ToyNews 177 October 2016

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Š2016 Mattel, Inc. All rights reserved.

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No. 177 l October 2016

Retail l Licensing l Pre-School l Marketing 14 Toy Trust update The Toy Trust gives us the low-down on where the funds raised so far this year are going

19 Van-tastic Sales manager at Le Toy Van, Steven Le Van, reveals how 2016 has been a year to remember

24 Gotta catch ‘em all As the brand celebrates its 20th anniversary, we look back at the history of the Pokémon card game

32 Dungeons & Dragons We chat with HBO’s VP of licensing about bringing Game of Thrones to the world of board games

Space jam After the mammoth launch of The Force Awakens last year, the toy space is now set to head to a galaxy far, far away once again with the arrival of Rogue One: A Star Wars story. With the new line now on shelves, we take a look at Rogue One’s toys and games offering and ask: Is the Force strong with this one?

LEADER OF THE PACKS Royal Flush: the first choice for millions of card players worldwide Ph: +44 1286 511 522 @cartamundiuk

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MEET THE TEAM Billy Langsworthy Editor Robert Hutchins Deputy Editor Jade Burke Staff Writer Sophia Jaques Senior Account Manager Brenda Normile Sales Executive James Marinos Production Executive Julie Champness Designer Andrew Wooden Content Director Mark Burton Managing Director

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Regulars 06 08 08 09 10 12 74

News Campaign of the Month Playtime Euromonitor Analysis Industry Movers Industry Opinion Toy Talk

Features 14 Toy Trust update 17 INTERVIEW: Redan Publishing 19 INTERVIEW: Le Toy Van 21 News 24 Anatomy of a blockbuster toy: Pokémon: TCG 27 INTERVIEW: DHX Media 28 INTERVIEW: eOne 31 INTERVIEW: Cartoon Network 32 INTERVIEW: HBO 36 Sector Guide: Rogue One Pre-school 48 News Retail 51 News 52 ToyShop UK: Amazon Dash 54 Indie profile: The Cheshire Toy Shop 57 Sector Guide: Wooden Toys 69 Sector Guide: Licensed Toys

Galaxy quest


he most iconic asthmatic groan in cinematic history is coming back in December, as Darth Vader graces the big screen once again in Rogue One. And of course, available on shelves by the time this issue lands, is a wave of impressive Rogue One toys and games. Now while Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a mammoth hit, both in terms of box office receipts and toy sales, it did cause a ripple of dissatisfaction among fans and retailers over a percieved lack of toys centred around the film’s hero, Rey. While the more vocal critics saw it as confirmation that toy firms believe girls don’t like action figures, and boys won’t buy into action figures of girls, sources close to claimed it was more a means of preserving plot secrets than anything nefarious. Well, whatever you believe, having put together this month’s special Rogue One preview, it looks like those issues aren’t resurfacing. The female star of the first Star Wars anthology movie is the kickass Jyn Erso, and whether it’s action figures, costumes or play-sets, she’s well represented and sure to be a huge seller across the sector. And if I was to put money on a character set to steal the show for Rogue One, as BB-8 did both in terms of toy sales and fan love for The Force Awakens, look no further than reprogrammed Imperial security droid K-2SO. Trust me, remember the name.

If I was to put money on a character set to steal the show for Rogue One, as BB-8 did in terms of toy sales and fan love for The Force Awakens, look no further than the reprogrammed Imperial security droid, K-2SO. Remember the name.


September 05

23/09/2016 17:05


Art + Science to launch Bobby Moore Action Man The special limited edition action figure will celebrate 50 years since England won the World Cup, as well as the 50th anniverary of the iconic toy, and donations from sales will go directly to the Bobby Moore Fund BY BILLY LANGSWORTHY


o celebrate 50 years since England won the World Cup, Art +Science is launching a special limited edition Bobby Moore Action Man, in association with The FA and the Bobby Moore Fund. The action figure has not been created with mass retail in mind. Instead, fewer than 2,000 pieces are being produced, with donations going towards the Bobby Moore Fund. Some will be auctioned off to raise money for the Fund, while some stock is heading to the Wembley store. “Only 1,966 pieces are being produced and will be available from November; with a donation of £6 per piece donated to the Bobby Moore Fund,” said Karen Clarke, brand director at Art + Science.

The Bobby Moore deal forms just one part of Art + Science’s activity around the 50th anniversary celebrations of Action Man. Hasbro licensed Art + Science to develop a special anniversary range, and the line-up will hit retail from this month. “There is a lot of excitement and anticipation surrounding the launch of the Action Man 50th Anniversary Collection,” added Clarke. “The hero that inspires whole generations is back with a special collection of six figures. Action Soldier and Footballer will be available from October; and Scuba Diver, Paratrooper, British Infantryman, and Ski Patrol will be available from November. “The 2017 Action Man collection will include at least 10 figures plus special editions.”

As a celebration of the original Action Man, the line will reproduce some of the iconic toy’s original elements from its run back in the Sixties. Clarke stated: “Action Man is back with the best of the Sixties and Seventies features. “The flocked hair, gripping hands, and signature scar all feature with outfits, accessories and the iconic dog tag and the product packaging has been inspired by one of the original Action Man artists.” Art + Science International: 01903 885669

Lightseekers to evolve toys-to-life PlayFusion, the studio behind the new concept, believes the new TOMY product boasts “meaningful innovation” BY BILLY LANGSWORTHY Indie games studio PlayFusion has unveiled Lightseekers, a toys-to-life product it created in collaboration with TOMY, and company CEO Mark Gerhard believes it’s set to evolve the sector. Lightseekers sees TOMY actionfigures don weapons that link to an app game to trigger in-game attacks with lights, sound and voice and is being pitched as an innovation in smart connected AI toys, PlayFusion deems it ‘the most ambitious transmedia entertainment platform ever

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envisioned,’ and despite Disney Infinity pulling out of the toys-tolife space, Gerhard sees nothing but fresh opportunities. “With the launch of Skylanders and other smart toys like Anki and Sphero, we saw a novel and interesting development in the games industry for the first time in many years,” PlayFusion CEO and cofounder Mark Gerhard told ToyNews’ sister publication, Develop. “They have done rather well selling well over 350 million toys between Skylanders and Infinity, creating a nascent yet multi-billion dollar industry as a result. But

there hasn’t been any meaningful innovation in this category in years. “We have done something entirely innovative and unique, beyond just toys-to-life.” Despite both being within the toys-to-life space, PlayFusion is not eyeing Skylanders as a direct rival, due to the different demographic that Lightseekers is targeting. “We are not looking to compete with Skylanders, although that is the obvious comparison,” added Gerhard. “They have done a terrific job for kids between six and eight years old but we are

aiming at an older demographic, those who have outgrown the existing toys-to-life offerings.” Lightseekers will launch in spring 2017.

23/09/2016 14:53


Engino roars to success in the UK with girls’ STEM line The firm has enjoyed ‘overwhelming demand’ for products including its Discovery STEM and Inventor ranges BY ROBERT HUTCHINS


TEM toy specialist Engino has seen its UK operations hit new heights during what the firm has labelled its biggest and most successful year to date. The company, famed now for its range of construction techenabled toys, has reported a dramatic increase in its global presence in the last year, exporting to over 30 countries worldwide. The global success has been mirrored in the UK market where Engino has been on the receiving end of some “overwhelming demand” for some of its most popular lines, including the Discovery STEM and Inventor ranges. “2016 has already been Engino’s biggest and most successful year to date,” Costas Sisamos, founder of Engino told ToyNews. “We have increased our worldwide presence dramatically

and the UK is no different, with us having a great first half of the year increasing our presence with both independent and national retailers.” It was back in 2012 that Engino made the decision to move its manufacturing to Cyprus, a pivotal moment for the firm that has since seen it evolve and expand at what Sisamos has described as a ‘phenomenal rate’. With Christmas now the main focus for retailers and

manufacturers alike, Engino has outlined its plans to continue the current run of global success through to the end of year main event. “First off we have launched a TV campaign for our Inventor construction range, which aired in August with plans to carry on until the peak of Christmas,” explained Sisamos. “We are also supporting retailers with in-store demonstrations, POS displays, demo kits and lots of online promotion.” Among the products expected to be big hitters for the firm this festive season is its flagship

Inventor range, a collection of fourin-one and eight-in-one model sets that have recently extended into a dedicated girls’ range. “We expect this range to be our best-seller,” continued Sisamos. “Meanwhile, our Discovering STEM range has outperformed our expectations over the last 12 months and we have seen a continual increase in demand across the whole range. “To see more educational focused lines go head to head with our more hard-core, designed for retail lines is great to see and highlights how much the STEM curriculum is becoming ever-more present in the public domain. “Of course, our Inventor range has been the biggest seller for us worldwide and we expect the new Inventor Girls range to follow in its footsteps and inspire the next generation of inventors,” he concluded. Engino: 0800 988 7065

Beano Studios eyes expansive toy push for Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed Newly formed creative company is debuting the CGI series, as well as its wider slate, at BLE 2016 this month BY BILLY LANGSWORTHY The newly formed Beano Studios has outlined its toy plans for the upcoming CGI series, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed. DC Thomson has launched Beano Studios to create, curate and deliver entertainment for kids across multiple touch points, including new film and TV programmes, a digital platform, live theatrical experiences,

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consumer products, the comic and the annual. The first TV production under the Beano Studios banner is Dennis and Gnasher Unleashed. Set to air in autumn 2017, the new series sees Dennis and Gnasher portrayed in CGI animation for the first time, and the firm believes the new show has widespread toy appeal. “Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed is a brand new CGI animated series

targeting a sweet spot of kids aged seven to 10, although we expect the consumer products to play to a slightly younger audience,” said Allison Watkins, EVP, global consumer products and TV distribution at Beano Studios. “We are talking to a number of toy partners, for both Beano and the new Dennis & Gnasher series, from pocket money to plush, outdoor play, and everything in between.” DC Thomson: 01382 575580

October 07

23/09/2016 14:55


Special Safety Month With Halloween and Bonfire Night fast approaching, Fireman Sam is hoping to teach both children and parents the importance of staying safe in the home and outside during these festivities with a new campaign CONTACT: MATTEL – 01628 500 000


veryone’s favourite hero, Fireman Sam, leads an exciting safety campaign driving awareness of the importance of fire safety for children in the UK, ahead of Halloween and Bonfire Night. Kicking off in early October, the campaign will connect with millennial parents by offering information and expertise by communicating the values of the show, and reminding families to stay safe during the festivities. The extensive programme will include a national radio campaign with Heart FM that will run across the UK in late October, featuring on air advertising from Fireman Sam himself, as well as recruiting the well-known presenters to drive


s we move firmly into October it is that time of the year to reflect on the year to date and forecast how the 2016 TV market will finish. By analysing the toys and games TVR deployment pattern back to 2007, we can predict that the market may see growth of up to 12.9 per cent. This is also taking into account the fact that a number of advertisers carried over budgets into January as a result of increased demand and limited supply in the back end of 2015. Although we have empirically forecast this prediction, there are best and worst case scenarios. If the September to December period reflected the lowest point of

08 October


the safety messaging during live broadcasts. On-air activity will also be supported with online content and dedicated social media posts to tie in with the radio activity. A national survey and accompanying infographic will also

encourage parents and adults to check if they are able to spot all of the common fire safety dangers in everyday situations, while competitions will drive awareness. Projecting the year on A strategic blogger programme focusing on key licensed products

will create conversation within influential communities, as well as driving to retail. The Fireman Sam YouTube page will also feature safety in 24 new short videos, featuring Fireman Sam, as well as the characters of Pontypandy. A social media campaign will be encouraging families to take extra care, with the Facebook page sharing the safety tips, images and videos throughout October and early November. Helen Genia, consumer products category manager at Mattel UK, said: “We are really excited about the launch of the Fireman Sam’s Special Safety Month campaign, helping to ensure fire safety is at year change in Toysminds & Games the forefront of parents’ ahead of these key events.”

TV Advert

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Toys and games: Global trends, developments and prospects

Licensing As overall growth in emerging countries stalled in 2015, rapidly growing demand for licensed toys emerged as the main driving force in the global traditional toys and games market. The release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the end of 2015 generated a surge in sales of related merchandise across all categories within traditional toys and games. The growing power of licensing in the toy market is a product of the growing global audience for entertainment media. The proliferation of smartphones and mobile internet connectivity is bringing on-demand entertainment content to an

Global Retail Value Sales Growth in Toys and Games 9

% y-o-y growth


hrough 2014, emerging markets were a key growth driver for both traditional toys and games as well as video games However, by the end of 2014 and through 2015, economic growth in several key emerging markets started to slow, with countries like Russia, Brazil and Argentina experiencing some of the most pronounced declines in economic growth. Inflation and currency devaluation had a profound impact on toy sales across most emerging markets as these products are typically imported and pricing is set in US dollar or euro terms. While incomes have taken a hit in 2014 to 2016, prospects for longterm growth in emerging markets remain positive. Demographic changes are leading to smaller households, which frees up a greater portion of the household budget for discretionary spending on things like toys and games.




Project Manager, Euromonitor International

6 5 4 3 2

Traditional Toys and Games


Video Games







Source: Euromonitor International

audience that television and print were previously incapable of reaching.

Virtual and physical play integration The proliferation of smartphones and increasing use of technology by mainstream consumers has also had a profound effect on the video games market. Growing access to smartphones has made mobile gaming the biggest platform within video games. By 2020, global sales of mobile games are expected to

reach $52bn, compared to $56bn for all other platforms combined. The influence of technology will continue to proliferate in traditional toys and games. Here at Euromonitor International, we expect STEM toys that focus on robotics and programming to become increasingly in-demand, driving sales of remote control drones. This will make remote control toys the fastest-growing category by 2020, as growth in construction toys slows due to market saturation.

2015 was a turbulent year for the global toys and games market as macroeconomic difficulties weighed on demand in large emerging markets that had become significant growth drivers over 2010 to 2015. Despite these difficulties, the global market continued to grow, as sales of licensed toys combined with strong growth in video games drove sales in developed and some advanced emerging markets. These factors, together with recovering growth in emerging markets, are expected to combine for a 4.5 per cent CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) in the global toys and games market over the forecast period.

Global Retail Sales of Video Games Software by Platform 2016 to 2020 120 100 80 US$ billion

Emerging markets

60 40

Mobile Games Online Games


Computer Games Console Games


Source: Euromonitor International 2016





Euromonitor International is the world’s leading independent provider of strategic market research. The firm creates data and analysis on thousands of products and services around the world. Euromonitor’s Passport database provides insight on industries, economies and consumers worldwide, helping clients analyse market context and identify future trends impacting businesses globally. For more on Euromonitor and Passport, head to

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October 09

23/09/2016 15:36


Industry moves With Halloween on the way, we speak to the team at Big Potato about the company’s haunted office and how the firm will celebrate all things spooky. Elsewhere, HTI gains a new product manager and Robert Mann joins Engino TEAM OF THE MONTH HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: BIG POTATO Who’s in the team? From left to right we have Ben Drummond, Massimo Zeppetelli, Alexandra Lolies, Dean Tempest, James Vaughan, Tristan Williams and Zoe Lee.

How long have you been experiencing hauntings in your current office? The Potato Ghost has been around since we first moved into the office. When we’re here it turns on kettles, slams doors, turns on the sink and even breathes in people’s faces.

What are your plans for Halloween 2016? Our workshop is haunted, genuinely, so it’s like Halloween every day in here.

Favourite horror film? American Werewolf in London.

Will there be any special Halloween-inspired games on the way in the future? We’re not ruling out a Halloween game for the future, but it’s a bit niche isn’t it?

Which game is most popular with the office ghost? Not sure about which game it likes best. I’ll get out the Ouija board and ask it now. I’m getting… Qwwwwooooorrddiieeee.

HTI The toy firm is boosting its team with the addition of NINA-JO UTTLEY to the position of product manager. In her new role, Uttley will be responsible for the development and management of HTI’s boys’ toys lines. “I am delighted to welcome Nina-Jo to the HTI team,” said ALISON DOWNIE, HTI’s global licensing and brand director. Prior to joining HTI, Uttley worked at Vimto Soft Drinks as the company’s brand manager.

10 October

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Engino Construction toy company, Engino, is welcoming ROBERT MANN as its new VP of international. Mann has also previously held senior European and international roles with the likes of RC2, TOMY and Munchkin. “Robert has joined Engino at a crucial time in its development,” said COSTAS SISAMOS, founder of Engino. Fundamentally Children KATIE ROBERTS-MASON has been appointed as Fundamentally Children’s new marketing executive. Roberts-Mason will now be working across the company’s

Qwordie? This ghost has good taste in games. What’s your go-to costume for Halloween? Mexican wrestling masks.

PR and marketing activity, having previously worked at KD UK as consumer marketing manager. In addition, she also worked as deputy editor on titles, ToyNews and “I am thrilled to be joining Amanda and her team at such an exciting period of growth for Fundamentally Children,” she said. Toys R Us The retail giant has appointed MELANIE TEEDMURCH as president of its Canadian operations. Teed-Murch will oversee the operations and business activities for the firm’s Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores in Canada. Plus, she will also be responsible for the continued growth,

Trick or treat? Treat for sure. Want to hear a dad joke? Do you know what to do if you get a peanut stuck in your ear? Pour in some chocolate and it comes out a treat.

profitability and success of the company in the market. Teed-Murch has also held various senior positions at the retailer since first joining Toys R Us back in 1996. Entertainment One KATIE ROLLINGS is joining Entertainment One (eOne) as its new head of UK licensing for eOne Family and eOne Licensing. In her new position, Rollings will help to grow and expand eOne’s UK licensing programmes across its portfolio of properties. “Rollings is a highly respected industry veteran with a strong track record of driving commercial success,” said ANDREW CARLEY, head of global licensing at eOne.

23/09/2016 16:56

Featuring: Golden Bear, MV Sports, Tomy, H Grossman, DKL, Re:Creation, Interplay, James Galt, Schleich, & many more...

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19/09/2016 16:55


New retro Triggered by Netflix’s latest hit show, the Eighties-throwback Stranger Things, Richard Heayes looks at how the world of toys and games continues to source inspiration from a decade that brought us shoulder pads, mullets and Duran Duran

Re-imagined retro can deliver both freshness and nostalgia. Get the blend right and you have the potential for an exciting product.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Richard Heayes is an award-winning inventor and designer at Heayes Design, and a supporter of all things playful. Contact him at


know I’m not the only one who has been enjoying a retro Eighties trip watching Stranger Things on Netflix. The carefully crafted story combines all the best the Eighties had to offer. Inspired by films like The Goonies, Alien, Close Encounters and Poltergeist, it does a great job of giving anyone who grew up in the late Seventies and Eighties a fresh story, but one that draws on their fondest memories. It also appeals to a younger audience who have ‘discovered’ that period through classic film and games. Retro inspired entertainment has proven to be very powerful of late. Pretty much all of the big action movies from Transformers to Marvel have their roots in that period.

Star Wars continues the story that began then and where film goes, toys quickly follow. Music has also jumped on the Eighties revival with artists like Rick Astley and Duran Duran launching new music. It’s been building for a few years now but I think we could be seeing shoulder pads on a High Street near you very soon. Re-telling a classic but with a modern twist is often a recipe for success. The toy business was extremely prolific in delivering innovation and creating brands that are still strong today. Look through catalogues of that time and it is incredible the amount of new product that appeared year after year. Re-imagined retro can deliver both freshness and nostalgia. Get

the blend right and you have the potential for an exciting product. I’d love to see Big Track make a comeback but with a twist. This was one of the first coding toys letting kids program the moves of a robot truck in a similar way to Fisher-Price’s Code-a-Pillar. 3D action games like Fireball Island and Ghost Castle would be great to bring back with some new innovation. They provided experiences you don’t get digitally. As both parents and kids long for some quality time together away from screen, the Eighties toy treasure chest could hold the key to some really exciting brands that appeal to parents and, with the right innovation, kids as well. All I need now is a talking car that can drive itself. Oh, hold on a minute!

Speak Out Mom First it was Pie Face. Then we had Chewbacca Mom. Now it’s Speak Out Mom, the latest viral sensation to send consumers flocking to toy stores. Billy Langsworthy celebrates this spontaneous, organic means of casting a ‘must have’ toy or game

These videos are organic and personal, filmed by family and are often a little rough around the edges. But that’s all key to their success. Viewers can smell ‘constructed fun’ a mile off. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Billy Langsworthy is the editor of ToyNews and He likes Elvis Presley, the films of Woody Allen and lists of three.

12 October

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t’s happened again. Hasbro has once again struck gold when it comes to the subject of a toy or game becoming a viral sensation. First it was Pie Face in 2015, then lightning struck twice for Hasbro earlier this year thanks to Candace Payne - AKA Chewbacca Mom. Well, just as the noise around Chewbacca Mom started to calm down, enter Speak Out Mom. Hasbro’s Speak Out sees players say ridiculous statements while wearing a mouthpiece, with others having to decipher what they are saying. A video of Katie Pryor playing the game went online in September, and garnered close to 40 million views after only a few weeks. And it’s already having an effect on sales of the game here in the UK.

The game rocketed to the top of number one seller spot in’s Trivia and Quiz Games category, while a quick look online at Argos saw the game out of stock across the UK. It’s a tough ask to ‘create’ a viral hit. The Speak Out video happened organically, and so will the next one, but these sorts of online sensations are bringing consumers to toy aisles in their droves. There’s something refreshing about these success stories. They

aren’t award winners voted for by the industry, they haven’t enjoyed flashy launch events and they don’t rely on huge brands to go viral. The videos are organic and personal, often filmed by family members, posted to friends and family on social media and a little rough around the edges. But that’s all key to their success. Viewers can smell ‘constructed fun’ a mile off. Whether it’s someone getting hit in the face by whipped cream, getting the giggles while wearing a Chewbacca Mask or a cracking up during a game of Speak Out, these sorts of hits are great for the industry and proof that sometimes, just watching someone having fun with a product is the perfect sell.

23/09/2016 12:45


The magic of toys-to-life Jon Gibson, studio head of Gobo Brighton, is currently working with “a daring and ambitious partner” on a brand new toys-to-life concept. Here he takes a look at what the next wave of products in this exciting space needs to offer consumers

While the first generation of toys-to-life saw developers bringing physical toys to life in the digital world, future experiences will bring toys to life in the real world. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jon Gibson is studio head at Gobo Brighton. Studio Gobo offers deep specialisation in a wide range of platforms and creates games for console, VR, mobile, TV and basically everything it’s possible to play a game on.

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uper Star Wars on the SNES. I was 14 when my best friend and I headed into London with our hardearned paper-round cash to buy the most anticipated game of my life. I paid £90 for an advance import, but I wasn’t disappointed. When I got home I arranged my favourite Kenner Star Wars figures around the TV before popping in the cartridge and losing myself in 16-bit fun. Back then, my experience was enhanced by having the physical toy to hand while enjoying the digital experience. It increased my sense of immersion and somehow gave both the game and toys a greater meaning. So when I first saw Skylanders I immediately understood the appeal. And by the end of 2015, we were set for a successful future, with three big players dominating an exciting new sector that promised to change the way we played with toys and video games forever. Then earlier this year, everything stalled. Disney Infinity was cancelled, LEGO Dimensions seemed to be underperforming and Skylanders showed signs of waning popularity after posting disappointing sales figures and laying off developers associated with the product. So why are people losing interest in these products? It’s fatigue. The innovative offering of yesteryear simply hasn’t changed that much.

The term ‘toys-to-life’ was coined to describe the ‘bringing to life’ of physical toys in the digital world and it describes the experience perfectly. It’s a magical transition the first time you see it, but the novelty wears off pretty quickly. The first time I showed Disney Infinity to my seven year old niece, she loved it. For about five minutes. She quickly bored of playing the game and wanted to play with the toy. But unfortunately in all of these products the character needs to remain firmly placed in the base in order for the experience to work. Once the magic of teleporting your toy to the digital world is over, you’re basically just playing a video game. Wouldn’t it be much more magical if you could continue to interact and play with your toy throughout the game? If physical play was encouraged and rewarded rather than discouraged? It’s this notion of blending physical and digital play seamlessly that I feel is the key to future success for toys-to-life. Pokémon Go has shown us that blending fantasy and reality can be incredibly appealing. And not just with kids – as it’s clear that adults are responding well to these kind of experiences too. And technology is getting cheaper too. But what’s been holding us back isn’t the availability or affordability

of technology – it’s a lack of imagination and unwillingness to invest in these experimental and truly innovative experiences. But the landscape is changing fast. At Gobo we’re working on a very different toys-to-life product with a daring and ambitious partner, and I’m aware of other developers and toy manufacturers who are also set to make waves in this space. So my prediction for the sector? toys-to-life 1.0 is coming to an end. But the toys-to-life experience still has enduring appeal. Physical and digital integration can increase consumer engagement and immersion significantly. While the first generation of toys-to-life saw developers bringing physical toys to life in the digital world, future experiences will bring toys-to-life in the real world. Truly magical experiences where your actions in the physical world complement and enhance what’s going on in the digital. Technology can finally fill the gap formally filled by my imagination, all those years ago when I played Super Star Wars alongside my Kenner figures. To me, the future for toys-to-life seems very bright indeed, and I’m very lucky to be in a position where I can help define what that future looks like. It’s an exciting opportunity for us at Studio Gobo one that almost feels magical.

October 13

23/09/2016 12:45


July 2016 saw 250 industry colleagues, run, walk, cycle and jump themselves into the Toy Trust fundraising record books with the largest ever amount being raised for one event - The Big Cambridge Challenge. Following the fundraising success, the distribution of £230,000 has now started, with every children’s hospice in the United Kingdom being offered support. Each beneficiary has, or will, receive a personal visit and presentation and here is just a snap shot of what’s been given out so far

an TY Haf

A team from the Hasbro warehouse (pictured) took themselves to TY Hafan Children’s Hospice in South Wales, where £11,408 was presented for a mobile sensory unit and equipment.


In July, three hospices in Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust were awarded £5,000 each by Phil Ratcliffe of MV Sports for the purchase of waterbeds, toys and sensory equipment.

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A whole team from Brian House (part of the Trinity Hospice in Blackpool) was visited by Colin Houlihan of HTI where over £6,500 was presented for the purchase of a wide range of interactive toys and musical instruments.


Peter Brown from GP Flair visited the Tree House hospice in East Anglia where £11,500 was presented to them in order to create a safe multi-play playroom and equip it.

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Sensory equipment for the hydrotherapy pool at Shooting Star Chase in Guildford will be bought with the £10,000 presented to the hospice by Nick Austin and members of the Vivid team.

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John Harper, Simon Gardner, Alan Bennie and Nick Austin cycled 38 miles over the South Downs to deliver the cheque to Chestnut Tree hospice in Arundel Hospice. The money will go towards new toys and play therapy equipment.

Six down, 17 to go - here’s a snapshot of all the other hospices that will be given the gift of play this year. Thanks to everyone who took part in the Big Cambridge Challenge. Donna Louise, Stoke on Trent - Lighting and sensory equipment +++ Little Bridge in the South West – Sensory play and gaming equipment +++ Rachel House, Kinross - an iSwing and more +++ St Andrews, Grimsby- Water play and musical instruments +++ Claire House in the Wirral – Portable interactive flooring +++ NI Children’s Hospice – Play and craft equipment +++ Noah’s Ark, North London - Soft play and sensory equipment +++ Zoe’s Place Liverpool - Mobile magic carpet +++ Ellenor Hospice, Dartford - Sensory suitcases and pods +++ Julia’s House, Poole and Devizes – Almost 100 various toys +++ Haven House Essex - A whole list of special needs toys and equipment +++ Martin House Wetherby - Art supplies and an outdoor music garden +++ Rainbow Hospice, Loughborough – All weather surface and outdoor play equipment +++ Hope House, Oswestry - Lighting equipment and projectors +++ Naomi House Winchester – Recumbent trike and tricycles +++ Derian House, Chorley - A sensory suite and more +++ Demelza House, Kent - Interactive flooring and therapy toys 14 October

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23/09/2016 14:00


2017: The Big Cotswold Challenge The Toy Trust’s 25th anniversary offers up a year of challenge and celebrations!

A new year always brings with it a new challenge, but as an industry are we ready to take on the ups and downs of the Cotswolds? Stone cottages and pretty villages may be what the area is renowned for, but in 2017, it will represent something altogether more challenging. On Saturday, May 6th, 2017, Heythrop Park will be central

to the Big Cotswolds Challenge action, with plans afoot for a varied list of activities for all to take part in. Exciting news is the inclusion of a Tough Mudder event for those hard core athletes. The endeavours of the day will culminate in a party for 300 at the Heythrop Park Hotel; a not to be missed occasion for all.

Proposed challenge events for 2017 • The Cotswolds Tough Mudder (limited places) • 125 km Circular Cycle Ride • 80 km Circular Cycle Ride • 25 km Run and Walk • 10 km Family Jog and Walk

“2017 is a landmark year for our industry charity,” said Toy Trust chair, Foye Pascoe. “With 2017 being our 25th anniversary we have a whole year of exciting initiatives ahead of us, and the annual challenge will be our headline event. “It is our aim to have more industry colleagues than ever before involved and have set

ourselves a very challenging target of £250,000 to raise. We are hoping that adding in activities such as the Tough Mudder will attract even more people and make this target a very real possibility.” The cost of entry will be £110 per person and will include the evening party. To register, companies or individuals should email

New for 2017 The Tough Mudder! The Tough Mudder is a 10 to 12 km mud and obstacle course designed to drag even the toughest of us out of our comfort zones. It’s not about winners or clocks, it’s a personal challenge that relies on teamwork, camaraderie and accomplishing something to be proud of. It’s the perfect event for our 25th anniversary year.

Giving even more gifts of play for 2017! Once again all money raised will benefit charities under one banner of Giving the Gift of Play. This cause is at the very core of what the industry is about and there are so many ways that a child’s emotional and physical environment, especially when they are in crisis, can be enhanced by adding to their play experience. What better industry than our own to champion the cause. In 2016, 23 hospices directly benefitted from everyone’s generosity, and in 2017 we will be looking to make a difference to children in hospitals and in foster homes and care facilities. £250,000 is our aim and by pulling together we know we can do it.

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Want to be more inv olved with The Toy Trust?

For the 25th annivers ary year The Toy Trust comm ittee will be creating a tool kit of fundraising options that you or your company can be inv olved in. No matter how big or sm all every effort is appreciated Register to receive the . tool kit by emailing Matt@bth

October 15

23/09/2016 14:00



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21/09/2016 11:54


Print’s charming In a world of iPads, YouTube channels and streaming sites, print remains as important as ever in engaging young children in your toy brands. Robert Hutchins talks to Redan Publishing’s joint MD, Julie Jones, about print’s place in an ever-evolving consumer space


s a medium, what can children’s print offer toy companies? Magazine advertising compliments any marketing programme as high quality editorial can lend credibility and longevity to the campaign, strengthening its impact. Buying a magazine involves active decision making from children and their parents. Kids love the characters and see them as their friends, while parents perceive them as educational and a positive alternative to TV and screen-time activities. Promotions in magazines therefore carry silent editorial endorsement. It is also exceptional value for money, especially when you consider we have a fantastic, targeted reach with our Fun To Learn titles enjoying larger readerships than some children’s TV stations have viewers. How important is print within the children’s media spectrum? For the pre-school and primary sector, print media is as important as ever. Parents are mindful of how much screen time they allow their children, so magazines are looked at as a tried and trusted source of entertainment for their children. The covermount gifts give magazines the timeless appeal of a pocket money treat and children have unlimited time to enjoy the content and to share it. What opportunities does Redan have for toy companies? We have all of the standard advertising and PR options such as competitions, full page ads and inserts, but we also offer the chance to design posters, perforated activities and even to sponsor whole workbooks.

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We can review products on our YouTube channel and use digital scanning technology like QR codes to link through to online content. Which toy companies have you worked with in the last year and how did you shape each of the campaigns? The Sparkle World team has been working closely with DeAgostini over the past 18 months, pulling together a fantastic sampling programme that puts their range of Magiki collectables straight into the hands of their target audience. Timed to coincide with their TV advertising, covermounted issues include interactive activities inside to really engage readers in the Magiki worlds. We have also continued to design double page advertorials for Pinypon which include interactive activities and product giveaways to engage the readers. The launch of the Sparkle World YouTube channel has also

Radio and TV advertisements are generally either talked over or fast forwarded through, but if you have an interesting activity or advertorial slant to your print advertising, both children and parents will take time to get involved with it. Magazines have the longest lifespan of all media outlets. Children tend to collect and treasure their magazines and share them with friends and family,

The covermount gifts give magazines the timeless appeal of a pocket money treat and children have unlimited time to enjoy the content. Julie Jones, Redan Publishing given us a platform to review all the products and covermounts featured in the magazine for additional leverage.

so the advert is never thrown away. Plus, they will often go back to them so the advert has a much longer life.

What can print offer toy firms that radio and TV cannot?

How is Redan keeping up with the move to digital?

The main changes we are seeing is the blurring of lines between online and print media. We now have social media accounts, websites and channels for many of our titles, so advertisers are getting much more for their money. How can toy firms work with you guys in this respect? It’s really just working out what campaigns can benefit from an online push and making sure that all their social media accounts are linked into our activity. It’s not something that should be an extra layer of hassle or cost for our advertisers, we just see it as an added bonus of working with us. In a nutshell, what would you say to toy firms considering working with print? Given the right design treatment, print adverts can capture a child’s imagination and become an invaluable way to recruit readers and create a genuine buzz about desirable new toys. They can help to take a toy brand from product to IP by helping to build a back story and by association with more highly

October 17

23/09/2016 13:40

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Van with a plan Steeped in a 20 year history, Le Toy Van has become a staple of the UK and European toy market. Now on track for one of its biggest years to date, the firm’s sales manager, Steven Le Van, tells Robert Hutchins why the company is set for another successful Q4 and beyond


n Anglo-Franco firm with a booming preschool business straddling the European market, you’d think word of the Brexit would cast an ominous shadow over Le Toy Van. Despite the nation’s less than gracious bow out of the European Union earlier this summer however, the toddler toy specialist has only seen consumer confidence rise to new levels. It’s a concept that could be a proverbial finger up at the 48 per cent that lobbied to remain this June, but for just how long can the business continue to thrive in a market that is still uncertain over what the future holds? “We just hope the momentum continues,” Steven Le Van, sales manager at Le Toy Van, tells ToyNews. “The fourth quarter is always strong for Le Toy Van, and this year’s quarters one to three have been very good for us thanks to the launch of the new price point and toddler collections. “But there is a saying we have here at Le Toy Van: ‘Don’t weigh the pig before you have finished feeding it.” Granted, it’s an odd saying for a company that, as far as ToyNews is aware, has no direct link to the pork industry, but the sentiment translates all the same. Le Van has outlined that the company is still charging full steam ahead with its plans to make Christmas 2016 its biggest end of year to date, in almost a defiance to let the Brexit upset sink its teeth into the more than robust company. “We expect growth to come from a combination of increased sales from both new and retained business here and in new

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markets,” continues Le Van “We work very hard at supporting retailers with merchandising support and promotions. So it is all to play for in the run up to Christmas.” In what Le Van describes as a great year so far, 2016 has seen

This year’s quarters have been good for us thanks to the new toddler collections. Steven Le Van, Le Toy Van Le Toy Van embark on a number of expansions, the most notable of which being its move into the under three’s market with the launch of its Petilou line of solid wood toys. “Petilou was launched alongside our classic collections for children

aged three and upwards, which has been very strong for us all year long,” says Le Van. The result is that Le Toy Van has seen the business grow in numerous directions over the last year, and encouraged by the wave of success the firm has ridden, it will be exhibiting at Kind and Jugend in Cologne and Hong Kong for the first time in its history. “Our global presence is growing and that is very important to us,” explains Le Van. “So in support of that we will be exhibiting again at Hong Kong in January and of course in Nuremberg International Toy Fair as usual. “Despite the international growth, the UK is still our favourite market to operate within. Buyers in the UK are always hot on the in trends and are always looking for

the next big thing. Pre-school seems to be in very good health at the moment. End customers are always looking for that special gift and it so happens that Le Toy Van can fulfill that.” Honeybake role-play kitchen and play foods continue to be strong for the firm, a line fuelled – according to Le Van – by its stylish designs that appeal to a discerning contemporary market. “The new Petilou toddler collection is all now available plus new vehicle sets, new doll’s house accessories and new ark toys,” says Le Van. It seems then that Le Toy Van is a company well protected against the potential consequences of a Brexit, and with a domestic business running stronger than ever, perhaps Le Toy Van’s story is one of encouragement for the UK’s toy makers and sellers alike?

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23/09/2016 17:35

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19/09/2016 16:58




Toy IP and streaming services are a perfect fit, says MGA With a third season on the way, MGA Entertainment believes that working with powerhouses such as Netflix help to complement the firm’s extensive Project MC2 doll line, which boasts spy kits, a remote control car and more BY JADE BURKE


ince teaming up with Netflix for Project MC2, a TV show based on its STEAM-inspired doll line, MGA Entertainment’s marketing manager, Marian Davis, believes streaming services are the way forward for toy companies. Designed to encourage girls to take up STEAM subjects, the TV show has already launched two series, with a third on the way in the autumn on Netflix. “Working with streaming services definitely seems to be the way forward for the toy industry and it’s something brands are increasingly getting involved with,” Davis told ToyNews. “Online viewing is becoming a significant factor in children and

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tween entertainment and working with a brand like Netflix takes the content direct to our target audience, in their own home.” With a new fashion doll line spanning accessories, experiments, spy kits and a remote control car, Davis revealed that working with powerhouses, such as Netflix helps to complement the company’s line. “For Project MC2, we chose to launch the fashion doll and accessories product line at the same time as the show launched on Netflix. It was a dual partnership – the TV complements the product and vice versa,” explained Davis. “Both the product and the entertainment are vital elements of the brand and essential in building it and making it a success.”

As a partner, Davis revealed Netflix has also been proactive in the development of each season of the TV show, while the streaming service’s experience of working

Working with a company like Netflix offers a fantastic opportunity that just isn’t available anywhere else. Marian Davis, MGA Entertainment in the children’s entertainment sector has also benefitted the STEAM-inspired show. Davis commented: “The whole concept of the brand is about

getting the message out there that ‘smart is the new cool’ and that girls can be great scientists, engineers and whatever else they want to be. “We felt that Netflix was the perfect partner to get this message out and in the right way. We like to think that if orange is the new black, then smart is definitely the new cool.” With plans to launch a series of Lalaloopsy episodes this November on Netflix too, it seems MGA’s Netflix offering will continue to thrive. “Working with Netflix offers a fantastic opportunity that just isn’t available anywhere else. It gives us a great platform to stream content directly to our target consumer,” cited Davis. MGA: 0845 0533 333

October 21

23/09/2016 16:26

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22/09/2016 10:00


BTHA champions Star Wars strength for Toy Fair 2017 Trade body is confident that the UK can maintain its position as world’s second largest licensed toys market BY ROBERT HUTCHINS


tar Wars: Episode VIII, Despicable Me 3 and a new Cars sequel are predicted to be key drivers in the continued strength of the licensed toy sector for 2017. The BTHA has highlighted that it expects to see the licensed toy sector continue its run in driving UK toy sales through blockbuster movie tie-ins in the new year, further propelling a market that now represents nearly a third of all UK toy sales. With the UK positioned as the world’s second largest licensing market, the BTHA fully expects to see the likes of Star Wars, Shopkins and upcoming big

franchise sequels maintain the strength of the market with a major showing at next year’s London Toy Fair. “There is no doubt that Star Wars has been the biggest property of the year so far in both the US and the UK and with the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, it is likely the success of this property will continue,” Majen Immink, head of operations and sales for London Toy Fair, told ToyNews. “However in the UK we have also seen strong growth across many other categories. “Plush is up 17 per cent and games up 15 per cent, outperforming growth in playsets and action figures, which are

typically driven by the big movie releases.” Despite its predictions, the BTHA is quick to point out that the health of the licensed toy sector will not over shadow the more traditional lines, a sector in which 58,000 new products launched last year alone. “It’s a great reflection of the creativity in the industry to keep up with modern day families,” continued Immink. “Toy Fair is a great showcase of the diversity in our industry.” London Toy Fair 2017 will take place at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in Kensington, London from January 24th to January 26th, 2017.

Paw Patrol and Frozen hand Sambro its ‘best year to date’ And with Despicable Me 3 and LEGO Batman on the horizon, MD Nikki Samuels is confident of a even bigger 2017 BY ROBERT HUTCHINS Leading children’ properties including Paw Patrol, Frozen, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Tsum Tsum and Pokémon have helped Sambro to its ‘biggest year to date.’ The licensed toy and gift specialist has cited an ‘amazing growth’ within sales of its licensed bags category thanks to the continued demand for the Spin Master and Nickelodeon owned property, Paw Patrol. Meanwhile, the firm has high hopes for its Pokémon collection of bags following a summer of

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success for the property, driven in part by the recent Pokémon Go craze. “It is true that this has been our biggest year to date,” Nikki Samuels, managing director at Sambro, told ToyNews. “We have really enjoyed working with our licensors expanding the number of properties we work on such as Finding dory and Blaze and the Monster Machines.” While the likes of

Paw Patrol proves to be a vastly successful range for the firm, it is the 2013 runaway hit Frozen that continues to be one of Sambro’s most popular licences of the year so far. “Frozen continues to be one of our most popular licences and our refreshed 2016 products are great additions which will make great Christmas gifts for fans of Elsa and Ana,” continued Samuels. The last 12 months have seen Sambro

take a leap into new categories that includes the launch of a new soft lines division, headed by Laura Singer. And with a slate of new properties inspired by upcoming movie releases including Despicable Me 3, Cars 3, LEGO Batman, LEGO Ninjago, Miffy and more, Samuels is confident of a successful 2017 too. “We are reaching the end of 2016 bigger and better than ever before and we are really excited about showing retailers and licensors the amazing new products we have coming up,” he concluded.

October 23

23/09/2016 15:34


Anatomy of a blockbuster toy:

Pokémon: TCG Since debuting in Japan back in 1996, Pokémon: Trading Card Game has gone from strength to strength, conquering playgrounds and the digital space, and even starring in its own official World Championships. As the brand celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, Billy Langsworthy looks at why the pocket monsters have retained massive appeal


s a Nineties child, the playground craze that held me in the tightest grip was Pokémon cards. Whether it was going to see Pokémon: The Movie 2000 purely as a means of getting the promotional cards, or paying a friend £20 to get my hands on a shiny Ancient Mew card, it had me hook, line and sinker. And I wasn’t alone. Since launching alongside the Pokémon video games in Japan back in 1996, Pokémon: TCG has become one of the most iconic card games ever to grace the toy shelves. “The North American and European launch for Pokémon: TCG came a few years after its Japanese debut, but the popularity around all things Pokémon was still very much on the rise,” Mathieu Galante, Pokémon’s senior market development manager, Europe, tells ToyNews. “It definitely resonated with the younger audience, and it’s still remarkable to look back on the sheer volume of reports about trading becoming a playground phenomenon. “To date, more than 60 expansions have been published worldwide in nine languages and 74 countries. Not only that, but we recently publicised that 21.5 billion cards have been shipped since the game debuted in 1996.” 20 years on, Pokémon has numerous movies, TV shows and video games under its belt, but toys, and the card game in particular, have continued to soar in popularity.

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“The continued growth of TCG sales hasn’t plateaued; Esdevium reported a 75 per cent increase in sales in May 2016,” reveals Galante. “The game remains an evergreen part of our overall product range and a consistent proposition for retailers. This is the result of our continual endeavour to ensure that the TCG, and public awareness of it, never stagnates. “Over the past few months, we’ve seen the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online, the digital version of the game, appear on tablet devices; launched the 11th expansion in the XY Series, XY - Steam Siege; and seen

21.5 billion cards have been published since the game debuted in 1996. Mathieu Galante, The Pokémon Company an unprecedented number of viewers tune in to witness the World Championships held in San Francisco, California.” But playground crazes come and go, so why has Pokémon: TCG endured? The firm believes it all comes down to the design of the cards and constant innovations with regard to gameplay. Galante continues: “Quality of design is definitely a factor in the TCG’s appeal and longevity, as is the rigorous balancing that goes on behind the scenes.

“Creatures Inc, the game’s creator, is also not afraid to innovate with the rule set. “Just look at the inclusion of BREAK Evolution in 2015 or the announcement of Pokémon-GX at this year’s World Championships. Combine all these factors and you can see why there’s been such a widespread and sustained interest in the game.” Back when I poured £20 into the purchase of the Ancient Mew card, it was partly driven by the lure of a return on investment. The talk of the playground was that these cards would be worth a fair bit one day. Unfortunately, a quick look on eBay shows Ancient Mew cards going for as little as £2.49 (and, adding salt in the wounds, free post and packaging), but some cards have gone for as much as £4,000 at auction, so what makes a valuable Pokémon card? A limited production run? Outstanding gameplay skills? A signature by former EastEnders star Shane Ritchie? (That last one actually wiped my Snorlax card of any value, so lesson learned). “When the Creatures team create the cards, they take a lot of inspiration from the video games,” says Galante. “Rarity is based upon many factors depending on their value to an individual. Some players might be seeking specific Pokémon (just look at British rapper JME trading his platinum discs for Charizard cards), whereas others might be looking for gameplay mechanics to help

with their deck strategies. While we do create foil and full-art versions of some cards, and these are less commonly distributed, the TCG expansions are different in Japan, which makes defining which card is the ‘rarest’ problematic. I’m sure many of the game’s fans will have a very different opinion, though.” As well as the exposure secured through its 20th anniversary celebrations, brand awareness for Pokémon is likely at an all time high thanks to Pokémon Go, an app that uses your phone’s camera, GPS, Google Maps and augmented reality technology to bring the smash hit brand into the real world. When it first launched, it was installed on more devices than Candy Crush, LinkedIn, Tinder and Clash of Clans and initially boasted more daily active users than Spotify and Netflix. It also re-ignited talks between Hollywood studios for a live action Pokémon movie. With all signs pointing to year 20 being one to remember for Pokémon: Trading Card Game, the firm now hopes the momentum carries over into Christmas. “It has already been a standout year for us, and we’re hoping the market interest generated by all the 20th year activity will be sustained into Q4, especially with the launch of the Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon video games and upcoming releases for the TCG,” concludes Galante. And for those interested, I’m open to offers of £21 and above for the Ancient Mew card.

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“Toys is our key category” Bursting with a variety of pre-school properties, DHX Media is set to concentrate on its evergreen brands at BLE this year. Here, Tom Roe, commercial director at DHX Brands, chats to Jade Burke about a new Teletubbiesinspired fashion line and how In The Night Garden will be celebrating its tenth anniversary next year


hat can we expect to see from you guys at BLE 2016? The key focus for us is our pre-school portfolio. Teletubbies is obviously a major one for us. From a UK perspective we launched with toys at the very start of this year. Over the last couple of months, a lot of the other categories, including publishing, apps, apparel, and secondary toy have launched. Moving forward, the programme will continue its rollout into 2017, and whilst we are in a very healthy position in terms of numbers and quality of our licensing partners, there are still a few key gaps we are working with CPLG UK to fill. Outside of the UK, the Teletubbies rollout into Europe and beyond is the next phase. We are now on-air in numerous other territories including Holland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and North America. By the time we’re at BLE, toys will be in the market in most of those. Aside from that, In The Night Garden, our evergreen pre-school property, is celebrating its tenth anniversary next year. Our ticketed live events partner, Minor Entertainment, has just finished its seventh consecutive year of running In the Night Garden Live, which continues to enjoy year-on-year growth; publishing is solid, and we have recently renewed with Penguin for another four years; and the rest of the licensing programme is really top notch. Then we have, in collaboration with Ragdoll

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Productions, Twirlywoos. This property only launched last year and was a real runaway success straight out of the gate. How important are events like BLE to the company?

It’s also a major show-and-tell, so we get to see what the industry is up to. Everyone is there so you can usually get a very good sense of what is going on, and also what the general mood and buzz is across the industry.

We’re in a fortunate position where we have got three fantastic pre-school properties, all of which are doing well. Tom Roe, DHX Brands They’re hugely important. This and the Licensing Expo are our two big ones – it’s an absolute top priority for us. First and foremost, it’s about managing the current business – initiating and moving forward conversations and unveiling exciting new initiatives.

What has been your best performing property this year? Teletubbies has done extremely well for us, but we’re actually still in early days, in terms of launched categories and live territories. Twirlywoos is also doing well, and another of the best new preschool properties in the market. We’re in a fortunate position really where we have got three fantastic pre-school properties, all of which are doing well.

Are there any new properties you can shout about? At this stage, all I can really say is that we have several interesting properties from pre-school girls to boys’ action in the mix. By virtue of DHX Media’s position in the industry, we are in the fortunate position of being able to get a very early look at all sorts of exciting new content coming through. In terms of brand extension, we’re looking at new initiatives – next year is Teletubbies’ 20th anniversary, which gives us the opportunity to develop a fashionbased programme for teenagers and young adults. We’re delighted to be working with Poetic Gem, who is developing a broad range of retro adult apparel. What are the biggest challenges that the licensing industry currently face? Biggest challenges in the industry from our side, certainly with our current portfolio of brands, is just the dominance of a handful of properties, which we have had one or two so that’s great, but the bigger retailers are generally supporting fewer properties on a deeper scale. This is a good challenge though, because they force you to think creatively, to find bespoke solutions for specific individual retailers. How successful has the toy space been for DHX Media? With our current line-up of properties, the toy category is our most important category right now, and it’s great that all our key brands, including Twirlywoos and Teletubbies, have performed so strongly in this category. October 27

23/09/2016 16:09


Gettin’ Piggy with it eOne is heading to this year’s BLE with its ‘strongest slate of pre-school properties to date’. Robert Hutchins talks to Andrew Carley, head of global licensing, about the power of Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and more


ow has 2016 been for eOne? Is this your biggest year to date? It’s been a very exciting year with broadcast launching around the world for our new preschool property PJ Masks. Ratings for the show have been fantastic. We have been busy planning the consumer products roll out and generating interest for the brand among the licensing trade. What can we expect to see from you at this year’s BLE and what are your hero properties for next year? We will be showcasing our strongest slate of pre-school properties to date at BLE with Peppa Pig, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom and new pre-school superhero property, PJ Masks. We are now focusing on key growth opportunities in emerging markets such as China, Russia and India where Peppa is rapidly accumulating a fanbase and licensing is starting to take off. For Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, we are expanding the

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international reach of the property by launching merchandise in countries where the show has strong broadcast ratings. These include Brazil and France. We are very excited about PJ Masks, too. Licensees and retailers have been incredibly enthusiastic about the TV show. How important is the toy market to you guys? Toys are the backbone of all our pre-school properties and the importance of this category to the overall licensing programme is key to its success at retail. We understand the strong attachment fans have to our shows, and by offering toys that are refreshed on a regular basis, this connection is constantly being strengthened. For Peppa Pig in 2017, Character Options has a core range that has strong listings and national TV advertising support. We are introducing a new line of London themed Peppa Pig products, including toys, inspired by one of the new episodes set in London.

We are also gearing up for the retail launch of PJ Masks toys, heading to mass market across Europe next year.

Toys are the backbone of all our pre-school properties. Andrew Carley, eOne Just Play is signed as the master global toy partner and has launched a toy line in the US. Where do you see the next big growth coming from in the

licensing industry and where would you like to see eOne move into in the coming years? Growth in the licensing industry will come from emerging markets such as India and China. A key focus for us in the coming years is experiential activity for our brands and seeking blue chip promotions to raise the profile of our properties. So what’s next for you guys moving into 2017? We will be introducing PJ Masks to our European partners at BLE for the first time, and are looking to sign new partners to complement our core toy programme. We are also continuing to launch Peppa Pig into new markets like Korea and India and growing the brand’s footprint. And what would you like to achieve by the end of 2016? We’d like to see a successful launch for PJ Masks’ licensing programme in the US and ongoing success for Peppa Pig in multiple territories around the world.

23/09/2016 16:32

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Toon army With a line-up of heavy hitters including Adventure Time, The Powerpuff Girls and all new Ben 10 readying to hit the shelves next year, Cartoon Network is a powerhouse going from strength to strength. Robert Hutchins talks to VP EMEA, Johanne Broadfield


hile Buttercup, Blossom and Bubbles may sound like the cast of a Priscella Queen of the Desert remake, the trio is far from dragging its heels within the licensing space this year. The heroes of Cartoon Network’s ever-popular The Powerpuff Girls, the formidable three have already made a big impact on the industry and helping the firm to what it describes as a ‘tremendous 2016’ on the way. And it’s little wonder. This was, after all, the year earmarked by Cartoon Network Enterprises as that in which audiences across the world would become re-acquainted with some of the studio’s bestloved properties of yester-year. And that doesn’t stop at the highly anticipated re-launch of a new-look The Powerpuff Girls animated series, but the upcoming re-introduction of the hit boys’ property, Ben 10, too. “It’s been a tremendous year for us,” Johanne Broadfield, VP EMEA at Cartoon Network Enterprises, told ToyNews. “Both franchises have significant licensing potential and 2016 has been a busy year securing the consumer product launches.”

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By the end of the year, The Powerpuff Girls will have what Cartoon Network describes as a ‘solid roll-out strategy’ in place, ahead of the launch of Spin Master’s toy range in early 2017. The line will be supported with a roll out across the fashion and accessories sectors as well as gifting, homewares, publishing and back to school categories.

Meanwhile, Cartoon Network is expecting a similar fanfare for the arrival of Ben 10 and a toy range that is expected to deliver big things when it lands in Q3 of 2017. “Playmates’ Ben 10 range is outstanding and we’re anticipating it making a very big bang in the toy space,” says Broadfield. “Playmates has utilised new tech and tools to create a ‘world of’ Ben

Live events is an exciting area of growth for us. It’s important to develop opportunities that offer ‘fandom’ connection. Johanne Broadfield, Cartoon Network “Spin Master’s The Powerpuff Girls toy launch will bring genuine newness to the girls’ toy aisle,” continues Broadfield. “For example, one of the hero products allows kids to recreate their favourite scenes from the show and make up their very own stories to play out. “I am certain we will see this product range in the social space too, as girls share their stories.”

10 line that covers all price points and we’ll be working with retailers on some fun activations for their customers to support the launch.” Cartoon Network is also currently working on a host of dedicated content, allowing the firm to deliver a “high-impact multi-platform launch” that will be “hard to miss” by fans. But while Ben 10 and The Powerpuff Girls may be the focal

point at this year’s upcoming BLE, fans of the studio’s staple properties such as Adventure Time have not been left feeling the cold. In fact, the team will continue to drive the hit animated series with a run of big programmes having launched earlier this year, including a step into the world of toys-to-life with LEGO Dimensions and a boys’ fashion range courtesy of Zara. The property has even made the move into the world of consumer experience with the upcoming launch of an Adventure Time VR headset inspired by Jake the Dog. On top of this, Cartoon Network has partnered with Dubai’s IMG Worlds of Adventure to open a Cartoon Network Zone. “This is a milestone development for us,” enthuses Broadfield. “It offers visitors a fan experience across our major franchises with rides, a 5D cinema, branded restaurants and shops. “Live events and fan experiences is an exciting area of growth for us, too. We believe it’s important to develop opportunities that offer ‘fandom’ connection.” So who knows, perhaps we are set to see Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles grace the stage in a captivating show stopping number. We can but dream.

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Winter is coming HBO has been ramping up its activity in the toys and games space of late, with everything from Game of Thrones Cluedo to a John Oliver Funko figure. Josh Goodstadt, vice president, global licensing and retail at HBO, tells Jade Burke why consumer products is vital when it comes to the studio engaging with its vast fanbase


hat has this year been like for you guys so far? This year has been huge for Game of Thrones. The show continues to grow and break HBO viewership records each season, and we are doing our best to keep up with fans’ demands for products across a wide variety of categories. The show is just as popular outside of the US, so we have been actively signing new deals with partners like Agosin Licensing in Latin America, and Black White Orange in India to make sure that fans all over the world are able to make Game of Thrones a part of their everyday lives. Will you be attending BLE this year? If so, what can we expect to see from you guys? We won’t have an official HBO presence at BLE, but our team will be stationed at the Bradford booth taking meetings with current and prospective licensees. We look forward to scoping out the latest trends in licensing and having an opportunity to connect with our many partners.

How important are events like these to the company? Events like BLE are extremely important. We see many of our licensees throughout the year at Comic Con

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and Toy Fair, but BLE gives us a unique opportunity to meet with so many of our licensing partners, both current and prospective, at one time. HBO Global Licensing recently teamed up with Winning Moves to develop a Game of Thrones Cluedo. Can you tell me a bit more about this deal?

It’s vitally important to give the fans a way to express their love for a show, even when it’s not airing new episodes. Josh Goodstadt, HBO Game of Thrones Cluedo actually came out of a deal with USAopoly and Hasbro in the US, where we know the game as Clue. USAopoly developed and released Game of Thrones Monopoly and Game of Thrones Risk last year, and both of those games were also released internationally by Winning Moves. Risk and Monopoly were both received very enthusiastically by

fans and press, so when USAopoly came to us with the idea of developing Clue we didn’t hesitate to jump onboard. Clue is already available in the US. Cluedo was released in Australia in September and in the UK in October, and will become available in Spain, Italy, Germany, South Africa and France. What has been your best performing property this year? Game of Thrones continues to be a juggernaut for our licensing programme, but we have made strides in developing product for several other shows this year as well. We have some exciting things in the works for Silicon Valley. How important is licensing to your range of properties? Our licensing business serves as a way to keep fans engaged with their favourite shows outside of the screen. Especially with a show like Game of Thrones that has a massive international fan

base, it’s vitally important to give the fans a way to express their love for the show, even when it’s not airing new episodes. What do you have planned for the company this year? We’ve added two new licensing partners this year, Agosin Licensing in Latin America and Black White Orange in India, so we look forward to working with them and our existing partners to continue growing our business with an eye on international expansion. Our goal is to make a range of Game of Thrones products available wherever people watch the show, and to leverage the show’s popularity to introduce fans to some of our other properties as well.

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19/09/2016 16:53


Going Rogue With two Star Wars films in two years, Disney is spoiling us. Yes, Rogue One: A Star Wars story is just around the corner, and following the success of The Force Awakens in the toy space, hopes are high for this new adventure, set just before the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Billy Langsworthy checks out the new droids, playsets and heroic action figures hitting shelves for Rogue One, the first ever stand-alone Star Wars Anthology film

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One to watch

Following the success of The Force Awakens is never going to be easy, but Disney is confident that Rogue One has the potential be another smash hit in the toy space. Mike Stagg, SVP and general manager, retail, Disney UK and Ireland, tells Billy Langsworthy why the new release is set to grow the market for Star Wars Why should toy stores be excited about Rogue One toys? With the launch of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in cinemas from December 16th, and a fantastic line up of new Rogue One and Star Wars toys launching from September 30th, it’s a very exciting time for this franchise. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first of the Star Wars standalone films and details a key event in the Star Wars timeline, when a group of unlikely heroes are on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star. It’s an all-new epic adventure which introduces rich new characters, vehicles and locations that perfectly lend themselves to strong, fun and innovative toys. For example, Jyn Erso who is part of the Rebel Alliance; Director Orson Krennic of the Imperial military who’s obsessed with the completion of the long delayed Death Star project; the U-wing Starfighter, a well-armed swing-wing vessel used by the Rebel Alliance and Jedha, a small desert moon once important to the Jedi Order but now occupied by the Empire. Plus, every Star Wars has a hero droid and this movie is no exception with the introduction of K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial security droid now loyal to the Alliance. We’ve been working closely with our licensees to create a broad product range and we’re supporting this with significant media in the run up to the movie launch. What stands out in the Rogue One range for you? It’s hard to single out just a few items but I’m a big fan of the 20” K-2SO action figure from Jakks and I’m keen to have the Deluxe Figurine Set from Disney Store as they’ll look great in my office. There’s also a lot of excitement around Propel’s Star Wars battle

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quads, which are beautifully detailed and innovative – right through to their display case. Do you think the range can match the success of last year’s The Force Awakens line? The success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was unprecedented. It is the highest grossing film of all time in the UK and Ireland and for toys specifically, it’s the biggest brand the market has ever seen, being number one in NPD by a considerable margin. With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we are confident that we can continue to grow the market even further, with this new line of toys sitting alongside new Saga and Force Awakens product.

We are seeing great sales for kids as well as adults, demonstrating the generational connectivity of the franchise.

Rogue One lends itself to strong, fun and innovative toys. Mike Stagg, Disney

What other categories is Rogue One set to have a presence in? We also have Rogue One product across stationery, greeting cards, publishing and apparel, with more product categories launching through the rest of this year and into 2017. How has Star Wars as a total brand performed in the toy space this year? The Star Wars brand has performed phenomenally well, consistently topping the NPD charts and growing the market significantly. Away from toys, what other categories have proved popular for Star Wars this year? Star Wars performs incredibly well across multiple product categories including homeware, apparel, accessories, footwear, stationary, food, publishing and collectables.

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LEGO LEGO is launching a raft of Rogue One sets at the end of this month, bringing consumers a collection of buildable figures, play-sets and much more. The villain of Rogue One, Director Krennic, gets the LEGO treatment in the Krennic’s Imperial Shuttle set. Fans can put him into the pilot seat, open out the thick-armour plating and position the Death Troopers. Kids can then lower the ramp and check the blasters are secured, then arm the springloaded shooters and seal the hull for take-off. Raise the landing skids, lower the wings for flight mode and set off on another dangerous mission. The set includes five minifigures: Pao, Director Krennic, Bohdi Rook, Imperial Death Trooper and K-2SO. Elsewhere, the Rebel U-Wing Fighter allows consumers to keep

a lookout for enemies with the transport window or defend the heroes of Rogue One by firing the front spring-loaded shooters and stud shooters mounted in the side doors. The set comes with minifigures of U-Wing Pilot, Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, Rebel Trooper and Bistan. Elsewhere, the Imperial Assault Hovertank set gives fans the chance to help Chirrut battle the tough urban patrol vehicle as it sweeps the streets, fans can go on the hunt for Baze and the Rebel

Trooper with the AT-ST Walker set, while LEGO’s TIE Striker set comes with minifigures including TIE Pilot, Imperial Ground Crew and Imperial Shoretrooper, as well as Rebel Trooper. LEGO is also launching a line of buildable Rogue One figures

starring characters including Sergeant Jyn Erso, K-2SO and an Imperial Death Trooper. The new LEGO Star Wars collection will be available nationwide at all retailers from September 30th 2016. 01753 495 000

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Sphero’s latest creation allows consumers to feel the Force with its brand new Force Band device. Designed with an authentic Star Wars look and feel, the Force Band fastens to the wrist and allows users to enhance their native Force powers. Like a Jedi Knight, Force Band users can control Sphero’s BB-8 AppEnabled Droid with a wave of the hand. Budding Jedi can learn to control their Droid by mastering moves like

Paul Berberian, CEO, Sphero Why should fans be excited about the new Star Wars products? Because kids will be able to use the Force in the real world and do the things that they only dreamed of.

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Force push and pull. After they’ve advanced beyond Droid Control, fans can expand their abilities as BB-8 guides you through Force Training. Star Wars fans can also use the Sphero’s Force Band by itself to complete Combat Training for Blasters, Lightsabers, and the Force itself, or collect digital holocrons in your environment with Force Awareness. Elsewhere, the robotics firm is also launching a new version of its BB-8 in

the form of the Battle-Worn BB-8 AppEnabled Droid. Straight from the sands of Jakku, the new version of the already-iconic Astromech Droid reflects the wear and tear of trekking across the galaxy on Resistance missions. The Force Band is compatible with the original BB-8 App-Enabled Droid by Sphero and other Sphero robots powered by Bluetooth SMART.

Do you think Force Band will rival the sales of Sphero’s BB-8 toy? They will be strong performers, but nothing can redo that magic.

The Force Awakens of course!

What’s your most favourite Star Wars movie?

Favourite Star Wars character? I really like Finn, I think he’s funny.

Dark Side or Light Side? Light Side.

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MV SPORTS MV Sports is unleashing the force with a new collection of Star Wars Stormtrooper wheeled toys and accessories for children. The new range refreshes the firm’s hugely popular range launched in 2015 and acts to provide a consistent offer between The Force Awakens and Rogue One film releases. The edgy black and white Stormtrooper design celebrates a bold rendering of the Star Wars franchise and MV believes it’s ideal for the ‘cool older boy’ demographic. The range includes a 16-inch bike with wheel discs, printed chain guard and crash pad, as well as matching safety and ramp helmets. A folding in-line scooter, skateboard and cruiser board

complete the core range, as well as a new fast pedal go kart with Stormtrooper shaped fairing. The selection provides a full range offering for retailers, as well as new designs with more products in the pipeline too. 0121 748 8000

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Will these be big sellers for you guys this year? Yes, they should be based on sales year to date of our existing Star Wars ranges. For example, one of our Star Wars products was awarded ‘Outdoor Toy Of The Year’ by our biggest customer. Dark Side or Light Side? We have veered off to the Dark Side a little, which is appropriate for our category. Favourite Star Wars movie? The Empire Strikes Back is my favourite. No messing. What’s your favourite Star Wars character? Boba Fett. Definitely not Jar Jar Binks


Star Wars has one of the greatest fan bases going. Young or old, when you see Darth Vadar or hear that VWING of a Lightsaber you get excited. The force is strong with this line; we are expecting great things.

Will these be big sellers for you guys this year?

linked to a particular movie or series, providing much needed on shelf continuity for all of our customers.

Why should we be excited about the new wave of Star Wars products from you guys? We have gone for a more edgy iconic design, which appeals to older boys, influenced by popular themes in BMX, stunting and boarding. The range is not

Robert Ling, Marketing Executive, Pyramid International

Why should we be excited about the new wave of Star Wars products from you guys this year? Who is not excited about anything new with Star Wars? Our latest range is incredible. The wall art pieces, stationery and mugs, in particular, look fantastic. Who does not want an Empire mug?

Phil Ratcliffe, Sales and Marketing Director, MV Sports

Dark Side or Light Side? Dark Side – they just seem cooler. Favourite Star Wars movie? Return of the Jedi - that final scene with Luke fighting Vader is just unreal. The Force Awakens is a close second. Favourite Star Wars character? Darth Vader. From the iconic breathing to his quotable oneliners. The original and the best.

Pyramid International’s new Rogue One product range includes wall art, mugs, wristbands, posters, stickers, notebooks and more. The range gives prominence to characters such as new droid K-2SO, the Death Troopers and heroine Jyn Erso. Earlier this year, the firm’s range of premium Star Wars stationery products was shortlisted for a licensing award, and the company has continued this standard of quality with their range for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The collection was exhibited for the first time at this year’s Autumn Fair after months of anticipation. New products and images will be released throughout the year right up to and beyond the film’s release, providing lots of opportunities for retailers to keep their offer fresh for their customers.

The firm also states that it has seen incredible retail interest already from buyers in all areas over the past few months, with interest still present for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and classic Star Wars lines. 0116 264 2655

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Star Wars fans can pick their allegiance and enter the battle for the Death Star plans with Paladone’s Rogue One Battle Light. The green and black desktop light boasts four new ship designs from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. When the light is switched on, the mini spaceships will continually float within the lamp, appearing to do battle in space, offering a great new twist on the classic lava lamp. The 40cm light is mains powered, and comes with a standard British plug and power lead. 01273 230 037

year’s Christmas sales so we’ve got no doubt there will be a repeat performance with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Dark Side or Light Side? I’m probably on the Dark Side, but with an early retirement, now found propping up the bar in The Cantina. Why should we be excited about the new wave of Star Wars products from you? The new style-guide from Disney is incredibly exciting – a huge departure from previous films. The new Death Trooper plays a huge part in our range, and our product developers have really worked to bring the core colour of green to life, using neon, colour change and LED elements.

Favourite Star Wars movie? Return Of The Jedi – the Ewoks are everything in that film. Favourite Star Wars character? I love Christopher Lee as Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones, but I think my favourite character has to be R2-D2. I hugged him once at a Comic Con. It remains the greatest day of my life.

Will these be big sellers for you guys this year? The Force Awakens accounted for a huge percentage of last


Iain Morgan, CEO, Bladez Toyz Do you think the lines will be up there with your best sellers of 2016, come the end of the year? Absolutely. With the release of Rogue One, our classic Darth Vader, Yoda and R2-D2 RC inflatables are the top of everyone’s Christmas lists.

Why should fans be excited about the Star Wars products from Bladez Toyz? Fans should be excited because 2016 has been our first full year of being recognised by retailers, after winning several awards for our Star Wars range. Online retailer reviews of the RC inflatables are all five star and above; recommending the products highly.

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What’s your favourite Star Wars movie? The original. It was released the year I was born. Dark Side or Light Side? Dark Side, definitely. Favourite Star Wars character? Darth Vader, because he’s double ‘ard.

Since the launch of Bladez Toyz in 2007, the firm’s product catalogue has grown substantially and now includes a portfolio of over 15 major licences, including Star Wars.

The RC Inflatable selection of Bladez’s Star Wars offering includes everyone’s R2-D2, BB-8, Yoda, and Darth Vader. Following the Rogue One trailer, everyone’s talking about the glimpse of Darth Vader that was teased. In anticipation for the movie, Bladez will be providing special offers across all Star Wars RC Inflatables throughout October and November. As well as a strong retailer and customer service support service and free-of-charge demonstration units, Bladez can also provide TV advert-quality videos for use on retailer websites, or in store.

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HASBRO Hasbro has a treasure trove of Star Wars toys available this Christmas, including the new app-controlled R2-D2, fresh figures for Rogue One, as well as a raft of products inspired by characters from throughout the franchise. The firm’s line of Star Wars 3.75” Figures includes the likes of Sergeant Jyn Erso, K-2S0, Kanan Jarrus, Rebel Commando Pao, Imperial Stormtrooper and Sabine Wren, while the Black Series six-inch Figures boast ‘exquisite features and articulated movement’. The Star Wars Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper Figure comes with over 65 different sound effects and phrases, and uses a motion sensor to respond to specific movements. Stormtrooper fans can equip the figure with the included blaster accessory to hear battle sound effects, or have the figure engage in hand to hand combat for punching sounds. The figure can also don a jetpack to initiate flight mode and trigger sounds based on different motion-activated manoeuvres.

Elsewhere, Hasbro’s Rogue One Rebel U-Wing Fighter allows consumers to rocket into battle against the Empire with a set that comes with Captain Cassian Andor, the accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer with extensive combat field experience. True to the Rebel U-Wing’s architecture, the Fighter features swinging wings that retracts, both for flight and battle action attack and Nerf firing cannons that shoot two projectiles. Elsewhere, the firm’s Smart R2-D2 comes with app-controlled movement in all directions, and fans can use the Smart R2-D2 app to send the droid on missions. The Smart R2-D2 also plays and dances to music and makes authentic droid sounds. Sticking with droids, the Star Wars Rip N Go BB-8 gives consumers the chance to launch the iconic character into battle alongside the Resistance. Fans can set BB-8 down on a flat surface, pull the ripcord and watch BB-8 take off, and when it zooms into action, the droid makes a series of unique sound effects.

Budding Jedi and villainous Sith can do battle with Hasbro’s Star Wars BladeBuilders Blast-Tech Lightsaber. Featuring an electronic blade, a blaster barrel, and two firing missiles, the Bladebuilders Blast-Tech Lightsaber allows Star Wars fans to refine battle techniques with just a flick of the wrist. Also in the BladeBuilders range is the Spin Action Lightsaber. Consumers can defend from every angle with the 360-degree spinning connector lightsaber hilt that sets this Bladebuilders lightsaber apart from other. 020 8569 1234

JAKKS PACIFIC Straight out of the new Rogue One film is a fresh assortment of Jakks’ 20” Big Figs. Assortment one features Jyn Erso, Death Trooper, Stormtrooper, and K-2SO. Jakks’ Big-Figs 20” K-2S0 features eight points of articulation for fully possible action and is carefully detailed to bring the droid to life. Elsewhere, the 18” Death Trooper is encased in specialised Stormtrooper armour with a dark, ominous gleam, features seven points of articulation and

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includes two blaster accessories to eliminate those who stand in the way of the Empire. The hero of Rogue One, Jyn Erso, gets her own 18” Big Figs which features seven points of articulation for fully poseable action and includes her unique blaster that she uses to combat the Empire. Finally, the Jakks Big Figs 18” Imperial Stormtrooper comes with seven points of articulation and also arrives equipped with a blaster to defend the nefarious Empire.

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Amy Pearson, Marketing Director, Disney Store

Why should we be excited about Disney Store’s new wave of Rogue One products? Disney Store’s Rogue One product line celebrates a new cast of characters, and we’re proud of what we’ve created. All the key characters, vehicles and droids are brought to life via our strong range of toys, Disney Store exclusives, collectables, as well as great licensed product

across apparel, accessories and home categories. There’s something so universal about Star Wars as its fans come from every age group, gender and demographic – and we’ve made sure the collection caters to all their needs. From the Elite Series die-cast figures of Sergeant Jyn Erso, K-2SO and Captain Cassian Andor, to the Death Trooper mask, dress-up and apparel, there’s something for everyone. Looking at the wider picture, will these be some of Disney Store’s bestselling lines come the end of the year? There’s huge excitement around Rogue One and fans have already

shown great interest in our product range. This has been demonstrated through a high volume of pre-orders ahead of September 30th, with the Death Trooper mask and the Sergeant Jyn Erso die-cast figure proving some of the most popular. The line showcases the quality and innovation you’d expect from Disney Store and LucasFilm and we are excited to see how these products do, especially in the run up to Christmas. The focus this year is on not just introducing the new characters from Rogue One, but also continuing to offer new products around Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars classic characters.

Dark Side or Light Side? Definitely Light Side. Good always wins over evil Favourite Star Wars movie? Return of the Jedi. It’s my favourite as it reminds me of being a kid. I have great childhood memories of watching this when I was younger with my brother. We were obsessed with Jabba the Hutt and the Ewoks. A close second would be working at Disney Store during the buzz of launching Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Favourite Star Wars character? Leia. I wanted to be her when I was younger. She’s a great role model – brave, strong and feisty.

DISNEY STORE The Disney Store boasts an expansive slate of Rogue One toys, which are available now for fans of the franchise to snap up. The retailer’s Rogue One Death Trooper Voice Changer Mask allows fans to transform into a Death Trooper. It lights up and has a voice changer element, so they’ll sound just like one of the Empire’s elite intelligence soldiers. Elsewhere, Disney Store’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Deluxe Figurine Set allows consumers to recreate the secret rebel mission from the film at home. It features ten characters from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, including the likes of Jyn Erso and her crew, Darth Vader and Orson Krennic. There is a also a line of Rogue One Elite Series Die Cast 6.5-inch Figures of characters from the film, including the reprogrammed imperial enforcer droid K-2S0, Sergeant Jyn Erso, Baze Malbus, C2-B5 and Captain Cassian Andor. The Disney Store’s line also includes character costumes, playsets apparel and stationery, as well as Rogue One lines from the likes of Funko and LEGO. 020 8222 1000

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Parents spend more on pre-school girls than boys, reveals Childwise study “This raises questions about whether pre-school parents might be reinforcing gender divisions with their spending behaviour,” said Childwise research manager, Jenny Ehren, following the results of its study BY BILLY LANGSWORTHY


arents of pre-schoolers spend an average of around £117 per month on daughters compared to just £101 on boys, according to new data from the Childwise Monitor Pre-school Report 2016. “Our new survey of more than a thousand 0 to four year olds shows that parents are likely to spend noticeably more on their daughters in all but two of the nine categories,” said Childwise research manager, Jenny Ehren. “This raises questions about whether pre-school parents might be reinforcing gender divisions with their spending behaviour.” The Pre-school report also revealed that branded toys are growing in popularity as children get older. Pretend play items were mentioned by a number of parents, with traditional gender stereotypes appearing particularly prominent here, with toy kitchens, tea sets, shopping trolleys and tills favoured by girls, and toy gardening sets and DIY kits favoured by boys. “The pre-school market is unique, with spending mainly in the hands of parents, but a growing sense of children’s own

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preferences and interests,” commented Ehren. “Future brand loyalties and behaviour patterns first take shape at this age. A great deal of how children initially learn about the world is rooted in play – they pick up gender clues all around them, some subtle, and some not so subtle. The challenge for parents

By age three to four, most pre-schoolers have become self-sufficient on a tablet. Jenny Ehren, Childwise

is to avoid inadvertently perpetuating these gender divisions themselves.” Elsewhere, the report also found that most

children can use touch-screen technology, by the age of three. The latest figures show that the majority of three to four year olds can open apps they want to use, adjust volume controls, turn their device on and off, take photos on their device and navigate through different apps they are using. “This reflects the recent surge in tablet ownership and growing access to on-demand services and digital content among this age group,” added Ehren. Data showed that the number of pre-schoolers with their own tablet continued to grow steadily this year. Now one in three under-fives has their own tablet device, rising to nearly half among three to four year olds. “By age three to four, most pre-schoolers have become self-sufficient on a tablet or portable device of some kind, and a significant minority are becoming independent players when accessing apps, games and downloadable content” said Ehren. “We’re seeing personal ownership of tablets continue to grow among pre-schoolers, and this has resulted in far fewer under fives asking their parents if they can use their mobile phones.”

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Future’s bright for In The Night Garden toys, says DHX Thanks to a stellar toy line from Golden Bear, DHX Media is set to celebrate the pre-school show’s tenth anniversary next year with the launch of a brand new baby range to appeal to its younger audience BY JADE BURKE


ince renewing its master toy license for DHX Media’s pre-school property, In The Night Garden, Golden Bear’s toy line has proven to be a real success for the brand, with DHX hailing it ‘superb’. Spanning a range of plush toys, including My Best Friend Igglepiggle, along with other items including The Musical Activity Pinky Ponk, Igglepiggle’s Bedtime Boat and more, DHX has revealed that the firm has witnessed ‘phenomenal success’ for the hit pre-school property. “In the Night Garden is perennially popular among young

viewers and Golden Bear has done an excellent job in managing and growing the brand,” explained Tom Roe, commercial director at DHX Brands. “We have had phenomenal success on this property – Golden Bear’s superb toy line is now consistently in NPD’s best– performing pre-school brands.” Next year also marks In The Night Garden’s tenth anniversary, which will see DHX Media unveil a new baby line inspired by the property, which is set to launch in spring next year. Roe cited: “With it being the tenth anniversary of In The Night Garden next year, we will be launching the In The Night Garden

Baby brand. Plus, given its young age appeal, this is a very natural brand extension.” Thanks to the growing popularity of the animated pre-school show, Golden Bear’s product line has also been named the number four bestperforming pre-school property according to the latest NPD data, and has since reported

a seven per cent increase yearon-year. “We anticipate further growth for this much loved brand as In the Night Garden approaches its 10-year anniversary in 2017,” explained Roe.

01952 608 308

Spielwarenmesse 2017 to boast new babies and infants area In November, Spielwarenmesse will call for exhibitors to display their products for babies and infants, spanning baby toys, baby textile, travel systems and more, in the Special Area free of charge BY BILLY LANGSWORTHY Next year’s Spielwarenmesse is set to feature an extensive selection of products for babies and infants, as it plans to expand its offering for guests. Taking place in Nuremberg from February 1st to 6th 2017, the show’s new space will give buyers access to the wide range of infant and babies products in the passageway between Halls Two, Three and Four. The new area focuses on articles for babies and infants in sectors spanning baby toys, baby

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textile, travel systems, food and care, home and safety, as well as licensed products. Sabine Liebscher, senior project manager at Spielwarenmesse eG, explained: “Our aim is to show visitors the full range of items for babies and toddlers on display here in Nuremberg.” In November, Spielwarenmesse will call for exhibitors to display their products for babies and infants in the Special Area free of charge. The organiser reserves the right to make the final selection to ensure that all sub-groups are sufficiently represented.

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The Force Awakens success will be hard to mimic, says Firebox Star Wars remains one of the online retailer’s leading properties, but the firm is unsure on Rogue One’s prospects BY ROBERT HUTCHINS


he success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens rode in on a perfect storm that Rogue One may find difficult to repeat, according to the online retailer Firebox. The unique gift and gadget vendor has stepped out as one of the first big name retailers to go against the grain in its attitude towards sales of products related to this year’s upcoming Star Wars release. “I think it’s going to be a real uphill struggle to recapture the kind of hype that surrounded Force Friday 2015, so we’re not anticipating a repeat of the kind

of sales numbers that Star Wars products achieved this time last year,” said Ben Redhead, head of buying at “Star Wars has always been an evergreen licence for us and is without question the most loved licence among our customer base, so we’d still expect to see plenty of Star Wars products towards the top of our Christmas sales charts, but I think most retailers will realise that last year was a perfect storm that’s unlikely to be repeated on quite the same scale.” While the retailer believes it will still see a relative success with the Star Wars property this season, December’s Rogue One: A Star

Wars Story is one of only a handful of blockbuster titles backed by the retailer this year. The store has instead opted to place a greater focus on TV tie-in lines such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. “The forthcoming release of Rogue One aside, we have not particularly supported any new movies in 2016 with product launches, which may say something about the quality of movie releases so far this year,” continued Redhead. “We have actually seen TV series like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead perform better than a lot of licensed film merchandise

so far in 2016 and that’s something we can expect to carry through into the Christmas period.” All in all, Firebox remains confident of a successful Christmas period. “Christmas 2016 is shaping up really well for Firebox,” continued Redhead. “As well as some really strong products that have already made their way onto the site this year, we’ve got a handful of really exciting lines yet to launch that we’re very confident will help us deliver a strong Q4. “We anticipate this to be one of our strongest Christmas periods to date.”

ToyNews takes soundings from its Retail Advisory Board on toy industry issues. The current members are: RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD

Stuart Grant, The Entertainer

Geoff Sheffiled, The Toy Store

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Linzi Walker, Argos

Brian Simpson, Toytown

Clare Barton, Sainsbury’s

Neil Mitchell, Shop Direct

Annalise Quest, Harrods

Steph Strike, Asda

Ben Redhead, Firebox

Alphonse Madamombe, Maplin

Helen Gourley, Toy Hub

Miles Penhallow, Play-Room

Karla Mitchell, XBite

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Trolley dash Amazon has brought its new Dash button concept to the UK, meaning shoppers no longer need leave the house to purchase their favourite items, including the likes of Play-Doh and Nerf. Here, Robert Hutchins asks the ToyShop UK listing what impact it could have on the current toy market and its retailers


he future of shopping appears to be upon us, and it’s all at the hands of Amazon Dash, which is to say, at the very fingertips of the average shopper. Earlier this year, the online behemoth finally brought the Amazon Dash concept – one that via a Wi-Fi connected device, allows consumers to reorder their items with the tap of a button. Once connected to an Amazon

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Prime account, customers can place an order by simply pressing the Amazon Dash button. Back in July this year, when Dash had still not yet made its migration from the US to home soils, Hasbro became the first toy firm to back the concept with its Nerf and PlayDoh brands. The firm cited the partnership as the ideal way in which to give consumers and fans of the brands ability to keep supplies topped

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up by shopping them however and whenever they wanted. “Nerf and Play-Doh are two of our most popular brands with families consuming darts and PlayDoh compound as part of their daily playtime,” said Jeff Jackson, VP of sales at Hasbro, at the time of the announcement. “We don’t want the fun to stop when supplies run low, and teaming with Amazon allows consumers to keep playtime going.” Perhaps the move comes as a bold step by Hasbro in its prediction of the way in which consumers of non-essentials will be changing their shopping habits over the next few years? Or maybe it is clever marketing practice to have placed its toy brands in among household names, including Bounty and Finish, in order to strengthen its properties as must-have items. Whichever it may be, it takes no leap of the imagination to suspect

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that Amazon Dash will play a major role in the future of shopping, and is a move that has in itself been labelled by experts as ‘an assault on the UK grocery market.’ “Amazon is looking to conquer the grocery market just as it has already transformed books, electronics and toys sales. Amazon dwarfs the UK e-commerce market with sales of £4.4bn; now it’s set to make inroads into the supermarket’s online profits,” comments David Jinks, head of PR and publications at ParcelHero. And Jinks predicts that those inroads could summate to as much as 20 per cent of UK supermarket online sales. But while the figures could be enough to have the likes of Tesco fretting over what the future holds, the UK’s toy retail scene is feeling a lot less intimidated. In fact, the results of this month’s ToyShop UK survey

indicate that a majority of UK indies fail to see the Amazon Dash concept making much of an impact on UK toy shopping habits. “Surely most toy products are only purchased once in any child’s lifetime, and not really that often apart from birthdays, gifts and Christmas time,” says Faye Bobillie, owner of independent toy store, Acting the Party. “With the exception of perhaps Play-Doh refills, who wants the same toy over and over?” It’s a sentiment that appears to be echoed by a large pocket of the independent retail landscape, with Grasshopper Toys’ Wendy Hamilton questioning just how many parents need a monthly order of Play-Doh. “Amazon Dash will be great for refill type products, but for 99 per cent of toys it won’t have much of an impact,” she says. But it might just be in that one per cent of products that the Amazon Dash concept has the edge on the High Street retailer, particularly when considering trading cards and collectables. Back in November 2014, it was the children’s playground sensation Loom Bands alongside the popular collectables lines, LEGO Minifigures and Panini Stickers, that helped the British toy market to its best sales growth since 2010. For 2015, The NPD Group passed the badge of honour of being among the biggest driver of sales within the toy industry on to

Toy Shop UK is a consumer-led, online directory that helps toy suppliers, retailers and licence holders promote their businesses to an audience of up to 10,000 unique visitors per day. Popular weekly giveaways, the esteemed Independent Toy Awards and special supplier listings are just three of the ways

the likes of hit film franchises such as Minions and Star Wars. If Amazon Dash were to find a means of tapping into the biggest toy trends of the year, its impact could be colossal. It’s a vision of the future that Tas Hadjisavva, owner of Clubit has already foreseen for the concept. “Amazon Dash could work really well for trading cards and collectables,” explains Hadjisavva. “Particularly if the e-tailer can catch the trend quick enough to give it a giant head start on High Street stores and supermarkets.” While the Amazon Dash concept may only be a mere few months old within the UK marketplace, already talk has turned to its next step forward in Dash Replenishment, a concept that takes tech even further to allow devices such as printers or dishwashers to order supplies, without the owner needing to do anything. Of course, while the new concept presents an idea that might seem thrilling in its evolution for technology, there are those who believe it paves the way for a very bleak vision of the future. “Amazon has part destroyed the toy shop as it is,” says Mitch Brown, owner of the toy and collectables retailer, Darths Hutt. “And to be honest, would you really want to reorder a toy time after time? I think everyone should watch Wall-E and see just how far its prediction of the human race is drawing closer and closer.”

that Toy Shop UK can help you increase your online presence and complement your other marketing activities this year. CONTACT: Michael Hawkins 07786 295756 for more information.

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Cheshire Toy Shop Based on a family farm attraction, Cheshire Toy Shop first opened its doors to customers in 2013, offering a range of classic and farm related toys. Here, co-owners and sisters – Jane Holtom and Sue Dale – speak to Jade Burke about why the retailer is keen to increase its online presence, the importance of social media and what sets it apart from other toy stores on the High Street 54 October

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ell me a bit about your business and how the store began? Our shop is situated on a family farm visitor attraction. The farm owners approached us when a spare unit became available as they wanted to open a toy shop. My sister and I had previous retail experience and I had worked for a school and nursery equipment provider. We opened on Halloween night in 2013, as there was a big event at the farm, so we had a brilliant launch night.

small shop with limited storage, so we have to be pretty sure we can turn the stock around quickly.

What types of toys do you stock in store? Initially we focused on farm related toys and pocket money lines, and have expanded out into traditional toys and classic brands. All the local independent toy shops had sadly closed down so there was little choice nearby.

Jane Holtom and Sue Dale, Cheshire Toy Shop

What do you look for when sourcing new toys? Classic style toys and collectable ranges to fit in with our age range, which is mainly pre-school up to around six years old. We are also expanding our baby range and would like to try and push the top age range a little if we can source something suitable. We have an extremely

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What’s your favourite thing about owning a toy shop? Shopping – we love sourcing toys. I also enjoy promoting the business on social media. It gives

We try to offer something a little different to keep us in people’s minds when they are shopping.

me a buzz when we see results from our efforts. You are very active online, with Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. How important is social media to you guys? Massively. It works really well for us. We use different social media platforms for slightly different reasons. I would say 99.9 per cent of our customers are online, and many of them are also on Facebook. We tend to use Twitter to get a bit

more general local awareness, and we have also just started experimenting with Instagram and Facebook Live. I work with a local lady who is a social media whizz and keeps us up to date with what’s new. As a traditional toy store, how do you differ from other toy stores on the High Street? We are right here on hand to offer advice. Our in store demos and activities give us a real insight into what skill sets are required for different toys, particularly for our art and craft lines. We get a lot of grandparents shopping with us and we are able to offer them something that will please them, their kids and also their grandchildren. How popular do your online competitions tend to be with your customers? They are getting more and more popular and we have refined and tweaked how we run them dependent on previous results. I think at first some people were a bit reluctant to give us their email address, but we always try and post pictures of the winners to show that people really do win. For us, the aim is to get customers on our mailing list so we can target them straight into their inbox.

You offer various services in store, from gift-wrapping to reserve and collect. How important is it for you to offer your customers these services? Anything that can set us apart is a good thing and it gives us plenty to talk about. Sunday mornings are most popular for gift-wrapping as parents are often on their way to a party. How do you try and keep competitive against online retail giants? We are very conscious of the massive move of customers buying online. So we try to offer something a little different to keep us in people’s minds when they are shopping. We regularly do price checks so we can make sure we are as competitive as we can be. Luckily, we can hear everything that customers say in the shop so can gently intervene if we feel a sale slipping away. What are your plans for the future of the business? We really want to increase our online presence, but keeping the local emphasis. That’s the push for the next six months. We’d like to get involved in more outside events for 2017, so I’m planning what sort of kit we’d need for that.

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Wooden it be lovely Known for its traditional appeal, wooden toys have continued to be a popular choice with both retailers and children. With new items filling up the sector, Jade Burke takes a look at the hottest products available today HAPE Hape Quadrilla, a new children’s toy, is a kinetic marble run that allows a child to play and learn at the same time. It helps teach valuable lessons of action and consequence, whilst providing much needed quality time with the whole family. Hape only use natural materials from high quality birch and rubber wood to water based paints and non-toxic glues. Each set is appropriate for children over the age of four and comes in a mixture of vibrant colours to brighten up any room and provide non-stop fun for hours on end. The Quadrilla aims to help fuel a sense of self-discovery and social interaction amongst family and friends to get everyone involved whatever age. The Quadrilla range also helps children to experiment and create endless possibilities. Available in a range of sizes and styles, the collections will suit any budget. The range also includes The Xcellerator, which is focused towards high-speed fun for children with a mixture of speed and spins. Elsewhere, The Cyclone is a massive 198 piece puzzle, the largest of the collection, and is sure to get everyone in a twist with plenty of drops, spirals,

JUMBO GAMES funnels and rails, keeping little ones entertained for hours. The Whirlpool boasts twists, turns and direction changes that will take children’s playtime to new heights, while The Vertigo will see creativity run wild with a mixture of all things fun and exciting, including huge highs and lows with maybe even a seesaw or two. Loop de Loop the second biggest in the collection allows a child to develop their skills and race others, and the Space City launches marbles through cosmic boosts and glow-inthe-dark loops to see who the speediest space traveller is. The Quadrilla range has also won the Good Toy Award and the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award. 0845 6000 286 (Marbel)

Goula, the wooden puzzles and toy brand that first started in 1942, is known for its educational range of products, designed specially to educate young children through quality play-value. With over 65 products in Jumbo’s UK portfolio, there’s plenty to choose from for both retail and consumers. The Geometric Shape Sorting Farm Play-set is a bright and colourful farmhouse that helps children develop problemsolving, shape and colour recognition and hand-eye coordination skills, by matching the correct shapes to the cutouts in the farmhouse. The Tiki Musical three-inone Bird has great play value for young children looking to

explore different noises through interactive gameplay. With a built in drum, xylophone and ‘guitar’ element, children can create their own sounds and develop a sense of rhythm. The Goula Fishing Game is a fun wooden game that will keep children entertained for hours. Using the coloured wooden fishing rods provided, children can attempt to catch some of the wooden fish that are at the bottom of the sea themed box, using the magnetic ‘hook’ on the end of their rod. The Interchangeable Wooden Magnetic Animals allow children to match the correct heads and bodies of various animals together or mix ‘n’ match them, giving added-value for children. 01707 260 436

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KIDKRAFT KidKraft’s playful wooden activity puzzles are just what early learners need to engage in fun imaginative play. Boasting bright colours, chucky pieces, and educational themes, each puzzle will help toddlers explore while also developing fine motor skills and learning shape recognition. The toy firm has a full range of well-designed, sturdy wooden toys and furniture décor items for children aged three years and over, plus each toy is designed to maximize interaction and encourage creative play. Kids will enjoy interacting with knobs that turn and click, operate doors that open and close, and pretend play with their very own play smartphone. Customers should also look out for KidKraft’s introduction of


its new line of gourmet wooden play kitchens with faux granite countertop, lights and sounds that will make it the ultimate play destination for little ones. This year, the firm will also be launching wooden peg puzzles, wooden puzzles with sounds, wooden kitchens with lights and sounds and new licensed dollhouses including Disney Princesses, Cinderella and Belle. 0808 101 9297

Toy company Rainbow Designs has a huge selection of wooden toys available for children in many of its classic character collections, which includes the likes of Peter Rabbit, Guess How Much I Love You and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The Peter Rabbit collection features a line-up of classic wooden toys for pre-schoolers, including the Peter Rabbit and Flopsy Bunny Pull Along toys, as well as the Wooden Peg Puzzle and Dominoes. Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar

collection also features various wooden items inspired by the brand, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar Dominoes and Wooden Peg Puzzle for kids to enjoy. As well as this, the ever popular Pull Along Caterpillar is also up for grabs. Rainbow Designs’ Wooden Picture Block Sets are also now available in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Peter Rabbit and Guess How Much I Love You collections. Each Set contains 16 wooden cubes for little ones to play with. Each cube also features letters of the alphabet and original illustrations from the timeless classics. 01329 227 300

LITTLE CONCEPTS For more than 30 years, PlanToys has been creating sustainable products for children to play with. Continually pushing the design through the development of new production techniques, PlanToys has successfully become one of the leading wooden toy manufacturers in the world. This year, with over 50 new products being released, there is something for every retailer. Stand out products include the classic Dancing Alligator, which has been an iconic product since 1999 and still continues to delight children. Retailing at £16.99 and produced from sustainable rubberwood, the Dancing Alligator is a must have product for retailers. 2016 has also seen the introduction of a range of unique wooden bath toys. Joining the best-selling Pirate Ship and Activity Boat is the brand new Floating Island.

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The Floating Island includes the sea, sand, a coconut tree, a shell, a turtle and a crab for children to play with, all been produced from PlanWood retailing at £19.99. In the run-up to Christmas, the company’s larger items are proving just as popular with various retailers, such as the Victorian Dollhouse, Parking Garage and a range of kitchen role-play items. As with all items from PlanToys, retailers are confident when purchasing these items as they will know they are of the highest quality and are produced from the safest materials. Child development experts are also consulted throughout the design process of all PlanToys’ items, which results in design-led toys that also actively encourage children’s physical development, social interaction and hand eye co-ordination. 07870 132 595

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The award-winning Cookin’ Creations Wood Kitchen offers everything for any little homemaker to enjoy. Complete with a pretend kitchen play-set including pots and pans, a washing machine and dishwasher, children can role-play a variety of household activities from cooking and baking to laundry. The kitchen boasts a double burner stove top and oven, which also comes complete with clicking hobs, while the pretend play refrigerator comes with an ice dispenser. The kitchen also comes with a clock with moveable hands so kids can change the time, a double sink and

shelves for homemakers to store all their goods. With 11 accessories including a basket, play phone, spatula, pots and pans and spice jars, there’s hours of fun to be had. 01908 268 480

Moover is a contemporary collection of walker, ride on and pull along toys designed to help children explore the world around them. Moover blends traditional craftsmanship with bold, contemporary looks, plus each toy features shock absorbing rubber wheels to cushion a baby’s speed. The Moover pram is a bestseller with its clever click key construction, as little ones get older another element of excitement is released, as they can learn to build and deconstruct these toys time and time again. Unlike many traditional ride on toys,

Wheelybugs have multidirectional casters, which mean they don’t just go backwards and forwards, but round and round, giving little ones the freedom to move as they please. Wheelybugs have scored the top prize in a number of accolades including Loved by Parents, Right Start and the Practical Preschool Awards. The product was also the winner of the Slow Toy Awards in 2014, a movement dedicated to highlighting the ‘real’ toys on the market that inspire children, will stand the test of time and offer true play value. 01278 434 440

Learn, play and


Bigjigs’ educational toys are design to help improve literacy and numeracy skills in a fun environment. Our toys enhance the overall learning process by using visual aids and help make educational concepts more entertaining. BB107 Number Tower

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LE TOY VAN In 2016, with the success of licences such as Pokémon or tech toys like drones, we could start to wonder how the wooden toy market and the demand for environmentally friendly traditional toys sustain. Le Toy Van believes that for a prosperous childhood, it is crucial to keep parity between all the kinds of toys available, so that little ones can benefit from a balance stimulation and more harmonious development. Le Toy Van wooden toys are ethically made in Indonesia and designed in the UK with the objective to prompt social, imaginative and role-play, an essential part of the child cognitive development. The company ensures all of its wooden toys are made from high quality sustainable materials such as rubber and ply wood, coming from sustainable plantations. Whilst the company’s fastest selling toys remain strong, including the dolls houses or garages lines, Le Toy Van’s latest collections like Honeybake and Petilou are also starting to exceed sales expectations.

Dr Amanda Gummer and her team at Fundamentally Children loved Le Toy Van’s wooden and fabric Doctor’s Bag, and stated: “The Le Toy Van Doctor’s Set is a fantastic toy kit for children filled with wooden medical instruments and bottles. The Doctor’s Set is a great way to encourage role-play, nurturing behaviour and empathy. “Role play with the Doctor’s Set can help children who might be

nervous about going to see the doctor, and promotes discussion about health care and the body.” This vintage style, child sized fabric Doctor’s Bag is filled with wooden medical instruments and XXXXXXX bottles. Plus, the set includes a toy stethoscope, thermometer, syringe, blood pressure gauge, ear scope, reflex hammer, scissors and two medicine bottles for kids to play with.

Le Toy Van Doctor’s Set is a bag full of doctor’s equipment for children aged three plus, allowing a child to use their imagination pretending to be doctors, checking their ‘patients’ and treating them. This traditional wooden toy, first launched in 2013, has also become one of the company’s very best sellers in 2016. 020 8979 2036

HTI Embracing the safe, traditional play value of wooden toys, HTI’s own Wood Works range of traditionally crafted, premium quality wooden toy lines includes puzzles for children of ages 18 months and upwards. The Wood Works’ pre-school offering comprises colourful chunky shape sorters, a learning clock, alphabet and number puzzles, dominoes, an abacus, chalk board and a jumbo floor puzzle for children. Elsewhere, the assorted peg puzzles provide little ones with hours of shape sorting fun with pegs that are perfect for little fingers. Included in the collection are puzzles featuring letters of the alphabet, an assortment of cars

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and a range of animals for kids to play with. All of the Wood Works’ pre-school puzzles have been designed to help develop children’s recognition of numbers, letters, shapes and colours, as well as help to enhance little ones’ handeye coordination, cognitive abilities and stimulate visual development. Each item is also supplied in fully branded display CDUs, plus the Wood Works range from HTI provides wide margins to retail partners, as well as great value for money for the consumer. 01253 778 888

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RAVENSBURGER New for BRIO this season is the Fire and Rescue theme, which includes a Rescue Firefighter play-set, as well as a Rescue Emergency play-set. Each of these train sets come complete with everything children need to get a Fire and Rescue Station started, including a Fire Truck with sirens and lights, wooden track, fire station and lots of roleplay accessories. Ideal for ages three and up, these sets are the perfect way to let imaginations run free, as they connect perfectly with any other BRIO World play-set. There are lots of Fire and Rescue accessories to create a whole world of creativity and role-play. The Emergency Fire Truck comes with a hose wagon and a push button for the siren and light. Every Fire Station will need the Rescue Fire Train with its quick release hose wagon and water tank.

For those hard to reach locations and quick evacuations, the Rescue Helicopter and Rescue Boat are built for the task. The Central Fire Station is an integral part of the BRIO World, and can even be played with as a standalone play-set. Complete with helipad, it is the perfect place to organise all rescue efforts from as it comes with a fire alarm, a slide for the firefighters and lots of space to keep the rescue equipment safe. All the products from the Fire and Rescue range can connect with BRIO World, which means that children can continuously create their own world, as they develop. Children love nothing more than to play with toys that allow their imaginations to run free and wild. Parents love nothing more than

knowing their children are playing with toys that are safe, toys that help develop key social and manual dexterity skills, and most importantly, toys that will last and still be played with long after the initial unwrapping excitement. It is with this in mind that BRIO XXXXXXX

has developed every toy in the range. From rattles and pushalongs for babies and toddlers, to the interconnected variety of BRIO World, BRIO has something for every baby, toddler, child (and parent who refuses to grown up). 01869 363 800

BIGJIGS TOYS Bigjigs Toys offers a range of traditional and fun wooden toys for retailers. With over 30 years’ experience in designing jigsaws, Bigjigs Toys started hand crafting wooden jigsaw puzzle pieces in the family garden shed back in 1985, and although the manufacturing process has been updated now, the passion for creating different wooden toys and adding educational and play value still remains. The puzzle collection is packed full of colourful engaging puzzles available in categories according to the age or piece count. Puzzles are suitable for 12 plus months, 18 plus months, two years, three years and for piece count of 48 pieces. Each and every puzzle is made with chunky wooden pieces generously sized to make it easier for little hands to lift and grasp. Plus, each item has been designed to always challenge children at different stages of

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development and help to advance dexterity, matching skills and concentration. The bright and fun designs keep children amused and entertained for guaranteed play value.

Bigjigs rail’s wooden train sets provide hours of creative and imaginative play and help children to develop and improve concentration skills, hand-eye coordination and dexterity.

With a broad range of themes from the award winning Pirate Train Set to the Fairy Town Train Set, the Bigjigs rail range offers something different for young inquisitive minds. The Bigjigs Rail Heritage Collection is ideal for budding young train enthusiasts. The range includes replicas from the golden age of rail, with popular nostalgic locomotives such as the Mallard and the apple green Flying Scotsman, through to the famous historic Stephenson’s Rocket Engine. Licensed by the National Railway Museum UK, the range of replicas is a perfect gift option for kids. Responsibly sourced and with education and development at the forefront of new product designs, each toy has been made to last and to be passed down from generation to generation. 01303 250 400

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PLUM PRODUCTS Whether children fancy spending the day in the kitchen cooking for the family, helping out with chores in the utility room, taking to the stage for a performance or serving friends in the American style diner, the three-in-one Role Play Kitchen will cater for every child’s playtime needs. The bright retro style wooden kitchen has a two-door oven for eager bakers to get started. Young chefs can boil and fry on the dual inset hob, flip burgers for the diners or make a pot of coffee for friends, the possibilities are endless with a little imagination. At the end of a hard days’ work, kids can wash up in the kitchen sink, which features a removable sink tray and turning taps. Little ones can also keep things neat and tidy by using the built in storage areas ready for tomorrow’s adventure. Plus, children can even spend the day at the diner drinking their

favourite milkshakes or dress up for a matinee performance at the theatre. Plum’s kitchens are designed to inspire play. For example, kids

can tell the time on the wall clock with its movable hands and click and turn the oven dials to the right setting. The three-in-one Wooden Cabin Kitchen also includes XXXXXXX

cooking equipment. With a frying pan, spoon and spatula at the ready, little ones can get straight to it. 01522 737 136

safety standards. Based in Milton Keynes, Inside Out Toys welcome retailers to make an appointment to come along to its showroom and view products for themselves – and even have a little play. “Four years ago we started an online toy business and now we are in the fortunate position to grow our family business even further by entering the wholesale toy market,” said Julian Garner, director of Inside Out Toys.

“We have formed a really strong partnership with our manufacturer, and have worked with them to develop the Jumini brand, specifically for the UK and Europe market. “We are proud to be able to offer some fantastic designs to small independent toy and gift retailers, that are good quality and sensibly priced.” Inside Out Toys first launched the Jumini wooden brand at

Autumn Fair at the NEC, Birmingham, last month, and in parallel, launched a brand new website to allow retailers to order their stock online. Stock will be available to purchase immediately, delivered from the warehouse facility in Milton Keynes. According to the firm, feedback from Autumn Fair has been excellent with many visitors commenting on the quality and finish of the products, as well as the sensible RRP. Inside Out Toys is also pleased to announce that the Jumini brand won two awards in this year’s Independent Toy Awards, taking home the Silver Award for the Farm Truck and Highly Commended Award for the Whale Clock. 01908 969 969 (Inside Out Toys)

JUMINI Inside Out Toys is proud to launch Jumini – a new brand of traditional crafted wooden toys, finished to a high standard yet sensibly priced, with the small independent retailer in mind. A wide range of toys are available that are suitable for babies and children of all ages. As well as traditional items, the company’s designers have come up with some new toys that will make any wooden toy display stand out from the crowd. Wooden toys give us a wonderful sense of nostalgia and remind us of our own upbringing. With the resurgence of traditional toys, Inside Out Toys believes customers will love Jumini. All of the company’s toys have been produced by an environmentally conscious manufacturer, which ensures the toys are made from sustainable materials and that they meet the highest quality and

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© 2016 HIT Entertainment Limited and Keith Chapman.

CONTACT YOUR JUMBO SALES REP FOR MORE INFORMATION Jumbo Games, 2 Carters Row, Hatfield Park, Hatfield, UK, AL9 5NB Telephone: 01707-289289


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Driving licence It’s a sector that according to the most recent NPD stats, is booming, increasing three times faster than the rest of the toy market. Robert Hutchins explores the latest licensed product lines to be hitting the shelves MV SPORTS MV Sports boasts an array of outdoor wheeled toys and accessories featuring hit licences including Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam, Peppa Pig, Batman and plenty more. Blasting into its 2017 line-up, MV Sports’ Fireman Sam range has been redesigned with a fresh feel, while the Thomas & Friends portfolio welcomes the new 12v battery operated ride-on. The new sit-on Thomas comes with lights, sounds and an array of authentic Thomas molded features to delight young fans. Meanwhile, girls’ category favourite Disney Princess will be receiving a magical makeover for 2017 with new bolder colours and updated graphics.

The range will include a new 16inch bike complete with a crash pad and handlebar tassels. With the eagerly awaited Trolls movie just around the corner, MV Sports is readying to launch a range of colourful, eye catching bikes, scooters, skates, accessories and more. You can’t talk about this year’s movie line-up without mentioning Star Wars Rogue One and as one of the most anticipated releases of the year, it makes sense MV Sports has an offering of movie tie-in ranges to compliment it. Elsewhere, Power Rangers, Transformers 5 and Cars 3 are all set for a 2017 launch and MV will be ready for the expectant demand with some exciting

collections with innovation at their heart. Also within the MV cannon are proven winners such as Shopkins, PAW Patrol, Avengers, My Little Pony, as well as a few own in-house brands to bring the MV Sports potfolio to a robust conclusion this autumn/winter. 0121 748 8000

CHARACTER OPTIONS Peppa Pig, Ben & Holly, Teletubbies and Scooby-Doo all feature in Character Options’ fun and exciting toy ranges for fans of some of the leading licences in the children’s entertainment space this year. Peppa’s Home & Garden Play-set includes figures, furniture and accessories for imaginative play, while other favourites include Grandad Dog’s Pirate Boat, Miss Rabbit’s Train and more. Another favourite for fans of the plucky porker’s family is the Princess & Sir George range, billed by Character Options as the most successful theme in the toy brand’s history. This year’s hero product will be Princess Peppa’s Palace, a set packed out with royal characters and regal furniture. Meanwhile, the line-up of Peppa Pig Plush has been extended

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further with the arrival of Laugh with Peppa, a plush that promises to be the source of many giggles from pre-schoolers this Christmas time. Ben & Holly also continues to grow with the new Elf Rocket Play-set offering imaginary space adventures for children while the triple tiered toy contains fun features such as a distress beacon and torch.

The set also comes with a range of sounds and phrases from the show. Elsewhere, Scooby-Doo’s popularity continues as the hit character’s collection of five-inch scale action figures prepares to delight this autumn/winter. Fans can create their own Scooby-Doo adventures with the Mystery Machine and Mystery Mansion Playsets, before getting hands on with the new Stretch Scooby which can be stretched to three times his original size. Character Options is also home to top licensed brands including the collectable Mashems, featuring the Finding Dory and My Little Pony brands, as well as the pre-school favourite Teletubbies and the iconic Fireman Sam. 0161 633 9800

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MATTEL Mattel continues to build on its portfolio of popular character brands with new lines from Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, Go Jetters, Ghostbusters and more. The Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends range continues to build momentum with the TrackMaster Thomas Sky High Bridge Jump Set, new Minis collectable engines including the Motorised Raceway and the My First All Around Sodor playset. Meanwhile, the Bob the Builder line-up features the RC Super Scoop with motorised digging action and a Scoop Stand stunt.

BLADEZ TOYZ The range is completed with the Mash & Mould Sand Playset featuring kinetic sand. Meanwhile, the Go Jetters range gathers steam with the Jet Pad Headquarters and discodancing Ubercorn Talking Plush. The success of Fisher-Price’s Bing range keeps growing thanks to the Best Friends Bing & Sula Interactive Talking Plush, who can talk, sing and play games. It’s speed, stunts and storytelling with the latest line from Blaze and the Monster Machines, a collection boasting the Monster Dome Playset and Transforming Fire Truck Blaze. Call on Mattel for all your Ghostbusting needs this A/W as themes from the film come to life via the Ghost Action Figure and Glow in the Dark Mini Figure Assortments. Batman v Superman and Disney Pixar’s Cars complete a robust movie line-up, while WWE slams the collection home this month. 01628 500 000

JOHN ADAMS John Adams has expanded its Disney Princess licensed portfolio with two new Jelly Stickers Light and Sparkle lines, including a pretty Fairy Lights set to make and display. The set comes complete with six Jelly Pants, Disney Princess Jelly Stickers, a string of ten soft glow battery powered LED lights and ten Jewel Castings. The Disney Princess Night Light and Projector also joins the line up this autumn and comes complete with everything kids need to make an enchanting two in one Night Light and Projector to create a night time glow or project a jewel light show.

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The set includes six jelly paints, three Disney Princess inserts and a rotating LED lamp unit with a jewel dome. Also joining the Disney Princess licensed range will be the Disney Princess Rapunzel BloPens Creative Case set featuring five Rapunzel stencils and packaging that turns into a handy mini easel. 01480 414 361

RC inflatables are getting the Teletubbies treatment this season, and that doesn’t mean they’re getting a right soaking in Tubby Custard. Fans of the hit preschool show will now be able to pick up their very own RC Teletubbie courtesy of the latest range from Bladez Toyz, each complete with a simplified handset designed with young users in mind as well as sound effects. The RC Inflatable Teletubbies are joined by an inflatable

Nightlight which has a daytime play feature, as well as a Tubby Time Playmat, offering parents a great tool to aid in sensory enrichment for their little ones. Also new to the collection is the RC inflatable Peppa Pig, equipped with the sounds of her favourite phrases and theme. The happy swine has also been transformed into a Sleep Training aid, complete with a nightlight feature as well as time project and alarm settings. On top of all this, Bladez is releasing its first TV advertising campaign this Christmas, airing between the end of November and the start of December. The advert will promote the firm’s new RC Teletubbies range. 02392 658 259

XXXXXXX GOLDEN BEAR Golden Bear has expanded its toy offering even further this year with new preschool and collectable items. Following the success of the Run-along Fun Sounds Twirlywoos, Dance-along Peekaboo is joining the range with fun sounds and music as it dances across the floor. Interactive Musical Chickedy and Chick are also new and by pressing its hands, kids can hear the phrases and tunes from the popular show. The In the Night Garden range continues to grow, led by the new Musical Activity

Pinky Ponk which offers a host of features for preschoolers to enjoy, including songs, sounds, movement and character fun. My Best Friend Igglepiggle and the Musical Makka Pakka with Light Up Friends also join the range, while Igglepiggle will feature in Golden Bear’s Sleep Tight All Night line. The Mr Tumble Something Special has been refreshed with a new look Mr Tumble and a revamped Talking Soft Toy will sit alongside the new Mr Tumble with Lights and Sounds, Mr Tumble with Fun Tumble Tapp plus a Fun Sounds Musical Car. Golden Bear moved into collectables earlier this summer with its Oddbods toy lines. Aimed at kids aged five to nine, the line includes the voice activated feature plush, small soft toys, face changers, vehicles and a blind bag and figurine pack. 01952 608 308

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Sakar International has detailed a new range of youth electronics featuring popular characters from DreamWorks Animation’s latest and most anticipated animated feature, Trolls. Products in Sakar’s 2016 portfolio include sing along karaokes, volume limiting headphones, boom boxes, walkie talkies and digital cameras. The line is set to hit shelves to coincide with the release of

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Trolls this November and sees a karaoke set priced £69.99 deliver kids the ultimate ‘out of box experience’. The kit will be available at retailers including Argos, Tesco, Asda, Boots and Amazon. Parent approved, the ear cups featured on the headphones are lightweight and brandish an adjustable headband to accommodate to any head size. 02476 518 500

A new partnership with Mattel has seen Jumbo Games introduce a range of Bob the Builder puzzles and games alongside a line of Thomas & Friends foam puzzles. Focusing on the company’s most popular format, the Bob the Builder puzzle collection includes a set of four-in-one Shaped Puzzles in a carry suitcase, a nine-in-one Puzzle Bumper Pack with varying piece counts and a 35-piece Puzzle Assortment featuring three different images for kids to collect. The New Year will see the addition

of Puzzle and Colour and Foam Bath Time Puzzles in a line that will welcome the introduction of Bob the Builder in later months. Under the Thomas & Friends umbrella, January 2017 will witness the launch of another new licensed range from the firm in the form of Thomas & Friends Foam Puzzles. The 18 piece Giant Foam Floor Puzzle is suitable for inside and outside the house, as well as being water resistant. To accompany, Jumbo will launch a four-in-one Shaped Bath Puzzle Set that lets kids play in the bath as pieces float and stick to the tiled surfaces. 01707 260 436

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FLAIR Fans of both Doc McStuffins and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles won’t be disappointed this Christmas thanks to a robust line-up of products courtesy of Flair. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles range is continuing to be a hit as the figures attract fans of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Staying true to the look of the characters in the film, the movieinspired figures have been an instant hit with Turtles collectors with Bebop and Rocksteady coming out as firm favourites. Flair’s Doc McStuffins line has grown with the addition of the Toy Hospital collection.

RE:CREATION Accompanying the new TV series, Flair has launched Doc’s Magical Toysponder which allows Doc to communicate with her friends, and the Care Cart, complete with lights and sounds, as well as an X-Ray machine. The Toy Hospital Role Play Set, meanwhile, comes complete with new branding to match the new TV series. The firm also boasts Ooshies, a new line of pencil toppers featuring characters from DC Comics’ Justice League and Disney’s Marvel Heroes, as well as Shopkins series five, plus the newly launched spin-off Shopkins Happy Places. 0208 643 0320

Adding power to Re:creation’s portfolio this year are hot properties My Little Pony, Paw Patrol and Thomas & Friends. The company’s Make-a-Bar range, which already includes a strong performing Minions Edition, has recently welcomed the introduction of a My Little Pony Edition Twin Bar Pack. Fans of Equestria can now design and create their own chocolate bars featuring their favourite pony characters. Each kit includes everything children need, including three colours of delicious Belgian chocolate,

molds and templates. The Makea-Bar range will benefit from digital and PR support. Announced at Toy Fair, Re:creation has also recently launched a range of Inkredibles activity book titles featuring one of 2015’s best performing licenses, PAW Patrol, and the pre-school boys’ evergreen favourite, Thomas & Friends. The range of titles features a number of proprietary ink effects and each is complete with ink effects pens to bring colouring pages and puzzles to life for children aged from three years. 0118 973 6222


TRENDS UK According to Trends UK, sales of the licensed Shopkins Kinstructions toy line from the Bridge Direct have been nothing short of phenomenal. Wave two of the line-up will be available from this October, introducing even more popular Shopkins Kinstructions sets to build and collect. Featuring Mix and Match buildable Shopkins figures and iconic scenery from the bestsellng brand, the Kinstructions line enable kids to build their favourite Shopkins scenes and sets. The second wave

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includes the deluxe supermarket food court, frozen treats stand, food fair truck, baby shop and a bakery. Elsewhere, Trends UK’s Peppa Pig Electronic Learning Toys has been met with great demand throughout the summer. Leading with the hero item and TV line, Peppa’s Alphaphonics Campervan, Trends UK is also offering Peppa’s Flip & Learn Laptop. The Peppa Pig ELA range starts for children aged 18 months and over and is designed to help preschoolers develop early learning skills. 01295 768 078

Rainbow Designs, the home of licensed character soft toys, has an abundance of high profile branded and licensed collections on offer. The newest property to join Rainbow’s portfolio is Thomas and Friends. The new My First Thomas & Friends collection offers a range of activity and developmental toys featuring the famous little blue engine, now on shelves. The My First Thomas and Friends collection joins a host of renowned brand ranges that include Peppa Pig for Baby, Guess How Much I Love You, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Paddington, Peter Rabbit and The Snowman and The Snowdog. Exciting new products available from Rainbow Designs this autumn include

the interactive Talk to Me Paddington and My Name is Paddington feature plush toys, Guess How Much I Love You Peek-a-Boo Nutbrown Hare, Activity Thomas and Tummy Time Activity Playmats in both the Peter Rabbit and My First Thomas & Friends collections. Other distinguished brand collections on offer from Rainbow include Elmer, Miffy and Air Puppy. 01329 227 300

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This month, we congratulate the winners of this year’s Inventors Workshop Toy Hackfest, discover a augmented reality-infused duvet set for kids and learn more about a new game that teaches young girls about menstruation

HACKFEST WINNERS The dust has settled on another successful Inventors Workshop, and we want to say a big congratulations to the University of Sussex, who won the Workshop’s Toy Hackfest for the second year running. Pitted against design students from the University of Portsmouth, the two teams had to come up with a campus craze. Sussex impressed a panel of judges including execs from Aardman, Hasbro and Heayes Design with The Peg. In a nutshell, the game sees students attach The Peg to a stranger. The Peg comes with a built-in timer, and if it goes off while clipped to you – you’ve been pegged. The panel thought the idea had potential to be a viral hit a la Chewbacca Mom. Well done guys, let’s see if you make it three for three next year.

SHEET HAPPENS Toys have utilised augmented reality for years, and now, the world of duvets is getting involved via Welspun’s Spin Tales, an AR-infused duvet cover for kids. The interactive bed set allows kids

to experience adventures in AR and engage in interactive games. “There is a new frontier to be explored in textiles,” said Welspun CEO Dipali Goenka. Just don’t wet the bed while draped in it, for gawd’s sake. Editorial: 01992 515305 Advertising: 0207 354 6000

Game of the month Designers Daniela Gilsanz and Ryan Murphy have created The Period Game, designed to teach girls about menstruation. Every turn begins with a player turning one of the two ovaries, releasing a marble into a tray. If a red marble comes out, the player has got their period. A clear marble, ‘better luck next time’. Depending on the marble, gamers can play a protection card, preparation card or go to the nurse’s office. The player who makes it around the board before anyone else wins. Gilsanz and Murphy are now looking for partners to help secure mass distribution the game. Contact daniela.gilsanz@ for further enquires.

CIRCULATION & SUBSCRIPTIONS AUDITED CIRCULATION Average Net Circulation: 5,771 July 2014 – June 2015.

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