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Issue 107

The toy industry’s highest circulation trade title Exclusive media partner

INSIDE…

THE TWEETEST FEELING How the toy trade is catching on to social networking

VEGAS LICENSING SHOW All the toy deals from the big event in our news special

OPEN TO QUESTION Trade reaction to Argos’ new open day initiative for suppliers

DRESSED FOR SUCCESS What’s coming next in the dress-up and Halloween market

July 2010


Ronnie Dungan Managing Editor

Contents REGULARS 4

News

6

Exclusive NPD analysis

Ronnie.Dungan@intentmedia.co.uk

Samantha Loveday Associate Editor Samantha.loveday@intentmedia.co.uk

Katie Roberts Deputy Editor

COMMENT

Katie.Roberts@intentmedia.co.uk

8

Appointments

10

Campaign of the month

12

TV ratings

BOXING CLEVER

Emily Briggs Sales Executive

CONSUMER FACING industries, particularly those that cater for children, are easy prey for ambitious MPs trying to make a name for themselves. So if you’re the new environment secretary for instance, and you’re fairly anonymous, it’s standard practice to play a populist card and promise to remedy one of society’s minor ills. Like, say, wasteful toy packaging for example. Which is exactly what the newly-appointed Tory MP Caroline Spelman has done. There’s little point in arguing against the fact that some toy packaging is a little over the top and it takes advanced power tools to get through some of the more complicated set-ups. It can be unneccesary and wasteful and it is often a lot to do with on-shelf presence rather than more practical reasons. At the very least you can say with certainty that it isn’t a standard bearer for environmentalism.

Emily.Briggs@intentmedia.co.uk

LICENSING 20

Vegas 2010 news special

22

News

FEATURES 14

Social Networking

16

Argos open day reaction

24

Dress-Up

29

Electronic Learning

35

Leapfrog’s giant leap

41

Mega Brands

42

Wow Toys

45

Creative Play

RETAIL 56

Counter Insurgent

56

Price Check

57

Retail Charts

58

New Products

61

Hero Product

Dan Bennett Design Dan.Bennett@intentmedia.co.uk

Jon Salisbury Contributor jon@wotkidzwant.com

Stuart Dinsey Publisher Stuart.Dinsey@intentmedia.co.uk

Editorial: 01992 535646 Advertising: 01992 535647

When the environment secretary gets a bee in her bonnet about it, it’s best to take notice.

Intent Media is a member of the Periodical Publishers Associations

AUDITED CIRCULATION: I suspect that toys is not any worse than other product sectors, but when the environment secretary gets a bee in her bonnet about it, however wooly her thinking might be, it’s best to take notice. I know the BTHA will be writing to her to open a dialogue. Self-regulation is always the best solution in cases like this but the toy industry needs to be honest with itself if it wants to avoid any uncomfortable enforced legislation on it. Time to do the right thing. Ronnie Dungan

Average Net Circulation: 6,011 July 1st 2008 to June 30th 2009. www.toynews-online.biz ■ ToyNews circulation is 17.3% higher than its closest competitor. ■ ToyNews requested or paid for circulation is 21.7% higher than its closest competitor. ■ ToyNews has 100% named circulation and 0% duplication.

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4

NEWS

Leapfrog launches new Explorer Major marketing campaign backs launch of latest junior handheld console concept by Ronnie Dungan LEAPFROG IS launching its newest handheld console product this month, backed with one of its biggest ever marketing campaigns. Retailing at around £59.99, with games at £19.99, Leapster Explorer is a touch-screen handheld with a 512MB download capacity and enhanced graphic capability. Also available are £9.99 Leaplets, which allow the purchaser to download additional content online using a unique code. There will be some 30 games and videos in the first year of launch. Next year another eight titles will be released. Licensed title characters include the Madagascar Penguins, Ben 10, Toy Story 3, Fairies, and Dora the Explorer.

The launch will be backed with a £1m marketing campaign, which will include TV advertising with more than 500 TVRs from July through to

December, sponsorship of Nick Jr, online, micro-sites and press. MD Chris Spalding said: “It’s our biggest launch for five or six years.

We’re going for it. It’s a huge launch and we have a really well thought out media campaign.” Leapfrog: 01895 202840

ARGOS DECLARES FIRST OPEN DAY A SUCCESS UNIVERSAL APPROVAL from the suppliers and inventors that attended, greeted Argos’ inaugural open day in Milton Keynes. More than 100 suppliers attended the day, in which they were given the chance to present to Argos buyers in guaranteed 15minute slots. Everyone of the suppliers contacted by ToyNews spoke highly of the event (see feature on page 16). Plans are already afoot to repeat the exercise and there is even talk of running it twice a year, in line with the release of new catalogues. Trading manager Ian Chaplin told ToyNews: “We probably saw more good products than we expected. It has been a real learning curve for us too. It’s not about here’s the ten hurdles you

have to leap over to get into Argos. We have an obligation to give all suppliers a chance to deal with Argos.” Argos: 0845 1240044

Former Sex Pistols bass player, Glen Matlock, helped WowWee launch its new Paper Jamz electronic guitars at Hamleys. The range is available now in five different guitar styles with the firm's patented Active Graphics Technology and each include three built-in songs, with an RRP of £24.99. "I've taken to the stage at the legendary 100 Club just down the road on Oxford Street," said Matlock, "but with so many kids in the audience and playing along, this may be my toughest gig yet. Kids can be very unforgiving, even to an old punk".

HAPPY FAMI We’re chuffed to bits that, from January to May 2010, our family of kids’ channels had over double the share of impacts of GMTV Kids, FIVE Kids and CITV

*SOURCE : BARB Jan-May 2010, Kids 4-15, Commercial Impacts Share – Turner 31%, CITV Channel 12%, FIVE Kids 2%, GMTV Kids 1%


NEWS

www.toynews-online.biz

5

New Government turns on toys Industry finds itself in the cross-hairs as new coalition seeks to make its mark… by Ronnie Dungan & Katie Roberts THE TOY INDUSTRY seems to be in the sights of the Government as both the environment secretary and the deputy prime minister took a swipe at toy marketing and packaging. New environment secretary Caroline Spelman has criticised toy packaging, as part of a planned a crackdown on landfill waste. As part of a review of waste disposal, the Tory minister has plans to extend the voluntary Courtauld Commitment on grocery packaging to toys and other sectors of the leisure and entertainment industries. Singling out the toy industry for criticism, she said: “My teenage children are constantly bringing items home in thick packaging, polystyrene and cardboard, and it’s really all about making the product attractive to buy rather than packaging it safely. “If you go into an average toy shop and look how children’s toys are packaged, that’s very much about marketing. Attractive boxes, large boxes, filled with usually fairly large quantities of packing materials before you get to the goodies”. Under the Courtauld Commitment, which was agreed five years ago, supermarkets including Tesco and Sainsbury agreed to start reducing the amount of packaging on own-label products by 2008. Further cuts are to be made by 2012 under the second stage of the agreement, but it does not cover many sectors of general retailing, such as toys. “I think what we would really like to see in our review is an extension of the Courtauld Commitment which looks at retail packaging,” said Spelman. “As a working mum, when I look at the refuse and what is being discarded, there is almost nothing that needs to go to landfill. So if you analyse what we are casting away,

LY Channel combined!*

CLEGG: Concerns over the commercialisation of children.

SPELMAN: Attack on toy packaging in her first interview in government.

Go into the average toy shop and look at how children’s toys are packaged, that’s very much about marketing...Large boxes filled with usually fairly large quantities of packing materials. Caroline Spelman, Environment Secretary most of it can be recycled one way or another.” The BTHA is to draft response to the criticisms which have angered some in the industry. This was swiftly followed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg voicing concerns over the commercialisation of children. The criticism came as Clegg launched the coalition’s new taskforce on children and families, which aims to improve childhood. Among other issues, the taskforce is set to target ‘irresponsible’ advertising and marketing aimed at children. Clegg said: “...with children being bombarded by targeted advertising, it’s no surprise mums and dads feel under so much pressure to buy them the best trainers or the latest mobile phone. “This government wants to ease the pressure on parents. Not by meddling

in people’s private business, but by giving families the freedom to make the right choices for themselves” Prime Minister, David Cameron, will chair the new taskforce and has often spoken about his wishes to end the premature commercialisation and sexualisation of children, which he believes corporations are encouraging by targeting them with merchandise inappropriate for their age. Alongside Cameron and Clegg, other taskforce members will include Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, Children’s Minister Sarah Teather, science and Universities Minister David Willetts, Public Health Minister Anne Milton and Economic Secretary to the Treasury Justine Greening. Are they right? Email your opinions to ronnie.dungan@intentmedia.co.uk

If you’d like to know how becoming part of the Turner family could have a good impact on you, talk to our team at turnermediainnovations.com

More good stuff from


6

NPD RESEARCH

Retail Sales Trends

Properties

Toy sales slow following Easter holiday surge THE FIRST quarter of 2010 was a strong performance for the traditional toy market, but the last month has seen sales slow. “With Easter at the start of April, the traditional uplift in sales for this holiday straddled two months this year, with the pre-Easter toy sales falling in March and the Easter school holiday toy sales in April,” says Jez Fraser-Hook, director of NPD Group’s toy business, UK. Despite this, the year-to-date value is still positive, up eight per cent verses the same period last year, while volume is relatively static at minus one per cent. Infant and pre-school is still the largest supercategory by value, growing six per cent year-to-date April 2010 and accounting just under £1 in every £5 spent on toys so far this year. The Bright Starts range from Kids II has seen tremendous growth in infant toys and is now the number two property behind Vtech Baby. Licences are starting to make a come back in pre-school toys with the re-launch of both Postman Pat and Fireman Sam toy ranges driving sales. This combined with the continuing growth of Timmy Time suggests resurgence in popularity for traditional animation processes and related items. The dry weather in April also helped outdoor and sports toys, which grew 29 per cent for the month verses 2009. There are now four outdoor toys in the top ten

Sales (value, year to date)

324,500,500

2009

2010

Source: NPD

JULY 2010

Licences have always been important to the toy market and currently account for 27 per cent of total toy sales. Some licences are true evergreens like Thomas and Friends and Star Wars while others

The big summer blockbuster season is seen as an opportunity to drive toy sales with 2010 having a wide range of film licences - everything from Toy Story to Twilight to the new A-Team, has a toy range available. Tikes has also leapt up the property ranking to number three across the total toy market for April with Smart Trike now at number seven. Another strong performer is Nerf, which is now the number three property for outdoor and continuing to grow. Outdoor and sports has always been weather dependent but this is an exceptionally strong start to the season.

drive uplift for a limited time, usually around a major film release. “The big summer blockbuster season is seen as an opportunity to drive toy sales with 2010 having a wide range of film licences – everything from Toy Story to Twilight to the new A-Team, has a toy range available,” comments Fraser-Hook, “It should a very exciting summer for the toy industry.”

Average price

UK Toy Sales

301,042,000

sellers for the month: Smart Trike Plus Girls at number four, Smart Trike Plus Primary Colour at seven, Little Tikes Cozy Coupe at nine and the Cosmic Light Scooter assortment at number ten. Little

8%

April ‘09: £5.50

April ‘10: £6.00

Top 5 properties April 2010 1. BEN 10 2. STAR WARS 3. LITTLE TIKES 4. THOMAS AND FRIENDS 5. LEGO CITY

Best property progression April 2010

SWINGBALL Recent good weather has improved sales of outdoor toys and Swingball has moved up from number 110 to 35…

Best item progression April 2010

Iron Man 2 Wrist Repulsor (Hasbro) Following the launch of the latest in the Iron Man franchise, the toy has rocketed from number 973 in the charts, to number 32…


NPD RESEARCH

www.toynews-online.biz

Retail Sales Trends UK APRIL 2010 (£ SALES - VALUE) 1

ZHU ZHU HAMSTER PACKS ASSORTMENT

2

KIDZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA

UK APRIL 2010 (UNIT SALES - VOLUME) CHARACTER

1

HOT WHEELS BASIC CAR ASSORTMENT

VTECH

2

MATCH ATTAX ENGLAND CARDS

TOPPS

3

STAR WARS REBEL TROOPER & SNOW TROOPER BATTLEPACK LEGO

3

MATCH ATTAX CARDS

TOPPS

4

SMART TRIKE PLUS GIRLS

MOOKIE

4

MATCH ATTAX EXTRA 20

TOPPS

5

BEN 10 ALIEN FORCE 10CM FIGURES

BANDAI

5

TRANSFORMERS MOVIE LEGENDS ASSORTMENT

6

BEN 10 ALIEN FORCE 15CM DNA FIGURES

BANDAI

6

GOGO’S III EXPLORER PACK

7

SMART TRIKE PLUS PRIMARY COLOUR

MOOKIE

7

BEN 10 ALIEN FORCE 10CM FIGURES

8

FIRST STEPS BABYWALKER

VTECH

8

ZHU ZHU HAMSTER PACKS ASSORTMENT

9

LITTLE TIKES COZY COUPE 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

MGA

9

PLAY DOH SINGLE TUB ASSORTMENT

10

COSMIC LIGHT SCOOTER ASSORTMENT

10

CARS CHARACTER ASSORTMENT

H GROSSMAN

UK YEAR TO DATE (£ SALES - VALUE) 1

ZHU ZHU HAMSTER PACKS ASSORTMENT

2

KIDZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA

MATTEL

HASBRO MAGIC BOX BANDAI CHARACTER HASBRO MATTEL

UK YEAR TO DATE (UNIT SALES - VOLUME)

CHARACTER

1

MATCH ATTAX CARDS

VTECH

2

HOT WHEELS BASIC CAR ASSORTMENT

3

STAR WARS REBEL TROOPER & SNOW TROOPER BATTLEPACK LEGO

3

BEN 10 ALIEN FORCE 10CM FIGURES

4

BEN 10 ALIEN FORCE 10CM FIGURES

BANDAI

4

TRANSFORMERS MOVIE LEGENDS ASSORTMENT

5

BEN 10 ALIEN FORCE 15CM DNA FIGURES

6

BAKUGAN STARTER PACK

7 8 9

FIRST STEPS BABYWALKER

10

TRANSFORMERS MOVIE DELUXE FIGURES

BANDAI

5

GOGO S III EXPLORER PACK

SPIN MASTER

6

PLAY DOH SINGLE TUB ASSORTMENT

STAR WARS LUKE’S LANDSPEEDER

LEGO

7

ZHU ZHU HAMSTER PACKS ASSORTMENT

BIONICLE STARS 2010

LEGO

8

CARS CHARACTER ASSORTMENT

VTECH

9

PLASTICINE 8 PACK

10

BAKUGAN BOOSTER PACK

HASBRO

TOPPS MATTEL BANDAI HASBRO MAGIC BOX HASBRO CHARACTER MATTEL FLAIR SPIN MASTER

NOTES: All participating NPD retail data suppliers provide weekly data via EPOS systems. NPD figures are not projected to represent non-participating retailers but provide 100 per cent of the sales from participating stores. EPoS sample includes the following retailers: Amazon, Argos, Asda, Boots, ELC, Firebox, Freemans, Grattan, Hamleys, HMV, Halfords Littlewoods, Mailorderexpress, Modelzone, Mothercare, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Shop Direct, Tesco, Toymaster, The Entertainer and WHSmith. The approximate coverage is of 60%

NPD Eurotoys is the Number 1 information provider for Market Research to the Toy Industry in Europe Contact: NPD Eurotoys UK, Rosemount House, Rosemount Avenue West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 6LB. _ 01 932 355 580

7


8

APPOINTMENTS

INDUSTRY MOVES This month sees a couple of high profile executives departing key licensing companies, while BBC Worldwide ramps up… FROM LEFT: Kate Knight joins Spin Master, while Carla Peyton and Ian Wickham have bolstered BBC Worldwide in the UK and US

Kate Knight (née Todhunter) and Preston Glover have joined the Spin Master team as sales agents. Knight will be taking over the north of England accounts, while Glover will cover Scotland. The new recruits will be offering the full range from Spin Master, including Bakugan, Air Hogs, Tech Deck, Moon Sand and Liv. E1 Entertainment has appointed Olivier Dumont as the new managing director of E1 Kids. Dumont, who will report to E1 Television CEO John Morayniss, will oversee and unite all the commercial and creative activities of E1 Kids’ combined operations including development, production, sales, licensing and merchandising. Dumont was most recently managing director of TV-Loonland, splitting his time between France and the UK, overseeing all creative and commercial activities including sourcing and development of Kids and family entertainment properties. Carla Peyton and Ian Wickham have been recruited to BBC Worldwide’s licensed consumer products division.

Peyton joins as SVP, licensed consumer products, BBC Worldwide Americas, while Wickham becomes head of retail development, licensed consumer products for UK, Ireland and EMEA. Peyton will be based in the company’s New York offices, with Wickham joining the UK team in London. Both roles report directly to Tom Keefer, SVP, global licensed consumer products. The developments are hoped to consolidate the firm’s presence in global licensing and retail markets, and come shortly after the appointment of Bob Traub as SVP of retail development, licensed consumer products for the Americas. The newly structured teams will see Peyton supporting Keefer on the licensing front for the US, Canada, and Latin America, whilst Traub fronts the team’s retail efforts. Within the UK, Keefer will be supported by Richard Hollis, head of UK licensing, who continues to oversee the UK licensing team, with Wickham leading the UK and EMEA retail drive alongside Jackie

Ferguson, licensing manager, EMEA. Keefer will continue to report into Neil Ross Russell, managing director of children’s global brands and licensed consumer products. Andrew Kerr, EVP of international marketing and consumer products at Classic Media, has left the firm to start his own venture, although he will continue to provide non-exclusive consultancy for the firm. Nicole Blake has taken on Kerr’s responsibilities, having been promoted to EVP, global marketing and consumer products. In addition, current London office executives Claire Shaw and Mat Way have also had their responsibilities increased. Shaw’s expanded role as VP, consumer products and retail will see her drive all licensing, retail development and promotional activity for the firm’s brands in the UK. Way, meanwhile, adds international consumer products to his current global live entertainment remit, becoming VP, consumer products and live entertainment international. Peter Byrne is leaving Hit, as the firm restructures its global operations.

The realignment involves the creation of four new divisions that will form two new lines of business – one focusing solely on Thomas and Friends and the other on Hit Global Brands such as Angelina Ballerina, Barney, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, Pingu and Rainbow Magic. The Thomas and Friends line of business will comprise three divisions: the New York-based Thomas Americas headed by Pam Westman (which will focus on North and South America), the Londonbased Thomas EMEA headed by Rick Glankler (which will focus on the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa) and the Hong Kong-based Thomas Asia headed by Antonio Huab (which will focus on Asia, including Australia and Japan). The Global Brands business will be managed from London by Jon Owen as one global division. He will also have local staff based in New York, London and Hong Kong reporting to him. Hit’s finance, legal, HR and IT groups will remain centralised staff units supporting both lines of business.


Š 2010 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

VL]HGRHVPDWWHU


10

CAMPAIGN OF THE MONTH

Mattel Fisher-Price Developmental milestones form the basis of Mattel’s latest marketing campaign for its preschool brand, Fisher-Price… MATTEL HAS LAUNCHED a major FisherPrice marketing push focusing on the developmental milestones. Demonstrating the company’s full breadth of product, from birth right up to pre-school and beyond, as well as expertise in development through play, the campaign takes in sponsorship, print partnerships, in-store and PR. Central to the programme, Fisher-Price has developed a series of milestones icons, representing key developmental stages that will feature throughout the campaign and help parents choose the product that will suit their own little one’s stage.

SPONSORSHIP The recently announced headline sponsorship of The Baby Show provided an opportunity for the company to launch the milestones communications to over 20,000 new and expectant parents, with POS featuring on the

JULY 2010

stand as well as guides distributed at the event. Celebrity mum, Katy Hill, showcased key product relating to milestones on the show stage. The sponsorship continues throughout this year’s events including October’s Baby Show. PRINT AND ONLINE The company has forged links with all major parenting print and online resources to highlight awareness of the campaign. A six-month programme launched recently with leading parenting title, Prima Baby, which follows the progress of four real mums and their children, who are at a range of stages in their development. Each is reviewing product for features both in the magazine, which reaches over 50,000 expectant and new mums and online at babyexpert.com, where a milestones microsite has been created for launch this month. Fisher-Price has also worked with Mother & Baby magazine to create Baby’s First Year Calendar, packed with editorial tips and product recommendations for ages and stages. This will be distributed throughout the year at events and through third party partnerships. In addition, the company has given its print advertising a new look, communicating the

milestones icons clearly. Advertising will feature throughout key parenting and womens’ consumer titles. The company will also carry out activity with mums’ favourite resources Bounty and Emma’s Diary. Online milestones advertising throughout top tier parenting sites will drive awareness and traffic to fisher-price.co.uk for full details of key product for all the ages and stages.

Fisher-Price has developed a series of milestones icons, representing key developmental stages to feature throughout. IN STORE Point of Purchase materials have been developed showcasing the milestones icons, providing mum with clear direction to the ideal product for her baby’s stage. Milestones leaflets featuring product recommendations across the full age range of the company’s portfolio will also be available in-store.


Š 2010 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

SURGXFWVWKDWIO\


12

AIRTIME STATISTICS

Top programmes The top-performing children’s TV shows on terrestrial and multi-channel....

SHOWS ACROSS ALL TIMES YTD MAY 10

SHOWS ACROSS ALL TIMES MAY 10

TIME

TITLE/DESCRIPTION

CHANNEL

OOOs

%

TIME

TITLE/DESCRIPTION

CHANNEL

16:34

THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES

BBC1

215

9.8

2

1

8:59

PHINEAS AND FERB

CITV/GMTV 218

16.9

9

2 9:00

PHINEAS AND FERB

CITV/GMTV 211

16.2

13

3 16:32

SPORT RELIEF DOES WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS CBBC

205

13.5

5

2 8:30

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS

CITV/GMTV 207

16.6

8

3 8:19

HORRID HENRY

CITV/GMTV 198

18.2

3

4 9:29

TRACY BEAKER RETURNS

CBBC

200

13.3

99

4 8:58

MI HIGH

CBBC

185

13.6

6

5 8:19

HORRID HENRY

CITV/GMTV 198

18.2

3

5 7:56

BEN 10

CITV/GMTV 172

15.6

3

6 8:30

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS

CITV/GMTV 187

15.5

16

6 8:34

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD

CITV/GMTV 169

15.9

5

7 7:56

BEN 10

CITV/GMTV 172

15.6

3

7 8:36

TRACY BEAKER RETURNS

CBBC

168

12.7

9

8 17:49

THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES

CBBC

171

10.1

94

8 9:32

MY ALMOST FAMOUS FAMILY

CBBC

166

11.3

6

9 8:29

CHOP SOCKY CHOOKS

CITV/GMTV 169

12.8

8

9 17:16

THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES

CBBC

158

10.9

14

10 8:32

BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE

CITV/GMTV 164

15.1

4

10 8:01

HORRIBLE HISTORIES

CBBC

152

11.8

40

1

AIRINGS

COMMERCIAL MULTICHANNEL SHOWS (ALL TIMES) YTD MAY 10 1

TIME

TITLE/DESCRIPTION

CHANNEL

OOOs

9:00

PHINEAS AND FERB

CITV/GMTV 211

% AIRINGS

COMMERCIAL MULTICHANNEL SHOWS (ALL TIMES) MAY 10

% AIRINGS

16.2

OOOs

13

1

TIME

TITLE/DESCRIPTION

CHANNEL

OOOs

%

AIRINGS

8:59

PHINEAS AND FERB

CITV/GMTV 218

16.9

9

2 8:19

HORRID HENRY

CITV/GMTV 198

18.2

3

2 8:30

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS

CITV/GMTV 207

16.6

8

3 8:30

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS

CITV/GMTV 187

15.5

16

3 8:19

HORRID HENRY

CITV/GMTV 198

18.2

3

4 7:56

BEN 10

CITV/GMTV 172

15.6

3

4 7:56

BEN 10

CITV/GMTV 172

15.6

3

5 8:29

CHOP SOCKY CHOOKS

CITV/GMTV 169

12.8

8

5 8:34

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD

CITV/GMTV 169

15.9

5

6 8:32

BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE

CITV/GMTV 164

15.1

4

6 9:01

AARON STONE

CITV/GMTV 148

10.7

3

7 9:01

AARON STONE

CITV/GMTV 164

11.9

4

7 8:10

SHAGGY AND SCOOBY DOO GET A CLUE CITV/GMTV 128

14.6

3

8 18:24

SUITE LIFE ON DECK: LOST AT SEA

DISNEY CH 162

7.8

5

8 7:56

FIFI AND THE FLOWERTOTS

FIVE

122

9.5

20

9 9:00

POWER RANGERS RPM

CITV/GMTV 161

11.5

21

9 7:41

MAKE WAY FOR NODDY

FIVE

112

9.4

20

10 8:29

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD

CITV/GMTV 159

14.1

13

10 7:00

PEPPA PIG

FIVE

103

11.2

59

SOURCE: INFOSYS/BARB.

JULY 2010

NOTE: THESE CHARTS ARE BASED ON AVERAGE PERFORMANCE


© 2010 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

VRPHWLPHVWKLQJV MXVWFOLFN


14

TALKING POINT SOCIAL NETWORKING

Toy Twitterati The internet is continuously evolving and as social networking sites grow in popularity, companies are starting to explore marketing opportunities across these spaces. Katie Roberts speaks to toy suppliers to find out if and how they are getting involved… TWITTER, FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE, blogs and many other sites have now become a daily part of most of our lives. There is, undoubtedly, much more development to come, but most sectors of society are now linked to social networking in some form or another. Once it became clear that consumers were using this form of communication in their daily lives, big businesses soon realised it may be a valuable means for them to target the public and begin to converse with them. Among the first in the toy industry to dip their toes in the water were the larger, multinational firms and often, it was the US offices that started the ball rolling. This was the case with both Hasbro and Mattel. A Hasbro spokesman explained: “Consumers are increasingly gravitating to various forms of social media. These platforms offer new channels for our company and our brands to speak to and directly with our consumers.” One of the biggest advantages of Facebook et al, is the interactivity the sites open up. Many of the medium and small toy companies have realised this and are now following the big companies’ leads and realising the potential of this communication. Almot Mustapha, marketing assistant at Wow Toys, says: “Social networking is a good way to establish our consumer base and to interact with our consumers directly. The main advantage is that we can find out first hand what our consumers think of products (good or bad) and also gather ideas for future development.” Marketing also helps to create general brand awareness, as PR and marketing manager at John Crane, Helen Davis says: “We want to brand build. It is general awareness primarily, but we use it [social networking] as one of our many tools to make John Crane a household name.” JULY 2010

Unlike traditional forms of media, Twitter and similar services have a wide ranging audience, so companies are able to reach the trade and consumers of a wide geographical and age spread. Sue Barratt, country manager of Meccano UK comments: “Social media allows us to engage with a variety of audiences from parents and children to enthusiasts and retailers. The beauty of Twitter is that it can

for toys, children themselves, is the one sector that aren’t reached particularly effectively through social networking at present. Gemma Smith, head of digital at Kids Industries, says: “When we talk about toys, we tend to think of the children as being of, broadly speaking, primary school age. And these children are not as engaged with the world of social media as the Daily Mail would like us to think.

Social networking is a good way to establish our consumer base and to interact with our consumers directly We can find out first hand what our consumers think of products. Almot Mustapha, Wow Toys be used as a communication platform for any audience. “For example, it’s a great way of connecting the Meccano brand to the growing army of mummy bloggers online. More and more journalists are also using social media as a research tool or even as a communication platform.” Despite the wide range of users, perhaps the most obvious audience

“Sure they go to Club Penguin and Moshi’s but that isn’t what this is about. Can you reach children through these media right now? Not really. In the very near future, as the models continue to evolve, then maybe. But today the social media sites the children flock to tend not to use an advertising model.” Instead, most toy companies are using social networking to target

parents. Lucy Wynn Jones, marketing manager for Worlds Apart offers: “Due to the profile of our brand, we are strictly targeting parents and other adult opinion formers.” Davis agrees: “Our toys are bought by parents, grandparents and general gift givers – we keep this in mind when planning social media.” A number of toy suppliers have also found social networking a useful means of reaching more niche audiences and adult fans of games and toys. Esdevium Games is an example of this and uses social media in marketing Dungeons and Dragons. Charles Ryan, marketing manager explains: “D&D is a very social, community-oriented, fan-based brand and social media is an effective means of reaching brand loyalists and thought leaders within the consumer community. “Official and fan-created internet forums have been an important tool for reaching fans for years, but Facebook and Twitter have become equally important over the past 12 to 24 months, both globally and specifically within the UK.” Once the target audience for the social networking marketing has been decided, there are many different ways to utilise the sites and a range of uses for this media. The immediacy of Twitter and Facebook allows companies to update their followers on news and new product releases as and when they happen. Gift and gadget retailer Firebox has found social networking an effective way to market its company. Alice Venning, marketing assistant, comments: “The use of social media makes it brilliantly simple for them [customers] to share cool new products, sneak previews, blog posts, discounts and silly goings-on with friends.” Firebox also sounds out its customers using the sites. Venning continues: “We asked customers on


TALKING POINT SOCIAL NETWORKING

www.toynews-online.biz

Twitter if they would like to see Baconnaise on the site, in the knowledge that their votes could make it happen.” VTech is planning a different kind of social networking campaign to build awareness of their revolutionary new product launch, Storio. The campaign is centred on a new Facebook group – a generic, nonbranded page to encourage kids to read, helping to build a community of people with reading as an interest. Once this has been established, phase two will be to communicate key messages about how Storio can help with reading, along with competitions and promotions. Smith believes Facebook, Twitter etc can be used to generate hype. She says: “Mums are very good at stirring each other up into a frenzy about something.” Other activity includes the delivery of trade news. Davis explains: “There are pages on the blog to announce new stock arrivals, new launches etc, so retailers can use it for information, we will run teasers aimed at retailers too as the site progresses toward the toy fairs in January/February.” Taking the use of such sites a step further, Disney recently announced it would be using its Facebook page to sell advance tickets for Toy Story 3 social networking as a retail outlet. Despite its many advantages, however, there are risks associated with social networking marketing. Rachel Griffin, senior communications manager, Spin Master, offers: “I think some companies are a bit wary of using social networking because the internet is completely open. You can never be 100 per cent sure who you

are speaking to and cannot control what others say about your brands.” Layla Sefat, marketing executive at Re:creation agrees with this note of caution: “The main risk of social networking would be having negative comments about the brand spread over the internet which is a big

tone right – appearing too focused on pitching your products or being too corporate rather than listening to customers and providing value (and fun content in Firebox’s case) can result in people turning away.” Ryan agrees: “Social media is a form of conversation. It won’t work –

Social media is a form of conversation. It won’t work and can even backfire - if you simply use it to ‘talk’ at your consumers. You need to devote some time and attention to becoming part of their community Charles Ryan, Esdevium Games deterrent for companies to use this marketing tool.” The way you speak to other users can also be a hazard. Venning explains: “It’s important to get the

and can even backfire – if you simply use it to ‘talk at’ your consumers. You need to devote some time and attention to becoming part of their community.”

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There is also a sense that many don’t fully understand the platform and as such, are wary of getting involved. Mustapha comments: “Times are constantly changing and with this companies must also grow and change to keep up.” Wynn Jones explains: “Like all things that we are not used to, it takes a while to get up to speed. Anyone undertaking a social networking campaign should understand that it’s important that the communications are genuine, and its being operated by people who really understand the products and the strategy.” The benefits appear to be enough to convince many to incorporate social networking into their marketing mix, but it’s unlikely to ever overtake traditional marketing methods. Griffin concurs: “Social networking is a great tool and adds tremendous support to traditional marketing. In my opinion, there is space for both.” Overall, though, the jury is out on the effectiveness of this method of marketing tool. Many in the toy industry are yet to experiment with social networking. Others have used it to huge advantage and there are some who believe the opportunity has already passed. Smith concludes: “It might have had a window of opportunity six months to a year ago, but now that is closed. No matter how subtle a plant your online PR agency tells you it has made, the fact is, mums still, more often than not, smell a rat.” The fact is that with over 400m users on Facebook and over 100m registered to tweet, social networking can’t and won’t be ignored. JULY 2010


16

EVENTS ARGOS OPEN DAY

Open minded The buying team at Argos met with suppliers and inventors in Milton Keynes at its first-ever open day event. Ronnie Dungan went along to see what suppliers and buyers thought of the proceedings... WHEN ARGOS OPENED its doors to suppliers and inventors, it created a flood of interest from those firms who previously had either limited or no success in communicating with the retailer. Which, of course, was the whole point. The chance to present to the firm’s buying teams, with a guaranteed 15 minutes is a golden opportunity for inventors or firms of a certain size looking to become a lot bigger. But did the reality match the expectation? And did Argos itself obtain enough quality and innovation to make the exercise worthwhile or did it merely allow some of the more ‘ambitious’ product designers past the drawbridge? Initial feedback suggests Argos is already eyeing a repeat next year, possibly two, and may even adopt the concept for other product areas. Suppliers too, were happy with what they got. Great Gizmos’ Ian Dayus, says: “I thought it was very well run. It was a very good experience for us to sit down with the buying team and get to know them a little, get their reactions to our products, which were very positive indeed. “I think that Argos would have had a great day with all these different toy suppliers coming along to see them. They will now take on many new suppliers which will help them in the direction that they wish to take in the future. Paul Jackson, MD of The In-Thing adds: “I thought the event was excellent. Informal enough for maybe the slightly smaller, less experienced companies to not feel too nervous, but with four or five people in each buying group/table, there was certainly enough experience present to make the meetings productive and worthwhile from a feedback point of view.” Will Sharman from MAPPS Toys says interaction with other suppliers and inventors should be encouraged. “I thought the whole thing was organised really well. Obviously I JULY 2010

As an event, it was a winner. Without a doubt, Argos will benefit, but so too will a number of people in my shoes – some of whom will have their lives positively transformed as a result. It’d be great if other big players did something similar.

would have liked more time. To present five products in 12 minutes was a bit like speed dating. It would also been good to have more time for networking with other toy companies, inventors and so on. But all-in-all very pleased I attended.” Pete Seager, MD of Seager Games comments: “All the people there were extremely pleasant and although each time slot was strictly limited to 15 minutes, everyone I met certainly helped me (and others) feel relaxed and comfortable. “As an event, it was a winner. Without a doubt, Argos will benefit, but so too will a number of people in my shoes – some of whom will have their lives positively transformed as a result. It would be great if some of the other big players in the industry did something similar.” Indeed, suppliers holding similar open days for inventors or other retailers following suit would certainly make a change from the needlessly secretive culture of some players in the market. From Argos’ point of view it is as much about increasing the size of its Chad Valley range, which it acquired from Woolworths, as it is about products for the catalogue. Trading manager Ian Chaplin says: “We’ve probably seen more good products than we expected. It has been a real learning curve for us too. We didn’t know what to expect but we didn’t expect every product to be great. That said, we have had very few quirky ideas and most of the ones we have seen, have been very marketable.” With little or no negative feedback on the event, it seems a dead cert to return next year, or possibly even sooner.


The UK’s only dedicated monthly licensing coverage

News • Media • Opinion

The Vegas years While 2009 was a solid start, it was this year that the licensing industry finally seemed to accept Las Vegas as the new home for its flagship trade show. We run through some of the key news announcements from Licensing International, as well as offering our own views on the event...


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LICENSINGVEGAS NEWS SPECIAL

COMMENT A NEW EMPIRE STATE OF MIND WHISPER IT, but – according to a number of industry execs – the buzz on the show floor at last month’s Licensing International in Las Vegas was almost on a par with New York. The first evidence that Vegas is finally being accepted as the new home of our industry’s biggest trade show? Such is Advanstar’s belief in the Mandalay Bay as the new home for the show, it had confirmed the dates for 2011 even before June’s gathering had kicked off. And its unwavering faith has been rewarded. While 2009’s event was a good start, this year’s show had a better atmosphere, busier aisles, more vibrant stands and a proper business-focus. Some of the major movie studios went all out with their licensee presentations, with many citing Fox’s flashmob of dancers bringing Glee to life or the execs from Warner Brothers reshooting a sequence from The Hangover to open their session as highlights. Of course, there were still some issues; no trade show is ever going to please all of the people all of the time.

The quietness of day three must’ve given Advanstar UK cause for concern especially after the recent BLE news. The signage, although much improved, was still slightly confusing, while the later opening time of 10am caused some grumbles. However, it was the quietness of day three which was the main issue for exhibitors. And something which must have given Advanstar’s London team cause for certain, considering they’ve just made the leap to take Brand Licensing Europe to three days. Without knowing the official attendee figures for the Thursday, it’s difficult to speculate as to why it was so lacklustre. It could have been because the majority of European visitors had flown in on the Saturday to get a good rate on flights, so chose to travel home on the third day having done all of their business. But, as one UK agent said, it’s not good to see people packing up their stands as early as 2pm on the last day as it had a domino effect. It may have been quieter, but people still wanted to do business. But knowing the guys at Advanstar UK, they will already be thinking of ways to make sure this doesn’t happen in September. Samantha Loveday Samantha.Loveday@intentmedia.co.uk JULY 2010

Discovery reveals newlook licensing push Expedition and Adventure brands unveiled • Kids programme also invigorated • Animal Planet lines launching later this year... by Samantha Loveday DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS took the wraps off two extensions to its core Discovery Channel brand at Licensing International. Expedition and Adventure will form a new two-pronged strategy targeting men and children. The Expedition licensing programme will take the elements of adventure and exploration and apply them to products including outdoor and lifestyle apparel, accessories and electronics. The first licensees will be announced later this year. Discovery Adventures, meanwhile, will offer travel experiences to bring Discovery to life beyond the TV screen. On top of this, the kids licensing programme will be invigorated, with a focus on Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Master licences for plush and publishing have already been signed for Animal Planet, with lines launching across key international territories this year, supported by TV advertising. The Discovery Channel programme will focus on the likes of spy kits and science, outdoor and role play.

“Discovery is synonymous with exploration, knowledge and adventure,” commented Nicolas Bonard, senior vice presiden of Discovery Enterprises (above). “In keeping with this mission, we are launching a new international brand strategy that leverages the core Discovery DNA to create compelling consumer products and experiences. Our new high quality product lines will invite consumers to immerse themselves into the wonders of the real world.” Discovery: 020 8811 4351

In the Night Garden hits the US by Katie Roberts HIT PRE-SCHOOL show In The Night Garden will make its US debut on The Hub in October. BBC Worldwide and Ragdoll Productions closed the deal for all 100 30-minute episodes with the Discovery/Hasbro multiplatform joint venture last month, meaning the show will be part of The Hub’s inaugural line-up. Neil Ross Russell, MD of children’s global brands and licensed consumer products at BBCW, said: “In the Night Garden has enchanted pre-schoolers and their families across the world with its endearing characters and beautiful, vivid settings and imagery – all filmed in high definition. “We’re thrilled to be part of The Hub’s inaugural line-up and for US audiences to experience In the Night Garden.”

The show has sold over one million DVDs, 2.5 million books and 4.4 million plush toys in the UK alone. BBC Worldwide: 020 8433 2000


LICENSINGVEGAS NEWS SPECIAL

www.licensing.biz

Restructure for Fox L&M Busy firm also reveals further plans for The Simpsons, Avatar and family brands... by Samantha Loveday 20TH CENTURY FOX enjoyed a busy week at Licensing International, unveiling a restructure of its licensing and merchandising division, as well as plans for some of its key brands. EVP Robert Marick revealed the new-look Fox Consumer Products, which will focus on global brand plans and international sales growth, with a number of top level staff joining. Heading the global brand management team will be Pam Kunick-Cohen (who arrives from Hit), while former Mattel man Ricardo Crespo is SVP of global creative. The global category management team is made up of Gary Rosenfeld, SVP new media; Lora Cohn, VP toys and social expressions; and Virginia King, VP fashion and home. Teams have also been developed to cover four regions: North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific and Latin America.

“Fox properties have huge consumer appeal and, with the new strategy in place, we are confident that we can take the business to new levels,” explained Marick. Further details were also revealed on the Avatar drive, which now boasts over 125 licensed products across toys, apparel, publishing and video games. New partners include Rubie’s, Mega Brands and Trends International among others. Meanwhile, The Simpsons programme continues to go from strength to strength following the introduction of the new style guide and packaging. The brand now has more than 400 licensees, with worldwide retail sales surpassing $8 billion. Going forward, Fox is also planning to build up the programmes for Rio, Ice Age, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Alvin and the Chipmunks. Fox: 020 7437 7766

“CNE and Spin Master share the same values and have an aligned commitment to partnership, innovation and execution,” said Adam Beder, SVP global licensing and business affairs at Spin Master.

IN BRIEF 2010 X FACTOR LICENSING PUSH GETS UNDERWAY FremantleMedia Enterprises has revealed a raft of new deals for The X Factor in the UK. Nine new licensees have come on board including Blues, Fashion Lab, Danilo and Factory Entertainment among others. In addition, existing partners Aykroyds, HTI, Brand International and Clarity Vision are all extending their relationships with FME. FME: 020 7691 6000

MATTEL UNVEILS MONSTER HIGH FRANCHISE Mattel used Licensing International to unveil its new girls brand Monster High, which it will roll out across a number of categories simultaneously. The firm already has apparel and footwear deals, plus health and beauty collections, active lifestyle products and toys. Mattel: 01628 500000

MEGA BRANDS SIGNS HENSON DEAL

MARICK: Confident in new structure

Spin Master bags CN as licensing agent CARTOON NETWORK Enterprises has become the global licensing agent for Spin Master. Having already worked together on the Bakugan brand, the two companies will look to build on their relationship, with the deal giving CNE exclusive rights to create a wide range of consumer products for Spin Master’s portfolio. Three brands will take the initial focus – fashion doll property Liv, plush collectibles Zoobles and replica skateboards Tech Deck.

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“This, combined with the success we have shared since launching Bakugan in 2008, is the perfect segue into a long-standing alliance to further develop Spin Master’s core brands into consumer product.” CNE’s SVP Christina Miller added: “We view this as a great opportunity to both increase our leadership position in the boys marketplace with brands like Tech Deck, as well as increase our involvement in the girls’ space with Liv and Zoobles.” Spin Master: 01628 535000

Mega Brands has picked up the construction toy rights to Jim Henson’s new Dinosaur Train property. The range will launch in the US in spring 2011 and worldwide in the autumn. Mega Brands: 01844 350033

NEW SHOPPING CENTRE TOUR FOR NICKELODEON Nickelodeon is partnering with Capital Shopping Centres Group for a new tour featuring Spongebob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer throughout July and August. The initiative will take in seven venues, including Lakeside and Manchester’s Arndale centre. NCP: 020 7462 1000

PENGUIN JOINS CHAPMAN’S RAH RAH LINE-UP A five-year contract has been inked between Chapman and Penguin, seeing the firm become master publishing partner for new property Rah Rah. Chapman: 0870 403 0556

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JULY 2010


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LICENSINGNEWS

IN BRIEF

Busy Aardman outlines plans

ZINGZILLAS WIN FOR PYRAMID INTERNATIONAL

Digital team boosted • Timmy Time hits 1,000th transmission • New W&G show nears

Poster specialist Pyramid has joined the growing licensing drive for BBCW’s ZingZillas. Its first designs will be arriving in the autumn, with a second design, 3D poster pack and accessory pack being unveiled at Spring Fair 2011. Pyramid: 0116 264 2642

WBCP RENEWS WITH RUBIES Warner Bros Consumer Products has renewed its partnership with Rubie’s for dress-up and costumes for a number of its brands. The firm will be working on Harry Potter, Looney Tunes and Scooby-Doo, among others. Rubie’s: 0800 169 1736

CPLG SWINGS IN FOR DQE’S JUNGLE BOOK DQ Entertainment has secured the services of CPLG for the next three years to boost the licensing and merchandising for its new 3D animation, The Jungle Book. The agency will be looking after the property across the UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Japan. CPLG: 020 8563 6400

MATTEL GROWS DC COMICS MASTER TOY DEAL Mattel has extended its existing master toy licensing deal with Batman owner DC. The firm has been granted ‘unprecedented access’ to DC’s archive of characters, producing a line of items to tie in with next summer’s Green Lantern movie. Mattel: 01628 500000

THUNDERCATS ROARS BACK Warner Bros has appointed Bandai as global master toy for the new look animated series of Thundercats, as well as the rights to the classic 1980s show. The new series is currently in production at Warner Bros Animation and will air on Cartoon Network in 2011. Bandai: 08456 028782

LEGO TIES WITH LADYBIRD Ladybird Books is to create a range of publications to tie in with Lego’s Atlantis brand. Activity books and annuals will be included in the range, which launches this month. Lego: 01753 495000

FLASHDANCE BARBIE UNVEILED IN VEGAS Mattel has teamed up with Paramount to launch a special Flashdance Barbie doll, with a limited edition initial run of 3,100. The doll will be available from this month to collectors.

JULY 2010

by Samantha Loveday AARDMAN is pushing on with multi-platform opportunities to help grow its brands even further, while its digital team is also going from strength to strength. The firm recently held a property showcase at the Arnolfini in Bristol, where it outlined plans for brands including Timmy Time, Shaun the Sheep, Morph and Wallace & Gromit, as well as giving some sneak peeks of upcoming movies. The multi-platform theme ran through all of the presentations, with Aardman saying that exhibitions and live events were a key growth area. Meanwhile its digital team has more than doubled its staff from seven to 15 in the past six months, due to several large commissions and new business wins. Key property messages included Timmy Time reaching its 1,000th transmission, with post production almost complete on the first 52 episodes and 26 brand new ones

A World of Invention pencilled in to air in the autumn. Elsewhere, more live events are due to be announced for Shaun the Sheep in 2011 and 2012, while its online presence continues to grow – the property now has over 221,000 Facebook fans and 150,000 visitors to its website each month, while the latest online game (Home Sheep Home) has had 25 million plays in its first three months. In addition, more than 3.2 million DVDs have been sold to date since the show launched in late 2007. Aardman: 0117 984 8900

going into production later in the year. Aardman Digital has also just launched a new game on the Timmy Time website to support its promotion with Fairy. More product launches for Wallace & Gromit are due at the end of the year – including a Wallace & Gromit Haynes manual – with new TV series

Pattni already eyeing expansion A4T adds Spongebob THE INITIAL wave of its football action figures launches later this year, but already Pattni Imaginations is eyeing up other sports and, potentially, entertainment categories to expand the business into. The fledgling firm has signed up Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool for its fully pose-able line, and is building up for a big launch for series two in October 2011. Interest from retailers has been strong, with a lot coming from stores outside of the traditional toy business. However, MD Mattyu Pattni is keen not to box the firm into offering just one type of product. “I think there are multiple sporting opportunities worth exploring,” he told ToyNews. “What interests me is the fact that certain sports seem capable of maintaining, and growing, the level of excitement surrounding them, which leads to an ever expanding fan base. “I also think it’s vital for the company to expand beyond football and other sports and tap into the

phenomenal following of popular film, TV shows, musicians and so forth.” However, the focus for the nearterm is on growing the original product line and making sure partnerships are formed with retailers and distributors to reach the end consumer. “I’d be ecstatic if in five years our original product line had grown into something phenomenal, featuring all of football’s premiere clubs and players,” Pattni continued. Pattni Imaginations: 0116 241 8811

VIDEO GAMES accessories firm A4T has sealed a three-year deal for Spongebob Squarepants in the UK and Eire with Nickelodeon. Launching this month will be a range of products incorporating glow in the dark features and quirky styling. These will include a Spongebob shaped backpack (for use with all handheld consoles), a Glo Travel Pack (for DS Lite, Dsi and DSXL) and a travel case (DS Lite and Dsi). Spongebob joins fellow Nickelodeon character licences Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go and iCarly in A4T’s portfolio. A4T: 01204 369235


Great Gizmos Limited Tel: 01293 543221 Fax: 01293 543217 orders@greatgizmos.co.uk enquiries@greatgizmos.co.uk


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SECTOR GUIDE DRESS-UP & HALLOWEEN

Blessings in disguise The kids’ dress-up market continues to thrive on the back of licensed brands. Halloween is one of the key periods for suppliers in this sector with dress-up and associated products. ToyNews finds out what is on offer this year… FIESTA CRAFTS

Fiesta Crafts has a selection of Witches, Wizard and Monsters that will also provide lots of play value after Halloween has been and gone. With Witch, Wizard and Monster finger and hand puppets, kids can get creative inventing their own.

CESAR

020 8804 0563

Top Nob pencils retail at just £1.75 and include Witch, Wizard and Vampire characters. With loads more characters in both the Tellatale and Top Nob Pencil lines, the products are suitable for yearround sales.

RUBIE’S

0800 169 1736

For over 50 years, Rubie’s has been supplying costumes and accessories for all ages and sizes, with 20 affiliate companies worldwide, employing over 2,000 people and selling over 10,000 products. Rubie’s UK, now in its 14th year of trading, is continuing to grow, with a recent further expansion of its warehousing facility in Liverpool, two showrooms, dedicated UK design and development team and a strong distribution base. The portfolio includes a range of licensed properties such as Batman, Harry Potter, Star Wars Clone Wars, Toy Story, Disney Princess, Michael Jackson, Transformers and many more.

Rubie’s continues to add strength to its licensed catalogue with signings including Gormiti, Avatar, Clash of the Titans, Green Hornet, Disney’s Rapunzel, Tron, Jonah Hex, St. Trinian’s and pop star of the moment, Lady Gaga. Rubie’s is also hoping that its recent European partnership with Disney will help to bring its girls range up to the strength of the boys’ portfolio, with brands such as Disney Princess and Disney Fairies. The company is about to launch its 2010 additions catalogue. It includes new lines such as Harry Potter, Gormiti, Toy Story 3, Tron, Michael Jackson, Green Hornet and St. Trinian’s among others.

01733 397400 Cesar UK’s portfolio of children’s costumes includes some of the strongest licensed characters currently available. The children’s Marvel range has been updated with some new styles from the Iron Man II armoury. The range includes costumes at all price points, allowing children to armour up and become a superhero. Also in the Marvel collection is Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America and Hulk who all feature in Marvel’s brand new Superhero Squad – a stylised cartoon brand aimed at younger children, just launched on Nicktoons. With Ben 10 continuing to dominate the boy’s market, the 2010 range has again been extended to include more costumes based on his alien counterparts. Following the 50th anniversary last year, the Barbie brand continues to grow. New products for 2010 include a pink Ballerina dress featuring iconic Barbie symbols, a ball gown with a matching doll’s dress for Barbie herself and a Barbie styled Pet Doctor with accessories. All followed later in the year by a dress based on the next entertainment property; A Fashion Fairytale. New for 2010, the Bakugan dress-up range includes a great value outfit based on the lead character Dan, including a jumpsuit with attached belt, fingerless gloves, cardholder and Bakugan spheres pouch. Also available is a deluxe duo set featuring Dan and his battle brawler Drago. Also new, the Super Why dress-up range includes a muscle costume based on Super Why, and a ball gown style dress complete with tiara and wand, based on Princess Presto, who helps children write letters to spell words and makes objects magically appear.

JULY 2010


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BANDAI

August sees the launch of Armouron from Bandai. Unique to the boys category, this futuristic looking lightweight suit of armour combines construction with role-play, allowing children to attach pieces together using ‘Snapperons’ to create their own armour. Armouron is the brainchild of Sue Lipscombe, an animation set designer and mother of two young boys. After an unsuccessful mission to find a knight’s costume for her son,

SECTOR GUIDE DRESS-UP & HALLOWEEN 08456 028782

Lipscombe came up with the idea of constructing a futuristic, lightweight suit of armour that children could easily build and customise themselves for an individual look. Accessory packs allow children to customise their Armouron suits further. Four SKUs will be available by the end of the year. The launch will be supported by an extensive marketing campaign including TV advertising, consumer print advertising, PR and online activity.

GREAT GIZMOS Great Pretenders is an award-winning line of children’s costumes and accessories including a wide selection of fairy costumes and accessories for girls such as flower garland head-dresses, glittery wings and jewelled wands, as well as ladybirds, bumble bees and medieval queens costumes. Alternatively, the range of costumes for boys includes pirates, superheroes

RAINBOW PRODUCTIONS

FLAIR Creepy Crawlers from Flair has all the nuts and bolts to create bugs and fill them with guts and then experiment by dissecting, mincing or squashing them. The Creepy Crawlers Bug Maker is a multi-functional insect creator, which allows kids to see their creepy creations being hatched. It includes the interactive bug maker, three bug moulds, three accessory tools, eggs, bug guts and goo.

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0208 643 0320 Once made, they can be filled with goo, stuck to walls and then squashed. The Creepy Crawlers Smasher and Grinder Set, allows kids to squash and destroy their Creepy Crawler creations and then re-use the compound in the Bug Maker. Extending the play further, Mould and Bug Refill sets are available. Creepy Crawlers will be launched in summer with a TV and PR campaign.

Rainbow Productions is commissioned throughout the year to design and create promotional costume characters. Custom-made costumes are created at the company’s purpose-built studio in south London and these costumes are used by clients in many sectors at events throughout the year – including seasonal activities at key times such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter. The werewolf (pictured) was brought to life on behalf of a European leisure park specifically for use at an annual Halloween Monster Festival. A key element of the werewolf design and manufacture brief was to ensure the costume worn by the performer was realistic and scary. This isn’t a typical

01293 543221 and knights among others – there is even an entire Captain Hook outfit. As part of the collection, capes and headgear pieces are also available, some of which are reversible offering two sides to the role-play scenario, such as the Knight/Dragon cape, which can be worn as both friend and foe. Other accessories include shields, swords and much more to add authenticity.

020 8254 5300

brief, given that the majority of costumes created by Rainbow Productions are either an embodiment of a company or campaign logo or are designed to appeal to children and families. In addition to creating bespoke costume characters, another service offered by Rainbow Productions is managing the personal appearances of over 90 cartoon characters, from a portfolio of licensed characters. Clients can book personal appearances at Halloween events, exclusively through Rainbow Productions. Included in the company’s licensed character portfolio are Peppa Pig, Angelina Ballerina, Postman Pat and Jess the Cat and Scooby Doo.

JULY 2010


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SECTOR GUIDE DRESS-UP & HALLOWEEN

HTI

With an extensive collection of everyday toy ranges, HTI’s Razzle Dazzle and My Princess collections include many glam and glitzy sets and accessories for girls. Girls can transform into a glamour Princess with tiara, magic wand and jewellery. There are also sparkly cowgirl hats, hair accessories, fairy wings, princess shoes and feather boas. HTI’s everyday boys’ ranges also offer several costume sets and accessories

MGA ENTERTAINMENT 0844 561 1899 MGA is planning a new range of creepy-crawlies this autumn, with its Legend of Nara collection. Aimed at boys aged six and over, the line is based on a compelling story of four tribes that once shared Planet Nara’s Narian valley, before descending into war with each other. The introductory range will be bug themed including spiders, tarantulas, cockroaches and earwigs. The bugs clip onto batterypowered chassis making them scuttle around and allowing kids to interchange bodies. The chassis also have a hook so bugs can be led into battle on a leash. The Legend of Nara basic pack will come with one bug body and one motorised chassis, while the twopack will contain two of each. A free standing display unit containing 120 pieces with a mixture between basic packs and two-packs will be available for in-store usage from August. MGA will also release a play-set with interlocking parts, allowing boys to build their own battle arena. The range will be supported by TV, PR and social media campaigns, while its collectability will be enhanced by further waved product releases.

JULY 2010

01253 778888

for classic dress-up play. Boys can dress-up as pirates with a set that includes a skull and crossbones headscarf, cape, eye patch, earring and hook. There’s also a wide range of accessories and weaponry to help bring pirates adventures to life. The Western Rider range contains everything necessary for cowboy role-play including a Stetson, fringed waistcoat, sheriff badge and neck scarf.

SMIFFY’S

DKL

Suitable from the age of three under supervision or five without, Hama kits enable children to express their creativity, while improving their manual dexterity and concentration skills. Hama also has some sets especially for Halloween. The UFO Glowing Mobile kit comes with 1,200 glow-inthe-dark beads as well as three shaped pegboards. Scary and spooky designs can be created including

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spaceships, rockets, planets and aliens. The designs can then be attached to make a hanging mobile. Each individual design can also be stuck on the ceiling so children can look up at them when they are in bed. Another Halloween set is the Night Life gift set. This contains 2,000 glowin-the-dark beads and enables children to create designs such as butterflies and flowers that will glow in the dark.

0800 590 599 Smiffy’s has launched over 400 new lines in its 2010 Halloween catalogue. Last year was a record year for the company in Halloween pre-orders and total sales, but at the time of publishing, the firm’s forward placed Halloween orders were up 91 per cent on the same period last year. Research carried out by Smiffy’s showed that the fancy dress market wanted gore and originality in the designs of Halloween costumes for both adults and children. They wanted something new and original to complement the typical best-sellers. As a result, the company’s new adult Halloween themes, such as High School Horror, Cirque Sinister, Zombie Alley, Gothic Manor and Hell’s Kitchen, have been well received. Meanwhile, Smiffy’s has seen record pre-orders for children’s Halloween costumes in 2010 and has had a strong response to its new range of Teen Halloween costumes. Pre-orders have been pretty well spread over the Halloween range, particularly the new styles and specifically, there has been high numbers of orders for the new Adult Glow-in-the-Dark Gothic Manor Graveyard Bones costume, Cirque Sinister’s Scary Bobo The Clown and Hell’s Kitchen Deadly Chef, with the licensed South Park Devil and retro classics Batfink and Count Duckula all selling well too.


Barbie: © 2010 Mattel, Inc.

Ben 10: TM & © 2007 Cartoon Network.

Iron Man: © 2010 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2010 Marvel Entertainment, Inc.

© Spin Master Ltd/Sega Toys, BAKUGAN and BATTLE BRAWLERS: All related titles, logos, and characters are trademarks of Spin Master LTD. All Rights Reserved.

High quality costumes based on the most popular licensed movie and TV characters around!

This is just a small taste of the children’s licenses that we have to offer. Please call us, or ask your agent for further details! For more details, contact our Sales Office on

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SECTOR GUIDE ELECTRONIC LEARNING

www.toynews-online.biz

29

Little brain boxes Despite the toy market’s recent trend toward traditional play, the electronic learning category held its own in 2009, with a number of innovative new ranges recieving strong sales. Vtech and Leapfrog still lead the sector, and 2010 will see the firms placing a greater focus on extending and expanding their existing ranges...

FOR THE 12 months to December 2009, the electronic learning market* sold over four million units, reaching a value of £82.3m (source: NPD Consumer Panel Service). There are two peak age groups of recipients – two to three years for pre-school and six to seven years for older electronic learning – with the older age group the fastest growing group over the last year. The two behemoths of the category are Vtech and Leapfrog, who between them account for 75 per cent of total value of electronic learning, with Vtech the top manufacturer due to a wider number of items available. Licences only account for ten per cent of sales in the category, well below the total market average of 27 per cent with brands taking priority and growing. There have been some strong growing properties in this sector over the last year, with Vtech

There have been some strong growing properties in this sector over the last year, with Vtech Baby still the top property.

Baby still the top property and growing 26 per cent. Vsmile is the number two brand, with Mattel’s Laugh & Learn range at number three and Leapfrog’s Leapster at number four. For Leapfrog the extension of the Tag property with the new Tag Junior has helped drive sales for the range and the launch of the My Pal Scout range has done extremely well with only a small number of skus.

Electronic Learning YTD April 2010 - Ranked by Value 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

(source: NPD)

MY LAPTOP VTECH V.SMILE AND V.SMILE MOTION VTECH LEAPSTER CARTRIDGE ASSORTMENT LEAPFROG V SMILE MOTION TV LEARNING CONSOLE VTECH LITTLE SINGING ALFIE VTECH PEEK A BOO BOOK VTECH MOVE N CRAWL BRIGHT LIGHT BALL VTECH PEPPA PIG FUN PHONICS INSPIRATION WORKS LEAPSTART LEARNING TABLE LEAPFROG FISHER-PRICE LAUGH & LEARN COOKIE SHAPE SURPRISE MATTEL

Electronic learning games and games systems dominate the top sellers list YTD, with V-Smile Motion and Leapster games at number two and three respectively and both growing versus the same period last year. Other top selling items in the category include Vtech’s Little Singing Alfie, LeapFrog’s Scout My Puppy Pal and Inspiration Work’s Peppa Pig Fun Phonics. The total toy market trend toward traditional play has had a limiting impact on certain areas of the category. Electronic learning has always needed innovation to attract attention and sales and this continues, with a greater focus this year on extending and expanding existing ranges. *Electronic Learning market is defined as Infant Electronic Learning, Preschool Electronic Learning and ELA Hardware/Software/Accessories JULY 2010


30

SECTOR GUIDE ELECTRONIC LEARNING

VTECH

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VTech has streamlined its ELA range, which now includes new additions, Progress Laptop, Power Extra, and Challenger Pink, along with favourites such as Advance Xtra and Xtra Pink Notebook. The New Power Xtra Laptop features 120 activities and three learning modes: Discovery, Step-by-Step and Explore and Learn. For ages six and over, the laptop is designed to adjust to individual learning needs and to aid progression up to more advanced activities. The Learn Together feature gives extra guidance and help. The laptop also features an interactive recording studio to practice for spelling tests and record stories. With 80 activities to choose from, focusing on reading, language, maths, science and more, the Progress Laptop is designed for children aged four and over. It includes three different learning modes to make sure all basic learning is achieved before moving on to more challenging tasks. Also features Learn Together. The Pink Challenger Laptop features 40 curriculum based activities to reinforce phonics, maths and vocabulary. Kids can learn core skills in a quiz-show style of game play. Featuring a Progressive Learning System, which cuts study into manageable stages and tracks learning, children can even work with a friend in two-player mode. Other VTech laptop launches include the new Chuggington Traintastic, Disney Princess Magical Laptop and Toy Story 3 Buzz Lightyear Star Command Laptop. Storio is an animated E-Book reader for children. The product is packed with educational activities, featuring touch-screen and interactive animations.

LEAPFROG

Leapfrog is releasing a limited edition Toy Story 3 Leapster2. Along with a new design this limited edition console also comes with a Toy Story 3 game download, which is exclusive to those who buy the console. The new console will cost £39.99. Once the Leapster2 is connected to a computer it automatically updates the website with the game and educational progress made. This allows parents to access the Learning Path, which gives an overview of their children’s learning progress while allowing kids to access new content and rewards. Suitable for children aged two and over, the Leaptop allows personalised play and learning. Designed for children

JULY 2010

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to take their first step into the world of IT, the product allows kids to emulate real laptop use, with features including customised music playlists and personalised emails. My Own Leaptop is priced at around £19.99 and available from July. Parents can customise the Leaptop’s content to increase the play and learning experience for their kids. My Own Leaptop is available in pink and green. With the new Leaptop, parents can personalise emails sent to their child and to their family and friends, while also offering the ability to adapt the content of Scout’s Blog, all of which can be read on the LCD screen for a more realistic laptop experience.

MATTEL

The Cool School from Fisher-Price is designed specifically for the PC and is packed full of features. The pen-shaped mouse, kid-friendly keyboard and digital drawing surface plug directly into the PC via a USB cable. Cool School features activities in five subjects including maths, reading and writing, science, art and music. Reward

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certificates and additional worksheets can also be printed out. The product can be protected with a password to ensure children can’t access other areas of the PC, or get onto the internet and it limits the number of printouts. Cool School will be supported by marketing and PR throughout autumn.


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32

SECTOR GUIDE ELECTRONIC LEARNING

TOMY

Mr Colour Maker teaches kids about colour using electronics so there is no messy paint involved. The interactive toy teaches kids about colours with lights, colours, three modes and 50 sayings. Mr Colour Maker comes with three primary colour pots in blue, red and yellow, which toddlers can hold over Mr Colour Maker and then watch it light up

WORLDS APART

Combining the strength of interactive mats and the Waybuloo licences, Worlds Apart is introducing the Waybuloo Mara Interactive Trail. The trail is a multitalented, battery-operated toy that improves children’s key developmental skills, including numbers and balance. The trail features four interactive audio activities, each with its own button symbolised by one of the Pipling characters, with each Pipling introducing their own game mode. The games get

JULY 2010

020 8722 7300

in the correct colour. The toy is available from June. The mix-a-colour function allows kids to combine and discover how different colours are made. Hold the colours over Mr Colour Maker and it shouts out the right colour. The toy can also be set to Sing the Rainbow mode. Tomy is supporting the product with a TV advertising campaign from September.

0800 389 8591

progressively harder, the further down the trail kids go. The sounds featured encourage kids to engage in different activities, and the trail grows with the child in terms of the gradual increased ability required. There is an auto shut-off after two minutes, plus a physical on/off switch. Worlds Apart will be supporting the Nara Interactive Trail with substantial TV advertising this summer and also in the key Christmas period.

RE:CREATION Chatman is an artificially intelligent PC friend designed to make online chat, web surfing and gaming more creative. Chatman is a moving and talking character with animated LED mouth. It has an intuitive understanding of language, context and mood. Load the software, connect Chatman to a USB port and open a new dimension of activity as Chatman tells you all about what he can do as a toy, online or at www.mychatman.com. It has a range of features: Tell Chatman something and it will tell you how it feels about it; Let Chatman join you in online chats, where it will give its point of view about the conversation; Chatman is compatible with all major IM platforms including Facebook, MSN, Yahoo and AOL. Chatman has three personality options, with over 500 actions and 25 customisable moods. Kids can create new custom personalities by recording their own messages, sounds or chit-

MARTIN YAFFE

Tooltime Bob helps pre-schoolers to learn about Bob’s favourite tools and activities. When a tool is placed in its hand, Tooltime Bob responds by saying what the tool is and how it is used on-site and makes sound effects matching the tool. Interaction with the product can also help to encourage and develop children’s fine motor skills. Load Up Muck can recognise the contents of each of its ten pallets when they are individually placed in its rear bucket. Bob’s voice can also be heard from Muck’s cab, asking for different loads to be added. Muck then confirms

0118 973 6222 chats. Chit-chats can also be shared online and download all new personalities, features and applications at www.mychatman.com. Using the ‘I want to’ function, Chatman will help find and do the things online, including games, research and find images. The character can also remember important dates with a built-in programmable calendar.

01706 717800

if the correct load has been placed in his bucket. Load Up Muck has several play modes, which help kids learn shapes, colours and numbers. Talking Bob calls out phrases about his trusty Machine Team and helps kids turn left, right, up and down. Move Bob’s arms up or down and it will say a phrase relating to that movement. Twist his head to the left or right to hear it call out more movement-related phrases. The toy features 15 movementactivated phrases and extra sounds which can be activated by Bob’s buckle.


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SUPPLIER PROFILE LEAPFROG

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Bull Frog The second half of the year sees a number of big product launches for a confident LeapFrog, including its Leapster Explorer handheld, backed by its biggest-ever marketing campaign. Ronnie Dungan spoke to MD Chris Spalding about its new-found bullishness…

Leapster low-down The Explorer features a sharper, 3.2-inch 420x420-pixel touch screen and improved processing power that allows the device to run video, 3D graphics and Flash-based games. It has a 512MB download capacity. Price: £59.99 Games: £19.99 Leaplet: £9.99

LEAPFROG IS SOMEWHAT unique among toy firms, in that it crosses over into the giddy world of the video games market, albeit at a younger level. And just like the games market is it often subject to the vagaries of product cycles as it seeks to establish another junior gaming platform. This is a year where the firm is on an upward cycle with a number of key products. It has taken a while for it to re-establish itself after the success of LeapPad, but this year it has a number of aces up its sleeve. There’s a definite feelgood factor about the firm right at the moment. MD Chris Spalding is particularly upbeat about the firm’s prospects, with big plans for several key lines, backed with wide-ranging marketing. “We’re having a good year, and we haven’t launched any of our new product yet,” he enthuses. “If you look at the industry over the last 18 months, expectations have been set low. In recessionary times companies do one of two things. They either batten down the hatches or they go out and grab market share. “So we took the decision to go for it. This will be our biggest launch for five or six years.”


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SUPPLIER PROFILE LEAPFROG

The Leaplet IN THIS era of downloadable content, retail can often become a redundant part of the distribution chain to the customer. But it is what consumers expect when they can download music and games so easily these days. Leapfrog’s solution to offering a cutting edge downloadable content facility without bypassing their retail base is the Leaplet. For £9.99 users by a code that they can enter online to obtain the additional content. The launch he refers to is the Leapster Explorer, the latest in its series of handheld console products, which Spalding believes is every bit as good as some of its more grown up cousins such as Nintendo’s DS.

bought LeapFrog products and opted to receive more. It currently stands at around 1.2 million worldwide. “It all goes back to our connected strategy. By the end of the year we will have 350,000 people on our database in the UK and they have all chosen to hear from us. We know the age of the child as well, so we can send them targeted, appropriate information. We’re working hard on that side of things. We’re keen to have people coming back to us. “It’s a huge launch for us and we have a really well thought-through media campaign.” In addition, the firm has established Tag and Tag Junior as the true heirs to LeapPad, with sales up 60 per cent year on year, and there are 12 more books launching this year on Tag Jr to keep the momentum going.

In recessionary times companies do one of two things. They either batten down the hatches or they go out and grab market share. We took the decision to go for it. This will be our biggest launch for five or six years. Chris Spalding, UK MD, LeapFrog It features touchscreen technology, improved graphics, downloadable content and can be used as a games machine, e-book or for watching video content. Software includes a range of well-known licensed titles such as Madagascar Penguins, Ben 10, Toy Story 3, Fairies and Dora the Explorer. An attachable camera will be coming out later in the year. Marketing spend for the product is around the £1m mark. Central to the campaign, indeed central to all current LeapFrog products, is its Learning Path site and the email database that this has helped create which enables to contact parents who have already

My Pal Scout has already sold 140,000 units in the UK and a million worldwide. “Which is phenomenal success at a quiet time for the industry,” comments Spalding. Pricing is also a talking point for the firm this year, as it has looked to bring price-points lower. “We took a conscious decision to be more aggressive on price and packaging. Scout is £19.99 for example, which is great value for

money. We’ve engineered our products smartly to keep the price down. We lowered our margins because we need to encourage people into the brand at a younger age. “If you go on the feedback site our products are nearly always five star. And if we can communicate and keep those customers with us they will stay until they’re eight or nine.” The firm’s online offering continues to evolve and improve and the launch of Leapworld, which is an online universe accessible using the Leapster line, involves children in the brand with trailers and play demos and helps create a dialogue between LeapFrog and its customers. “When they give a game or something a thumbs up on the site, we can then fire off an email to their parents telling them what they like,” explains Spalding. The firm’s commitment to this kind of marketing, marks it out in the toy market, which is slowly starting to grasp the possibilities of online marketing, microsites and other connected methodology. For LeapFrog, it remains as vital as ever to remain a market leader rather than a follower.

Range advertising IT’S NOT just about Leapster Explorer, of course. Sales of Tag are up 60 per cent on last year and the range is up 80 per cent if you add in Tag Jr. Plans for Tag and Tag Jr include a 550 TVR TV campaign, with an additional 337 TVRs from sponsorship of Disney Play House. Online activity again makes use of the LeapFrog email database to reach 900,000 appropriate customers. There’s also another partnership with Netmums with advertorials and sponsorship of its Coffee House chat room. Additional products such as the Scout range featuring My Pal Scout, Goodnight Scout and Twinkle Scout plus the Fridge Phonics and musical toys lines are all backed with print and online advertising including dedicated microsites for Good Night Scout, LeapTop and the firm’s Learning Toys range.

Marketing AN AMBITIOUS £1m Explorer marketing plan includes its biggestever TV campaign and a huge amount of online advertising, in particular utilising the impressive 1.2m people on the LeapFrog worldwide database, which has been built up through customer interaction with its Learning Path registration scheme. TV activity kicks off in August with 30-second and 10-second ad treatments featuring the games. In October sponsorship of Nick Jr begins, with additional online content too, and there is a spot on Toonatik showcasing the Leapster Explorer content. Online activity from July to December includes a partnership with influential parents website, Netmums, which should achieve 20 million page impressions with the brand. Initiatives include ‘Learn something new with Explorer’ advertorial and a Game of the Week. A microsite on the LeapFrog website will offer the chance to win an Explorer every day. In addition, there will be sponsorship of the first Cyber Mummy conference of key parenting bloggers, and banners on GMTV JULY 2010


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PRODUCT PROFILE DRAGONS

41

Enter the Dragons Mega Brands is relaunching its Dragons boys’ collectible this year, backed with a cross-medium marketing campaign and high hopes for genuine collectable volumes. Ronnie Dungan spoke to UK marketing manager Pete Fuller to find out more… DRAGONS IS BACK. Mega Brands’ key boys collectible has been ‘reimagined’ and re-invented and is a pillar part of its 2010 line-up. Key products include the Dragon and Vehicle Assortment, which includes three Alliance Trooper Warriors with edge glow shields, weapons and Speeders (Stallion, Eagle and Falcon), plus three small collectable Predavor Dragons with removable weapons (Ironclaw, Skullcrush and Fleshtear). The Larger Dragon Egg Assortment includes four unique Predavor Dragons, also with removable buildable weapons (Clawripper, Blackheart, Torchwing and Tailspike). Flying vehicles include the Rapid Fire Dragon Fighter, a mediumweight Alliance Hawk armed assault flyer which takes on Bladewing the Predavor dragon. Deluxe Dual-Blast Dragon Hunter, a heavyweight Alliance Condor armed assault flyer, complete with working missile launcher, lights and battle sounds, matches up with Iceblaze. To complete the collection, the super-heavyweight Alliance Battleship Ultimate Action Dragon Destroyer features multiple missile launchers, dual deploying landing gears, which also double up as flight controllers and battle sounds. A marketing campaign will launch Dragons Universe nationally in the second half of 2010 designed to bring a new generation of kids into the Dragons Universe brand. A high profile PR campaign will also be in place to support and maximise the potential of the new range. Competitions in boys comics and magazines will be running throughout the summer months, securing coverage across key press. The PR program will focus on communicating Dragons Universe as a must-have toy for 2010.

This has been the biggest boys’ concept in Mega’s history. It is a classic play pattern that will continue to resonate with boys aged six-plus for years to come. We hope it will form the backbone of our boys’ business.

UK marketing manager Pete Fuller explains why the brand is such a cornerstone of its boys’ business: “Dragons Universe is a Mega Brands intellectual property that forms a key part of the strategic development of ours boys aged five-plus business. An unprecedented amount of research and development has been carried out on this brand which will mean it will become the biggest launch of 2010 for Mega Brands globally. “With Mega’s unique ability to develop a great value toy that combines quick and engaging construction play, ultimately giving boys a cool action toy that they can play with, we feel we are delivering something different and exciting in the boys’ construction category.” Dragons Universe is a fresh launch for 2010 but draws on the heritage of previous Dragons lines which have worked well for the firm. “We hope kids will also be excited by the excellent packaging designs, ‘try me’ functions and the in-pack CD which links back to the new Dragons Universe website,” continues Fuller. “This has been the biggest boys’ concept in Mega’s history. It is a classic play pattern that will continue to resonate with boys aged six-plus for years to come. “We hope it will form the backbone of our boys’ business.” Retail support is a key part of the marketing mix alongside some above the line executions. “We give full 360° support with TV, press, sponsorship, catalogue, online and instore features. With such an important launch, we have designed an innovative campaign making use of new and interesting channels to reach our target market.” Alongside the bigger playsets, the Dragons Eggs collectibles will drive volume at below £10.

JULY 2010


42

SUPPLIER FOCUS WOW TOYS

The Wow factor Building a brand that is known for design innovation in a licence-led, pre-school market takes time. But Wow Toys is finally beginning to see its long-game pay off. Ronnie Dungan spoke to MD Nadim Laperouse about the firm’s progress… IT SEEMS THAT there are two ways to succeed in the pre-school market. Licensing is the obvious, but expensive, route and the other relies purely on the quality of the product offering and appealing to those so-called aspirational parents, which might be even less of a risk given the unquantifiable nature of success in the pre-school character market. But, it is a much longer road to travel down and research and development is not necessarily cheap. Get it right, however, build a brand that is trusted by parents and products that are recognised and enjoyed by children, and you are definitely onto a winner. It is the method which pre-school specialist Wow Toys has employed to great effect. The firm enjoyed a robust 2009, with sales up 44 per cent in the UK, according to boss Nadim Laperouse. It also made progress in the independent sector, doubling its business with the Toymaster group. Its attention to retail is starting to pay dividends and it is developing a number of solutions to increase its distribution in different channels. Laperouse explains the philosophy: “It’s about getting people to buy Wow for the first time. In the toy industry there is often a big disparity with the promise of what the product delivers. Play value is a quality issue. “Each product we make has to be as good as it ever was. And morally, we won’t give into any thought of compromising that. In pre-school it makes a difference, because they are thrown about more than other toys. And people mark you accordingly.” Stand-out at retail is vital and the firm has created an in-store solution which gives retailers a ready-made, branded, Wow Toys area which has already been well-received in a number of different retail channels. “We put a big shop-fit display into 20 stores,” says Laperouse. “A mix of indies, garden centres and other stores and we tracked them on EPOS and there was a phenomenal increase JULY 2010

of between 200-300 per cent. It’s amazing what can be achieved when you go that extra mile.

The firm is experimenting with a TV campaign in the UK for the first time this year and is also looking at

When we are able to do our own form of innovation, we know a toy will sell for ten years and we usually get payback in year one. So we get nine years of stability, which is why we’re able to plan ahead. That’s the fun part. That’s kind of the point of it. “It’s all about in-store presentation. We’re putting another 30 of them out there. Some are 12-feet wide. When we said we wanted to invest thousands into a store, more hands went up than we had imagined. “What we didn’t realise is that there is also a need for a shop-fit in stores which are smaller. So, this year we are putting 150 four-feet units in shops.

some distribution into the nursery sector, too. In addition, four new staff have been added so far this year, and the range will be a third bigger in 2011. All in all, Wow Toys is on the upward curve. “At Wow Toys, we’re very confident that the track we are following is what the public wants. The difficulty though, is in getting

the retailer to see that. That is the big job in marketing.” Innovation in design is the real pillar of Wow’s success. Its chunky preschool toys are colourful and designlead, making them a particularly popular range with younger mums with certain aspirations. “When we are able to do our own form of innovation, we know a toy will sell for ten years and we usually get payback in year one. So we get nine years of stability, which is why we’re able to plan ahead. That’s the fun part. That’s kind of the point of it.” But market conditions don’t make it easy for innovators in the toy market. Retailers are still very rigid when it comes to pricing, he claims. “If there’s one frustration with the toy business it’s how retailers still want products to be £9.99, which is the same price as it was ten years ago. How can it be that way, when everything else has doubled in price? “That short-sightedness stifles innovation. It makes people take quick and short-sighted decisions. Real innovation only takes place in the toy market when the price allows it to. If we could lift the lid on pricing, the public would pay for it. “It would allow a lot more innovation to come through to the sector because companies would have a lot more space to create longterm propositions.” If not exactly a rarity, there’s certainly room for plenty more innovation. But, right now, if it doesn’t make it entirely unique, Wow Toys’ devotion to product development certainly marks it apart.


SECTOR GUIDE CREATIVE PLAY

www.toynews-online.biz

45

Creative types The creative play sector encompasses a wide variety of products and as such, represents an important part of any retailer’s offering. ToyNews finds out about the latest products to hit the market with an imaginative element… TACTIC GAMES 01483 751267

Trivoli is a simple game, which all the family can play and enjoy. Each of the players tries to form their own secret picture using each of the three levels of the roundabout. Players can turn one of the carousel levels and try to form the picture. The first player to complete a picture receives a Trivoli token. The winner is the first player to collect three picture tokens. The game teaches visual recognition and a logical thought process. Once you have played one game, turn the carousel over to find another three level game. Suitable for players aged five and above. The game can be played by two to six people. The game duration is 15 to 20 minutes. The Tactic 2010 range can be viewed at www.tactic.net or contact the firm for a 2010 catalogue.

SPIN MASTER Moon Dough moulding compound does not stick or stain and never dries out. The compound is designed for two to four year olds. There are five play-sets. The Playful Puppies and Burger Kitchen sets, with two colours of Moon Dough, moulds and a burger mould or a kennel, which makes puppies, bones and steaks. The Barn Yard allows kids to bale hay and create 3D animals. It comes with a themed play mat, moulds and three colours of dough. The Pizza Oven includes toppings, a pizza base, a box and a slice. It also comes with a play mat and three colours of Moon Dough. Single and twin refill packs are available in eight colours. Each comes in a moon-shaped stackable container with moulds in the lid. Moon Sand is designed for four to seven year-olds. There is new packaging, offering stackable storage and moulded trays in the larger sets. Moon Sand has three themes for 2010 – Sea Princess, Construction and Sweet Delights. The Construction range features three play-sets – Road Crew, Demolition and Sky Crane. Sweet Delights also has three sets – Ice Cream Sundae, Shake Maker and Bake Shop. In August, Spin Master is launching three licensed Disney play-sets. The Disney Princess set has revolving

JOHN ADAMS AND TOYBROKERS Following the re-launch of Fuzzy Felt last year, John Adams & Toy Brokers is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the brand with further expansion of the range in 2010. Central to the product range is the Fuzzy-Felt 60th Anniversary Set; a deluxe creation, building on the successful format of the existing range. The limited edition set contains two largeformat boards in contrasting colours, 500 felt pieces and a storage drawer. The specially commissioned set includes pieces adapted from some of the original Fuzzy-Felt shapes, conceived by inventor Lois Allan during the war, before Fuzzy-Felt’s official launch in 1950. Fuzzy-Felt Craft Tubs are a new twist on an old favourite, allowing ‘on the move’ creativity. The tubs include 400 felt pieces plus an innovative, largeformat Fuzzy-Felt Flexi-Board, rolled up and stored inside before unfolding as a flat surface.

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The collection features printed and silhouette shapes across three ranges including, Things that Go – a selection of vehicles; animals – including farmyard favourites and pets, and Pink and Sparkly. To support the 60th anniversary, John Adams & Toy Brokers is undertaking an extensive public relations campaign, targeting consumer and parenting press and engaging with consumers directly through social media.

carriage and moulds for Cinderella and horses. The Cars set includes Lightning McQueen and Mater moulds and a chassis. The Toy Story 3 set has Buzz, Zurg and Alien moulds. The Bendaroos Theme Sets include instructions for three levels – basic, intermediate and advanced – and are available in four assortments – Cool Creations, Space, Sweet Treats and Hearts and Stars and Rainbows. Each set contains up to 80 sticks. The Activity Pack contains instructions for 2D and 3D play in four themes – Puppies/Kittens, Pirates, Tropical and Fairies. The new 3D Activity Packs contain armatures for kids to create 3D models of dinosaurs and unicorns. Finally, the Bendaroo Creativity Centre contains everything needed to

BANDAI

Harumika sees new sets for spring/summer. The DIY dress-up kit allows kids to create their own line of bespoke couture designs without the need for needle, thread, glue or scissors, just some fabric and creativity. Aimed at girls aged six plus, pieces of fabric are wrapped around the mannequin and using the spatula provided, tucked into the back where a silicon strip holds it in place. Kids can show their creations on the virtual catwalk by uploading them at www.harumika.eu, where other users

make 2D and 3D models. The turntable allows kids to view the models from every angle and accessories assist with moulding, twisting and cutting. There are two Paperoni assortments including the Paperoni Pals Assortment – peacock, owl, butterfly – with 250 pieces, tweezers and a template with embellishments. Two of the sets have a glitter applicator. The Paperoni Bendies Assortment includes giraffe, lamb, dog and cat and each set is supplied with template, tweezers, glitter and bendy limbs and facial features. Paperoni Magic Movin’ Pets Play-set is provided with 3D templates and over 1,300 pieces to make a puppy, bunny and mouse and for decorating the dog kennel. Magic Movin’ POS will be available from August.

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can vote for Designer of the Week. Plus, there’s plenty of inspiration if they run out of ideas. Each Harumika set includes mannequins, a variety of fabrics and a selection of accessories, all of which can be mixed and matched. All materials are reusable so the possibilities are endless. Bandai continues to support the brand with an extensive marketing campaign including TV advertising, consumer print advertising in girls’ magazines, in-store demos, PR and online activity.

JULY 2010


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SECTOR GUIDE CREATIVE PLAY

TOMY

The Aquadoodle Animal Magic Sounds Mat is the first Aquadoodle product to combine drawing with sounds. Like all Aquadoodle products, Animal Magic Sounds encourages creative play using water, making it completely mess-free. Fill the pen with water to let kids draw on the mat. The edge is covered with drawings of animals, so children press the pen onto the circle next to an animal to hear the corresponding sound. A new sound will then continue when the pen touches the mat. There are 14 sounds. As the water from the pen dries, the pictures disappear so the mat can be used again. There are also hidden pictures to be discovered that will be revealed when kids scribble over them. Tomy is backing Animal Magic Sounds with a TV campaign. Tomy’s Aquadoodle range is also seeing new Toy Story 3 and Peppa Pig

RE:CREATION 0118 973 6222

Bionic Putty is scientifically reengineered play putty. After years of research, a putty formula has been created that has the properties of a solid, a liquid and a ball. You can sculpt it and snap it like a solid, stretch it and watch it melt or you can roll it into a ball and bounce it. Bionic Putty will be TV advertised in autumn/winter. The Stylus Pen range adds a dynamic and creative twist to a pen by combining it with a play element. Take a break and stimulate your creativity by playing the in-built game. Squeeze and mould shapes with the Play-doh Fun Factory Pen, which comprises a built-in shape creator and trimmer knife with a minipot of Play-doh. The Lego Stylus range is available in Lego City and Lego Star Wars. The pens can be connected and built, and kids can add their own flair by dismantling and rebuilding in their own design.

JULY 2010

020 8722 7300

Aquadoodle large mats, as well as Aquadoodle Toy Story 3 Mini Mats. Tomy has also launched the Aquadoodle Desk, made from lightweight wood effect foam. Tomy’s expanded arts and crafts range also includes Spongi, a colourful, lightweight dough. Available in boys or girls packs and suitable for children aged four and over, kids can either shape it into official Spongi characters using the accessories or create their own designs. Each pack contains three colours of dough and accessory packs to make the characters, with animal characters for girls, and monsters and vehicles for boys. Once children have created their models, Spongi can either be left to air dry to a lightweight model, or stored in an airtight bag ready to be used again. Tomy is supporting Spongi with a PR and marketing campaign, including a TV ad campaign.

VIVID IMAGINATIONS

Klip Kitz is the new TV-supported boys arts and crafts brand from Vivid. The range contains elements of traditional craft kits with a new twist. The toy consists of pre-painted, snap-fit components you can snap, Klip and lock together, using the locking key. Kids can customise creations with stickers and colour in the reversible background scene to complete the kit. Klip Kitz launched with a Toy Story 3 range including Buzz Lightyear model kit, Sheriff Woody model kit and a Buzz Lightyear and Spaceship model kit. Disney Cars Klip Kitz are the latest addition. Choices include a Lightning McQueen model kit, Mater model kit and a Mack and McQueen model kit. This year, Crayola will TV advertise 12 lines, delivering a campaign of over 3,000 TVRs. The new products include Colour Wonder Light Brush, which recognises and lights up the colour of

MECCANO

01844 278888

Meccano’s Rescue Team construction sets for children aged five and over is a colourful collection of fire truck, police helicopter, police car and fire all terrain vehicle (ATV). Each of the models now features the new, simplified innovative building system, which clips together for fast and easy construction and detailed step-by-step instructions. The 40+ part Fire ATV builds two models and comes complete with

01483 449944

the clear paint, only colouring on Colour Wonder paper. Colour Explosion Glow Dome has a clear dome and inside panel, which become see-through canvases. Kids can hit the lights and their scene comes to life in glow-motion. Doodle Penguin is an electronic penguin that draws at a touch of button. Kids can choose from 100 pictures and activities for Doodle Penguin to draw. Finally, Paper Fantastic makes it simple to create honeycomb paper effects, garlands, 3D paper decorations and cards. The Timmy Time range has two new additions. The Sound Scribbler recognizes each character drawn and plays sounds as kids create pictures using the crayons provided. Painting Time Timmy is a money box that kids paint. The range will be TV advertised this autumn/winter.

realistic fire hose, a fireman figure, accessories and stickers. The Police Car builds two models (30+ parts) and features working lights and realistic sounds, policeman figure, accessories and stickers. The Police Helicopter (70+ parts) builds three models and includes two figures. Containing 110+ parts to build three models the Fire Truck includes two firemen figures. The four sets are available from summer.

FIESTA CRAFTS 020 8804 0563

The new Magnetic Doowell Colour-in Play Scenes – Knights and Dragons and Princess – are versatile and creative toys. Both come with magnetic doublesided playboards and over 50 colour-in magnetic-paper character and story pieces cut from exclusive special paper that sticks magnetically. The pre-cut pieces are ready for colouring, adventure play and story telling. The knights have armour, shields and weapons that all need decoration and the princesses have a whole wardrobe to design. All the items stick magnetically and pack away inside the magnetic board, making them an ideal holiday travel companion, for children aged three years and over.


SECTOR GUIDE CREATIVE PLAY

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MAPS 01438 776006

Yummy Dough allows children to get creative in a new way. Simply add water to the powder mix to create a mouldable mixture. Get creative and mould the dough into different shapes – then bake it and eat it. Yummy Dough develops skills in young children including hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and colour recognition and teaches them about food preparation. The product comes with four different colours – red, blue, green and yellow – which can be mixed together at the powder stage or when the dough is moulded to create different colours. The product can be eaten raw or baked. Yummy Dough is made in Germany by a leading baking manufacturer. Using only high quality food products, it is manufactured under strict European safety regulations.

FLAIR

New for 2010 is Noteez, which allows girls to create messages, using the console. Once written, the note can be wound inside a Noteez capsule. When the time is right the capsule can be unrolled to reveal the message. Each set comes with ten reusable capsules, paper, pens, stickers and stencils. Another new concept for the year is the patented Twist & Spin Jewellery Maker which uses twisting and spinning to create jewellery, with the cord and beads provided. Suitable for ages seven plus and will be TV advertised. Zubber moulds like dough but sets like rubber. A variety of themed sets are available such as the Zubber Band Maker and Zubber Pets and Charms Assortment. New for autumn will be the Zubber Jewellery Maker. The new Remarkables Colour & Draw Activity Mats are bold mats, available in Thomas & Friends and unlicensed versions. The mats come with washable marker pens, a stencil, inkpad and stampers. Once the doodling is done,

MEGA BRANDS For Mega Bloks 25th anniversary year, it is introducing new products in the Maxi range, which build on the themes of creative and imaginative play, including products like the Spin n’ Sorter bucket. The new Spin n’ Sorter bucket contains 32 different shaped building blocks and encourages children to match the right shapes to the right holes and to build upwards from two spinning cogs. Mega Bloks has obtained the Thomas & Friends licence and will be introducing a range of construction play-sets that allow kids aged three and over to build and rebuild scenes from the series. Thomas Buildable Character Assortments will feature a range of characters including Thomas, James, Percy, Gordon, Henry, Harold, Diesel and Spencer. The 3-in-1 Buildable Assortments add to the play value whilst the play-sets include new destinations such as A Busy Day At The Quarry, Thomas at the Sodor Fair and Cranky The Crane. The 2 in 1 Buildable Thomas allows kids to build Thomas then rebuild it into

01844 350033 a train station. Compatible with all other Thomas & Friends play-sets, it enhances the interactivity and collectability. In Mega’s Building Basics series, the 24 and 70-piece Maxi Bags are available in the classic bright primary colour version and a pink version for girls. Also in the Maxi range, is the 200-piece Maxi Duffle Bag, which contains many construction opportunities. Building on Mega’s pre-school success, the brand continues to push its Play ‘n’ Go World, which combines character and vehicle play with building. Children can use their imagination to create stories in a character-based world of play-sets, vehicles and blocks. The range includes the Lil’ Vehicle Assortment with a dump truck, steam boat and pink bus. Other new sets include Play ‘n Go Trucks, Play ‘n Go Play-sets & Play ‘n Go Mega Vehicles. Mega Blok’s Play ‘n Go Table is a 3 in 1 construction toy. The 20 blocks, building plates, vehicles and characters stimulate imagination and discovery of shapes, colours and sizes.

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CREATIVITY INTERNATIONAL 01384 485550

Puppets, door hangers, badge making, magnets, tickling sticks, masks, bags and more, are included in the new range of Creativity Kits for Kids. Retailers can now buy kits based on children’s TV and book characters. Mr Men, Little Miss, Numberjacks, Art Attack, Postman Pat, Hit Favourites (Pingu, Fireman Sam, Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder) and Mister Maker are all part of the portfolio. The range of character craft kits now stands at more than 40 and each comes in its own CDU. Creativity International’s new online ordering system launched this year, making it easier for retailers to order at any time. Go to retail.creativityinternational.co.uk and click on the ‘New Customers’ button.

0208 643 0320

the ink can be washed or wiped away. Also available in the range are Disney Princess and Toy Story ten-page washable colouring books, as well as a bumper Toy Story 3 Book and Mat pack. Thomas & Friends Doodleez is launching in the autumn. Draw with colourful cords on the clingy surface and add detail with boggly eyes and shapes. Then pull the pieces off the board to begin again or pack away in the storage pouch. Themed stencils are included. Many of the firm’s existing lines will carry through including Cool Cardz, String World, and the licensed creative play-sets. Plasticine also continues with pocket money play-sets and packs for younger kids, such as Animal Fun, together with themed sets. Finally, Doodle Dudes for kids aged eight plus is new and is a collectable creative concept that allows them to design their own figurines. Doodle Dudes will be available in single or double pocket money packs or as a fourpack Quad Squad.

BRAINSTORM Mostaix is a new range of art and craft products where children make mosaic style pictures. Using small plastic tiles of different shapes, kids can build up pictures, graded to their age and ability. The snap in pieces stay in place without the use of glue or ironing. Follow the real-size pattern to make the picture, then the picture can be hung on the wall. Alternatively, take out the pieces and make another design from imagination. Mostaix is available in three sizes. The 264-piece pocket money set is suitable for beginners and younger children. The mid-price set contains 1,332 pieces for slightly older kids and the 4,440-piece set will appeal to craft enthusiasts. There are 18 pictures to

01200 445113 choose from including horse, kitten, dolphin and dog. Award-winning Citiblocs are wooden construction blocks, precision cut from high-grade pine sourced from sustainably managed forests. Every piece has been engineered to exactly the same shape and size and the specific proportions guarantee building success. Building requires no glue, no mess, no connectors and no magnets: just gravity, balance and the limits of your imagination. Citiblocs promotes creativity and problem solving while helping children to develop motor skills. Building and learning are simultaneous. Citiblocs are available in packs of 50, 100, 200 and 300 blocks.

JULY 2010


SECTOR GUIDE CREATIVE PLAY

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HABA

0161 304 9555

REVELL Tack Zap from Haba has several themes to choose from, plus supplement sets to allow plenty of scope for creativity. Complete with a corkboard, wooden hammer and metal tacks, each themed kit has a range of colourful wooden tiles, which can be tapped into place to create a picture. On Duty Tack Zap has various face designs, different shapes for bodies and vehicle components, while Springtime Butterflies Tack Zap has character faces and an assortment of shapes for

UNIVERSITY GAMES 01359 243900

The Colorforms range from University Games includes a range of children’s licensed products. The Gruffalo and The Very Hungry Caterpillar are the leading names on offer in the range. Vinyl and felt creative play-sets packed in clear plastic carry packs are available and an additional pack for The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a tin box set of magnetic adventures. All the packs contain characters and scenes from the storybooks, so that children can create scenes from the book or make up their own picture stories with re-useable pieces and background scene boards.

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children to create their own butterfly pictures and scenes. The range also includes Geo Shape Tack Zap with coloured tiles in an assortment of shapes and Figure Tack Zap with people and animal shapes. The Wooden Threading Beads from Haba are designed to challenge a child’s creativity, encourage eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills; there are numerous sets of beads in all shapes and sizes to appeal to both boys and girls.

INSPIRED GIFTS AND TOYS

Inspired Gifts & Toys (IGT) is releasing National Geographic 3D Creative Clay Sets. The modelling sets combine the educational adventure of zoos and safari parks with creative play. The air-drying creative clay ensures modelling without mess, mixing colours, shape making and the chance to create and keep 3D models. Each set includes creative clay pots, a modelling tool and instruction booklet as standard. Included in the range is the 3D Jeep Safari, with the chance to assemble a Jeep and animals including a lion, elephant, zebra, rhino and giraffe. Includes a set of jeep wheels. 3D Dinosaurs includes the dinosaurs, trees

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Revell’s Model Sets come complete with all the necessary paints, glue and brushes required to get making, painting and creating the models straight out of the box. The Model Set range covers vehicles from cars to planes and everything in between. Recent additions to the portfolio include a replica Ferrari and the Super Hornet. The iconic red Ferrari is a true-tooriginal reproduction of bodywork with fine structural and surface details

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and rocks. Includes two dinosaur skeletons. 3D Creepy Crawlies includes a tarantula and scorpion, cockroach, snail and caterpillar. Finally the 3D Bird Of Prey includes the golden eagle and falcon. Includes a balancing bird. Also available from the firm is the Cobi Construction Blocks range. Sets available include Army, Navy, Pirates, Roman and Barbarians, McLaren Mercedes, Construction Vehicles and many more. The blocks are similar to, and fully compatible with, the leading brick manufacturer. Also in 2010 IGT will launch Jeep’s historical Willys, a collection of six vehicles.

along with an interior that consists of an authentic dashboard and textured seats. The Super Hornet boasts a detailed cockpit with instrument panel and ejector seat. Revell has also recently released the MyStyle range, which allows young girls to create jewellery designs using a simple click-together technique. It includes beads, pendants, charms, miniature dresses and there’s a secret jewellery sofa for girls to store all of their creations.

THE IN THING 0845 365 3030

Gelli Baff has had a strong year with a range of new colours introduced by The In Thing. The formula turns water into colourful goo and then turns it back into water again. The main colours are Lava Blast (red), Swamp Green, Blue Lagoon and Princess Pink, with a couple of colour changing boxes, including Ballistic Blue to Planet Purple and Cosmic Yellow to Galactic Green. Gelli Baff is ideal for use indoors but can also be used in paddling pools or water slides instead of regular water. The In Thing will be running a number of activities for Gelli Baff over the coming months, including covermounts on magazines and giveaways.

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GREAT GIZMOS 01293 543221

Great Gizmos’ new Green Creativity range includes five craft kits that will educate kids about being environmentally friendly. These kits enable children to decorate a plain canvas bag to make their own reusable green shopping bag, create cards and gifts from recycled paper or turn a plastic bottle into a light. For girls, the Mould & Paint Glitter collection provides a combination of girly themes and glitter. With each kit, six magnets or pin badges can be made. There are six of the kits to choose from, including fairies, mermaids, ballerinas, princesses and more. The Paint Your Own Porcelain Trinket Box Kit, the Mini Shoe Vase Kit from 4M and the My Very Own Fairy Light kit are also available.

LEGO 01753 495 264

Lego Bricks & More is a primary recruitment vehicle into the Lego assortment, creating an early interest in Duplo sets. Fuelling the imagination and engaging children with a range of themes and sets, Bricks & More features a mix of bricks, play starters, special elements and practical storage. New sets include Duplo Play with Numbers, Lego Cars Building Set, Blue Building Plate, Basic Bucket, and House Building Set. For junior builders, the Lego Creator range of three-in-one sets has been developed for 2010 and includes the Apple Tree House, which features a working mailbox, satellite dish and opening roof. The Lego Creator Super Speedster can transform into an F1 racer or monster truck. The Creator range features instantly recognisable models.

JULY 2010

DKL

Hama features a range of coloured beads and is a user-friendly system that helps to develop a child’s creativity through play. The main concept behind Hama is to stimulate creative play by producing colourful and imaginative designs with the bead system. Creative items are made by placing coloured beads onto pegboards and then ironing on a silicone coated paper to seal the beads. The expanding range offers numerous kits, ranging from individual bags of beads and pegboards, to small, medium and large gift sets designed for both boys and girls.

MARBEL 01208 873123

Marbel has recently launched the Dress Your Doll range of doll clothing in the UK. Designed and produced in Belgium, the idea was created by mother and daughter team, Lena De Swert and Els Van Houtven. The concept is simple; take a piece of fabric, fold it in half, cut a hole in the middle, sew it together down either side and there you have it, a little top for your doll. This basic principle started off the Dress Your Doll line and the range now consists of over 50 designs that can be mixed and matched together. The preprinted patterns and prints are on a soft, stretchy fabric that doesn’t fray and only need to be cut out and sewn together along the dotted lines.

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New this year are licensed sets Disney Toy Story, Ben 10, Disney Fairies and many more. Other Disney themed sets include Disney Princess, Winnie The Pooh, Mickey Mouse and friends and Cars. Multiple designs and creations can be made using the three different size beads (mini, midi and maxi) and pegboards. It is accessible to children aged three to ten. Midi Beads (5mm) are the best selling beads in the range. Mini Beads (2.5mm) are for age ten and over and intricate and detailed designs can be created. Maxi beads (10mm), the largest of all the beads, are suitable for age three and over.

GREEN BOARD GAMES 01494 538999

Spin the spinner to find out what you have to draw and then use your imagination with the new game as players turn a random line or squiggle into a picture before the timer runs out. Points are then awarded depending on the difficulty of the squiggle used and the uniqueness of the picture created. The game can be played in teams or individually. Squiggle is available in a range of different themes, including barn yard, ocean and alphabet.

LEAPFROG 01702 200244

Leapfrog combines play with learning, by combining songs about food and cooking with Cook & Learn. Aimed at 12 to 36 month-olds, LeapFrog's latest learning toy teaches children key knowledge such as colours, foods, counting and motor skills. By dropping the ingredients into Potsy, a child will be taught nutrition, colour and counting skills. At the turn of a switch, Potsy can go from learning mode to cooking mode and will play bubbling sounds when the lid is placed on or taken off. Children can also use the spoon to stir their ingredients and when doing so, Potsy will play a stirring song. Cook & Learn Potsy is available from this month.

SAMBRO 0161 707 5555

Sambro offers a wide line of creative play products covering a range of price points from £1 to £20. Many of the products are licensed, taking in a range of key properties, including all Disney characters (Princess, Toy Story, Fairies, Mickey, Handy Manny, Cars, Winnie the Pooh) along with SpongeBob Squarepants, Fireman Sam, Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, My Little Pony and Roary the Racing Car. Products within the ranges include dough sets, painting sets, colouring, stationery, toy stationery and easels.


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JOHN CRANE

A tub of Wooden Beads allows girls to make necklaces, bracelets and other accessories. The brightly coloured beads come in a host of shapes, plus there’s elastic included so there is everything needed to begin creating jewellery straight away.

RAVENSBURGER

01604 774949

Alternatively, the new French knitting dolly comes in a choice of four colours, and is an ideal size for kids to hold. The pack includes instructions to help those who have forgotten the craft, or are new to it. Kids can make hats, tea cosies, mats or even clothing.

01869 363800

BIGJIGS Bigjigs is introducing the new Pink Basket Tea Set and the new Table and Chairs set. Stored in a woven pink carry basket, the Pink Basket Tea Set opens to reveal the 18-piece, flower patterned tea set.

01303 250400 Included are four plates, teaspoons, cups, saucers, and teapot. Standing at 61cm high, the new Table and Chairs set is crafted from quality wood and is available in soft pastel colours.

INTERPLAY

Ravensburger’s Mandala Designer creative play range includes two girls’ licences – Disney Princess and Hello Kitty. With the Mandala Designer stencil, pens and pencils, kids can create their own mandalas – lots of different symmetrical designs that can be created and coloured in to adorn any surface. With a number of different ways to use the designs on the stencil wheels, there is plenty of opportunity for creativity. The Disney Princess design

includes images of Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel and Aurora. The Hello Kitty design includes lots of images of Kitty, along with flowers, leaves and other shapes. Mandala Designer is also available in generic titles including Classic, Wonderful Horses, Zoo and Romantic. Mandala Designers come with the stencil wheel and base, paper, felt tip pen and pencil and coloured pencils. The product is suitable for children aged six years and upwards.

Interplay’s award-winning Technokits are a range of creative technology projects designed to promote a practical knowledge of how modern day machines work. The latest Technokit Dragster is easy to construct with no glue or mess. The pieces fit together with interlocking wooden pieces and electrical and mechanical components are then added. Kids can also personalise their dragster with stickers provided. The Powered Hovercraft Technokit contains all the parts for a fully functional hovercraft. Designed with the world’s leading model hovercraft inventor, the object is to build a battery

01628 488944 operated, working model of a hovercraft. Everything is included together with informative instructions and no additional tools are required to build theß craft.

Clean Creative Fun STOCK UP NOW for the Holidays & Christmas

tel: +44 (0)1285 762039 or email sales@tt-holdings.com www.treasuretrovetoys.co.uk Sticky Mosaics is a registered trademark of The Orb Factory Ltd. Toymaster is a registered trademark of Toymaster Ltd. © Copyright Treasure Trove Holdings Ltd.

JULY 2010

Only from


“Toy specialists, whilst up 6% year on year, appeared to be split. The chains, such as Toys ‘R’ Us, The Entertainer, Toymaster and the like, grew sales as a group year on year, whilst the smaller independents had a tougher year.” Source: NPD, February 2010

If you think you need a brand, contact... Roger Dyson, Ian Edmunds or Colin Farrow Toymaster Ltd Victoria House, Newport Pagnell Road West, Northampton, NN4 7JJ

Tel: +44 (0)1604 674477 is a 100% Members-O Owned mutuality


Dedicated monthly retail coverage

Retail Only News • Data • Opinion

Argos widening Chad Valley line

Hero Product Page 61 VTech’s Storio is the highlighted product...

Retailer looks to take former Woolworths value brand upmarket to mid-price range by Ronnie Dungan ARGOS IS looking to broaden the scope of its Chad Valley own brand range, which it acquired from Woolworths. The brand has for a long time been known as a budget toy line, but the Argos team is looking to expand the range and enable it to incorporate higher price points. To this end, the firm has been hoping to source some product at its recent inventors and suppliers’ open day in Milton Keynes.

Twickenham indie goes up and under by Katie Roberts ROBERT CHARRINGTON’S Papillon Toys is set to close after 25 years due to a combination of the recession and the impact of rugby games at nearby Twickenham. Charrington said footfall in the shop was almost non-existent after 11.30 on match days, due to traffic in surrounding roads. The shop owner also criticised the Rugby Football Union (RFU) for scheduling matches on five consecutive Saturdays in the runup to Christmas. He said: “From 11.30am on match days there are only rugby people in the town centre, which makes the rest of the day a writeoff for most retailers. “We’ve asked the RFU to consider 5.30pm kick-offs, so we can trade unaffected until about 3pm, but they don't seem to be interested.”

Trading director Jamie Heese told ToyNews: “Chad Valley has surpassed expectations. It’s the number one toy brand in Argos already, which is surprising because it got there a lot quicker than we expected. It’s our view that we could take it into more product categories. “The customer reaction to the brand has been strong and if you look at some of the online customer reviews, they have been very complimentary about it. We had

ambitious targets for it and it has stepped up significantly.” Own-brand has been a key part of the Argos strategy across a number of areas, which has led to it purchasing several well-known brands such as Schreiber, Hygena, Bush and Alba. “It’s key to the strategy,” said trading manager, Ian Chaplin. “We see Chad Valley as a mid-market brand with great quality everyday toys.” Argos: 0845 1240044

Disney readies Toy Story 3 store blitz EACH OF the 57 Disney stores in the UK will be celebrating the film with free events from July 10th to August 14th. Saturday July 10th will see the launch party for the events and all children who visit a store dressed as a Toy Story character will receive a free gift. There will also be interactive games and giveaways throughout the day. Playroom Parade will run every Saturday and on additional days throughout the school holidays. Each child who attends will be given a free Toy Story mask and flag to wear in the parade. Every day throughout the holidays, children will be able to take part in interactive games including Strawberry Sniff Out, Pin the Tail on

Bullseye and the Peas in a Pod Matching Pairs game. There’s a prize for the winner of each. The events continue online at www.disneystore.co.uk with the Alien Grabber instant-win competition. Top prizes include Disney Store shopping vouchers, Disney Theme Park trips and Toy Story 3 merchandise. The Disney Stores will offer a new range of Toy Story products this summer. A new Buzz Lightyear Action Figure is exclusive to the retailer, along with other new characters from the film, including a Plush Lotso Bear, complete with strawberry scent, and Mini Bean Bags of hedgehog character Mr Pricklepants, Buttercup and the Peas in a Pod. Disney Stores: 0845 688 5113

Charts Page 57 This month’s retail charts feature Amazon, The Entertainer, Mail Order Express, Play.com and WH Smith...

New products Page 58 On their way this month are offerings from Carerra, Spearmark, Mookie and Lego...

Events Page 74 Forthcoming industry events....


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HIGHSTREET COUNTER INSURGENT Dispatches from the retail front line... ANOTHER TOYMASTER show over and what a difference. For those of us who attended Harrogate Toy Fair for many years it was like going back in time. Congratulations have to go to Toymaster in re-arranging the event; cynical people will say that with the halls empty it was easy. I would disagree with that, and say credit where credit is certainly due. So many positive things have been said about the halls being used as a venue, from suppliers and retailers. For some of us it was like going back years, the only difference was the companies and the people. As I walked into Hall B I almost expected Falcon to be on the corner, with Eric Balaam hanging onto the corner post

like a bus conductor, greeting everyone who passed by. From the suppliers’ point of view, it was easy to set up, no dark holes somewhere near Calcutta and there was plenty of space. For the retailers, it was easy to work, easy to find suppliers as there was plenty of space to navigate round. For the agents, it was easy to get between principals, easy access to food and drink, no dark corners for the buyers to hide in and, of course, lots of space. Some even had their own desks, protecting their territory and chairs with all sorts of oddments. The use of Hall C for lunch and evening entertainment was again a great idea that worked well. Maybe the advantage of having no central bar to gather in helped the heads in the morning. Those of us that did find a drinking hole had the sobering thought of

having a little further to walk (stagger) than just up the stairs. Not that this stopped some people. Was it all positive? Talking to suppliers and retailers it looks like the consumer has stopped spending and there

buyers to commit too much and certainly orders for immediate deliveries to get deal prices were soon extended by some to include some forward dated orders. So, what happens now? Not knowing the structural

The past two years have been very unpredictable, and no-one has any idea what this year will bring. were a lot of nervous people around the show. The past two years have been very unpredictable, and no-one has any idea what this year will bring. I did see reluctance from

situation with the Majestic, it is difficult to know. But with the water damage alone, I find it hard to believe it will be back in business even for next year.

Can the halls be used again? It costs to be at the show and any existing contract with the Majestic and the feelings of members are also important factors. You could get more suppliers in and certainly you could argue that the show has reached breaking point at the Majestic Hotel. The May event is a fantastic window for those suppliers who have late product launches and, more importantly, a decent sample of a product that was a lump of wood and cardboard at Toy Fair. A proper working sample to show in May would certainly help buyers predict better. One thing to remember and something Toymaster has tried to encourage for a few years, is that it is, first and foremost, a toy show.

PRICE CHECK: JULY 2010

JULY 2010

Goochicoo Kitty Cat Doll MV Sports

Build and Play Helicopter Meccano

Toy Story Bubble Scooter HTI

Micro Pets-I Tomy

Iron Man 2 Mask Hasbro

£16.99

£16.99

£24.99

£9.99

£8.99

£21.99

£13.49

£20.24

N/A

£9.99

N/A

N/A

£24.99

£10.00

£8.00

£19.48

£15.28

£24.99

£8.97

£8.61

£29.99

£16.99

N/A

£9.99

£7.99


RETAIL ONLY

www.toynews-online.biz

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RETAILCHARTS WHSmith.co.uk

CHART DATE 16/6/10

The Entertainer

CHART DATE 16/6/10

1

Creator Mini Jet 3 in 1 Model

Lego

1

Disney Club Penguin Puffle Series 4 Purple

2

Creator Mini Truck 3 in 1 Model

Lego

2

Sylvanian Families Lakeside Lodge

3

Power Racers Air Stomper Car

Lego

3

Transformers Leader Optimus Prime

4

Sylvanian Families Nursery School Bus

Flair

4

Hello Kitty Scooter

5

Ben 10 Alien Force Walkie Talkies

IMC Toys

5

Sleeping Bag Set – girls

RMS Intl

6

Mini Build and Play

Meccano

6

Sleeping Bag Set – boys

RMS Intl

7

City Farmer and Tractor

Lego

7

Quadpod

8

Star Wars Battle Droid on STAP

Lego

8

Nebulus TX Scooter – blue

9

Star Wars Luke’s Landspeeder

Lego

9

Air Blasters Double Shot Blaster

Buzzbee

10 FlyTech R/C Dragonfly – green 40MHz

Character

10 Imperial Yo-yo

Amazon

Duncan

CHART DATE 16/6/10

Jakks Flair Hasbro HTI

TP Toys Grossman

CHART DATE 16/6/10

Mail Order Express

1

FIFA World Cup 2010 Stickers – 20-pack

Panini

1

Born to Play Fireman Sam Fire Station Play-set

Yaffe

2

Match Attax England Tin 2010

Topps

2

Born to Play Craftsman Academy Desk and Chair

Yaffe

3

Bananagrams Game

Winning Moves

3

Born to Play Craftsman Table and Two Chairs

Yaffe

4

Butterfly Garden

Insect Lore

4

Born to Play Fireman Sam Friction Venus with Penny

Yaffe

5

Medical Carrycase

Peterkin

5

Born to Play Wind Up Floating Neptune/Penny

Yaffe

6

Nerf N-Strike Clip System Dart Pack (36)

Hasbro

6

Born to Play Fireman Sam Friction Action Jupiter

Yaffe

7

Star Wars Clone Walker Battle Pack

Lego

7

Red Corsair

8

Toy Story Woody and Buzz to the Rescue

Lego

8

Star Wars Venator Class Republic Attack

Lego

9

Science Museum Giant Retro Space Hopper

TKC

9

Born to Play Fireman Sam Helicopter with Tom

Yaffe

TKC

10 Fisher-Price World of Little People Racin’ Ramps Garage

10 Super Stomp Rocket Kit

Play.com

CHART DATE 16/6/10

1

Finger Printing Art Set

2

Nerf N-Strike Recon CS-6

3

Doctor Who: 11th Doctor’s New Sonic Screwdriver

4

Licensed Toys

Playmobil

Mattel

CHART DATE 16/6/10

Worldwide co

1

Star Wars 2010 Rebel Trooper and Snow Trooper

Hasbro

2

Ben 10 Alien Force 10cm Figures

Bandai

Character

3

Ben 10 Alien Force 15cm DNA figures

Bandai

Cuponk

Hasbro

4

Star Wars Luke’s Landspeeder

5

Nerf Clip System Darts (Pack of 36)

Hasbro

5

Cars Character Assortment

Mattel

6

Star Wars Force Trainer

Brainstorm

6

Star Wars Clone Wars Basic Figures 3.75”

Hasbro

7

Nerf Dart Tag Mega Refill (Pack of 36)

Hasbro

7

Power Rangers RPM 12cm Throttle Figures

Bandai

8

Hello Kitty Playing Cards

Hasbro

8

Star Wars Clone Walker and Droid Assortment

9

Nerf Deploy CS-6

Hasbro

9

Fireman Sam Vehicle and Accessories set

10 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 3 in a Box Jigsaw Puzzles

Ravensburger

10 Iron Man 2 Wrist Repulsor

Lego

Lego

Lego Character Hasbro

JULY 2010


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RETAIL ONLY

PRODUCTNEWS

Carrera adds to the Go range The firm has added three new sets to its Go range, the 1:43 slot racing system… THE FORMULA Cup features Hamilton vs Massa on 3.6 metres of track and includes the latest design of Ferrari and McLaren cars. The second new addition is Mario Kart DS, a slot version of the video game classic. The set features Mario and Peach with a 6.2 metre track, which includes loops and a banked corner. A boost button is featured to give the cars an extra surge of power and gain an advantage over rivals. Finally, Ferrari Challenge includes two Ferrari 599 race cars with 5.3

metres of track. A full range of spares and upgrade options are available from Carrera for the Go range, as

well as additional track, jumps, loops, cars and lap counters. The Hobby Co: 01908 605686

Rainbow design launches wooden toys

Spearmark introduces night-time lighting

SPOT, ELMER, The Enormous Crocodile and Stripy Horse are being reinvented as new wooden toys. Spot celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and Rainbow is introducing a wooden Peg Puzzle and Wooden Dominoes to accompany the existing range. Elmer the Patchwork Elephant will feature on products including a new Wooden Peg Puzzle and Wooden Dominoes, to add to the existing range of books and plush. Rainbow Designs: 0870 758 7700

NEW TO Spearmark Lighting’s portfolio are two new products designed for kids at bedtime. Rise and Shine helps young children learn about bedtime routines. The design features a 3D Disney Princess figurine and a 24hour digital timer. Set the wake-up time and Sleeping Beauty will rotate from sleep to an awake position, encouraging kids to stay in bed longer, as they learn to sleep when the princess sleeps. The light also has a night light feature and the castle turrets illuminate with a soft pink glow. A recent change in legislation means characters are not allowed to

feature on mains powered plug-in night lights. In recognition of this, Spearmark has also developed a range of battery operated licensed night lights. The LED technology used in these night-lights ensures a long life for both battery and product. The range includes Ben 10, Toy Story, Cars, Disney Princess, Waybuloo, 3rd & Bird, Minnie Mouse, Peppa Pig and Winnie the Pooh. Spearmark: 01480 213633

Lego expands buildable action figure offering THE NEW City’s Hero Factory includes everything needed to build a hero. There are six heroes to collect, each with removable hero elements, high-tech armour and communication devices. Preston Stormer features a multifunctional ice weapon, with ice saw, blot shooter and harpoon. William Furno has a dual fire shooter; Natalie Breeze comes with dual boomerangs and harpoon. Duncan Bulk is equipped with a metal sphere shooter, and Mini Stringer is kitted out with the latest in sonic boom technology. Finally, Mark Surge comes complete with lightning weapon and electrical shield. The new range is designed to appeal to a wider age group and introduce new boys to building. Lego: 01753 495000

Mookie unveils new Smart Trike line THE SMART Trike range has been expanded with the introduction of the Smart Trike All in One Stage Two. The new line has incorporated new design innovation and comes with baby cradle and rocker base. The cradle is attached to the rocker for children aged six months and over. JULY 2010

As the baby develops, the All in One grows with it. In time, the rocking base can be removed to leave a ride-on, controlled by the handle. Eventually the product can be converted to a seated ride-on and then a scooter. Mookie: 01525 722716


2010 28 – 30 September 2010

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HERO PRODUCT

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VTech Storio VTech is launching Storio, pitched as the world’s first animated ebook reader for children, backed with a comprehensive TV, cinema and PR campaign…

FEATURING A touch screen to navigate with, children can play and interact in three different ways – Watch the Story, Reading Games and Story Dictionary. As the story is being read, children can touch words they get stuck on and interact with the characters as they press them. The product comes with a Toy Story 3 Story Book Cartridge, with eight additional titles available including Shrek, Scooby Doo and Dora the Explorer. It also includes parent-friendly features, such as reading records and a progress tracker. The marketing kicks off with a 30-second Storio ad in Pearl and Dean cinemas from July 23rd for six weeks, reaching approximately 2.45 million admissions. Then, a dedicated sevenweek TV campaign will air in October half-term, with a second burst at the end of November, with 559 TVRs reaching kids aged 4-6, and 341 TVRs reaching mums with babies aged 0-3. Clive Richardson, marketing director at VTech, says: “Cinema proved to be

recession-proof last year and with 2.45 million admissions expected in the theatres we are working with over the first six weeks, it gives us a great chance to be in front of a lot of parents and children, together, during the launch period for Storio.” The launch will also be supported by a comprehensive PR programme centred around a Ten-A-Day challenge, which encourages parents to read with their children for ten-minutes everyday. Tactics include a digital outreach programme, dedicated Facebook, radio and WebTV activity, plus media activity to drive coverage in key parenting and pre-school titles from July onwards.

With 2.45 million admissions expected in theatres, gives us a great chance to be in front of parents and children, during the launch period for Storio.

Release date: JULY Price: £60 Cartridges: £17 VTech’s Storio allows children to interact with characters at the touch of a button...

CONTACT DETAILS: Phone: 01235 555545 Email: consumer_services@vtech.com

JULY 2010


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Advertisers

BROOKITE

■ Character Costumes & P.O.S.

01837 53315

Rainbow Productions

SUPPLIER/MANUFACTURER

0208 254 5300

■ Point of Purchase Manufacturers Daytona Visual Marketing

01827 54551

■ Suppliers/Manufacturers Brookite

01837 53315

Cambridge Brainbox

01279 821 333

Esdevium Games

01420 593 593

Flying Toys

01702 295 110

Games Workshop

08700 134 411

Ideal Software

01767 689 720

Jumbo Games

01707 289 289

Logiblocs

01727 763 700

Maps Toys

01483 776 006

Plastics for Games

01728 745 300

Ravensburger

01869 363 800

Revell

01442 250 130

Thumbs Up

0845 466 8880

Wind Designs

0844 257 1180

Wow Toys

020 7471 0980

■ Toy Suppliers Carta Mundi

01268 511 522

Richard Edward

0208 311 8888

Skateboards are a new venture for Brookite this year. Designed and developed by experienced skaters, the complete boards are made from high quality materials and offer exceptional value for money. Venom Web is the entry level board, ideal for youngsters just starting out. Venom Spider comes in at the next level and the Venom Mecha is a pro level board with a high quality spec, making it stronger and lighter for those with plenty of experience. Among the new kites, there is a range called Sealife, featuring a Starfish, Octopus, Jellyfish and Clown Fish, all with great graphics

and retailing at just under £7. Easy to fly and ideal first time kites for youngsters. The Air Bear has been in the Brookite range for many years, but for 2010 it has a new friend, Air Piggles. Same parachute concept but now with a pink pig taking flight. The Eolo range has been extended to feature Ben 10 Alien Force products including shaped kites, diamond kites, key ring kites, mini kites, glow helis and light discs. There is also a line of pop-up kites that spring into shape in two seconds, with no loose struts. The mechanism is as easy as opening an umbrella.

RICHARD EDWARDS TOY SUPPLIER

020 8311 8888 As a brand owner, slick service throughout the supply chain is crucial in delivering to distribution channels and, ultimately, to the consumer. As a manufacturer of cardbased products and a strategic partner to many well-known games brands, including Top Trumps and Monopoly, Richard Edward understands its part in the process. It helps to get products in consumers’ hands,

when they need them, at the right price point. Established for 30 years, Richard Edward has the capacity to produce in excess of 40 million decks of cards per annum, using its fully integrated in-house facilities. From card components for board games, card games, TCGs, and cards for promotional use, the firm delivers throughout Europe and worldwide.

With the ever diminishing barriers to global trading, Richard Edward recognises that it is easier than ever to source products from overseas. With corporate social responsibility at the forefront of most organisations’ agendas and ever-increasing consumer awareness, it is every buyers’ responsibility to source ethically. Richard Edwards’ working practises are exemplary.

It offers excellent environmental credentials including FSC and Green Mark, with scope to reduce carbon footprints by purchasing a truly British product. The firm is also audited to Global Sourcing Principles, the ETI base code and holds both Investors in People and ISO 9001 accreditations. For further details please contact: 0208 311 8888

Also new for 2010 is a range of Disney swimming gear, including goggles, swim floats and snorkelling sets plus the Disney Wall Walkers. Simply throw Mickey and friends against a window or wall and watch as they climb down the window in their own way. Brookite is also now stocking a collection of Aerobie products from the award-winning Pro Ring, through to the Dogobie, ideal for giving the family dog a workout. For more information on any of these products please call 01837 53315 or email enquiries@brookite.com


Marketplace

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■ Toy Suppliers

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trading cards At Richard Edward, we produce over 40 million promotional playing card and games card packs each year for our clients.

‡ Fully integrated UK manufacturing facilities ‡ Specialist printing techniques and substrates ‡ Environmentally sound including FSC accredited material ‡ Compliant to European Safety and Ethical Standards ‡ Coding and random collation ‡ Worldwide distribution

www.richard-edward.com


68

TOY TALK

TOY TALK TOY TRUST TEAMS TRIATHLON TRIUMPH TOY TRUST triathletes braved soaring temperatures and dreadful costumes to complete this year’s three-stage fundraiser at Rutland Water. Even the slightly-longer-thanadvertised '5K' run could not wilt the spirits of determined participants who had already completed the 18 mile cycle ride around the reservoir. The Vivid team decided to add a few miles on to their ride and were last seen heading towards Aberystwyth.

JULY 2010

A competitive Hasbro collective was the overall winning team, while the BTHA's Matt Jones won the running race and Learning Curve's Clive Wooster managed to finish dead on the one hour and 42 minute mark for the bike ride, making him the winner of that. BBC Worldwide's team managed to build one of the few rafts that stayed together in the water to win the raft race. Some ÂŁ25K was raised on the day with more money still coming in.


www.toynews-online.biz

TOY TALK

69

JULY 2010


70

TOY TALK

TOY TALK HERE COME THE BELGIANS! ACTUALLY, THERE were no Belgians, but there were Portugese, Brazillians, Mexicans and assorted other World Cupbased collectives at the annual Argos Charity Fundraiser for the Teenage Cancer Trust, which once again held an It’s a Knockout style tournament for suppliers at Horwood House in Buckinghamshire. Teams were mixed and matched, with the Japan team eventually triumphing ahead of Portugal and Brazil. The Australian collective brought up the rear. The evening was capped off with the much appreciated arrival of a van full of fish and chips for famished, foamcovered, competitors. Some £6,000 was raised on the day, topping last year’s £4,000. Sponsors included Bandai, Character Options, Flair, HTI, Hasbro, Lego, Mattel, Megabrands, Tomy, Vivid, Vtech, MGAE and Spinmaster.

Competitors patiently wait for Stuart Hall to stop laughing.

MV Sports’ Phil Ratcliffe conquers the foam.

IMC’s Jon Gregory takes isotonic refreshment.

JULY 2010

Adam Yaffe of Martin Yaffe stays remarkably dry.

The rules of the chicken run are explained.


TOY TALK

www.toynews-online.biz

Good teamwork from the plucky Spanish.

71

Warner Bros’ Paul Bufton shows his leadership/skiing skills.

Here come the Brazillians...

Argos’ Ian Chaplin says a word of thanks.

The plucky Aussies clinched last place.

MGA’s Andrew Laughton becomes a casualty.

Good ball handling from Sally Plumridge.

The Mexicans celebrate mid-table respectability.

WowWee’s Graham Spark treats the wounded.

JULY 2010


72

TOY TALK

TOY TALK

New distributor for Rubik’s, denial from Hobbygames boss and has the toy industry missed an opportunity?...

Jon SALISBURY Observations from a toy industry survivor....

INCREASING CHINESE LABOUR rates, higher costs for resin and packaging and foreign exchange issues are some of the challenges facing the toy industry this year. But it doesn’t seem to have unsettled Mattel too much, with bosses confirming a sales growth target this year in the low to mid single digits, gross profit of 50 per cent of revenue and operating profit of 15-20 per cent of revenue. You’d settle for that, wouldn’t you? Further encouraging news comes with Toys R Us gearing up for what could be one of the biggest retail IPOs in recent years, raising about $800m. The IPO papers reveal little about bricks and mortar expansion but do confirm aggressive online plans. With virtual sales of $602m, the firm will be growing its international e-commerce base. "Our global e-commerce platform also provides the potential to enter new international markets where we do not have any physical stores," said CEO Gerry Storch. Storch helped to generate about 50 per cent more profit from the company last year but his compensation shot up 100 per cent to $4.7 million. It’s almost as if the recession never happened in toy world as banker style remunerations abound. What better way to celebrate these retro-style bonuses than with a glut of comeback toys? Thundercats and Voltron are the latest 1980s brands set for a comeback. However, it’s new IPs that are still the ultimate goal and, for the first time in its history, Mattel is launching a concept targeting tween and teen girls bringing together trendy teenage descendants of famous monsters in a high school. Tim Kilpin, GM of Mattel Brands said: "With Monster High, we are confident that through the development of relatable characters and clever storytelling, this property will resonate with girls of all ages." Someone’s been watching Twilight.

HOBBYGAMES DENIES SALE

JOHN ADAMS TAKES ON RUBIK’S CUBE

HOBBYGAMES’ boss John Maitland has strongly denied rumours that the firm is in administration and quickly seeking to find a buyer. Sources said Begbies Traynor had been appointed as the administrator tasked with finding someone to acquire the toys and games distributor, but Maitland flatly denied it to ToyNews, saying: “We’re continuing to trade.” Although he did admit: “I’ve been trying to sell the company for ten years”.

JOHN ADAMS has been appointed to distribute the Rubik's range of puzzles and games in the UK. The deal, signed with Seven Towns, the worldwide owners of the Rubik brand, will see John Adams and Toy Brokers distribute the range from January 1st 2011. David Hedley Jones, senior vice president, Rubik's Brand, Seven Towns, said: “We are pleased to welcome John Adams & Toy Brokers to the global Rubik family of over 80 retail distributors and look forward to working with them on the Rubik’s range of puzzles and games from 2011 onwards.”

AGENT PROFILE

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Bob Duxbury Who are your current agencies? Meccano, Gibson’s, Rebel Toys, KSG, Pocketbond, Artesania and Somerset Entertainment What ranges do you deal with? Various pre-school to adult games What regional area do you cover? The North of England, down to South Yorkshire How many retailers do you deal with? About 70 What do you enjoy most about being an agent? The variety of products I sell, meeting different people every day and, of course, the Toymaster Show What car do you drive? Peugeot 407

JULY 2010

What’s your selling secret/ top tip? Honesty gains you a customer’s trust that lets you sell the products that are best for everybody What’s your favourite service station? The one with the cheapest fuel. I sometimes use the roadside cafes that the HGV’s use Do you have any funny/ strange/ interesting stories from the road? I used to sell fireworks and on one particular call the customer asked if we could let one off to see how good they were. We went into his back garden and I passed him a packet of air bombs, he quickly pulled one out of the packet, pushed it in the soil and lit the fuse. I hadn’t realised that in his haste he had broken the spike

off and pushed it in the ground upside down. What normally goes up and BANG in the air blew a big hole in the ground and left us both with ringing ears. And on that he said, “I’ll have a gross of them”


TOY TALK

73

PRICE IS RIGHT Fisher-Price enjoyed a strong turn out of new and expectant parents at The Baby Show event at the NEC. With over 20,000 in attendance over the three day show. TV presenter, Katy Hill, showcased the Fisher-Price product range in an interview on the show’s stage, as well as making an appearance on the company’s new stand complete with interactive play zone. Wendy Hill, senior marketing manager, Fisher-Price, explained: “ The show has been a great success, with some great feedback from parents throughout the weekend. We’re very much looking forward to continuing to build the relationship with The Baby Show to further showcase the FisherPrice brand at the forthcoming Earl’s Court event.”

My Favourite Things Ashley Holman, Account Manager, Nickelodeon Consumer Products UK

LOST ‘ZELAS They might be irritating in the extreme to anyone not used to African football coverage, but surely the toy market missed a trick with the vuvuzela? Surely that should have been the product that kept the toy industry going this summer? Know what? Ironically, we blew it.

JULY 2010

Favourite album: Matchbox 20. More Than You Think You Are. ------------------------------------------------------------Film: From Russia, With Love. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Website: Facebook. As my social life sadly cannot function without it. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Hero: A combination of Richard Branson for his business acumen and SpongeBob SquarePants for his carefree and fun-filled approach to life. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Book: Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------TV programme: The Apprentice, Spooks or any of the fine productions made by Nickelodeon obviously. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------#1 single when you were born: Is There Something I Should Know? by Duran Duran ---------------------------------------------------------Magazine: GQ, as it has the perfect combination of lovely ladies and interesting commentary. ----------------------------------------------------------Holiday destination: Sri Lanka was amazing. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Pet: Californian corn snake called Claudia. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Game/toy: As a boy it was toy cars, now, the real thing. ---------------------------------------------------------------Food: Chateaubriand (greedily, all to myself though). ----------------------------------------------------------------Tipple: Guinness for a cold day, Kronenbourg for a warm day and gin for a drunk day. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Way to spend a weekend: Having won the morning’s hockey match, celebrating with the plus-one and a group of friends over lunch which rolls into dinner and beyond.


74

FEATURE PLANNER

AUGUST Construction Toys ● Plush ● Green Products TOYNEWS’ AUGUST issue will carry a round-up of what’s new in plush. Innovation continues to grow the category, with constantly updated technology making feature plush increasingly interactive and exciting, and new licences growing the products on offer. Also included in the August issue is the construction feature, which focuses on the bricks and blocks that make up this popular product sector. Finally, don’t miss the chance to prove the Environment Secretary wrong by highlighting your eco-friendly ranges.

Editorial deadline: Call for details

Advertising deadline: July 16th

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

TOYNEWS FIVES July 9th Powerleague, Barnet www.topcorner.co.uk

CHRISTMAS IN JULY Tuesday July 6th The Camden Centre, London www.christmasinjuly.co.uk

AUTUMN FAIR September 5th - 8th NEC, Birmingham www.autumnfair.com

THE LICENSING AWARDS Thursday September 9th Lancaster London hotel www.thelicensingawards.co.uk

KIND UND JUGEND September 16th - 19th Koelnmesse, Cologne www.kindundjugend.com

BRAND LICENSING EUROPE September 28th-30th Grand Hall, Olympia www.brandlicensingeurope.com

AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FALL TOY PREVIEW October 5th - 8th Dallas Market Centre, TX www.toyassociation.org

Got any events you would like to see added to the calendar? Email ronnie.dungan@intentmedia.co.uk

www.toynews-online.biz Editorial: 01992 535646 Advertising: 01992 535647 Intent Media is a member of the Periodical Publishers Associations

JULY 2010

ToyNews is published 12 times a year by Intent Media ~ Saxon House, 6a St. Andrew Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire SG14 1JA Fax: +44 (0)1992 535648 © Intent Media 2010 No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owners. ISSN: 1740-3308

Circulation & Subscriptions AUDITED CIRCULATION Average Net Circulation: 6,011 July 1st 2008 to June 30th 2009, SUBSCRIPTIONS UK: £50 Europe: £60 Rest of World: £90 The international cost applies per subscription and covers airmail dispatch of 12 issues

To order your subscription via Visa, MasterCard, Amex Switch or Delta contact toy.subscriptions@c-cms.com or call 01580 883 848. Alternatively visit our website www.toynews-online.biz Subscriptions Manager - Hannah Short Hannah.Short@intentmedia.co.uk


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We see the wrong sized glass Gem is a leading independent provider of logistics, distribution and sales services. We offer a wide range of bespoke supply-chain solutions and, because we are independent, we can offer an expert service with the flexibility that your particular industry demands.

Gem Logistics provides the following services to the Video Game, DVD and Toy markets: • • • • •

Importation Warehousing Telesales Inventory Reworking

• • • • •

Distribution Channel management Invoicing Cash collection Reverse logistics

Adding value to your business www.gemlogistics.co.uk Tel: 0845 456 6400 Salthouse Rd., Brackmills Ind. Est., Northampton, NN4 7BD


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Toy News July - issue 107