fingerlings, Jazwares is one of the hottest firms in the toy biz. With a slate packed with new updates to their blockbuster brands, 2018 is set to be a big year. We caught up with the team to find out what’s next Who’s in the team? Jonny Taylor (MD UK & Nordics), Sam Ferguson (VP Global Licensing), Lauren Delord (senior marketing manager), Adrian Carney (senior national account manager), James Bents (national account manager), Hayley Powell (operations manager), Jessica Wang (senior merchandiser), Sharde Passos ( junior brand manager), and Stuart May (operations coordinator).
What are you most looking forward to in 2018? We’re launching a new brand under the Fingerlings umbrella and later this summer we have the toy range launching for Sony Pictures animation, Hotel Transylvania. 2018 will be a year of growth for us in the UK in terms of number of products, retail footprint and personnel.
What have been your biggest successes of 2017? In the girls’ space, Fingerlings was a massive hit last year and we have a huge fan base of kids collecting the adorable monkeys across the UK and beyond. Jazwares has always been in the gaming space and last year we launched a range of collectables for the hugely popular online video game Roblox, which we are excited to continue into 2018.
What’s the best part of working in the toys and games industry? It’s a fun and ever-changing industry. We’re all big kids at heart and we always get excited when new samples arrive in the office.
What’s the biggest challenge? Having properties that are current and popular – which we are lucky enough to have – there’s an ongoing need to stay on trend and react to
"It’s a fun and everchanging industry. We’re all big kids at heart and we always get excited when new samples arrive in the office."
Lauren Delord, Jazwares
upcoming popular crazes. With trends moving so fast in the internet age this can often be a big challenge but it's also part of the fun. We're really excited to see what trends take the industry by storm in 2018. As I'm sure almost everyone in the industry already knows, predicting the trends before they happen is even harder.
Who would survive if you were stuck on a desert island? Adrian would definitely struggle to survive if there wasn’t the option of a duck wrap or a Tesco's Finest meal deal for lunch!
Who would be the first to couple off? Don’t quote us, but Sam and Jonny definitely formed a deep bromance after their first trip to Hong Kong for the Toy Fair in 2016. We could picture them building a little tree-house together and being quite content.
Who would be the lone survivor? It would have to be Sam Ferguson, he’s practically training for it already with his morning crossfit sessions.
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FANTASTIC TREATS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Robert Hutchins has been practicing his magic again, still without the desired effect. Maybe it’s time for a new wand? Maybe it’s time to go shopping…
FOLLOW US ON Twitter.com/ToyNewsOnline Facebook.com/toynews EDITORIAL Editor: Robert Hutchins firstname.lastname@example.org • +44 (0)207 354 6017 Content Director: James McKeown email@example.com • +44 (0)207 354 6015 Designer: Mandie Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org • +44 (0))207 354 6030 Digital Director: Diane Oliver email@example.com • +44 (0)207 354 6019 Production Executive: James Marinos firstname.lastname@example.org • +44 (0)207 354 6000 Managing Director: Mark Burton email@example.com • +44 (0)207 354 6007 ADVERTISING SALES Sales Manager: Jodie Holdway firstname.lastname@example.org MANAGEMENT
y wand was at the ready, and it was barely eight in the morning. Not that the time of day usually has any influence over the flourish or strength of my Petronum Petronus, but I would have appreciated a coffee first. With a flick of the wrist, I was expected to cry out in a moment of ecstatic, magical expulsion “expelliarmus!” The best I could manage, as confidence in my own wand-mastery drained from me, was the self-aware equivalent of dad dancing at a wedding reception. I’ll probably not pass Wizarding school at this rate, I consigned myself to believe. I didn’t even own a cloak. Not like some of the others here. But maybe they were a little too keen for my liking, even if they were around the age of eight… The scenario I have found myself within this week, I’ll hasten to explain, is the grand opening of Hamleys’ new Harry Potter World retail zone; an event at which I had quickly found myself lumped in with the rest of the ‘muggles’ (or the press as we are otherwise known) while those blessed with the power of magic (or celebrities, their kids, social media influencers, competition winners, as I like to otherwise refer to them) completed their Witches and Wizards training. This was Hamleys at its finest. Earlier this year I appeared on television’s BBC Breakfast with Steph McGovern and Radio 5 Live with Nicki Campbell (well, I don’t blow my own trumpet often enough) to talk about the changing retail landscape. I made a passing quip that you’d need a degree in theatre studies to have any kind of hope at landing a job at London’s oldest toy shop, Hamleys these days. My visit to the Harry Potter Witches and Wizards training day only reaffirmed my testament. The young representative of Slytherin deliv-
Chief Operations Officer Aaron Asadi Managing Director/Senior Vice President, Christine Shaw Content Director, James McKeown Managing Director, Europe, Mark Burton Commercial Finance Director, Dan Jotcham
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ered a performance worthy of an Oscar during the Quidditch try-outs, while the entire cast brought the wandmanship lesson to life wonderfully by flinging themselves across the room. The press loved it, Stacey Solomon, by all accounts, loved it, and most importantly, the kids’ faces told the complete story. In-store theatre – actual theatre – will never be replaced by the zeroes and ones of an online shopping platform, and that delivery of magic can never be outcharmed by a ‘proceed to shopping cart’ icon on a screen. It was heartening to see retail theatre really delivering that experience to its consumer audience. It’s just a shame my own wand skills lacked the same bedazzlement.
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www.ZimpliKids.com 08/08/2018 10:31