Page 1

Issue 91

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

INSIDE…

TOY FAIR ROUND-UP All the highlights from this year’s big show at ExCeL.

IN A BARBIE WORLD Mattel goes all out to celebrate 50 years of its golden girl.

AND THE WINNERS ARE... The lucky recipients of this year’s TRA and BTHA awards.

APPLIANCE OF SCIENCE Current favourites from the science and education market.

March 2009


².ZXIPMFQIJMPTPQIZ PG#BSCJFXBTUIBU UISPVHIUIFEPMM UIF MJUUMFHJSMDPVMECF BOZUIJOHTIFXBOUFE UPCF#BSCJFBMXBZT SFQSFTFOUFEUIFGBDUUIBU BXPNBOIBTDIPJDFT³ RUTH HANDLER

Creator of the Barbie Doll


Contents REGULARS

Ronnie Dungan Editor Ronnie.Dungan@intentmedia.co.uk

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

4

News

8

Campaign of the month

10

Exclusive NPD analysis

12

Marketing spend data

14

Appointments

LICENSING 22

News

FEATURES 17

Toy Fair reaction

18

Show highlights

20

Awards winners

27

Barbie’s 50th Birthday special

32

Character’s plan of action

34

Hypro’s sporting chance

43

Science and Education

51

Outdoor toys

RETAIL 65

News

66

Counter Insurgent

66

Price Check

67

Retail Charts

68

New Products

69

Hero Product

80

Events/Features

81

Toy Talk

Katie Roberts Staff Writer katie.roberts@intentmedia.co.uk

Adrian Miles Advertising Manager Adrian.Miles@intentmedia.co.uk

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

Jon Salisbury Editorial Consultant jon@wotkidzwant.com

Lisa Foster Managing Editor Lisa.Foster@intentmedia.co.uk

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

Editorial: 01992 535646 Advertising: 01992 535647

Intent Media is a member of the Periodical Publishers Associations

AUDITED CIRCULATION: Average Net Circulation: 6,069 July 1st 2007 to June 30th 2008. www.toynewsmag.com ■ ToyNews circulation is 25.5% higher than its closest competitor. ■ ToyNews requested or paid for circulation is 52.3% higher than its closest competitor. ■ ToyNews has 100% named circulation and 0% duplication.

COMMENT ONLY ONE WINNER?

AS USUAL I’VE got something to say about this year’s BTHA/TRA awards evening. Previous evenings have been criticised by many in the industry for the way they were organised, the cheap production values, quality of presenters and so on. But this year’s were much improved. Great venue, good idea to have the BTHA pick the retail awards and the TRA the toy of the year. Common sense really. All good. Almost. The only bone of contention I have is that The Entertainer won retailer of the year again. Not that it didn’t deserve to. Let me be clear on that. I helped judge it and it was by far and away the best and most complete entry. Far more care went into it than any other entry and the winning store was unquestionably the best.

There is no-one else offering a serious challenge to The Entertainer. My point is there is no-one else offering a serious challenge. Where are Smyths? The reclusive Toys R Us (are they part of the toy industry?) Where are the rest of the multiples? Where are the really good indies? I suspect the format of the awards will get a complete overhaul. But if it doesn’t get a lot more support it will be three in a row for the Amersham boys next year. Which will only be what they and the industry will deserve. Come on. At least put up a fight. Ronnie Dungan ronnie.dungan@intentmedia.co.uk

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4

NEWS

Trade applauds Olympia move Move back to Olympia cheered by industry ● Show cuts back to three days and loses Saturday by ToyNews staff THE NEWS that Toy Fair is moving from ExCeL to Olympia next year has been greeted with blanket approval from the industry. The 2010 show will also be shortened to three days from Tuesday January 26th to Thursday January 28th, in the Grand Hall, losing a day and dropping the unpopular Saturday finish. “We believe that a move to West London will sustain the Toy Fair over the coming years and this will be a popular move with both our visitors and our exhibitors. “All of the key buyers in the toy industry and many of their senior managers continue to attend and support the Toy Fair and our job is to continue to attract senior retailers and decision makers to the fair in the years to come,” said BTHA chairman, Roger Dyson. Despite the change of format for this year’s show, moving into one hall at ExCeL and with many stands adopting the shell scheme format, the

We believe that a move to West London will sustain the Toy Fair. Roger Dyson

consensus seemed to be that visitor numbers had fallen once again. Without the release of official figures it is difficult to get an accurate picture, however. So the move is seen by many as a much-needed shot in the arm for the fair, and the reaction from the trade has been hugely positive. Gary Wood, sales director at Smoby, was returning to the show after an

absence and said: “It’s the first time I’ve been at Toy Fair for a few years and for Smoby Toys it was definitely worthwhile and a good opportunity to show how the business is moving forward. “I think the move back to Olympia will be a positive step - the location is very accessible which should mean more visitors, more exhibitors and a bigger and better Fair altogether.”

Many exhibitors viewed the move as essential to ensuring the survival of the fair. “The move to Olympia was necessary to ensure the longevity of the UK Toy Fair. Many smaller companies such as ours rely heavily on this showcase to ensure a successful year’s trading,” added Phil Cassidy joint MD of Casdon Toys. Sue Barratt, country manager UK for Meccano said: “I think the move to Olympia is a positive one, being in central London it will hopefully make it easier for more buyers to attend and condensing it over three days will mean the show is constantly buzzing”.

SHOW NUMBERS DOWN

BOTH NUREMBERG and Spring Fair visitor numbers were down this year, the latter in particular hit by the recent bad weather. Spielwarenmesse fair welcomed 76,000 buyers and traders from 115 countries, down slightly on 2008’s

MARCH 2009

massive 79,800 attendance. There were also fewer visitors from the UK due to the weather conditions. However, visitor numbers from East European countries increased, such as Poland with a rise of 17 per cent and Bulgaria with 28.8

per cent more than last year. At Spring Fair visitor numbers were lower than in previous years at 52,000, blamed on the bad weather conditions. This was borne out by the fact that Sunday was also a strong day and on Wednesday, the

best day in terms of weather, visitor numbers were up on last year. Plans are in place for Spring Fair 2010, which will be taking place at the NEC from 7th to 11th February. Next year’s Spielwarenmesse is from Febuary 4th-9th.


NEWS

www.toynewsmag.com

Hobbycraft chief predicts craft explosion Chain continues to bloom in the face of tough retail trading conditions.

5

Bakugan success buoys Spin Master

by Katie Roberts FOLLOWING THE latest addition to its business in Edinburgh, Chris Crombie, chief executive of Hobbycraft, the largest arts and crafts chain in the UK, has expounded on the sector’s potential for growth. At the end of December, ten months into its financial year, the retailer’s sales had increased by a massive 122 per cent year-on-year. And despite an otherwise struggling High Street and retail sector, Crombie sees no signs of this growth slowing. He said: “There is a resilience in the arts and crafts market during difficult times,” he explained. “It is a low-cost leisure activity and when consumers are cutting back on spending on holidays and big ticket items, arts and crafts represent an affordable hobby to be enjoyed at home.

“Our average basket is £15,” Crombie continued. “So we are accessible to customers regardless of their financial situations.” In a sector traditionally dominated by independent retailers, Hobbycraft opened the doors to its first store in Bournemouth in 1995 and plans to continue its opening schedule with four to five stores per year across Mainland UK. The latest addition to the chain was Edinburgh, the second Hobbycraft in Scotland and a 40th location is due to open in Peterborough in the summer. “The arts and crafts sector is a considerable market and in the US, it’s worth $36 billion – similar to the country’s film industry. This would suggest there is also plenty of room

by Ronnie Dungan

CROMBIE: “There is a resilience in the craft market during difficult times”.

for us to expand the UK market. There is a sizeable market for us to go after,” Crombie explained. Hobbycraft: 01202 596100

Brio reveals cash troubles as UK thrives by Katie Roberts GLOBAL RESULTS show cash flow problems requiring a refinancing solution, but UK remains buoyant. Net sales for the fourth quarter (October to December 2008) fell to SEK 303.7 million, from SEK 323.7 million in 2007. The company’s operating loss during the period was SEK 58.6 million, compared to SEK 6.1 million year-on-year. For the full year, the company reported net sales of SEK 892.5 million, down from SEK 930.1 million in 2007. The operating loss was down to SEK 44.8 million, compared to SEK 52.7 million last year. The release of Brio’s results also revealed that it is facing cash-flow problems. A statement from the company said: “Brio is in a serious situation and the board deems that the Group with shortly face an acute liquidity shortage.”

The statement goes on to cite ‘significant structural problems’ over the past ten years, along with what it sees as an under-investment in product development.

Brio’s UK sales grew 22 per cent in the fourth quarter 2008 compared to 2007. Brio also explained that it underestimated the resources and time required to remedy the internal problems and to establish the new position in the market, resulting in all of the shareholder equity being utilised.

Finally, the financial situation is also cited, with a downturn in consumer spending putting extra pressure on the industry, leading to an increased capital requirement. The statement concluded: “The board is working to immediately secure Brio’s capital supply in the short and long term and intends to submit a proposal by 13th March 2009 on refinancing, which can be carried out by means such as a newshare issue and loans from shareholders.” The firm’s CEO, Andreas Sbrodiglia who started January 1st 2009, has developed a revised plan through to 2011 supported by its owners Proventus. Meanwhile, Brio’s UK operation is painting a different picture. Sales grew 22 per cent in Q4 2008 compared to 2007. This year, the firm is already 13 per cent ahead of Jan/Feb 2008. Brio: 01509 643850

SPINMASTER IS feeling particularly bullish about its Bakugan boys collectable range, pointing to viewing figures which show the accompanying animation out-rating the mighty Ben 10. Figures from Turner show that the Bakugan audience figures have seen a 35 per cent lift against last year and have overtaken Ben 10. The firm is also boasting NPD results for January, which show Bakugan as the number one new property across all toys. The firm says the results have helped the firm grow sales by148 per cent in January, supported with strong additional growth from Moon Sand (up 43%) and Tech Deck (up 2,015%). Spin Master marketing manager Stuart Picton, said: “It launched late in the year. We didn’t have the toys on the market until October and we launched at a time when media was expensive and we had to shout to get noticed. We supported it strongly though and happily, it’s starting to snowball. We rolled up to the top of the hill and gave it a push.” Spin Master: 01628 535000

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6

NEWS

VTech turns onto TV early Early TV blitz for leading pre-school electronic lines by Ronnie Dungan VTECH IS launching its earliest-ever TV campaign for its V.Smile Motion and Kidizoom ranges, as well as other above-the-line activity. V.Smile Motion, which launched in January, will be supported on air for the first time from March 30th until April 19th. The fully integrated TV campaign aims to build brand awareness and drive further footfall into stores. Two adverts have been produced, targeting housewives with children, and children aged three to six. There will be 165 TVRs targeting housewives with children and over 550 children four to six TVRs. Further activity to support V.Smile Motion includes advertorials running in OK! and Hello magazines, with a circulation of over one million.

Kidizoom, which won the Preschool Toy of the Year at the recent toy industry awards and has been the number one product in the total toy market for the last three months (Oct-Dec 2008), is being supported with two bursts of TV advertising which started in February through until April. Targeting children aged four to six. Some 700 TVRs are planned over the seven weeks. Clive Richardson, marketing director for VTech, explained: “We are committed to supporting key products for VTech through advertising, marketing and PR in 2009. The launch of V.Smile Motion will bring a new dimension to the V.Smile brand and we are supporting it with a heavyweight marketing campaign pre-Easter.” VTech: 01235 555545

The launch of V.Smile Motion will bring a new dimension to the brand.

SCALEXTRIC PLANS REVEALED by Katie Roberts HORNBY HAS revealed further plans for Scalextric throughout the year. Plans include a range of products from a championship winning Lewis Hamilton inspired set, to a limited edition celebration of 50 years of the Mini. The Mini was officially launched on August 26th, 1959 and became an instant icon of the 20th century. Scalextric is this year paying homage to the first ever Mini to roll off the production line 50 years ago. The 1959 Morris Mini Minor is due for release in August, priced at £40. BBC Worldwide’s Top Gear is still proving to be one of the most popular TV series of the moment. The Top Gear Powerlaps set made its Scalextric debut last year. This year fans will be able power around the circuit with three more cars added to the Top Gear range; a black Aston Martin DBS car will be on shelves in April, with a silver Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and blue Ford GT arriving in October. All are priced at £40.

MARCH 2009

Based on the hit EA video games, the Need For Speed Scalextric and MicroScalextric sets will be launching towards the middle of 2009, priced at £100 and £40 respectively. The set features the Aston Martin DBS v Nissan 350Z and includes a flying leap in the track so fans can recreate the famous chase scenes from the game. A new analogue version of the

popular Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Lewis Hamilton set, honouring Hamilton’s Championship win in 2008, is due for release in July and priced at £100. In celebration of the Disney/Pixar Cars movie, Scalextric is this year launching the Micro Scalextric Disney Cars set. Priced at £50, the set launches in July. The Classic Collection: Monaco 1992 is a limited

edition collection to celebrate the legendary duel between Nigel Mansell and Aryton Senna that took place during the sixth round of the 1992 Formula One season at Monaco on May 31st. Containing the Williams FW14B driven by Mansell and the McLaren MP4/7 driven by Senna the set is due out in April and priced at an RRP of £75. Hornby: 01843 233500


NEWS

www.toynewsmag.com

Hasbro extends Marvel deal by Katie Roberts HASBRO HAS extended its relationship with Marvel, retaining rights to make toys and games based on new releases and on its portfolio of super hero brands until 2017. As part of the new agreement, Hasbro will continue to hold the global rights (excluding Japan) to develop products based on Marvel’s globally-known universe of more than 5,000 characters and Spider-Man Merchandising’s film and television properties in a wide range of toy and game categories. Products planned include action figures, role-play and pre-school toys, board games and puzzles, with the super hero brands covered including Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Avengers, X-Men, Thor and Captain America. The agreement covers both the classic comic book look of the characters, as well as lines inspired by TV and films. The extension guarantees $100 million in royalties with the potential to earn up to an additional $140 million, contingent upon the release during the period of Marvel character-based films that satisfy certain criteria. In 2009, Hasbro is introducing products based on the upcoming May 1st release of the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine, as well as classic lines behind Spider-Man, Iron Man, Super Hero Squad and the Marvel Universe. Hasbro is also planning product and marketing programs based on several upcoming releases like Iron Man 2, Thor, The First Avenger: Captain America, and The Avengers. Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s president and CEO, said: “Hasbro is thrilled to extend our relationship with Marvel

7

WowWee takes shape by Ronnie Dungan

Hasbro has proven they are able to create innovative products. Simon Philips, Marvel and Spider-Man Merchandising through 2017. Through the years, Hasbro has consistently stayed on strategy as a brand driven company focused on our Hasbro brands, while selectively aligning ourselves with the best possible global licenses." John Frascotti, Hasbro’s global chief marketing officer, added: “Hasbro’s ability to secure this licence through 2017 speaks to our execution as brand stewards and our ability to translate Marvel and Spider-Man Merchandising’s amazing intellectual properties into great toys and games. “Based on our successful relationship, and in looking at the scheduled slate of theatrical releases

in the years ahead, we feel very fortunate to have access to these great brands.” Simon Philips, president, Worldwide Consumer Products and CEO of Animation for Marvel Entertainment commented: “We are very pleased to be extending our successful relationship with Hasbro. “With the huge breadth of new Marvel entertainment offerings coming out over the next few years including feature films and animated television series featuring some of Marvel’s renowned Super Heroes we are confident that Hasbro will continue to fully leverage these properties on a global level. “With their firm commitment to the Marvel brand, Hasbro has proven they are able to create innovative products that provide consumers with a standout retail experience. Our continued relationship will enable us to further extend the worldwide reach and image of the Marvel brand,” Philips added. Hasbro: 0208 569 1234

WOWWEE’S NEW UK operation has revealed more about its plans, including TV campaigns for some of its key lines. The robotics range will be lead by Roborover and Joebot and also new Flytech lines. At the higher end of the market is Rovio, a mobile Wi-Fi webcam which can be controlled remotely by any webenabled device and retails at £299. The Alive range of electronic plush animals will also be a major focus for the firm this year with an expanded line that features three price points - £20, £30 and £40. “It’s a very buoyant market. We feel there is room for a good strong number two,” said UK sales and marketing director Graham Spark. A TV campaign for the range will run from August through to November. Flytech will also receive TV backing. “The customer feedback we get is that there really isn’t anyone else in the Robot category,” added Sparks. “So whilst like everyone else in the current climate, we’re nervous, we can’t walk away from it because we know we can deliver.” WowWee: 01295 711588


8

CAMPAIGN OF THE MONTH

Schleich Play figures Schleich has once again launched a major new merchandise and point of sale programme for retailers to increase sales opportunities on its range of play figures and play-sets‌

AS PART of a time limited marketing initiative, Schleich is offering its new and existing retailers a shelving system which will be subsidised by the firm to varying degrees, dependent on the package taken. The initiative is aimed at retailers which are committed to introducing the Schleich brand for the first time. However, retailers which are looking to extend their existing area in-store can also benefit. POINT OF SALE Those stores that make commitment to the range will receive versatile and eye-catching point of sale material, together with support and advice from Schleich about how to make the best use of space. The modular display system is available in a wall or gondola format with integrated lighting. INVENTORY MANAGEMENT As part of the partner program, Schleich is also offering a Vendor Managed Inventory tool as a way to automate re-orders and optimise inventory and sales operations. The electronic system means retailers will be better able to avoid missing stock on the shelves and increase the efficiency of selling space. The point of sale programme is for a limited period only and Schleich welcomes new and existing retailers to take part. For more information call 01279 870000 or email Schleich@Schleich-s.co.uk

MARCH 2009

The initiative is aimed at retailers looking to introduce the Schleich brand for the first time.


10

NPD RESEARCH

Retail Sales Trends

Properties

Encouraging start for toys JANUARY WAS the strongest performing month since last May, according to the British Retail Consortium, with like-for-like sales growing 1.1 per cent. Many consumers were taking advantage of the bargains available and New Year sales to purchase replacement goods and essentials rather than treating themselves to extras. However, as clearances ended, growth did begin to slow. Within the toy market, December saw a strong growth in volume as parents were reluctant to let children down at Christmas. This was helped by the large number of sales throughout December and led to a volume growth of seven per cent for 2008, putting the market on a steady footing going into 2009. The average price fell again for the third January in a row as sales and special deals continued to dominate the market place, as well as many pocket money items performing well. Among the 11 Supercategories, All Other Toys grew in value, up seven per cent – driven by strong growth in pretend play and musical/educational toys. Action figures, outdoor and sports toys and plush all saw some volume growth in January. Action Figures grew six per cent by volume and were worth £5.9m in January. This was heavily driven by the continuing strong performance of Ben 10, with the 15cm Action Figure continuing to be one of the best selling items with the toy market. Other strong performers were the Star Wars Clone Wars figures and the launch of Bakugan

Sales (value, year to date)

Jan 2008

Jan 2009

Source: NPD

MARCH 2009

-14%

January 2009 1. STAR WARS 2. IN THE NIGHT GARDEN 3. THOMAS AND FRIENDS 4. BEN 10 5. HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL

figures in the final quarter of last year. Plush was the fastest growing category in terms of units with an increase of 12 per cent, driven by traditional plush which accounted for nearly two thirds of plush sales. There has been a decline in the

with Bakugan and Magnext continuing to be the most valuable new properties. However, Lego Power Miners and Mega Bloks Struxx have also gained share and look to continue growing as the ranges are extended and distributed.

Best Property Progression January 2009

Tiny Love The collection of nursery plush has been making significant moves up the chart, rising from number 167 in December to number 50 in January.

January was the strongest performing month since May 2008, with like-forlike sales growing 1.1 per cent for the month. Many consumers were taking advantage of the bargains available and New Year sales. average price paid for plush from £4.43 in January 2008 to £3.84 in January 2009. Top sellers have been Mr Men Show Friends Assortment, Fifi Bedtime Beanies and Wall-E Cute Mini Plush. Infant and pre-school lost value from the pre-school area, while infant continued to grow. The New Year has seen a number of new properties picking up sales,

As the excitement over the Toy Fairs quietens down, it will be interesting to see how a number of new and revitalised properties will perform in the current market conditions. There was an air of quiet enthusiasm for the year ahead and with the launch of several big named films in the next few months the industry looks forward to a positive 2009.

Average Price

UK Toy Sales

Top 5 Properties

Jan 08:

£6.23

Best Item Progression January 2009

Power Rangers Jungle Fury Figures (Bandai) Up from number 636 in December to number seven in January.

Bakugan Booster Pack (Spin Master) Up to number 19 from position 284 in December.

Jan 09: £5.82


NPD RESEARCH

www.toynewsmag.com

Retail Sales Trends UK JANUARY 2009 (£ SALES - VALUE)

UK JANUARY 2009 (UNIT SALES - VOLUME)

1

BEN 10 15CM ACTION FIGURES

BANDAI

1

HOT WHEELS BASIC CAR ASSORTMENT

MATTEL

2

SW CLONE WARS BASIC FIGURES

3

DR WHO 5” FIGURES

4

KIDIZOOM CAMERA

5

BEN 10 FIGURES 10CM ASSORTMENT

6

CARS VEHICLE ASSORTMENT

7

POWER RANGERS JUNGLE FURY FIGURES

8

BAKUGAN STARTER PACK

9

HOT WHEELS BASIC CAR ASSORTMENT

10

ITNG 12” TALKING PLUSH

HASBRO

2

CARS VEHICLE ASSORTMENT

MATTEL

CHARACTER OPTIONS

3

MATCH ATTAX CARDS 08/09

TOPPS

VTECH

4

BEN 10 FIGURES 10CM ASSORTMENT

BANDAI

5

DR WHO 5” FIGURES

MATTEL

6

SR DIE-CAST VEHICLES

BANDAI

7

SW CLONE WARS BASIC FIGURES

SPIN MASTER

8

BEN 10 15CM ACTION FIGURES

BANDAI

MATTEL

9

POWER RANGERS JUNGLE FURY FIGURES

BANDAI

HASBRO

10

BAKUGAN BOOSTER PACK

UK YEAR TO DATE (£ SALES - VALUE) 1

BEN 10 15CM ACTION FIGURES

2

SW CLONE WARS BASIC FIGURES

3

DR WHO 5” FIGURES

4

KIDIZOOM CAMERA

5 6 7

POWER RANGERS JUNGLE FURY FIGURES

8

BAKUGAN STARTER PACK

9

HOT WHEELS BASIC CAR ASSORTMENT

10

ITNG 12” TALKING PLUSH

BANDAI CHARACTER OPTIONS MATTEL HASBRO

SPIN MASTER

UK YEAR TO DATE (UNIT SALES - VOLUME) BANDAI

1

HOT WHEELS BASIC CAR ASSORTMENT

MATTEL

HASBRO

2

CARS VEHICLE ASSORTMENT

MATTEL

CHARACTER OPTIONS

3

MATCH ATTAX CARDS 08/09

VTECH

4

BEN 10 FIGURES 10CM ASSORTMENT

BEN 10 FIGURES 10CM ASSORTMENT

BANDAI

5

DR WHO 5” FIGURES

CARS VEHICLE ASSORTMENT

MATTEL

6

SR DIE-CAST VEHICLE ASSORTMENT

BANDAI

7

SW CLONE WARS BASIC FIGURES

SPIN MASTER

8

BEN 10 15CM ACTION FIGURES

MATTEL

9

POWER RANGERS JUNGLE FURY FIGURES

HASBRO

10

BAKUGAN BOOSTER PACK

TOPPS BANDAI CHARACTER OPTIONS MATTEL HASBRO BANDAI BANDAI SPIN MASTER

NOTES: All participating NPD retail data suppliers provide weekly data via EPOS systems. NPD figures are not projected to represent non-participating retailers but provide 100 per cent of the sales from participating stores. EPoS sample includes the following retailers: Argos, Boots, ELC, Freemans, Gamleys, Grattan, Hamleys, Littlewoods, Mothercare, Shop Direct, Tesco, The Entertainer, Woolworths, WHSmith, Sainsbury's, Toymaster, Asda, Mailorderexpress. The approximate coverage is of 71%.

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

11


12

ADVERTISING TRENDS

MARKETING SPEND ANALYSIS MONTHLY SECTOR SPEND MONTH SUB MARKETS

FEB-08 SPEND* (£)

MAR-08 SPEND* (£)

APR-08 SPEND* (£)

MAY-08 SPEND* (£)

JUN-08 SPEND* (£)

JUL-08 SPEND* (£)

COMPUTER/ELECTRONIC GAMES

£2,726,804

£3,205,423.00

£5,799,068.00

£4,400,716.00

£4,975,753.00

£5,130,915.00

TOYS & GAMES/PRESCHOOL / LEARNING AIDS

£2,586,815

£4,142,170.00

£3,726,084.00

£3,294,410.00

£2,507,804.00

£1,466,612.00

£5,313,619.00

£7,347,593.00

£9,525,152.00

£7,695,125.00

£7,483,557.00

£6,597,527.00

-19.08%

-37.66%

30.82%

42.79%

94.37%

78.42%

TOTAL (ALL) YEAR ON YEAR DIFF %

MONTHLY ADVERTISING SPEND (12M TO JAN09)

SHARE OF ADSPEND (12M TO JAN09)

COMPUTER GAMES/ELECTRONIC GAMES TOYS & GAMES/PS TOYS & LEARNING AIDS

SECTOR

SHARE

COMPUTER GAMES/ELECTRONIC GAMES

58%

TOYS & GAMES/PS TOYS & LEARNING AIDS

42%

COMPUTER GAMES/ELECTRONIC GAMES TOYS & GAMES/PS TOYS & LEARNING AIDS TOTAL (ALL)

100%


ADVERTISING TRENDS

www.toynewsmag.com

13

Our new look marketing analysis page has been broadened to include not just TV, but now press advertising, too. The information from Billetts (formerly Thomson Intermedia) accurately monitors actual discounted spend, as opposed to quoted ratecard figures and offers comparisons with rival sectors, as well…

*Discounted AUG-08 SPEND* (£)

SEP-08 SPEND* (£)

OCT-08 SPEND* (£)

NOV-08 SPEND*(£)

DEC-08 SPEND* (£)

JAN-08 SPEND* (£)

TOTAL SPEND* (£)

£3,296,304.00

£2,914,853.00

£6,809,902.00

£16,356,074.00

£12,198,039.00

£1,621,115.00

£69,434,968

£2,291,366.00

£4,747,943.00

£10,419,021.00

£10,598,686.00

£3,327,662.00

£645,535.00

£49,754,109.00

£5,587,670.00

£7,662,796.00

£17,228,924.00

£26,954,760.00

£15,525,702.00

£2,266,651.00

£119,189,076.00

4.62%

-44.81%

2.96%

14.22%

6.85%

6.24%

3.83%

TOP 20 ADVERTISERS (12M TO JAN09) COMPANIES

PERCENTAGE OF ALL SPEND NINTENDO 17.1% MATTEL 10.2% ACTIVISION 6.1% UBISOFT 5.6% HASBRO 4.4% ELECTRONIC ARTS 4.4% CHARACTER OPTIONS 3.4% THQ 2.6% ROCKSTAR GAMES 2.5% SEGA ENTERPRISES 2.4% SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT EUROPE 2.4% MICROSOFT GAME STUDIOS 2.3% PLAYSKOOL 2.1% KONAMI 1.8% VIVID IMAGINATIONS 1.8% TOMY 1.5% BANDAI 1.4% FLAIR LEISURE PRODUCTS 1.3% ZAPF CREATION 1.0% DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS 1.0% TOTAL (TOP 20) 75.1% TOTAL (ALL) 100%

CHANGE (YEAR-ON-YEAR)

21.6% -33.4% 175.5% 75.8% 4.7% -32.4% -28.6% 33.5% 5947.9% 107.8% -25.1% 1876.6% 200.3% 293.7% -57.0% -41.5% -16.9% 16.2% -29.2% 407.6% 9.1% 3.82%

The spend data supplied to ToyNews is limited to press and TV (excluding all other media). This is because 90 per cent of advertising spend in the toys, games and computer games category is in these two media and the monitoring process is quicker so that the data provided is more current than previously supplied (only one month in arrears). The press spend data is discounted rather than ratecard. The TV spend data for December 2008 is for December 1st to 27th and not for the full month due to a backlog of data from the Christmas period pending analysis. The year-on-year figure for December is based on the like-for-like 27-day period in 2007.

Billetts captures approximately 20,000 advertisements every day and its total database currently contains some 70 million ads. It works with 180 advertisers spending over £3 billion. This enables it to predict, with a great degree of accuracy, the cost of each piece of creative captured. Its TV coverage monitors ITV London, Channel 4 and Channel 5 (24/7) all ITV regional terrestrial and 25 cable and satellite channels on rotation. Press monitoring includes national dailies, national Sundays, 28 key regional titles and around 350 consumer and business magazines plus supplements, inserts, scratch cards, cover wraps and promotions.

Billetts Media Monitoring is the fastest and most sophisticated advertising monitoring service in the UK that provides both spend data and latest creative treatments. To find out how BMM could benefit your business visit www.ebiquity.com/uk/bmm or email us at enquiries@billetts.com


14

APPOINTMENTS

INDUSTRY MOVES DKL hires new sales agents, Halsall has a new national account manager, Graham Spark moves to head up WowWee and the Toy Retailers’ Association and Pittilla PR are on the move.... FROM LEFT: Ralph Patmore from Hobbygames, Halsall’s Lisa Cracknell, DKL’s Nigel Blackburn and WowWee’s new UK boss Graham Spark…

DKL MARKETING has announced the appointment of two new agents to its sales team. In line with the firm’s strategy to move into growing markets, Nigel Blackburn will be looking after Northern England and Robin and Sylvia Jukes will be covering the Midlands area. The new recruits will be selling all of the company’s ranges and look forward to working with the independent trade. Both come with a wealth of experience in the toy and nursery industry. Halsall International has appointed Lisa Cracknell to the role of national account manager. Cracknell will be tasked with managing major accounts for the firm across its portfolio of licensed, own label and distribution toy ranges. The new recruit brings to the post a strong background from positions on both the retailer and supplier sides of the toy industry. She joins the company from Battat UK, where she held the role of national account manager for six

MARCH 2009

years. Prior to this, she worked as a buyer for Mothercare and also held positions with other major retailers. Former Spin Master sales director Graham Spark is moving on from a short spell with Tomy to set up a new UK operation for robotics specialist WowWee. The move sees WowWee end its successful UK distribution deal with Character Options, which has already signed up a new range of robotic toys from US manufacturer Bossa Nova. Spark will be UK sales and marketing director, assisted by Clare Smee at a new office in Middleton Cheney, near Banbury. WowWee’s new European operation will have 11 staff in total with offices in Belgium (which will be the European head office) and a further eight sales and marketing people in France, Germany, Holland, Benelux, Spain, Austria and Switzerland. WowWee’s Hong Kong office has 80 staff, with three dedicated to the UK. WowWee acquired Belgian-based toy distributor Sablon for € 3.8m in cash last year as it prepared to launch its European distribution network.

Ralph Patmore has joined an expanding Hobbygames as the new sales director. He fills the newly-created position after five years at Britannia Games where he held a similar role. The move comes as Hobbygames looks to extend its board game offering with new licensed products. Advanstar Communications has appointed Humaira Kaiser as marketing manager for Brand Licensing Europe, the leading event in Europe for the licensing industry. Kaiser joins Advanstar with a proven background in exhibition marketing, including roles at CMP on one of its flagship brands, IFSEC. She also worked for World Trade Group heading up marketing in the firm’s energy division. The Toy Retailers Association office has moved to a new location. Email, telephone and fax numbers remain the same - Email: derek.markie@ToyRetailers Association.co.uk, Website: www.toyretailersassociation.co.uk, telephone: 08707 537437, mobile: 0777 877 2176, fax: 08707 060042

The new address is: 207 Mercury House, Willoughton Drive, Foxby Lane Business Park, Gainsborough, Lincs, DN21 1DY. Pittilla PR has also moved premises. The new address is: 1 The Greaves Building, Hartshead Street, Lees, Oldham, OL4 5EE, Tel: 0161 620 6446, Fax: 0161 620 6466. Haba UK has signed Evolution PR to support retailers with increased consumer awareness activity. Now established in the UK for four years, Haba is stepping up support to its UK retailers with increased marketing and PR activity by teaming up with toy, gift and nursery industry specialists Evolution PR. With a timetable of activities, Haba’s 2009 marketing strategy will see a dramatic increase in brand awareness for both trade and consumer sectors. Martin Nield, UK manager for Haba, said: “Haba is already proving extremely popular with nursery, gift and toy retailers in the UK, but the company has many unique selling points that need to be communicated to the consumer.”


REVIEW TOY FAIR 2009

www.toynewsmag.com

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Exit smiling Toy Fair has finally bode farewell to ExCeL and heads to Olympia next year. But was it with a bang or a whimper that it made its departure from East London? Ronnie Dungan gauged reaction to a show in transition… WITH ALL the talk of shell schemes, squeezing into one hall and various no-shows dropping out altogether, not to mention economic concerns, this year’s Toy Fair had much to play for and was under a greater level of scrutiny than perhaps ever before. But anyone expecting a wake for the event will have been disappointed. The shell-scheme stands looked fine, the aisles were well populated and a lot of exhibitors seemed pleased that they were there and reported plenty of good stand traffic. However, without any actual attendance figures, which again the BTHA has declined to publish, it’s difficult to accurately gauge the numbers. Incidentally, it was 52,000 at a snow-hit Spring Fair and 76,000 at Nuremberg. Both down on last year. So for Toy Fair, we have to hazard a guess and go by how busy it felt. Well, it felt busy enough on most days (but dead on the Saturday) and most exhibitors seemed pleased with the show. But, given that the show was in a reduced area, it’s very difficult to make any sort of comparison with previous years. My gut feeling would be that it was down again. If I’m wrong, that’s down to a lack of any audited statistics. A like for like comparison will be difficult next year too, as it will be a three day show at Olympia rather than four at ExCeL. A move which has been greeted with universal glee by the trade. And it will more than likely be the shot in the arm that it needs so badly. The trade never quite settled at ExCeL and even though the infrastructure has improved immeasurably it doesn’t compare to West London for convenience or facilities. Talking to any of this year’s exhibitors gives cause for hope for

the London fair combining genuine appreciation of the event with much relief at the move across London from ExCeL to Olympia. Sue Barratt, country manager UK for Meccano said: “We were rushed off our feet with appointments and were able to meet all the major retailers along with a number of independents, which is a vital area of business for Meccano, however, we did notice that there were less independents in attendance this year. “I think the move to Olympia is a positive one, being in central London it will hopefully make it easier for more buyers to attend and condensing it over three days will mean the show is constantly buzzing”.

Upper Deck’s Northern Europe marketing manager, Natalie Hilton, felt the show was a little quiet: “But the efforts of the team to arrange meetings prior to the event resulted in a constantly busy stand on the first three days of the fair. Saturday, as always, was much quieter but I think moving to Olympia will help to increase the numbers attending." Nick Austin, MD of Vivid Imaginations said: “We thought the ExCeL show was remarkably upbeat considering the poor retail trading conditions. All the right customers were there which is the key criteria for us in determining if the show has been a success.” The attendance of the independent sector is always crucial

We thought the show was remarkably upbeat considering the poor retail trading conditions. All the right customers were there; a key criteria for us in determining if it was a success. Nick Austin, MD, Vivid Phil Cassidy, joint MD of Casdon Toys added: “Compared to other years traffic seemed up, we took orders (unheard of at previous recent trade shows) and got new accounts.”

to the show’s success, of course, and Christine Nicholls, marketing director at Golden Bear, felt that while the smaller hall space did not affect numbers too much, some indies

were noticeable by their absence: “The move to one hall did not reflect in our attendance with the exception of some independent visitors who decided not to attend the show because of the reduction in suppliers exhibiting. “The move to Olympia is a positive one in terms of drawing more people to the show due to its location. Holding the show Tuesday to Thursday is also very positive as this should improve attendance and make our time at the show more productive.” Andrew Reynolds, UK sales manager of Berg Toys was exhibiting for the first time: “The quality of enquiries and leads resulting from visitors to the stand was extremely high and we were impressed with the numbers of key buyers in attendance.” Andrew Coplestone, marketing director at Halsall, was glowing in his appraisal of the event: “There was a real buzz on the stand and an upbeat feeling from everyone. Every customer that we hoped to see spent an extended time on our stand and, in addition, we were able to present our ranges to a number of senior management from these retailers.” MARCH 2009


18

TOY FAIR 2009 REVIEW

Toy Fair opened with an upbeat message from chairman Roger Dyson, who revealed industry sales up seven per cent in 2008. Dyson revealed that volume sales for 2008 rose by seven per cent, according to NPD figures. December sales were also up 12 per cent, but sales by value fell by two per cent for the year overall. "This Toy Fair is proof that, despite the relentless bad news, there are companies both large and small throughout the country diligently getting on with their own business. “You will find the general feel of Toy Fair upbeat; we are after all, an upbeat industry,” Dyson said. His opening speech also saw him reveal the 33 products selected to represent the best new toys for 2009 including lines from Bandai, Character Options, Lego, Hasbro, Flair, Vivid Imaginations, Halsall, Spin Master and Golden Bear among others.

Wooden toy specialist, John Crane, celebrated its 25th year in the business with a cake-cutting ceremony on its stand. The proceedings were led off by the ebullient Keith Elmer with

MARCH 2009

eponymous founder John Crane and partner Anthony King. The company also handed out its sales agent of the year award, which was collected by Phillip Ellis (pictured inset).

Brian Blessed entertained the press on the Martin Yaffe stand as he announced the launch of series three of Little Princess and the new product range from Born to Play. He commented: “Following my debut as Great Uncle Walter in the Christmas special, it was with great pleasure that I accepted the opportunity of joining Little Princess for series three.” Under the Born to Play brand, Martin Yaffe launched a range of items from the spring/summer collection at Toy Fair. Further launches are also set for arrival in autumn/winter.

Gladiators Atlas and the somewhat unfairly named Battleaxe paid a visit to the H Grossman stand at ExCeL. The pair were there to help promote Grossman’s range of outdoor toys and also took part in the traditional Toy Fair photo opportunity line-up of costumer characters and celebrities. Martin was a little fearful that this pic might incriminate him in some way. However, the requisite blackmail payment was never received. But if Mrs Grossman is reading, he was not, repeat, not taking a shine to Battleaxe. Atlas on the other hand...


www.toynewsmag.com

TOY FAIR 2009 REVIEW

19

Lazy Town hero Sportacus was another of the characters visiting the show on the press day. The super-fit star, played by Lazy Town creator Magnus Scheving, demonstrated his prowess with some jumps and press-ups, while standing on his hands as he boosted Martin Yaffe’s new lines.

European finger boarding champion, Dimitri Schlotthaver demonstrated Spin Master’s Tech Deck. The 20 year-old champion from last year was on Spin Master’s stand to demonstrate just how easy it is to create flips and tricks with the mini Extreme Sports replicas. The miniature skateboards and skateparks feature licensed graphics from a range of brands.

Danny Kishon, the inventor of Puzzle Extra - the 2D jigsaws which transform into 3D works of art – unveiled what the company is claiming to be the world’s smallest 3D jigsaw puzzle on Jumbo’s stand. Part of Jumbo’s Puzzle Extra range, the tiny version of the Puzzle Extra concept features 300 pieces which, when laid flat,

form two conventional A3 size jigsaws, but then stack up in the specially provided frame to form a 3D model of Tutankhamen only five cm high. Kishon commented: “Normally you pay a premium for innovation and originality, but with the mini Puzzle Extra you can have something truly unique and still beat the credit crunch.”

Britain’s Got Talent winner and teen sensation George Sampson visited Mega Brands’ stand to unveil the new Battle Strikers toy. Sampson performed some spinning techniques and moves of his own before spending time demonstrating the game with other youngsters. Dave Martin, Mega Brands UK general manager, said: “We are very excited about the launch of such an innovative and exciting new toy concept, and especially thrilled that George agreed to come and help us. We couldn’t think of anyone better to highlight the fun, energy, and appeal of these amazing Battle Strikers Turbo Tops.“

Vivid Imaginations launched a range of toys based on the preschool series Timmy Time, which was celebrated with a visit from creator and producer of the Aardman Animations series, Jackie Cockle. Cockle commented: “Timmy and his friends spend their time at nursery having lots of fun with creative play and we have been working hard with Vivid to develop a range that reflects this.”

MARCH 2009


20

TOY AWARDS 2009

The gong show The BTHA and TRA joined forces this year to dish out both the Toy of the Year and Toy Retailer of the Year awards at the IndigO2 arena in Docklands. There were cheers, there were beers, there were probably tears as well. ToyNews, of course, was there‌

MARCH 2009


TOY AWARDS 2009

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Toy of the Year Awards

Innovative Toy of the Year was won by Mattel’s Elmo Live and picked up by Dominic Geddes.

Vtech’s Kidizoom won Pre-School Toy of the Year, collected by Graham Canning.

Steve Buckmaster picks up Esdevium’s Special Recognition award.

Construction Toy of the Year was won by Lego.

Flair’s Sylvanian Families picked up the Girls’ Range award, collected by Lindsay Hardy.

Hasbro’s FurReal Biscuit Pup was Girls’ Toy of the Year.

MARCH 2009


22

TOY AWARDS 2009

Toy of the Year Awards

Disney’s High School Musical was Film Licence of the Year.

Ben Bandai’s all conquering gong. e ng Ra ys’ 10 won the Bo

Not enough people came up to get Gogo’s Crazy Bones’ Collectable Toy of the Year gong.

Creative Toy of the Year was Character’s Cup Ca ke Maker. Toy of the Year was won by Bandai’ s Ben 10 Action Figures, collected by Rosie Bayles and Darrell Jones.

In the Night Garden from Hasbro was the Pre-School Range of the Year.

Playmobil is Supplier of the Year.

GET YOUR MESSAGE OUT THERE


TOY AWARDS 2009

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BTHA Retailer Awards

Asda’s Pudsey Leeds store was Best Multiple in Scotland and the North. The Entertainer (Birmingham) was Best Multiple in the Midlands, Wales and East Anglia.

The Irish award was won by Clarke’s Toymaster. The Entertainer’s Birmingham branch was overall Toy Retailer of the Year.

■ Print Edition

■ Digital Edition

■ Mobile Edition

■ Online Leader

Contact Adrian Miles Telephone: 01992 535 647 Email: adrian.miles@intentmedia.co.uk


24

TOY AWARDS 2009

Retailer Awards

Best Independent in Scotland and The North was Little Treasures.

Another one for The Entertainer, as its Bristol store won the multiple retailer award for the South.

Fenwicks/Williams and Griffin won the best indie award for the Midlands, Wales and East Anglia.

Best Indie for the South was won by Toys n Tuck.

MARCH 2009

ttom left); Les Lema’s John Baulch (bo Rob Todhunter Vargerson (centre) and n Teddies. (right) all received Golde


A big thank you to exhibitors and visitors to Toy Fair 2009 for making it such a successful show. We look forward to seeing you next year at Olympia Grand Hall 26th-28th January 2010.

Wishing you a prosperous year ahead.

TOYFAIR09


www.toynewsmag.com

BARBIE’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY

27

Mattel is going all out for Barbie’s 50th this year, with a series of anniversary celebrations. Here, Ronnie Dungan looks back on the last five decades of a toy icon…

MARCH 2009


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BARBIE’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Golden girl Mattel is pulling out all the stops for the Barbie brand in 2009, celebrating her golden anniversary with a series of events and promotions throughout the year, bringing alive the doll’s history and its close association with fashion and style…

L

ike Meccano, Action Man, Lego and Scalextric, Barbie is much more than just a toy brand. Its arrival 50 years ago wasn’t just a product launch; it was part of, and a reflection of, a cultural change which saw young people assuming new significance and a new identity in the world and created a new toy concept and play pattern for girls. Barbie was created after Ruth and Elliot Handler founded Mattel Creations in 1945 and was born 14 years later and unveiled to the world at the New York Toy Fair. The inspiration for the doll came from Ruth’s daughter Barbara, who acted out scenarios with her friends using paper dolls. The first Barbie sold 300,000 in 1959 and 50 years later, after myriad changes of style and look, the brand is still going strong. Which is why Mattel is partying like its 1959 and celebrating the 50th birthday of the fashion doll this year with a number of initiatives designed to highlight its past and present. “The centrepoint of it all is the celebration of Barbie, not just her 50th birthday but the brand itself. It’s all about celebrating everything Barbie,” says Jackie Jordan, marketing director of Mattel. “It’s based on what Barbie stands for – fashion, play and the empowerment of girls and women. Let’s look back but let’s also look forward.” And with that vision in mind, messages about the

anniversary are starting to appear in the media, and will eventually drip down to the brand’s core target group. “The 50th gives us the chance to show the face of Barbie now and to show off our great partnerships. They all cascade down. So we can start with the brand and touch all our key audiences.” Activities are spread across a number of different, leading edge media including a fashion programme at London Fashion Week, with Jeremy Scott creating a limited edition adult collection launching at Colette in Paris on March 9th. Mattel is also sponsoring the autumn/winter 09/10 fashion shows by two of the capital’s most

The 50th is a chance to show the face of Barbie now and all our great partnerships. influential young female designers, Roksanda Ilincic and Danielle Scutt. Both will design a wardrobe for a limited edition of 50 Barbie dolls inspired by their own collections. A launch party will take place in Hamleys on March 8th. There will also be a Barbie window, too. On March 9th a new Barbie website will launch to chronicle all the celebrations – a Barbie blog, essentially.

BARBIE TIMELINE 1959 Barbie, the Teenage Fashion Model is introduced at New York Toy Fair on March 9th

“We’ll also have a roadshow going up and down the country. We want girls to interact with Barbie alongside their parents and on their own too,” adds Jordan. “We’re working with our retail partners to get them involved. We’ve got great P.O.P material and we want to spread it as far across the chain as we can.” In the key Christmas period there will be the usual commitment to advertising and marketing for the celebratory range of pink products.

BARBIE IN 2009 ALL DOLL’D UP MAKE UP COLLECTION

50TH ANNIVERSARY GLAMOUR DOLL

Following on from the successful Barbie Loves MAC collection which sold out in record time, Barbie launches the ‘All Doll’d Up’ Make Up Collection.

Barbie celebrates her 50th anniversary in style with a special anniversary doll available in stores now.

BOOKS A coffee table book by Assouline brings together some of the most iconic and stylish images of Barbie alongside contributions from the designers and fashion houses that have worked with her over the years. Later in the year, Barbie will be the star of a second publication – Barbie: All Dolled Up from Becker & Meyer.

MY FAVOURITE BARBIE DOLL Mattel is re-releasing six all-time favourite Barbie dolls: 1959: The Original Teenage Fashion Model Barbie Doll 1962: Brunette Bubble Cut Barbie Doll 1967: Twist 'N Turn Barbie Doll 1971: Malibu Barbie Doll 1977: Superstar Barbie Doll 1986: Barbie and the Rockers Doll

HOTEL CHOCOLAT

ONLINE

The Hotel Chocolat Barbie 50th Anniversary Celebration Box is the epitome of 50s indulgence.

Launching on March 9th, a new website will keep girls up to date with all the celebrations, from Barbie’s tour of the UK to competitions, plus a Barbie blog.

THE HIGH STREET A chic adult diffusion range including fashionable lounge and leisure wear, lingerie and statement jewellery will launch in High Street retailers.

1961 Ken arrives on the scene

1963 Barbie acquires a new best friend, Midge

BARBIE ON THE ROAD Events will take place around the country where Barbie will offer girls the chance to become fashion designers.

1964 Barbie’s sister Skipper ‘born’

1965 Barbie goes to the moon as an Astronaut


BARBIE’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY

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Barbie by numbers Barbie’s iconic hour-glass figure is a key part of her enduring appeal, but here are a few other important figures that have played their part in the birthday girl’s success story…

300,000 Barbie dolls sold in 1959

7.25oz

43

Barbie’s weight

Number of years Ken and Barbie were together

90%

108

Number of careers

of girls aged 3-10 own a Barbie

11.5”

$27,450

Barbie’s height

Current estimated price of the original 1959 doll in mint condition

12

$3 Cost of the first doll in 1959

Average number of Barbies owned by girls aged 3-6

14

Barbie’s age

105,000,000 Number of yards of fabric that have been used in making Barbie and friends’ fashions

Number of DVD movies Barbie has starred in

1966

1968

1992

Sister Tutti arrives

African American friend Christie is introduced

Barbie’s sister Stacie ‘born’

1966

1991

1992

Barbie’s brother Todd is ‘born’

Is maid of honour to Midge at her wedding to Alan

Totally Hair Barbie, the best selling Barbie doll ever, is launched


BARBIE’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY

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Barbie through the years Since 1959 Barbie has always been at the cutting edge of fashion and seen many changes to her look, mimicking the fashions of the time and taking her cue from cultural trends…

The Fifties

The Sixties

The Seventies

The Eighties

The Nineties

The Noughties

1959

1962

1971

1980

1992

2000

The first Barbie is launched at New York Toy Fair as a ‘teenage fashion model’.

Barbie’s first change of hairstyle, sporting a new bubble cut.

Live Action Barbie had well and truly turned on, tuned in and tripped out.

The Eighties were a golden decade for Barbie as music and fashion took centre stage. The first AfricanAmerican Barbie was launched, as well as an Hispanic version.

Totally Hair Barbie is the best selling doll to date, with the longest hair ever seen on the doll.

The first Barbie of the new millennium was Jewel Girl Barbie – the first to have a belly button.

1997

2002

1984

Frankie Goes to Hollywood Barbie? No it’s a Harley Davidson attired version.

Pop Sensation Barbie capitalised on the pop talent show craze.

Crystal Barbie was one of the decade’s best selling Barbie lines.

1967 Twist ‘N Turn Barbie, with a new moveable body, saw the doll donning more daring sixties fashions.

1977 Superstar Barbie, complete with Ken doll, went disco with plenty of polyester glam and all new Star-vette car.

Day to Night was a typically Eighties busy executive in the day time and a high-fashion sophisticate by night.

1968

1986

Talking Barbie was introduced.

Barbie and the Rockers was all about music, shoulder pads and big hair.

BARBIE TIMELINE 2000 1995 Sisters Kelly and Krissy arrive

1985

Barbie stands for President

1998

2005 American Idol Barbie continued the trend.

Cool Blue Barbie adopted an earthy newbohemian look.

1999 Generation Girl Barbie goes for a streetfashion image.

2008 Today’s Barbie continues to stay on top of the latest fashion trends.

2001

2004

Launches her first DVD movie - Barbie in the Nutcracker

Ken and Barbie break up on Valentines day

2005 Barbie becomes an American Idol Winner


32

SUPPLIER FOCUS CHARACTER OPTIONS

Armed and ready Character Options’ opening salvo of its much-vaunted plan to bring back the military action figure with its HM Armed Forces range will be a launch on May 8th – VE Day. The plan incorporates TV, press and PR and will be the biggest in the firm’s history. Ronnie Dungan has more details… HAVING UNVEILED the first 32 products in the range at Toy Fair, Character is preparing for the big push, with its plans for the launch in

May, which is bigger than anything it has previously been involved in. TV will kick off two weeks before the release date. Separate commercials have been created for each of the three services – Royal Navy, Army and RAF – each of which will start with a teaser campaign in April building up anticipation for the real thing. May 8th will then see the full force of the TV campaign with coverage across all relevant channels.

For the entire month of May a print campaign will utilise single and double page photo-stories and advertorials. Over 400,000 issues aimed at boys aged five to ten will carry the advertorials, all of which will point them towards a new dedicated website. In celebration of the launch over half a million collector’s cards have been produced, each representing one of the figures and its associated job role. With nine to collect in all, the cards will be distributed through Titan boy’s titles and also at the many launch events that will take place throughout the UK over the weekend of May 8th.

The purpose of the cards is to identify each figure with an active serviceman, enforcing the difference between these and the military figures of years gone past. Only one print run of the cards is planned making this promotional series highly collectable in its own right. Once again all will point to the dedicated website. On May 6th RAF Northolt will host a major launch event with displays from all three services, keynote speakers, product unveiling and more. Members of the press (both consumer and forces correspondents, TV and radio) will be in attendance.


www.toynewsmag.com

SUPPLIER FOCUS CHARACTER OPTIONS Extensive media coverage is expected throughout May. In addition, over a dozen sites have been identified for regional launch events that will be held on the weekend of May 9th. Character is working closely with local servicemen and military bases to coordinate the events, with the full support of the MOD. Each event will be publicised in local press and on regional TV. For retailers, in-store POS and window displays including cut outs, graphics, camouflage nettings and so on are available on application for display during the launch month.

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More functional point of sale materials, including FSDUs, are also being produced. The fulcrum of the activity is the HMAF toys website, which will go live a few weeks before the launch. The initial holding information will point the consumer to the events of the launch weekend and afterwards there will be activities and information available to download such as survival skills and games, plus cross-sell information letting kids know about all that is available.

Character is working closely with local servicemen and military bases in coordinating a weekend of local launch events around VE Day.


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SUPPLIER FOCUS HYPRO

The outdoors type Football clubs formed the foundation of Hy-Pro’s business over 15 years ago and since then, the range has grown beyond its core market to incorporate a whole host of strong licensed toy products. Katie Roberts speaks to the firm’s brand and marketing manager, Alex Kovacevic, to find out more… UTILISING A DISTRIBUTION network established in the sports industry, Hy-Pro began life with a range of sports products manufactured under licence from some of the biggest football clubs in the world. Football remains at the heart of the business and the firm now has licensing deals with Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. The FA is also a partner for the company’s range of England merchandise. Its involvement in the world of football led the company to work with other major sporting bodies including the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and sports brands like Le Coq Sportif. This licensing expertise soon saw it signing deals for major properties including High School Musical, Hannah Montana, Scooby-Doo, Dora the Explorer, Clone Wars, Spider-man and many more. Alex Kovacevic, brand and marketing manager, explains how the portfolio began to grow outside of sports products: “With such impressive outdoor credentials from the sporting world, it was unavoidable that Hy-Pro would also

HSM and Gogo’s Crazy Bones are two key licences in the Hy-Pro portfolio

become involved with some of the biggest entertainment licences.” The company is perhaps best known for its licensed balls, but now also offers sports series for Dora and Scooby-Doo. Hero products in the Dora range include a talking trampoline and interactive skittles, and both licences have small and large playground balls, embossed balls, hoppers and twist out goals Alongside the licensed portfolio, Hy-Pro now also offers an own-brand range to most of the major retailers in the UK, including Argos and Tesco, again with a focus on the outdoor market. While the outdoor and sports sector has proved

successful for the firm, a run of poor weather in the UK over the last few summers has created a tough market place. However, other factors help to overcome this problem. Kovacevic explains: “Childhood obesity is on the increase and there is a growing concern that kids do not get the exercise or time outdoors that is healthy for them. For this reason, the outdoor sector still has a lot of

Continued innovation and development of our own IP will serve us well in the years to come. Alex Kovacevic, Brand and Marketing Manager goodwill in the market place, and being a cheaper source of entertainment than the electronic equivalent, is well placed to endure the [economic] downturn.” In order to create a steadier footing in the toy industry, however, Hy-Pro is beginning to extend its offering to include indoor products and last year launched its first range of licensed football tables from Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Kovacevic continues: “Continued innovation and development of our own IP will also serve us well in the years to come.”

MARCH 2009

One of these IPs is Street Gliders – a craze which turns trainers into skates. Since the launch of the generic product, Hy-Pro has more recently signed up a range of licences for the trainers including ScoobyDoo, Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Barbie and SpongeBob Squarepants among others. The firm is hoping its latest offering, the Phantom Scooter will

follow in Street Gliders’ footsteps and evolve into another playground craze. The scooter features white headlights and green rear lights that respond to the user’s every move. Kids can create their own light show on the scooter and when they jump off, the lights flash red. Hy-Pro has also recently signed a deal with Magic Box for the industry’s latest playground craze, Gogo’s Crazy Bones. The partnership will see the company developing a range of lunch bags, water bottles, wallets and play tents, all available throughout the year. It also spreads the product offering over a range of sectors.


Lexicon… A game for people who love testing their word skills. With three games in one all on the theme of word making, this one is a winner with crossword and Scrabble fans alike. Ages 8+ For 2-4 players

! W O N E L B ! A W IL O A V N A E L B ! A W IL O A V AVAILABLE N A Phase 10… This is already the world’s best-selling card game! Make up sets and runs to complete each phase and move to the next one, or watch your opponents pass you by! Ages 6+ For 2 or more players

Whot!…

That there are so many different versions of the “match and get rid of your cards” format is testament to Whot’s enduring appeal. In Whot! players have to match the shapes or numbers to get rid of their cards. Play it anywhere except in the library! Ages 6+ For 2 or more players

Pit An old classic for a new generation, this wonderful trading game still has all the ingredients for frenzied and noisy enjoyment that will appeal to kids of all generations

For more information on all the brands available from Winning Moves call 020 7262 9696 or email sales@winningmoves.co.uk


We will be giving away the following games which have just launched in a tuck box (travel) size BRAND NEW TOP CARD TUCK BOXES:

win

1 x case Ben 10 Pit Top Cards 1 x case Monopoly Top Cards 1 x case Cluedo Top Cards

Ben10 Pit… Ben Tennyson is just like any other 10 year old boy…until he finds an alien watch that gives him the power to turn into alien superheroes! And now you can harness the power of the Omnitrix yourself, by grabbing hold of the Ben 10 aliens before anyone else does, in Ben 10 Pit! Shout your deal and swap your cards to collect a set. Be the first to grab all the cards of one alien, then HIT THE PIT to transform and win the game Ages 5+ For 3 to 9 players

Monopoly the card game… Monopoly the Card Game…Still true to the wheeling, dealing, empire-building nature of the original, this version doesn’t take hours to play and is a handy size for carrying and playing while on the move. Ages 8+ For 2-6 players

Cluedo… An extension of the Cluedo classic in which players have to work out what happened next. Did Miss Scarlet hop into the flashy car and head for the airport or did Colonel Mustard hire a helicopter and escape to Scotland? Ages 8+ For 2-6 players

If you can answer the following question correctly, you stand a chance of winning 3 cases of Travel Size games… Q) Which Top Cards game tests your word skills?

a) Pit

b) Lexicon

c)

Cluedo

WE ARE NOW TAKING ORDERS FOR THESE GAMES Answer this question correctly and send your answer, name, company name & address to toynewscompetition@intentmedia.co.uk by March 31st 2009


New Range! Guitars, Ukuleles, Drums and Accessories. Complete ‘ready to play’ outfits for beginners and players.

3/4 Size Electric Guitar Outfit

7/8 Size Electric Guitar Outfit

il a t e R l l u F g! Packagin Junior Acoustic Guitar Outfit

Pineapple Ukulele Outfit

Junior 3pc Drum Kit

Ukulele Outfit

Flying ‘V’ Ukulele Outfit

• Hottest new licensed range of 2009. • Full colour retail-ready packaging. • No musical instrument knowledge required. • Area Sales Manager support.

Call: 0113 2866 411 Email: SpongeBob@jhs.co.uk www.jhs.co.uk/spongebob.html Exclusive worldwide trade distributors John Hornby Skewes & Co. Ltd. Salem House, Parkinson Approach, Garforth, Leeds LS25 2HR.

© 2009 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. Nickelodeon, SpongeBob SquarePants and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.


The UK’s only dedicated monthly licensing coverage

News • Media • Opinion

Show season special With the hectic toy fair season now complete, ToyNews asks key licensors for their views on UK Toy Fair, Spring Fair and Nuremberg...


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LICENSINGNEWS

IN BRIEF DORA GROWS UP Mattel and Nickelodeon are working together on a new brand extension for Dora the Explorer, which will see the character recreated online for girls aged five and upwards. The new look for the ‘tweenage’ Dora will be unveiled in the autumn, with Mattel planning fashion dolls and accessories to back it up. Mattel: 01628 500000

MATTEL IN FOR AVATAR 20th Century Fox L&M has chosen Mattel as the master toy licensee for James Cameron’s Avatar. Mattel will now create a line of action figures and vehicles based on the sci-fi film. Products will begin to roll out in October, just ahead of the movie’s launch in December. Fox L&M: 020 7437 7766

MV STRIKES POCKET DEAL Parthenon has appointed MV Sports as its outdoor toys licensee for the In My Pocket brand range. The licence covers a range of wheeled toys, from bikes and trikes to cycles and scooters and MV plans to develop product across all three In My Pocket brands, including Puppy, Jungle and Pony. Parthenon: 020 7580 3099

TOMY SIGNS WITH TUBBIES BBC Worldwide has renewed its contract with Tomy as the master toy licensee across Europe for the Teletubbies brand. Tomy has held the master toy licence in the UK since 2001 – and in France since 1998 – and has now committed to develop new products for the next three years. BBCW: 020 8433 2000

UNDERGROUND SAYS ‘OH YES’ TO CHURCHILL Churchill Insurance has appointed Underground Toys to create talking plush based on its famous nodding dog, Churchill. The toy will speak the famous ‘oh yes’ catchphrase when its collar is squeezed and will be distributed by Gear 4 Games from June. www.undergroundtoys.co.uk

WONDER PETS PLAN BEGINS The licensing programme for Nickelodeon’s pre-school show Wonder Pets will be kicking off with the launch of a line of toys from Fisher-Price in March. The deal is the beginning of the consumer products roll out for the property, which will continue throughout the year with Wii/DS games from 2K Play, toys from Martin Yaffe and Halsall, books from Simon & Schuster, Ty beanies, DVDs and apparel. Nickelodeon: 020 7462 1000

MARCH 2009

More flock tactics from Aardman Shaun the Sheep and Timmy Time licensing drives ramp up for 09… by Samantha Loveday THE HEAD of Aardman Rights has outlined the firm’s plans for its Shaun the Sheep and Timmy Time brands in the licensing and merchandising space going forward. Sean Clarke explained to ToyNews that Aardman is looking to try and take more advantage of Shaun the Sheep’s adult appeal, adopting this into its marketing, while at the same time building on the success from the first series. Season two is due to kick off on the BBC in the autumn and Aardman is currently working with the channel to build awareness – which could possibly include on-air interstitials, similar to the ones involving Wallace & Gromit which ran over the Christmas period. Shaun the Sheep currently has a wide range of licensees in the UK, including Golden Bear, Robert Harrop, Flair, Hornby, Smiffys and Bandai in the toy sector, with Clarke

pointing out that stationery and calendars have also been a success. “We’ve put a lot of time into developing the humour into more ‘Farside’esque type cartoons with Shaun,” he said. “We’re also working with Egmont on more adult-based titles, looking at how we can start to take the Golden Bear range slightly older and also in the throes of signing a houseware licensee.” The change in approach has meant that Aardman has been able to position Shaun in a more complementary way alongside preschool offering Timmy Time. With the show launching on-air in April, the licensing programme is shaping up nicely, with the likes of Vivid, Golden

Bear, Egmont, Titan, Character World, Roy Lowe & Sons and Danilo among others on board. Elsewhere, further activity will be happening around Wallace & Gromit this year as it prepares for the 20th anniversary, with the duo’s first campaign for Npower airing at the end of March. Aardman will also be showing a new pre-school show at MipTV in April. Aardman: 0117 984 8900

Disney clicks with Lego by Samantha Loveday DISNEY Consumer Products has inked a new deal with Lego, which will see the construction toy brand roll out products based on three Disney franchises. Toy Story-themed construction sets will be available on both Lego Duplo and Lego System platforms. Lego System products based on Toy Story and Toy Story 2 will launch in January 2010, followed in May by construction sets based on the new animated feature, Toy Story 3. Themed Lego Duplo products will launch in June 2010. Cars-themed Lego Duplo, meanwhile, is being lined up for June, while a selection of Lego System construction toys based on

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is also in development. “We are thrilled to team up with Disney, another of the world’s premium brands for families with children,” said Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO of the Lego Group. “When two brands who share similar values bring their franchises together – in this case a timeless play pattern with some of the industry’s most beloved stories and characters – and combine their access to families, retail strength and marketing power, amazing things can happen,” he continued. “We can’t wait to launch the first three lines and look forward to exploring all of the ways in which we bring the wonderful world of Disney to life in Lego form.”

Vince Klaseus, senior VP of global toys at DCP, added: “Our collaboration will continue to extend the vitality of our roster of franchises by bringing our characters and their worlds to life in a fresh and exciting way.” DCP: 020 8222 1000


LICENSINGNEWS

www.licensing.biz

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Toy shows given the thumbs up from UK and Euro licensing community With this year's round of toy fairs taking place in a much changed economic environment, Samantha Loveday asks some faces from the licensing industry for their views... “The mood at all events felt focused and the attitude industrious; partners are working together to ensure the best possible strategies and tactics for the coming year. More than ever there is a real clarity of purpose.”

“Overall I found the mood of UK “Nuremberg was a Toy Fair and Nuremberg far little quieter than more upbeat than I was normal, but a great expecting. With 2009 a given as show nonetheless. a challenging year, it was What did catch my refreshing to hear the majority attention was a much larger of people discussing the silver presence of licensed toy lining and not the cloud.” products.” Julian Day, VP UK Consumer Products, Ludorum

Hakan Durdag, ELC

“At Toy Fair, everyone I spoke to thought the show had been very worthwhile. Once I got to Spring Fair it was incredibly worthwhile and I could really have done with more time to fully exploit the opportunities.”

“The highlight for me was how many opportunities were being discussed, in particular retailers looking to step into Woolworths’ space and grow their toy business.”

“From our point of view the shows are very relevant. We received a lot of interest and a lot of positive feedback.” Rob Corney, MD, Bulldog Licensing

Clare Piggott, VP Consumer Products, Nickelodeon UK

“Nuremberg felt really quite busy. From a European licensing/toy perspective, it is very relevant because all the key companies are there and it gives you the opportunity to travel to one location to see them all.” Anna Hewitt, Head of International Licensing, BBC Worldwide

“In general, the shows were not as busy as usual – due to the weather, but also because of budget cuts. It seems that the retail industry is more cautious than ever and has changed its buying ‘mood’.” Sandra Vauthier-Cellier, MD, 4Kids

“There was a different buzz at Spring Fair this year; obviously the attendance was low due to the bad weather, but there was a real blitz spirit among those who did make it. Despite the low turnout there was real keenness to do business among those who made it.” Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, MD, Bright Agency

Vickie O'Malley, MD, CPLG

Janet Woodward, Head of Licensing, Coolabi

“The shows are always very relevant and this year was no exception. Not only are they a fantastic place to liaise with existing licensees, but also somewhere that you can pick up new ideas and get a snapshot of the industry as a whole.” Andrew Carley, Head of Contender Merchandising

“The toy and gift fairs were very important to Rocket, to support our partners presenting and promoting our brands to the trade and, most importantly, to buyers.” Rob Wijeratna/Charlie Donaldson, Joint MDs, Rocket

“At London Toy Fair, everywhere I went I was grabbed by existing and potential licensees all wanting to secure business. And Spring Fair was, again, very busy.” Graham Saltmarsh, CN Licensing Director (UK, Israel, Benelux), Turner Enterprises

“Both Toy Fair and Nuremberg "Although the UK were good shows. It was nice to Toy Fair was be away from the media doom condensed in size and gloom and be around and scale, from my people from a mostly upbeat, point of view it was positive toy industry in times of still a very valid forum for a recession.” licensing. I think the Toy Fair organisers worked hard to Darren Garnham, Senior VP Sales and Marketing, Kidz Entertainment incorporate licensing.” Ian Downes, MD, Start Licensing

“We attended all the major trade shows and they were all positive. From a licensing standpoint the focus on evergreens and super heroes is the key.” Bruno Schwobthaler, Senior VP Sales and Business Development, WBCP EMEA

“All of these shows remain relevant to licensing, not just as a forum to meet with existing partners, but also as a collective and relevant platform to source new commercial opportunities and to gauge and evaluate market trends.” Stephen Gould, Senior Consultant, RDF MARCH 2009


SECTOR GUIDE SCIENCE & EDUCATION

www.toynewsmag.com

43

Too cool for school Tough times for retail mean products with added value are key to keeping sales up. Science and educational toys are ideal and appeal to parents and kids alike with emphasis on learning through play. ToyNews takes a look at what’s available… GREAT GIZMOS 01293 543221

Leading the way for the firm is the Weather Station. Kids can keep track of weather changes while learning facts about the weather and carrying out experiments on the greenhouse effect. Other items include a Potato Clock and a Water Filter. Within Great Gizmos’ own-brand label, two new ranges will launch this year including Power Circuits and Power Lights. These new kits are all about home accessories. Power Lights are three new metallic silver LED light kits each designed to produce a different lighting effect. Completing the collection are Power Circuits, three further kits including a multi positional Desk Lamp, a Fan and an Electronic Door Bell.

HALSALL 01253 778888

Halsall’s Science Museum range is boosted with a range of sets developed in line with key stages one and two of the National Curriculum. The collection includes an eco-friendly range of green toys. The new Recycling Bin with split compartments teaches about recycling waste, while the Eco Composter enables kids to recycle kitchen and garden waste by making their own compost. The Solar Eco-House and Solar Powered Speed Boat are powered by solar energy or batteries when indoors. Also available are compact Test Tubes containing eco science experiment kits, a Smart Electronic Interactive Globe, plus new Exploring Kits.

INTERPLAY 01628 488344

The Girls’ Wild Science kits include the Perfume Laboratory and Bath Bomb Factory, which will continue to be supported by TV with further commercials for Luxury Soap Science. Another TV line will be the new Technokits for girls which introduce them to light refraction and simple motorised mechanics. For boys, a new licensed collection of science hobby kits are available with the introduction of the Dangerous Books for Boys Science Discovery Kits. There are five to choose from. The new Science Discovery Kits (£5.99) are presented in a special CDU. Finally, Living World, Technokits and Wild Science for boys complete the portfolio from Interplay.

CHARACTER OPTIONS 0161 633 9800

Sea Monkeys are instant live pets. First fill the tank with bottled water and add the purification mix. Leave to stand for 24 hours and then release the monkeys. The pets will double in size after one day and will introduce children to simple reproduction. The collection includes the Ocean Zoo Tank with eggs, food and water purifier; Grow and Show, includes all this plus a portable tank; and the Deluxe Gift Set includes a haunted sunken ship that glows in the dark.

MATTEL 01628 500000

Following on from the Smart Cycle, 3 in 1 Smart Sports and Smart Playground deliver new ways to experience engaging, ‘active learning’ in a TV-based plug-n-play format. Smart Playground encourages children to stay physically active as they walk, run, jump and stomp their way through ten different learning activities and games using an interactive plug-n-play activity mat. 3-in-1 Smart Sports also connects directly to the TV and comes with three interchangeable pieces of wireless sports equipment. Kids will actively play their way through learning games and activities, mastering basics including numbers, letters, colours, shapes and more. Both products will benefit from a major marketing campaign including TV ads and PR.

FIESTA CRAFTS 020 8804 0563

Multiplay is a mathematical game that helps children improve their numeric skills. With three games in one, Multiplay has mathematical variations on the classic pastimes with Times Table Bingo and Go Fish, as well as the fast moving test of Quick-fire Multiplay. All three games require quick thinking and a grasp of the basic times tables. A times table square is also included to help children learn.

RE:CREATION 0118 973 6222 H2Go is a remote controlled car powered purely by solar energy. Power for the H2Go is delivered by an on-board hydrogen fuel cell, where sun and water supply renewable energy for play. The H2Go set features a refuelling station, a solar power panel and the hydrogen-powered, r/c car and remote control. Consumers need only add water to the refuelling station. Powered by solar energy, the refuelling station splits water by electrolysis into its two basic elements, oxygen and hydrogen, which is captured for use as power for the car. Elsewhere, the Sprig Adventure Series is made from Sprigwood, a material derived from recycled wood and reclaimed plastic. The toys also harness the natural energy of push-and-pumpaction play to power lights and other electronics – all without batteries. Adventure Guide characters wearing LED-lit hats plug into the vehicles and engage pre-schoolers with audio. The Sprig Adventure Series is built around The Discover Rig (£49.99) vehicle with removable push bar, which is powered by kinetic energy. The Sidekick line of smaller, pumpaction powered vehicles, meanwhile, includes the Rally Racer car and the Baja Scout dune buggy.

DAN JAM TOYS 01923 857877 Stack and Count Thomas helps children learn to count. The wooden Thomas comes with removable barrel pieces. Little ones can learn to tell the time with help from the Stacking Thomas Clock. Also in the range is the Abacus and Picture Blocks. Bob’s Tumbling Tool Tower is a stacking game for up to four players. Children take it in turns to stack their tools, while the other side of the board teaches children to match up colours, numbers, dots and tools. Other products available in the Bob range include the Learning Frame, Multi Character Stacker and Abacus. To help with counting, the In the Night Garden Stacking Blocks feature numbers, characters and phrases. Also available is the Learning Frame and 2D Stacking Characters.

MARCH 2009


SECTOR GUIDE SCIENCE & EDUCATION DKL 01604 678780

Wonderworld has created wooden toys to stimulate a child’s developmental needs from birth to six years old with an educational toy range including colourful shape sorters, alphabet blocks, stacking rings and counting toys. The Rainbow Sound Blocks, suitable from 24 months plus, encourage toddlers to sort and match colours, as well as associating sounds with size and quantity. Included in the range are fun bead frames which improve motor skills, cognitive development and hand/eye co-ordination, and mini vehicles. The new Modern house dolls house is equipped with modern looking furniture with a set of three family dolls. Also new to the range is the Breakfast Tray. Children from three years can enjoy Wonderworld’s range of games and puzzles. These include Traffic 3D Domino, a strategy game, Chicky Memo, a memory game and Eco Town, a classic dice board game.

RED ROBIN TOYS 01733 371170 Red Robin Toys’ science range is designed to feed inquisitive minds with projects and experiments. Swamp Monsters perform a constant water ballet, while growing at an alarming rate. Doubling in size each day, the creatures grow from microscopic dots to beasts of the pond. Available in a range of sets from the Swamp Monster Starter set to Seaopolis, with its multi-compartment aquarium with separate hatchery pools so kids can have Swamp Monsters at all stages of growth. Completing the science range are a range of educational sets with experiments teaching all about Volcanos, Dinosaurs and Rock & Gems. A new addition this year is the Wiggly Worm World where children can learn all about the mysterious world of the common garden worm.

WOW TOYS 0207 471 0980

JAMES GALT 0161 428 9111 2009 sees Galt launch Elmer’s Products new exploratory kits, the Scientific Explorer range. The collection introduces children to science and the elements and is aimed at children aged five and upwards. The ‘My First’ range of kits includes My First Geology Kit featuring nine rock and mineral specimens; My First Weather Kit; My First Chemistry Kit; My First Dino Kit and My First Aeroplane Kit, allowing children to build up to four trick card aeroplanes, a balsa wood glider and a foam jet plane and customising them with the paintbrush pens and stickers included. All the kits include a user guide and retail at £9.99. Also included in the Scientific Explorer range, but aimed at slightly older children, is a Rocket Car kit to construct and race a land speed challenger powered by bicarbonate of soda and vinegar; a Disgusting Science kit with experiments; a Perfumery Kit for making exotic fragrances; a Spa Science kit and the Ultimate Spa and Perfume kit, which lets children experiment with essential oils to create new fragrances, scented bath fizzers, face masks and much more. Elmer’s Products is based in Columbus, Ohio and offers a full range of arts, crafts, educational and licensed products.

Wow Toys aim to stimulate learning though creative play and discovery. Educational value coupled with solid and brightly colored rounded shapes are safe, robust and ideal for small hands. Powerful friction motors eliminate the use for any batteries and power the mechanical features such as winches and pulleys. In 2008, Wow was presented with a number of UK toy awards including the Overall Award Winner for The Good Toy Guide. The Guide’s main focus is to test toys for fun, entertainment, amusement, inspiration and engagement. Comments from the judges included: “Teachers and parents alike were impressed with the way in which these toys encouraged conversation and imaginary play, with lots of learning taking place along the way. We found that very young children could also enjoy the simple movement of the vehicles, while older toddlers and pre-schoolers could get their imaginations going with the accessories and figures”. The toys introduce kids to themes from real life including helicopters, submarines, tractors, police cars, diggers and combine harvesters.

MARCH 2009


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SECTOR GUIDE SCIENCE & EDUCATION

MECCANO 01844 278888 A number of new robots have been introduced into the Spykee Robot family. Spykee Mini Vox is a voice-controlled robot with eight voice orders including movement, dance and attack. The inbuilt sound and light system activate as he whizzes about to voice commands. Mini Vox’s arms and legs can be positioned into different poses and he makes multi-colour facial expressions. Spykee Cell is operated by a mobile phone using Bluetooth technology. Use a phone to control movements including the motorised head, to take pictures with the webcam and save onto the phone, as an iPod docking station or as a hands free set for mobile calls. The robot comes with 160 parts allowing two styles to be created. Another recent release is Spykee Vox, an interactive robot that is voice-controlled and has different facial expressions, movements, sounds and lights. With its iPod docking station, it allows the user to play an iPod through their voice. There are three robot styles to be built with more than 200 parts. The original Spykee (£249.99) is also available alongside Spykee Micro and Spykee Micro Cell, which are both controlled via infrared remote control and include light and sound effects.

IMAGINATION GAMES Imagination is launching a new game in 2009. The primary intention is to use medical facts to teach kids about the importance of hygiene, health, nutrition and exercise. While being occasionally medically graphic, the game does not engage in socially and politically controversial subject matter. It is intended to provide a positive and encouraging base for life health for kids and families. The target group is families with kids aged six to 16. The board itself is a cartoon graphic in the shape of a body. The body includes elements of exposed muscle groups, some skeletal groups, some internal organs, oozing cuts and visible brain hemisphere on one side and external elements of skin, eye and ear on the other. There is a section magnified to show blood cells and a magnification of the magnification to show basic bacteria, virus and the human immune system phage and immunoglobin prepared to fight back. Players, while travelling around the board, must correctly answer three questions from each category to build health. Once achieved, the player

BRAINSTORM Brainstorm is the exclusive UK and Republic of Ireland distributor of the Smartlab range of products. All kits include books to encourage a child’s natural curiosity and tie directly into the science behind each toy. Kids get eye-to-eye with the anatomy of a Great White Shark with the snaptogether Shark Model and a book of shark facts. The Human Body kit gives a guided tour of the body with a human body model. The Remote Control Rocket comes with launch pad, remote launcher and a book of space information. The Voice Changer kit allows children to choose between a squeaky, scary, robotic or booming voice, while learning about the science of sound. With a book full of information about safes, locks, escapology and more, the Double Security Safe allows kids to build a safe with their own secret code. 2009 also sees Brainstorm launch products developed in conjunction with the Natural History Museum. The Earth Globe contains a 30cm modern globe and a poster featuring a reproduction of a map from 1787. On the reverse are details of ten voyages of early exploration with images from the Natural History Museum archives.

MARCH 2009

01483 206995 qualifies for the random card to finish the game. The category descriptions include Scrapes and Scabs, which deals with most basic health concepts of hygiene as its primary focus and how scabs protect your body from infection. The category also includes medical techniques of stitching, wound protection and inspection. The second category, Blood and Guts features humorous and disgusting facts to teach basic internal medical health concepts. The section also touches upon the science of blood stream and internal organs and recognises common portals of internal infection. The category also teaches about the benefits of vitamins and antibiotics. Finally, the Blubber and Buff category provokes questions regarding positive health choices. The section offers insight into the way the body interacts with the world for improving muscle strength while exposing dangers of inactivity, unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyles. There is an admitted and obvious bias to promote the buff aspect of the two choices. This is the activity and interactivity category.

01200 445113

The Natural History Museum Animal Detective is an animal spotting game with a 50cm inflatable animal globe and 68 clue cards. With four skill levels, players of all ages can play together. The Tyrannosaurus Rex Scan is a scanner that gives kids an under-theskin look at a T.Rex skeleton and includes a colour poster packed with information about the predator. The Glow 3D Dinosaurs feature three styles to choose from. The Original Glowstars Company brand also continues with Glow Superstars – over 500 stars and cosmic shapes to launch a bedroom into outer space – and the Glow Solar System Kit.

New to the range are the Uncle Milton Star Wars Science toys distributed in the UK and Republic of Ireland by Brainstorm. Highlights include The Force Trainer, which allows control of a Jedi Training Remote using your mind, by tapping into cutting-edge brainwave technology. The Optical Command Unit is a multi-functional reconnaissance device that can be assembled into three configurations – binoculars, microscope and miniprojector. The Darth Vader Robotic Arm kit shows you how to build a robotic arm and lets you grip and move real objects with interactive controls. The Naboo Sea Creatures Habitat is a detailed environment to raise creatures similar to the inhabitants of that distant planet. The Jedi Telescope can be used to scan the skies or to dial up images of Star Wars planets. The Jedi Projector displays projections of starships and other vehicles from The Clone Wars and comes with a CD audio tour. The Mustafar Volcano Kit allows you to create volcanic eruptions and lava flows in a detailed reproduction of the planet Mustafar. It includes a figurine of Anakin and Obi-Wan in their epic battle. Product will roll out in late summer.


SECTOR GUIDE SCIENCE & EDUCATION LEAPFROG LeapFrog’s new toddler-sized book explorer, the Tag Junior book pal, will be available this summer. The Tag Junior system helps youngsters to build a lasting interest in reading. Classic books, favourite characters and original titles make up the seven-book Tag Junior library. The Tag Junior pal is a character-based handheld device that toddlers can use to interact with specially printed board books. By simply touching the base of the book pal anywhere on any page of a Tag Junior board book, children can hear each page read aloud, hear sound effects embedded in the pictures and listen to music. 2009 will also see the Tag Reading System library expand to 18 books by year-end including licences like Ben 10, Disney Fairies and The Clone Wars. My Pal Scout is a soft toy that connects to the internet. Parents can download their child’s name, favourite colour, animal and foods, plus songs and activities. Four active paw triggers allow the words and sounds to be played back, introducing babies from 12 months and over to numbers, letters, emotional skills and daily routines. The interactive plush is available in green, My Pal Scout, and violet, My Pal Violet. The products both link to the LeapFrog Learning Path and are the first products on the LeapFrog learning journey that continues with Tag Junior, Tag Reading System and Leapster2 Learning Game System. The Learning Path links with LeapFrog products to provide parents with an explanation of the skills their children are exploring, how often they play a particular game and ideas for parents to enhance further learning.

SCHLEICH 01279 870000 Schleich’s Sea Life range is not just for play, but an educational series of hand painted replicas that reveal the world of the deep blue sea. Many different types of sea creatures are available including a Giant Octopus, Walrus, Blue Whale and a variety of sharks. In a scale of 1:32, each figure comes equipped with an information booklet containing its scientific data and facts about the creature. The Sea Life replicas are designed for children’s hands and create a true reflection of nature on a smaller scale. They are ideal for creating an underwater world, for school projects or just for role-play. The company has many different collections of animals which are all anatomically correct and offer a way to help children discover the world around them in the most natural way possible.

01702 200244

LeapFrog has also joined forces with Disney to develop the Zippity high–energy learning system, an interactive TV-based gaming system for pre-schoolers combining full body movement, music and education. Combining LeapFrog’s learning products expertise with Disney’s storytelling heritage and curriculumoriented programming for preschoolers, the Zippity system lets kids dance, jump and move with characters from Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, Winnie the Pooh, Disney Princess and Disney/Pixar’s Cars. Kids can gain an understanding of maths, language, music and culture. Zippity features eight learning games using an interactive mat for lower-body movement, like running, dancing, jumping and marching, and a tummy-high giant joystick, or ‘bopper’, for upper body action. The system comes with a foldable mat and bopper. There will be three additional Zippity games on offer featuring Disney Princess and Disney/Pixar Cars, as well as a game based on the upcoming film The Princess and the Frog.

MARBEL 01208 873123 Introduced last year, the Marbel science range features 20 products. Starting at pocket money prices, the Pocket Torch, Three Section Bug Viewer and Wrist Compass all retail for under £2.50. The mid-range price points include a Dynamo Torch, Globe and Water Clock. Finally the world of science is brought into the bedroom with the larger items including Metal Detectors, Microscopes and Telescopes. PlanToys create toys according to the aim ‘innovative toys for the development of every child’. The brand incorporates thoughtful design and age-appropriate challenges to encourage social interaction, promote natural learning, creative play and reward discovery. For instance the new Build and Roll aids children to develop fine motor skills such as hand-eye co-ordination. All the toys are produced from sustainable rubberwood and are finished with preservative and non-toxic paints.

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RAVENSBURGER 01869 363800

Ravensburger’s 2009 range offers a variety of educational games and puzzles, many of which combine TV characters with contents that support skills outlined in the Early Years Foundation Stage. New games include Bob the Builder Shapes and Colours, which uses plastic playing pieces and sturdy game boards to develop colour and shape recognition and spatial awareness. Also new is the Thomas and Friends Opposites Game containing jigsaw cut playing pieces illustrating word associations (Stop/Go, Night/Day, Full/Empty, etc). All the cards are cut differently, so that only the correct answers will fit together. These products sit alongside existing educational offerings My First Words and Snails Pace Race, which has been reintroduced due to popular demand. Ravensburger’s children’s puzzle range, which was up three per cent in NPD’s November 2008 data, offers key educational themes linked in with licensed characters. The Numberjacks Giant Floor puzzle was developed in consultation with series creator Chris Ellis specifically as a first introduction to numbers. The Ravensburger team worked with Ellis on every aspect of the product – from the 21-piece puzzle cutter to the activity sheet which gives parents lots of ideas of how to use the puzzle to help build important pre-school number skills. The company is also expanding its generic range to include a richlyillustrated British Isles map. The giant floor puzzle is cut to 60 pieces and, in addition to showing places of interest, also illustrates examples of crops, livestock and fish farmed across the country.

TACTIC GAMES 01344 88 7450 Powertech is a range of six educational construction lines including an electronic beeper, electronic bubble machine, electronic ball machine, electronic ball collector, magnetic calendar and sundial. The products are high-tech models for children to build and use and each can be dismantled and built again. Each pack includes stickers to add the finishing touch to the model.

MARCH 2009


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SECTOR GUIDE SCIENCE & EDUCATION

THUMBS UP 0845 466 8880

The Magic Fun Fly Stick uses the power of static charge to levitate and control foil shapes and other lightweight items. It really can make things fly. Special foil flying shapes such as butterflies, flowers, orbs and spheres are included with the stick and these can be guided through the air by the magic of the Fun Fly Stick. There are no hidden wires or threads and the real magic is the science of positive and negative charge attraction. The secret is that the Fun Fly Stick is a clever portable version of the wellknown Van de Graaff Generator. Unlike the kinds of Van De Graff generators that can be seen in science museums, the Fun Fly Stick doesn’t have an electrical shock-type discharge and doesn’t produce sparks, so it’s a safe toy. There is also a wide variety of experiments and electrical effects which the Stick can demonstrate, giving it educational value.

MARCH 2009

VTECH

VTech is introducing the Soar and Explore Globe to its pre-school range of interactive toys. The globe lets children take a tour of the world using an interactive plane, which is controlled by an infra red joystick. The globe features eight modes of play introducing famous places, people of the world, animals, food culture, music and different languages. It includes free play mode to encourage independent and repetitive play and lots of sound effects and music to enhance the play experience. The company is also expanding its Electronic Learning Computers (ELC) range, with additions including the new Media Desktop and enhancement of the Knowledge Notebook for 2009. The new Media Desktop is a desktop computer with 60 games and activities. It includes subjects like English, French, maths, science and social skills, all of which cover Key Stage 1

01235 555545

skills with some activities touching on Key Stage 2. Children can plug in their MP3 player and listen to their own music while playing games. Children can also access the internet via a PC and log on to Planet VTech, which will feature additional games and activities to download. The desktop includes a full Qwerty keyboard, mouse and mousepad. The enhanced Knowledge Notebook for 2009 comes with a free backpack. The notebook has 80 activities that reinforce Key Stage 1 French, maths, English, history, geography, logic, science facts and trivia. The laptop features a Progress Report to assess how well the player is doing, while the Advanced Memory System guides children and automatically adjusts to match their learning level. The notebook also includes two-player mode, two bonus cartridges, Qwerty keyboard and mouse.

GREEN BOARD GAMES 01494 538999

UNIVERSITY GAMES 01473 834444

JOHN CRANE 01604 774949

Green Board Games’ range of Snap and Pairs are designed to be both educational and fun. To play Snap, match the number with the equation equivalents, ie ‘24’ would snap with ‘12x2’ or ‘6x4’ or ‘8x3’. To play pairs, place all the cards face down and take turns in turning over two cards, remembering what you have seen. The player with the most pairs wins. The games have a suggested retail price of £4 per pack, which offers retailers a 50 per cent margin.

Totally Gross covers all the major scientific disciplines and features experiments, activities and a jar of goo for scoring. The firm also has a range of glowin-the-dark items. Children can create a night sky inside their bedrooms and learn about stars, constellations and planets. The Wonder Stars Super Kit and the Colourful Twinkle Stars Super Kit, with 150 stars per package, provide the best value and the firm will also be offering several new items in its glow-in-the-dark line of planets and stars, including Giant Planet Stick-Ons and the Phases of the Moon boxed kit which features eight 3D moons and a Lunar Guidebook. University Games has added to its Eric Carle line with the new ABC Game. Children learn to recognise the alphabet, understand letter sounds and make letter associations with each animal image. In The Very Busy Spider Game, children work together to create a spider web, learning to recognise colours, numbers and animal sounds as they go, while From Head to Toe is a learn to move game where players perform a series of actions depicted on oversized cards.

John Crane’s Touch and Feel Puzzles from the Branching Out collection stimulate the senses with the addition of fur and fleece, revealed as each animal piece is lifted from the tray. There are two designs in the collection. The Touch and Feel Safari features a monkey, cheetah, lion and zebra, while the Touch and Feel Farmyard has a cow, chicken, sheep and pig. For more educational play, there are the new Texture Puzzle Bugs, which follow the sensory theme. Four mini-beasts sit on the wooden tray puzzle – a ladybird, butterfly, frog and snail. Each bug has its own unique tactile parts such as crinkly wings, zig-zag legs and knotty antennae.


SECTOR GUIDE SCIENCE & EDUCATION TRENDS UK Science and education toys form part of the core range from Trends UK, with the National Geographic Science series now in its seventh year and continuing to provide quality product supported by high levels of investment in promotional support. New launches under National Geographic this year include the introduction of an electronics range. Children can learn all about electronic circuitry, while at the same time discovering items such as a digital alarm clock and a working water fountain. Also new are FM Walkie Talkies with a 200-metre range, a Butterfly Garden, plus two Animal Kits that cover, among others, endangered species from the International Red List of protected wildlife. The 2009 range concludes with the launch of a Chemistry Kit with over 50 experiments. The Explorer Kit is designed to encourage kids to take a closer look at their outdoor surroundings. The Kit comes complete with binoculars, compass, torch and magnifying glass. The Explorer Kit is suitable for children from the age of

JC GAMES 01323 647886

JC Games’ first board game, Blackhole employs phonetic two-letter combinations. Players make words from the letters collected while travelling around the space-themed board, negotiating wormholes and black holes. Scores are recorded on the stars and eight planets that circle the games-board. The unique structure of Qb utilises vowels, consonants and two-letter combinations on 48 colour-coded cubes. Each player holds five cubes. The large choice of letters makes it easier to form words in Qb than in traditional word games based on letter tiles. The combination letters enable words to be linked to the crossword grid. Plans to launch Qb in mainland Europe in 2009/10 are under way.

01865 893235

six, encouraging them to learn and play in the great outdoors. Trends has also added the Haynes Build Your Own Internal Combustion Engine kit to its range, which allows children to construct a working model of a petrol car engine with ignition sound and illuminating spark plugs. The kit contains all the tools and over 100 parts needed to assemble the model, as well as a Haynes manual for clear step-by-step instructions. With Haynes publishing around 300 manuals for real-life cars in the UK, the kit introduces children from the age of ten to realistic instruction manuals. Complementing the Internal Combustion Engine, 2009 sees the launch of four classic cars, co–branded with Haynes and Airfix.

GIBSONS GAMES 020 8661 8866

Gibsons has launched a range of educational children’s puzzles entitled My World. Created in conjunction with child psychologist, Dr Amanda Gummer, the jigsaws are developmentally appropriate at every stage, linking to the Early Learning Goals and National Curriculum. These ‘planet friendly’ puzzles are made on recycled board and in Britain. The range consists of eight puzzles for pre-school children covering themes like farmyard and jungle animals, nursery rhymes and everyday experiences. Each box features a slot within the lid allowing children to post their pieces back into it. The firm is already planning a follow up range for 2010. Also new for Gibsons is a follow-up to the Jigmap puzzle. The new Jigmap Europe is 200 pieces and the challenge is to fit each identically placed city piece into the right country.

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THE SCIENCE MUSEUM 020 7942 4317

2009/2010 is shaping up to be a strong year for Science Museum-branded items. Highlights include a strong offering from Wow Stuff featuring an air and land vehicle, an indoor flyer that is set to take the nation’s living rooms by storm and Hydro-Phobic Sand which will never get wet. Zeon Tech is introducing a number of new innovations such as a range of water powered clocks and calculators. Version 3 of the Robot Bank will also be available at Christmas. Halsall has developed a range specifically for the brand including ecothemed test tube shaped kits packed full of activities. Great Gizmos is striding forward with a new range of build it yourself kits. Also new for 09/10 is a Science Museum version of the Brain Box series from Green Board Games.

LOGIBLOCS 01727 763700 Logiblocs are switch-on electronic building blocks that plug together to make things happen. The range bridges the gap between science and learning and the world of electronic interactive toys. Each colour-coded Logibloc plugs easily into the next, all with different functions, to create all manner of alarms and automatic systems. Logiblocs is an award-winning product line, but its conceptual nature makes it a difficult line to sell. Once a kit has been sold, however, it links in to every other kit The range now includes six LogiMen that live in LogiCity. These robotic people are targeted at five year olds and have lights that flash in response to light, sound or touch and strong magnetic feet. The range of classic Logibloc kits includes the LogiRobot. This is a versatile automatic wheeled item that can respond to on-board sensors or to an Infrared remote controller. Midyear, Logiblocs hopes to add to the range with a new kit packed with learning potential and including one or two new functional blocs. Logiblocs is aimed at the primary school age group and gives children the opportunity to investigate the subject of systems and without needing to understand components like resistors, capacitors and diodes.

MARCH 2009


SECTOR GUIDE SPORT AND OUTDOOR

www.toynewsmag.com

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Outside interests The outdoor market is one of the biggest sectors in the toy industry, second only to infant and pre-school in terms of value, and was worth £361 million for the 12 months up to September 2008. But it is seasonal, and more than any other sector largely dependent on uncontrollable factors such as the weather. NPD offers some insight into how it has fared recently…

ALTHOUGH HIGHEST value remains in the six months April – August, 37 per cent of Outdoor sales are sold in the six winter months of the year. The outdoor high season started strongly in 2008 with sales in May up 28 per cent against May 2007. Indeed May was the strongest month of the year for outdoor toys, accounting for 14 per cent of total outdoor sales. June and July continued to be higher than the previous year, thanks to more sunny days. However, August was the dullest for many years in terms of sunshine and led to a decline in sales. Overall the market was left in decline for the year, due mostly to a poor April performance.

Summer seasonal toys, such as playground equipment, pools and battery ride-ons were affected the most by the bad weather in August, while sports activities and games, pedal ride-ons and water/sand toys performed well thanks to Hy-pro, Hasbro and Smoby among others. In terms of channels it was the grocers which drove outdoor growth, while specialists struggled in the face of growing competition from the internet. Online retailers are known to ship the more expensive bulky items, saving the consumers the effort of carrying products home. In addition, outdoor toys has seen an increase in the number of cheaper items. The under £5 price point has grown 20 per cent in units, while £5- £10

Grocers are driving outdoor growth, while specialist channels have struggled in the face of competition from online.

prices has grown nine per cent. All higher price points have declined as consumers move towards the pocket money areas. Licences within outdoor toys continue to grow, but still only account for 15 per cent of sales compared to a third of total toy market. The fastest growing licences are In The Night Garden and Ben 10, although Fifi remains popular. High School Musical has also gained a strong foothold in outdoor. Licences are particularly popular with ride-ons. As outdoor toys is weather dependent there is much hope for some better weather in the summer than we have had in the last few years, especially during the school holidays in July and August.


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SECTOR GUIDE SPORT AND OUTDOOR

HY-PRO 01582 670100

Hy-Pro says it has revolutionised in-line scooters with the launch of the Phantom. The new scooter features intense white headlights and green rear lights that respond to the user’s every move. Kids can create their own cool light show on the Phantom and when they jump off, the lights automatically start flashing red. After a couple of seconds they start glowing red, bringing the dark spirit of the Phantom to life. The Phantom is aimed at six year-olds and over.

CHARACTER OPTIONS Outdoor toys and equipment are a major part of this year’s hot property from Character Options – the HM Armed Forces collection. Camping out is a key activity of the great outdoors and combining this with the action and adventure synonymous with military operations is the ethos behind this area of the brand. As part of the launch, a wide variety of outdoor activity and role-play lines will be available and are officially licensed by all three services. Working with the Royal Navy, Army and RAF, a collection of outdoor activity toys has been produced including a Field Tent and Camouflage Netting, a Metal Detector, Personal Role Walkie Talkies, a Tracking and Navigation Set and a Stealth Kit. While creating the collection, attention to detail has been key with many items being tooled on actual

0161 633 9800

equipment used in the field. All the products are designed to complement the action figures and vehicles range. HM Armed Forces will be launched at retail on VE Day (May 8th) together with a marketing drive that is the largest in the company’s history.

MATTEL 01628 500000

Fisher-Price has introduced new items to pre-school garden play with the arrival of Turbo Fill Blasters for spring. Featuring an easy fill base that enables pre-schoolers to fill up in under 15 seconds without pumping, these water pistol-styled blasters will be supported with PR activity. The classic Bubble Mower remains key for the firm for summer. Ready for the rough and tumble of garden play, bubbles will appear as pre-schoolers push this chunky mower along. The role-play item comes with sounds and will be supported with TV and PR activity.


SECTOR GUIDE SPORT AND OUTDOOR

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CRAZEE THINGZ The Oball, which is part of the Rhino Toys range from America, is now being distributed by Crazee Thingz in the UK. It is designed to make catching easier and children almost can’t help catching it, as the web of holes gets caught in their fingers. The Oball comes in a range of sizes. The four-inch original, for example, is lightweight enough to play with indoors without fear of breaking anything. The Oballs are suitable from birth up to any age, making the ball a long-term favourite. The company also claims that the ball will never burst, while there is also a rattle version to give further appeal to the youngest Oball fans. The balls have already won three Gold Awards – the product has scooped a Pratical Pre-school gong, a Good Toy Guide award and the rattle version surprised the UK’s largest baby retailers and manufacturers by picking up the Best Newborn Toy at the Mother and Baby Awards.

0845 230 2329

RE:CREATION

Aqua Attack is an air-powered water blaster combined with a scooter. The built-in water pump is operated by pumping at the lever on the handlebars, enabling streams of water to hit a target up to 20ft away. The RipStik Caster Board allows for acceleration without pushing. Its

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0118 973 6222

twisting motion moves you forward. The 360-degree inclined casters and pivoting deck provide a carving motion. A concave deck and traction plate provide increased foot control. Finally, PowerWing is a three-wheeler craze from Razor. Users move their body from side to side to get going.


MAPS Toys E-mail: info@mapsww.com

Tel: 01483 776006

Unit 11 Manor Way, Old Woking, Surrey, GU22 9JX, UK.


SECTOR GUIDE SPORT AND OUTDOOR

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FLAIR

Zoom-O is a new range of outdoor shooters, launchers and catchers which can be used alone or together with friends.

SMOBY TOYS

020 8643 0320

The Zoom-O Ball Shooter kicks off the collection and comes with a catcher and two soft foam balls. The balls are launched from the catcher when the trigger is depressed and the object is to catch them again. The Zoom-O Disc Launcher, Xtreme and Trigger Fire are the fire and catch gizmos from Zoom-O and are joined by a gadget that requires balance and coordination – the Zoom-O Zero-G. With Zero-G, the object is to float the ball or disc on a cushion of air and watch it levitate 12 inches from the handheld gadget. Once mastered, you can progress to floating both disc and ball at the same time. A floor based Zoom-O, meanwhile, launches larger discs up to 13 feet in the air where they will hover before floating back to earth, to be caught by those below. Alternatively, the firm has recently launched a licensed scooter for the boys brand, Gormiti. The scooter features adjustable handlebars that fold away for storage and rear wheel braking and bears the Gormiti design on the footplate and axle.

MV SPORTS For 2009, MV Sports’ best selling Ben 10 range will be boosted by the addition of a new Alien Force range, spearheaded by the revolutionary Omnitrix Scooter, which communicates with the owner. Thomas & Friends is refreshed with a Full Steam Ahead sound feature whereby the faster the child travels the faster Thomas’ engine sounds become. Barbie receives a makeover with the introduction of a Beauty Secrets range

0121 748 8000 that combines wheeled toys with beauty treats and carry cases. In The Night Garden also sees new products, while Bob The Builder celebrates his tenth anniversary with a new toolbox and tools range. Transformers returns to the big screen in the summer and MV hopes to repeat the success of the first movie by incorporating transforming lenticular graphics on its products.

01454 629672

DKL 2009 looks set to enhance Smoby Toys’ reputation as an outdoor toy specialist as it introduces the UK market to a German classic – Big’s Bobby Car. The car is one of Germany’s most popular and enduring toys and is apparently the most successful ride-on vehicle in the world. The Bobby Car is robust enough to support the weight of an adult and, as well as the red original, the range now includes Winnie the Pooh, Cars and Hello Kitty licensed versions. Designed to encourage children to play actively outdoors, Bobby Car was recently redesigned with a hollow for the knee, so that older or taller children can use it, as well as little tots.

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The Bobby Car’s robust design and high play value sits comfortably with Smoby’s existing range, including the innovative U-Turn slide and Duplex House, a sturdy two-storey outdoor playhouse. Standing at two metres tall, the Duplex House features a barbecue area, a dining table with stools, a conservatory with blind, and a front door with electronic chiming doorbell. Meanwhile, the U-Turn Slide, launched in January, is sure to be a hit in the summer months. The first of its kind in the UK, the product stands at 190cm in height and features a 380cm long slide with a full 180-degree turn at the top.

Viking Toys Jumbo and Super vehicles are chunky plastic toys suitable for outdoor and indoor play, where function rather than unnecessary details are given priority. Mud, sand and grass will not hinder use and dirty toys can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Designed to withstand all weathers, Viking vehicles will not fade in colour or crack if exposed to long periods of sunlight or cold. Viking is committed to toy quality and safety and the Jumbo/Super ranges feature tough plastic and rustproof 4mm stainless steel wheel axles, ensuring the vehicles are made to endure even the most brutal ambush from adventurous youngsters.

01604 678780 Viking toys have no sharp edges and have durable, soft rubber wheels. New for 2009 is the Sorting Box which is a vehicle and a shape sorter with three colourful shapes to fit in the appropriate holes. More vehicles in the range are an Ambulance, Recycling Vehicle, Fire Engine, Plane, Helicopters and trucks. Jumbo Supersize vehicles come with one or two figures and have moving components relevant to their purpose, for example, the fire engine ladder extends. The vehicles are suitable for children as young as one. Viking also offers multiple vehicles sets specifically intended for educational establishments.


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SECTOR GUIDE SPORT AND OUTDOOR

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GREAT GIZMOS 01293 543221 Dogs are a new theme to join Great Gizmos’ ride-ons collection and Domino the dalmation and Goldie the labrador are two pups that are sure to make perfect pets. Each dog has a solid wooden head and tail and floppy ears and colourings to match its breed, while a sturdy steel body, plastic seat and chunky wheels ensure a comfortable and smooth ride. Great Gizmos’ range of classic ride-ons and pedal cars make great outdoor toys and provide plenty of opportunities for kids to become mobile. There are many different designs to choose from catering for ages one to seven.

HALSALL

01253 778888

Halsall is developing a range of Toy Story wheeled toys and protection gear for autumn/winter. The range will support the new 3D theatrical re-releases of Toy Story 1 and 2 premiering in UK cinemas towards the end of 2009 and spring 2010 respectively, followed by Toy Story 3 in summer 2010. Also new are wheeled toy designs with Star Trek and Hello Kitty. Halsall also has new Bart and Lisa scooters and protection. In addition there are extensions to existing wheeled toy ranges such as Fifi and the Flowertots, Baby Annabell and Baby Born, Hannah Montana, Roary the Racing Car, Spiderman, ScoobyDoo, JCB, WWE, Wall-E, Batman and Gogo’s Crazy Bones. Halsall is also the exclusive UK distributor for the Gazillion Bubbles range. For inflatables, Halsall has a new range of Disney Fairies outdoor toys. New lines for Fifi and the Flowertots encourage play with Fifi and her

LITTLE TIKES

The Clubhouse Swingset combines a playhouse and swings in one, saving on valuable garden space. A climbing wall, challenging rope ladder, large slide and fun steering wheel are key features, with the swing set comprising two swing seats and mounting hardware. Wooden play systems are a key focus for Little Tikes this year. Each product comes with a ten-year warranty on wood rot and decay and a five-year warranty on all structural bolts, steel brackets and component parts. Little Tikes’ Oslo and Stockholm wooden swing sets feature treated wooden frames and powder coated metal parts. The Oslo set, for ages two and over, offers two swing seats and a disc swing. For further play functionality, the Stockholm set comprises two swing seats, a disc swing and a glider with high back rests.

friends in the garden. A Bean Bag Target Game, Hide & Seek Flowers Game, Giant Garden Ludo and Round the Garden Play Mats provide outdoor Fifi fun, while new wheeled toys feature Fifi sounds including a trike, scooter and 10-inch bike. The Roary the Racing Car range of wheeled toys and inflatables also features some new additions. The Silver Hatch Thrills and Spills outdoor game provides an easy-to-play race around the play mat track to the finish line. Also new are a Five-in-One Target Game and Bean Bag Throwing Mat. The Barbie outdoor toys and inflatables range for 2009 follows the theme of ‘nature and nurture with Barbie’. Halsall introduces girls to horticulture with a Barbie Wheelbarrow Set including a watering can, spade and fork. For outdoor play, there is a new Barbie Tennis Trainer, a Five-in-One Target Game Set and a Patio Set.

01908 268480

Space saving combination products also feature highly in the Little Tikes wooden play system range. This includes the Strasbourg Wood Swing ‘n’ Slide swing set, which offers a swing seat, two seat glider with foot rests and swing seat and disk swing, platform, plus 180cm long giant slide. The London Climb ‘n’ Swing slide and Marlow Climb ‘n’ Slide Bridge swing sets offer multi-functional play. The London set combines two swings, a climbing rope, a giant slide and a climbing tower with walkways. Meanwhile, the ultimate play system – the Marlow set – consists of a swing, glider with foot rests, disk swing, 180cm giant slide, platform with suspension bridge walkway, tall tower with two climbing platforms, climbing rope and wood slat wall obstacle course. All products are suitable for children aged three and over.

MOOKIE TOYS

Mookie Toys is continuing to grow its licensed toy range with key partners. 2009 sees the company deliver the new Thomas Swingball in partnership with Hit Entertainment. Swingball is exclusively distributed worldwide by Mookie Toys and with new unique features, the latest offering includes Thomas and Percy moving around the track as the ball swings around the pole. Swingball is now officially one of the top ten best selling

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HASBRO 020 8569 1234

Hasbro’s Nerf Dart Tag brings interactive blasting games to the great outdoors. There are three different sets to choose from – Dart Tag Deluxe, Dart Tag Strikefire and Dart Tag Crossfire. Each set features up to 15 game suggestions. The games encourage players to be alert and use their skills to avoid being tagged. Each set comes with velcro scoring vests that players wear for opponents to aim at, so it takes some cunning and planning to win the games. The soft foam darts stick to the target vests so players can see when their opponents have been tagged. Dart Tag is easy to set up and play and can be used anywhere – in a park, on the beach or in the playground. Each set is suitable for age eight and up and retails from £9.99 to £34.99.

01525 722722

toys of the last ten years. The unique lid and base construction allows all the game components to be stored inside and the integral handle makes it easy to pick up and play. The soft, safe foam ball allows children from three years of age to develop hand eye co-ordination skills while exercising. A full marketing campaign and PR strategy is in place, ensuring increased brand awareness.


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SECTOR GUIDE SPORT AND OUTDOOR

RC2

RC2’s Britains Big Farm features an expanded collection of new interactive models designed for realistic outdoor role-play in 2009. Built in 1:16 scale and rugged enough to withstand demanding play situations, Big Farm licensed models boast realism such as under-bonnet engine detail and removable tractor wheels, plus interactive functions including realistic engine sounds and flashing lights. New for spring is the Hitachi 200LC Excavator (£39.99) – a detailed, excavating vehicle with moveable digger arm and bucket with hydraulic system. Meanwhile, also joining the

WORLDS APART

Worlds Apart’s range of Pop Up play tents are ideal outdoor toys. The firm has secured a strong licensed portfolio in range, covering Disney Princess, Thomas & Friends, In the Night Garden and more, with distribution in all major UK toy retailers. Brand new for this year is the Peppa Pig Wendy House. Suitable for children aged two plus, this play tent features all the characters from the TV show. The tent features an easy-to-assemble pop-up design that folds down neatly for compact storage. The In The Night Garden My First Combo is also new for this year. Suitable for children from 12 months and upwards, this two-in-one pop up play-set has been designed in the ‘My

01392 281900

stable of vehicles is the Bobcat S300 Skidsteer (£16.99). Britains Big Farm expands its tractor range in 2009 with the John Deere 9530 4WD (£39.99) – an agricultural workhorse featuring chunky tyres. To complement the range of tractors, new accessories are available to enhance outdoor role-play. The Tillage Train (£16.99) and Cultivator (£14.99) attach to the rear of any Big Farm tractor, Also launching this spring is the Chevrolet Pick-up Truck (£29.99) and a remote controlled John Deere 6430 Tractor (£49.99) – the first RC product in the Big Farm line-up.

08456 022119

First’ size especially for younger users. Featuring Iggle Piggle and all the show’s characters, the tent and tunnel can be used together or separately. As with all the Worlds Apart Pop Up play tents, the My First Combo is also suitable for outdoor or indoor use, whilst being compact and easy to store. A selection of colourful generic tents at a lower price point are also available. From wendy houses to fairytale castles, garages, market stalls and even a Ninky Nonk play-set, the Pop Ups offer retailers a range of outdoor toys giving children instant play environments. Worlds Apart will continue to support its Pop Up range with ongoing PR and marketing activity.

VIVID IMAGINATIONS

New for spring/summer, Vivid Imaginations is introducing the 3D Shark Bite Water Slide (£39.99). The slide is approximately five metres in length and comes with 3D aqua goggles. Also available is the Splash Bomb Water Slide (£47.99) – just grab the board, slide down the four metre inflatable and make a splash in the giant inflatable splash pool at the bottom. The company is supporting the new collection with a TV campaign and PR coverage. Vivid Imaginations has a range of pre-school outdoor toys to keep kids

DANBAR

Added to Danbar’s catalogue for 2009 is a selection of Dream Cars – licensed, digital-proportion, full-function radio controlled vehicles presented in aluminium cases. Available in an array of scales, designs on offer include the Subaru, Lamborghini, Mercedes or Ferrari. Continuing its success with flying toys, Danbar is also revealing new additions to its range. The Knight Hawk Pro now comes in 3D mode for improved

01483 449944

active. For the girls there are the Fifi Roller Skates (£12.99) with adjustable sizing and for the boys there is plenty from the Roary outdoor range. Ride on Roary (£32.99) is a vehicle for preschoolers to get ‘out and about’ on and features Roary sounds. Other Roary outdoor toys include adjustable skates to fit children’s shoe sizes 5-11 (£12.99) and the Roary Scooter, which comes with three wheels to offer extra stability (£22.99). Vivid is supporting its pre-school outdoor toy range with a national press campaign targeting parents.

01707 260111

manoeuvrability, with wide-range precision control and a resilient fuselage manufactured from the latest complex compound material for flexibility, strength and lightness. The World of Combat toys (miniature infra-red helicopters, Ground Targets and Air-to-Air twinpacks) are also being released with improved three-channel functionality. The SuperNova 3D ‘copter is also new and is a full-function R/C flyer.


SECTOR GUIDE SPORT AND OUTDOOR

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JOHN CRANE 01604 774949 John Crane now offers three versions of the First Bike from Branching Out. The pink model is decorated with hearts and flowers and is ideal for little girls, while the racing red version has scarlet swirls decorating its wheels. The new addition for 2009 is the First Bike in royal blue. Each bike has a padded seat and easy grip handlebars and the chunky pneumatic tyres allow a safe ride. The wooden bikes have height adjustable seats so they will remain favourites even as tots grow. The blue version also boasts a carry handle. John Crane now also offers a bike stand for retailers to make the most of displays in-store. Made from natural wood, the stand will keep the First Bike upright and looking its best.

THE EXTREME GROUP

020 7724 5468

TP TOYS 01299 872892

London-based lifestyle company, The Extreme Group, has launched a new range of Power Kites into the retail market. Following the success of the Extreme skate range last year, the company has added to the expanding hardware family with four new signature kite styles. In keeping with the Extreme Hardware philosophy, the collection of Extreme kites are said to offer those with a taste for adrenaline a chance to get involved and be active safely and at affordable prices. The firm also offers a wide range of skateboards in various designs, colours and sizes. Debut Sport is the licensee for the Extreme hardware goods. Debut Sport is a production and distribution business specialising in the youth market. It provides a range of sports and leisure products and is currently one of the largest UK suppliers of gaming tables. The Extreme hardware range includes a wide variety of ‘extreme’ sports products such as skateboards, mountain boards and in-line skates, helmets and protective gear. In addition, the firm offers a design facility enabling companies to tailor products to a client’s exact specifications. Existing customers include Argos, Homebase and Toys R Us.

Ballooppa is a new football game from TP Toys that is designed to improve accuracy, passing and shooting skills. There is an integral ball attached by a rope, which means no more running after lost balls or damage to the garden. A rotating connection joint prevents the cord becoming entangled during play and it can be adjusted to suit all garden sizes. Ballooppa is easy and quick to assemble and can be packed away for storage or left in the garden all year round. Aimed predominately at children aged six to 14 years, Ballooppa can be played alone or with friends. Ballooppa is available online and in a number of leading retail outlets, such as Tesco, Toys R Us and John Lewis and retails at around £34.25

MARTIN YAFFE Martin Yaffe is the new master toy licensee for LazyTown and is offering a collection including play balls of various sizes, including a 16-inch Playground Ball and four-inch Foam Balls, with Skipping Rope, Hoppers, Boom Bats, Tennis Set, Bat and Ball Set and Go Go discs, which are all available in Stephanie pink and Sportacus blue designs. Wheeled toys also feature in the range, with new Skateboards, Inline Trainer Skates, Two-Wheel Scooters and Folding Scooters available in both designs. The first Fisher-Price wheeled toys hit the shelves in spring/summer, including the Grow With Me Scooter and Deluxe Trike, both of which are designed to grow with the child. Also available is the Brite Rider Scooter, which has vibration activated flashing lights on the board.

01706 717800 New additions to the Little Princess range are the Trike and Scooter, both of which have a crown-shaped bag on the front for children to carry their belongings. Also available will be the Greenhouse Play-set, which is based on the location seen in the show and comes with accessories including a watering can and plant pots.

Power Rangers Jungle Fury products include a Folding Scooter with flashing lights, Inline Trainer Skates, which can be used as inline skates or quad skates, Two-wheel Scooter and a Helmet and Pads Set to keep children safe. A new range of Born to Play’s own brand of wheeled toys is also on offer including a Born to

Play Truk-ter, which can be used as a ride-on, scooter or scooter with trailer and the Born to Play Trainer Bike. A range of play balls is available from new licence, Ben 10 including the Playground Ball, the 8.5-inch Ball, PVC Ball and four-inch Foam Balls. Also available is an Inflatable Chair. New additions to the In the Night Garden collection include the Boat Rocker, a replica of Igglepiggle’s boat; The Inflatable Sand and Water Play Centre with accessories. Also new is the Crazy Golf Set, with a gazebo, Pinky Ponk, Night Garden bridge and Makka Pakka’s cave. Also new are the furniture products, including Patio Sets, available in Bob the Builder, Disney Princess and Thomas & Friends designs and Gazebos, which are available in Disney Cars and Disney Princess designs.

SANDCASTLE MOAT & BOAT PLAY SET

SandPlay Tel: +44 (0) 115 937 5147

61

info@sandcastlemoat.co.uk

www.sandcastlemoat.co.uk


62

SECTOR GUIDE SPORT AND OUTDOOR

IMC TOYS

IMC is offering a range of licensed walkie-talkies for use either indoors and outdoors. Complete with on/off LED indicator, volume control and a flexible safety antenna, the walkie talkies are

LEARNING RESOURCES The latest addition to Learning Resources’ outdoor range comes in jumbo form. Small people can see on a big scale when venturing outdoors with the help of new Jumbo Magnifiers. These colourful, robust magnifiers are designed for small hands to carry around, also allowing children to observe and not disturb small creatures with their built-in hands-free stand. Discover the finer details of a fly, ant, bee, ladybird, grasshopper, butterfly and dragonfly with Learning Resources’ realistic-looking Jumbo Insects. These seven insects give children an insight into the world of mini beasts so they know what to look out for in their own garden. The GeoSafari Talking Microscope from the company will help solve those great outdoor mysteries. The first microscope comes with common insect slides to enlarge smaller creatures encountered on outdoor expeditions. Children will also hear insect facts read aloud, which can later be tested with the Talking Microscope’s interactive quiz game.

01904 720908

supplied in a variety of designs including licences for both boys and girls. Designs include Ben 10, Power Rangers, Spider-man, Cars, Toy Story, Disney Princess, Fairies and Dora the Explorer among others.

01553 819382

KIDDIMOTO

Aimed at early years, Kiddimoto’s award-winning range of wooden balance bikes are the ideal learning tool for the next generation. Without pedals or brakes, Kiddimoto teaches children of balance and co-ordination skills in a controlled manner. An ideal first bike, Kiddimoto bypasses the need for stabilisers, allowing children to quickly move to a pedal cycle. In its fifth year of production, the firm continues to develop the range to offer new products to the market. Continually evolving, the line now features a Superbike, Scrambler, Scooter and Chopper design. The new Heroes range offers the motorcycle enthusiast the additional benefit of supporting the riders who have achieved World Champion status in this sport as they receive a percentage of all sales on a quarterly

SANDPLAY

Whilst building sandcastles on a beach with his son, then watching with disappointment as the water disappeared from the moat into the sand was the inspiration for Ian Thompson to design a device for keeping water around a sandcastle. The sandcastle moat and play-set solves the age-old problem of water soaking into sand from a beach sandcastle moat. It can also be used in a sand pit in the garden. More images on the firm’s website show some other ideas for the moat, from a local Nottingham playgroup

01934 733 654

basis. The firm ensures these deals are direct, not via the manufacturers they rode for, so that the families benefit. In-store, meanwhile, Kiddimoto has a proven range of benefits from providing point of sale display products, to entertaining children while parents shop. A range of accessories is also available, including a choice of tough wearing plastic wheels, new smooth rubber tyres or the detail of underseat exhaust pipes. The bikes are constructed from natural birch plywood (recyclable) and are decorated with child safe paint. The products are CE approved and are a British design. The Superbike, Scrambler and Scooter retail at £89.99, the Chopper costs £99.99 and the Heroes range retails at £109.99. The products are suitable for children aged two to six years.

0115 937 5147

where the children have used the product for creative play. The simple plastic ring comes with three colourful boats, and can also be used on the lawn or on the nursery tabletop or floor. Other floating toys can be added, such as rubber ducks. SandPlay is manufacturing the product in Nottinghamshire and is actively seeking interest from distributers, retailers and licensors. The moat design is already registered with the UK Patent Office, EU and WIPO, while it is also US Design Patent pending.


Toy Crossbow

1

The ultimate target toy

Pull the string back into the trigger.

0[SVVRZHUKMLLSZSPRLHYLHSJYVZZIV^I\[ÄYLZZ\WLYZHML sucker darts,ideal for the younger shooter in the family. 0[PZ]LY`SPNO[^LPNO[HUKPZWLYMLJ[MVYPUKVVYHUKV\[KVVY\ZL *VTLZJVTWSL[L^P[OZ\JRLYKHY[ZHUKJYVZZIV^[HYNL[Z ^OPJOHYLWYPU[LKVU[OLIHJRVM[OL;V`*YVZZIV^IV_ *,*LY[PÄLK

2 Load the sucker dart into the track.

also available...

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Hit the target up to 30 feet!!

Web: www.petron.info

Petron: The Archery Centre, Buckland Village, Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire, England HP22 5HZ


Dedicated monthly retail coverage

Retail Only News • Data • Opinion

Woolies bosses eye comeback….

High Street Page 66

Former Woolworths executives looks to relaunch stores under new name… by ToyNews staff ACCORDING TO a report in The Sun, three former Woolies execs are looking to relaunch on the High Street under a new name. The story says they plan to open 50 shops based on the old Woolworths format, selling a wide range of goods. Former commercial director Tony Page, along with Andy Latham and toy chief Steve Jebson (pictured), are looking for a name as close as possible to the original. The first store opens in May and is likely to be in Camden, North London or Notting Hill. Page has secured £10 million of funding for the move. Meanwhile, other newspaper reports say independent toy shops have seen sales soar by up to 40 per cent since the collapse of Woolworths. Figures have shown how the ‘Woolworths bounce’ has protected smaller businesses from the economic downturn.

The TRA has reported that every small toy store has seen sales increase by at least ten per cent since the chain went into administration at the end of last year. Indeed some stores have been experiencing their best-ever start to the year. Gary Grant, the chairman of the Toy Retailers Association, said the ‘pocket money pound’ has been driving sales. Grant explained: “It is incredible how well independent stores have done since December 15th, when people stopped being able to find what they wanted in Woolworths. “Families who popped into Woolworths for collectable toys – such as Power Rangers and Pony in my Pocket – are all going to the local toy shop instead.”

…while name survives online WOOLWORTHS IS to make a Lazarus-like return as an online brand after it was bought by Shop Direct. Shop Direct is the UK’s biggest internet and home shopping retailer, and also owns brands such as the Littlewoods catalogue and plans to launch Woolworths online in the summer following a deal to buy the brand for an undisclosed sum. The move brings the brand under the control of Sir David and Frederick Barclay, whose interests also include the Telegraph newspaper group. Shop Direct, which has also bought Woolworths’ childrenswear brand Ladybird, said it was confident that the store would “stay at the heart of British retailing” as an online presence. Chief executive Mark NewtonJones commented: “Woolworths is a much-loved brand that engenders huge affection among British consumers and is an important part of the country’s retail heritage.” Details of the product range carried are due to be announced in the next few months, the company said.

Charts Page 67 This month’s retail charts feature: Asda, WH Smith, The Entertainer and Mail Order Express…

New products Page 68 On their way this month are offerings from Vtech, JC Games and Britains

Toy Talk Page 80 Trade show gossip, a new VTech-sponsored photo opp and a celeb-studded Turner launch.


66

RETAIL ONLY

HIGHSTREET COUNTER INSURGENT Dispatches from the retail front line... SO, ANOTHER round of shows over, and didn’t they seem quiet? Toy Fair seemed quieter than last year, which is bad news when you consider it was not spread across two halls. The weather certainly didn’t help Spring Fair, but at least that gives the organisers something to blame. Nuremberg was apparently quiet, but with the value of Sterling at the moment, it was hardly worth going was it? Overall, the words I keep hearing are ‘solid’, ‘safe’, ‘tidy’ and with the occasional moan about a lack of innovation. Overall I thought it was good, some great new product. All I ask is a fair crack of the whip when it comes to stock. The news that Toy Fair was moving back to Olympia was the industry’s worst kept

secret. The whole announcement thing seemed to have been dreamt up by some government spin doctor so everyone really knew the answer before it was announced. Good way to stop any grumblings. There seems to be very mixed feelings about it out there. If it ensures the longterm survival of Toy Fair then great. Whatever the reasons for moving (and I can only assume it is financial) then as long as those savings are passed on to the suppliers, Toy Fair might just survive. ExCeL is a great venue but there was always complaints about lack of places to eat and stay, but surely the social life is the least important thing? Ask anyone who remembers set-up days, logistics, trying to get the stands in and out of Earls Court and Olympia and you will hear horror stories. Stands were nearly always

On a positive note, I have sold some sledges and Woolworths is no longer screwing the marketplace. being touched up on the first day because of the access being so poor or the fact that they had ran out of fivers in envelopes. I can honestly say I could never remember going on the Ideal stand (yes, I am that old) and not being warned off the wet paint.

However, if the adopted policy of shell stands stays then that goes some way to helping keep the fair alive. Great for keeping costs down and more sensible for the short show. I actually thought it worked well. Was it me or did the Toy Awards happen with a

whimper? Maybe it was change of format for the evening, but certainly I didn’t pick up on any buzz afterwards. Ask anyone who went and the reply was always “okay, but…”. So, what’s the outlook for 2009? Our government keeps spending money it hasn’t got, consumer confidence is low, more and more people are worried about their jobs, credit insurers are nervous about the word retail and we still probably have at least another whole year of Gordon Brown. But on the positive side, I have sold some sledges; Woolworths is no longer screwing the marketplace; it’s the Ashes this year (might be a negative, but you live in hope) and we work in an industry that can bring happiness to kids and families when all else seems miserable. That alone is enough to keep us going, isn’t it?

TOY

PRICE CHECK: MARCH 2009

STORE

MARCH 2009

Fisher-Price Mr Men Mr Tickle Mattel

Bratz World House MGA Entertainment

Jungle Climber Little Tikes

Bop It! Extreme 2 Hasbro

Sylvanian Families Grand Hotel Flair

£29.99

£24.99

£127.22

£29.95

£80.78

£26.09

n/a

n/a

£13.04

£78.29

£29.34

£34.21

£147.97

£19.54

n/a

£22.47

£19.98

£180.00

£19.96

£89.97

£29.39

£9.59

n/a

£16.59

£97.89


RETAIL ONLY

www.toynewsmag.com

67

RETAILCHARTS CHART DATE 02/02/09

W.H. Smith

The Entertainer

CHART DATE 02/02/09

1

Through the Seasons Jigsaw Collection

WHS

1

Ben 10 Alien Force 10cm Alien Collection Ben

2

Games Compendium

WHS

2

Speed Stacks Glow in the Dark Stack Pack

3

Deluxe Poker Set

Poker Stuff

3

Fisher-Price Smart Cycle Physical Learning Game System

Mattel

4

Radio Controlled Range Rover Sport

New Bright

4

Polly Pocket Mega Mall

Mattel

5

Wooden Parking Garage

WHS

5

iTeddy Version 2

6

The Da Vinci Code Board Game

Winning Moves

6

Li’l Luvables Fluffy Factory

7

Articulate

Drumond Park

7

Scalextric Digital Quantum of Solace 007 James Bond Set

8

Absolute Balderdash 20th Anniversary Edition

Drumond Park

8

Swap Top Kitchen

9

Bop It Extreme 2

Hasbro

9

In The Night Garden Musical Popping Pontipines

10 USB Roll-up Drum Kit

Amazon

Dream Cheeky

CHART DATE 02/02/09

1

Aquadraw Thomas & Friends Mini Mats

2

Bakugan Starter Pack

3

Twister

4

Original Rubik’s Cube

5

Scrabble 60th Anniversary Edition

6

Crayola Gigantic Colouring Book

7

Ben 10 Puzzle – 100 pieces

8 9

Bandai Character

Vivid Spin Master Hornby

Worlds Apart

10 Bakugan Bakurack

Hasbro Spin Master

Mail Order Express

CHART DATE 02/02/09

Tomy

1

Spykee The Wi-Fi Robot

Spin Master

2

Fisher-Price Lazy Town Super Sportacus Set

Hasbro

3

Baby Born Horse and Carriage

Drumond Park

4

Born to Play 42cm Dark Brown Rocking Horse

Martin Yaffe

Mattel

5

Born to Play Bob the Builder Mega Vehicle Play Set

Martin Yaffe

Vivid

6

Born to Play Winnie The Pooh Mature Trail Desk & Stool Martin Yaffe

Pressman Toy

7

Born to Play Dr Who Folding Square Chair

PicooZ Remote Control Helicopter

Silverlit

8

Limited Edition Ultimate Ben 10 Set

Monopoly

Hasbro

9

Baby Born with Magic Eyes

10 Disney Cars Lightning McQueen Learning Laptop

Hamleys

VTech

CHART DATE 04/02/09

Meccano Mattel Zapf Creation

Martin Yaffe Bandai Zapf Creation

10 Iggle Piggle 10” Bike

Asda

MV Sports

CHART DATE 04/02/09

1

50 Greatest Magic Tricks

Marvin’s Magic

1

Turbo Cars Small Car

2

UFO Mini Infrared

RDM Creations

2

Hot Wheels Basic Cars

3

Sticker Scratcher

Hamleys

3

Mini Cars

4

AA Batteries Four Pack

Energizer

4

Dr Who Assorted Figures

5

Tandum Z Assorted

Silverlit

5

Mini Lying Animals

Asda

6

Super Lunar with Lights

Danbar

6

Die-cast Motorbike

May Cheong

7

Astrojax Blue Diamond

RDM Creations

7

Disney Cars Character Assortment

8

Mystery UFO

RDM Creations

8

Magic Writer

9

Infinite Bubbles

Hamleys

9

Power Rangers Jungle Fury Figures

10 Matt Nail Jazz Kit

Silverfern

10 Wooden Puzzle

Realtoy International Mattel Asda Character Options

Mattel Asda Bandai Asda

MARCH 2009


68

RETAIL ONLY

PRODUCTNEWS

VTech gets active

Penrose plays its cards right with Onexeno

Firm revs up for the launch of V.Smile Motion… V.SMILE MOTION is the new active learning system from VTech. With special movement detecting wireless handheld controllers, the motion-activated educational gaming system will encourage children to get up and active as they interact with characters including Dora the Explorer and Thomas & Friends among others. V.Smile Motion has been designed for children aged three to seven years to aid development of cognitive skills by teaching language, problem solving, maths and spelling.

Each console comes complete with an Action Mania game and one wireless controller. Two-player mode can also be enjoyed with an additional controller – available to buy separately. Licensed Learning Games are available separately including Wall-E, Kung Fu Panda, Spider-Man and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. There are seven titles currently available, with more due later in the year. V.Smile Motion retails at £59.99.

Individual V.Smile Motion games are £19.99 and additional controllers are priced at £16.99. VTech: 01235 555545

Radio Controlled revolution at Big Farm BRITAINS BIG FARM from RC2 has launched its first radio control vehicle. The R/C John Deere 6430 Tractor (£49.99) combines radio controlled vehicle operation with a host of interactive and learning functions. As with all Big Farm models, the new model has been brought to life under licence in detail, with flashing lights and realistic engine sounds. The vehicle features true-to-life cab finishing, chunky tyres and working front and rear-facing light stalks.

The RC handset has been specifically designed for young children to use. The simple controls move the tractor forwards, backwards and provide simple steering. Constructed in sturdy plastic, the John Deere 6430 Tractor helps youngsters recreate developmental role-play, while also learning

Watch Peppa tumble and spin

important lessons within assisted play about the role that farms have to play in growing crops and raising livestock. RC2: 01271 336155

Qb is the word for JC Games QB IS A NEW word game from JC Games. The game consists of 48 cubes, with one and two-letter combinations, making word formation easier than in traditional games based on letter tiles. Play with friends and family at home or on your travels. Qb requires no board and comes with a drawstring bag for storage and it can be played on any small surface. MARCH 2009

The choice of letters and the phonic nature of the two-letter combinations make Qb a stimulating game for players of all abilities to enjoy at their level of skill, while playing time is around 30 minutes. The game retails for £12.99, with an extra pack of 16 cubes available for extended play. JC Games: 01323 647886

PENROSE PRESS has introduced Onexeno (pronounced one zeno), a number-based card game for one to seven players. Most games using the Onexeno cards rely on a fundamental matching rule. When a player plays a card on the table, the dots must match up with previously played cards in the vertical, horizontal or diagonal directions. Matching cards must align in a grid and may not be offset. A number of different games can be played using the cards including canasta, partners, solitaire and multi-player. Penrose Press: +1 415 321 0689

JUMBO GAMES has announced a new electronic game for Peppa Pig – Peppa Tumble and Spin. Push Peppa as hard as you can to make her spin, and then wait until she comes to a stop. Players have to listen carefully to what Peppa says and try to be the first to collect all six cards. The game features Peppa’s voice and the show’s theme tune. Jumbo: 01707 289284


HERO PRODUCT

www.toynewsmag.com

69

Drumond Park Rubik’s 360 Launched in 1980, the Rubik’s Cube remains a popular toy with sales of 15 million units achieved worldwide in 2008. Now, Drumond Park is introducing the latest incarnation of the product – the Rubik’s 360... THERE HAVE been a number of variants on Rubik’s original over the years. Some, like the Rubik’s Magic, successful in their own right. However, as Professor Erno Rubik says: “I feel that the Rubik’s 360 is one of the most innovative and exciting puzzles we’ve developed since the Cube – adopting elements of my original design, challenging the solver to use skill, dexterity and logic.” The Rubik’s 360 is ten centimetres in diameter and consists of a transparent plastic sphere housing two further internal transparent spheres, both independently suspended on a rotating axis, with six coloured balls at its centre. In essence, the object of the puzzle is to steer the coloured balls through holes in the spheres and into their respective coloured home slot domes on the outside.

MARKETING Co-founder and marketing director Claire McCool is heading up a huge multimedia launch programme by Drumond Park. A full schedule of marketing activities, including TV advertising, PR and media promotions campaign, TV product placement, consumer sampling and regional events is currently under consideration. Full details will be released during May. In the meantime, an international teaser campaign for the product is under way – with exclusive stories arranged with Time magazine and Time online, including a video interview with Erno Rubik, and CNN International in the US. In the UK, the Sunday Telegraph featured a prototype road tested by twice-UK champion

Speedcuber Dan Harris, which appeared in print and in press articles, plus on internet news sites all over the world. The product is also garnering interest on social networking sites including YouTube and blog sites. DISTRIBUTION The reception from buyers at all levels has been positive and Drumond Park expects the 360 will be on sale everywhere that the original Rubik’s Cube is stocked.

Release dates: The 360 will launch throughout the world later this summer. CONTACT DETAILS: Phone: 01506 855577 Website: www.drumondpark.com

MARCH 2009


The place for business

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1/4 page: Annual charge £1,395 (minimum twelve months booking) Get your company featured: adrian.miles@intentmedia.co.uk T: 01992 535 647

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CREATIVITY INTERNATIONAL

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Logiblocs

01727 763700

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01728 745300

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01625 540 493

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01462 446 040

Thumbs Up

0845 466 8880 01536 401128

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0207 381 2302

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01473 735346

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01268 511522

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Sambro International

Relatively new kids on the block, Creativity has been the major craft licensee for Hit Entertainment’s long running and award winning Art Attack show. RDF signed Creativity last year as its craft licensee, beginning with the new Mister Maker series on CBeebies, which is a preschool series aimed at helping children develop their artistic skills. It proved a runaway success on the High Street, which is quickly bringing Creativity to the fore of the licensing industry. With a raft of business dealing with major toy buyers at the Toy

POINT ZERO GAMES

0115 937 5147

Richard Edward

Creativity is putting some serious investment into its licensing programme, and the company is fast positioning itself as one of the UK’s major craft licensees. For 2009 it has signed with Chorion, RDF, Entertainment Rights and Hit for Mister Men, Postman Pat, Numberjacks and Hit Favourites (Thomas the Tank Engine, Pingu, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam). This will add to its core two craft licences Art Attack and Mister Maker. The increased revenue Creativity has enjoyed over the past year, combined with the growth of the company, has seen it put rocket fuel into the product development strategy.

01869 363800

SandPlay

Voila (Agenta Marketing)

SUPPLIER/MANUFACTURER

0208 311 8888 +44 (0) 161 707 5555

Adrian Miles: +44 (0)1992 535 647 adrian.miles@intentmedia.co.uk

Fairs in London and Nuremberg, Creativity looks set to wow the consumer with its innovative concepts linking the national curriculum with licensed craft kits (from a Mr Noisy Make Your Own Guitar to a Postman Pat, Make your Own Post Bag). Creativity is now positioning itself to become a household name on the High Street with its new and innovative range of licensed craft toys. Contact Mark Jones for a product viewing: 01384 485 550

01625 540 493 Fancy a chance of winning £1,000? If you were around the Greenhouse area at the Toy Fair in January, you might have seen one stand decked out with pictures of odd fantasy characters based on a variety of animals, including pandas, kangaroos, lions and monkeys. Well, that was the Point Zero Games stand, where the company was showing its new game, Army Of Zero. Army Of Zero is a card-and-dice combat game for two players, aged from seven years up. But there’s more to the game than meets the eye, because the design of the character cards includes a set of interconnected puzzles. Point Zero Games challenges players to solve the puzzles and send in their

solutions, with a prize of £1,000 being on offer for the best entry received by the end of April 2010. The game itself is quick and easy to both learn and play, encouraging children and their parents to play together. It features 84 quirky characters, each with different abilities, and a

simple set of mechanics that rewards the player who can predict an opponent’s move. You can read more about the game, and get in touch with its creators, by visiting www.pointzerogames.com


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WHAT GETS SEEN GETS BOUGHT Costume Characters  Point Of Sale  Props  Giant Promotional Plush Event Management  Storage and Maintenance  Costume Hire

Constantly striving to offer more services to our clients, we recently began working with some high profile Clients such as Warner Brothersand Disney Consumer Products to provide lifesize plush toys made in the UK by our own skilled production team. This has proved a great success offering our clients much shorter lead times and first class products.

As well as this, the launch of our Event Management Department will offer clients the opportunity to have us maintain and

store your costumes plus organise character appearances, arrange staff and chaperones, storage and cleaning in the UK and abroad. Not forgetting what we do best and that's to produce high quality, long lasting character costumes for hire, events, trade fairs and promotions. Our clients include Procter and Gamble, 4 Kids Entertainment , Tesco, Asda, and Motorola.

Danny Smith

Contact - Kelli Bromley, Sales Manager T: 0208 441 2158 M: 07760270209 www.jellyhead3d.co.uk sales@jellyhead3d.co.uk

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No. 1 in the UK for model kits and accessories

Fax Order Hotline: 01442 245619 Revell GmbH & Co. KG, 64-66 Queensway, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP2 5HA. Tel: 01442 250130. Email: ukbranch@revell.de

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ADVERTISING THAT WORKS!

To advertise here please contact Adrian Miles: +44 (0)1992 535647 adrian.miles@intentmedia.co.uk


Marketplace ■ Toy Suppliers

■ Toy Suppliers

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■ Toy Suppliers


Marketplace

www.toynewsmag.com | Advertising: +44 (0)1992 535 647

Advertisers Index ■ Character Costumes & P.O.S. JellyHead 3D

0208 441 2158

sales@jellyhead3d.co.uk

www.jellyhead3d.co.uk

Rainbow Productions

0208 254 5300

info@rainbowproductions.co.uk

www.rainbowproductions.co.uk

0208 337 7958

ian@startlicensing.co.uk

01827 54551

info@daytonavisual.com

www.daytonavisual.com

SGS

0208 991 3410

gb.cts.sales@sgs.com

www.uk.sgs.com

STR

0118 939 8700

toys@struk.co.uk

www.struk.co.uk

■ Licensing Big & Small

■ Point of Purchase Manufacturers Daytona Visual Marketing

■ Safety Testing

■ Suppliers/Manufacturers Bachmann Europe Cambridge Brainbox Creativity International

0870 751 9990

sales@bachmann.co.uk

www.bachmann.co.uk

01279 821333

sales@cambridgebrainbox.co.uk

www.cambridgebrainbox.co.uk

01323 485550

sales@cilimited.co.uk

Danbar International Ltd.

01707 260 111

sales@danbartoys.com

www.danbartoys.com

Esdevium Games

01420 593 593

sales@esdeviumgames.com

www.esdeviumgames.com

Flying Toys Games Workshop

01702 295110

sales@flyingtoys.com

08700 134 411

uktradesales@games-workshop.co.uk

www.games-workshop.com

JC Games

01323 647886

Logiblocs

01727 763700

sales@logiblocs.com

Plastics for Games

01728 745300

sales@plasticsforgames.co.uk

www.p4g.co.uk

Point Zero Games

01625 540 493

info@pointzerogames.com

www.@pointzerogames.com

Ravensburger

01869 363800

sales@ravensburger.com

www.ravensburger.com

Revell

01442 250130

ukbranch@revell.de

www.revell.com

0115 937 5147

info@sandcastlemoat.co.uk

www.sandcastlemoat.co.uk

The Puppet Company

01462 446 040

info@thepuppetcompany.com

www.thepuppetcompany.com

Thumbs Up

0845 466 8880

sales@thumbsupuk.com

www.thumbsupuk.com

01536 401128

sales@agentamarketing.com

www.agenta.demon.co.uk/voila.html

WOW Toys

0207 381 2302

enquiries@wowtoys.com

ZooBooKoo

01473 735346

SandPlay

Voila (Agenta Marketing)

www.qbgame.co.uk www.logiblocs.com

www.wowtoys.com www.zoobookoo.com

■ Toy Suppliers Carta Mundi

01268 511522

info@cartamundi.co.uk

Plastics for Games

01728 745300

sales@plasticsforgames.co.uk

www.p4g.co.uk

0208 311 8888

enquiries@richard-edward.com

www.richard-edward.com

+44 (0) 161 707 5555

sales@sambro.co.uk

www.sambro.co.uk

Richard Edward Sambro International

www.cartamundi.com

Marketplace RATES:

1/4 page: Annual charge £1,395 (minimum twelve months booking) Get your company featured: adrian.miles@intentmedia.co.uk T: 01992 535 647


80

MY No.1s Phil Cassidy,

TOY TALK

TOY TALK

From this issue we’ve dedicated even more room to the month’s social highlights, toy industry gossip and men dressed up as pirates…

Joint Managing Director, Casdon Toys Number one album: Thirteen Senses - The Invitation. A quality band that never really made it big. -------------------------------------------------Film: Saw -------------------------------------------------Website: www.skysports.com -------------------------------------------------Hero: Roger Howard -------------------------------------------------Book: Gordon Is a Moron by Vernon Coleman -------------------------------------------------TV programme: 24 -------------------------------------------------Number one single when you were born: Elvis Presley, Way Down -------------------------------------------------Magazine: FHM. Although once a year on our way to Hong Kong. -------------------------------------------------Holiday: Any camping trips with just my girlfriend and I. A tent, a field, a dog, my fine lady and beer. What more does a man need? -------------------------------------------------Pet: My dog Toby, a springer crossed with a beagle. -------------------------------------------------Game/toy: George Foreman Toy Grill -------------------------------------------------Food: Chinese --------------------------------------------------

FRAME A COLLEAGUE Our good friends at Vtech have teamed up with us to help us add a new dimension to our Toy Talk page. The firm’s massive-selling Kidizoom camera, winner of the Preschool Toy of the Year award, as you may know, allows children to have fun taking photographs and then altering them using the built-in art package. As anyone will tell you, playing around with photographs, shrinking them, adding ridiculouslooking ears etc, can be great fun. Just look at our friend here – the Pirate Simpleton.

We want you to send us in photos of someone that you would like see given the Kidizoom treatment and we will do the rest. And the good thing is, the best candidate will receive a Kidizoom camera (£49.99 RRP) so they can carry on turning their boss into a pirate and so on. So if you fancy seeing your colleague or even yourself here and winning a camera into the bargain, send your snaps to ronnie.dungan@intentmedia.co.uk and we will do the rest.

MEIN HOSTS ToyNews hooked up with the BTHA, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg to help host a reception for British exhibitors at the show. And very popular it was too. Must have been the free booze and sausages. There was a short address from BTHA director general Roland Earl and from Spielwarenmesse CEO Ernst Kick followed by a somewhat spectacular firework display.

CROCK AND ROLAND But the big question of course is how did the aforementioned DG, Roland Earl, manage to crock his arm so spectacularly. Theories have varied in colour from extreme arm-wrestling, running Millwall’s Bushwhackers firm or a brief introduction to the little known toy industry swingers scene. The truth, however, is of a duller hue. He fell out of bed. Get well soon Roland.

Sponsored by

MARCH 2009

WAY TO GO Which telesales guy for a well known games firm made a brief but spectacular industry debut at Toy Fair? His meteoric toy career saw him grope a leading licensing light, lick a buyer’s face and offer out a rival for a fight. And that was all in the same night. Sadly, our colourful friend is unlikely to be around at the next show. Pity.


TOY TALK WRONG KOREA MOVE Any time ToyNews pitches up at a trade show, we are inevitably seen by some as an extra information booth. And of course, we’re more than happy to oblige whenever we can. Take the guy from Korea who was looking for Sri Lankan company Lanka Kade whom he had arranged to meet at Toy Fair, but couldn’t find. After much consternation about their stand number ToyNews had to break the news to him that he was in fact at the wrong show. He wanted Spring Fair. Furthermore, we had to tell him that Birmingham was not on the London Underground system. It’s not an exagerration to say the looks he got from his wife when he relayed this news could well have caused our recent cold snap. LEATHERED UPPER Apparently Upper Deck had a party in Nuremberg. At the Park Café. Apparently it was great. Apparently, we went. However, details are decidedly foggy and about the only available evidence that we were there, other than eyewitness accounts of some free-form expressionist break-dancing, which we were reminded of the next day, is this picture of Martin Yaffe’s Adam Yaffe, which your correspondent took on the night. It would be nice to say finding the pic triggered full recollection of the previous evening’s events, just like it is right now with Rochdale’s very own sex-rocket Adam, if he’s reading this. But sadly no. It remains a mystery wrapped inside an enigma, wrapped inside a free bar. Answers on a postcard please.

81

You’ve got mail Subject: Steve Buckmaster, Sales Director, Esdevium Games > Firstly, congratulations on the TRA Special Recognition Award. What do you think made Esdevium stand out for the judges? Thank you, that’s quite a tough one to answer, but I don’t think that it is down to any one thing. We occupy a fairly unique place in the toy trade, we are lucky to work with some great suppliers and also with a wide range of customers. We maintain an active dialogue with all of our independent customers and we have three staff field reps that go and see stores. We have been pretty successful in taking products that may have at one time been considered on the edges of the toy trade and delivering them to our customers in a way that makes sense for their stores. I would probably sum it up by saying that we offer a lot of things to a lot of people and hopefully we manage to do that quite well. Ultimately though we are a sum of the suppliers and customers that we work with and I would like to thank them all for their support. > And how did the show season go for you? Are those suppliers and customers still buying or are you now seeing a downturn in trade? The show season was good, certainly better than we had expected. We felt Spring Fair was impacted by the rather adverse weather, but Toy Fair was a great show. We had a steady flow of traffic throughout, we managed to meet with key buyers from the multiples, as well as a pretty good turnout from the independent sector. We take orders at the show and our order book was about 20 per cent up from last year, which was very encouraging. We met new contacts, opened new accounts, all of the things you would hope for from a trade show. There is no doubt that trading conditions are tough and I know that we, along with the rest of the trade will be looking at how we plug the gap from the likes of Woolworths, but one of the key things that we took away from the show was the relative optimism from the independent trade. As for a downturn in trade, we have seen the year actually start pretty well, so far our sales have held up and we have some really exciting projects that are coming together for spring/summer.

WRONG NUMBER 10 It’s about as close to number 10 as Old Etonian turned friend of the working class, David Cameron, is likely to get. He, and several other well-known faces, turned up at the premiere of Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 (of course). Here he is with Turner’s Dee Forbes (centre). Children from across the UK were invited down to London’s Old Billingsgate Market, which was transformed into a spectacular alien landscape, with a green carpet rolled-out for stars including Cherie Blair, Lisa B, Jasmine Guinness, Linda Barker, Samantha and Amanda Merchant, Chipmunk, Nicola McClean, Samantha Janus, Anthony Worrall-Thompson, Lisa Moorish, Same Difference, Yasmin Mills, Mark Foster, Didz & Gary (Dirty Pretty Things) and many others. Guests were treated to a private screening of two brand new episodes of the new series of Ben 10 Alien Force, a dramatic performance from Parkour acrobats and the opportunity to digitally morph into their favourite Ben 10 Alien Force characters.

> Can you give us any sneak previews? Sorry, no scoops here. It is things that people hopefully will know about. We are really excited to be working on the Chaotic Trading Card Game, it’s been great to work with 4Kids and we believe that it’s a fantastic property with bags of potential. We also feel that it is going to be a big year for Pokémon and the level of support for the brand and the Trading Card Game will be the biggest for years. But generally there is a lot of interest and momentum behind the cards and collectables category at the moment; new releases for GoGo’s Crazy Bones, Match Attax, Pokémon TCG, Yu-Gi-Oh TCG, as well as new properties like Chaotic TCG, Dinosaur King TCG and Huntix TCG. In addition we are seeing good growth on speciality board games as people look for good value entertainment in the current economic climate. So, lots on.

MARCH 2009


82

FEATURE PLANNER

2009 FEATURE PLANNER APRIL 2009 Boys Market Special Track Racing & Trains Kids’ Magazines

• • •

• Games & Puzzles

Editorial Deadline: Call for details Advertising Deadline: March 13th

MAY 2009

Show Special • Toymaster Vehicles (inc. R/C & Die-cast) • Action • Pre-school • Large Dolls Editorial Deadline: March 13th Advertising Deadline: April 10th

FORTHCOMING EVENTS ABRIN (Brazilian Toy Fair) April 14th - 17th Expo Center Norte Blue & White Pavilions. São Paulo, Brazil www.abrin.com.br

PLAYROOM AT THE PARK April 21st-22nd Cranmore Park, Solihull www.cranmorepark.co.uk

TOY CON 09 May 6th - 8th Wigwam Golf Resort, Phoenix, AZ www.toyassociation.org

TOYMASTER May 19th – 21st Majestic Hotel, Harrogate www.toymaster.co.uk

LICENSING INTERNATIONAL 2009 June 2nd - 4th Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, Vegas www.licensingshow.com

SHOWCOMOTION July 1st - 3rd Sheffield Media and Exhibition Centre www.showcomotionconference.com

BRAND LICENSING EUROPE 09 September 30th - October 1st Grand Hall, Olympia, London www.brandlicensingexpo.com

AUTUMN FAIR 09 September 6th - 9th NEC, Birmingham www.autumnfair.com

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

www.toynewsmag.com Editorial: 01992 535646 Advertising: 01992 535647 Intent Media is a member of the Periodical Publishers Associations

MARCH 2009

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 2009 No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owners. ISSN: 1740-3308

Circulation & Subscriptions AUDITED CIRCULATION Average Net Circulation: 6,069 July 1st 2007 to June 30th 2008, SUBSCRIPTIONS UK: £50 Europe: £60 Rest of World: £90 The international cost applies per subscription and covers airmail dispatch of 12 issues

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


FRIDAY JULY 10 TOYNEWS FIVES RAISING MONEY FOR THE TOY TRUST

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TO ENTER NOW PLEASE CALL 020 7700 1888 OR VISIT WWW.TOPCORNER.CO.UK/TOYNEWSFIVES


For further details or to arrange an appointment please get in touch: E: nikki@sambro.co.uk Sambro International T: +44 (0)161 707 5555 Unit L1-3 Lyntown Trading Estate, Lynwell Road Eccles, Manchester, England, M30 9QG www.sambro.co.uk www.newworldtoys.co.uk

ToyNews Issue 91, March 2009  

ToyNews magazine for Retail, Licensing, Distribution and Marketing

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