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Issue 119

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

INSIDE…

VIRTUAL SANITY How virtual worlds and apps are changing the toy business

MUM KNOWS BEST Why mummy bloggers should be your new best friends

BIG IN VEGAS All the key news from Licensing International

CRAFT WORKS We take a look at what’s new in the creative play sector

July 2011


www.bumpeez.com

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insert in each pack

pack of BumpeezÂŽ CDU

UK LAUNCH AUGUST HUGE TV + ONLINE CAMPAIGN 600+ TVRs also supported by sampling and covermount campaign EUROPE

BumpeezÂŽ by

BumpeezÂŽ

UK distribution

chip and ring

press

PR

www.gloweurope.com

license to Creative Communications for the Licensing Industry


Samantha Loveday

Contents REGULARS 4

News

6

Exclusive NPD analysis

8

Media Tracker

10

Appointments

12

Campaign of the Month

14

TV ratings

Editor Samantha.loveday@intentmedia.co.uk

Katie Roberts Deputy Editor Katie.Roberts@intentmedia.co.uk

Lewis Tyler Staff Writer Lewis.Tyler@intentmedia.co.uk

Emily Briggs Sales Manager

LICENSING

Emily.Briggs@intentmedia.co.uk

Suzanne Powles Production Manager Suzanne.Powles@intentmedia.co.uk

22

Licensing International News Round-up Dan Bennett Design Dan.Bennett@intentmedia.co.uk

FEATURES Jon Salisbury

17

Virtual worlds and apps

22

The rise of Mummy Bloggers

31

Sector Guide: Electronic Learning

34

Supplier Focus: DKL

36

Industry Services: Gem

39

Sector Guide: Dress-up

43

Supplier Focus: VTech

45

Sector Guide: Creative Play

Contributor jon@wotkidzwant.com

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

Editorial: 01992 535646 Advertising: 01992 535647

Intent Media is a member of the Periodical Publishers Associations

RETAIL 57

News

58

Counter Insurgent

58

Price Check

59

Retail Charts

60

New Products

63

Hero Product

AUDITED CIRCULATION: Average Net Circulation: 6,043 July 1st 2009 to June 30th 2010. www.toynews-online.biz ■ ToyNews circulation is 15.9% higher than its closest competitor. ■ ToyNews requested or paid for circulation is 23.4% higher than its closest competitor. ■ ToyNews has 100% named circulation and 0% duplication.

COMMENT THE SOCIAL NETWORK

AT LAST month’s Licensing International, the new brands which everyone wanted to seek out were the ones which were looking to make the move from the social media and interactive space. Buoyed by the success of Mind Candy’s Moshi Monsters (success which was underlined by the standing room only presentation), it seems that these properties are the next hot ticket. Toy companies, too, are getting in on the act. Vivid is selling out of its Moshi collection across the board, Character Options has Angry Birds plush, while Mattel created a board game. Merchandise for Club Penguin is already out and Stardoll products are coming soon. This new sector isn’t without its challenges. The toy industry traditionally moves quite slowly

It’s encouraging to see toy companies exploring ways they can work in social media. – mainly because of the safety aspects involved – while apps have a tendency to be cool one minute and terribly uncool the next. However, it’s encouraging to see the toy business embracing this new revenue stream. Meanwhile, following on from the news last month that collectables are driving toy market growth, newcomer Glow Europe is due to launch Bumpeez in August. You’ll notice the different characters appearing on various pages of this issue, and both retail and distribution execs have tipped it to be the next big thing. New companies and innovation are the lifeblood of the industry, and experimentation in new areas should always be seen as a good thing. Samantha Loveday Samantha.Loveday@intentmedia.co.uk


4

NEWS

Firms looking to garden centres for sales growth Wide range of companies already enjoying success in the sector, with products including plush and outdoor toys... by Samantha Loveday WITH TRADITIONAL High Street retail outlets remaining cautious on overstocking and taking on unproven ranges, more toy companies are turning to garden centres as another way of getting their products in front of consumers. A number of firms asked by ToyNews already have a presence in stores such as Dobbies, Hilltop Garden & Leisure, Garden & Leisure Group, Portmeirion Shops and Strikes among others. And many see the sector as a key part of their business plan going forward. “Our relationship with garden centres has always been very good, our range is ideally suited for this sector,” Dominic Whittle, director for Dowman Soft Touch explained to ToyNews. As well as its own ranges of plush British wildlife, garden animals and domestic pets, Dowman has enjoyed success with its Hari’s World line of merchandise, which Whittle says is ideally suited to garden centres. Verity Groom from Aurora Marketing also says that garden centres make up an important part of the firm’s business. Top selling products include Yoo Hoo & Friends, The Gruffalo, the plush range of Nature Babies, equestrian and

(L-R): Rainbow’s The Gruffalo, Hari’s World, Aurora’s Nature Babies

seasonal lines, plus ragdolls. “It is a good and stable relationship for us,” she commented. “We are looking to work with more garden centres in the future and do see them as a key part of our business plan.”

This key sector will always be part of our thinking. Anthony Temple, MD, Rainbow Designs For toy firms with outdoor products, garden centres are a good option for extra sales. Grossmans has been selling to the sector for about three or four years and boss Martin Grossman says

they will always be part of the mix. “The relationship has been very successful and garden centres are a great place to sell outdoor toys. They are obviously seasonal, but for ranges like scooters, which go well in the summer and as Christmas presents, then this isn’t a problem for us.” Rainbow Designs, meanwhile, has recently expanded its existing plush offering in the sector, introducing wooden toys such as peg puzzles and dominoes. New ranges such as The Gruffalo have also allowed the firm to produce outdoor toys including the Woodland Creature Cabin and The Gruffalo Catcher. “Working with garden centres has always been part of our strategy, but it is an area that we are particularly

focused on at present and are looking to expand,” managing director Anthony Temple told ToyNews. “Certain ranges and products lend themselves to the garden centre marketplace and so as we look to develop ranges this key sector will always be part of our thinking.” Dowman, too, will continue to grow its business in the sector, introducing more Hari’s World products shortly. “Certainly with the way garden centres themselves have changed over the last 20 years, broadening their product ranges and making a visit more appealing to all family members, there are now many more opportunities for suppliers from a broad range of sectors,” Whittle said.

Bumpeez backed as next collectable craze 28,000 UK retail outlets signed up to date ahead of August launch for Glow Europe IP by Samantha Loveday KIDS IN the UK are set to go mad for new collectable offering Bumpeez when they launch in August, according to key retail and distribution execs in the industry. Bumpeez consist of a circular chip, featuring 100 character designs, in a removable silicone ring which comes

JULY 2011

in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes. They will roll out from Glow Europe on August 24th. Priced at £1.99 per pack, the firm has so far signed up 28,000 UK retail outlets to distribute the range. Stuart Grant, buying director at The Entertainer, commented: “We loved them the minute we saw them. This will be the next craze in the UK. We are certain that kids will go mad for Bumpeez.” The UK will be the lead launch territory for the brand and plans are also in place for Bumpeez to be rolled out throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

It is the first IP for Glow Europe, which has traditionally worked in the promotional loyalty programme business and has produced over 200 million collectable toys. MD Jeroen Menting (right) said: “Extensive market research in the UK has shown that kids and parents who have trialled the product love Bumpeez, which re-inforced our belief that we were onto something big. The scope, spread and variety of retailers will mean that Bumpeez will be unavoidable when they launch this summer and we have every confidence that they will be the next must-own toy.”

Click Distribution and Seymour Distribution will be rolling out the Bumpeez to retail. “There is no doubt that it is one of the most exciting launches for the past few years,” pointed out Click’s Mark Hillier. “The product is superb, tactile and eminently collectable.” Glow Europe: +31 (0)1043 70066


NEWS

www.toynews-online.biz

Bandai links with latest boy band Firm teams up with Twenty Twenty to promote art and craft toy, Badge It... by Katie Roberts BANDAI HAS invited fans to use its hit badge making machine to design their own badge for new boy band Twenty Twenty to wear on their upcoming summer tour. The competition was promoted via a media partnership with teen website, Sugarscape, which encouraged fans to enter, as well as on the band’s own social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter and their website. In excess of 250 entries were sent in and the winner will see the band wearing their design, plus receive VIP tickets to Pontypridd Ponty’s Big Weekend, where they are supporting The Wanted. While there, the winner will also get a meet and greet with Twenty Twenty. Badge It was launched in 2003 and has continued to sell consistently year on year.

The competition winner will get to see Twenty Twenty wearing their design

Girls product manager at Bandai, Vicki Elmer commented: “We are really excited to be working with Twenty Twenty on this promotion alongside Badge It.

“It is a great way of getting our key audience to engage with the product and highlights one of the many uses of Badge It to teens across the country.” Bandai: 08456 028782

5

NPD boosted by TRU arrival NPD GROUP has revealed that Toys R Us will be joining its Toys Retail Panel in the UK. From the end of this summer, NPD will now add six additional retailers to its already 19-strong retail panelists, providing POS data for all major toy categories. As well as TRU, department stores Debenhams and John Lewis, plus High Street outlets Next and Wilkinsons and online specialist Play.com will bolster the panel. “We are delighted that these prominent retailers have agreed to participate in our panel,” commented Jez Fraser-Hook, director of NPD’s UK Toy service. “The addition of these six new retailers, including the largest toy specialist in Europe, Toys R Us, will add significant value to the information we report from our retail panel, and provide the industry with its most detailed view of the market to date.” Turn to page six for this month’s exclusive NPD data. NPD: 01932 355580

Zappies braces for Sonic and Halo toy launch by Lewis Tyler ZAPPIES’ COLLECTION of licensed toys featuring characters from hit video game franchises Sonic the Hedgehog and Halo will go on sale from August 29th. This year, Sonic celebrates its 25th anniversary and Halo its tenth. Two video games – Sonic Generations and Halo Anniversary – will be launched to recognise the milestones and hefty marketing campaigns are in the works for both. Zappies has timed the release of the toys to maximise buzz, hitting retail at the same time as the games. Andrew Hardwidge, sales director at Zappies, revealed to ToyNews: “We

Halo and Sonic items launch at retail from August 29th

have had a tremendous response to our ranges based on the Halo and Sonic characters. “Both licences will receive huge backing from Sega and Microsoft.”

Speaking about the advantages that video game brands have over traditional character licences, Hardwidge said: “The advertising budgets of some of the games

companies is huge, so children will see the pixelated heroes everywhere they look, so toys which are licensed to these characters are always in great demand. “More and more top characters are starting to come from computer games as they take up more of a child’s leisure time. “Video game characters broaden the age range of your target audience: children are excited by the character and teenagers and adults have grown up with Sonic – this allows us to target a far wider range of retailers who will be able to sell the products.” Zappies: 01273 467512


6

NPD RESEARCH

Retail Sales Trends

Properties

Outdoor and sports surge as weather heats up THE MOVEMENT of the Easter holidays from March to April had an impact on monthly sales, which were up an impressive 24 per cent. This aided the year to date April toy market value to growth of nine per cent and volume to growth of two per cent compared to 2010. Average selling price rose again versus 2010, as the higher priced items remain popular. Seven super categories increased in April, with the fastest growth being seen in the outdoor and sports toys and plush categories. The warm dry days in April, coinciding with the long weekends, were a boost for the outdoor and sports category, which grew by 45 per cent for the month. Areas which showed particularly strong growth within this category included pools and water guns, as the value of both of the sectors more than doubled compared to April 2010 sales. Playground equipment and sports activities also saw strong year on year growth. Little Tikes and Smart Trike were the number one and number two properties, respectively, in this sector, while Nerf and Super Soaker from Hasbro had a strong month and ended up the third and fourth largest properties. Plush growth, up 45 per cent, was driven by Furreal and Animagic, while ZhuZhu Pets remained the number one plush property as the trend for fake pet properties remained strong for girls. However,

Sales (value, year to date)

YTD 2010

Source: NPD

JULY 2011

YTD 2011

9%

April 2011 1. LITTLE TIKES 2. STAR WARS 3. LEGO CITY 4. TOY STORY 5. HELLO KITTY & FRIENDS

Best Property Progression April 2011

EASY SET Warm weather sales have pushed the Intex brand from 257 to 32...

The first four months of the year are traditionally a quieter period. However, with growth in seven super categories and a variety of new items on the market making significant headway, overall it has been a positive start to the year. Hello Kitty sales more than doubled from April 2010 and it is now the number one property in traditional plush. Other fast growing plush properties included Moshi Monsters and Club Penguin. “The first four months of the year are traditionally a quieter period for the toy industry and only account for a total of 20 per cent of annual sales,” says Jez Fraser-Hook, director

of NPD Group’s toy business in the UK. “However, with growth in seven super categories and a variety of new items on the market making significant headway, overall it has been a positive start to the year.” He continues: “With the summer blockbusters such as Cars 2 and Transformers still to be released, there is much to look forward to in 2011 for the toy industry.”

Average price

UK toy sales

Top 5 properties

April 10: £5.75

Apr 11: £6.26

Best Item Progression April 2011

Super Soaker Point Break (Hasbro) Another beneficiary of the spring sunshine, the Super Soaker Point Break shot up from 472 to 21…


NPD RESEARCH

www.toynews-online.biz

Retail Sales Trends UK APRIL 2011 (£ SALES - VALUE)

UK APRIL 2011 (UNIT SALES - VOLUME)

1

MINIFIGURES

LEGO

1

MINIFIGURES

2

LITTLE TIKES COZY COUPE 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

MGA

2

MOSHI MONSTERS MASH UP TRADING CARD GAME

3

STAR WARS TROOPER BATTLE PACK

4

BEN 10 ULTIMATE ALIEN 10 CM ASSORTMENT

5

SMART TRIKE PLUS GIRLS

6

NEBULUS FOLDING SCOOTER ASSORTMENT

7

BEYBLADES BATTLE TOP ASSORTMENT

8

NINJAGO SPINNER WAVE 1

9

HOT WHEELS BASIC CAR ASSORTMENT

10

NERF BARRICADE MREV-10

LEGO

3

HOT WHEELS BASIC CAR ASSORTMENT

BANDAI

4

MATCH ATTAX 2010/2011 PACKETS

MINIFIGURES

2

BEN 10 ULTIMATE ALIEN 10CM ASSORTMENT

5

ROYAL WEDDING

6

HALO WARS HERO ASSORTMENT

HASBRO

7

MATCHBOX 1 75 MINATURES ASSORTMENT

MATTEL

LEGO

8

BEN 10 ULTIMATE ALIEN 10 CM ASSORTMENT

BANDAI

MATTEL

9

SUPER TIPS BRIGHT 12

HASBRO

10

PLAY-DOH SINGLE TUB ASSORTMENT

LEGO

1

MINIFIGURES

BANDAI

2

MATCH ATTAX 2010/2011 PACKETS

STAR WARS TROOPER BATTLE PACK

LEGO

3

HOT WHEELS BASIC CAR ASSORTMENT

NINJAGO SPINNER WAVE 1

LEGO

4

MOSHI MONSTERS MASH UP TRADING CARD GAME

5

KIDIZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA

6

BEYBLADES BATTLE TOP ASSORTMENT

7

LITTLE TIKES COZY COUPE 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

8

BAKUGAN STARTER PACK DISNEY FEATURING RAPUNZEL ZHUZHU HAMSTER PACKS ASSORTMENT

PANINI MEGA BRANDS

VIVID HASBRO

UK YEAR TO DATE (UNIT SALES - VOLUME)

4

10

TOPPS

MOOKIE

3

9

MATTEL

H GROSSMAN

UK YEAR TO DATE (£ SALES - VALUE) 1

LEGO TOPPS

LEGO TOPPS MATTEL TOPPS

VTECH

5

BEN 10 ULTIMATE ALIEN 10CM ASSORTMENT

BANDAI

HASBRO

6

CARS CHARACTER ASSORTMENT

MATTEL

MGA

7

CRAYOLA SUPER TIPS BRIGHT 12

VIVID

SPIN MASTER

8

HALO WARS HERO ASSORTMENT

MEGA BRANDS

MATTEL

9

PLAY-DOH SINGLE TUB ASSORTMENT

10

MATCHBOX 1 75 MINATURES ASSORTMENT

CHARACTER

HASBRO MATTEL

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

STATS

Media tracker COMMENTS

Behind THE SCREEN By Clive Crouch MORE KIDS TV equals less. Earlier this year Broadcast published the statistics for output across all genres. This was particularly good news for children's programmes, with an increase in production hours of 513 in 2010 compared to 442 in 2009. The independent producers in this sector have managed to overcome difficult times, competing on a far from level playing field to grow their respective business. The BBC continues to invest in kids production along with Channel Five (Milkshake). However, Ofcom did nothing to prevent ITV deconstructing this path of production when first removing its weekday kids terrestrial block, sacrificing top shows like My Parents are Aliens, followed by the weekend's live kids show Toonattik last year. One of the most creative and fruitful segments of children’s TV over the years has been born out of the 08.30 to 09.30 hour at weekends. From May 7th through to September 3rd, ITV has removed children's programmes from this time band and replaced them with a repeat of a house show on both Saturdays and Sundays, meaning almost half of those 71 hours of additional kids production achieved last year has been removed. The impact goes far deeper than the simple arithmetic. That primetime kids terrestrial segment has produced an immense amount of top TV talent over many years. To name just a few – Noel Edmunds and Philip Schofield – plus more recently Cat Deeley, Fearne Cotton, Ant & Dec and Dick & Dom. Where would the networks' big talent,

reality and quiz shows be today without those former kids presenters as their show hosts? In real terms the loss is far greater than 71 extra kids production hours, it eats into the talent opportunity and the talent production line. Given the availability to view at that time of the weekend, either BBC has got it wrong or ITV has got it right. Perhaps it is neither. While we wait to judge the outcome in terms of the kids and the advertisers returning, or not, the talent – new or old – will not return. The hosts were replaced last year by graphics bugs and animation. CITV is trying really hard, Horrid Henry has established a large and loyal following in the CITV schedule and has been joined more recently by Almost Naked Animals, which has all the makings of a really big hit show. At the younger end, with the pending launch of a delightful UKproduced piece of pre-school entitled Olly, all is far from lost. However, CITV will have to weave its way through the schedule, as the Rugby World Cup arrives in its space this September. Children and the advertisers will have to fall into a very different time pattern of viewing in order to find the big autumn ratings. The even bigger challenge is off screen and rests in-house. CITV faces a huge task to be heard within ITV and to be seen and recognised as a business across all fronts on all platforms. That is the playing field for the 26-plus children's channels that broadcast in the UK – having a strong terrestrial children's offering is a major advantage within a multichannel strategy.

www.clivecrouch.com info@clivecrouch.com 07831 670453

JULY 2011

Grocers account for just over a third of all spend on toys but over 58 per cent of all units sold. In general, specialist and mixed average selling price is higher than grocers across total toys, but is driven in part to the product mix available by channel rather than just price differences between the channels.

SOURCE: NPD

MARKET VALUE YEAR TO DATE (APRIL)

2010

2011

£200M

£150M

£100M

£50M

£0

£198.7m SOURCE: NPD

£216.1m


STATS

www.toynews-online.biz

9

TV insight from former GMTV veteran, Clive Crouch; toy market value; top licensed toys and comparative market data on all manner of entertainment products….

CHANNEL SPLITS (ON EPOS) YTD APRIL 2011

AVERAGE SELLING PRICE FOR TOTAL TOYS

VALUE %

UNITS %

100%

100%

GROCERS

34.7%

58.3%

SPECIALIST & MIXED

65.3%

41.7%

TOTAL

YTD APRIL 2011

APRIL 2011

£5.89

£6.26

GROCERS

£3.71

£3.97

SPECIALIST & MIXED

£9.03

£9.83

TOTAL

100%

£15.00

75%

£11.25

50%

£7.50

25%

£3.75

0%

£0.00 UNITS %

VALUE %

£5.89

SOURCE: NPD

SOURCE: NPD

TOP 10 PAID FOR APPS GAMES: KIDS

MOVIES

1

KUNG FU PANDA

2

YTD APRIL 2011

APRIL 2011

£6.26

THQ

1

GREEN LANTERN

PEPPA PIG – POLLY PARROT

P2 GAMES

2

KUNG FU PANDA 2

3

PEPPA PIG – HAPPY MRS CHICKEN

P2 GAMES

3

BAD TEACHER

4

IN THE NIGHT GARDEN

BBC WORLDWIDE

4

THE HANGOVER PART 2

5

AIRPORT MANIA 2: WILD TRIPS

LEMON GAMES

5

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

6

BUBBLE SHOOTER PRO

HIDDEN SWEET

6

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGERTIDES WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

7

MONKEY PRESCHOOL LUNCHBOX

THUP

7

SENNA

8

HUMF

P2 GAMES

8

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID 2: RODRICK RULES

9

CUPCAKES

MAVERICK SOFTWARE

9

POTICHE

MARS DISTRIBUTION

10 HONEY 2

UNIVERSAL

10 IDRESS – FASHION STUDIO

SOURCE: APPLE APP STORE

TOY BOX

WARNER BROS PARAMOUNT COLUMBIA PICTURES WARNER BROS 20TH CENTURY FOX

UNIVERSAL 20TH CENTURY FOX

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

JULY 2011


10

APPOINTMENTS

INDUSTRY MOVES Ex-Corinthian exec joins Golden Bear, new NAM for Sambro, Aldridge moves to Flair, Worlds Apart hires two, Chicco names new MD, Issit moves up at Rubie’s, DKL takes on Scottish agent, Coiledspring adds Sales and Customer Service Director … FROM LEFT: Barry Hughes, Nic Aldridge and Stacy Hunt...

Golden Bear has hired ex-Corinthian exec, Barry Hughes, who joins the team as commercial director. In his new role, Hughes will be focusing on strengthening the international side of the business, as well as trade and retail marketing. John Hales, chairman, said: “Barry will be an excellent addition to our management team bringing to the company many years’ experience in the toy industry.” Andrew Taylor has moved to Sambro from HTI. He joins the firm as national account manager. Taylor commented: “I am really excited to work with ‘Disney’s Licensee of the Year’. Sambro is an exciting company and boasts an incredible range of products and licences at terrific prices.” Nic Aldridge has taken on the role of senior marketing manager at Flair, focusing on the boys’ category. Peter Brown, CEO, commented: “After an extensive industry search, I am pleased to welcome Nic Aldridge to the team. “This was an incredibly important role to fill, having increased the boys’ portfolio considerably this year and

with exciting projects such as Monsuno ahead of us. In Nic, I believe we have found exactly the right candidate for the task ahead.” Aldridge joins with a wealth of experience and marketing skills in the boys sector. In previous roles, which include his last stint at Vivid, he has worked with many brands including Toy Story, WWE and Pirates of the Caribbean. Worlds Apart has hired Pasquale Cappetta as senior national account manager and Stacy Hunt as the new category controller. Capetta has been working in the industry for over 12 years, with roles at RC2, Character Options and Smoby. In his new role, he will be focusing on developing a strategy for the online business channel. Stacy Hunt is also experienced, having spent seven years buying and developing product across boys, infant and pre-school, games and outdoor toys. Having worked for Argos, Tesco and Mothercare/ELC, Hunt has been appointed as the new category controller at Worlds Apart. Artsana UK has welcomed Mitch Levene as the new MD for Chicco.

Levene moves from Avent UK and prior to that was VP of sales for Leapfrog, working on the nursery brand. His CV also includes a period in senior management at Coca-Cola. Roberto Marelli, Artsana Group European director, said: “We’re delighted to have Mitch on board and we are looking forward to introducing him to our colleagues and customers within the industry.” Chris Isitt, MD of Rubie’s UK, has been named vice president of EMEA and Australia following a successful 12 years for Rubie’s UK. Isitt has played an integral part in the international growth of the dressup company and the appointment is a pivotal move from the Beige family to ensure the ongoing development of the EMEA and Australia markets. Rubie’s UK licensing, sales and marketing teams will continue to make a major contribution to the international business and support its further growth. Marc Beige, Rubie’s president, commented: “Chris will work with me to increase the turnover of our sister companies in Europe and Australia and help develop the

relationships with our distributor markets across EMEA.” Michael Wares has been appointed as Scottish agent for DKL. Wares has many years experience in the toy trade and will be selling all of DKL’s ranges. David Allan, sales director, DKL, commented: “I am pleased that an experienced and well respected agent as Michael has joined us and we look forward to growing the business together in Scotland. “Michael joins DKL Marketing at a time of continued growth and expansion as we are taking on new brands with quality ranges.” Stephen Woodman has joined Coiledspring as sales and customer service director, with a background in retail banking. Woodman brings a wide knowledge of delivering strong customer service. In his new role, Woodman will be focusing on the growth of the company’s relationships with independent retailers. With the addition of Schmidt as a partner for Coiledspring, 2011 is already proving to be a very busy year for the firm.

ADVERTISING ON TELLY DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HIT & MISS


12

CAMPAIGN OF THE MONTH

Polly Pocket Mattel This month, Mattel launches Polly Pocket’s Best Day Ever campaign with an extensive 360 degree marketing programme. The national promotion is supported by TV, online, print, partnership and in-store activity...

ALL ACTIVITY directs to a high impact microsite which brings to life the brand values of fun, friends and adventure that make Polly Pocket’s Best Day Ever. The site encourages girls to share their ultimate best day ever and the best will come true. TV A year-long television advertising campaign sees Polly Pocket appear on screen every month throughout 2011, with Polly’s Best Day Ever the focus this month. National promotion A large scale national partnership with Chessington World of Adventures supports the promotion with money can’t buy prizes to be won. Online and Print Ads A digital advertising campaign will see Polly Pocket’s Best Day Ever feature on leading children’s websites, while a series of print ads will feature in key younger girls magazines. Partnership Polly Pocket has also launched a partnership with Girl Guiding UK for direct to girl communication of the campaign, with exclusive content including an online game, competitions and group activities for Rainbows. www.pollypocketbestdayever.co.uk

JULY 2011


70

TOY CAMPAIGNS ON OUR CHANNELS HAVE PROVEN TO BE HIGHLY EFFECTIVE AND CONSISTENTLY LEAD TO SALES BOOSTS OF 17%.* Whatever size your brand and budget, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a hit waiting fo you on our channels. Switch on to TV today: visit www.turnermediainnovations.com/toynews or call our Sales Director, Andrew Mallandaine, on 0207 693 1143 *Source: Data2Decisions TMI Effectiveness Project 2006 -2011


14

AIRTIME STATISTICS

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

SHOWS ACROSS ALL TIMES MAY 11 CHANNEL

1

TITLE/DESCRIPTION

CITV/ITV PHINEAS AND FERB

SHOWS ACROSS ALL TIMES YTD MAY 11 TVR

%

OOOs

AIRINGS

CHANNEL

TITLE/DESCRIPTION

TVR

%

OOOs

AIRINGS

2.30

20

200

2

1

CITV/ITV HORRID HENRY

1.50

15

126

30

2 CITV/ITV SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS

2.00

19

166

8

2 CITV/ITV PHINEAS AND FERB

2.00

15

175

8

3 CBBC

DENNIS AND GNASHER

1.60

18

139

25

3 CITV/ITV SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS

1.60

14

137

23

4 CBBC

ARTHUR

1.30

16

109

52

4 CBBC

HEDZ

1.30

13

109

22

5 CBBC

SCHOOL OF SILENCE

2.60

15

217

12

5 CBBC

SCHOOL OF SILENCE

2.40

13

204

20

6 CBEEBIES BIG CITY PARK

0.50

15

42

19

6 CBBC

TRACY BEAKER'S THE MOVIE OF ME 1.40

13

115

4

7 CBEEBIES BIG COOK LITTLE COOK

0.60

14

50

8

7 CBEEBIES BITS AND BOBS

0.50

13

46

130

8 CBBC

THE STORY OF TRACY BEAKER

2.10

14

176

54

8 CBBC

THE SCOOBY DOO SHOW

1.70

13

147

122

9 CBBC

ROAR

2.00

13

169

20

9 CBBC

LEAGUE OF SUPER EVIL

1.30

13

110

67

10 CBBC

SORRY, I'VE GOT NO HEAD

2.20

13

183

7

10 CBBC

TRACY BEAKER RETURNS

2.00

13

167

123

COMMERCIAL MULTICHANNEL SHOWS (ALL TIMES) MAY 11 CHANNEL

1

TITLE/DESCRIPTION

CITV/ITV PHINEAS AND FERB

TVR

%

COMMERCIAL MULTICHANNEL SHOWS (ALL TIMES) YTD MAY 11

OOOs

AIRINGS

CHANNEL

TITLE/DESCRIPTION

TVR

%

OOOs

AIRINGS

2.30

20

200

2

1

CITV/ITV HORRID HENRY

1.50

15

126

30

2 CITV/ITV SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS

2.00

19

166

8

2 CITV/ITV PHINEAS AND FERB

2.00

15

175

8

3 CITV/ITV BABAR AND BADOU

0.30

13

28

8

3 CITV/ITV SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS

1.60

14

137

23

4 CITV/ITV BOBLINS

0.10

12

8

7

4 CITV/ITV BABAR AND BADOU

0.30

12

25

44

5 ITV1/BFAST PHINEAS AND FERB

1.30

11

112

2

5 CITV/ITV HANDY MANNY

0.20

11

20

24

6 CITV/ITV ANNABEL'S KITCHEN

0.40

10

35

5

6 CITV/ITV CURIOUS GEORGE

0.40

11

38

10

7 CITV

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS

1.00

10

83

8

7 CITV/ITV THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT... 0.50

11

39

18

8 ITV1/BFAST SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS

1.00

10

83

8

8 CITV/ITV HANNAH MONTANA

1.70

11

144

17

9 CITV/ITV FLUFFY GARDEN

0.20

10

13

5

9 CITV/ITV THE HIVE

0.20

11

13

22

10 CITV/ITV JUNGLE JUNCTION

0.20

10

21

10

10 CITV/ITV ANNABEL'S KITCHEN

0.40

10

35

7

SOURCE: INFOSYS/BARB.

JULY 2011

NOTE: THESE CHARTS ARE BASED ON AVERAGE PERFORMANCE


www.toynews-online.biz

SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIAL VIRTUAL WORLDS/APPS

17

From server to shelf Characters from virtual worlds and mobile apps are appearing more and more in the toy aisles. Katie Roberts talks to developers of some of the key kids apps and sites to find out more about the trend… LONG-STANDING and successful licensed toys have traditionally been based first on published characters, and then on TV properties. Think Paddington Bear, Mr Men, the various Disney icons and more recently, Peppa Pig, In The Night Garden and Ben 10, to name but a few. But there’s a new kid in town. The developers of apps and virtual worlds are increasingly branching out into physical product with licensing programmes including toys, games, magazines and more. With the internet and mobile phones becoming increasingly prevalent in kids’ lives, it seems the characters and worlds held within are catching their imagination. Jeff Jones, VP and general manager, digital games, The Walt Disney Company EMEA, explains: “Virtual worlds provide a really immersive and engaging storytelling environment. In Disney Club Penguin, kids can play their part in adding to the story-world, enhancing the experience not only for themselves but also for other players. “In a virtual world you can include the little back stories and tangential things that make the experience even more entertaining, which in turn can help kids create their own myths.” He adds: “Kids love gaming, they enjoy having a digital dialogue with their favourite characters, they want to influence the journeys their character takes and with this kind of connection it’s no wonder that they also want to prop them up on their pillow too.”

Kids love gaming, they enjoy having a digital dialogue with their favourite characters and with this kind of connection, it’s no wonder they want to prop them up on their pillow too. Jeff Jones, VP and GM, digital games, Disney EMEA In this interactive, immersive environment, it’s clear why children are becoming more attached to its characters. But is this licensing model likely to overtake more traditional routes to market? Outfit7 is the creator of apps including Talking Tom Cat, Talking Larry the Bird, Talking Gina the Giraffe and many more. The firm’s chief marketing officer, Paul Baldwin, thinks apps and virtual worlds are the way forward for licensees.

He offers: “Because of the interactive nature of apps, they may one day overtake TV. Watching TV is a passive experience, while touching and speaking to an app is an interactive experience.” Darran Garnham, head of global licensing at Mind Candy, the creators of Moshi Monsters, believes while new media is taking a share of the revenue, the two are likely to exist side by side. He says: “The fact of life is that all media is now accessible on numerous devices away from the traditional TV and big screen. “The power is no longer in the hands of powerful Hollywood or television executives to what kids watch and when. The accessibility for kids to use PCs, laptops and all the gadgets Apple offers has opened a new world of opportunities. “However, TV and big production movies will always have a place in the home, you can’t ignore the social nature of watching something with popcorn in hand – but the new kids on the block like Mind Candy will be taking more shelf space at retail.” Many of the early ‘virtual licensors’ began their businesses without incorporating licensing into the plan. Kat Delarvé, director of licensing at Stardoll, tells ToyNews: “Stardoll.com was not started with a plan to do toys or any other physical products. Stardoll was created to give girls a place on the web to be creative and to express themselves through fashion and design. “For us that will always be the driver and that is why our fashion dolls we have created together with Mattel will have a strong tie in to the virtual world of Stardoll.com, unlocking exclusive virtual replicas of the doll fashions for your own Avatar (MeDoll) and much more.” Jones agrees and explains the ‘pester power’ that Disney experienced from users to create a toy line: “When Club Penguin was founded the ambition was to create an online environment that was entertaining and fun for kids and JULY 2011


18

SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIAL VIRTUAL WORLDS/APPS

with safety at its heart, provide peace of mind for parents. “As the community grew, there were increasing requests from members to have plush, video games and lots of other toys. We are in a really privileged position where kids can get in touch with us directly and tell us what they want.” Users have also helped to develop licensed ranges further: “It was off the back of requests from kids that the Puffle and Penguin plush came, as well as our successful Nintendo DS and Wii games, all of which provide connectivity to the virtual world. New requests come in every day and we’ve got more exciting products in development as a result.” One of the most recognised apps is Angry Birds. Rovio’s game grew steadily from its launch in December 2009 to become number one in the App Store and something of a cult hit. The news that a toy line was on its way didn’t break until a year later. Potential licensees contact Rovio on a daily basis, but the firm is careful when choosing partners. Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka told ToyNews’ sister publication, MCV: “We turn most down. We’ve been very selective so far. The Mattel game really made sense – and they have massive distribution in retail.

JULY 2011

“There have been so many suggestions, but the products we actually like are the ones that are a bit different. We have been looking at opportunities in sports for instance. It’s a case of ‘expect the

further along the line, now that the model has proved successful, it’s likely that many will build the extra revenue stream into early plans. Baldwin offers: “We are working on a line of toys, games, books and apparel in addition to film and TV. We had the vision that our characters appeal would extend beyond apps hence the licensing programme.” Garnham believes this will become the norm: “I think now that the code has been cracked and products from apps/online worlds are translating into retail sales, moving forward we’ll see companies building new applications and keeping one eye on the revenue available in physical merchandise. However without a good product first it won’t resonate with consumers.”

Now the code has been cracked and products from apps/online worlds are translating into retail sales, moving forward we’ll see firms keeping one eye on the revenue available in physical merchandise. Darran Garnham, Head of Global Licensing, Mind Candy unexpected’ from us. But at the same time it has to work with the brand.” Despite many of the existing licensors coming to physical goods

A strong property is also important when ensuring product doesn’t hit shelves when the app or virtual world has waned in popularity.

Jones says: “The one thing that works in the licensee’s favour is that the success of a virtual world does not happen overnight. It takes time to build community but longevity comes from this, so just like any investment it’s important to watch and understand the market.” Delarvé foresees a different problem with timing: “It is equally difficult for a brand offline as for a brand online to stay relevant and successful. The difficulty is rather that virtual worlds have a quicker pace of innovation and product development than offline properties making it necessary to update offline products continuously.” As with product development, the renewal of content is often carried

ALL CHANGE Gary Pope, co-founder of Kids Industries, offers his thoughts about the rapidly changing interactive world for children… WEBSITES ARE dead. Well, they’re not quite dead, but there’s a big fat water pistol poised to blow their coding to oblivion. And this is especially true if you make toys. Let me explain. By 2015 the world will have 15 billion connected devices, which will be in the hands of just four billion people. That’s 3.75 devices per person. We’re not talking about pass-back tech. We’re now talking hand-down tech. There’s a reason children engage more on a touch screen – it’s easier, intuitive and they can do it ever younger. Children mainly use the computer for a quick fix of gameplay or video. So, it’s not difficult to see why an app that launches in four seconds, versus a website that you’ll get to after about four minutes of Windows chugging into life, will one day inherit the marketing dollars. They weren’t joking when they said it changed everything. It has. Of course microsites have a place in toy campaigns, but has the toy industry

embraced this medium yet? Not really. It’s still playing catch up. It’s safe to say now that to pin your entire campaign to TV is missing a huge, measurable opportunity. The use of digital is a massive opportunity and few companies do it right. There are exceptions – but not many. But what about those big immersive virtual worlds? They make money right? Some do. A few might. Most never will. The creators so often don’t understand, as you do, what it takes to make a credible experience for children. The toy world got all excited about Moshi Monsters and with good reason. But it is just another property that has accelerated its global reach through technology. It has been among the first to move from server to shelf. But is this really surprising? No. Children are spending more time online than watching TV. Moshi Monsters isn’t at the pinnacle of available tech and no matter how much it is ‘kept fresh’ eventually, the

audience catches up with you and you turn mainstream. Nothing wrong with that in terms of clout but it’s a bit like ITV after the digital explosion or Facebook now your nan is on it. It’s the wild west out there right now. What the next big thing is no one knows but it’s coming and when it does, Moshi and Penguin and Stardoll and…oh, the list goes on, will have to try harder. And that can only be a good thing. So, where does this all leave the toy industry? At a cross roads. It’s not clear if the toy industry speaks digital. The language of children is interactive, it’s transmedia, it’s instant and it’s connected. It doesn’t matter whether you communicate with them through digital or create a revenue generating experience through digital, you just have to get on with it. Because if you don’t, you’ll still be stood at the cross roads when everything changes again. By the way, did you get your ToyNews app yet?


20

SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIAL VIRTUAL WORLDS/APPS

THE NUMBER CRUNCH by Lewis Tyler MOST POPULAR KIDS GAMES

CHILD INTERNET USAGE

(Source: comScore February 2011)

(Source: Ofcom UK Children’s media Literacy 26/03/10)

Monthly Users Club Penguin Moshi Monsters Stardoll Habbo Hotel

1.224m 927,000 754,000 481,000

UK SOCIAL NETWORK SITES out with the help of the kids. Jones continues: “Our players can have an instant dialogue with us, they can let us know what they want to see in the world, the kind of parties, quests and games they’d like to play or the toys they want. As a virtual world we are in constant development and can more easily include ideas from the community into this process.” It seems like a win win situation. But, the all-important question is what makes a successful digital property in the first place? Garnham muses: “This is the million, even billion, dollar questions. Know and listen to your audience

and give them a quality product – kids deserve the best. Don’t be afraid to take some risks and continue to build on key factors to keep the brand fresh.” Jones’ theory: “The first priority has to be creating an immersive environment with great characters, an engaging story-world with lots of games and challenges.” And Baldwin believes: “It’s the same thing for all ages. It’s creating engaging characters that people connect emotionally with. The exact same thing that Disney or Pixar employ. Character first, then success will come.”

(Source: Experian Hitwise, May 2011) Share of Visits (per cent) 1 Facebook 2 YouTube 3 Twitter 4 Yahoo Answers 5 Gumtree 6 Tumblr 7 LinkedIn 8 Moshi Monsters 9 Myspace 10 Club Penguin

54.80% 20.03% 2.89% 2.19% 1.50% 0.64% 0.60% 0.53% 0.46% 0.37%

ONE IN eight children aged eight to 11 and three in ten aged 12 to 15, have internet access in their bedroom. 12 per cent of parents of children aged five to 15 with a mobile phone say their child uses it to access the internet. Seven in ten children aged 12 to 15 with the internet at home have a social networking profile, compared to five in ten in 2008. One in five eight to 11 year olds have set up a profile, which is also an increase since 2008 (16 per cent). Despite Facebook having an age limit of 13, one in five children aged eight to 12 who use the internet at home say they have a Facebook profile. 25 per cent of eight to 12 year olds using the internet say they have a profile on Facebook, Bebo or Myspace.

THE FLIP SIDE P2 GAMES is a Kent-based video game developer specialising in licensed pre-school titles. Most of the firm’s success has come in the Nintendo DS market, where its Peppa Pig titles proved popular. However, the recent drop in Nintendo sales perpetuated a move into the app space for P2 and licences have aided the eOne partner in the competitive app market. More and more parents are prepared to put their iPhones in their kids’ hands. The popularity of licensed games in the App Store kids chart shows that parents identify characters like Peppa as a way to entertain kids.

Gerry Whiteside, director of P2, explains: “The icon is key to success on iTunes and if you do not have an instantly recognisable image then the consumer is less likely to look at the app, their attention span is so limited that you have to grab consumer interest very quickly or accept they will swiftly move on to the next title in the list. “Licensing allows P2 to plan and deliver results in the market, for sure, but it also comes with it’s own challenges of having to gain approvals from the licensor who can quite rightly be very particular about the style and content of the game.”

LICENSED TO SELL WITH ONLINE audiences stretching well into the millions, virtual licences have undoubted potential. Here are some of the products on offer so far… MATTEL Angry Birds Knock on Wood Board Game Based on the app, Knock on Wood contains three Angry Birds, green pigs, one slingshot-style launcher, structure pieces and mission cards Stardolls fashion dolls are due to launch in the UK in the near future.

JAKKS PACIFIC Club Penguin Plush A coin is included with each unique penguin, which has a code to unlock items on the Club Penguin website.

JULY 2011

VIVID Moshi Monsters Collectables Each pack includes five different random Moshlings and comes with a secret code for a free in-game item. Moshi Monsters Plush Available in regular, talking and back pack buddy versions. TOPPS Moshi Monsters Mash Up The Trading Card Game comes in 80p packs and each pack of cards comes with a special code that unlocks a free virtual item at moshimonsters.com. Starter pack available.


22

SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIAL MUMMY BLOGGERS

Mum knows best Mummy bloggers have seen something of a revolution over the last few years and the toy industry is working hard to utilise their skills. Katie Roberts chatted to a number of industry execs to see how they are integrating the social networking sites into their marketing campaigns… IF YOU haven’t noticed the increasing army of mummy, and more recently, daddy bloggers, over the last few years, you may have been living in a dark cave. First to really take off in a big way was Facebook, then Twitter and now the mummy and daddy bloggers of the world seem to be enjoying their moment in the limelight. Mummy and daddy bloggers (MBs) are, as the name suggests, parents who blog about daily life with a family, the trials and tribulations and of course, delights of kids, parenting and all that comes with it. Who better then, for suppliers to send toy samples to for review? The writers have first hand experience of children playing and have no bias or alliances with manufacturers to affect their opinions. Roger Martin of Coiledspring explains: “The decision to send products to mummy bloggers was a bit of a no-brainer. They are our target market and are hugely influential both with other bloggers and parents in general. We know from talking to parents that they’ll often trust the review of a parent blogger more than, say, the advertising of a big company.” The trust and respect for MBs is one of the key attractions to integrating them into a marketing plan. Wendy Hill, senior marketing manager, Fisher-Price, tells ToyNews: “The online community is becoming

increasingly important in influencing purchasing decisions. Mummy bloggers provide a great way for us to

The online community is becoming increasingly important in influencing purchasing decisions. Mummy bloggers provide a great way to reach out to mums with a strong voice in the online world. Wendy Hill, senior marketing manager, Fisher-Price reach out to mums who have a strong voice in the online world for unbiased product reviews.”

Top ten blogs (via Tots100.com 16/6/11) 1.

Red Ted Art (www.redtedart.com)

2. Sticky Fingers (stickyfingers1.blogspot.com) 3. Crystal Jigsaw (crystaljigsaw.blogspot.com) 4. Playing by the Book (www.playingbythebook.net) 5. Maison Cupcake (blog.maisoncupcake.com) 6. Frugal Family (www.frugalfamily.co.uk) 7.

Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman (exmoorjane.blogspot.com)

8=. Madame Guillotine (madameguillotine.org.uk) 8=. Tinned Tomatoes (www.tinnedtomatoes.com) 9. Attic 24 (attic24.typepad.com/weblog) 10. Bambino Goodies (www.bambinogoodies.co.uk)

JULY 2011

Due to the unlimited space on a blog, reviews can be as lengthy as possible, allowing for more detailed

descriptions, useful when launching more complex products. Lucy Wynn Jones, head of licensing, Worlds Apart, comments: “The detail and insight provided by MBs and their kids is second to none and we feel this will really help explain the innovative design and versatile nature of our new toy.” And of the many manufacturers who have worked with MBs, many say they have seen a direct increase in sales. Will Sharman, head of sales, Maps Toys, says: “We have found that the buzz generated by some of the product reviews we set up resulted in increased sales for some of our retailers.”

In order to see such positive results, though, it is important to link with the right MB. Antonia Rainbow, marketing manager, Tomy, explains: “We look at mummy bloggers whose interests match our products – do they have children of the right target age, do they like creative or developmental toys.” Strong ratings for the blogger’s website are also important. Claire McCool, co-founder and marketing director at Drumond Park, offers: “We are careful to choose only those with a large number of visitors per month, otherwise this activity is just not cost effective.” Suppliers which are established in the arena though, may find bloggers approach them. Lynda Freebrey, PR/marketing, Orchard Toys, says: “Save for one or two, all of our blog reviewers have come to us to ask if they can review for us, because they like our products so much.” Once the bloggers have been chosen, firms need to learn the lingo and play by the rules. Sue Barratt, country manager, Meccano Toys (UK), explains: “It’s also about understanding social media protocols


23

like thanking bloggers for their support, engaging with their followers, remessaging, etc etc.” Coiledspring’s Martin agrees and utilises the help of sellitbaby.co.uk to negotiate the minefield: “It’s a close knit community that links through forums and Twitter so if you do something to upset a mummy blogger then you risk alienating a lot of other mummy bloggers. “There’s mummy bloggers etiquette which we try to abide by and that means doing the basics like actually reading blogs, making a personal approach, not blanket approaching hundreds of bloggers and then only responding to a few.” While many use the reviews as a regular marketing tool, blogs are particularly useful when launching a new line. Sonia Naseem, marketing manager, The In Thing, tells ToyNews: “When launching a product, getting a mummy blogger’s opinion can send the product in the right direction at an important time, so it’s at this stage of the products life cycle that we tend to send out the samples.” However blogs can also be used prior to the launch of additional products withing an existing range to raise awareness, as Vicki Elmer, brand manager, Bandai explains: “We send products out to announce a new range but have also sent out the current Tinga Tinga Tales toys to mummy bloggers to improve awareness of the brand when the new products launch later this year.” But surely giving out products to MBs is a risky business? The very fact that the articles are open, honest and unbiased could surely backfire if the author wasn’t happy with the product being reviewed. Samantha Harris, marketing manager, Leapfrog, concurs: “Naturally MBs are completely impartial and all reviews are based on their personal opinions and

Cybermummy CyberMummy was set up in 2010 by three active mummy bloggers (above), who also have experience in journalism, PR and marketing. The company organises the UK’s annual blogging conference devoted to parent bloggers. Cybermummy offers various speakers, workshops and debates to help visitors improve writing and photography skills; discuss and debate the latest trends; meet other bloggers; learn how to generate income from blogging; connect with relevant brands; engage readers and boost traffic and effectively use social networking (without it taking over your life). For info – www.cybermummy.com

experience with the products. This leaves the brand and the products open to potentially negative reviews. It’s crucial to be transparent and open. “Additionally, in the early days of blogger outreach for any brand, it’s important to approach MBs in the right way – they’re not journalists and are not being paid to write and this is a key differentiator not to be forgotten,” she adds. And what happens if the worst occurs and you do receive a negative review? Pete Fuller, marketing manager, Mega Brands UK, comments: “Mummy bloggers have the potential to make or break a product. It is impossible to know exactly how a mum and their kids will react to a product. “Luckily we haven’t had a negative review yet, but if we did, we would personally approach the MB to discuss her experience and why it did not meet expectations.” So in all, if you take on board the potential of a bad review, research your mummy or daddy blogger carefully, learn the ‘rules’ of social networking and approach them in the right way, it seems the world of bloggers can be a potential goldmine as part of the marketing mix. JULY 2011


Minifigures included in 7962:

LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2011 The LEGO Group. © 2011 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved. 600-3969

starwars.LEGO.co.uk

7965 Millennium Falcon™

7964 Republic Frigate™

7877 Naboo Starfighter™

7962 Anakin's & Sebulba's Podracers™

7961 Darth Maul's Sith Infiltrator™

7957 Sith™ Nightspeeder

7956 Ewok™ Attack


The UK’s only dedicated monthly licensing coverage

News • Media • Opinion

The Mandalay Way With the industry now recovered from the year’s big US show, we take a look through some of the biggest announcements made at Licensing International...


26

LICENSINGNEWS

Boots and V&A celebrate US award success First two British companies scoop accolades at LIMA ceremony ● Toy Story 3 is Overall Best Licensed Programme... by Samantha Loveday TOY STORY 3 may have been the overall winner, but from a UK point of view the big talking point from LIMA’s International Excellence Awards in Las Vegas were the wins by the Victoria & Albert Museum and Boots. The duo became the first British companies to scoop accolades at the annual awards ceremony, which was held during Licensing International. Boots was awarded Best Retailer for its Strictly Come Dancing product range, while V&A Enterprises took Best Art/Design Programme for V&A Museum. “It seems you wait ten years to win a LIMA Award and then two come along at once,” Kelvyn Gardner, MD of LIMA UK told ToyNews. “We were absolutely delighted to see Boots (in partnership with the BBC) and the V&A pick up Excellence Awards. Delighted, but unlike the majority of the mostly American audience, not surprised. “Many UK LIMA members had come to doubt if we would ever actually produce an award winner.

(L-R) V&A’s Georgina Alexander and Lauren Sizeland

(L-R) Ian Wickham, Neil Ross Russell and Richard Halliwell, BBC Worldwide

“What changed this year was that LIMA UK members actually went out and voted for their British peers in big numbers, and we were so pleased that they did, because we have big licensing stories to tell,” Gardner continued. Cassie Allen, senior licensing manager at BBC Worldwide, added: “We’re delighted with the win. The Strictly range was the first direct deal with retail we’ve done for the brand and it performed extremely well for us. That we won an award with Boots is icing on the cake, especially given the fierce competition from US brands. We’re now working on the new range with Boots which will hit this autumn.” Toy Story 3 was awarded the Overall Best Licensed Programme of the Year, while it also walked away with the Best Entertainment, TV or Celebrity Programme. Other winners included Hello Kitty (Best Character/Toy Brand), Animal Planet (Best Corporate Brand) and Lego (Best Film, TV, Celebrity Licensee: Hard Goods). LIMA UK: 01908 802863

Hit secures heroic brace

Rainbow steps in for Charlie & Lola

GOLDEN BEAR and BBC Magazines have become the latest companies to join the licensing drive for Hit Entertainment’s upcoming Mike the Knight. The hotly tipped pre-school show will now be supported in Cbeebies Magazine from November, while a standalone title is also due to be published in September 2012. “The variety of themes within Mike the Knight provide a host of opportunities for a magazine format and I cannot wait to start working with them,” said Katie Price, senior director, global publishing at Hit. Meanwhile, Golden Bear will be representing the arts and crafts category. Product ranges will include mechanical arts and crafts, felts and dough sets, with items launching in autumn 2012. Christine Nicholls, product and marketing director at Golden Bear,

BBC WORLDWIDE has appointed Rainbow Designs as the UK master toy partner for pre-school brand, Charlie & Lola. The first lines due will include bean toys, the Lola Rag Doll, Paint Your Own Dolls set, Tea Set with Lola plush, Domino set and book ends. Further lines will launch in time for spring 2013, including a Plant Press, Garden Play Kit and Make Your Own Friendship Bracelet set. Rainbow’s range for Christmas 2013 will be a Dress Up and Play Doll range, with mix and match outfits and accessories, plus Wardrobe and Bedroom play-sets. “Charlie & Lola is a natural fit to the Rainbow portfolio and is a perfect

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commented: “We’re delighted to be working once again with Hit Entertainment and we are looking forward to developing an exciting range of arts and crafts products for this fantastic new licence.” Hit Entertainment: 020 7554 2566

match for our core customer base, the quality toy, book and gift retailers,” commented Anthony Temple, MD of Rainbow Designs. Rainbow Designs: 01329 227300


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Moshi spins into the US with TRU deal IN BRIEF Hit Vivid toy line to be distributed by Spin Master across America...

THOMAS-INSPIRED FILM IN THE WORKS

by Katie Roberts

Thomas the Tank Engine’s home, the Island of Sodor, is to inspire a next generation fantasy adventure film franchise. Hit Entertainment has signed up Academy Award nominated director, Shane Acker, for the project. In addition, Weta Workshop and Mattel’s entertainment properties design team have come on board to reimagine the core characters and the world in a way that will appeal to a family audience. The new movie universe will aim to complement the pre-school Thomas & Friends brand. Hit Entertainment: 020 7554 2566

MIND CANDY’s Moshi Monsters brand was one of the highlights of Licensing International, with the firm revealing an exclusive toy launch with Toys R Us from late July. The company – which hosted a standing room only presentation to introduce the property to the US market during the show – is teaming with Spin Master, which will distribute the Vivid Imaginations toy line in the territory. The range will be available exclusively at Toys R Us stores and online, and will include six plush characters and 32 Moshling minifigures. “We know that web-savvy kids want to enjoy tangible experiences with their favourite virtual properties, and the Moshi Monsters toy line delivers these experiences in a big

way,” said Richard Barry, VP, general merchandise manager, Toys R Us US. “We are thrilled to be the only US retailer to provide kids the opportunity to bring Moshi Monsters into the physical world.” The Moshi Monsters website – which now has 50 million registered users worldwide – has been growing significantly in the US, as Mind Candy founder, Michael Acton Smith explained. “Moshi Monsters is doing phenomenally well on a global basis, but we are seeing our fastest growth right now in North America with over 15 million registered users,” he said. “We’re hugely excited to bring Moshi Monsters toys to North America, and Toys R Us is the perfect

Mega Brands grabs Blizzard properties A SERIES of Warcraft and Starcraft II Mega Bloks sets are due to hit retail next summer, after Mega Brands secured a deal with video games developer Blizzard. The initial lines will feature locations, characters and vehicles from World of Warcraft and Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. The multi-year international deal follows in the footsteps of Mega’s previous Halo and Need for Speed video games licences. “The depth of content in World of Warcraft and Starcraft will fuel years of fun, collectable products for

gamers and collectors,” commented Vic Bertrand, chief innovation officer at Mega Brands. “We’re proud and thrilled to enter into a partnership with Blizzard Entertainment, the world leader in creating epic online game franchises.” Mega Brands: 01844 350033

home for the brand – we can’t wait to see the reaction from our fans.” Dave Colebrook, VP marketing at Spin Master, continued: “We designed the product assortment to serve as a natural extension of the Moshi Monsters brand and to help bring the fun of Monstro City, its Monsters and its Moshlings to life with plush, minifigures and more.” Mind Candy: 020 7501 1926

University Games adds Suzy’s Zoo UNIVERSITY GAMES has partnered with UK licensing agent, DCD Publishing, to produce a range based on Suzy’s Zoo. The company will work with the Suzy’s Zoo and Little Suzy’s Zoo character sets in its product range, which will include games (board games, card games, travel games and electronic board games), colour forms and jigsaw puzzles. They will be available globally (except Japan) in late 2012. “This partnership with University Games is fantastic,” commented Suzy’s Zoo creator, Suzy Spafford. University Games: 01359 243900

DISNEY MERCHANDISE SALES SOAR Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products, has revealed that sales of Disney-branded merchandise have grown at a rate of 12 per cent per annum over the last ten years. “We’ve not only grown the number of Disney franchises from only two in 2000 to 13 in 2011, but classic franchises have not suffered because of it,” he said. “This is evidenced by global retail sales of Mickey Mouse and Friends merchandise on track to generate $9 billion and the incremental retail space devoted to Cars 2, in addition to the already substantial Cars line.” Disney is also looking to build up Disney Baby as a brand and a business, moving it into retail with the opening of the first concept store in autumn 2012 in the LA area. DCP: 020 8222 1000

POSTMAN PAT SDS RECOMMISSIONED With the character celebrating 30 years in September, Classic Media has revealed there will be a further 26 episodes of Postman Pat Special Delivery Service. The new series will air on the Cbeebies channel from 2013 to 2018. Postman Pat is the BBC’s longest running animated series, first appearing on the station back in 1981. Classic Media: 020 8762 620

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LICENSINGNEWS

IN BRIEF

Now Gogo’s hits number one in US

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE REACHES 30

Walgreens and Walmart among stores where line is top selling toy collectable...

Classic Media is kicking off a special consumer products programme to mark the 30th anniversary of the Masters of the Universe brand. Mattel will be continuing its Classics toy line, which features updated sculpts of vintage Mattel toys, throughout 2012. Classic Media will also be introducing a new style guide featuring retro artwork, new modern artist renderings and a 30th anniversary logo. All will be available from the summer. Classic Media: 020 8762 620

DISCOVERY UNVEILS EXPLORE YOUR WORLD Oregon Scientific has signed up as a launch partner for Discovery Communications’ new brand, Explore Your World. The firm is developing a line of educational toys with a 21st century technological twist. Its SmartGlobe has been selected as a hero product for the range, which is due to hit retail in autumn 2012. uk.oregonscientific.com

ENDEMOL ADDS LILLEBI In a move away from its traditional TV roots, Endemol has secured an international licensing deal for print-led property, Lillebi. The brand launched in Germany in 2004 and now has over 40 licensees across a broad range of categories. It is based on drawings and stories of a young mouse and its friends. Endemol is now hoping to build on the existing programme, securing deals to grow the brand into a multi-faceted kids property. Endemol: 020 8222 4176

BABY JAKE JOINS BBC WORLDWIDE LINE-UP BBC Worldwide has become the licensor for new pre-school show, Baby Jake. The 26 x 11-minute series - which is a mix of live action and 2D photographic animation will air on Cbeebies this summer. Vivid Imaginations has been appointed as the master toy, with a line of toys, puzzles and games heading to retail for January 2012. Vivid Imaginations: 01483 449944

CARTE BLANCHE ON BOARD WITH SIMON’S CAT Carte Blanche Greetings has added Simon’s Cat from Zodiak Rights to its plush range. The initial collection from the firm will launch in October and will include plush and sound chip plush of various sizes, as well as a mini key chain plush range. Carte Blanche: 01243 792600

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by Samantha Loveday COLLECTABLE LINE Gogo’s Crazy Bones is continuing its run of recent success, this time taking the top spot in a selection of big name American retail outlets. The brand – which is produced by Magic Box International and PPI Worldwide Group – is now the top selling toy collectable in a range of stores, including major chains such as Walgreens and Walmart. It is distributed in the US by Jonic Distribution North America, with a multi-million dollar TV ad blitz and multi-million piece samplings helping to boost its popularity. The sampling began with a one million piece giveaway with Walgreens stores earlier this year, with kids scrambling to find a limited edition Miro-K figure. Licensing agent Bulldog is working with JTMG to build up the US programme, with partners including Winning Moves, Mad Dog and Hybrid among others on board. “Gogo’s Crazy Bones has rapidly established itself in the US and kids are desperate to get their hands on

the characters and anything related with the brand,” said Rob Corney, MD of Bulldog. “This adds to an astonishing level of global success for Gogo’s. The property is still phenomenally successful worldwide and we are seeing unprecedented

demand for the figures themselves and licensed merchandise.” Gogo’s also continues to perform well in the UK, Spain, Germany, Benelux, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Bulldog Licensing: 020 8325 5455

BLE welcomes back retail mentoring initiative for ‘11

Jakks gets Winx Club

SAINSBURY’S AND Mothercare have confirmed they will again be involved with Brand Licensing Europe’s retail mentoring programme when the show returns in October. The programme is designed to help junior and assistant buyers attending the event to understand the complexities of the licensing industry, as well as navigate their way around the floor. Guidance will be given on legal, technical and financial issues, as well as industry terminology and who owns the rights for which brands. “BLE provides the perfect environment for the development of junior buyers and our team will be there in force, discovering new brands and retail ranges,” said John Carolan, head of childrenswear buying at Sainsbury’s.

NICKELODEON HAS appointed Jakks Pacific as the master toy partner for girls’ brand Winx Club. The firm will roll out a range of products including dolls, play-sets, role play and dress up for autumn 2012. “Winx Club is a great opportunity for us to bring engaging entertainment to our young girl audience,” said Leigh Ann Brodsky, president of NCP. “The Jakks Pacific product line will reflect the guiding principles of the Winx Club that appeal to girls: selfexpression, friendship, adventure, magic and fashion.” Stephen Bermas, president and CEO of Jakks, added: “We are thrilled to be the master toy partner for Nickelodeon on their innovative new brand.” Jakks Pacific: 01344 638900

Brand Licensing Europe 2011 takes place at The Grand Hall, Olympia, London from October 18th to 20th. www.brandlicensing.eu


SECTOR GUIDE ELECTRONIC LEARNING

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Our friends electronic The electronic learning sector provides steady sales for the toy business, with VTech and Leapfrog still leading the way. Both firms introduce big new range expansions this year in a bid to build the sector further. Lewis Tyler speaks to the main players about their influences and what’s coming up... THE ELECTRONIC learning sector is growing fast. In the 12 months to April 2011 the category (combining infant electronic learning, pre-school electronic and ELA hardware, sofware and accessories) grew 16 per cent year on year, totalling £61.7 million in UK sales. In the first quarter, the sector was up 18 per cent on last year’s equivalent period. This trend is reflected in the two major players’ financial results: VTech’s European Electronic Learning toy business grew 13 per cent for 2010, while Leapfrog claimed international sales increase of 37 per cent in its recent Q1 financials. The increased demand can be largely put down to the popularity and familiarity of smart phones and tablet computers.

respective upcoming offerings, the LeapPad and Innotab. Both tablet-style products feature LCD touch screens, motion controls, e-books and downloadable apps. Graham Canning, VTech’s sales director, says: “As more adult technology trends come to market, it is a great opportunity to allow children to have their own pad-style learning system or e-book reader to learn and play with.” One of the top things toy buyers look for in a purchase is educational value (BRMB/Mintel 2010) and, by satisfying that need, the ranges have hit on a winning formula. INNOVATION Touch screens, motion sensors and cameras are not cheap, so the real

A trend we clearly see is the development of electronic products that not only mimic what ‘grown-up’ products do, but also look more like them. Samantha Harris, Marketing Manager, Leapfrog With the App Store and its counterparts already offering a stream of kids software, demand for a kids’ version of the technology is a natural by-product of Apple’s success. “A trend we clearly see is the development of electronic products that not only mimic what ‘grown-up’ products do, but also look more like them,” Samantha Harris, Leapfrog’s marketing manager explains. “We see the development of products that combine several functions and experiences in one. Technological convergence is very important. “Consumers’ expectations are constantly evolving and as a company we believe we should lead with these new trends and demands.” The intuitive and natural design of touch-screen devices has proved easy for children and not so tech-savvy parents to use. Both Leapfrog and VTech are looking to replicate these with their

challenge for manufacturers comes in engineering a wear and tear-proof device that includes all the expected gizmos at an affordable price. However, the hardware is only half of the equation. Software must be both educationally responsible and appealing to kids. “We conduct a vast amount of qualitative and quantitative research with consumer groups, industry experts and our product designers,” Leapfrog’s Harris explains. Both manufacturers look to involve parents with tools that allow them to check their child’s progress. For Leapfrog, it’s the Learning Path. Canning explains the VTech approach: “We have introduced safe areas where children and parents can get additional material and support. It ensures children are keeping up with current trends in a safe, friendly and educational environment. Learning with play is the important JULY 2011


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SECTOR GUIDE ELECTRONIC LEARNING

ELECTRONIC LEARNING PRODUCTS LEAPFROG

01895 20152

All of Leapfrog's toys are designed to motivate children to learn through electronic interaction, supporting them with their educational development and personal skills.

LEAPPAD: This summer Leapfrog will launch its child friendly learning tablet, LeapPad Explorer. It has an integrated camera and video recorder, plus the tablet boosts even more content with over 100 apps and games that include customisable e-books, interactive stories, motion games and more.

EXPLORER: The Leapster Explorer includes Flash and 3D graphics. Designed for four to nine year olds, the Explorer includes auto-level gameplay, allows a personalised learning experience tailored to each child's unique needs and skills. Summer will see new titles, like SpongeBob Go-kart Racing, and 14 downloadable apps. Camera accessory available. TAG: The Tag and Tag Junior allow children to hear stories read out loud as well as encouraging interaction with different elements within the book. As children turn the pages of the specially printed Tag storybooks, they will hear the characters read words on the page. The Tag Junior, designed for children aged two to four, and Tag system, for children aged four to eight, were created to help children discover the world of reading. LEAPSTER 2: The Leapster2 gaming console is the predecessor to the Leapster Explorer handheld. Since its launch in 2008, the Leapster2 continues to offer an extensive catalogue of educational gaming software titles that keep the console fresh for young gamers. Titles include Disney Tangled, Scooby-Doo and Penguins of Madagascar. VTECH 01235 555545 INNOTAB: The Innotab is a touch screen pad style learning system for four to nine year olds, combining educational games, activities and learning to read in a multi-function, handheld device. The gadget boasts a state of the art G sensor control to support motion based games, but also a built in auto picture rotation, a fiveinch LCD touch screen, stylus pen, adaptor, SD card slot, USB port and MP3 player. InnoTab can be linked to the Kidizoom range of cameras.

XTRA PRO: The Xtra Pro Laptop teaches 90 curriculum based Key Stage 1 subjects and more through activities and games. The device features a QWERTY keyboard, a mouse and offers three levels of difficulty. Suitable for kids aged five and up.

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CHALLENGER: The Challenger Laptop features 40 curriculum based activities. Kids aged four and up can learn core skills in a quiz-show style of gameplay. STORIO: Storio Interactive E-Reading System delivers a way for children to learn and progress with reading at their own pace. The animated storyteller allows children to interact with the story. The storyteller has revolutionised reading for pre-schoolers and the new range of storybook cartridges on offer including Cars 2, Chuggington, Disney Princess and Rapunzel. MOBIGO: MobiGo Portable Learning System is a handheld touch-sensitive educational gaming system, now with a new range of learning cartridges that includes Kung Fu Panda, Cars 2 and Penguins of Madagascar. WORLDS APART 0800 389 591 The Winnie the Pooh Interactive Friend helps steer kids into a daily routine. Parents decide the timings, bringing the toy and child together for key moments throughout the day. For example, Pooh is equipped with a honey pot and spoon for meal times and alerts children when it's time to eat, saying - ‘I’ve got a rumbly in my tumbly’.

LITTLE TIKES

01908 268480

Aimed at the pre-school market, the Discover Sounds collection includes the Discover Sounds Paintbrush which has bristles that change colour and prompt sounds when kids 'paint' and a remote that aids co-ordination and memory as kids learn numbers, directions and phrases in three languages. The Discover Sounds Kitchen has lights, sounds, songs, food shapes to sort, play toast and other activities. Also new are the Discover Sounds Phone and Alarm Clock.

JUMBO

01797 289289

The Fireman Sam Rescue Game is a memory challenge where players learn about fire safety by collecting cards featuring an element needed to put out a fire. The game features the theme tune and sound effects from the show. Peppa Pig Tumble and Spin encourages memory development as children take turns to spin Peppa and recognise and collect character cards from the show.

TOMY

020 8722 7300

Mr Colour Maker is for teaching children all about colour. Both Mr Colour Maker and the ‘paint pots’ are fully electronic – there is no actual paint involved. Comes with three primary colour pots in blue, red and yellow, which toddlers can hold over the Mr Colour Maker which will light up and speak to confirm correct answers.

element to VTech’s success in this area and, by highlighting to parents our main messages of spelling, reading and maths, we are able to continue to grow the category, without concern from social media and internet sites.” To kids, learning is considered as something that gets in the way of fun, so to sweeten the deal, licences play a key role. VTech boasts Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Disney Princess and Chuggington, while Leapfrog is also licensing Disney properties, as well as Ben 10, SpongeBob, and more. Away from the handheld market, VTech has enjoyed consistent success with its laptop range. The current models, the Challenger Laptop and the Xtra Pro Laptop have QWERTY keyboards and teach curriculum subjects at Key Stage level.

advantages of the product ranges. “Over the years, Leapfrog have developed strong rapport with retailers and have worked together to create a great partnership where all parties benefit,” says Harris. “Overall, we see that specialist retailers in particular are very supportive of our sector.” As digital distribution has grown in the tech world, both Leapfrog and VTech have developed methods to download games and apps direct, bypassing the middle man. However, the physical product is still the preferred method for VTech. Canning reveals: “The real digital distribution channel is through our traditional retailers. Our strategy is to work with them and drive sales through their online stores.”

The real digital distribution channel is through our traditional retailers. Our strategy is to work with them and drive sales through their online stores. Graham Canning, Sales Director, VTech For pre-school, there is a variety of electronic learning toys that teach lessons such as colour recognition and fire safety. Tomy’s My Colour Maker confirms correct answers and the Peppa Pig Tumble and Spin from Jumbo exercises the child’s memory using characters from the show. Elsewhere, Worlds Apart has launched an updated version of the interactive plush this year. The Winnie the Pooh Interactive Friend is designed to help kids develop a daily routine, focusing on tasks such as brushing teeth, eating and going to bed at the right time. Andy Cooper, marketing director, says: “We did a lot of focus groups with parents to find out what they would like the toy to reinforce and what their kids responded well to. “Electronic learning is a consistently growing sector and one that looks set to continue in line with technology advances in general.” RETAIL The electronic learning sector’s impressive growth would not have been possible without retail recognising the

Leapfrog offers the Leaplet. Purchased by parents in-store, it’s a voucher that can be redeemed for virtual funds online. The device is then passed to the child, who can complete the buying experience without having to ask for permission. “Digital distribution is becoming more important for us as a company, and will be fully integrated into our business model in the near future,” says Harris.


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SUPPLIER FOCUS DKL

Initial success In 2010 DKL increased its business by 25 per cent year on year over 2009, a figure made even better by the fact it was across most of the firm’s ranges. It’s ahead so far this year too and, as Samantha Loveday finds out, there’s much more to come... “WE ARE actively looking at new suppliers that we can distribute, as the only way to grow is to develop existing brands and bring in new ones, but we will not sacrifice service on our current ranges,” states David Allan, sales and marketing director at DKL. Especially when those current lines are doing so well. DKL grew by 25 per cent year on year in 2010 and so far in 2011, it is ten per cent ahead on last year. “We are being very careful to target our ranges to our customers with items that meet their needs, supported by good in-store support and promotions,” Allan continues. “We are planning to at least hold a ten per cent increase and more on last year, and this does not include our new ranges.” The firm’s number one line is Hama, while Corolle, the French doll brand, has enjoyed a good increase in both turnover and distribution, and Wonderworld wooden toys is also up on last year, albeit not growing as quickly as other ranges. “Hama Cars 2 sets will be very popular from July when the film comes out, and should continue to Christmas, plus there are other new Hama sets hitting retail now,” Allan begins when asked what the trade should be looking out for in the second part of 2011 from DKL. “New range Mic o Mic is already a hit with its unique concept at competitive pricing, with more stands and CDUs due. Corolle’s interactive range of dolls always sell well in the second half, while Wonderworld’s kitchen ranges and doll houses are star lines as retailers like them for their competitive pricing and the fact we also offer a drop shipment opportunity.” On top of the current portfolio, DKL has recently added Velcro Kids to its roster, with the line including a Card Playhouse (which can be flat packed and reassembled as often as kids like), masks sets and play packs, all using the special Velcro hook and JULY 2011

loop. Launching later this month, DKL will have a number of special offers for retail, giving them the chance to try the range ahead of a larger product line coming in 2012.

Allan also agrees that the general mood in the toy industry appears to be quite positive at the moment. “Definitely. We are up on the first five months, listings with majors are

We receive offers all the time but we are careful to ensure that the brand and the products are top quality and that they have an edge to both retailer and consumer. Price and margin are key to our retailers. David Allan, Sales and Marketing Director, DKL Another new addition is Spanish company Miniland, with a large range of pre-school educational items, science kits and vehicles among other products arriving. “We see this range as a major growth area for DKL Marketing as it covers so many areas,” says Allan. “We are ready to grow, but any new companies must fit into our portfolio,” he continues. “We receive offers all the time but we are careful to ensure that the brand has the right ethos and that the products are top quality and that they have an edge to both retailer and consumer. However, price and margin are key to our retailers so we have to ensure that pricing of any range is realistic.”

better than ever and, having attended AIS and Toymaster shows where we met a lot of members and took good orders, margin and price is key for survival and we offer both.” And with the firm increasing its marketing with more PR support through consumer activity and targeted in-store initiatives with added value and promotions, it’s looking likely Allan will achieve his aims for the end of the year. “Good sales growth, excellent customer service, increase brand awareness and to go into 2012 with a positive attitude,” Allan concludes.


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INDUSTRY SERVICES GEM LOGISTICS

Searching for a Gem With a solid history of servicing various entertainment industries, Gem Logistics is now turning its attention to the toy business. Samantha Loveday finds out just what it can offer our suppliers...

ALLEN: “Gem has invested just over £13m into a new 250,000 sq ft facility. Everything is new, from trucks to racking to offices and PCs”

IT’S BY no means the sexiest part of the industry, but the logistics sector is without doubt a vital one. And there’s a new player in town, looking to bring its expertise to the toy arena. Gem Logistics is a trading division of Gem Distribution, which has a 26year history in business and is a £320m T/O operation. It was formed to offer logistical services to the entertainment market and it currently manages this for a number of large worldwide brands. The firm sees entering the toy market as the next logical step in its business – and it’s spent big to ensure it has the best possible offer. “In total, Gem has invested just over £13 million into the new 250,000 sq ft facility,” says Matthew Allen, general manager of Gem Logistics. “Everything is brand new, from trucks and racking to offices and PCs. We currently have 35,000 pallet positions and 45,000 picking locations – and we’ve not racked out the complete warehouse yet. The commodities that we deal with are JULY 2011

very desirable and of high value, so as you can imagine security is paramount within our facility and a lot of focus has been put into this area too.”

FSDUs to in-store displays – and already has a strong track record in the entertainment market, while a telesales team targets the independent retail channel.

This year is about building the Gem brand within the toy market. We also want to establish ourselves as a credible alternative; we’re not just a ‘standard’ logistics company. Matthew Allen, Gem Logistics Over the past seven years, Gem has worked with a number of toy firms including IMC Toys, Corinthian, Infantino and Atomic Sports, while Allen himself has been involved with the toy business since 1991 in various roles. Allen is also keen to point out that within the Gem Group there are a number of additional departments which could be of use for toy companies. Gem Creative is able to create bespoke POS materials – from

“Everyone is looking for incremental revenue opportunities, and this team could really help,” Allen continues. “We have trading accounts with pretty much all the major retailers, from the supermarkets, online retailers and HMV to hundreds of independent retailers. “The one area that we will look to grow is the independent toy retailers. There is a real belief and passion within our business that we add value to the toy channel.”

Allen is hoping to start a dialogue with a number of toy manufacturers this year with a view to going live in 2012. And his ambitions don’t stop there. “This year is all about building the brand within the toy market, as not many people will know Gem and the size of the business,” he explains to ToyNews. “We also want to establish ourselves as a credible alternative within the market; we’re not just a ‘standard’ logistics company, we work exclusively within the entertainment sector. “We believe we can grow our market share within the toy channel, so it would be nice to be partnering with a number of companies,” Allen continues when asked about his longer term plans. “One of our philosophies has always been to partner with small businesses who are looking to grow, as well as large worldwide brands who are very well established and we will continue this policy within the toy market, too.”


SECTOR GUIDE DRESS UP

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Best dressed While licences may drive the children’s dress-up sector, a number of toy suppliers are also bolstering their rosters with clothing and accessories lines. ToyNews finds out what’s on offer... RUBIES

Rubies continues to add to its everexpanding portfolio of licensed dress-up products. For 2011, new signings to the roster include the likes of Power Rangers, Green Lantern, Tin Tin, Pirates of the

BANDAI Bandai continues to promote its new construction role-play concept, Armouron. The lightweight foam pieces are easily joined together with Snapperons to create unique Armouron armour. The Armouron Action Set is available in red and blue colours, and comes with a helmet, chest body armour, a shield and Snapperon pieces. Additional armour customisation comes with the Armouron Accessory Set and the Action Set, which is available in Spike, Flame and Wing Styles. Also available are Armouron roleplay weapons the Long Sword and Double Dagger, also made from lightweight foam. Children had the chance to play with the range at Bandai’s Camp Bestival and during recent play area activity at Heathrow airport. Bandai is looking to run more high profile events to promote the brand, after receiving a strong response from kids.

08453 070707

Caribbean, Thundercats, Glee and My Little Pony. “Rubie’s always works hard to maintain focus on existing ‘premier league’ licences such as Batman. This means that even in non movie years

08456 028782

like 2010, we continue to sell incredible numbers of Batman costumes, a testament to the strength of the brand as well as our ability to market it,” comments Rubie’s UK head of marketing, David Wootliff.

VIVID IMAGINATIONS

Dress Up and Dance with Darcey Bussell aims to bring ballet into the home. The set is endorsed and constructed in collaboration with the famous English ballerina (pictured). Inside the box girls will find an instructional DVD, leotard, tutu and a Magic Ballerina book. Following the theme of the successful Magic Ballerina books, the DVD will take viewers into the world of Magic Ballerina, where the key characters

By securing European partnerships with Disney and Hasbro, Rubies hopes to increase its presence in the girls market after bagging the rights to popular brands Disney Princess, Disney Fairies and My Little Pony.

01483 449944

Madame Za Za, Delphie, Holly and Rosa will guide and teach the viewers how to warm up properly and master three ballet routines: the warm up solo, the story solo and the celebration solo. Once well practised, the girls can move on to the performance section, which has routines suitable to perform to family and friends. What’s more, included in the DVD is footage of Prima Ballerina Bussell performing Sylvia from her ballet career.

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SECTOR GUIDE DRESS UP

DKL 01604 678780 DKL’s new Velcro Kids is a range of craft toys which use Velcro technology to produce a variety of role-play and creative items. There is an assortment of fun masks, which let kids create different animal, princess or pirate looks. The masks are made using Velcro covered designs of facial features such as hair and a nose to the basic elasticated mask. The Velcro is ultra fine so it will not scratch or irritate if it comes into contact with a child’s skin. As they are made from Velcro, the mask features can be applied and removed with ease. Children can mix and match the mask features, as two designs are included in every set. Party packs let more children play together, consisting of eight masks with either eight animal designs or a mix of princesses and pirates. The Velcro kids range also includes a large cardboard playhouse. Sets are expected to retail from £5.

BLUW TOYS 020 7627 1268

Transformers and Ben 10 have joined Bluw Toys’ inflatable dress-up range, Airhedz. The super-sized dress-up kits are quick to blow-up and can be worn as part of an outfit or over normal clothes. Available from August, the Ben 10 range includes Ultimate Humungosaur, Ultimate Big Chill and Ultimate Spidermonkey. Each kit comes with a claw accessory. The Transformers range is out now with Optimus Prime, which has a Cyber Sword accessory, and Bumblebee representing the Autobots, plus Megatron on the side of the Decepticons. Generic kits allow kids to become a cowboy, a fireman or an alien. There are eight outfits to choose and each comes with a matching inflatable accessory. The full range of Airhedz is already selling at Hamleys, Toys R Us and Birthdays, retailing at around £7.99 per set.

JULY 2011

CESAR

Kids can become part of the Avenger movement, with Cesar offering costumes from this year’s Marvel heroes Thor and Captain America. For Thor there is a deluxe muscle costume which comes complete with a fabric helmet. The Thunder God’s hammer is available to complete the look. Released this month is Captain America: The First Avenger. To celebrate the film, Cesar has deluxe, muscle and value versions to cover all price points, with a shield also available. The rest of the Marvel heroes are still available, including Iron Man, SpiderMan, Wolverine and Hulk. The range has been further extended to suit younger fans. For children aged between one and three years old there is a selection of one-piece outfits featuring cartoonstylised designs, combining a character suit and hat.

HABA Haba’s Babs Happy Bavaria is for girls who like to sing along to The Sound of Music. The Bavarian maid costume comes with an apron and a range of matching accessories from bags and necklaces to a Gingerbread Heart. The Dress Set Elfine is a pink and blue pixie dress adorned with a matching blue cape and bag and hair accessories. Companion to the set is Doll Elfine, which wears a matching outfit complete with a Suitcase Set to hold her special belongings. Boys can play the role of a knight in shining armour, with Henry Haba’s Strong’s Armour. The helmet has a green visor which can be flipped shut, and the outfit is also adorned with a removable green dragon. There is also a sword, lance, spikedmace and shield. In addition, boys can rescue princesses on the back of the Henry Haba Strong Hobby Horse.

01733 397400

For babies there are Marvel sleeping bags which have character print and beanie style caps. Carrying on with the boys theme is a range of Ben 10 costumes, with lead character Ben, as well as his alien counterparts are on offer. There are also generic costumes including cowboys, firemen, pirates, astronauts and pilots. The Illusion range uses photo-realistic printing on t-shirts and trousers to make the costumes look like real clothes. For toddlers, Cesar has introduced some plush animal costumes, including an elephant, kangaroo, koala, monkey, penguin, bunny, cat and bumblebee. Suitable for ages one to three years, the soft and furry one-piece costumes come with a character hood. To complete the collection, there are Lil Lady Bug and Lil Honey Bee dresses for the little ladies to buzz around in.

0161 304 9555

FLAIR 020 8643 0320

With the fourth instalment of the Disney franchise Pirates of the Caribbean released earlier this year, master toy partner Flair is offering a Jack Sparrow role-play set as part of its range of toys from the film. The set includes everything needed to look the part and will please both old and new Pirates fans. There is a pirate hat, a replica of Jack’s sword, Jack’s jewellery and a compass. There is also a telescope for spying out enemies.

GREAT GIZMOS 01293 543221

Aimed at children aged between two and eight, the customisable Great Pretenders dress-up line has outfits inspired by fairytale heroines and super heroes. The Bumble Bee costume features a comfortable lined skirt with black velvet stripes sewn onto its top layer and can be teamed up with separate matching accessories. To double the play value, there are reversible costumes offering two sides to the chosen role-play scenario. The Bat Superhero outfit changes to Spider Superhero by flipping the cape and the hood. For girls, the Fairytale Pinafore can be worn in either pink or yellow colours. The costumes have matching capes, headwear and other accessories including shields, swords, glittery wings and more.


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TM & © DC Comics. (s11)

© Disney

TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s11)

and so much more... Call us 08453 070707


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BRAND FOCUS VTECH BABY

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43

Baby boom With over 20 years of experience in infant electronic learning toys, VTech Baby has more planned for 2011 to keep it front of mind with retailers and consumers. Katie Roberts found out more… WITHIN THE total infant category, VTech Baby has seen huge growth over the past few years, with NPD showing the firm has grown by 17.9 per cent YTD from 2007 to 2010. Full year 2010 NPD data also showed that VTech Baby is the number one property in Infant and Pre-school and grew by 25.4 per cent. VTech attributes this success to its leading technological advancements. In 2010, the firm was the first to successfully introduce a unique closed-cell technology to allow bath toys to have renewable batteries in them. Brand awareness is also key to the steady growth, as Gemma Ellis, VTech Baby assistant product manager, explains to ToyNews: “When we look at our product registration information, about 70 per cent of purchasers say they already own a VTech item. So we are getting a lot of repeat purchase. When mums and dads have experienced the quality and depth of play value in a VTech Baby item, they feel confident buying another.” Following on from its technological advancements, VTech Baby has secured the top spot as number one manufacturer in bath toys in March (NPD bath toys category). The brand also clinched all of the top three places for best-selling bath toys for the month, with the Sing and Splash Fish, Splash and Learn Duck and Bath Friends Turtle, in position one, two and three respectively. Also doing well is one of VTech Baby’s longest standing products, the First Steps Baby Walker.

A major marketing drive will begin in September to support the launch of new additions to the VTech Baby portfolio. This will take the form of TV ads coupled with strong PR, online and press campaigns. This has been the best selling walker for many years, with a 50.8 per cent share in the walker category for the YTD December 2010, according to NPD. The product doesn’t need TV advertising, instead, Ellis explains that other parents and kids themselves do the work for VTech: “Word of mouth, whether it’s the traditional form where a friend recommends to a new mum, or on online reviews and social networking sites, the message is the same – ‘my child loved this toy’. We even see toddlers at the Baby Show where a variety

of toys are available, make a dash for the First Steps Baby Walker.” The firm does of course, put a lot of marketing weight behind its lines and a major drive will commence in September to support the launch of new additions to the portfolio. This will take the form of TV advertising coupled with strong PR, online and press campaigns. VTech Baby will also see increased exposure in 2011, with showcases at the NEC Baby Show and the Earls Court Baby show in October. Ellis tells ToyNews: “The Baby Show is a great opportunity to interact with parents and babies.

“To showcase our VTech Baby products and let the little ones try them, we have an informal Smart Play Zone. We also have Dr Julie Coultas on hand to talk to parents about any questions about play and development that they may have. “The main objective is to allow children to try our toys, but it is also a learning experience for us. We ensure that all the sales and marketing team work at least one day each at the show, to have interaction with parents, babies and find out what’s on their minds.” New to VTech Baby and sure to be at the show, is the Toot-Toot Drivers range – a series of six collectable vehicles, available individually or in sets. Also in the collection is the Toot-Toot Driver Garage, which provides a setting for the vehicles and features a sensor which recognises each vehicle. The three-in-one Zebra Scooter features a ‘grow with baby’ design, so kids can either push, ride or scoot, depending on their age and ability. The scooter is a slightly different avenue for VTech Baby. Ellis comments: “VTech are moving into sectors where we can bring electronic expertise. “We made the move into electronic entertainment and became number one. We entered bath toys last year and there are other categories we can introduce new technology to grow.” Both the new products will be supported by TV advertising, marking a return to the small screen for the VTech Baby brand. Ellis concludes: “In the last five year, the VTech Baby brand has been mostly advertised in press, online and supported by excellent PR campaigns. We have two outstanding candidates for TV this year in The Toot-Toot Drivers and the three-inone Zebra Scooter. We felt we had a real opportunity to establish some modern classics.” JULY 2011


SECTOR GUIDE CREATIVE PLAY

www.toynews-online.biz

45

Craft works One sector which isn't heavily reliant on licences, the creative play category is growing ahead of the total toy market, with value and volume both up. ToyNews looks at the latest products, but first NPD offers up the stats...

THE CREATIVE play market, or arts and crafts in NPD categories, was worth ÂŁ249.8 million for the full year 2010 and grew 15 per cent in value and 27 per cent in volume (source: NPD Consumer Panel). Arts and crafts attracts people from all age groups, with children aged two to seven being the core consumers. Some 64 per cent of arts and crafts toys are purchased for girls, but it was boys purchasing that drove the market growth last year, growing by 22 per cent. Product features are more important to creative play purchases than the average across toys, as the appeal of arts and crafts is the creativity and imagination that it can spark in children. Growth has continued into 2011, with crayons and sets the largest category, accounting for 30 per cent of the market, up 12 per cent yearto-date April 2011. Craft kits also

showed an impressive 23 per cent growth (source: NPD EPOS Panel). Reusable compounds also had a strong four months and has grown 11 per cent year-to-date with Play-Doh, Moon Sand and Moon Dough all experiencing strong sales. However, the best selling property across arts and crafts is, unsurprisingly, Crayola with nine per cent of the total creative play area and growing.

ARTS & CRAFTS Sector Value TOTAL

The appeal of arts and crafts is the creativity and imagination that it can spark in children.

(source: NPD) 100.0%

CRAYONS ETC AND SETS

29.6%

CRAFT KITS

25.2%

CRAFT/SCHOOL SUPPLIES

17.8%

REUSABLE COMPOUNDS

11.0%

MECHANICAL/DIGITAL DESIGN

6.5%

PAINT SUPPLIES

4.8%

PAINT KITS

4.2%

SCULPTURE KITS/SUPPLIES

0.9%

Within the craft kits category, Aqua Beads is the biggest brand. There have also been a number of other brands showing growth including Zubber, Harumika and Real Construction â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all of which have seen sales increase so far this year. Licensing does not play a strong part within arts and craft, accounting for less than ten per cent of value sales, with slower growth than branded and own label areas. However, the largest licence is Hello Kitty, with the Hello Kitty Cool Cardz the number six best selling item in the market. Disney Princess is the second largest property, followed by Toy Story. With creative play less heavily hit than other toy categories by market fluctuations, and both value and volume currently growing ahead of total toys, this sector paints a pretty picture for the future. JULY 2011


46

SECTOR GUIDE CREATIVE PLAY

HASBRO

With the Play-Doh Sesame Street Colour Mixer Play-set, Elmo teaches kids about colour mixing and recognition. Placing two Play-Doh compounds in the mixer and winding the crank will create new colours. The Cookie Monster’s Letter Lunch Play-set allows kids to create an alphabet soup out of pretend noodles, veggies and letters; then they can feed the Cookie Monster a spoonful and press down his mouth to see him eat it. After the meal they can store the letter moulds inside the bowl. In the Story Time Castle Play-set kids can mould a fairy tale village. Play-Doh is loaded into the tower to extrude out Rapunzel’s hair, Jack can grow a beanstalk and a knight in shining armour can be rolled over Play-Doh to leave hoof prints behind. The Play-Doh Fairy Tales Assortment offers a

SPIN MASTER

020 8569 1234

storybook experience starring Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs and Hansel & Gretel. Once finished, kids can flip the mat over to read each tale. The Mould N Go Speedway Cars 2 Play-set comes with four two-ounce cans which can be used to mould the characters onto a real rolling chassis – the models can then be raced on the play mat. The Cars 2 Grand Prix Race Mats Play-set includes three international race mats, three character moulds, five double-sided accessory moulds and four two-ounce cans of Play-Doh compound. Food themed play-sets include the Play-Doh Twirl ‘N Top Pizza; the PlayDoh Flip ‘N Serve Breakfast Play-set; and the Magic Swirl Ice Cream Shoppe. Also available are the Play-Doh Puppies Play-set and the Play-Doh Fun Factory Spin and Store.

BANDAI

Badge It has made a return to Bandai’s product range after customers asked to bring the classic badge making machine back. First introduced in 2003, over half a million Badge It Makers were sold in year one. The Badge It Maker allows kids to create badges without glue and with minimum fuss. The kit comes with everything needed to make 15 circular three-centimetre badges. Anything flat can be used to make a badge, like photographs or pictures from magazines. All children need to do is draw and cut round the image they want to using the provided template, and then follow the simple steps to create unique badges. A brand new TV spot will be airing from this month onwards.

JULY 2011

Other PR activity will include a promotion with an up and coming boy band, where entrants must design badges for the band. Badge It is set to retail at around £19.99, while refill packs will be available for £8.99. Meanwhile, young designers can also get creative with the new Harumika sets as they put their fashion making skills and colour co-ordination abilities to the test. The Evening Gown set includes two different shaped corsets and a selection of velvet and satin fabrics to make beautiful ball gowns. Girls can also design their own wedding and bridesmaid dresses with the Bridal Collection, which comes with two dress forms and plenty of lace and satin materials to choose from.

01628 535000 GREEN BOARD GAMES

Spin Master grew 26 per cent in the arts and crafts category in 2010 (NPD EPoS) and is introducing new ranges this year. First up is a bead set which allows girls to make collectable bracelets and necklaces that transform into animal characters. Bizu can be twisted and modelled to make cats, dogs, zebras, monkeys and more. There are 60 characters to collect in four different themes – Glam, Funky, Rock and Wild – in twin or four packs, while the Style Studio beading station comes with 40 beads and will be advertised on TV this autumn. Fab Effex puts a new twist on basic craft materials. The fabric can bend, shape, twist, wrap and stick to pretty much anything. It’s re-useable so that kids can undo their mistakes and re-make

08456 028782

decorations over again. The Variety Pack contains lots of Fab Effex sheets, pre-cut shapes and tools including moulds, key rings, a greetings card and finger rings and will be heavily TV advertised from July. The Animal Theme Kit comes with three plastic animal forms for wrapping the pre-cut fabric around and the Dress n Design kit contains doll models. New for autumn are three Moon Dough sets. The Supermarket set comes with a moulding till that moulds coins and includes different grocery moulds. The small themed sets contain new easy to use Push & Pop moulds and a duo of coloured dough. The Magic Zoo will continue as the TV line for Christmas, alongside the two large Moon Sand Bake Shop and Sky Crane play-sets.

Green Board Games has been distributing Wikki Stix for 15 years. The waxed yarns can be re-used endlessly and can be used to make jewellery, write words, decorate cards or name animal shapes. The Wikki range retails from as little as £2.50. Squiggles are pads of paper and each one has a different squiggle – by flicking the spinner you may have to turn your squiggle into whatever is nominated by the spinner. This could be a cat, a dinosaur or an octopus, as each time children use the game it is different.

01494 538999

Meanwhile, Contraptions are from Mindware and consist of a number of high precision planks which can be used to build ramps, tracks, towers and tunnels among others. Included are two specially designed Keva balls as well as a Contraptions manual loaded with dozens of fullcolour photos, tips and instructions. No glue is needed, just gravity and imagination. All three lines encourage creative play at a reasonable price for consumers and excellent margins for retailers.


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SECTOR GUIDE CREATIVE PLAY

RAVENSBURGER Aimed at budding artists, Ravensburger’s Mandala-Designer range is suitable for children aged six years and up. This drawing system uses a sturdy plastic stencil wheel and base tray to help youngers create symmetrical Mandala designs which can be coloured, cut-out and proudly displayed. The range boasts popular licences including Hello Kitty, Disney Princess and Barbie. Mandala-Designer is available in three formats to suit a range of budgets. The smallest format, the Mini, is suitable as a pocket-money buy. The more in-demand midi format and the Deco Drawing Machine are suited to the more demanding child-artist. The Hello Kitty designs are available across all three formats, while the Disney Princess and Barbie products come in the midi format. Also within the midi range is a selection of generic designs including the zoo, classic, horses and romantic themes.

THE IN THING From the same company responsible for Gelli Baff comes Magic Choc which allows kids to squish, shape and model chocolate. A patent protected method of processing the chocolate allows it to set, while remaining flexible, resulting in an edible, craft product which can be formed to create as many shapes as the imagination allows. Magic Choc has an 18 month shelf life, and The In Thing is predicting the product will hit a £5 million retail value in its first year. Each pack retails at around £4.99 and comes complete with the milk, white and dark chocolate, an antibacterial handwipe sachet and a model guide to kick-start ideas. Manufactured and distributed in the UK, Magic Choc is made with 100 per cent Belgian Chocolate. Simply by shaping it in your hand, the chocolate will

JULY 2011

01869 363800 All the designs come with the stencil wheel and base tray, plus a felt tip pen, coloured pencils and paper. The Drawing Machine is a battery operated, self-contained unit that automatically rotates the Mandala designs at the touch of a button. It includes two large and three small stencils, plus glue, glitter, felt tip pen, coloured pencils and paper.

MAPS TOYS Maps Toys has a host of new products to inspire children to get creative. Its new Be Amazing range is a collection of educational products dedicated to making science fun. Each set in the collection is designed to get kids creating fun experiments. Budding scientists will love Yuck. The giant tub contains more than 20 science activities and secret formulas for making gross and disgusting creations. Kids can learn the science behind the gooey formulas while making worm guts, vomit, yuck crystals and growing their own Petridish bacteria farm among other activities. A collection of four unique classroom inspired products called Lab in A Bag – Wonders, Adventures, Newton’s Antics and Come to your Senses – are also available. All the sets contain experiments focused around their respective subjects to engage young children. Suitable from four years-old and upwards. Yummy Dough is a fun modelling material that allows young children to get creative and then eat the results. Simply add water to the

01483 776 006 powder mix to create a mouldable Yummy Dough mixture, then shape the dough into different shapes and then eat it. The Yummy Dough mixture now comes in brand new tubs to help drive impulse sales.

0845 365 3030 become flexible – there is no need to heat or cool the chocolate. It contains no artificial flavourings, colouring, added preservatives or animal products, and is suitable for vegetarians.

JOHN CRANE

The SES Creative range from John Crane provides a new take on the classic childrens’ activity of colouring in. With the set of six Washable Glass Pens, kids can get creative on windows and other glass surfaces. Thanks to the 100 per cent washable ink, the designs can cleaned off those bedroom windows. Alternatively, a set of eight Super Magic markers provide colour changing activities so young creative types can write or draw in one colour, and with a swish of the magic marker it will change the ink into a bright, new colour. With eight colours in the set there are 16 combinations. Meanwhile, Brush Markers have fine tips for more detailed work.

01604 774949

Each set contains ten bold colours. For a bit more fun, Aroma Pens have a range of different smells such as liquorice, strawberry, apple and bubblegum among others. Each colour also corresponds to the pen’s aroma. Young children often push down the nibs on felt pens, ruining the tip. To solve this problem, Baby Markers have a specially shaped nib which prevents this from happening. They are available in a set of eight different colours. SES Creative also provides full sets of pencil crayons, wax crayons, poster paints, glitter paints, finger paints, chalks and everything else needed for a child’s art studio.


SECTOR GUIDE CREATIVE PLAY

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BRAINSTORM

Mostaix is an educational range of art and craft products allowing children to make mosaic style pictures using small plastic tiles. With the different shaped tiles children can build up pictures by simply following the included scale pattern or working from imagination. The pieces snap in place without the need for glue or ironing. Once completed the pieces can be removed to create another design.

FIESTA CRAFTS

01200 445113

The Mostaix range is available in three sizes. The 264-piece set is suitable for beginners and younger children and is sold at pocket-money prices. For older kids the mid-price set contains 1,332 tiles and for the enthusiasts there are 4,440-piece sets. There are 20 different pictures to choose from including a T Rex, a horse, kitten and a collie dog. New for 2011 is the Red Ribbon Series which includes the macaw and panda designs.

FLAIR

New to Flair’s portfolio is Charmies, a beaded jewellery maker where the Magic Beader is used to thread designs. The refill sets have a collectability value, with different cute and quirky designs. Gelarti provides a way to paint and create reusable stickers. Children can build a Gelarti collection with the six themed Scene Packs, design new creations with the Gelarti Activity Pack and store Gelarti stickers in the portable Gelarti Design Studio. 3D Magic is a new range of creative play easels using the latest 3D technology to bring creations to life. Kids can choose from 3D Magic Color and Glow, a light up easel that uses fluorescent markers to create 3D pictures, or the Magna Color magnetic design studio which transforms designs into 3D artwork with colourful 3D discs. Both the Color and Glow sets include 3D glasses.

020 8643 0320

Fuzzoodles can be mixed and matched with the interchangeable accessory pieces. Assortment sets include Fuzzy Friends and Crazy Critter or Glamour Girls and Goofy Guys. Tagz is a new brand which comes in two sets: Body Tagz and Fashion Tagz. Body Tagz are temporary body art transfers, with lots of designs to choose from including sparkly glitter or glow in the dark. Kids can customise their clothes and accessories with Fashion Tagz, and change their style every day with the fabric feel stickers. In addition, Flair’s existing collections continue to grow. Cool Cardz has just added Hello Kitty Cool Cardz. Aqua Beads and Zubber also benefit from new additions, such as the Aqua Beads Spray Station and the Zubber Design Wheel Creations Set. Plasticine is available at a range of prices, while Bionic Putty has also been added to the line-up.

020 8804 0563 DKL

Young writers and artists are the target audience for the Doowell magnetic colour-in Comic Books and Playscenes, which are focused on story-telling. There are five colour-in titles in the Doowell magnetic range, with prices starting from £8.99. The double-sided magnetic board contains over 50 exclusive pre-cut magnetic paper pieces. Kids can move the pieces around to re-tell classic stories or write their own. Suitable for travel, everything packs away into the folded board once playtime is finished.

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In the Little Red Riding Hood ColourIn Story Book children can personalise the heroine, dress up the big bad wolf and help grandma to safety, while colouring in the comic book and writing their own titles, speech bubbles and narration strips. A Jack and the Beanstalk Colour-In Story Book is also available. After receiving a ‘Top Toys’ Gold Award in The Independent for the Doowell magnetic colour-in Playscene, Fiesta Crafts is confident this range extension can boost its reputation for high quality, fun and educational toys and games.

DKL is the exclusive UK distributor for Hama Beads. Once the beads are placed onto a pegboard, the designs can be made into permanent models through ironing. With the vast array of mixed sets, gift boxes, individual beads and pegboards there are no limits on what can be created. For creative play in the home, the Giant Gift Box contains approximately 6,000 beads in a variety of colours together with three large pegboards. There is also the Group Suitcase,

01604 678780

containing 21,000 beads, pegboards and inspiration books, plus smaller tubs and hanging packs. Meanwhile, the new Velcro Kids line includes a giant playhouse made entirely from cardboard and held together using Velcro. The house is deliberately left plain, with only a few image outlines so children can decorate it as they wish. The range also includes a line of masks which come in three themes: animals, princess and pirates.

JULY 2011


SECTOR GUIDE CREATIVE PLAY

www.toynews-online.biz

TOMY

020 8722 7300

TOP BANANA TOYS PlayMais is a craft kit which uses 100 per cent natural ingredients. Sweetcorn and plant dyes are moulded into a colourful building material, which stick together with a dab of water. The themed kits will inspire children, while the Basic Boxes in Small, Medium or Large will allow them to fully exercise their creativity.

Tomy’s existing pre-school arts and crafts offering, Aquadoodle, is suitable for children aged 18 months and up. There are several new licensed Aquadoodle mini mats, all of which launched earlier this year. These include Chuggington, Rapunzel and Timmy Time. This summer will also see the launch of a large Chuggington mat, complete with the trains as accessories that can roll water designs onto the mat. Tomy’s expanded arts and crafts range now includes collections for older children, with the launch of the new modelling compound, ClayZee. This is a full range of modelling kits, comprising Wood Works, Memories in Stone, Pottery Pals, Fossils Rock and Cork Board kits. Children aged seven and up can create their own artefacts which mimic

BEST YEARS 01327 262189

Following on from the Truly Ethical craft kits, Best Years has launched new Fairtrade boxed craft kits. Retailing at around £9.99, the kits have all of the existing Fairtrade credentials. On top of this, they also have new upgraded designs all presented in a gift box. Not only are all the components ethically sourced, but the kits have been designed so that both the box and the instruction leaflet are used in the construction. The range includes Make Your Own Flower Pictures, complete with frame; Make Your Own Space Centre; Make Your Own Theatre and Make Your Own Aquarium.

the look, feel and weight of the real-life natural materials. ClayZee kits are unique in allowing children to make lifelike models out of a single unique compound. Each kit contains all the items needed to create one complete model – including moulds, twine and coloured paints. ClayZee is non-messy and air dries into the finished article. And with a guide retail price of £9.99 per kit, it makes a great gift opportunity. This month, Tomy launches the new Oglo range of arts and crafts kits. The glow in the dark activity sets allow children to make sun-catchers, mosaics, bracelets, pictures and ornaments in a variety of colours which are both bright during the day and glow in colour at night. Guide retail price is between £5.99 and £12.99.

VIVID IMAGINATIONS

Crayola Beginnings introduces My First Art Desk packs allowing the child to take their first steps into their creative world with its 4-in-1 features. It has a magic water reveal that uncovers a colourful picture with the included water wand. Flip the desk over for the ‘scribble on, wipe off’ surface, which can be used over and over again with a clip-on tool for paper or colouring pages. The pack includes six triangular crayons that can be stored in the builtin compartment, and has adjustable legs to allow for lap or table play. Story Studio enables anyone to take the starring role in their own Cars 2 or Disney Princess cartoon adventure. Using a unique online access code, the website will transform any regular photo into a unique cartoon character. Once created, the character can be

01483 449944

placed into a wide range of scenes again and again, while the online editing tools can tailor the adventure. Once complete, they can be printed out, coloured-in and bound together to create a personalised storybook. Promoting creative self-expression, Catwalk Creations is all about designing fashion collections and showcasing them. Experimentation and personalisation are central to the play pattern, with many fabric swatches and accessories. Unique printable fabric gives the ability to turn any pattern into a fashion creation on the computer. Design guides and clothing templates and an interchangeable mannequin allow for endless possibilities. Vivid will back all of the lines with significant TV support.

51

01371 873141 New for 2011 are Basic Buckets, which are available in 500 or 1,000 versions. The light plastic buckets allow the PlayMais to be easily stored and transported. There are now six different PlayMais World sets including Princess, Deco, Farm, Sea, Safari and Jungle. The large kits include full colour templates, instructions and accessories. The smaller PlayMais One sets provide an introduction to the craft toy and there are five themes available – Princess, Lion, Giraffe, Cow and Fish. The PlayMais Colourline range is aimed at children who want to add more of a single colour to their craft creations. Each box comprises a single colour of PlayMais and there are six to choose from – green, red, blue, pink, orange and yellow. PlayMais is fully biodegradable and ecofriendly, all of the packaging and box contents are too – even the cutting tool in each pack is made from the cornstarch.

HABA 0161 304 9555

Haba’s new Creative Workshop Flowers is packed with ideas from flowers and fashionable hair slides to colourful gift boxes. The blossoms can be combined endlessly into the fantasy flowers for craft fun, playing and decorating. There are 32 different sized flowers, wooden rods, plus pins and slides and do it yourself sheets for two boxes. Haba’s Tack Zap has a number of designs to choose from including Springtime Butterflies, Traffic and On the Farm Moo & Ma. Each set contains colourful wooden tiles, a hammer and metal pins to tack them to the provided corkboard. Alternatively, Haba’s Magnetic Picture Puzzles uses colourful shapes with magnets that attach to the provided board to create designs and shapes.

JULY 2011


52

SECTOR GUIDE CREATIVE PLAY

MGA

MGA Entertainment’s refereshed Moxie Girlz Arti-itude range lets girls customise new 3D fashions for the dolls to wear. Using the special coloured markers, girls can transform the dolls’ clothes into new fashions and one of a kind 3D looks. Once transformed girls can look through the glasses to see the outfits in 3D. The artwork can be washed for more creative play. The included glasses can also be decorated for a personalised look. The doll comes with two washable markers, 3D glasses and a ‘Try Me’ feature on the packaging, where girls

UNIVERSITY GAMES University Games has felt boards and magnetic boards from the two wellloved stories The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Gruffalo. Children can bring the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar to life with their own hands as they build engaging scenes from the classic Eric Carle books. They can watch the little caterpillar turn into a beautiful butterfly as he munches his way through all the food he finds on his big adventure. The soft felt pieces cling to the felt play board and can be used over again. Also, the board comes in a portable clear carry case for ease of use. The second felt board game, The Gruffalo Felt Play Board, allows children to build creative scenes from the book. The book is designed to help the child achieve a new level of confidence as a storyteller as there are no steep learning curves or complicated instructions. Another offering from University Games in the creative play sector is The Very Hungry Caterpillar Magnetic Adventures and The

JULY 2011

0845 0533 333

can see how the 3D dimension will look before they buy. The Art-itude 3D dolls are priced at around £14.99 retail. Also new to the Moxie Girls range is the Magic Hair Colour Streak Studio dolls. Using the included hair colour applicator, girls can mix up colours to create a completely new colour, rainbow stripes and sparkled streaks. The dolls carry a suggested retail price of £24.99. Moxie Girls is suitable for girls aged five and up, and is supported by a marketing programme which includes PR activity and a TV campaign.

01359 243900 Gruffalo magnetic sets. There are 31 colourful magnetic pieces to play with on the fridge, in the play tin and other surfaces around the house. The play-sets both feature four different scenic backgrounds and characters from the stories.

INTERPLAY

Interplay launches into the craft market this autumn with the creative collection myStyle. The range of craft kits is designed to appeal to pre-teens, aged eight and up, where friends, fashion and expressing individuality is a high priority. The new kits enable girls to create endless individual designs, from personalised greetings cards to customised deluxe charm bracelets. There are six products in the initial myStyle collection: Paper Bead Jewellery, Clay Bead Jewellery, Shrink Craft Jewellery, DeLuxe Charm Bracelets, The Gorgeous Girly Card Kit and Japanese Friendship Dolls. myStyle DeLuxe Charm Bracelets enables girls to create beads and charm bracelets designed to look like the real thing but at a fraction of the cost. Using clays, glitter, foils, 18 silver coloured charms plus additional components to create special effects, girls aged eight and up will have the means to produce up to 40 personalised and professional looking beads.

ZAPF Zapf Creation continues to add to its portfolio of creative products. This autumn, the quirky Patchy Dolly will be introduced. Patchy Dolly allows children to alter her facial expressions using the interchangeable mouth and eye pieces to create different fun and silly faces. The dress, which is also included, has exchangeable pieces with Velcro fixtures to allow the child to change Patchy Dolly’s outfits. Prices will start at around £24.99. Patchy Dolly is suitable for children from the age of one.

01628 488944

Each of the three jewellery kits, Paper, Clay and Shrink Craft Jewellery, contain everything needed to personalise necklaces, earrings and bracelets, including detailed full colour instruction booklets, professional tools and techniques to teach girls the lifelong skills to produce more advanced customised creations to wear and share with friends and family. In addition to the creative jewellery kits, the range also includes two other craft kits: The Gorgeous Girly Card Kit and Japanese Friendship Dolls. The Gorgeous Girly Card Kit will see girls aged eight and up producing up to 12 different cards. The materials and techniques provided within the kit are made to result in a professional finish. With a range of retail price points and excellent trade margins, combined with heavyweight TV advertising, magazine promotions, interactive campaigns and planned range extension, Interplay believes this will be a top selling range for 2011.

0845 0533 333




Who’s Who o’’s Y Your our o Her Hero? o?

Discove Discover er new her heroes oes fr from om Schleich’ Schleich’ss W World orld o of History and the fant fantasy tasy W World orld o of Bayala. For mor re information please contact more Schleich h UK Ltd, 4 Stansted Courtyar Courtyard, d, Parsonage Road, Takeley, T a akeley, Bishop’s Bishop’s Stortfor Stortford, d, Hertfordshire, Hertfordsh hire, CM22 6PU, Telephone: T e elepho one: 01279 870000, Email: schleich@schleich-s.co.uk schle eich@schleich-s.co.uk

www.schleich-s.com w ww.schleich-s.com Anywhere’s A ny whe re’s a P Playground l a yg r o u n d ®


54

SECTOR GUIDE CREATIVE PLAY

PAUL LAMOND

Paul Lamond will release new craft and activity sets to its Chimp and Zee PreSchool Educational range. These will include On Safari, Pretty Ponies and Makeover Friends. The craft activity sets are designed to be fun and allow children to learn through play. The On Safari craft activity contains three jungle friends to make and place on a safari park display panel. Pretty Ponies contains three ponies to style

SAMBRO 0161 707 5555

Sambro has a full portfolio of craft items to suit a variety of different needs. The Travel Art Easel and Floor Standing Easel are both suited to outdoor painting, whereas the Art Desks and Colouring Tables provide children with a space to get creative indoors. The entire range is available in a variety of licensed versions. For example, a Minnie Mouse Colouring Table is available, as is a Disney Princess Sit N Play Desk. The Spongebob Sit N Play Activity Tray provides a mobile solution for the home. The Shaped Crayons and Magic Scribblers are designed to be easy for young hands to use, while the range of carded stationery provides a good surface to draw on. Also available is a Cars 2 Deluxe Roll N Go, Fireman Sam Bath Tub Crayons and a complete Thomas Bath Tub Range.

JULY 2011

020 7284 0100

and show on the stable display. Meanwhile, Makeover Friends consists of three dolls to decorate and display on a dolls house panel. Each product comes with colouring sheets, stickers and wool to help dress up and decorate the characters. All of the craft activities have been made to be easy for parents to set up and explain. The carry box is presented with a plastic handle, making it an ideal travelling companion.

GREAT GIZMOS

The 4M Create Your Own collection has expanded with new items and a broader range of creative activities. On top of this, the brand has also received a packaging makeover. Among these is Easy-to-do French Knitting, where girls can make yarn butterflies with the specially designed knitting reel. Make Your Own Shrinking Craft Kit is designed to work as a science and art project of its own as colourful shapes and accessories shrink down to become charm rings. The kit includes everything a girl needs to make 12 charm rings that can be used to make key rings, a bracelet or a necklace.

MARBEL

01208 873123

With makedo from Marbel you can make play objects, kid’s costumes, furniture, decorations and more from the materials around you. makedo is a connector system – re-clip, lock-hinge and safe-saw – that enables materials including cardboard, plastic and fabric to join together to form new objects or structures which can be pulled apart to reuse over again. The Find and Make Robot aims to encourage children to find materials from around the home and make their own robot using guided instructions. Decorate it with the included stickers. There are five products in the Find and Make series ranging from around £6.99 to £12.99. The FreePlay range consists of two kits; the Kit for One includes 65 different reusable parts and contains enough bits to make the basics or to top up a collection. The Kit for One retails for around £9.99. The Kit for Three contains 170 reusable parts and retails for £19.99. makedo has emerged from a group of people who seek to inspire social change through playful creativity.

01293 543221

Also refreshed this year, the Mould & Paint range has a brand new packaging design with an eye-catching display that has instant shelf appeal. There are five to collect in the range, including the new Mould & Paint Fridge Magnets kit which has 24 designs and 30 fridge magnets. Finally, from the My Very Own collection comes the new My Very Own Ballerina Theatre. Girls can put on their own ballet performances with this creative kit. Everything is included to create a stage and ballet dancing figures, which are then magnetically controlled with wands underneath the stage.

makedo wants people to see and inject new value into things that might otherwise be regarded as waste. The aim is to encourage people to use their imagination and see the creative possibilities in the reuse of everyday materials around them.

JOHN ADAMS 01480 414361

The John Adams craft portfolio features the Fab Felt Jewellery Maker, allowing children to create felt items with the multi activity workstation. Children aged six and up can make necklaces, brooches, danglies and bangles. The Jewellery Maker is available now and retails at around £25. Also new in the craft category, the Button Bracelets kit includes a choice of 12 bracelets, 100 assorted buttons, stickers, decorations and soft flowers. Button Bracelets is suitable for ages six and up and retails at around £19.99. Other new craft products include Funky Foiling, Five-In-One Clever Clay Jewellery Maker, Chocolate Lolly Maker and Sand Doodler. There are also extensions to the ever popular Fuzzy-Felt range, with Fuzzy-Felt Farm Animals and My First Crafts.


LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2011 The LEGO Group. 600-3969

#8

NEW

7305 SCARAB ATTACK

TY PROP ER

7306 GOLDEN STAFF GUARDIANS

7307 FLYING MUMMY ATTACK

IN

TOTAL

7326 RISE OF THE SPHINX

TOY

MARKET

7327 SCORPION PYRAMID

YEAR

TO

DATE

201 1) (NPD, May

7325 CURSED COBRA STATUE


Dedicated monthly retail coverage

Retail Only News • Data • Opinion

Argos reports good toy despite overall sales drop by Lewis Tyler RESULTS FROM the Home Retail Group revealed Argos’ total sales declined 8.1 per cent to £817 million. Like-for-like sales were down 9.6 per cent in Q4, the 13 weeks up to May 28th. Argos attributed the decline to poor TV and video games sales, but reported that ‘toys and seasonal products performed well in the quarter.’ The Home Retail Group issued a profit warning in March. Terry Duddy, chief executive of Home Retail Group, commented that trading conditions “have proved to be more difficult and volatile than anticipated.” He continued: “For Argos, the consumer electronics market

Mothercare plans stores in Iraq

represents a substantial proportion of its sales and has experienced a further significant decline. The difficulty of this market, together with the volatility of overall sales, has made the balance of the year more difficult to predict. “While we remain cautious for the balance of the financial year, we are focused on our operational performance while continuing to invest across the businesses,” the Argos chief added.

Page 58 This month our Counter Insurgent is troubled by technical sales talk...

Charts Page 59 Find out what’s selling at WHSmith, The Entertainer, Amazon, Play.com, Very.co.uk and John Lewis...

New products Page 60 See the latest offerings from H.Grossman, Pyramid International, Asobi and Jakks Pacific...

Tesco reveals top ten Christmas toys

by Katie Roberts MOTHERCARE has announced its intention to expand its international reach further with an outlet in the Kurdish North capital Arbil. The retailer already has outlets in Azerbijan and Uzbekistan, with a burgeoning international business, which accounts for around 60 per cent of all sales. Ben Gordon, chief executive of Mothercare, said: “Iraq has 30 million people – clearly it’s a country with a lot of potential. “We’re Alshaya’s first brand there. We were the first in Syria. We tend to be the lead brand, the brand that works best.” Mothercare: 01923 241000

Argos opened at four new locations during the quarter, taking its store portfolio to 755, while growing its online business. The retailer launched its home shopping channel on June 15th and will offer more than 30,000 brands through the service. Adrian Burleton, business development director at Argos, said: “With the TV home shopping market valued at £750m and growing, it’s a great opportunity for us.” The Home Retail Group completed a £24.5 million purchase of Habitat on June 24th. The group will take control of the home furniture brand in the UK, and its three flagship London stores. Argos: 0845 640 2020

Comment

by Lewis Tyler FIJIT, THE purple, squishy electronic toy from Mattel will be the most indemand toy this festive period, according to Tesco. The retailer announced the ten toys it will be stocking up on in preparation for Christmas. The announcement was made a month earlier than usual, in June. Tesco senior buying manager, John Stanhope, said: “The Fijit is going to be this year’s must-have gadget.”

Fijit has over 150 spoken phrases and can recognise and react to verbal commands and dance to music. Stanhope added: “There really is something for every child in our top ten toys for Christmas and the standard of toys on offer this year is second to none.” VTech’s Kidizoom Twist Camera took the second spot and Hasbro had the most toys on the list: the Transfomers 3 Optimus Prime action figure, Bopit XL, Nerf N Strike Night Finder and Monopoly Banking. The top ten was, in order: Fijit, Kidizoom Twist Camera, Barbie Doggie Water Park, Transformers 3 Optimus Prime, Baby Annabell, Bob The Builder Construction Tower, Lego City Police Station, Bopit XT, Nerf N Strike Night Finder and Monopoly Banking. Tesco: 0845 722 5533

Hero Product Page 63 Bizu from Spin Master is this month’s Hero Product...


58

RETAIL ONLY

HIGHSTREET COUNTER INSURGENT Dispatches from the retail front line... I RECENTLY had a visit from a young sales rep, selling something he thought would be good in a toy shop. Needless to say he was totally wrong, but I didn’t want to knock the stuffing out of him completely. Once he was on the back foot he launched into telling me all about the USPs, DSPs and other letters randomly stuck in a sentence. Now I don’t know about you, but one thing I am getting sick of is these acronyms that people use, I’ve got no idea what the heck they are talking about. The military may love them but please, not in everyday life. This guy used so many acronyms, that I ended up reminding him the closing day for applying for next year’s series of The Apprentice.

What is worse, he seemed shocked when I asked him to speak in normal English so that I could understand what he was on about. Talking of The Apprentice, where do they find these nuggets? Maybe it is the time pressure or the need to win, but sometimes they make me wonder how they get up in the morning and get dressed. The stand out nugget this year has to be Jim, a quick talking, ‘not my fault guv’ Irishman, who you know would follow you in a revolving door and be waiting for you inside. This current crop are trying to win £250k investment, I just hope none of them gets an idea for a toy. Once again, a huge compliment has to go to Toymaster for the May Show. It was nice to be back in the Majestic. I know some suppliers were a little apprehensive after the move

I am getting sick of these acronyms that people use, I’ve got no idea what the heck they are talking about. down to the conference centre last year, but they all seemed positive. It was good to actually see product from the Toy Fair stayaways and some of the new items that have arrived since London Toy Fair. Which brings me onto the other problem facing us all

now. The internet has made close launch dates a must: some manufacturers are responding very well to global launches and understand the way social media has made product launches even more important to have close together. For example, Hasbro

has a massive online community for the Nerf range and the launch of Vortex will be a test to how well a supplier can cope with a global launch. I’ve always said that we, as an industry, miss out by not having a street date for some products. With social media and viral marketing becoming the norm, the opportunities are massive. It is something I’ve suggested to various marketing people over the years, but half the time I don’t understand the replies – they are full of those blessed acronyms.

PRICE CHECK: JULY 2011

JULY 2011

Moon Dough Big Barn Set (Spin Master)

Finn McMissile Gear Up and Go (Mattel)

Nerf Super Soaker Thunder Storm (Hasbro)

Mega Bloks 3 in 1 Play 'n' Go Table (Mega Brands)

Ben 10 adventure play set (Worlds Apart)

N/A

£19.99

£9.99

£29.99

£24.50

£17.97

N/A

£20.00

£29.97

£25.00

£17.97

£19.99

£14.99

£29.99

£19.99

£21.00

£17.99

£15.99

£33.94

£24.94

£22.99

£17.99

£15.99

N/A

£30.99


RETAIL ONLY

www.toynews-online.biz

59

RETAILCHARTS WHSmith.co.uk

CHART DATE 16/06/11

The Entertainer

CHART DATE 16/06/11

1

Large Brick Box

Lego

1

Badge It Badge Maker

2

Star Wars Brickmaster

Lego

2

Princess Catherine Limited Edition Engagement Doll

3

City Camper

Lego

3

Last Exit Grind Action Stairs with 8 Mini Decks

4

Star Wars Tri fighter Droid

Lego

4

Last Exit Skate Park

Aggressive Development

5

Sylvanian Families Sister at Home Set

Flair

5

Micro Systemz 24-Piece Action Pack

Aggressive Development

6

City 4x4 Horsebox

Lego

6

Tag Reading System, green

Leapfrog

7

Creator Car three Models in one

Lego

7

Tag Reading System, pink

Leapfrog

8

Natural History Museum AntQuarium

Tobar

8

Last Exit Vert Ramp with Eight Mini Decks

Aggressive Development

9

Lights Torch

Lego

9

Micro Systemz 36-Piece Action Pack

Aggressive Development

10 Timmy Time Wooden Dominoes Set

Amazon 1

Butterfly Garden

2

Golden Bear

CHART DATE 16/06/11

Bandai

10 Toy Story 60-Piece Art Set

Play.com

Arklu Aggressive Dev

Anker

CHART DATE 16/06/11

Insect Lore

1

Dr Who: Character Building Dr Who Micro-Figures

Character

Kidizoom Plus Multimedia Digital Camera, blue

VTech

2

Micro-Figures

Character

3

Kidizoom Plus Multimedia Digital Camera, pink

VTech

3

Minifigures Series 4

4

Bananagrams

Winning Moves

4

Ozbozz My First Scooter

5

Nerf N-Strike Maverick

Hasbro

5

Top Trumps Moshi Monsters

6

Nerf N-Strike Clip System Dart Pack (36 darts)

Hasbro

6

Nerf Dart Tag FuryFire 2 Pack Set

Hasbro

7

Peppa Pig Sit N Bounce

Mookie

7

Nerf N-Strike Maverick

Hasbro

8

Top Trumps Moshi Monsters

Winning Moves

8

Nerf N-Strike Whistler Dart Pack

Hasbro

9

Nerf N-Strike Whistler Dart Pack

Hasbro

9

Moshi Monsters Blind Bags

10 Moshi Monsters Mash Up TGC (36 packets)

Very.co.uk 1

Kidizoom Video Recorder, pink

2

Disney Princess Walkie Talkies

3

Topps

CHART DATE 16/06/11

Lego Grossman Winning Moves

Vivid

10 Lego Games: Minotaurus

John Lewis

Lego

CHART DATE 16/06/11

VTech

1

Maxi Micro Scooter, purple

Micro Scooters

IMC

2

Maxi Micro Scooter, black

Micro Scooters

Cars 2 Lightning McQueen Learning Laptop

VTech

3

Maxi Micro Scooter, blue

Micro Scooters

4

V.Smile Motion Learning Toy Story 3 Game

VTech

4

Mini Micro T-Bar Scooter, pink

Micro Scooters

5

Power Rangers Walkie Talkies

IMC

5

Cars 2: Toy Cars

Mattel

6

Toy Story Walkie Talkies

IMC

6

Nerf Super Soaker Scatter Blast

Hasbro

7

Kidizoom Travel Bag, pink

VTech

7

Sunset Glow Paddling Pool

Intex

8

VTech V-motion Dora Game

VTech

8

Moshi Monsters Blind Bags

Vivid

9

Kidizoom Travel Bag, purple

VTech

9

Genius Octagonal SurroundSafe Ten-feet Trampoline

VTech

10 Dubble Bubble Wand

10 Disney Princess Magical Learning Laptop

TP Toys HTI

JULY 2011


60

RETAIL ONLY

PRODUCTNEWS Metallic Disney posters primed for release

PYRAMID INTERNATIONAL is launching a new Disney-licensed metallic poster range. The new Metallic Signature Series of Disney posters are produced under an exclusive licence in this category, covering key titles such as Minnie Mouse, Disney Princess and Cars 2. The range is launching with eight designs featuring a metallic design technology – a foil effect is used on elements of the design so that they appear to be metallic. Commenting on the new product line, Pyramid’s sales and marketing director Karen Wigglesworth said: “We are targeting toy retailers as the new metallic signature series offers kids a superb Disney product at a great price point that mums and dads can afford in this economic climate.” The posters are available in maxi and mini size and start at £4.49. Pyramid Posters: 0116 264 2655 www.pyramidinternational.com

Grossman unveils new Hello Kitty designs The company is distributing the new Hello Kitty camping range by Ozbozz... CAMPING IS big news during the summer months and the new Hello Kitty Camping Set is suitable for the garden and outdoor pursuits. The set features a branded lightweight domed tent and matching quad seat. The tent has a fitted ground sheet, extendable poles and is made to be easy to assemble. Both products fold up for travel and storage. For a more spacious option, the Hello Kitty Mega Tent fits up to four people and has a fitted ground sheet with separate sleeping and bag areas. The outdoor experience is completed with the Hello Kitty Sleeping Bag, which is made from

soft materials to help kids get a comfortable and sound night’s sleep. Ozbozz has an extensive range of other licensed and own brand outdoor toys.

Grossman: 0141 613 2525 www.ozbozz.co.uk

Asobi snaps up Speed Rugby game WITH THE Rugby World Cup kicking off this September, Asobi has signed Speed Rugby, a fast-paced dice game with true-to-life rules. Speed Rugby is already popular in France, where it was invented, and

regular tournaments are held throughout the country. The game has also received an endorsement from the RFU, the sport’s governing body in the UK. Five points are awarded for a try, seven for conversions and three for penalties. The winner is the player with the most points after both halves have been played. Thierry Bourret, Asobi’s owner and founder, commented: “We are very excited about launching Speed Rugby. The best board games are quick and

easy to pick up and addictive too. With the RFU supporting us we think that Speed Rugby is going to be big this year.” Available now, the full-size board game retails at around £14.99 and the travel version at £9.99. Asobi: 01628 200077

Jakks to launch Max Force range SUITABLE FOR indoor and outdoor play, the new Max Force range promises to deliver ‘maximum distance, maximum accuracy and maximum tagging.’ A patent pending design fires paper pellets which can hit a target over 100-feet away. The initial Max Force range comes in three designs: the Blowgun 35, the Maximizer 60 and the Shadow Hawk 100. The Max Force Blowgun 35 is suited to stealth attacks up to 35JULY 2011

feet away and comes with 60 pellets and Mission Glasses, priced at £9.99. For close combat, the Max Force Maximizer 60 is a blaster for all covert operations. It includes 102 pellet refills, one eight-round clip for easy loading, eyewear and accuracy up to 60-feet for £19.99. The Max Force Shadow Hawk 100 is made for long-range missions and comes with a bipod for long range firing over 100-feet. It includes 120 refill pellets, two eight-round cartridges and Mission Glasses.

The range launches from August, backed with over 550 TVRS and press and viral campaigns. Jakks Pacific: 01344 638900.


HERO PRODUCT

www.toynews-online.biz

63

Spin Master Bizu Spin Master is expanding its arts and crafts offering with the introduction of fashion accessory, Bizu… BIZU IS ‘a twist on beads’ – a bead activity that allows girls to create transforming accessories. The latest addition to Spin Master’s growing creative play portfolio, the product allows girls aged six and over to create bracelets, charms, and necklaces. The jewellery can be twisted to create posable characters, before twisting it back to jewellery again. With 60 characters stylised in glam, wild, rock, and funky designs, each trend has thousands of possible combinations. Girls can create bracelets, link three together to make a necklace, or use the creations as backpack, bag and mobile phone accessories. Two and Four Packs of Bizu will be available this month, along with the Bizu Style Studio, which lets kids sort, dispense and style the Bizu characters. The studio has 36 beads, four ultra-rare characters and over 15,000 combinations possible through mixing and matching. Spin Master will launch the range with TV, print and online marketing support, including a four-month campaign with one of the leading girls’ magazines. There will also be a Bizu website giving more information about the product, ‘how to’ videos and guides and tips.

Release dates: July 2011 CONTACT DETAILS: Phone: 01628 535000

JULY 2011


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Richard Edward

0208 311 8888

AS A manufacturer of games cards, playing cards and trading card games, and a strategic partner to many well known games brands including Top Trumps and Monopoly, Richard Edward has experience in getting products into consumers’ hands, on time and at the right price point. Established for 30 years, the manufacturer produces in excess of 40 million decks of cards per annum using its fully integrated inhouse facilities. Richard Edward makes trading card sets, card components for board games, stand alone card games, and playing and games cards for promotional and conventional use to a global base of clients.

The firm offers a range of specialist printing and innovative finishing processes to ensure that even the most demanding creative brief is met. From foiling, to glow-in-thedark or creating inks that react to temperature to randomised collation and unique coding within trading card sets, the processes enable deep interactivity and engagement with your consumers. And because everything is carried out on one site, the manufacturer offers flexibility to work to your needs and forecasts – providing a reliable service in these challenging times. Richard Edward’s service and working practices are of a high

standard, offering excellent environmental credentials including FSC and Green Mark, helping you to reduce your carbon footprint by purchasing a truly British product. The company is regularly audited to Global Sourcing Principles (and can be found on the SMETA database), the ETI base code, and hold Investors in People, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditations. Watch out for Richard Edward featuring on How Do They Do It airing on Discovery in July and August. Visit the Facebook page, follow on Twitter (@RichardEdward1), visit, www.richard-edward.com or call on 0208 311 8888.

ESDEVIUM GAMES SUPPLIER/MANUFACTURER

01420 593593 ESDEVIUM GAMES is looking forward to the second half of 2011 after a solid start for its range of games and collectibles. This is due in part to the resurgence of Pokémon, following the launch of Black and White video games in April. Some retailers report that Pokémon sales are up 100 per cent compared to the same period last year. Esdevium has plenty of releases still to come.

Pokémon Black and White 2 – Emerging Powers launches in August and is set to follow the trend of strong sales with the brand’s new capability to be played online. Players will be able to battle across the internet, when the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online launches this August. Also available is the board game of the ITV Saturday night dating show, Take Me Out – set for release in Q4.

The game features an electronic unit that plays catchphrases from the show’s host, Paddy McGuiness, and also allows players to use the ‘poom-poom’ sound of a girl’s light going out.

Heroes – Legend of the Battle Disks is the latest creation from Gogo Crazy Bones manufacturer Magic Box International. It consists of figures, disks, shooters and stickers. At just £1.99 per booster, Heroes will compete in the pocket money collectible category. The firm also has high hopes for its Nostalgia range of titles launching in Q4 consisting of Monopoly, Cluedo and Risk. The games are copies of some of the

earliest editions of the games, coming in wooden boxes, featuring metal playing pieces and styled with the games’ early artwork. Esdevium prides itself on offering an unbeatable service to its customers with friendly account handlers, in-house expertise, sales support and a low minimum order of only £150. For more information, a catalogue or to make an order, please call on 01420 593 593.


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TOY TALK

TOY TALK TOY TRUST FUNdraiser 2011 THE EFFORTS of everyone who took part in this year’s five-stage fundraiser in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital at Rutland Water have so far raised £98,647 (which is a combination of team fees and individual sponsorship). A pledge of £45,000 will go to GOSH, with the rest going to the Toy Trust. Nick Austin, Toy Trust committee chairman, said: “It was fantastic to see so many participants taking part from the toy industry in this year’s Toy Trust fundraising event at Rutland Water. But more importantly we are delighted to be able to donate such a large sum of money to Great Ormond Street Hospital and to other Toy Trust charities that will

JULY 2011

go on to benefit disadvantaged children from all over the UK.” Learning Curve was the overall team winner on the day, while individual awards went to Paul Coon (Tomy Tigers) for the cycling; Mark Ashurst (Learning Curve) for the 7km run; Vivid Toy (for the raft race); Kalie and Lydia (Learning Curve) for the three-legged race; and Henry Gordon (Hasbro) for the egg and spoon race.


TOY TALK

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Overall Team Winner: Learning Curve

JULY 2011


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TOY TALK

TOY TALK

The In Thing girls’ charity walk, Casdon brings back a classic toy and a Rubik’s challenge on the Suez Canal…

BEST FOOT FORWARD FOR THE IN THING

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

PLEASE EXCUSE the seemingly random feel to this column as I flit from one story to another, but it’s been that kind of month where a good news story is tempered with one that brings you back down to earth. First, there was encouraging news from NPD that it is now to include Toys R Us in its retail panel. It’s taken the best part of 20 years to achieve this and it will assist with a more accurate understanding of the market. Next, the new CEO of Leapfrog, John Barbour, is making all the right noises, the latest of which was the purchase of a chunk of stock in the firm. “I have a lot of confidence in this business and what this company can achieve. That’s why I bought 50,000 shares,” said Barbour. A further feel good story came with news that Tom Hanks is lining up to take on another toy inspired role in a live action version of Mattel’s Major Matt Mason. God, I’m old. I owned that toy in the early 70s. Then, reality struck when Hasbro announced it would be cutting 75 jobs as part of a reorganization of its global games business. Ouch. As if employment prospects weren’t already tough enough. And then you hear that three of the top five companies in the leisure products industry ranked by operating margin are toy firms. It’s long been a bugbear with retailers in this industry that margins are too slender and they will not be pleased to learn that their suppliers are doing so well. Mattel came first with an operating margin of 20.2 per cent in the last quarter on sales of $2.1 billion, Leapfrog reported an operating margin of 14.1 per cent in the last quarter on sales of $189.8 million and RC2 had an operating margin of 11.9 cent in the last quarter on sales of $124.2 million. The other two in the top five were a firearms firm and a maker of snowmobiles. What’s most unnerving here is the fact that a firearms manufacturer is classed as a Leisure Products company.

The girls from The In Thing successfully took part in an eight-mile Charity Starlight Walk last month. Taking place in Blackburn, the aim was to raise funds for the East Lancashire Hospice as part of the company’s annual fundraising activity.

The girls (pictured) have managed to raise close to £800 so far, and sponsors are still being accepted until the end of August. If you would like to donate and help bump up the total, simply visit www.justgiving.com/theinthing.

MANAGER OF THE MONTH

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Helen Davis Marketing and PR Manager, John Crane What do you love most about working in the industry? The great bunch of people. I also love the way toy marketing and PR has changed over the last few years, it’s innovative, fast and exciting. What would you do if you weren’t in your current role? I think I’d be a graphic designer, in charge of packaging, adverts, exhibition stand graphics, that sort of thing. I get involved a lot now and my designers don’t moan too much about me taking over. What does your average working day consist of? There isn’t one. Average days don’t really exist in marketing, it can be anything from booking

JULY 2011

adverts, sending out mailings, designing the website or catalogue, taking a couple of three year olds to a photo shoot or writing on the company blog. What’s the best bit about your role? The variety. It’s an extremely pressurised role with deadlines for a wide amount of tasks all hitting on a daily basis. I thrive on the pressure and enjoy the buzz. And the worst? When you tell someone you work in the toy industry and they ask “do you play with toys all day?”. It’s still not funny even after I’ve heard it for the hundredth time. Where do you hope your career

will have taken you in five years time? It’s more where John Crane will be in five years time to be honest, my role is to market the company and help it grow year-on-year. I want John Crane to be a household name, with me still head of the marketing department ensuring its continued success. Use three words to describe yourself. Creative, assiduous, resourceful. Who would play you in John Crane: The Movie? I have been told I look a lot like Diane Lane of Judge Dredd fame.... if only I looked that good in a leather cat suit...


TOY TALK

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CASDON’S 45-YEAR GUARANTEE Paul Cassidy of Casdon Toys recently painstakingly rebuilt a 45 year-old toy till, after a consumer unscrewed the base of the toy to clean it, not realising the individual parts would all fall out. Cassidy spent between four and five

days restoring the till to its former glory, having to resort to almost surgical like manoeuvres at times, as the till would have originally been manufactured on a jig to make the job easier. Now that’s what we call customer service.

My Favourite Things Jeroen Menting, MD, Glow Europe

SURELY HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN STEERING THE SHIP..? A member of the crew of the HMS Enterprise spent a recent ten and a half hour journey along the Suez Canal testing how many times he could complete a Rubik’s Cube. LCIS Roulston began the challenge as the ship entered the canal at 5am, completing his first cube in 43 seconds. He went on to complete the puzzle 574 times – working out to one every one minute and six seconds – with the quickest time being 28.55 seconds. LCIS Roulston raised £170 for the Primrose Cancer Care Ward at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

NIGEL LOVELAND Nigel Loveland passed away peacefully in the early hours of June 16th aged 71 following a battle with cancer. Loveland became a member of the Fence Club in 1972 and the chairman in 1993/94. He leaves his wife Sue, their three children and their grandchildren, as well as his brother Michael, who is also a member of the Fence Club. Nigel was the youngest son of one of the Fence Club founders, Pip Loveland. He initially worked for Mettoy as a sales rep, progressing to national accounts before becoming sales director for the Corgi brand. He started Bandai UK in 1982 and after the firm was established, moved

to the US, becoming general manager for Europe at Ohio Art. Although he was latterly working part time, he only fully retired from the company about six months ago. 11 years ago, Loveland had a serious heart problem and needed to have a new heart. He made the most of his extra time, enjoying a full life. He had a passion for sports cars and owned many during his lifetime, having to succumb to a four-door car only in his later years. Michael describes his brother as “a man with no enemies. No one ever had a bad word to say about him; he came from a very special mould”.

JULY 2011

Number one album: Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd ------------------------------------------------------------Film: The Green Mile -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Website: Google, that’s where it all begins... -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Book: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon -----------------------------------------------------------------------------TV programme: Top Gear -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Number one single when you were born: Elvis Presley, It’s Now or Never ---------------------------------------------Magazine: Wired ---------------------------------------------Holiday destination: Ibiza ----------------------------------------------Pet: Cat -----------------------------------------------Heroes: Mark Knopfler ------------------------------------------------Way to spend a weekend: Riding my classic Ducati bike -----------------------------------------------------------------------------Game/toy: Bumpeez ------------------------------Tipple: Mojito -------------------------------Food: Teppenyaki, delicious Japanese fry top food --------------------------------Piece of advice: To play it safe is not to play ----------------------------------


74

FEATURE PLANNER

SEPTEMBER 2011 Games & puzzles Pre Christmas TV advertised products Brand Licensing Europe show preview Games and puzzles are back as we take you through the latest and greatest table-top titles. We’ll be talking TVRs, campaigns and commercials in our Pre-Christmas TV advertised products guide. Finally, we’ll give you the heads up on the companies exhibiting and the brands they’ll be showing at Brand Licensing Europe 2011.

Editorial deadline: July 27th Advertising deadline: August 10th

FORTHCOMING EVENTS AUTUMN FAIR September 4th - 7th NEC Birmingham www.autumnfair.com

THE LICENSING AWARDS September 13th Grosvenor House Hotel www.thelicensingawards.co.uk

KIND UND JUGEND September 15th - 18th Koelnmesse, Cologne www.kindundjugend.com

DALLAS FALL TOY PREVIEW October 4th to 6th Dallas Market Centre, Texas www.toyassociation.org

CHINA TOY EXPO October 12th - 14th Shanghai New Int. Expo Center www.china-toy-expo.com

BRAND LICENSING EUROPE October 18th - 20th Grand Hall, Olympia, London www.brandlicensing.eu

TOYZERIA November 24th - 27th Istanbul World Trade Centre www.toyzeria.com

HONG KONG TOYS AND GAMES FAIR January 9th - 12th 2012 Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre www.hktdc.com

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

www.toynews-online.biz Editorial: 01992 535646 Advertising: 01992 535647

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 2011 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

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Circulation & Subscriptions AUDITED CIRCULATION Average Net Circulation: 6,043 July 1st 2009 to June 30th 2010. SUBSCRIPTIONS UK: £50 Europe: £60 Rest of World: £90 The international cost applies per subscription and covers airmail dispatch of 12 issues

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ToyNews Issue 119 July 2011