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09/12/2016 16:45:23 20/12/2016 14:39
Retail 38 Moose wanted ToyNews sits down for a chat with the creators of the global collectable Shopkins phenomenon.
58 Top Trump With a new POTUS poised to take office, retailers consider the possible effects.
67 Hot shots We highlight the biggest names in entertainment for the year ahead.
Marketing 79 Retail in detail The industry reflects on the previous year and look ahead to the future in our annual retail survey.
From the creator of Star Wars to the inventor of the Slinky, these are the brilliant minds that shaped the toy space into what it is today, and all as voted for by you, the industry.
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PEEK-A-BOO: ITâ€™S PLAYTIME Discover the newest and most fun range of toys guaranteed to keep the kids (both big & small) entertained.
REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE TICKET AT
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Follow us @toynewsonline
MEET THE TEAM Robert Hutchins Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Jade Burke Deputy Editor email@example.com Jack Ridsdale Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org Sophia Jaques Senior Account Manager email@example.com James Marinos Production Executive firstname.lastname@example.org Julie Champness Designer email@example.com Andrew Wooden Content Director firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Burton Managing Director email@example.com
CONTENTS Regulars 08 16 18 20 22 24 86 180
News Campaign of the Month Euromonitor Industry movers Industry opinion Crowdfunding focus ToyShop UK Toy Talk
Features 27 People who shaped the industry 35 Industry roundtable 38 Moose Toys 40 30 Under 30 48 Elan Lee 52 Mattel 60 Made in China? Licensing.biz 62 News 64 BBC Worldwide 66 Entertainment One 67 The Licensing Hot List Pre-school 73 News Retail 77 News 79 Retail Survey 84 Apprenticeships 88 Indie retailer
Editorial: 0207 354 6017 Advertising: 0207 354 6000 www.toynews-online.biz
NewBay Media is a member of the Periodical Publishers Associations AUDITED CIRCULATION: Average Net Circulation: 5,771 July 2014 – June 2015 nToyNews circulation is 11.2% higher than its closest competitor nToyNews has 100% named circulation and 0% duplication.
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To see what special features are in this bumper edition of ToyNews, turn the page.
o employ the well worn phrase and my own family’s historic motto here, tickle my Grandmother, Christmas went quick (and you should see the Coat of Arms that goes with it). Once again, the festive season has passed us by in the blink of an eye, pop of a cork and slur of inebriation. Luckily, we’re about to do it all again as we leap into the best cure for the January hangover: Toy Fair season. As the industry flocks to all corners of the globe, from London to New York, to celebrate the newest products to be filling the toy shelves for 2017, there’s no better time for us to champion just some of the iconic figures that have helped make the toy industry what it is today. And the best bit? They have all been voted for by you. Whether credited with opening the toy space to the world of modern licensing, or making a stand for female empowerment, you will find these industry icons honoured here. Of course, that’s not all we have to offer in this bumper edition as we deliver to you the exclusive content you so richly deserve, including industry roundtables and interviews with the likes of Mattel, Hasbro Studios and Kickstarter sensation Elan Lee as he launches his new games publishing company, Bear Food. It’s a very exciting year ahead for toys and we are delighted to bring you the latest from within this ever evolving industry, so do, read on.
Whether credited with opening the toy space to the world of modern licensing, or making a stand for female empowerment, you will find all manner of historic icons honoured here, within our special feature dedicated to the People Who Shaped the Industry.
Follow us @toynewsonline
PEOPLE WHO SHAPED THE INDUSTRY
CONTENTS Industry icons The toy industry is a bustling, creative space, bursting with energy, innovation and the best-selling new lines.
For years, we have championed the latest products to take the market by storm, without focusing on the people People Who behind them. Here, ToyNewsShaped celebrates some ofthe the mostIndustry iconic and enigmatic.......................27 figures to have helped shape the toy industry into what it is today, a space of big-heartedness, eccentricity and a heck of a lot of gumption.
Spring Fair ........................................................................... 89 Industry Roundtable ..............................................35
If Spring Fair is top of your toy event list then check out our guide, packed with details about all of the latest exhibitors and their products on show.
30 Under 30 (in association with Gameplan Europe) ......41 www.toynews-online.biz
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Elan Lee feature .....................................................48 Interview: Flair ..........................................................51
Nuremberg: Spielwarenmesse ..........................................101 Get ready for this year’s show in Nuremberg with the help of our guide, where you can find out what will be on display at this extensive event.
Mattel on building blockbusters ...........................52 Gibsons’ new generation..........................................54 Interview: BBC Worldwide ....................................64 Interview: eOne ......................................................66 This year’s Licensing Hot List..............................67 Toy training: Apprenticeships in the toy industry ....................................................................84 ToyShop UK: Tech revolution...............................86 06 January/February
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Toy Fair ..............................................................................117 Last but not least, the jam-packed London Toy Fair guide will fill you in on which toy companies will be gracing this year’s show floor at Olympia. www.toynews-online.biz
INSPIRING THE WONDER OF CHILDHOOD Â© 2017 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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TOMY takes flight with new toys for Kazoops The pre-school and licensed toy specialist has been named master toy partner for the popular animated younger years series in a deal that will see a line of figurines, play-sets, plush and games hit retailers from Q4 2017 BY JADE BURKE
ased on the adventures of a six-year-old boy called Monty and his pet pig, Cheeky Little Media’s pre-school series, Kazoops, has gained its master toy partner in TOMY. With plush, games, figurines and play-sets landing this June, UK licensing agent Art + Science is hopeful the line will reflect the show’s ability to challenge preconceptions and imagination. “Based on consumer feedback to date, we believe the line will prove very popular,” Nicola Webster, licensing director at Art + Science, told ToyNews.
“Kazoops is all about challenging preconceptions and imagination, and the toy line will reflect this.” UK retailers will also be able to get in on the action, with the full line-up set to hit retail during Q4 2017. And that’s not all, as
additional toy categories could also be on the way in the future. Webster continued: “As well as additional releases in the master toy line, discussions are well underway for other toy categories. Apparel will also launch in 2017,
alongside the current magazines we have in the portfolio.” With 78 episodes in production and positive feedback from viewers continuing, it looks like 2017 could be a big year of success for the Kazoops brand. Mark Foster, executive VP of TOMY Europe, added: “We at TOMY are delighted to be chosen as the master toy partner for this terrific property. As soon as we saw Kazoops we knew it was the perfect fit for us. “Monty’s inquisitive twist on the world, and his journeys into his own imagination accompanied by delightful characters, are something really fresh.” 01903 885 669
K’NEX canters into girls’ STEAM with new My Little Pony line After a banner year for the firm, K’NEX is encouraging girls’ into the world of STEAM with the leading brand BY JACK RIDSDALE Construction toy firm K’NEX is encouraging girls into STEAM subjects further this year, thanks to the launch of a new line based on the popular girls’ property, My Little Pony. “We’re excited to offer girls aged three and upwards a new way to play with one of the biggest licenses in the world,” Eileen Thornton, head of marketing at K’NEX UK, told ToyNews. “Figure packs each include a buildable character and accessory. We also have character building
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sets that include more pieces and building ideas for great play value.” The My Little Pony line is no doubt part of an ongoing effort to get girls involved in the creative world of construction toys. A study by the Institution for Engineering and Technology recently found that gendered toys could be discouraging girls from pursuing careers in engineering. It’s a notion K’NEX is actively working to dispel. “We are passionate about what we call STEAMagination – helping all kids develop their science, technology, engineering, arts and
maths skills through creative and engaging play,” explained K’NEX UK’s Thornton.
“Licenses like My Little Pony are a fantastic way to encourage girls to explore these skills in an exciting and aspirational way.” The firm is optimistic about the future of the brand hoping to widen the appeal of its portfolio through new products and licenses. “We know that girls and boys alike have always enjoyed playing with K’NEX,” added Thornton. “We also recognise that girls respond well to ranges and items designed to appeal to them specifically.” The My Little Pony K’NEX line will launch in 2017, coinciding with the series’ movie launch.
INSPIRING THE WONDER OF CHILDHOOD Â© 2017 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Esdevium adds to Rory’s Story Esdevium is hoping to witness ‘significant growth of the brand’ following its partnership with The Creativity Hub, which will see the release of a new licensed set for 2017 BY JADE BURKE
sdevium Games is bolstering its Rory’s Story Cubes offering to UK stores and is ‘expecting significant growth’ of the brand following its latest partnership with the game brand’s owner, The Creativity Hub. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say we are expecting significant growth of the brand and we really want to achieve this across the entire Story Cubes range as well as the Story Worlds range,” Ben Hogg, marketing manager at Esdevium Games, told ToyNews.
“By building awareness and allowing consumers to experience the game for themselves we have a great opportunity to bring Rory’s Story Cubes to even more people everywhere.” Already a well-known brand within the UK gaming and toy industry, Esdevium is planning to increase the presence of Story Cubes even more with support in stores and at key industry shows. Hogg continued: “We want to grow the in-store presence of the game and see it listed more widely as we think there is huge potential to build the brand in the UK.”
The brand also boasts an extensive licensing line, which comprises Batman, Moomin, Scooby-Doo, Doctor Who and Looney Tunes, with an additional unnamed set due to roll out later this year.
“We have a great new StoryWorld launch in 2017,” teased Hogg. ‘Rory’s Story Cubes: Adventure Time’ launches June.” Now that Esdevium has boosted its portfolio with additional Story Cubes collections, it looks like fans will start to see more and more of the brand as the firm ramps up its presence. “After our Toy Fair launch we hope to have a much wider distribution network for the game and shall support it with in-store initiatives, demonstrations, as well as more media awareness,” concluded Hogg. 01420 593 593
Top Race tops drone charts After sell-out success throughout 2016 with Top Race’s line of drones and RC vehicles, the company is keen to keep up with demand in the sector with the release of a brand new live camera drone later this year BY JADE BURKE After recently revealing that the demand for drones as rocketed, Top Race has experienced an ‘amazing year’ in the toy space, and is setting itself up to an even more prosperous 2017. Boasting a range of remotecontrolled helicopters, cars, drones and UFOs, Top Race’s offering isn’t short of varied products for avid fans and newcomers to R/C toys.
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“We have had an amazing year this year like never before, which made us happy to go forward with our new products for the coming year,” Naftuli Stern, company director at Top Race, told ToyNews. It seems the market is starting to grow and prove to be even more competitive;
something Top Race is keen to embrace with its wide-ranging and growing portfolio. Stern continued: “Drones are as popular, however there is much more competition in the market this year, but we stay strong with our unique styles and functions which makes us stand out in today’s market.
“Our two top products sold out completely with high demand on our TR-Q511 Quad Cam Drone and our TR-130 Off Road Rock Crawler Truck during 2016.” To help keep up with this trend, Top Race will roll out its latest TRMQ8 Spy Drone, which boasts a camera to take images and videos. And now that the firm’s sales team has been bolstered even further, it looks like 2017 is about to top 2016 for Top Race. (212) 920-7190
INSPIRING THE WONDER OF CHILDHOOD Â© 2017 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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What’s the forecast for independent retailers? With some notable closures taking place over the Christmas period, independent retailers are reflecting on their successes and failures over the previous year and assessing their plans for 2017. Jack Ridsdale sits down with some indie toy retailers to find out their forecasts for the year ahead and how they can compete with grocers
n January 3rd, ToyNews reported that 12-year industry stalwart, The Cambridge Toy Shop, had closed its doors. The shop’s owner Vivienne Watson cited high rent and increased parking fees as some of the reasons for the closure, leaving the business unable to compete with High Street chains and online retailers. As the economic environment grows harsher, many retailers are stepping into the New Year cautiously, knowing that a few false moves or unforeseen setbacks could be enough to sink an independent business. ToyNews reached out to Paul Warner, owner of When I Was a Kid, who’s shop in Cambridge also closed in the last twelve months, to get his take on what 2017 holds for indies across the nation. “If you think about the fact that two independent retailers have closed down in one of the most affluent cities in the country, that sends a huge message about the industry,” said Warner. “Retail is changing and people want convenience. People can get toys while buying groceries at Tesco or on Amazon and get it the next day. People want to do things at their convenience, when and where it suits them, and that doesn’t involve going into town.” While most retailers still feel positive about the industry, there is one major concern shared by almost all indies, which is undercutting from supermarket chains. Matt Booker of Automattic Comics and Toys spoke optimistically about his business,
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but explained that his 2016 was fraught with roadblocks from large chains discounting. “Now the supermarkets have entered the business, they’re discounting stuff that hasn’t even hit the shelves yet and there’s nothing we can do to combat it,” explained Booker.
Once you’re stuck in the price war you end up slashing your margins and then you haven’t got a viable business. Paul Warner, When I Was a Kid “People seem to be coming back to the High Street more, but discounting and bootlegging are becoming major problems.” Dave Carter, owner of the Arcade Toy Shop in Dudley echoed Booker’s sentiments.
“The discounts offered by bigger companies like Tesco and Argos means they end up selling products cheaper than we can buy them off the wholesalers because they get them from the manufacturers direct.” Cautiously optimistic following a successful year, Carter also highlighted lingering economic concerns. He added: “Companies are putting prices up, but I think that would have happened either way given the current economic climate. I remain on the fence as to whether Brexit will affect us but if these problems arise we will have to deal with them as best we can.” However, Peter Allinson of Whirligig had a rather more positive outlook, confident that the store’s offering was sufficiently unique to separate it from those struggling to compete with supermarket chains. “I’m not expecting 2017 to be a more difficult year,” commented Allinson. “We do something very different, we don’t sell LEGO or Barbie or any other big brands.
‘Make and Do’ products are really catching the attention of people because it’s something so different from most retailers.” Paul Warner shared Allinson’s sentiments saying that indie retailers simply cannot compete with the buying power of national chains and need to find ways of making themselves unique. “Once you’re stuck in the price war you end up slashing your margins and then you haven’t got a viable business,” added Warner. “Retailers need to re-invent themselves because retail is changing. At When I Was a Kid we’re creating personalised products, making products unique to us and finding ways of removing ourselves from that apples to apples comparison.” Supermarkets are showing no signs of easing off on their discount-all strategies that has led many retailers to focus on what makes them unique. For those retailers armed with a keen eye for new ideas, there is no reason not to be optimistic about the year ahead.
INSPIRING THE WONDER OF CHILDHOOD © 2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. © 2017 HIT Entertainment Limited.
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INSPIRING THE WONDER OF CHILDHOOD ©2017 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.™ & © 2017 WWE. All Rights Reserved. © 2017 Hit Entertainment Limited and Keith Chapman. © 2017 Acamar Films Ltd. DC SUPER HERO GIRLS and all related characters and elements © & ™ DC Comics. (s17) ©2017 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ©Disney/Pixar
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CAMPAIGN OF THE MONTH
Monster Smash Ups Wilton Bradley is kicking off 2017 in style with a monster new brand and multimedia marketing campaign to boot CONTACT: WILTON BRADLEY, 01626 835400
ilton Bradley has unveiled plans for a new TV and marketing campaign to support the launch of its new brand, Monster Smash Ups, at London Toy Fair 2017. The Monster Smash Ups brand consists of a range of radio control monster trucks that children can race, smash, eject and rebuild to their hearts content. The company has already produced a TV advert and promotional video, which will be launched at London Toy Fair in January on Stand E89. Wilton Bradley welcomes customers to its stand to smash and eject the monster trucks and get a glimpse of the promotional video.
The TV advert will form part of a multichannel marketing campaign that includes estimated impacts of over six million on kids’ TV alone. The brand will also use its toy influencer network on social media and in house marketing expertise to advertise the brand online. One of the unique features of the monster trucks is the ejector seat – when the monster trucks are crashed into another object, the front bumper of the monster truck activates the ejector seat, sending the character flying across the room. The trucks can be stripped down
and reassembled after crashes, allowing kids to rebuild them as much or as little as they want. The realistic monster truck suspension allow the trucks to tilt-turn, swerve and race. Children can also customise their own truck using the sticker set provided.
The 2.4G radio controlled trucks are also rechargeable and feature a 30 minute run time. There are three monster truck characters to collect – Vicious Viper, Raging Raptor and Rowdy Rhino. The three characters are from a galaxy far away, in a world dominated by truck battles. This planet has its own Monster Smash Ups Arena, where brutal contests of speed, skill and strength leave only the fiercest standing. The brand, which has been created and developed by Wilton Bradley between its HQ in Exeter and the Hong Kong office, is one of a number of new brands and product ranges developed by the company to watch out for in 2017.
Generation Media’s Lauren Coombs highlights how the toy market can take advantage of low cost kids’ TV Source: BARB 2016
t is commonplace for categories outside of the toy and games market to take advantage of low cost impacts on kids’ TV to reach adults, and more specifically mum audiences. Is it any wonder then, that when you look at all commercial TV (kids and non-kids), toy and games TV ads only account for 18 per cent of all commercials seen by kids (January to November). So brands not targeting kids are fighting for attention on kids channels, so how do toy and games campaigns fight back? Traditionally costs are too high outside of kids’ TV for a toy advertiser to run a full campaign on the likes of ITV and Channel 4. However pressure on kids’ airtime
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is forcing advertisers to think smarter with advertising budgets. Impacts on the kids’ commercial channel set has remained static year-on-year, but it is projected that demand across the key period increased c.10 per cent year-onyear. It is no surprise therefore that
more campaigns chose to compete in the non-kids space. There was a 39 per cent increase year-on-year of brands using non-kids’ TV (122 versus 88 in the same period in 2015). For example, Hasbro’s Captain America in Super Girl on Sky 1, Mattel Barbie Dolls only aired across adults channels in November to December, with spots in Dance Moms on 5Star, The Big Bang Theory on E4 and films on ITV2 such as Yogi Bear. One may question that with more campaigns competing in this space, it may mean that budget is being spread too thinly. However this is not the case; TVRs
per campaign remained static per campaign and the growth in estimated spend was in line with the increase in brand count. Approximately 35 per cent more has been spent on this type of activity versus 2015, meaning it accounts for c.15 per cent of the total estimated TV spend for the toys and games market. Non-kids’ TV therefore is of growing importance to the overall media mix. However, not every plan will work to this level of spend distribution, with different categories (e.g. girls versus pre-school) returning varying budget splits.
ToyNews PlayTime is provided by Generation Media
0207 307 7900 | www.generationmedia.co.uk www.toynews-online.biz
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22/12/2016 13:55:52 05/01/2017 12:07
A worldly view Euromonitor International toy and games analyst, Matthew Hudak looks at how the traditional toy and games market is faring on a global scale. From the predicted boom in China after the end of the one child policy, to the slow down in Brazil following the outbreak of the Zika virus, the research company explores just how geopolitical and social movements are impacting on the toy space MATTHEW HUDAK
merging markets, following a slowdown in traditional toy sales due to macroeconomic volatility, are expected to recover through 2020 and once again drive traditional toys and games growth across the globe. However, emerging market growth will differ based on the income and demographic trends of emerging countries, from growth markets like China that will have positive income and child demographic trends, to stalled markets like Brazil that face negative trends. While the macro environment in many emerging markets could remain unstable in the short to medium term, research detailed in the new report ‘The Shifting Dynamics of Traditional Toys in Emerging Markets” points to improving prospects in India, Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia and China in 2020 to 2030, as well as possible long term issues in the Brazilian market.
Analyst - Toys & Games, Euromonitor International
Russia’s stabilising economy will be the driver of toy growth through 2020, but birth rates will continue to decline. Matthew Hudak, Euromonitor
Traditional Toys and Games Sales CAGR In Key Emerging Markets: 2015-2020 China India Sub-Saharan Africa Russia Brazil 0
% CAGR 2015-2020 Source: Euromonitor International
China’s growth market China is expected to see high growth in incomes over 2020, and the end of the one child policy could have a positive impact on child demographics. While a large amount of Chinese households will not have income levels high enough to support multi-child households, middle- and upperincome families, which are key toy buying households, will be able to. This growth, however, will be short lived and beyond 2020 birth rates will likely fall considerably in China, making the toy market in the country more dependent on income giants. India and Sub-Sahara Africa population driven India and Sub-Saharan Africa both are relatively low income markets with substantial child populations. While both incomes and child populations are expected to grow through 2020, discretionary spending will likely be low due to the large amount of the population with very low disposable incomes. Therefore, toy growth in these markets will largely be derived from the large base of children, and come from mostly low cost toys. Beyond 2020, however, demographic trends will continue to be positive, and income gains might have a more appreciable impact on toy sales. This is especially true for India, which will eventually reach levels of disposable income per household similar to China in 2010, which was the beginning of a period of high toy growth for the Chinese market.
Wealth drives Russia’s toy sales Russia is in the midst of recovering from economic issues brought on by a drop in oil prices and an unstable geopolitical outlook. However, the country’s economy shows signs of stabilising, and incomes are subsequently on the rise again. This will be the core driver of toy growth through 2020, as new child births continue to heavily decline in the country despite government programmes to entice families to have more children. Even with a recovering economy through 2030, the child population is expected to continue to see steep declines, and the country will become even more wealth driven, relying on premium and licensed toy purchases to sustain growth. Brazil, a stalled toy market Brazil has faced a variety of issues that have slowed its traditional toy growth. Political stability and macroeconomic volatility has negatively impacted income growth and the threat of the Zika virus has caused many families to delay having children until they can be assured it is safe. These issues have negatively impacted traditional toy growth and are further exacerbated by the country’s heavy import levies. While the economic issues are expected to stabilise, the child population is not expected to see major growth, and should the Latin America region as a whole experience a period of stagnation, Brazil could see further income declines that would have a major negative impact on toy spending.
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 http://www.euromonitor.com/
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Industry moves Sambro is kicking off 2017 by giving us the scoop on its latest licenses and just what the New Year will be bringing. Meanwhile LEGO sees some major moves, as Bali Padda takes the reigns and John Goodwin departs TEAM OF THE MONTH: SAMBRO Who’s in the team? There are over 110 of us at the head office in Bury alone. This huge team is made up of sales, buying, marketing, design, IT, HR and warehouse staff.
The biggest challenges have been keeping up with the demands of that ambition but our turnover and predicted turnover for 2017 and beyond shows that we are rising to the challenge.
What have been your biggest successes of 2016? Too many to mention - more new licenses, the creation of a Soft Lines Division and numerous key appointments to our ever-growing senior team.
What’s your favourite part of working in the toy industry? There is a constant expectation to create unique and innovative products that make a licensed property stand out and we love the ever-evolving challenge.
What has been the biggest challenge of the year? We have a really ambitious growth strategy that we are determined to implement both in the UK and across other territories.
What’s the hardest part of working in the toy industry? The fast-moving nature of the toy industry is both a blessing and a curse. Our team has to really pull together to deliver products
LEGO n The construction toy firm is undergoing its biggest executive reshuffle in 84 years as it names BALI PADDA as its new CEO. Padda will be taking over from JORGEN VIG KNUDSTROP who moves into the role of Chairman of the Group’s recently formed entity, The LEGO Brand Group. His deputy chairman will be THOMAS KIRK KRISTENSEN, while LEGO’s chief financial officer JOHN GOODWIN (pictured) will leave the company on June 30th, 2017.
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GENERATION MEDIA n REBECCA PRICE has been named the firm’s new senior digital manager within nGen, the company’s dedicated online resource. Price joins the team from M2M where she managed digital campaigns across Estee Lauder. Price will produce online insight, advice on digital strategy and deliver client campaigns. She will report to MARTIN DOYLE. Meanwhile, SARAH FROST has joined the research and insights firm as insight manager. Having previously worked at Kantaur Media on a wide range of projects, from small, bespoke
that are quality and competitively priced as well as quickly. Why will 2017 be big for you? We have some amazing new licenses coming up in 2017
studies to large-scale projects, Frost’s expertise covers both quantitative and qualitative research methods. “I have always been passionate about research with young people and am really excited to be joining a team that has such an in-depth and specialist knowledge of this market,” said Frost.
GP FLAIR n SIMON HEDGE has been promoted to the role of VP of licensing and distribution development. Hedge was promoted to the position of group vice president for licensing and distribution development at the firm and will take on the role in addition to his current role as managing director.
including Despicable Me 3 and Cars 3. There will be even more news announced at the various shows so we urge visitors to come along to the stands. We are looking forward to the year ahead.
“We felt the time was right for Simon to take on a bigger role by working even more closely with key suppliers and our licensing partners,” said MR BERTE, CEO for sales and marketing.
BLADEZ TOYZ n The RC toys specialist has welcomed a new QA and compliance manager in the form of SAM MITCHELL. Mitchell boasts over a decade of toy industry QA experience having held tenure at the likes of Toys R Us in the private label QA department as well as a five and a half year post at the toy firm, Vivid. The team has welcomed Mitchell, saying her experience is exactly what it has been looking for.
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19/12/2016 17:50:34 17:59 19/12/2016 17:35
Talk to the doll IP and data protection specialist, Jeremy Morton delves into recent issues surrounding children’s online privacy brought to light by new interactive dolls
Questions have been asked of US law, illustrating how important data privacy has become in today’s toy industry.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeremy Morton is a solicitor who advises in the specialist areas of intellectual property and data protection law at law firm Harbottle & Lewis. Contact him a www.harbottle.com/jeremymorton
S consumer groups have filed a complaint to the FTC against Genesis Toys, makers of the i-Que Intelligent Robot and My Friend Cayla dolls. The complaint alleges that the toys record and collect the private conversations of young children without adequate safeguards. This raises questions of US law (in particular, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) which have not yet been decided, but the situation illustrates how important data privacy laws have become in the industry. The complaint alleges that Cayla is pre-programmed with responses referencing Disney movies, and that this amounts to disguised advertising under US regulations. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority ‘CAP Code’ applies to in-game advertising, and requires
marketing communications to be obviously identifiable as such. However, the Code is “primarily concerned with the content of marketing communications and not with products themselves,” so its application to messages from an interactive doll is a grey area. A year ago, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office was considering action against several such businesses under data protection laws. This coincided with findings by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), which reviewed around 1,500 sites and apps. More than 600 left the authorities ‘uncomfortable’. Unlike several of the sites in GPEN’s survey, the Genesis dolls are exclusively aimed at children and bought for them by adults who can read the small-print. But if these dolls are merely recording children’s voices, why is
there a perceived problem at all? Is that even identifiable ‘personal data’? Potentially, yes. First, because there is an associated app, and secondly because children will give personal information to the doll. That may not even be about them, but about their friends, relatives or teachers. This isn’t a legal problem from the child’s or their family’s point of view, but legal responsibilities do land with the businesses that receive and process the data, including third parties to whom data analysis may be outsourced. Another issue with Bluetoothenabled data collection is security. Compliance requirements are only going to get stricter under the new EU General Data Protection Regulation which will take effect from 2018, compounded by the lack of a universal definition of ‘children’. Changes are coming.
Looty call With new Marvel, Star Wars or DC releases and a wealth of hit TV series on our screens, Loot Crate’s Erik Reynolds explains why now is right to become a collector
Adult collector? Yes. We are. And we are proud. It gives us a sense of ownership and participation in some fantastical worlds and stories. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Erik Reynolds is the head of corporate communications at the popular culture collector’s platform, Loot Crate. Erik Reynolds can be contacted via MWWPR.
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e grew up during a pop culture explosion. The ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s were a supernova of new properties that took our imaginations and childhoods to new heights. Whether it was super heroes, time travelers, or wizards and dragons, the last 30 years have seen our cultural landscape transformed. And the allliance force of this new fandom is the adult collector. Adult collector? Yes. We are. And we are proud. To us, these aren’t just fantasy stories that take place in outer-space or Middle Earth. These are worlds that are just as real as our own and we want to celebrate our love for
them. And that’s why we collect. It gives us a sense of ownership. Of participation. Many times a sense of accomplishment. Getting that last figure or that hard to find issue can be a truly magical experience. And that is where Loot Crate comes in. Loot Crate has become the main source for exclusive, collectable merchandise for global pop culture fans. We are collectors ourselves and experts in delivering magical experiences to our more than 65,000 subscribers across the globe. We bootstrapped our growth for three years based on the incredible thirst for pop culture delivered right to collectors’ homes. In our fourth year, we’re now shipping to
35 countries, and starting to build teams and invest in communities in other countries around the world, including the UK. We believe the UK presents an incredible growth opportunity for Loot Crate, and we look forward to opening our first international office in the region this year. It’s an unprecedented time for the adult collector. We’re living in a world with new Marvel, DC and Stars Wars movies every year. Cult TV has never been cooler. From Sherlock to Stranger Things and Game of Thrones. We love them all. And it’s our love that is leading the way in Hollywood, across pop culture and the most coveted consumer products.
With big screen movie launches featuring strong female characters and more toy campaigns than ever before encouraging empowerment among young girls, Jade Burke takes a look at why the toy industry is championing this notion
2017 will see girls revel in the fact that superheroes and supervillains aren’t just male anymore. We are as well and a lot more and this is our year.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Cat lover, paté enthusiast and Deputy Editor on ToyNews, Jade Burke can often be found knocking back the rosé at her local. She hates cheese. Jade Burke can be contacted on JBurke@ nbmedia.com
hen I was little my sister and I were never without a Barbie in our hands, creating make-believe scenarios in which the iconic doll was living the life, in a flash flat with all her fellow Barbie friends. Looking back at the years and seeing how far this influential, fictional character has come, it’s pretty mind-blowing. This year will see Barbie empower young girls to become exactly who they want to be, whether that’s a doctor, astronaut or Prime Minister, Barbie is here to get kids thinking about their future and to prove that you can be whoever you want to be. Couple that with the inspiring new doll body shapes with different skin tones and Barbie is a force to be reckoned with, transforming a lot of lives.
It certainly looks like 2017 is the year of empowerment across the toy industry, with various toy releases and films championing this very theme. Last year saw the release of Suicide Squad, introducing fans to the kick-ass supervillian Harley Quinn. Portrayed by actress Margot Robbie, Quinn truly was the embodiment of an independent woman. This year will also see actress Gal Gadot take on the role of Wonder Woman, once again igniting that theme of empowerment as the superhero fights evil to try and save the world. And with toys depicting both of these female characters already available, young girls will now be able to revel in the fact that superheroes and supervillains aren’t just male anymore. We are as well, and a lot more.
But that isn’t all, as Warner Brothers Consumer Products and DC Entertainment, in partnership with Mattel, have joined forces to develop DC Super Hero Girls, a new franchise that brings iconic female characters from the DC Comics world together. Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Supergirl: they’re all in there, making up my and many others’ ultimate girl squad. There’s no doubt that by offering a new immersive world with the DC Super Hero Girls, as well as an extensive toy line, that these characters will offer young girls a positive role model to look up to, and of course inspire them to be who they want to be. Thanks to developments like this in the industry, 2017 truly looks set to motivate women and girls. So, in the words of Beyoncé, ‘Who run the World? Girls’.
Piecing it together Adult puzzling on the up, and group puzzling is more popular than ever. Jumbo Games’ MD, Stewart Middleton, explains why this hobby is in a revival
Puzzle fans now range from 18 to 70, putting the perception of it being an older generation hobby to bed once and for all. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stewart Middleton is the managing director of the UK leading puzzle manufacturer, Jumbo Games.
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o often seen as a bit of an ‘uncool’ trend for ‘old people’, the adult puzzle market is on the up. And for us, this is no real surprise. The truth is, there isn’t just one reason as to why we’re seeing this trend, as there are many reasons why puzzling is such a popular past time for adults. Puzzling is a cost-effective past time, that gives people enjoyment, while not breaking the bank or leaving the comfort of their home. The time of the year is of course important, as puzzling has always been seen as an autumnal activity, with adult puzzles sales doubling in the final months of the year, when the nights get longer and people spend more time indoors.
At Christmas people look to add new puzzles to their ‘Christmas collection’ and the fact that they can be enjoyed alone, with family or friends, it is often a big part of family Christmas celebrations. As a result of this, we are seeing a younger demographic starting get into puzzling. We have seen the younger demographic through our Wasgij fan base across our social media platforms, which is fantastic to see and great for us to interact with. Fans now range from 18 up to 70 plus, with a 70/30 spilt between female and male puzzlers, putting the perception of it being an older generation only hobby to bed. The image will always play a huge part to whether a puzzle will
be successful or not, which seems obvious, but not all great images make great puzzles. Jigsaws that challenge the puzzler to think a little more than just piecing together the image on the box are growing in demand and, as we experience, fan bases are building for them. They offer an added value and level of interaction and enjoyment to a traditional past time, which is why Wasgij is so hugely popular and addictively collectable. Licenses dip in popularity among adult puzzlers, however I believe the growth and interest in puzzles for adults will continue to build through 2017, with more new and younger consumers getting hooked on this pastime.
RACE TO INFINITY
Race to infinity For many, maths can be the source of great anxiety and challenge. Enter, Race To Infinity, a board game designed to turn maths into something children love through play. Jade Burke caught up with the game’s inventor, Grace Olugbodi, to find out the story behind this unique game. Platform: Indiegogo Goal: £7,500
Can you tell me a bit about the Race to Infinity Board Game? Race to Infinity is a family educational board game that helps children fall in love with and enjoy maths more, build confidence, reduce mathematical anxiety, make maths fun, increase grades and build more opportunities for a successful future. When playing the game, players are racing to be the first to get to Infinity and need to make decisions on higher dice value rolls; and earn credit tokens as they travel through. It is a mix of strategy and luck so anything can happen when players think. It covers the fundamental main maths operations, particularly the 12 multiplication times table and in addition, angles and the main principles of time-telling. The way it works is such that children, while playing the game, are learning and improving their fundamental maths skills, but don’t realise they are learning. They think they are playing. Why is it important for you to teach children to love maths? I believe that maths is a crucial, fundamental life skill that the current and future young generations cannot do without to be successful in life. The problem I found while I have been in the maths games arena for over 15 years and in schools is this: Too many children hate maths, don’t believe they can get good at maths and find it a boring chore. They don’t see the point in doing it and don’t have enough confidence. What has reception been like for the game so far?
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Reception for the game has been nothing short of amazing. I am amazed but very thankful. We have got seal of approvals and endorsements from large
Up to half the adults in the UK have numeracy levels of an 11 year old. This game will help both children and parents engage with maths.
consolidate all of your information, endorsements, what you are about and how you are helping people to make their lives better. It also gives proof of concept and is a brilliant testing ground. The bigger problem is that many parents are afraid of maths themselves and don’t know how to help their children with maths.
organisations and top people in the education industry and educational games industry.
Do you think there will be a place for the Race To Infinity Board Game in schools? Certainly. We have already tested the game in schools and all the playtest demonstrations we carried out were very positive. We have over 100 testimonials comprising fantastic responses from children, teachers, head of tuition centres, special needs schools and parents.
What are your thoughts on crowdfunding platforms? I think crowdfunding platforms are great and such a great way to
How can UK retailers get on board with the game? UK retailers will be able to stock the game from December 2016.
Grace Olugbodi, Race to Infinity
Retailers or distributors interested in having a chat should contact us at email@example.com. What’s next for you? We will be going into more schools. We are working on setting up an initiative to help deprived children and children from disadvantaged backgrounds. We will be developing a couple of apps and online courses that help parents effectively and confidently help and support their children with the subject of maths. Anything else you’d like to add? Statistics in the last few years showed that up to half the adults in the UK have numeracy levels no greater than that of an 11 year old and that the numeracy problem is costing the UK economy £20 billions a year. Therefore low levels in numeracy is a very key problem that needs to be solved and the notion of turning maths learning into a game is the surefire way.
NEW TV! • Season 2 set to hit screens in 2017 across EMEA • Season 1 a major global kids’ TV hit • Season 1 airing in over 100 countries worldwide!
NEW GAMES! • Sonic is returning to console! • Two major multiplatform releases in 2017 • Over 350 million games sold and downloaded
MOVIE! • A new hybrid CG-animated/live-action family film is being developed with Sony Pictures! • Produced by the Fast and the Furious franchise producer, Neal Moritz! • Deadpool director Tim Miller is attached to develop and executive produce the film! © SEGA / Technicolor
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PEOPLE WHO SHAPED THE INDUSTRY
Industry icons The toy industry is a bustling, creative space, bursting with energy, innovation and the best-selling new lines. For years, we have championed the latest products to take the market by storm, without focusing on the people behind them. Here, ToyNews celebrates some of the most iconic and enigmatic figures to have helped shape the toy industry into what it is today, a space of big-heartedness, eccentricity and a heck of a lot of gumption.
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PEOPLE WHO SHAPED THE INDUSTRY
MATTEL CO-FOUNDER AND CREATOR OF BARBIE
esponsible for perhaps one of the world’s most iconic toys, Ruth Handler will go down not only in the industry’s history, but the world’s, as a pioneering spirit and a champion of female empowerment. Not only did Handler co-found the toy company Mattel, she instigated a cultural revolution that her doll brand, Barbie has continued to be at the forefront of to this day with new innovation and positivity.
It was in 1959 that Handler first launched the famous doll – complete with breasts – to a predominantly male populated US Toy Fair. The doll became an instant sensation, the success of which propelled Mattel to become a publicly owned company that soon after cracked Fortune’s list of the 500 largest US industrial firms. Barbie continues to fly that same flag for entrepreneurialism and free-thinking among children today through its recent launches of new body shapes and skin tones, carrying at its heart that inclusivity and positivity that Handler brought to the toy space some 60 years ago. A businesswoman and inventor at heart, Handler was also a cancer survivor and humanitarian, and through her success with Mattel set up a second business, Nearly Me, a manufacturer of realistic looking breast prostheses, yet another example of Handler’s continued efforts to offer support to women across the globe. Her place in history is therefore secured.
Hilary Page KIDDICRAFT FOUNDER, AUTHOR AND CREATOR OF THE FIRST INTERLOCKING BRICK SYSTEM
If ever there was some one to live, breathe, sleep and eat toys, Hilary Page was that person. But let’s put his peculiar set of dietary requirements aside for a moment and focus on the task at hand. Page has widely become recognised as the embodiment of the British toy industry and has been labelled a ‘magnificent brain’ for not only pioneering the design and manufacture of children’s toys, or for his portfolio of over 30 British toy patents, but also for his role in promoting the power of toys in child development. Hailed by many as ‘way ahead of his time’, Page wrote a string of books back in the 1930s, highlighting the benefits of playing with toys for the development of children, a revelation at the time. The work Page put into the toy industry since his first steps within it back in 1932 and the inception of Kiddicraft, is still felt today, whether it is in the search for varied and innovative means of manufacturing,
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research into child development and even the success of LEGO. Page brought plastics into the toy space, lectured on the benefits of trade between the US and UK and, oh yes, first struck upon the concept of interlocking bricks in 1947, three years before LEGO arrived. Page’s penchant for intelligent eccentricity, business, foresight and bigheartedness is the backbone of the UK toy industry today.
CO-FOUNDER CHARACTER OPTIONS
aving joined Character Options in September 1991 from Rainbow Toys Limited, Diver boasts around 25 years’ experience in the toy industry under his belt. Having only been at Character for a few years, in 1994 Diver earned his position as group marketing director, where he was responsible for working with the Group’s extensive line-up of suppliers, licensors and a wealth of manufacturers. Thanks to his expertise in the field, it’s no wonder Diver has gone on to become joint managing director of the toy firm, alongside Kiran Shah. Famously one quarter of the industry’s renowned ‘Four’, Jon Diver is far from just a fraction of the success and influence that he and the company he helped found has brought the UK toy industry over the years. A founding figure of Character Options, Diver – both the current BTHA Chairman and obsessive humanitarian through his constant fundraising efforts for numerous charity organisations – is a fine figurehead for the heart and passion that the UK and global toy market possesses. 2016 also saw Diver, alongside Character’s Richard King, Joe Kissane, Shah, pick up the prestigious BTHA Lifetime Achievement accolade, thanks to his efforts in the toy industry over the years. It therefore only makes sense that Diver has made the cut and found his place on the list of those particular individuals who have shaped the industry.
PEOPLE WHO SHAPED THE INDUSTRY
Perry Chen CREATOR AND CHAIRMAN, KICKSTARTER
orn and raised in New York City, Chen is undoubtedly most famous for the creation of crowdfunding site, Kickstarter, alongside cofounders Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler. After launching the platform in 2009, Chen has spent time from 2006 to 2013 perfecting his creation, which has gone on to successfully launch 117,242 projects with $2,793,948,743 total dollars pledged to Kickstarter projects since the site’s official launch date. Responsible for a launching Kickstarter success stories, including the likes of Exploding Kittens, Jooki, Bears vs. Babies, Kingdom Death, Lightseekers and more, the site’s offering to the toy industry is extensive to say the least. But that’s not all, at the age of 36, Chen has also been recognised as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people, thanks to his forwardthinking and innovative ideas for individuals looking to launch their own projects.
As a budding artist based in the Big Apple, Chen previously co-founded the Southfirst Gallery in Brooklyn back in 2001, but it his artistic eye for the changing future that we celebrate in these pages, as Kickstarter plays a larger and larger role within this bustling and always forward thinking toy industry. Considering the success and achievements of Chen, thanks to the development of the crowdfunding platform and its role in building communities of fans, it’s only right that Chen finds his place on this list.
Jim Henson CREATOR, THE MUPPETS
ust imagine knowing that you were the creator of the longtime children and adults favourite, the Muppets. That’s exactly what Henson was guilty of, and no doubt transformed millions of children’s lives growing up thanks to the characters he developed and nurtured over the years. After initially forming the Muppets, Henson was approached to create a new show that would star these characters, which would later be known as Sesame Street. After agreeing to expand the brand, Henson took the reins on the show and even performed as some of the leading characters including Kermit the Frog, Ernie and Guy Smiley. Sesame Street proved to be a popular property with children, but Henson believed that it could entertain a wider family audience, and in 1975 production began at Lord Lew Grade’s ATV Studios, where fans were introduced to the now iconic Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal and The Great Gonzo.
Henson passed away suddenly in late 1990, but his legacy continues to reverberate across the toy industry and most certainly resonate with his many fans, young and old. Henson not only brought wit, charm and a hell of a lot of cute to the children’s entertainment space, its knock-on effect and licensing roll out continues to produce top selling toys today. Who, after all, doesn’t love a Tickle Me Elmo? Today, The Jim Henson Company is run by this famous pupeteer’s children, Lisa Brian, Heather and Cheryl Henson. Long may they continue to deliver the laughter.
Gary Grant CEO OF THE ENTERTAINER
nown for developing one of the leading independent toy retail stores throughout the UK, Grant has no doubt helped to put a smile on the face of many a child, year in, year out - and not only due to the retailer’s extensive offering of top-selling products, but his upstanding attitude towards giving back through charity. The brainchild of Grant and his wife Catherine Grant, The Entertainer was founded back in 1981, when the pair bought the first toy shop in Amersham. The retail chain quickly grew from this point and today boasts over 127 stores across the country.
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As a seasoned pro within the industry, Grant has been recognised by the BTHA for his continued efforts within the business and in 2015 awarded him with the Lifetime Achievement Award. “Gary’s contribution to the toy industry has been hugely significant,” said the BTHA’s Kevin Jones. “His personal drive and energy have combined with a tenacious ambition to lead The Entertainer to become a recognised name across our High Streets.” Grant’s charity initiative of donating 10 per cent of all of The Entertainer’s profits back to children’s charities has been widely revered.
PEOPLE WHO SHAPED THE INDUSTRY
Betty James CO-CREATOR OF THE SLINKY
hile her husband Richard T. James was the mind behind the iconic toy, it was Betty James that engineered the Slinky’s ascension (or should we say descension) to fame. The pair devised the concept for the walking toy and together, they pitched the idea to the Gimbels Department Store in Philadelphia. One short demonstration later and the customers were hooked.
Within 90 minutes, all 400 Slinkies the pair had brought with them were sold out. The pair went on to create James Spring and Wire Company and along with it came advertising campaigns, new products and the foundation of a world-renowned brand. In 1960, Betty’s world turned upside down when her husband left the country to Bolivia to join a religious group. Betty was left to care for her six children, while running the Slinky business at the same time. For most, this pressure would be too much to handle, but never one to falter in the face of adversity, Betty took the position of CEO at James Industries and lead the company to create Slinky’s now iconic jingle. By the 1990s, new life was breathed into the brand with the Slinky Dog featured in the movie Toy Story and in 2001, and the woman who saved the Slinky from extinction was inducted into the Toy Manufacturers Assocation’s Hall of Fame. We celebrate her here now, too.
Lesley Scott CREATOR OF JENGA
here are so many iconic games that have flooded the market, with the likes of Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble and Risk, all proving popular with families and friends. So imagine Scott’s delight when she successfully launched Jenga. Having spent her childhood growing up in Africa during the 1950s and 60s, Scott was able to conjure up the idea of Jenga based on a game she played in the early 70s with her baby brother’s toy building blocks. After initially launching her idea into the market, Scott wasn’t short of interest from manufacturers, and even took up a stand at London Toy Fair to showcase her new, stacking, tumbling product. However, difficulties soon arose when Scott realised retailers were not as interested in a one-man band as the previously believed. Despite this, Jenga has now grown to become a household name within the games industry, and has no
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doubt entertained many a party or two. Her success certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed either, as Scott was previously nominated as a finalist in ToyNews’ Women of the Year awards in 2015, celebrated for her work in creating and publishing well over 40 board games during her career. Couple that with the fact that Scott founded the gaming retailer Oxford Games with her former partner in design, Sara Finch, this entrepreur has gone on to become a well-respected member of the toy industry, securing her place in this year’s list.
I-Wei Huang DESIGNER, SKYLANDERS
hile you may not be familiar with the name, you will most certainly be familiar with I-Wei Huang’s creations. Despite being the chief designer of Activision’s multi-million dollar franchise, I-Wei Huang, the creator of Skylanders, largely ignores the ‘business’ side of the franchise, instead choosing to let his inner child be the fuel to his creative fire. While quiet and mild-mannered on the surface, within I-Wei’s mind burns a fiery creativity, one that has sparked the imaginations of children the world over. All of Huang’s creations start life as a simple doodle, and his over-active imagination does the rest, spinning out simple shapes into weird and wonderful character designs that can tap into the imaginations of children everywhere. Growing up on a steady diet of Star Wars and cartoons, Huang has an insatiable appetite for creativity, building sci-fi out of everyday household items. From here Huang went on to work on videogames, which eventually landed him in Skylanders manufacturer Toys for Bob. Here, Huang spent his days designing toys that would eventually find homes in the bedrooms of thousands of youngsters, while still creating mechanical R/C creations in his spare time. Skylanders grew into a multi-million dollar franchise and started its own genre, ‘Toys to Life’, melding the worlds of toys and videogames into one, wild and wonderful universe, a show of magnificent foresight.
PEOPLE WHO SHAPED THE INDUSTRY
Sir Torquil Norman
FOUNDER OF BLUEBIRD TOYS AND INVENTOR OF THE BIG YELLOW TEAPOT
ighter pilot, fashionista, Cambridge illuminati: there’s little Sir Torquil Norman hasn’t achieved over his illustrious career. Add to that, formative member of the UK toy industry and you have the full set. Norman paid rest to his traditional career path when he invented the Big Yellow Teapot. And for those of you who do not recognise it by name, then shame on you. Big Yellow Teapot, in fact, became one of Britain’s most popular toys and paved the way for the formation of Norman’s own toy company, Bluebird Toys. The firm itself went on to deliver many an iconic toy line to
the UK and global industry, the pinnacle of which is arguably, Polly Pocket. With an entrepreneurial spirit and desire to deliver a difference wherever he laid his hat, Norman retired from the toy business in 1996 before going on to buy the Roundhouse in Camden, North London, where he spent ten years rebuilding and restoring it to glory. The purpose? To help young, disadvantaged people by offering them creative challenges in the area they chose. The reward of which is that Norman has seen over 20,000 people benefit from his efforts. Not just an industry shaper, but a life changer, too.
CEO OF FLAIR
rown’s time in the industry is nothing but varied, with stints at Palitoy, TOMY and K’NEX to name a few. With invitations to also join Hasbro’s team in the past, Brown felt it was time to take on other opportunities instead and decided to develop a brand new company from scratch. With the help of industry veteran Richard Beecham and shareholders from big name brands including Hasbro, Epoch, Learning Curve and industry colleagues such as Gary Grant and David Fogel, Flair Leisure Products was formed. Thanks to Brown’s extensive knowledge of the industry, Flair was able to grow steadily as a company, taking on various licences and toy brands for fans to enjoy. As the company continued its growth, Flair became the UK arm for Giochi Preziosi Group, which saw Brown move up the ranks as an active member of the Flair management team, currently acting as CEO.
As a seasoned member of the toy industry, Brown has also served on the Council of the British Toy and Hobby Association since 1989, and has been a valuable member of the ToyTrust Committee since its very inception. It is due to all of his achievements over his numerous years in the toy business that Brown was also awarded with The British Toy & Hobby Association’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement gong. Thanks to his commitment to the sector, it’s unsurprising that Brown has made such an impact and truly shaped the industry.
Horst Brandstatter FORMER OWNER OF BRANDSTATTER GROUP AND CREATOR OF PLAYMOBIL
hile Brandstatter is widely famed as the creator of the hugley celebrated miniature plastic construction toys, Playmobil, the man himself cuts a far greater figure within the industry. The former owner and president of geobora Brandstatter GmBH & Co. KG and head of Brandstatter Holding, Brandstatter is the great-grandson of the company’s founder Andreas Brandstatter. Having spent a lifetime around the toy industry, Brandstatter joined the family business in 1952 and since dedicated
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61 full years to the developments and innovative breakthroughs within it. Brandstatter has been credited with modernising the firm’s production facilities and making the change from tin to plastics. In 1974, he introduced the two-inch Playmobil figurine to the world, a line that made its debut at the Nuremberg Toy Fair. These little figures have gone on to be produced to the tune of 2.6 billion worldwide. A giant feat for such a tiny toy and a sterling achievement and one that will go down in history.
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PEOPLE WHO SHAPED THE INDUSTRY
Richard Beecham George Lucas DIRECTOR, FOUNDER OF LUCASFILM AND CREATOR OF STAR WARS
CHAIRMAN OF FLAIR
s one of the minds behind the immensely successful Flair brand, Richard Beecham is a name that can be looked up to by toy industry members the world over. At 85, Beecham’s legacy is enviable. As one of the original co-founders of Flair Leisure Products plc, Beecham is responsible for introducing the world to such iconic creations as The Ninja Turtles line, Shopkins and Trolls. Beecham was a lifelong mentor to Peter Brown and helped guide the company from its launch to the licensing powerhouse that it is known as today. Outside of products, where Beecham truly inspires his peers is in his continued and varied philanthropic efforts.
I As the winner of the 2016 Toy Trust Outstanding Contribution Award, Beecham has made incredible personal donations to the Trust, totalling £125,000 to the Toy Trust which has enabled the charity to continue its work of provision for disadvantaged and disabled children in the UK and overseas. As outgoing chairman of the firm, Beecham is responsible for liaising with shareholders and keeping the company running as the well-oiled machine it has come to be known as.
COMIC BOOK WRITER, CREATOR OF SPAWN AND FOUNDER OF MCFARLANE TOYS
lfred Hitchcock had it, David Lynch has all but lost it, and – albeit via a different medium – Todd McFarlane most certainly oozes it. And it is auteuristic vision. Born in, Alberta, Canada in 1961, McFarlane has been credited with putting the cool into cult-collectables with a name that has become synonymous with pop culture action figures, spanning comic book characters and TV series through to NFL and NBA players. A cartoonist and designer at heart, McFarlane’s early career saw him work with Marvel and Epic Comics, developing the likes of Batman and Spider-Man into the iconic characters we know today. From here, he went on to set up his own comic book publishing group, Image Comics where he conceived the Spawn
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magine waking up every morning, looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking, ‘I created Star Wars.’ You’re right, to you and me, it’s the ritual of a mad man. But to Lucas,it’s part of his beautifullygroomed daily existence. Oh you’ll find absolutely no bitterness here. I am sure we are all very happy for the man who created a multi-billion dollar franchise around some pyjamawearing sword-slingers, a sevenfoot dog and a cantankerous old green prune with no basic grasp of simple sentence structure. It is a hugely admirable achievement. Not only can Lucas be credited with setting the model for storytelling on the big screen, but also for pioneering a new route for merchandising toys and the concept of the master toy licensee.
‘Great toys would never had existed without George,’ are the words of Hollywood director, Steven Spielberg, and there’s a point to be had. It was Lucas’ vision for the success of the Star Wars brand that with Kenner, Hasbro and Lucasfilm, poured countless hours and attention to detail to deliver a line of Star Wars toys that would allow kids and fans to play out the Star Wars mythology themselves, a generation later.
Nick Austin CEO OF VIVID IMAGINATIONS
F franchise, that quickly moved to Hollywood, the small screen and a successful toy line that has helped McFarlane accrue a net worth of more than $300 million. It was in 1994 that the artist formed McFarlane Toys to be able to give his fans the kind of product he felt they deserved. Since that time, McFarlane has been hailed as the harbinger of the age of fandom, helping to boost the adult comic book fan and collectables market to the heights it enjoys today. From humble beginnings, McFarlane Toys enjoys an evergrowing global popularity.
rom humble beginnings, Nick Austin has risen through the ranks to become one of the most formidable names in the toy industry, shaping it around him with a natural eye for potential. Austin graduated from Portsmouth Polytechnic with a 2:1 in business studies and after an excursion around the USA and Canada, settled into an industrial relations role in the British Steel Corporation. But it wasn’t long before Austin saw the potential of a career in toys and joined Palitoy in a junior sales management role. Over the next two years, he sailed through the ranks of Palitoy before joining Matchbox Toys in 1985 as a Marketing Manager. Nick joined the British Toy and Hobby Association
Council in 1992 and became the youngest ever Chairman at 39. Austin served as BTHA Chairman from 1998 to 2000, was President from 2007 to 2011 and is the current Chairman of the Toy Trust Charity. Austin’s biggest successes came when he joined Vivid. In his first year the company was budgeted for a turnover of 1.5m but ended with a staggering 9.8m, making the company one the fastest growing toy firms in the country.
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Left: Andrew Laughton of MGA Right: Eileen Thornton of K’NEX
View from the top 2016 certainly was a year to remember, thanks to the Hatchimals frenzy that has captured the nation and the introduction of three new Barbie types. Here, Jade Burke catches up with key execs from MGA, Vivid, Jazwares and K’NEX for their personal views on the toy industry and what they believe the New Year has in store for them How has this year been for you? In what areas have you seen the most growth? Eileen Thornton, head of marketing, K’NEX UK: We’ve seen growth across the board for K’NEX, and are now officially the number two brand in standard construction in the UK. Our Thrill Rides have helped drive growth, in particular our sell out item Electric Inferno, which was new for 2016. Andrew Laughton, MD EMEA, MGA Entertainment: 2016 has been a very strong year across the board with our Zapf and MGA properties performing very well. We launched our first collectable range, Num Noms, earlier this year and it’s grown to be the fifth biggest new property YTD, meanwhile Little Tikes introduced a range of innovative developments across an array of categories this year, which has enabled the brand to sustain a very strong market positioning. Jonny Taylor, MD, Jazwares: It’s been a great year for us. Animal Jam and Tube Heroes have both
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been very strong properties. There has also been strong demand for CHiP, the smart, affectionate and trainable robot dog. These lines and several more have contributed to a solid year of growth in 2016. To support this growth, we’ve also increased the UK team, bringing in excellent toy and licensing talent. Mary Wood, marketing director, Vivid: Vivid has had a strong year on many fronts – Crayola has benefited from the interest in adult colouring which has led to double digit growth for the whole brand and our games division is showing every indication of significant growth. Vivid’s toy division is also having a great time particularly with plush in the form of AniMagic, Flip a Zoo and Care Bears, with tech as Nocto Bat sales start to fly as well as our collectables with Fungus Amungus. What has been your best performing property this year? Thornton, K’NEX: We’ve had strong performances across Thrill Rides, building tubs and K-FORCE.
Laughton, MGA: All properties have seen healthy growth in 2016. Considering how competitive the mini-doll/collectable market is, Num Noms definitely deserves a mention as a top-performing property. With innovative product development across categories and the strengthening of our classics, the sustained prevalent positioning of Little Tikes as a property itself is something we’re also very proud of. Taylor, Jazwares: The reaction from existing fans of Animal Jam has been extremely strong. The range has also drawn a new audience, who go on to discover the online world via the unique codes supplied with each toy. Animal Jam has performed very well in the highly competitive collectables space and there is strong retail support going into spring/summer 2017. Wood, Vivid: Overall, it has to be Crayola but Care Bears has also shown growth throughout the year and is a well-established favourite with consumers.
What have been your biggest hitters of the year? Thornton, K’NE: Standouts include Thrill Rides Electric Inferno, K-FORCE Flash Fire and also our 35, 52 and 70 Model K’NEX Tubs. Laughton, MGA: Num Noms has definitely been one of our biggest hitters this year. Becoming a true ‘playground craze,’ the brand proved such a success that it was completely sold out for a period of time and we found it difficult keeping stock on the shelves. Little Tikes has delivered several big hitters this year. The brand brought great innovation to the infant pre-school category this autumn with the Light ‘n Go and Wheelz range. Meanwhile, the Baby Annabell and Baby Born brands continue to be big hitters. Taylor, Jazwares: Our Animal Jam Adopt a Pets have been very strong. We were delighted to see CHiP feature on several retailer top 10 Christmas lists at the end of last year. Anything featuring Dan-TDM January/February 35
Left: Jonny Taylor of Jazwares Right: Mary Wood 0f Vivid
from our Tube Heroes line also performed particularly well for us. Wood, Vivid: Within games we are expecting big numbers from Articulate, Logo and Wordsearch as well as Flip A Zoo within toys. What made the biggest impact on your business in 2016? Thornton, K’NEX: Investing in digital activity and heavyweight TV campaigns has seen K’NEX reach 20 per cent share of voice with UK boys aged from six to nine against our key competitors. We also took on distribution of the K’NEX Education line in 2016 and this has proved so successful we will be offering a number of education items at retail in 2017. Wood, Vivid: Brexit and therefore planning and re-planning for 2017. Why should retailers choose to work with you this year? Thornton, K’NEX: We provide genuine innovation in the toy aisle, as proven by our current ranking as number two in standard construction. In 2017 our range will extend to age three plus, so more children than ever can enjoy playing with K’NEX. In 2017 we will continue to invest in the brand to drive growth across all ranges. Laughton, MGA: We really have got something for everyone. The immense breadth and depth of the MGA, Zapf and Little Tikes portfolios means we have ranges
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to suit all needs. I don’t think many manufacturers can say that with such confidence. Taylor, Jazwares: Jazwares is proud to work with some of the hottest licenses around the world, particularly in the gaming space, where we are bringing digital worlds to life. Wood, Vivid: We genuinely think we have some winners on our hands for the year ahead.
The breadth of MGA’s portfolio means we have ranges to suit all needs. I don’t think many others could say that with such confidence. Eileen Thornton, K’NEX UK From January 1 st, 2017, Vivid will be taking over the distribution of Ooshies a brand that is having phenomenal success in Australia; Flip a Zoo extends into smaller sizes in spring and will be joined by the Flipzee Girls in autumn/winter 17; also coming into our plush range is Play Face Pals. Vivid has just agreed a strategic alliance with Sky Rocket to launch the Sky Viper brand innovative licensed virtual reality range in AW17. We have major marketing
plans in place to support the launch of Genie Girls. Vivid’s outdoor range is going to be stronger than ever with Phlat Ball and Wubble is set to have another amazing year; we are bringing an innovate kite launcher to market (Kite A Pult) from the creators of Phlat Ball; finally we have a product that we think will be a craze – Smackerz – it’s one of those products you can’t put down. What plans do you have for the New Year? Thornton, K’NEX: We are really excited to enter the junior construction market with both Kid K’NEX and My Little Pony. We’ve also extended our range of tubs from age seven plus to five plus and added motorised elements to the tub line for the first time. Thrill Rides Web Weaver is our most innovative coaster ever and with Mario set to be bigger than ever in 2017, we are really pleased to continue working with this powerhouse license too. Laughton, MGA: Big plans – we have new brands, new categories and new products. MGA is renowned for bringing innovative products and concepts to the market and we will continue to foster this approach in 2017. Taylor, Jazwares: At London Toy Fair, we will be unveiling a very exciting new boys’ property, which is currently under wraps.
There will also be a range extension to CHiP – ‘Chippies’, the puppy version of the original, at a sharp price point. In the girls’ space, we will continue to develop the Animal Jam range with Series Two and Three launches and continued heavyweight marketing support. We think ‘Fingerlings’, interactive pet monkeys packed with tech and fun, is also one to keep an eye on. For the pre-school market, Jazwares is launching an all-new Chuggington Toy range. We’ll also have a strengthened consumer electronics portfolio with new Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig products. We are working to a spring/ summer 2017 launch for First Act and are confident there is a major opportunity here in the UK market for high quality, tunable instruments. We’re excited to continue 2016’s momentum into 2017 and beyond. Wood, Vivid: Two key spring launches for Vivid will be our home grown girls collectable Genie Girls and Ooshies with DC, Marvel, Princess, WWE and Turtles licenses, so we are working hard to implement the marketing plans to support them. We have also secured the distribution of Surprizimals, a plush character that comes hidden, so a great blind purchase. The focus for January is opening our HK showroom, as well as preparing for London Toy Fair. www.toynews-online.biz
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Moose on the loose Melbourne’s Moose Toys has taken the toy industry by storm over the last couple of years. ToyNews sat with Paul Solomon, Co-CEO, to find out the secrets to the firm’s success and what it has in store for the future
elbourne, Australia’s coastal city is known around the world for its vibrancy. A colourful sun–drenched metropolis, boasting not only a bustling city centre and gorgeous parks but also a world renowned Arts Precinct. It’s no surprise then that Melbourne is the city that has spawned one of the most creative toy companies in the world, the company that has undeniably owned 2016. We’re talking, of course, about Moose Toys. Located within the sleek suburb of Cheltenham, the Moose Toys office is immediately recognisable as a house of creativity and imagination. Approach Moose’s doors and you are greeted with a rainbow of colour and the unmistakable Moose head logo. Step inside and you’ll find yourself in a polished, ultra-modern office space akin to Silicon Valley tech hubs like Google, albeit with a twist – gorgeously decorated tree houses atop beanstalks that could have been plucked straight from a sector of Disneyland. It’s an environment that fosters imagination, so it’s no coincidence that 2016’s biggest success stories were grown within it. If you’re reading this then you are already well acquainted with Shopkins, the phenomenon that has swept the toy industry throughout 2015 and continued to storm through 2016 with record sales and a steady stream of new product. Alongside Shopkins, Moose released Little Live Pets, a line of animal toys that captured the imagination of children all over the world with its bright designs and interactivity. Paul Solomon believes that the secret to the line’s success is foresight and creativity. “The development of Little Live Pets came about when we saw an opportunity within the youth electronics category to come up
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with an affordable tech product with simple yet engaging features,” explains Solomon. “We pride ourselves on our innovation and these products are both great examples of the team pre-empting what the market was looking for and then creating and launching a market leading brand.” Solomon also attributes a great deal of the firm’s success to the dedication of its staff, and the harmony in which they work. “It is a huge credit to our team and our partners globally that in less than three years, we have moved from having no presence within the category to now leading
aided by the accessibility of technology,” explains Solomon. “This alone is enough to keep the toy industry on its toes to innovate and find new ways to engage kids.” The theme of adventure and innovation is one that runs deep through Moose’s company ethos. Their company motto – “we’re in the business of making children happy” – is a sentiment that is echoed throughout their offices not only in Melbourne but also their locations in Los Angeles, London and Hong Kong. The company’s philanthropic efforts come in the form of The Moose Foundation, which extends the
We want to keep doing what we have been doing: innovating, disrupting and building amazing partnerships. Paul Solomon, Moose Toys the youth electronics market led this holiday season with top ranking product, Snuggles My Dream Puppy.” A key factor in the performance of the team is it’s focussed vision, one that stresses the importance of understanding the needs and tastes of it’s audience and Moose creates products to adapt to the audience’s ever-changing tastes. The company has embraced new technologies, even going so far as to commission a tie-in Shopkins YouTube series. Unboxing videos have lent a significant boost to Shopkins’ popularity, inspiring interaction and the development of a community around the collectables toys. “Our consumers – kids – are getting more and more creative,
company’s mission of ‘making children happy’ to children’s hospitals and areas of the world where kids have been affected by natural disasters, something that Solomon and the firm at large is immensely proud of. In the midst of an uncertain economy, many toy firms will be tempted to play it safe, however Moose’s success reminds us of the importance of taking risks on original ideas. When quizzed on the next big steps for the industry, Solomon continues to emphasise the importance of technology, as well as the all-important fun factor of the product itself. “Technology is certainly playing a bigger part in toys we are seeing launched in market. As an industry, I believe we will continue
to see innovation in how AR and VR will enhance how a child engages with a brand or product line. But I equally believe that the play factor of the toy itself has to be compelling for the brand to last longer than one season.” 2016 has been a year of growth for the company but as Solomon explains, the company has maintained its focus on what made it a success. “There is no hiding that we have grown – by physical location, number of employees and size of Moose in the toy industry,” explains Solomon. “With that comes more opportunities. However, we have strived hard to maintain a culture of innovation, collaboration and inclusiveness that allows all the team to play an active part in the business success.” Looking ahead, Moose Toys is showing no signs of slowing down – or resting on its laurels. “We want to keep doing what we have been doing: innovating, disrupting and building amazing partnerships.” For Moose, the future holds more opportunities to add new dimensions to its brands, from home entertainment to games. Diversifying the range is sure to keep existing collectors hooked, while attracting new potential fans. “We will continue to be inspired by how we can expand the world of Shopkins! We will also continue to evolve the brand into entertainment, with more things like the recently released Shopkins Chef Club DVD,” explains Solomon. “We will also expand into new categories like craft and games and will continue to come out with great products.” No matter what the future holds for Moose Toys, you can bet it will be approached with the same sense of adventure that has propelled it’s products to the top of the year’s best-selling toy list. January/February 39
The evolving landscape of management recruitment Robert Hutchins talks to Andrew Dobbie, the managing director of Gameplan Europe, a leading international executive search company and sponsor of ToyNews’ 30 Under 30, about the evolving careers landscape
ow do you deal with clients who have selection criteria which are, let’s say, not ‘acceptable’. Well I had a client who clearly stated that he would not accept candidates of a category which makes up half the human race! I explained that some of the most successful people in the UK toy industry are women and that he would undermine the chances of hiring the best available candidate if he did not take my advice. The client was from a country where the prevailing cultural attitudes are very different from the UK on this issue, so it was pointless to try to change a deeply held prejudice. I am used to very successful entrepreneurs telling me ‘If you’re so smart why ain’t you a billionaire like me’ when it comes to a question of judgement. And indeed there is little one can answer to that. However, when it comes to facts which I explain about a country or the best way of hiring the top talent, then if the client is deaf to reason and facts then I prefer not to work with them. What did you mean when you mentioned the ‘egg-laying wool milk pig?’ This is an expression used in Germany to describe the candidate who does everything imaginable. Of course this candidate doesn’t exist but the expression gives a good insight into the unrealistic views of some clients. These are
clients who think that the job they have to offer is so fantastic that noone would fail to be interested and that they can attract extraordinary talent. The reality is of course that the best people are sought after by many companies and they can choose from many offers. It is sometimes hard for clients to accept that. What do you do when a recruitment goes wrong? We recruited a general manager for an Asian company and within a week the recruit was overheard saying that one couldn’t trust people from that country. Of course we had to fire him immediately and start the whole search over again from scratch.
We need good candidates as much as we need clients. Candidates must know that they can trust us. Andrew Dobbie, Gameplan Europe What do you do if a client’s brief doesn’t make sense? In this case I explain to them why and hope to get them to reconsider. It is important to have confidence that there is a high probability of achieving our executive search goals, so if the objectives of our client are unlikely in our opinion
to work, then we might decline to work on an assignment. However, we are not always right. When I was first told of the strategic plan of Melissa & Doug in the UK, I offered my opinion that tele-selling from Connecticut to UK retailers was unlikely to work. They proved me very wrong. We need good candidates as much as we need clients. Candidates must know they can trust us. We cannot afford to oversell an opportunity. It is damaging for everyone involved if the position has been described unrealistically. Executive search demands a high degree of confidentiality to protect candidates and sometimes clients. How does this work? I have had two clients, presidents of large corporations, who refused to follow my instruction not to call customers to check out candidates before making an offer. The toy industry being so gossipy I knew that those candidates’ names would be on the industry grapevine within hours. On another occasion
a client insisted on complete confidentiality of the name of the company, to such a degree that I had to invite candidates for interview without them knowing which company they were going to meet. Fortunately, we have a reputation so I was able to reassure the candidates that they would not regard it as a waste of time. We flew six candidates to London from Paris and only when they met the client did they know which company they were dealing with. How do you assess a candidate’s suitability to the specification for a position? We start with the rational elements such as relevant experience, background, successes etc. But the personality is also crucial. Some companies manage by chaos, and someone from a highly structured background in which jobs are tightly defined and there is little scope for going beyond the job description, may find it impossible to work in a chaotic environment. Other people may thrive in such an environment and relish the opportunity for initiative. Clearly in interview we gain an insight into the personality characteristics of a candidate, but the personal chemistry between client and candidate is frequently quite different from what we anticipate. We aim to present a broad range of candidates in the hope that one of them appeals strongly to the client for reasons which are not included in the specification.
As a leading executive search consultancy for the global toy industry Gameplan Europe keeps up-to-date with employment issues. We would value reader feedback on this article and if the response is positive we shall write articles again when there is an important issue to advise upon.
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30 UNDER 30
As well as its innumerable long-serving veterans, the toy industry is also home to a cast of bright, fresh-faced youngsters all keen to put their stamp on their sector. Here, Jade Burke shines a light on some of the young talent working across all aspects of the toy trade, in association with Gameplan Europe
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30 UNDER 30
JAMES VAUGHAN Writer, Big Potato
SAMANTHA GOODBURN Sales and Marketing Executive, Gibsons
BEN HOGG Marketing Manager, Esdevium Games
JESS JACKSON Account Executive, Bladez Toyz
JESSICA COY Marketing Manager, Zimpli Kids
Vaughan - a street smart and savvy 24 year old - is the word man and game creator at Big Potato. He has regularly been described as one of those annoying people who can turn his hand to everything and do it incredibly well. Vaughan has worked closely with the company’s designer Zoe Lee (also featured on the list) to craft the Scrawl copy and content, developing along the way a fun, fast-paced game that’s due to hit toy shelves up and down the UK next year.
Goodburn joined the Gibsons team permanently after impressing during her Industrial Placement year from university. After graduating with a First Class Honours degree in 2015 she joined as a sales and marketing executive. At 24, her accountability outweighs many of her peers as she heads up the company’s PR strategy, as well as managing accounts for some of its largest customers. She has also won business with some very big High Street names.
The toy trade is in Hogg’s blood, having worked many summers at Hoggosaurus Toymaster in his youth. He came to Esdevium in 2010 for a marketing assistant role, a position Hogg has built from scratch. Six years on and now at the age of 28, he manages a strong marketing team and is at the forefront of the company’s marketing growth. Hogg has worked hard to raise the profile of Pokémon, Dobble and other titles through a range of media initiatives and marketing campaigns.
At the age of 22, Jackson joined Bladez in October 2015 and has quickly become a popular member of the sales team thanks to her bubbly personality. It didn’t take her long to embrace the toy industry and now she supports sales manager Keiran Peoples in the day-to-day account running. She plays a pivotal role in stock management of accounts such as Hamleys and Amazon and is known as the master of the product database and spec sheet supply.
Coy may have only been working at Zimpli Kids for little over 12 months, but already she finds herself in the role of marketing manager. Not bad for 24 year old relative newcomer.The firm is currently growing at a massive rate (300 per cent up on last year) and the main reason for this is the current YouTube viral traction. The company has told ToyNews that it is now in a fantastic situation and a substantial percentage of the reason for this is down to the sterling efforts and ongoing hard work of Coy.
FRAN SLAGER Senior Account Manager, Carousel PR
KHALID OSMAN AV Manager, Arena Azure
CAROLINE POTTER Licensing Executive, JCB Consumer Products
LAUREN FOULDS Assistant Product Manager, MV Sports
The toy industry is pretty niche, things move around quite quickly but Slager’s ability to be nimble and flexible means Carousel is able to adapt quickly as a team. Always enthusiastic and happy to help, the 27 year old is known for being a strong relationship builder at the company, while also holding strong knowledge of the market and associated markets including toys, fashion, lifestyle and popular culture. It’s with a winning smile that Slager makes it onto this year’s listing.
As AV Manager at toy market specialist media agency, Arena Azure, Osman manages the day-to-day team responsible for delivering over 800 TV and digital campaigns on behalf of Azure’s clients. Having joined Arena Azure as a media executive in 2009, he has learned his trade from the bottom up, and has earned the respect of the media owners with his disciplined approach within his friendly persona. 2017 marks the first appearance for this sprightly 27 year old.
At 29, Potter has worked within the JCB Consumer Products team for two and a half years. Starting out in merchandising, Potter has developed her role within the kids’ licensing programme. She now works closely with all of JCB’s toy and collectable licensees, handling day-to-day approvals, as well as formulating marketing and PR initiatives to support the JCB brand. Potter has helped bring new partners to the JCB Kids brands, including Kids@Play and Oxford Diecast to name a few.
TIFFANY TASKER Business Development Manager, SuperAwesome
A true lover of the toy industry, 26 year old Foulds works hard to get product into the market place that will delight children. At HTI she worked on licenses from numerous girl and boy brands to pre-school and own brand. She now works at MV Sports and manages older girls and pre-school brands. During her tenure she has worked on various product ranges and shows enthusiasm for all the product and brands under her remit. She’s been described as a crazy, creative type with a natural flair.
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Considered a leading expert in kids’ digital engagement within the book publishing industry, Tasker (27) has spent the last three years creating a variety of innovative brand relationships with top partners such as Penguin Random House, Bloomsbury and more. She single-handedly devised and ran the Future8 Awards and now leads SuperAwesome’s global book publisher business development in the US from the company’s prestigious New York office. www.toynews-online.biz
30 UNDER 30
KRIS THEORIN, Director and Stop Motion Animator, Something’s Awry Productions With job titles including director, animator, editor and VFX guru under his belt, Kris Theorin has created branded content videos for brands including LEGO, Zing Toys, Jazwares and SMG Studios. His speciality is bringing articulated toy figures to life using stop motion animation. All that and the young pup is only 19 years old. One client said: ‘Kris brings more than quality animation to the table. He brings a sense of wit and spontaneity.’
ABBIE REE Senior PR Account Executive, Norton & Company Since joining Norton & Co in 2015, Ree (26) has become a popular member of the team, finding herself promoted to senior account executive in recognition of the hard work across her client responsibilities. Her dedication to project managing the Crayola 100 Years of Colour bus tour has been commended. A great attitude and sense of humour makes her popular with clients and she’s never short of a story or two to keep the office entertained. www.toynews-online.biz
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SOPHIE DALMEDO Account Manager, MI PR Global
THOMAS JAMESON, Finance Manager, Generation Media
STEVEN LE VAN Co-director, Le Toy Van
NICOLA MELLOR Senior Brand Manager, MGA Entertainment
Dalmedo (26) is a key member of the PR team at MI PR Global, managing a number of client accounts across toys, licensing and nursery. Having started her career in the industry working as a buyer and retail coordinator for Mind Candy, Dalmedo joined MI PR Global in April 2016. She offers a positive attitude to all her work and is effectively able to deliver great results across trade, consumer and social projects and brings a creative approach to all aspects.
Diligent and innovative by nature, Jameson has improved financial processes within the agency, which has seen improved profitability as well as saving time for the wider agency team. At 26, he is accountable for all financial processes and improving structures where necessary. Outside of work, Jameson is currently studying towards a qualification with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and hopes to complete this goal within a year.
Steven Le Van was still at nursery school when his father, Georges Le Van founded Le Toy Van. In fact, one of the firm’s earliest toys, Stevie’s School, was named after the young whippersnapper, an accolade the 25 year old will not forget in a hurry. This year, father and son are teaming up in codirecting the business that recently registered its best turnover yet and has employed five new members of the Le Toy Van team; a successful family combo combining design and essential corporate skills.
Having entered the world of toys with MGA Entertainment three and a half years ago, 27 year old Nicola Mellor has already made her mark on the industry, relaunching one the company’s most famous brands, delivering a global marketing campaign and being named the firm’s global Employee of the Year. Mellor has launched brands including Bratz and Num Noms. Mellor has been tasked with the launch of a third brand and more on the horizon before she leaves her twenties behind.
REBECCA HANLON Brand Manager, Re:creation Ltd
MARIE BUREAU Marketing and Product Development Manager, Le Toy Van
JULIA SWAN Account director, MI PR Global
CARA DAVIES PR Manager, Firebox
At 28 years old, Swan has been with the business one year. In just twelve months, she has shown a tenacity at getting under the skin of both the toy and licensing industry, having originally cut her cloth in tech PR. She’s got an eye for a media angle and knows how to get the best out of her clients in order to maximise their exposure. Swan has great ambition and has proved to be a major asset to the company, resulting in a recent promotion to account director at the business.
An integral part of the company’s overarching content team, Davies (29) is responsible for project management, campaign strategy and product launches. A creative thinker and communicator, she is often required to come up with new ideas and is willing to approach projects differently. Whether it’s promoting a bottle of Marshmallow Flavoured Vodka or a Giant Inflatable Unicorn, there’s always something kooky and unpredictable from her just around the corner. She also knits.
Hanlon is overflowing with passion and enthusiasm for her work. A valued member of Re:creation’s team for over four years, she manages a portfolio of toy brands at the company, nurturing evergreens such as LEGO Lights, as well as demonstrating her talent in launching new brands to the market. At 29 years old, Hanlon has helped deliver the rise of the Snuggables plush portfolio, seeing the likes of Stretchkins and Bright Light Pillow achieve huge results.
After being awarded an honours in her Masters Degree from the Centre European des Produits de l’Enfant, Bureau (26) emigrated to the UK in 2011. Her career took the spotlight in 2015 when she was promoted from marketing manager to take on the project of product development 2016/17 for the iconic wooden toy brand, Le Toy Van. With the success of her team’s Petilou 12 months and over collection, this is only the beginning of great things to come.
30 UNDER 30
DANIEL NICHOLAS Marketing Executive, Jumbo
AMELIA NAYLOR Product Development & Marketing Executive, Addo Play Ltd
Having joined Jumbo in October 2015, Nicholas has quickly become an important member of the team. At 23 years old, Nicholas is responsible for managing the team’s digital marketing platforms and always delivers high results. He supports the Jumbo sales team to deliver high quality sales that drives company growth and keeps Jumbo ahead of the competition.
Naylor is 26 years old and started her career in toys as a business analyst at Mega Brands in 2012. Naylor joined Addo Play in March 2016 and has been instrumental in assisting with the development of Addo Play’s most recent brands to market. She is involved in many areas of the business’ UK and global marketing, trade marketing, licensing and strategic anaysis.
CHRISTINA BRASIER National Accounts Executive, Esdevium
HELEN CABLE Head of Campaign Ops, SuperAwesome
Brasier (25) joined Esdevium back in 2013, and has since proven to boast a strong eye for detail, as well as an affinity for product and customers, earning her a rapid promotion. Since then she has become a vital member of the sales team, managing key national accounts for the company. According to Esdevium, Christina has a work ethic that will see her go far in the toy trade.
As Head of Campaign Ops, Cable (28) leads a global team of campaign managers and designers to deliver high-performing digital campaigns for the firm’s clients including LEGO, Warner Bros, Hasbro and Disney. She is co-founder of the company’s KidAware programme, one that helps brands and agencies achieve the best possible standards in digital kids marketing.
ZOE LEE Designer, Big Potato
BETH JOBBER Key Account Manager, Bladez Toyz
VICKY HILL Licensing Manager, Bulldog Licensing
What happens when you blend an illustrator with a philosophy graduate? You make a top new creative team, that’s what. At the age of 25, Lee has adapted her skills to become an exciting new game designer, in it’s truest sense. She was lead designer on a range of games including Scrawl, Mr Lister, OK Play and Rainbow Rage, with three new game designs planned for next year.
Jobber has been a star of the Bladez sales team for four years. Aged 27, she has played an important role in growing Bladez’s presence on the High Street and securing listings in new accounts. Her passion for the products she sells and dedication to her customers is ever admired. She’s also well known for throwing a smashing annual Bladez Christmas party.
Since joining Bulldog, Hill has made a huge difference to the team. She manages industry leading properties including Shopkins and Yo-kai Watch and heads up categories such as publishing and gift. At 26, Hill has drive and desire to learn about licensing and brand building. As a result she has gone from newstarter to a key member of the Bulldog team in just three years.
KURTIS THEORIN Creative Director, Something’s Awry Productions
HAYLEY ROBSON Senior Account Executive, MI PR Global.
ELLIE START Senior Account Manager, Generation Media
21 year old Robson has grown from strength to strength throughout her time at MI PR Global, and has recently received a promotion to reflect not only her fantastic work ethic, but also the great results she is able to deliver. She has shown significant ability for planning and handling events and is able to execute event projects with aplomb and to very high standards.
As a key member within the Generation Media team, Start (25) is responsible for the day to day running of some of the agency’s biggest accounts. Her involvement in the firm’s continuous development has helped secure gold standard from the advertising industry body IPA. Known as the press champion, Start has given clients access to insight, data and great market deals.
Theorin (23) has written branded content for LEGO, Zing Toys, Jazwares, Mattel and SMG Studios among others. Over the past year, several of the videos created from his scripts have garnered over eight million views. His comic timing and smart humor is part of what makes him and his brother Kris Theorin so popular with companies in the toy industry.
Gameplan Europe is a business consultancy to the global toy and nursery products industry. We help manufacturers to develop their international business through strategic advice, finding distributors and other types of business partners, and executive search. We have recruited hundreds of toy industry executives across Europe and North America, from European President down to key account manager. We also publish a series of annual directories of business information, such as the International Directory of Retail Toy Buyers, which lists the names of the key buyers in 47 countries. Contact Andrew Dobbie or Margit Pendl on +44 1442 870 100 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org www.gameplaneurope.com 44 January/February
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Food for thought 2014 saw former Xbox executive Elan Lee smash Kickstarter records with the tabletop game Exploding Kittens. Last year he did it again with Bears vs. Babies. Now, Lee talks to Robert Hutchins about the success of the tabletop gaming title and divulges all about the launch of his very own games publishing company, Bear Food
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rust it to fall to the world of videogames to play a guiding hand in reshaping the modern day tabletop gaming scene. But it’s exactly what – with the success of the record-breaking title Exploding Kittens in 2014 – the former Xbox Entertainment Studios executive, Elan Lee continues to do. Particularly now that he has rocked the crowdfunding scene once again with his second gaming title, Bears vs. Babies. The game – one that challenges players to thwart the evil machinations of a population of babies through the power of mutant bears – surged to a resounding success through Kickstarter late last year, when it secured $3,215,679 in funding from a total of 85,581 backers. It’s a result that not only saw the game fully funded within minutes of going live on the crowdfunding platform, but has also cemented Bears vs. Babies as the third most backed gaming title in Kickstarter’s history. This, in itself, is a hall of fame that Lee is no stranger to. If you were wondering what kind of spectacular game it must be to top that very list you’ll find Lee’s name there in sparkling letters, thanks to his 2014 hit Exploding Kittens. So now, with two record beating titles under his belt, it’s little wonder that Lee – alongside his co-creator and famed The Oatmeal online comic creator, Matt Inman – are fast becoming synonymous with the world of tabletop gaming. “This is a very new phenomenon for us,” Lee told ToyNews. “I have 17 years in the game industry, mostly in digital games, and this is my first foray into physical games. “We have been surprised by the reaction every time. With
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Exploding Kittens, the original plan was to raise $10,000 and fulfil it out of my garage, just me and some friends and then move on. “I was so surprised by the response to that game. We ended up having to box up more than 700,000 copies of it.” If ever there was a case of history repeating itself, it’s now with Lee’s follow up title Bears vs. Babies, that, with Kickstarter funding ‘going above and beyond’ anything Lee and the team imagined, is scheduled for shipping mid 2017. The game’s success isn’t simply fortuitous however. Not only has Bears vs. Babies been a labour of love for both Lee and Inman for a duration of four years, it’s landed at a time in which the casual gaming scene grows only bigger and bigger across the globe. “It’s important to acknowledge the amazing renaissance of tabletop games right now,” said Lee. “It is amazing and so wonderful to see that casual gaming is huge. It is perhaps the most important part in bringing in new audiences to a movement that continues to get bigger.” It is very timely then, that now with two titles under his belt, Lee and the team behind the smash hit games, have embarked on a project to set up a focused game publishing arm to the business, a branch titled Bear Food. “We now have two games in our library and three more in the pipeline,” he continued. “We get approached almost every week from new game designers who have games that fit into our mentality and humour and with requests to publish their games. “Starting in January we are finally going to be in a place where we can start to work with others and add more games to our library. We will be targeting English speaking territories at first, but this will become global.” But what happened to the viewpoint Lee voiced little over a year ago about casting aside the rhetoric of the traditional toy and game manufacturers? Surely a planned global scale operation such as this will require a change?
“We still don’t see ourselves falling into that bracket,” mused Lee. “Our entire company is built in an office in my back yard. We don’t have sales reports, we don’t do test marketing. We don’t do any of the stuff a normal company would do to flood the market or determine a hit. “We build games we love and test them with millions of people at a time, all through Kickstarter. We remain non-traditional in that every rule you can think of that applies to a games company, we have thrown out of the window.” And it is thanks to the likes of Kickstarter that the team has been able to keep itself ahead of
Through Kickstarter we have managed to launch a whole new company in Bear Food without paying any kind of capital. That’s a big deal. Elan Lee, Exploding Kittens the curve, engage with its core audience and drive a demand through community to such a degree of success. “For us, Kickstarter has helped us set up a company entirely with the support of the community and without giving away any amount of equity,” says Lee. “It’s not the place that we go to for funding, it’s where we go to raise a crowd. It is important because that funding is nice; it gets you started. But the crowd is the people who are going to launch your product, try it before anyone else, tweet it and you establish a really strong audience to welcome your game into the world.” So what of the new game? What exactly is the title that had legions of fans and gamers flock to Kickstarter to part with their cash to the tune of over $3million in the later months of 2016? “Bears vs. Babies is based on the same principle as Exploding Kittens. It’s my belief that a game should not be entertaining.
“The game should be a mechanism by which the people you are playing with become entertaining. Exploding Kittens delivers that in glorious form – it makes the people you are playing with entertaining. “With Bears vs. Babies, you are creating cute, adorable, amazing bears that have to defend themselves against these tyrannical babies. It’s a casual game and fun for friends and family – we like to say that if this game doesn’t make you laugh, you have no soul.” As with most, Bears vs. Babies is a game that didn’t fall into perfect form after one outing, but is the result of years of hard graft from Matt Inman before the finishing flourish was added by Lee himself. “After the success of Exploding Kittens, me and Matt wanted to work on another game together. Matt is the king of non sequiturs. He can take words and put them together in amazing ways. “He wanted to do that with his artwork as well. He had been working on this game for four years. He showed me the game and said that the only problem with it was that it was no fun to play. “The artwork and concept was incredible, but it needed a gameplay. Over the next few weeks we developed this. “Finally, people started asking us to play. That’s when we knew it was ready to show to the public.” The move paid off and only a matter of weeks later, the public was lapping it up, encouraging for a team that had made its debut in the arena only one year prior. Now with three new titles up its sleeve and a wealth of new games ready to develop and publish, the Exploding Kittens team are fast on track to become the Big Cats of the arena. When asked for any kind of hint as to what the next project might entail, Lee could only bring himself to tease a morsel – enough to ignite curiosity among the firm’s biggest fans. “The smallest of sneak peaks at an upcoming game is that we have just invested in a really awesome 3D printer,” he concludes. January/February 49
The next Generation Toy and game media specialists, Generation Media has had a busy year, with awards, business growth and a bout of ramped-up marketing activity. Robert Hutchins talks with the companyâ€™s managing director, Lisa Morgan about the impact of Brexit, 2016 highlights and what the long term plan is for this ever-increasing business What challenges have you seen the market face in 2016? We are, of course, not immune to external forces such as Brexit, and US and European presidential elections, and exchange rate fluctuations have put pressure on clients and the advertising industry alike, particularly as we extend our reach across the globe. More recently, with a majority of our client base being heavily invested in TV advertising over the key October/November season, our main focus as a business has been on protecting their investment in the face of a diminishing supply of childrenâ€™s impacts within the industry. To further exacerbate the situation, and just as we predicted, we saw a further increase in demand from advertisers. This pressure on supply and demand, in tandem with research reports suggesting kids are switching off in favour of online, quite rightly leads to questions in regards to the appropriate split of budgets between TV and online. Can you talk us through some of the highlights of the year for Generation Media? There are too many to talk you through in one sitting. Delivery of all client plans and maintenance of quality in tricky trading conditions is certainly up there among them. The launch of our proprietary tool, The Media Aggregator, has also been key in answering the age-old question of achieving the right kind of balance in TV and online communications. Being awarded Continuous Professional Development Gold standard from the Institute of Practitioners for the third year running, alongside new additions joining the Generation Media family is also in the mix.
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We have also ramped up our marketing activity and have been meeting existing and new business prospects at New York, Nuremberg and, of course, UK Toy Fair. Growth of our business through our international partners and relevant market categories has been another point of success for us and, of course, the ongoing positive feedback from our current business partners. What can we expect from you guys for the New Year? We will be refreshing The Media Aggregator with learnings from 2016 and continue to monitor the health of the TV market alongside areas of development in online. Part of this process is to fill the research holes in the industry. We are excited to be launching a major
It is our job to predict the future and prepare for it, but as this year has shown, not every contingency can be planned for. Luckily we can adapt fast.
We are looking to strengthen our international partnerships and bring planning and buying resource for key markets in house as well as extending our footprint in new and relevant categories. Clients will gain access to our third party accredited online training programme to assist them in the navigation of this ever changing landscape. We have recently undergone assessment for Investors in People and are due to submit for Continuous Professional Development Platinum in February this year. What about the plans for the longer term future? We operate in an ever-changing market place with many and varied external forces. It is our job to predict the future and prepare for it, but as this year has shown, not every contingency can be planned for. Our competitive advantage as an independent specialist is that we have the ability to adapt quickly to change and stay at least one step
ahead of a market that has the potential to turn on a sixpence. For us it is all about making the right decisions for today and continuing to look ahead to protect both our business and clients for whatever the future might hold. With this kind of preparation in place, it is with confidence that we now enter the New Year and look forward to discovering just what it has in store for us.
Lisa Morgan, iGen longitudinal study tracking linear and online viewing habits for kids aged two to nine years through our sister research agency iGen Insight and will be recruiting for stakeholders in the first quarter of the New Year. This is just one part of our continued investment in new research tools. A more recent acquisition being our Social Listening dashboard and we look forward to exploring how we can provide additional insight to clients including proving the effectiveness in our advertising efforts.
Flair play Thanks to a record 2016, GP Flair is off to a good start in the New Year with the return of iconic brands such as Spirograph and the debut of Grossery Gang. Jade Burke speaks to Simon Hedge, MD of GP Flair, about the company’s all new collectable Glimmies and why the best is yet to come for the Shopkins property
ow has this year been for Flair? What growth have you seen over the past year? GP Flair had a record year in 2016 on the back of a record year in 2015 – showing a 17 per cent growth year to date on NPD. Key properties such as Shopkins have continued to perform exceptionally well and the successful launch of Happy Places has added to this, bringing a whole new dimension to the brand. Further to that, there’s been the debut of Grossery Gang, which will soon move into its second season, while in the creative play sector we have been delighted with the growth of IDO3D and the return of Mr Frosty and Spirograph. You have a huge varied licensing range; will you be adding any new properties next year? Our licensed portfolio will definitely grow and key new properties will include PJ Masks, which launches in February and brings an exciting new option for pre-school adventurers. 2017 will see the return of Ben 10, one of the most successful boys’ properties of this century and we hope to unveil another strong pre-school licence soon. How has your Just Play division been performing? We’ve had strong launches with properties such as In My Pocket, Lion Guard and Trolls adding to the continued success of Puppy
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Surprise, Styling Heads and Barbie Role Play, which have been making a massive growth year on year. So overall, the first year of this new division has performed incredibly well and this success has created a solid base for us to build on for coming seasons.
We only release Shopkins news a short while before each launch but can promise plenty of new seasons and launches across the board – for Happy Places, Shoppies and Shopkins. You’ll have to take our word for it when we say the best is yet to come.
What success have you seen with Shopkins this year? Shopkins is still very much at the centre of girls’ hearts and there’s no sign of their love for the brand
How have sales for Grossery Gang compared to Shopkins? Grossery Gang has done phenomenally well, easily topping its predecessor, the Trash Pack.
It’s difficult to compare anything to Shopkins, but in the boys’ sector Grossery Gang has more than lived up to expectations. Simon Hedge, MD slowing as new themes continue to launch. October saw the launch of Chef Club (series six) and with that came our biggest week of sales since the brand first launched. Meanwhile, the Shopkins Happy Places, which has introduced a dolls’ house concept to the brand, has been embraced as much as the classic brand. The Shoppies dolls have been the top performing fashion doll throughout 2016. Will there be any further extensions for Shopkins in the New Year?
It actually launched stronger than the original Shopkins launch but it seems unlikely that it could match Shopkins’ size in the future. That being said, we do feel that we could easily have a Trash Pack sized brand that we can maintain for years to come. It’s difficult to compare anything to Shopkins, but in the boys’ sector it has more than lived up to expectations. In fact, we’re being told by retailers that it’s the best pick of the boys’ collectable launches this year so we are incredibly pleased
with how it’s performing. Season Two looks brilliant and we look forward to launching it straight after Christmas. Where do you see your next area of growth coming from? Growth is planned in each of our core categories with a wide range of exciting new launches coming in 2017. We have a key new collectable called Glimmies, which is launching in February and bringing a whole new concept to the collectable market. It’s a GP IP and we expect this to do really well. Our pre-school offering will be boosted with new licenses including the new PJ masks range. The release of Ben 10 will strengthen our boys’ portfolio even further, and the Messi Training System is an exciting new development for the outdoor toy category. Why should retailers look to work with Flair more next year? In addition to having some of the most sought after brands in the market, as a company we think outside of the box when it comes to marketing. It’s not just about selling into retail but ensuring it sells out through their doors too. We believe Flair offers a truly personal service, which combined with our favourite brands is a winning combination. In 2017 we will continue to be fast, innovative and passionate, and what’s more we will have some of the hottest licenses of the year. January/February 51
Building blockbusters The last year has seen Mattel achieve big success among its core IP, from the new body shape Barbie to the latest innovation among its Fisher-Price offering. Here, Robert Hutchins talks to VP and country manager, Dominic Geddes about the toymaker’s big brand plans for 2017, Brexit strategy and those merger rumours
ow things really have changed for Mattel over the last year. It was only half way through 2015 that the global toy maker was the subject of merger rumours, with media outlets suggesting that a takeover by the toy and children’s entertainment powerhouse Hasbro could be on the horizon. Fanning the flames of the rumours was the matter that Mattel was in the midst of some concerning financials. Sales of Barbie, the toymaker’s iconic IP, were dipping, while the loss of the Frozen licence to Hasbro has been well documented as a contributing factor to the firm’s struggles. It was understandable that speculation of a takeover was rife. However, the worry was shortlived and 2016 saw the toymaker come out swinging at Nuremberg’s
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Spielwarenmesse, armed with a troupe of new launches to turn things around for good. Lead by a charge of new look Barbie dolls, it was a move that would prove pivotal in the firm’s turnaround and later see a
We feel we have got absolutely the building blocks for a very strong 2017, where we do expect to see further significant growth. Dominic Geddes, Mattel resurgence of the Barbie brand at retail that saw sales of the iconic doll brand rise 23 per cent on the previous year.
The results have certainly put the kybosh on the takeover rumours for the time being. “Whenever a quoted company goes through a challenging time and the share prices reflects that challenging period, it is a platform for speculation,” Dominic Geddes, VP and country manager of Central Europe and UK at Mattel, tells ToyNews. “Mattel is in a far more robust position than it was 18 months ago when the rumours circulated. Clearly our performance has improved since that point.” In fact, 2016 has exceeded expectations for a firm that by rights was preparing for another challenging year, and it’s thanks to the strength of its core brand portfolio spanning the girls’, boys’ and pre-school markets with the likes of Barbie, Hot Wheels and Thomas and Friends.
Essentially, with new developments among its core portfolio being the focus of the last year, it appears to have been a back to basics approach that has helped Mattel to a turnaround resulting in only a three per cent wobble in overall sales for the first half financials. Barbie in fact saw sales numbers to the tune of $301.7 million for the period, fuelled by the new body shape doll line. While it’s not quite the $416.5 million for the same period in 2012, it is a welcome sales pick up that is certainly not to be sniffed at. “Even though Barbie is not our biggest piece of business, it’s the one that everyone looks at first, continues Geddes. “We are very pleased then that Barbie is out of stock in many retailers, we are short of key drivers and I wish we’d ordered more in hindsight.
“The core IPs are now working in lots of different areas which has definitely exceeded expectations and we feel we have got absolutely the building blocks for a very strong 2017, where we do expect further significant growth.”
SHINING ARMOUR So, with a seemingly infallible suit of armour for the year ahead, Mattel isn’t shying away from its vastly successful troupe of partnerships with the likes of Warner and DC’s Justice League products, Disney Pixar for Cars 3 and the eventual release of Toy Story 4 as well as a new pre-school property from Nickelodeon in the shape of Shimmer and Shine. It’s with the latter that Geddes is most confident of a continued success in a licensed pre-school market that has been largely cited as ‘more competitive than ever’. “Shimmer and Shine is going to be a big brand for us and the preschool arena in 2017,” he enthuses. “It has had a great start in the US so we always thought it was going to be something special. “The only concerning area in the pre-school sector at the moment is the burn through rate. A lot of these properties aren’t lasting the same distance they were several years ago and the churn on them is a little worrying.
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“We are very fortunate that we have a great stable with Shimmer and Shine and Blaze both from Nickelodeon and our own stable with Thomas and Friends and Fireman Sam.” Of course, the pre-school sector isn’t the only one in which partner brands continue to shine as Warner’s presence across both the boys’ and girls’ markets, too, cements the studio as a powerful ally for Mattel as it heads into 2017. “The legacy of Nuremberg 2016 has lasted throughout the year,” says Geddes. “The girl’s empowerment with DC Superhero Girls had a fantastic launch out there. Now that we have had it in front of consumers for over four months, we see it performing above expectations and Warner is very happy with that. “Couple this with the launch of the new look Barbie and the phenomenal global reaction to that, we are in the midst of a very positive halo for the company with that messaging.” And let’s not forget one partnership that all too often appears to fall just outside of the spotlight, but through consistency and popularity among a devoted fanbase, maintains its position as ‘an important part of the business’. “We don’t often talk about WWE, but it is an incredibly important
area of the business,” says Geddes. “We have shown strong growth this year with big potential for next. So we are looking at the portfolio and asking where the Achilles heel is. We know there will be one because this is the toy industry and you can’t foresee everything, but generally speaking, we are in a really good place.”
TRUMP CARD That must arrive as a reassuring sentiment for retailers across the UK as uncertainty continues to only increase with political developments threatening business as we know it, both in the UK and across the pond. In light of a nation that voted for mass changes to its position within the European Union just six months ago and the vast uncertainty over its trading position with the US since Donald Trump’s presidency was announced towards the end of last year, Mattel is making preparations for any eventuality. “The financial side of Brexit is very clear,” explains Geddes. “The pound has devalued and there’s an 18 per cent swing in currency since June 23rd last year. “If you round that up, you are potentially talking about retailers, manufacturers and consumers who will each take a
share of shouldering that impact, particularly with a business that is sterling/dollar orientated. “We are working our way through that and will work very hard with retailers to make sure that critical price points are as closely met as we can get to. “There will be price increases, it’s just a matter of how to limit that to make sure the volumes don’t fall disproportionately. "The triangulation of retailer, manufacturer and consumer has to take a piece of the increase but we want to reduce that as much as we can so that we aren’t talking about 20 per cent price increases.” But it's early days, so let us focus instead on those areas that Mattel is particularly keen to see take off in the New Year, turning to innovation among its staple lines to drive consumer engagement and help boost the global toymaker’s presence in areas it has, historically, found more challenging than others. “Innovation always comes in different guises and it’s about making sure you stay abreast of it,” continues Geddes. “Take construction, for example. The Mega Bloks range has been very strong for us globally, but a challenge in the UK because of the brand's legacy. “However, with plans to bring construction play into the Hot Wheels brand through new lines, there's insight as to how we are using our brands to maximise the play patterns across them.” The Hot Wheels umbrella is seemingly in for a bout innovation, too, as fans of the brand await the arrival of Hot Wheels AI, a new racing set expected to launch around 2018. “This set will fulfill that current requirement for a classic toy that has stood the test of time for generations, paired with that something new and exciting,” says Geddes. “This is an area of racing and technology that is very exciting at the moment.” It's also just one example of Mattel's strategy for success this year: to push innovation among its most iconic brands and deliver greater growth among its core IP. January/February 53
Generation games Founded in 1919, games and puzzles specialist Gibsons has weathered nearly 100 years to become a mainstay of the UK toy industry. Now, having handed the baton down to its fourth generation, the family run business has some big plans for 2017. Jack Ridsdale talks to the team about what the New Year has in store
ibsons has enjoyed a rich history, what is the secret to the company’s longevity? Kate Gibson, managing director: It is definitely all down to the product. Since Gibsons was founded in 1919, we have ensured that our products are high quality, innovative and lots of fun. This is our livelihood, we are not a faceless corporation but a family. You certainly find you put more care into your work when it is part of your heritage. Michael Gibson, chairman: Yes, I agree. We have always stuck with what we know, whether that is games, cards or jigsaw puzzles. We made the decision early on to stay away from electronics because we didn’t want to get involved in an area we didn’t fully understand. I think it is very important to concentrate on your own goals, rather than worry about what other people are doing. The company has been handed down to its fourth generation, how do you expect this to affect the business going forward?
KG: Fingers crossed no change in our profitability. MG: We will continue to grow while concentrating on what we understand and are confident with. I am sure there will also be a little more innovation. Nick Gumbrell, sales director: I think we have an ‘onwards and upwards’ outlook. We are lucky that the company has been built on solid foundations, especially with Michael having been at the helm for 50 years. What upcoming products are you most excited about? MG: Personally, I am excited by the resurgence of board games over the last few years. We have seen a huge uptake in our classic board game sales for products such as Wembley and 221b Baker Street. 2017 will see new classic games from our back catalogue that we can’t wait to share with you all.
NG: We look after all new product development in house, so we are like proud parents when it comes to the new stuff. Mind the Gap is a favourite of mine and was inspired by a game idea my father came up with when he was a director at Gibsons in the ‘80s. It’s a quick play card game that takes players aboard the London Underground.
I’m excited to take the reins and drive Gibsons forward. There will be a lot of changes in 2017 from new products to growing the team. Kate Gibson, Gibsons KG: I have been working on our Iconic Brands Collection, which is a range of branded jigsaw puzzles presented in iconic, quirky tins. We have Marmite, Pringles, Vintage Kellogg’s, Mr Men and Love Hearts, with more in the pipeline. Can you sum up how 2016 was for Gibsons? NG: Lots of hard work but very rewarding. Gibsons has expanded a lot over the last 12 months with new routes to market, new customers and lovely new product. KG: It was a year of change for me and I am looking forward to moving to the next phase of Gibsons’ development.
Our gift collection has grown a great deal and we now offer over 40 gift products, which means we have been able to open our doors to a whole new market and brand new customers. What are you guys looking forward to this year? KG: I am excited to be picking up the reins and driving Gibsons forward for the first time. There will be a lot of changes in 2017 from brand new products to growing our team. The move in our customer base means that we need to ensure we keep up with demand and continue to produce excellent product. NG: 2017 will be very exciting for Gibsons. Despite the tough market and pressures to keep prices as low as possible, we’ve always stayed ahead of the game and I am looking forward to continuing our legacy as the UK’s leading jigsaw puzzle manufacturer. What are your sales expectations for 2017, what growth are you predicting? NG: There’s no denying that everyone will be affected by the post-Brexit exchange rate drop. However, we hope to take advantage of the dip in the GBP by growing our export business. We have been pursuing overseas business for a little while now and I have very high expectations for next year. KG: We have had excellent sales in 2016, so I am hoping they will be even better in 2017. We are focusing our efforts on expanding our gift category while holding on to our mainstream core business: jigsaw puzzles and games. MG: I have high hopes for 2017. We have a large and varied product offering and wonderful and loyal customers; a winning combination. www.toynews-online.biz
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Has Donald trumped the UK toy industry? Trump’s victory can, and arguably already has made an impact on retailers and wholesalers alike, especially those that deal in American exports. With the value of the dollar in fluctuation, anxieties are building. Jack Ridsdale caught up with some UK industry professionals to discuss concerns over Trump’s America.
t’s always a curious experience observing a US election from this side of the Atlantic. Trump’s victory was an unexpected end to what has been a vicious campaign, and with it came uncertainty. In the midst of this uncertain landscape, many are examining just how such an historic event will affect their chosen industry. The most immediate effect came when the value of the dollar sharply dropped, striking fear in the hearts of businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. With the pound being at its weakest state in years due to Brexit, retailers were already on the defensive, but when the dollar dropped to join it, opinions were divided. Mark Mitchell of Crocodile Toys explained the reaction from UK toy suppliers saying “two or three companies put up their net prices straight away. For the first time we had suppliers saying they couldn’t absorb the dollar valuation any further and had to increase it from immediate effect.” However, not all share Mitchell’s concerns. Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, believes that the fallout of Trump’s victory is not solely to blame for the volatility
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of the toy market, explaining the multitude of factors currently impacting UK outlets. “Retailers have always had to deal with value fluctuations and volatility” explains Martin, “Manufacturers and retailers have had to learn to deal with volatility over a number of years before we had a Brexit vote or a Trump presidency. We’ve got political changes on both sides of the Atlantic, living wage,
Manufacturers and retailers have had to learn to deal with volatility over a number of years before we had a Brexit vote or a Trump presidency. Paul Martin, KPMG apprenticeship levy, business rates specifically for retail and the massive drive of digitisation.” Sadly, retailers are largely at the mercy of their suppliers meaning that their only course may be to roll with the punches.
Ian Edmunds, MD of Toy Master, shares Martin’s scepticism of the ‘Trump Effect’. “The exchange rate has an effect on retailers but the effects so far have only been due to Brexit, not to Mr. Trump,” explains Edmunds. “It’s down to where the suppliers choose to position their price points and what lines they choose to run or not to run.” The Entertainer’s Stuart Grant agrees that the impact on the UK market will be negligible, “It’s creating more political uncertainty, but from a UK perspective we already have so much of that, it’s unclear what you can attribute to one or the other.” Regardless of which factors are harming the business of UK retailers, one constant theme is that retailers must adapt to this harsher retail environment in order to survive.
“The UK retail sector is 18 per cent less productive than Germany and 28 per cent less productive than the US,” continues KPMG’s Martin, “This is time to say ‘now is the time to make the changes that can address the issues that have been facing this company.’” “The only thing we can do is just be much more specialised in what we do,” adds Mitchell of Crocodile Toys, “I think it’s now time for retailers to change or die. “ Regardless of your political views, there is no shortage of reasons for brick and mortar toy shops to be nervous. However, it’s important to remember that the toy industry is, by it’s very nature a dynamic and ever-changing environment. While challenges are certainly on the horizon, with perseverance and ingenuity, retailers can endure and thrive.
See you at London Toy Fair Stand
Enjoying 30 years of learning fun in the UK... VTech is excited to launch a number of great new products at the 2017 London Toy Fair. With developments to much loved ranges as well as brand new additions in other categories. Visit our stand to see more!
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Fine China? With recent revelations about conditions many Chinese toy factories subject workers to coming to light, Robert Hutchins talks to the industry watchdog, ICTI Care about the campaigns now in place to improve living standards of those behind the scenes by bringing in schemes to benefit China’s migrant workers
t’s three words that, written in any other order, would seem as innocuous as ‘fancy a cuppa?’ or ‘who’s pig’s this?’ Yet the phrase ‘Made in China’ carries a historical, political and often emotional weight. In the closing weeks of 2016, as parents were dashing from shop to shop in search of those must-have toys for Christmas, the mainstream media decided to shine the spotlight elsewhere, and peer behind the scenes, at those responsible for their manufacture. Following an investigation carried out by the US national government organisation, China Labor Watch, some startling revelations behind what it means to be ‘Made in China’ today, came to light. It was discovered that workers at one factory in particular - the manufacturer of some big brand toy lines including licensed Disney product – were clocking up 12 hour shifts each day on a basic salary of 86p an hour. Many of them were found to be working with hazardous chemicals throughout their shift, while there is a growing number of families affected by the Chinese manufacturing industry’s millions of domestic migrant workers. According to several industry welfare bodies, this is an area of no small concern as an estimated 247 million migrant workers make up the country’s sizeable manufacturing sector, with one
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million of them being currently employed at toy factories. The majority of these are parents who, owing to China’s social service structure (its Hukou system in which services are only available within a child’s hometown) are forced to leave their children when they move to cities for work. Toy industry watchdog, ICTI Care Foundation estimates – even with reforms – that 62 million children remain separated from their parents. “And studies have shown that left-behind children have increased vulnerability to human trafficking, a higher likelihood of involvement in criminal activity or experience higher rates of depression,” ICTI’s Mark Robertson, director of communications, tells ToyNews. It appears then, that taking some form of action is paramount to the future wellbeing of an entire generation of Chinese children.
We are providing places for kids to learn and play while their parents work meaning seperated families can spend time together. Mark Robertson, ICTI Care
Back in June 2016, Disney drew its line with the labour conditions that staff at Dongguan Qing Xi Juantiway Plastic Factory were faced and took action to revoke the company’s license to manufacture Disney branded products. While benefiting the brand’s PR, this approach to dealing with the issue, will, according to Robertson, do little else to stem the underlying issues. Long ago, ICTI detailed its plans to work alongside the companies guilty of poor working conditions, to help improve the lives of these workers and their families. The foundation is now off the back of a successful pilot to introduce Family Friendly Factory Spaces to toy factories within China, a campaign that aims to reunite workers with their children during the summer. “These spaces create a safe place for kids to learn and play while their parents are working, enabling separated
families to spend quality time together,” explains Robertson. Ran across two toy factories: Yuanli Toy in Heyuan and Best Top in Qingyuan, the benefits of the pilot scheme have already been noticed by workers and factory managers alike. “In addition to delivering a positive impact for migrant workers and their children, these pilots have delivered important business benefits for the toy factories,” Robertson continues. “Factories reported significant improvements in retention, and increased levels of trust.” The pilot scheme has already helped a large number of workers and their families, but is by no means at ICTI’s desired scale. It has been coupled with a second phase in the ICTI mission statement: Remote Parenting Workshops for migrant workers. Held across ten toy factories to date, the workshops have focused on strengthening the parent-child bond with practical guidance and support mechanisms. Despite progress, the pilot schemes have proved it’s early days for ICTI to deliver a standard for China’s toy factories to uphold. Robertson adds: “We hope that even more workers and children will reap the benefits next year and beyond.” So, the gloves are off and the first steps in the fight to redefine the phrase ‘Made in China’ have been made.
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DEDICATED MONTHLY LICENSING COVERAGE FOR THE UK
Thunderbirds and TfL fuels impressive UK and global growth for plush firm HRD The plush toy specialist is heading to London Toy Fair to unveil a trio of new licenses this year, including a new JCB collection and something special from Unilever BY ROBERT HUTCHINS
igh end plush specialist HRD has seen impressive UK and international growth thanks to the success of its collection of licensed soft toys. Thunderbirds, Transport for London and the Royal Mail have all helped the firm pick up steam among big name retailers here in the UK, with product selling into the likes of Harrods, Argos and Amazon. On an international scale, HRD has seen a stark increase in sales numbers for its Thunderbirds line – rounded out in the New Year with the launch of the first Thunderbirds Five plush toy – across Australia, Canada and Germany. According to the firm, online sales of product has grown phenomenally, and it believes that its range of Thunderbirds plush items will now go on to help fuel the success of the popular ITV brand into 2017. “The Thunderbirds collection gives the brand more presence at retail. It is a tactile selection that means kids can get hands on with the brand there and then, rounding
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out any retailer’s in-store offering,” Joel Berkowitz, managing director of HRD told ToyNews. “HRD is about bringing high end, quality to the plush sector. Our London Underground collection has been selling phenomenally well, in fact, in its hundreds ahead of Christmas, which is very good for top end items like ours. “We are very confident that the momentum behind the line will continue in to 2017.” A buoyant line of plush, Berkowitz has championed the London Underground line.
We will introduce some big new products at Toy Fair and we are very keen to see response, it’s already been better than we expected. Joel Berkowitz, HRD “A license like London Underground isn’t subject to peaks and troughs that children’s brands go through, it’s a steady sell.”
The firm is heading to Toy Fair this year to use the event as a launch pad for not only its new Thunderbirds Five plush toy, but a trio of new licenses, including JCB with plush diggers, and a – for now - secret range of goods under the Unilever brand. “Toy Fair 2017 will see us unveil some big new products in our range, we are very excited to see response to the lines, as response to our current collection has been better than we could have ever expected,” concluded Berkowitz.
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Nelvana charms with new games and puzzles line Ravensburger, Media Service Zawada and Educa Borra have all come on board to develop a line-up of puzzles and games inspired by Nelvana’s popular girls’ pre-school series, Little Charmers BY JADE BURKE
elvana is set to venture into the games and puzzles category, with the help of its hit preschool show, Little Charmers. With the likes of Ravensburger on board for puzzles, Media Service Zawada developing activity and puzzle books and Educa Borra to roll out a series of games, Little Charmers is boasting a packed toy offering for fans to enjoy. “We launched the games category to offer consumers a broader range of products,” Antoine Erligmann, head of EMEA at Nelvana Enterprises, told ToyNews exclusively.
“We were attracted to the creative and enchanting style guide and wanted to translate the beautiful universe of Little Charmers into a line of puzzles and games to complete the popular master toy range.” By launching a brand new line of games and puzzles, Erligmann is hopeful that the collection will inspire young fans to become ‘Little Charmers’ themselves. Erligmann explained: “The new games offering continues the adventures of the TV show, which we use to create a complete experience for the child. “As little girls watch the series they are inspired by the characters to be Little Charmers themselves.
The games provide another opportunity for them to experience new Little Charmers adventures.” With promises to expand the property’s offering in the future,
Little Charmers’ fans have much to look forward to. “Our plan is to continue to grow the offering to meet consumer demand,” concluded Erligmann.
Aardman taps Timberkits for ewe-nique Shaun the Sheep line The wooden model manufacturer has inked a deal with Aardman, which includes the debut of four moving models based on the classic Mossy Bottom Farm moments, with three simpler designs to follow in spring 2017 BY JADE BURKE AFTER appearing on BBC’s Dragons’ Den and gaining the support of fellow dragon Touker Suleyman, wooden model manufacturer Timberkits has bagged a deal with Aardman Animations to develop a new line of Shaun the Sheep toys. Four moving models based on the classic Mossy Bottom Farm moments have been designed for kids aged from five to eight, with three simple designs set to follow for three to six-year-olds.
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“We share a world of hand crafted model making, so Shaun and his friends fit very easily into our processes,” Sarah Reast, director and designer for Timberkits, explained. “The characters are instantly appealing and naturally tell their own stories which we can illustrate with each toy’s simple shapes and free movement.” Having launched the first two models on December 8th, 2016, the second wave will be available to retailers across the UK by the end of January 2017.
Reast told ToyNews: “We would like to see the new Shaun the Sheep product range expand into more conventional toy markets as hitherto Timberkits have designed kits more suited to adults. “The Shaun the Sheep series has such a strong narrative we also hope that our products will encourage children in their own story telling.”
Shaun the Sheep isn’t the only Aardman property in Timberkits’ sights, with Wallace and Gromit now top of mind. “I can’t wait to try out some ideas as their quirky approach to engineering is legendary and I have no doubt we could have a lot of fun with them.” Timberkits is a family-run, independent toymaker now in its second generation.
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World of imagination With Go Jetters, Hey Duggee, Doctor Who and Mr Tumble all on track for a stellar year in toys, BBC Worldwide continues to deliver delight to the children’s entertainment space in abundance. Robert Hutchins talks to Rikesh Desai, licensing director at BBC Worldwide about the business’ biggest properties for the year ahead
hat have been the biggest properties for you guys over the last year? Go Jetters has got off to a flyer at retail with our Fisher Price developed toy range selling well and feedback from consumers for our retail character costume campaign has been fantastic. Meanwhile, Doctor Who still delivers across numerous categories and we are planning our retail support activity for next spring when series ten airs. More recently, we have seen our Hey Duggee nightwear and daywear get off to a brilliant start, with both launch ranges selling out within days, while our Mr Tumble toy range with Golden Bear has had a fantastic year. The brand goes from strength to strength and is set to have an even stronger 2017 with new toys expected to land at retail and a Mr Tumblethemed bedroom at the upcoming CBeebies Land Hotel at Alton Towers later this year. What expectations for growth have you got moving in to 2017?
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Very high. In a competitive retail environment we need to focus on those brands that have strong fan bases to build a compelling licensing portfolio. Between our pre-school portfolio, Doctor Who, Top Gear and more classic properties going into 2017, our ambition will be to continue to extend fans’ enjoyment
second year, where the market can expect the roll out of new categories to complement the toy range, which is soon to launch its second wave of products. For Hey Duggee in the UK we will build upon the strong start we have had for the day and nightwear range and with the show performing on Nick Jr. in North
designed to celebrate the rich heritage of Doctor Who throughout the last 53 years. A really exciting collaboration under this strategy is the Mr Men Little Miss mash up with Doctor Who, bringing together two very British brands, iconic Doctor Who storylines and that ever-popular Mr Men humour.
America, 2017 will see the launch of our master toy range in the US. Elsewhere, spring 2017 will see Doctor Who return to our screens, with huge marketing and PR support from BBC One. We’ll be launcing our new Doctor Who Universe licensing programme which has been
What new product categories are you looking to secure for your leading brands in 2017? Each of our franchise brands offers a different opportunity for partners to develop exciting products. For Go Jetters and Hey Duggee, beyond our master toy partners the focus will be for category expansion to reach the mass market audience. For our more evergreen brands in Doctor Who and Mr Tumble, we are looking for partners that can take these into innovative areas to challenge our traditional way of thinking about them. We want to strengthen our retail footprint, so the priority is to work with partners that deliver quality and passion by the bucket load.
Go Jetters, Hey Duggee and Mr Tumble are all in for a big 2017, with plans in place across toys, experiential campaigns and more. Rikesh Desai, BBC Worldwide of their favourite shows and support our licensees and retailer partners to maximise the potential of all the amazing content we have. What will be the brands to watch from you guys for 2017? The Go Jetters merchandise programme will move into its
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Behind the Masks Entertainment One’s hit new animated series has got off to a flying start, with broadcast figures in the US setting a new precedent. EOne’s head of international licensing, Ami Dieckman talks to Robert Hutchins about the plans for the brand, merchandising and why PJ Masks has all the makings of a pre-school classic
ow was 2016 for the PJ Masks brand, where has the property seen the most growth? 2016 was a very exciting year for PJ Masks, with broadcast launches around the world. Ratings for the show have been fantastic, it’s a top rated show on Disney Junior in several territories including the US, France, Spain, Italy, Australia, Germany, Portugal, Russia and South Africa and continues to gain broadcast traction in key markets such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand as well as Latin America and South East Asia. Meanwhile, websites, apps and music videos have helped to maintain interest between the episodes. The first PJ Masks app was downloaded over three million times in six months. The fanbase for the show has grown so quickly that we had to bring forward the launch of merchandise to meet the rising demand from consumers.
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With new partners set to broadcast from 2017 onwards this will put us in a strong position. Talk us through the current core ranges for the brand. Toys are spearheading the consumer products programme with Just Play at the helm as the master global toy partner. Toys debuted in the US from fall 2016 and will launch in multiple markets around the world from January 2017 via best in class local distribution partners including the likes of Giochi Preziosi and Bandai. Outside of toys and dress up, core categories include clothing, publishing, accessories and back to school. Why is 2017 set to be a big year for PJ Masks in the toy space and the wider consumer products market? Toys are the backbone of our pre-school properties and the importance of this category is key to its success at retail.
Signing Just Play as the brand’s global master toy partner was our first major appointment and we have been working exceptionally hard with Just Play to create a wide selection of toys that will strengthen the connection that fans have with the show. Sales figures coming from the the US Toys R Us launch are exceptionally strong and the property has become one of the top selling across several SKUs. What is the timing for the global rollout strategy? The first wave of products outside of North America will be led by Europe. France leads the international roll out in January 2017, closely followed by the UK in February 2017. These will be followed by Iberia, Germany, Italy, Benelux and Russia. We have selected best in class partners across the key categories, so Bandai is distributing Just Play’s toy line in Iberia, Simba will distribute in Germany and Flair in the UK.
Why should retailers be excited to get on board with the PJ Masks brand, what does it bring to the toy space in particular? PJ Masks has all the hallmarks of a hit pre-school property: great storytelling, aspirational characters and kids love to re-enact what they see on the screen. With the addition of new terrestrial and VOD broadcast paltforms launching in multiple markets this year we will see the awareness grow exponentially. Toys and dress up will be central to the licensing programme, which is something we’re really excited about. What new categories are you looking at for 2017? We are working towards a broad range of merchandise in multiple territories and are looking to sign new partners that complement our core toy programme. A key focus for us is experiential activity in our key markets. The level of consumer engagement that this generates is phenomenal.
LICENSING HOT LIST 2017
Licence to thrill This year will once again see a whole wealth of brands make the leap from the big screen, small screen and onto the shelves of toy stores up and down the country. Robert Hutchins talks to five of the industryâ€™s leading licensors about their exciting product plans for 2017
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LICENSING HOT LIST 2017
SESAME WORKSHOP The iconic children’s property, Sesame Street, has enjoyed over four decades in the children’s entertainment space. Risa Greenbaum, assistant VP of international licensing at Sesame Workshop, talks ToyNews through the secrets to the show’s success For over four decades, Sesame Street has helped children grow smarter, stronger and kinder by providing pre-schoolers with the gold-standard in quality educational programming. One area of particular growth for us this year was in our content platforms and in the US, Sesame Street continues to air on PBS. In addition, in January 2016, we debuted Sesame Street’s 46th season on HBO with its boldest changes to date: 30 minute episodes, new preschool-relevant themes, new show open and closing songs, an updated set and a whole new segment called Smart Cookies. Meanwhile, in the UK, Sesame Street just launched on Cartoonito, while internationally, we have programmes on public broadcasters, pay channels, Netflix and Amazon.
Sesame Street is created for pre-schoolers, but when it comes to licensing activity, we target both the young and the young at heart, so big kids, listen up. In some countries, the brand has had a 45 year history – not too far behind the US. In others,
Sesame Street is new. But in all, the licensing campaigns are exciting and finding fans across the age ranges. The characters lend themselves beautifully to a variety of products, whether it’s plush and bedding for preschoolers or clothing for adults.
In fact, toys and apparel have always been core businesses for us, and that hasn’t changed. A few years ago we saw a huge growth in apps and eBooks, and as consumer consumption habits evolve, our offering evolves and different categories become a new focus for us. We like to view our licensing programme as an extension of the Sesame experience: providing continued laughter and learning. We work closely with all of our licensees on the creative, regularly providing innovative fresh assets to our partners and we work to ensure that the product resonates with our fans and that our characters stay true. Ultimately we are whereever kids are with programming on television, videos, or YouTube. This is a wonderful way to extend the franchise into new
For us, licensing is simply an extension of the family show. Risa Greenbaum, Sesame Workshop categories and partnerships. We are invested in securing new licensing opportunities for the brand. For consumers, this means that fans are going to be seeing a lot more of Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster and the rest of the Sesame Street crew. 001 212 875 6586
CARTOON NETWORK With new Ben 10, the relaunch of Powerpuff Girls and extensive consumer engagement around Adventure Time, 2017 is going to be a busy one for Cartoon Network. Robert Hutchins chats with the firm’s VP EMEA, Johanne Broadfield about the year ahead Why is 2017 set to be a landmark year for you? 2016 saw us undertake two major franchise revivals. Firstly, we had the all new The Powerpuff Girls that launched in April 2016, and then a fresh take on the worldwide sensation Ben 10 hit TV screens in October. 2017 is going to be even bigger as we continue building these shows into full, multiplatform franchises and launch consumer product programmes. This will start with The Powerpuff Girls Spinmaster toy launch in Q1 here in EMEA. Alongside this, we’re busy working on the other jewels in our crown, including Adventure Time, The Amazing World of Gumball and We Bare Bears. How about your plans for Ben 10 in particular?
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2017 will see us build on the momentum we’ve created since the launch of the new series. Rollout of the consumer products programme will kick off in Q3 with the Playmates toy launch. We also have retail activations, fan experiences and marketing activities in the pipeline for Ben 10 that we are sure will make for lots of playground chatter. What growth are you expecting for the property in 2017? We’re off to a flying start with the show already drawing strong ratings. At launch, it was the
number one show in the UK and was the number one show for boys aged four to nine on Cartoon Network UK at the sixweek mark, too. This is an important year for the brand as we establish a solid, new-generation fanbase for Ben 10 and ensure those who are seeing it for the first time keep on seeking content. There will be lots of multiplatform content available to fans across websites, YouTube and in new app games. Who are the core partners you have on board for the brand? We have Playmates on board as the master global toy partner and Giochi Preziosi/Flair distributing across Europe and the UK. Ben has a big presence at IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai, with a Ben 10 5D multisensory theatre experience for families.
The Ben 10 toys will deliver what the industry is missing. Johanne Broadfield, Cartoon Network What will the new Ben 10 toy range bring to the toy space? Ben 10 has already had a significant impact on the toy industry and we are confident that the new collection is going to deliver something the market is currently missing. 020 7693 1580
LICENSING HOT LIST 2017
DHX BRANDS Teletubbies is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year while In the Night Garden is turning ten. It’s no wonder 2017 is set to be an exciting one for DHX Brands. Deborah Hooper, VP of global brand management at DHX Brands talks to ToyNews We are lucky to work with an amazing portfolio of high quality pre-school properties, each with a distinct target and positioning. Teletubbies was developed for kids aged six months to three years, In the Night Garden is for the one to threes, while Twirlywoos targets older preschoolers, aged two to five. Each of our brands has an exciting 2017 ahead of them, and two of them will be celebrating significant milestones this year. For Teletubbies, it’s the 20th anniversary of the first broadcast of the original series on the BBC. We will be marking ’20 Years of Big Hugs’ with an exciting marketing programme, including retail activations across key accounts and a heavy weight PR campaign, as well as a charity tie-up with Barnardo’s and the Big Toddle fundraising walk.
Meanwhile, it’s been ten years since In the Night Garden first aired on CBeebies, and it still holds the coveted daily bedtime slot on the channel, ensuring that it is firmly cemented in the sleeptime routine of millions of young families around the UK. With a theme of Ten Years of Magical Journeys, special events include a branded zone in the first ever Family Garden Show at the RHS Garden Wisley, and the
opening of themed bedrooms at the new CBeebies Land Hotel at Alton Towers. For Twirlywoos, the second series has launched on CBeebies and proved popular with a loyal and growing fan base, with new content rolling out this year. In fact, we will launch lines across all categories for Teletubbies, with Character Options launching new SKUs including the Party plush and feature plush Dancing and Singing Po, the first soft toys for Tiddlytubbies and a Teletubbies Weebles range. Elsewhere, the first products from the In the Night Garden Baby programme will launch to retail, with toys landing in
We’re launching the first soft toys for Tiddlytubbies. Deborah Hooper, DHX Brands spring/summer with a wider roll out in autumn/winter. Twirlywoos likewise, will see a new toy line from Golden Bear. Developing new means for consumers’ engagement drives success and helps us standout in a competitive pre-school space. 020 8563 6150
WARNER BROS CONSUMER PPRODUCTS With DC Super Hero Girls, a Wonder Woman movie, Justice League in the pipeline and the ever-popular J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, there’s plenty to get your teeth into from Warner this year. Robert Hutchins talks to Julian Moon, SVP of Warner Bros. Consumer Products EMEA Can you talk us through the plans surrounding DC Super Heroes, Wonder Woman and DC Super Hero Girls? With a programme that crosses more than 30 categories, there is a lot more new product to come from DC Super Hero Girls. This year will bring global licensing programmes in support of Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary, as well as her first solo feature film debut in June. Wonder Woman will also be part of Warner Bros. Pictures’ feature film, Justice League, which hits cinemas in the fall. The licensing programme for the Wonder Woman film involves more than 50 categories. Girls like super heroes just as much as boys and we try to accentuate the positive messages that are intrinsic to the DC Super Hero universe.
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What has response from the toy market been like to date? Partners through have been enthusiastic from the get go. The launch of the muchanticipated LEGO DC Super Hero Girls sets in 2017 will receive lots of support from global retail. What partners are in place for JK Rowling’s Wizarding World? The licensing programme for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will deliver apparel and accessories, publishing, stationery, fine art, costumes and collectables such as vinyl figures from Funko and prop replicas and fan-favourite wands from the Noble Collection, plus some innovative gifts from Paladone. The first wave of product will hit stores in September. For Harry Potter, there is still an incredible level of appeal as it
continues to draw legions of fans who have grown up with it. We have product for all fans and all ages, such as a fashion range in Primark and immersive destination retailers like Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station, which continues to offer an expansive range of Wizarding World product in support of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. 020 7637 4660
Julian Moon, Warner Bros. Consumer Products
LICENSING HOT LIST 2017
HASBRO STUDIOS Founded in 2009, Hasbro Studios has been responsible for some of recent history’s biggest movies including the Transformers franchise. With a new feature out this year and the first My Little Pony: The Movie, Robert Hutchins talks to Stephen Davis, EVP and CCO of Hasbro Studios How was 2016 for you guys? 2016 was a phenomenal year for Hasbro Studios and our film label Allspark Pictures. Our franchise brands continue to thrive in television, film and digital media. This year we released two Transformers TV series Transformers: Robots in Disguise and Transformers: Rescue Bots, and a series created with Machinima, Transformers: The Prime Wars Saga. My Little Pony also continues to thrive and grow. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic recently celebrated its 169th episode and the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls is more popular than ever. We also acquired Boulder Studios, a multi-award winning Irish animation company based in Dublin. This allows us to continue to challenge traditional modalities of production, delivering innovative content at the right price points. On the film side, 2016 marked the outset of our ambitious new cinematic universe with Paramount Pictures. These stories will bring to life some of Hasbro’s most exciting brands. We also celebrated the release of the second instalment of our successful Ouija series.
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What impact have you had on the entertainment space? It’s an exciting time in the children’s entertainment space, there are so many new ways to engage and interact with kids. Children today want so much more than a Saturday morning cartoon and an action figure to play with. They’re demanding new stories across mediums, which has drastically increased the amount of content we create and how we consider storytelling across an entire franchise. The most exciting change is the level of ownership we’re taking over the storytelling from our brands in the film world. We continue to partner with some of the biggest, most creative names in Hollywood, but today Hasbro plays a much more active role in helping determine what stories are being told on the big screen. This year we will take that level of ownership to new heights with the release of Allspark’s firstever animated feature, My Little Pony: The Movie. What will be the big properties under development for 2017? It’s a landmark year for Hasbro thanks to My Little Pony: The Movie and Paramount’s Transformers: The Last Knight.
Why do so many of Hasbro’s properties work so well in the film space? Hasbro’s properties work well in the entertainment space for two reasons. First, we have a world-class portfolio filled with franchises that have been loved by fans for decades. And second, we don’t create new entertainment from a brand just for the sake of it. What are the dangers in developing movies around iconic brands and how do you avoid those when working on these projects? We sincerely believe that each of our brands can serve as the starting point for a great story, but without the right idea to bring it to life, we don’t try to bring it to life on television, in short form digital storytelling or on the big screen. Brands like Transformers and My Little Pony continue to succeed with audiences because their worlds and characters appeal to fans, families and youngsters around the globe. We strive for that level of connection and success each time we set out to make a new film, video game, TV show or digital series.
We sincerely believe that each of our brands serve as a great starting point for fantastic stories. Stephen Davis, Hasbro Studios
What scope does Hasbro Studios have to work on original properties to present to the toy side of the business? Hasbro Studios and Allspark Pictures work hand in hand with the larger Hasbro family. Ideas, inspiration and decisions flow freely in both directions. It’s a very collaborative process that we have with the main Hasbro business and one that is working very well for both sides to date.
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Pre-School A MONTHLY GUIDE DEDICATED TO THE BIGGEST SECTOR IN TOYS
NEWS MEDIA OPINION
Q Pootle 5 has sights on pre-school classic status Adapted from a best-selling book series from Nick Butterworth, popular TV series Q Pootle 5 has already achieved sell-out success in Germany with a sell-out range of plush toys and plenty more to follow BY ROBERT HUTCHINS
Pootle 5 has the potential to become a mainstay of the preschool sector through toys and a wider consumer products roll out. The property’s licensing agent Larkshead Media and the show’s creators Snapper Productions have united in the belief that the pre-school animated series has what it takes to become a classic within the bustling younger years market.
There is a level of heart to the show that ultimately means longevity, it’s the reason people want to see more and more of it. Nick Butterworth Adapted from the book series from the children’s author and illustrator, Nick Butterworth, Q Pootle 5 follows the adventures of a friendly alien character as he journeys through space encountering new friends. The messaging of the show, one that according to Butterworth,
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instils curiosity and the desire for discovery among pre-schoolers, is one that will cement its place within a heavily congested market, currently dominated by only a few giants in the space. Although only one series in, the property has been propelled to significant success across the globe, now airing in 95 countries and performing particularly well in Germany, where NICI distributes a successful line of soft plush characters. Both Butterworth and Clare Piggot, director of licensing and merchandising at Larkshead Media are confident that Q Pootle 5 can mirror the success it has seen in the German preschool space, here in the UK. “We have all of the building blocks in place and are focussed on replicating the success of Q Pootle 5 here in the UK,” Piggot told ToyNews. “We recognise that the UK is a very different market and we have to make sure that we have the right product at the right time, but we are both very hopeful and confident.” Co-founder in a family built production company, Butterworth works alongside his son, Ben Butterworth in developing content for TV, books and a newly revamped website, designed with the help of the UK’s Aardman Animation.
The website is the latest move from Snapper Productions to help ramp up the audience engagement around Q Pootle 5 in order to develop a mainstay brand in the pre-school space. “There is a level of heart in the TV show that has sustainability,” said Butterworth. “This means longevity in the show and is exactly why people want more of it.” Piggot has highlighted that developing the property’s presence in the UK toy and publishing markets is integral to the recently appointed licensing
agent’s plans for building the brand to successful heights here in the UK’s pre-school market. “We are really looking forward to opportunities like Nuremberg, which will be a really significant show for us,” she said. “Seeing the ranges and seeing reaction to them will be very important. Toys and publishing are key to the brand building process, particularly in such a challenging market. “Q Pootle’s strength is blending commercial with educational to drive engagement through content and product roll outs.”
Crowdfunding success story Yoee Baby sets sights for UK The US start up smashed its Kickstarter goal of $20,000 last year to become the most funded baby toy in the site’s history. The firm is now seeking UK distributors BY JADE BURKE
oee Baby, the most funded pre-school start up to hit the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, is setting its sights on the UK market. The line of soft toys designed to encourage sensory development among youngsters smashed its target of $20,000 within five days of going live late last year. The infant toy range secured $35,663 making it the most funded toy for younger years children in Kickstarter’s history. The firm has since reported an early positive interest in the line from buyers in the UK and is currently eyeing the right distribution partner to launch the
pre-school range to the market in the coming year. “2016 saw us become the most funded baby toy on Kickstarter, a fantastic result for us, particularly on a site that tends to veer towards gadget and products that speak to technology, so we are thrilled to establish a presence within the baby toys market,” Jillian Lakritz, CEO and founder of Yoee Baby, told ToyNews. “We are fully tested and compliant with UK safety standards and have already had interest from buyers in the UK, so it is firmly in our sights.” Yoee Baby’s range of products uses a number of features such as rattles and crinkles, high contrast colours, playful characters and a silicone teether, all of which
have been designed to engage babies in various sensory and developmental activities. Yoee Baby is now also in the process on developing a product line for professional early childhood education and the pediatric care community. These new lines boast a stable of new characters and product ideas that are already in development. “We are currently paying a premium to work with a smaller factory that makes high quality plush and has excellent working conditions,” continued Lakritz. “One day we would love to build our own production facility and make our products domestically, so stay tuned for our next Kickstarter campaign.”
Fisher-Price enjoys crowdfunding success with first smart soother Mattel’s toy brand has partnered with crowdfunding site Indiegogo to launch its first app-controlled baby soother and sound machine, as it aims to ‘engage with more consumers in an authentic two-way conversation’ BY ROBERT HUTCHINS Fisher-Price has made its foray into the crowdfunding space with the launch of its first app-controlled soother and sound machine on the Indiegogo platform. Designed as ‘a way to engage with more consumers in an authentic, two-way conversation’, the company is keen to make smart investments into its design and engineering efforts thanks to its deal with Indiegogo.
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“Our Indiegogo campaign came to be because we’re always looking for new opportunities that help us better connect with today’s parents,” Henry Hsiao, VP of strategic development at Mattel, told ToyNews. “More than crowdfunding, this campaign is about crowdsourcing ideas that will help us understand what products our consumers will really get behind and support.” The Smart Connect Deluxe Soother boasts a range of light and
sound features, including an array of nature sounds and soothing music, all of which can be adjusted through the corresponding Smart Connect app.
“We hope to empower parents with the Smart Connect Deluxe Soother by giving them the tools to create a customised bedtime routine for their baby,” said Hsiao. Although the Smart Connect Deluxe Soother in not yet available for consumers to purchase, early response has proved promising for the toy firm. Hsiao added: “Focus groups love the subtle, modern design of the soother and the rich variety of customisable features.”
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09/12/2016 10:10:45 10:30:48 13/12/2016 21:15
DEDICATED MONTHLY RETAIL COVERAGE
OnBuy to give toy sellers ‘fairer route to market’ The online trading platform has scrapped commonplace seller fees in place of a monthly subscription fee meaning that independent sellers are now able to challenge US counterparts like Amazon and eBay BY ROBERT HUTCHINS
he UK online trading platform OnBuy has detailed its plans to support the toy industry with a fairer route to market. OnBuy made headline news in 2016 when it announced its intentions to rival the likes of Amazon and eBay by offering shoppers an alternative platform to the usual online juggernauts. Part of the marketplace’s remit has been to scrap selling fees, allowing sellers to offer ‘good deals to consumers, in order to underprice the competition on other marketplaces, while maximising their own margins.’ In what it has billed as a ‘win-win’ scenario, the firm has stated that it will enable toy sellers to maximise their online margins through ‘a fairer and more ethical route into the market.’ “The reception from bricks and mortar businesses has actually been positive, whether that’s because we’re British and ready to steal market share from our
RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD
Stuart Grant, The Entertainer
Geoff Sheffiled, The Toy Store
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US counterparts, or because we are keen to help businesses to sell online and capitalise from the online space, the feedback has been very constructive” Cas Paton, MD at OnBuy, told ToyNews. “Many sellers in the UK rely on marketplace sales, but feel cheated when some platforms compete with them, or generally take too much of a heavy hand over the seller. “The removal of selling fees has been a topic of many conversations from sellers, marketplaces and price comparisons have taken a huge slice of profits for a long time and OnBuy dares to change that.”
Having only been open for trading since early November 2016, the platform has seen a large uptake from the toy industry and has already been approached by a major High Street retailer. However, when compared to other markets made available by the OnBuy site, toys is among the slowest to grow. OnBuy is confident that – with a three year plan to become ‘synonymous with being cheaper than Amazon’ – the pace will pick up. According to Paton, toy sellers will welcome the chance to ‘make higher margins on cheaper retail prices.’ “We would love to work with more toy sellers and will be
starting outreach soon so that we can fill up our toys categories,” continued Paton. “Sellers with hot toys may be able to gain instant exposure on OnBuy, at no cost to them, as many national outlets are keen to showcase OnBuy, instead of some of the US giants. “We’re being asked for toys, games and best sellers. There is a lot of love for the UK marketplace and toy sellers can capitalise.” 2016 marked the second outing for the OnBuy platform, having originally launched in the UK in 2013. However, a disagreement among the shareholders led to the website being taken down in 2014. The trading place now works on a subscription basis of £49 a month, allowing sellers to trade in products including IT, clothing and even cars. In an interview in 2016, Paton said that the subscription structure will work only to benefit online traders who find the costs of running their own website an added headache to the usual expenditure of owning a business.
ToyNews takes soundings from its Retail Advisory Board on toy industry issues. The current members are:
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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Retail Survey 2017
It’s that time of year again, and it’s our fifth annual retail survey. Yes, we poked our noses into your business to ask a cross section of the UK’s independent toy retailer population to find out just how 2016 performed for you, what products triumphed and what struggles you faced through one of recent history’s strangest 12 months
Shopkins: 12% LEGO: 4%
Well, here we are: at the start of another year and it is that familiar old sense of optimism with which the UK’s independent retail scene enters it. True to form, when it comes to your highlights of 2016, it couldn’t be any more of a mixed bag, with responses ranging from the sharp incline in sales of Pokémon towards the end of last year, to a number of you enjoying a steady revenue growth. In fact, over the past year, an impressive 16 per cent of you have experienced a growth of the business with new premises,
Pokémon: 8% Nothing: 12% Milestones: 7% Events: 8%
New premises/growth: 16% Hatchimals: 2% Other: 20% Movies: 3% 00
hat was the highlight of the year?
opening new stores and increased profits all topping the bill of personal achievements. Elsewhere, the Shopkins phenomenon has helped keep the smiles on your faces over the last 12 months, while a good number of you – to the tune of seven per cent, at least – have been celebrating various anniversaries and milestones within the industry. Congratulations must go to the one retailer who recently celebrated its 40th year in business. Whoever said toys were just for kids?
ow was business in 2016 compared to 2015?
The good news continues as it looks like 2016 proved to be a positive year for the indie retail scene, with a majority of retailers revealing that the past 12 months far outpaced the previous year. In total, 43 per cent of those interviewed stated that business had improved, with one retailer declaring that an ‘increased online presence’ helped contribute to a better year on the High Street. Other factors highlighted by you included good weather and the build up to the Christmas shopping season. The decision to leave the EU in 2016 has been a contributing factor
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for the 27 per cent of you who, in comparison, believe business to be down on the glory of 2015. One retailer revealed that Brexit had in fact ‘hit us really hard.’ However, 30 per cent of you maintained that business had remained steady, despite the challenges within the market.
Better: 43% Same: 30% Worse: 27% 00
hich toy category performed the best for you in 2016?
Taking centre stage this year is the construction sector, with 22 per cent of you citing that toys of this ilk were most popular with consumers throughout 2016. It's no wonder, it's been a big year for LEGO alone, who with the launch of its Disney Minifigures and popular Star Wars inspired building sets, has played a huge role in keeping that green stuff filling your cash desks. Following close behind is the collectables and dolls and plush sectors, ranking in at second place together, with retailers championing the likes of Shopkins, Num Noms and Teddy Bear Hospital.
The wooden toys sector, last year’s favourite, has dipped slightly this year with 10 per cent of retailers citing the category as their best performing - a dip, however, compared to last year’s 21 per cent. Pre-school has continued to perform well for you, with one retailer declaring, ‘preschool is still excellent with Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig and VTech doing very well’. Similarly, the games and puzzles and arts and crafts sectors are still storming the market, with seven per cent of retailers confirming that these areas are still performing well.
Construction: 22% Collectables: 17% Dolls and plush: 17% Pre-school: 13 % Wooden toys: 10% Games andNe puzzles: 7% Arts and crafts: 7% Licensed toys: 3% None: 3% Outdoor: 2% 00
hat impacted your business the most in 2016?
In the words of Queen ‘Nothing really matters’, but in this case it matters to the tune of 23 per cent of you. That afterall, is the percentage of you who believe that absolutely nothing has impacted your business this past year. Despite the majority of you feeling more than satisfied about 2016, Brexit was definitely a sore spot for 18 per cent of you. Prices going up, quiet stores, cost of importing goods and exchange rates were
all factors you experienced as a result of the EU referendum. Once again, online competitors and the decline of the High Street has been a factor impending your businesses, while the uncertainty of the weather throughout the year was also an irksome factor for seven per cent of you. Business rates continue to be the bane of your lives, closely followed by issues with suppliers and bootleg toys.
Nothing: 23% Brexit : 18% Competitors/Online: 13% Local issues: 12% Moving premises: 7% Weather: 7% Business improvement: 5% Business Nerates: 5% Suppliers: 5% Hit movies: 2% Fake toys: 2% Price rises : 2% 00
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o you feel confident in the health of your business moving into 2017?
It looks like 2017 is on course to be a positive year for the majority of retailers, as a mammoth 83 per cent of you remain confident in the health of your business as we enter the New Year. Opening new premises and expanding your current stores are just some of the factors contributing to your positive outlook for 2017, with one retailer revealing, ‘I would like to think we can start the new year having had a profitable Christmas, and hopefully still keep trading for many years to come’. Despite this positivity, for 17 per cent of you, the future looks uncertain for business, with Brexit proving to be a major gripe. This, followed by online competitors and, oh, the decline of the retail sector. What happened to that festive cheer?
Yes: 83% No: 17% 00
ow were Christmas takings in 2016 compared to 2015?
It looks like things are remaining positive for most of you on the retail scene, as this year’s festive period has seen an improvement compared to last. For 42 per cent of those interviewed, customers starting Christmas shopping earlier were among the leading factors for 2016’s increase. In contrast, we have once again received a number of differing opinions, with some of you stating that Black Friday caused shoppers to hold off spending, with one retailer blaming the mass discounting event for its lack of business. It's 23 per cent of you that revealed that Christmas takings were down this year. However, by large, Christmas takings this year have been on a par with last year and for the 35 per cent of you who attest to it, let's hope the rest of 2017 holds up too.
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Better: 42% Same: 35% Worse: 23% 00
hat new toy or products are you looking forward to stocking in 2017?
LEGO Batman has piqued the interest of a good ten per cent of retailers interviewed this time around. And well it might. Yet despite the growing excitement and the latest LEGO Minifigure line-up, the caped crusader hasn't done enough to convince the 15 per cent still unsure about this year's toy line-up. Shortages of Spin Master’s Hatchimals continues to fuel demand, at least for the eight per cent of you keen to get your hands it, if only to stop the constant customer enquiries.
Elsewhere, licensed toys from Star Wars and Power Rangers are popular collections for another eight per cent of those interviewed, closely followed by new lines in the arts and crafts category, exciting a further seven per cent. Construction and pre-school are still performing well this year, with five per cent of you looking forward to stocking items from these categories, while STEM toys are also starting to show new promise, if only for the three per cent.
Nothing: 15% Don’t know: 12% LEGO Batman: 10% Trade shows: 10% Hatchimals: 8% Licensed: 8% Arts and crafts: 7% Own ranges: 7% Pre-school: 5% Ne
Construction: 5% Collectables: 5% Games/Jigsaws: 5% Wooden toys: 3% STEM: 3% 00
hich current trend is making the biggest impact on business this year?
The phenomenon that was Pokémon Go has seen the franchise grow into one of the biggest trends for 2016, with one retailer stating, ‘Pokémon has had an impact this year, if not for profit margin, then certainly for units sold and turnover. We have lot to thank Pokémon Go for’. Although 26 per cent of you revealed that no trend in particular had made much impact over the course of the year, the power of the internet is still a massive bugbear for the retail scene. 'It's killing prices for bigger items,’ stated on retailer. Meanwhile the likes of Amazon
and the sales of counterfeit goods online are all other trends affecting your business. Elsewhere, thanks to blockbuster TV series including The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, seven per cent of you revealed that licensed toys is a main trend, followed by tech toys, pre-school and traditional toys, each coming in at a respectable five per cent.
Nothing: 26% Pokémon: 18% Internet: 12% Collectables: 10% Licensed toys: 7% Tech toys: 5% Pre-school: 5% Traditional: 5% Ne Construction: 3% Books: 3% Other: 3% Games and jigsaws: 2% 00
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08/12/2016 11:18 10:07 09/12/2016
You’re Hired With the government’s plans to reach three million apprenticeships by the year 2020, more toy firms across the nation are starting to offer their own schemes. Here, Jade Burke speaks to key toy execs and retailers to find out how beneficial they are and how youngsters can get their foot on the ladder in the toy industry
pprenticeships are starting to pick up throughout many sectors, and the toy industry is no different. With global companies including the likes of Mattel, Smyths and Spin Master all offering their own schemes to help get students on to the career ladder, the future is bright for young people. Back in 2014, business secretary Vince Cable revealed that the
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government had fulfilled its commitment to start two million apprenticeships, a massive milestone for the UK. With this in mind, the government hopes to reach three million apprenticeship starts in 2020 as it aims to increase the ‘quality and quantity’ of apprenticeships in England. “Reaching the two millionth apprenticeship is testament to this government’s commitment
to apprenticeships,” Vince Cable explained in a statement 2014. “This isn’t just about numbers. From space engineering, to TV production, to legal services, apprenticeships are the ticket to a great job and a route employers trust to get the skills they need.” And it looks like the UK government is well on its way to achieving its goal, as ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne revealed in the 2016 Autumn
Statement that the living wage for apprentices would increase from £3.40 per hour to £3.50. Similarly, Ryan Longmate, MD of Positive Outcomes, a UK provider of apprenticeships and work based training, is welcoming the move. Longmate explains: “The announced rise in minimum wage for apprentices is definitely a welcome move and helps to make apprenticeships a much more attractive path.”
“One of the persistent myths surrounding apprenticeships is that they’re low paying, but that simply isn’t the case the majority of the time. “Many employers are willing to pay more than the minimum wage, and this increase, which is higher than most other wage increases announced by the Chancellor is further evidence of the importance placed upon apprenticeships by the government.” While young people look for places to intern and take on work experience, the toy industry is no different, with ample opportunities available from retail and manufacturing to toy design. The Entertainer’s learning and development manager, Peta Young, says: “We offer work placements for all ages. Whether it is helping young people get
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into the world of work or to help someone retrain, we work with local and nationwide providers to make this happen. “Retail is a fast and exciting industry and we are ambitious about helping shape and build our retailers of the future. We are delighted when work placements gain employment with us but we are just as happy when their experience with us helps them gain employment elsewhere too.” Global toy firm Mattel is no different and also offers its students the chance to gain real life experiences through its internship programme, while also offering practical skills and vital career choices. “It’s a valuable way to give the next generation an opportunity for practical hands on experience within an exciting and dynamic industry,” cites Wendy Hill, brand activation director at Mattel UK. “It’s also a great opportunity for businesses to get another perspective and ideas from another generation.” Likewise, Spin Master also offers its own schemes, which offers students the chance to gain key contacts and a foot in the door to the toy industry. Jo Thompson, head of public relations at Spin Master Toys, tells ToyNews: “For the last two years, Spin Master has provided an internship opportunity to become a marketing assistant. “Within this role, the individual gets the chance to take part in a wide range of experiences, from exhibits, shows, launches and awards to everyday duties of a full time job.” But it isn’t just the big guys who are offering schemes for students; independent retailers are also starting to see the benefits of employing young people as part of work experience, proving just how crucial apprenticeships are. “We feel that it is our duty to help to educate young people about business whenever we can,” declares Dr Wendy Hamilton, owner and manager of Grasshopper Toys. “We have children in from the local schools to do work
experience as part of the ‘go to work with your parent day’ schemes. On a more intensive level, we work with our local job placement schemes to give school leavers work experience for periods of time from four weeks up to six months.” Owner of The Cambridge Toy Shop, Vivienne Watson, continues: “We have had two people go through a full year apprenticeship on a government scheme which worked really well. It’s great to help youngsters who have struggled and who need a bit of boost and encouragement to do better.”
We need to have stronger practical links between secondary education and business in order to ensure a seamless transition for our young people. Wendy Hamilton, Grasshopper Toys It’s clear to see that the toy industry is taking advantage of apprenticeship and work experience schemes, and is no doubt invaluable to any company choosing to do so. By taking on a fresh-faced youngster, employers will gain the insight from a new generation, while offering students the chance to gain key life skills they may not be able to pick up at university or college. A sentiment that Hamilton echoes. “Youngsters leave school and enter the work force unprepared for the practicalities of a working day,” she adds. “We need to have stronger practical links between secondary education and business in order to ensure a seamless transition for our young people.” It is common for a student to gain future employment through an apprenticeship scheme, as a 2014 study from London.gov.uk reveals 85 per cent of apprentices will stay in employment, with two-thirds staying with the same
employer, thus making it a crucial tool for companies to offer. Drawing on her own experience, Cara Davies PR and events manager at Firebox, believes work placement schemes are an invaluable way to get into your chosen industry. “Working as an assistant in a PR team enabled me to quickly learn valuable skills about my craft, and make contacts that ultimately led to me being asked to return to the company where I interned years later,” Davies explains. “It is hard graft, and the uncertainty of future work can be difficult at times, but interning can be a great way for newly graduated workers to springboard themselves into the marketplace.” Young resonates: “We have specifically found work placements a great source of future employees, and in 2015, 25 per cent of our placements resulted in paid work with us.” Considering this, offering an apprenticeship or work experience scheme is clearly something smaller companies and retailers should jump on board with. By contacting the UK government and setting up a programme, no doubt youngsters will be flocking in their masses to share their expertise with businesses. For example, Jane Holtom, coowner of the Cheshire Toy Shop, suggests that students will have a better understanding when it comes to matters of the internet, which will undeniably enrich a business’ offering. She explains: “With the growth in social media, the need to be found on search engines and the importance of good imagery, young people are key to helping smaller companies like ours grow.” With the government’s plans increase the number of apprenticeships in the UK, even more, it looks likely that we will start to see firms in the toy industry boost their business with apprenticeship schemes. Thompson concludes: “These opportunities allow for innovative minds to enter the industry. The toy industry is competitive and forever growing, so it’s invaluable.” January/February 85
Is toy retail ready for
Biometric technology, virtual and augmented reality, hi-tech walk through tours: the retail scene is fast evolving. Jade Burke asks this month’s ToyShop UK listing how technology can benefit the independent toy seller
here’s no doubt about it, the world in which we consume goods is on the brink of some kind of lifechanging revolution. Concepts that were once bound to the pages of dodgy science fiction or the script of even dodgier sci-fi movies (think Logan’s Run or Tom Cruise in anything) are fast becoming a reality to the world in which we shop. Have you heard, for instance, of biometric technology? If not,
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then picture a scenario in which you can walk into a store that will recognise you by your irises, voice, fingerprints or any other part of the anatomy you deem acceptable to present in public. Imagine that through this recognition, you could pick up your favourite toy and walk out without having to visit the till, but via microchips upon your person, find your bank account docked to the tune of the value of that latest Paw Patrol play-set.
It’s a scenario a lot closer to home than many realise. In fact it’s a concept already being trialled in the US, lead by Amazon and its Amazon Go initiative. But according to Sophia Murray, writer on ToyNews’ sister title PCR, Amazon is far from being the only retailer to be dabbling in this futuristic technology. “The adoption of biometric technology is enticing for vendors who are integrating the technology into their portfolios,” she says.
“This is in direct response to consumers becoming more comfortable with this everevolving and increasingly prevalent technology market.” Apple, Dell and Samsung are among the biggest names to be leading the charge in bringing the technology to the consumer’s palate, but that certainly doesn’t make them the only ones. Elsewhere, virtual reality and augmented reality are concepts that more and more are finding
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r the tech revolution?
themselves brought in to major retailers, and the conversation around what has been billed ‘virtual walk-throughs’ in retail stores is becoming prevalent. But maybe the idea of paying for goods via facial recognition is too great a leap into the realms of Joss Whedon’s mind matter for the independent retailer? While expensive technology may be a big allure for many of the larger retailers, what kind of real opportunities do recent advances in the field offer the high street? And perhaps more importantly, is it a concept even welcome within the front door?
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To test the waters ToyNews brought the conversation back from the brink of Blade Runner, to focus on the tech wholly more available to the smaller toy retailer. And for the little guys, this could be anything from delivering consumers a more responsive website to ease shopping and offer a more enjoyable online experience, to creating a bespoke app that will reach a community of local shoppers. “A responsive design website is critical,” enthuses Paul Pimlott, owner of Taunton’s popular World of Bears. “However, it’s my belief that technology like a bespoke app is probably not worth it and largely costly to manage. That said, focusing on the digital experience and the end user is critical as is looking at how customers engage in the emerging ways of the world. “It is critical to ensure that retailers embrace digital and have a left shift – a shift towards self service – to service the ever changing market.” Of course, making that shift inevitably means spending money. And all too often that is money that simply isn’t available to the independent retailer, particularly in the current climate of High Street uncertainty and the impending Brexit fall-out. It’s a point that Mitch Brown of Norwich’s Darth’s Hutt is only too ready to present. “Although I agree that we have to move with the times, there are plenty of companies out there who offer to build you an app, do a 360 tour of your premises and more,” he says. “The cost to a small independent business can be astronomical, so I have found that unless you know someone who can utilise their services, it is technology that for now is simply out of our hands.” If only then, the independent retail scene were offered a direct solution to integrating tech within
the in-store construct. Alas, it would never occur that easily. And even if it did, can retailers even trust their own customer base to make use of the
Focusing on the digital experience and the end user is critical to retailers, as is looking at how customers engage in the many emerging ways of the world as we know it. Paul Pimlott, retailer technology to the benefit of those supplying it? “The most common use for mobile technology is for consumers to use it to find where they can get a cheaper deal elsewhere, which is pretty much online,” says Daeron McGee of Seaford’s Toy Town, drawing a line firmly in the sand along with it. Of course, approaching tech like this with a sense of caution is only too natural. After all, price comparing and window-shopping are not foreign
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
concepts to the toy industry, and all too often has a High Street toyshop found itself stung by the bargain hunting consumer in the past. But is there not something to be said about the indie who can raise its head above the parapet and make the leap towards getting on board with the tech that continues to excite the consumer, before the larger retailers dominate that scene, too? The owner of Plymouth’s Final Frontier, Julian Shelford, believes there is. “There is definitely a benefit to embracing mobile technology, especially before the bigger players take it up,” he explains. “The down side is that the technology is very new, so there will be teething problems which can be a costly occurrence. But essentially, to have something new, and to have it before it goes mainstream, can be a huge advantage for the smaller guys.” But realistically, the chances of VR or AR in-store integration arriving at an affordable price to the independent retailer within the next five or ten years is slim. However, it’s an exciting world to look towards, even if the tech won’t be available for another 20 years.
that Toy Shop UK can help you increase your online presence and complement your other marketing activities this year. CONTACT: Michael Hawkins firstname.lastname@example.org 07786 295756 for more information. www.toyshopuk.co.uk
INDIE RETAILER FOCUS
Grasshopper Toys springs back onto the scene After a fire that ravaged their well-loved toy shop in 2013, the passionate staff at Grasshopper Toys have come back stronger than ever. Store owner Wendy Hamilton explains why their shop stands out from the crowd
an you tell us a bit about your business? I started my business online in 2010 selling science kits and educational toys initially. The business diversified quickly into a broad range of children’s toys including LEGO and wooden toys. We ended up opening a toy shop in late summer 2012. In 2013 I took over Curious Minds to service our science customers, leaving the Grasshopper Toys website to focus on children’s toys. Separating out the science kits has meant we can be more specific in our branding and marketing, allowing us to be more child-focused for the Grasshopper brand. What services do you offer? We have a traditional approach to how we operate the shop, with an emphasis on friendly well-informed service and exciting displays. I’m lucky to have a team of toy enthusiasts working with me who know our range well. We also offer shop & ship services for customers buying for children who live further afield. We run activity days, competitions, and give an endless stream of donations to local childorientated charities. I guess we do just what all the other indies do to stand out from the chains.
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You offer a Book Corner for kids. Why did you choose to offer books alongside toys? I chose to put in a book corner for the simple reason our town doesn’t have a decent book shop and as a mum I wanted books for my children. The area works very well, we sell a mix of learning to read books as well as the more popular titles. We also sell a select range of Scottish favourites, such as Hairy Maclary and Katie Morag, the tourists love these books. Although we could easily fill the space with more toys, I think the shop would be a poorer offering without the book corner. What do you look for when sourcing new toys? Innovation and quality are the two big tick boxes when choosing new toys for our range. Then it’s down to price. We find price is not the dictating factor for a customer’s purchase, but in the current economic climate every family is watching the pennies, so it does become a consideration if two items are essentially identical in terms of quality.
open a toy shop, but every time I walk into the shop I experience a jolt of surprise and excitement at what the team have created. It’s such a magical place to be, it’s like living Christmas every day of the year. The best bit is hearing the kids running along the pavement outside the shop, you can hear their excited chatter and you know that within a few seconds the door is going to be thrown off its hinges as they burst into the shop. What are your plans for the Grasshopper Toys brand for the future? It has taken us a long time to repair the damage after the fire in 2013, and it took me personally a long time to get over the experience; fatigue and delayed shock I guess, so it’s only in the last few months I’ve really had the time and the energy to contemplate the future, but it is definitely time for some new challenges to keep myself and the whole Grasshopper team excited and motivated. We have a number of ideas incubating, we just need to decide which one comes first,
but whatever we do, it will be with an eye on the long term. I am excited to finally be looking to building the future for Grasshopper Toys, rather than repairing the past. Watch out for the name Grasshopper Toys, it’s an exciting time for the entire team as we move in to the New Year and one we all look forward to taking on and running with for many more years to come.
What is the best thing about owning a toy store? Well you know, I never set out to
Spring into action With over 60,000 visitors expected to descend upon Birmigham’s NEC this year, and more than 3,000 exhibitors showcasing new ranges, Spring Fair is a must attend for any industry professional. Jack Ridsdale catches up with the event’s director, Nick Davison to talk through exactly what attendees can expect from this year’s show
ovie inspired toys such as Trolls, Cars 3, Despicable Me and Star Wars will be among the big ticket items for visitors to this year’s Spring Fair. The licensed toy sector is expected to bring in some big business among the UK’s network of independent and multiple retailers at the Birmingham event this year, as the annual show once again prepares to leap into action. Always a popular event, around 60,000 people are expected to pack out Birmingham’s NEC this February as the show, now in its 66th year, continues to delight buyers with the latest in gifts and toys. “Independent toy shops and larger retailers will find the whole spectrum of products within the toy category at this event,” Nick Davison, portfolio director for Spring Fair, told ToyNews. “And it’s a category that widens with each year. Traditional wooden toys, family board games, arts and crafts, outdoor and educational games will all be on display at the show.” And while Davison may be flying the flag for a surge in licensed lines, it’s not an exclusive area of growth within the toy sector that the show is expecting for the big year ahead. “Tech toys such as drones and robots will also be in the spotlight along with a host of nursery and baby-related merchandise at the event,” he continues.
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“As the UK increasingly adopts the US concept of baby showers, the market for gifting in this area has seen growth and shop owners have expanded their buying remit into this category.” Learning and development toys are also expected to see an up tick, becoming an increasingly bigger sector in the market, highlighted by this year’s increase in the number of toy firms specialising in the field. “One such exhibitor will be Interplay, which markets toys for children that offer a positive learning or creative experience.” Spring Fair 2017 will also be welcoming a whole host of new exhibitors, as a growing number of
international manufacturers and distributors choose Spring Fair as its only UK show to head towards in the trade calendar. Among them will be Hansa Creation, a specialist in soft toys
Independent toy shops and larger retailers will find the whole spectrum of products within the toy category at this year’s big event. Nick Davison, Event Director and Keel Toys, a producer of both traditional and fashion-inspired toy lines. The pair join further
newcomers to the show including Bertoy, a firm that delights in the world of toys, backpacks and notebooks all under the popular children’s brands Crocodile Creek, Mud Puppy and Angel Bliss. Well ,what more could you expect from the show that prides itself as the largest home and gift trade show in the UK? “Well, visitors will benefit from exposure to the newest products on the market,” answers Davison. “As well as gaining insights into what will be top of consumers’ wish lists in the forthcoming autumn and winter sales periods. “Exhibitors tend to keep their innovations closely guarded until January when their products launch, meaning that much of what visitors will see at Spring Fair will be brand new,” Davison concludes.
SHOWGUIDE GUIDESPRING SPRING FAIR 2015 SHOW FAIR 2017 HTI Combining popular everyday toy lines with some of the biggest character brands in the market, HTI provides an extensive selection of pocket money toy and bubbles ranges. New for 2017 is My Little Pony, Transformers and Cars pocket money toys. There’s also ranges with Disney Princess, Frozen, Peppa Pig, PAW Patrol, Thomas & Friends, Teletubbies, Spider-Man, Avengers and Shimmer & Shine. The toy firm will be exhibiting its extensive portfolio of domestically stocked toy ranges at this year’s Spring Fair in Birmingham. There’s over 200 new lines across existing and brand new ranges, including the likes of Alien Invasion, which comprises alien grow eggs, fizz bombs, hatchlings and alien blinkers. Also new for 2017 is HTI’s Creepsterz collection. Teamsterz, HTI’s own extensive range of collectable die-cast vehicles, garages and play-sets,
light and sound vehicles and track sets will be in attendance. The brand will be supported by a multi-platform marketing campaign from 2017 to build the brand and boost awareness with consumers including a new consumer website, which launches in Q1. HTI is set to introduce the new category of Teamsterz Light and Sound, which will boast 10 different themed chunky vehicles along with new garages and play-sets. The line will launch for 2017 across key price points combining quality manufacture with imaginative vehicle play patterns. Michael Butterworth, HTI UK’s divisional director, commented: “The HTI team is looking forward to another successful Spring Fair
show, catching up with existing customers and forging new business relationships. The breadth of range for 2017, boasting some of the hottest brand licenses and key toy lines will ensure HTI is the stand to visit at Spring Fair 2017.” 01253 778 888
Hall 5, Stand 5E100-F 101
RAVENSBURGER Thanks to its European – based in-house development and production expertise, Ravensburger looks set to continue making waves in the puzzles and games sector. Key launches include a 3D Sneaker, a vintage Volkswagen T1 Camper Van and licensed editions of the successful and collectable My 3D Boutique range. The 2017 range also includes a shaped lighthouse (almost one metre high) created by Colin Thompson, arguably the world’s most popular puzzle artist. Thompson’s work regularly tops the best sellers list, and this design will be a ‘must’ for his many fans. Paddington stars in his own stylish ‘I love London’ design, with iconic art by L S Lowry, classic Flower Fairies designs and
Hall 5, 5L14
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artwork from some of the UK’s most popular puzzle artists. During 2017 the company will welcome 16 exciting new licenses to its portfolio including Animal Jam, Cars 3, Beauty and the
Beast, Elena of Avalor, Rapunzel, Despicable Me 3, Paddington, Power Rangers Dino Charge and Rachel Ellen, with other licenses arriving for autumn/winter. New products have also been added to the toy firm’s existing
licenses including PAW Patrol, Thomas & Friends, My Little Pony, Avengers Assemble, plus there are more introductions in the company’s award-winning generic range to come. 01869 363 800
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SHOWGUIDE GUIDESPRING SPRING FAIR 2015 SHOW FAIR 2017 PAUL LAMOND GAMES Paul Lamond Games is set to showcase over 30 new lines at Spring Fair this year including a variety of products from some exciting new licenses. Now That’s What I Call Music is one of the most successful compilation album series of all time, and music fans can now test their musical knowledge with a brand new board game. Questions from the 80s, 90s and 21st Century, as well as covers to sing and song titles to be mimed will ensure that the whole family is entertained with this fun new board game. Following the premiere of the animated children’s classic; We’re Going on a Bear Hunt at Christmas, Paul Lamond will be launching a brand new range of games and puzzles featuring the new illustrations from the TV animated production. New lines, which will be available from February, will include, We’re Going on a Bear
Hunt four-in-one Games Cube, a Memory Card Game and a Jumbo Floor Puzzle. Consumers will also be able to spice up their evenings with a set of condiment-based family games. The four Spicy Games: Cafe Cafe, Chilli Chilli, Salt & Pepper and Sugar Cubes, all packaged in their own condiment-style jars, are great entertainment for the whole family to play with. Also set to be unveiled for the spring is a brand new eight to ten player Murder Mystery Dinner Party game; A slice of Murder. There will also be four new and entertaining 1,000-piece That’s Life Spot the Difference puzzles available for the spring. The funpacked puzzles include Kitchen Chaos, Canal Commotion and Bar Bedlam Ham. Paul Lamond Games will also make its debut in the world of magic this year in partnership with Britain’s
Got Talent phenomenon, Jamie Raven. Four mind-blowing Magic Sets including Card Magic, Magic of the Mind, Street Magic and Sleight of Hand will be available from February. 0207 254 0100
Hall 5, Stand E04–F0 3
POSH PAWS 2017 will be a big year for Posh Paws as the range includes some exciting new movie launches, best-selling collectables and new backpack designs. The first blockbuster movie to hit cinemas and shelves next year is the live-action adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. To coincide with the release, Posh Paws’ plush range will feature Beast and Belle in a variety of sizes, as well as a full cast of characters in its Beauty and the Beast Tsum Tsum Collection. Its mighty ‘morphin time’ this Easter with the release of the latest action and adventure movie from Saban. Posh Paws is powering up with its licensed plush range, which will certainly offer something new for all Power Rangers fans. The mischievous Minions are back along with all the family in Despicable Me 3 this summer. The film features existing favourites Gru, Agnes and
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Fluffy, as well as new characters and outfits which will be reflected in Posh Paws’ DM3 Plush Collection. The new range includes basic plush in a variety of sizes and styles, as well as a small range of soft toys with sounds. The company is also working on a new concept for the franchise, which will be revealed at this year’s Spring Fair. Cars is one of the top boys’ character franchise, providing a world of vehicles with personality that appeals to boys’ interests in racing, friendship and humour. The new Cars 3 plush range will feature Lightning McQueen and his closest pals, as well as the new generation racers. Using all new fabrics the plush reflects the characters from the film and will act as the perfect present for young fans. 01268 567 290
Hall 5, 5F80-G 91 www.toynews-online.biz
GIFT GIVING…all wrapped up Join us at the following trade fairs to see more of the collection…
5th–9th February International Spring Fair, NEC,Birmingham, Hall 4 Stand H80-J81 © 2017 Pusheen; Pusheen®
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10th–14th February Ambiente, Frankfurt, Germany, Hall 9.1 Stand C71
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SHOWGUIDE GUIDESPRING SPRING FAIR 2015 SHOW FAIR 2017 RUBIES MASQUERADE This year, Rubie’s Masquerade has moved from Hall 3 to a new location in the Toys, Gifts and Gadgets sector in Hall 5. The company will be showcasing its key licensed ranges from the likes of Warner Bros, Disney, Saban, Hasbro, Nickelodeon and Mattel with several hotly anticipated new collections being revealed for the first time. With the new Power Rangers movie set for release soon after Spring Fair, Rubie’s exciting new look Power Rangers kids’ dressup line will be shown for the first time, as well as its new licensed Beauty and the Beast range for both children and adults, ahead of Disney’s live action re-imagining of the classic fairytale, which is set to hit cinemas in March. Costumes from Disney’s latest animated feature, Moana, will also be on show for the first time too, alongside a myriad
of ever-popular super heroes from the Marvel and DC Comics powerhouses, including brand new Spider-Man and Wonder Woman costumes ahead of Spider-Man: Homecoming from Marvel Studios and DC Comic’s Wonder Woman due out in summer 2017. New licensed pre-school dress-up ranges from kids’ TV shows Shimmer & Shine and Elena of Avalor will be unveiled, alongside new additions to the Paw Patrol line, which continues to show strong sales, as well as brand new My Little Pony dress-up. Elsewhere, the new Disney Princess range, Marvel Avengers, Star Wars: Rogue One and DC Super Hero Girls, as well as costumes for Book Week and Halloween, will all be on display. 08453 070 707
Hall 5, F102-G1 03
For January 2017, soft toy specialist Gund will be launching a new dual-mode educational dog plush to encourage and nurture early learning skills. The new, animated Spunky Dog sings the alphabet and counts ‘one, two, three’ when children press the buttons on his footpads, making him the perfect gift for little girls and boys who are eager to learn. Family fun awaits, as they practice over and over again with their new ‘best friend’. Also new is the range of Peyton bears, available in three colours including cream, pink and blue. Each of the teddies from the toy firm have been made using ultra soft premium plush and come adorned with a sophisticated grosgrain ribbon in matching pastel colours. 01228 404 022 (Enesco)
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CLEMENTONI Clementoni is putting a strong focus on the Infant and Science market when it exhibits a number of new product lines at Spring Fair in February, demonstrating its growing portfolio across these sectors where it has excelled in the last eighteen months. Licensed puzzles will also continue to be a focus for the business, which has once again seen strong year on year growth, particularly in the UK and key European territories, as well as its home market. Expanding its scientific range, Clementoni will preview to Toy Fair visitors the Evolution Robot which is a programmable robot that can be controlled by a downloadable app on smart phones and tablets which are Bluetooth enabled, or it can also be used manually. More advanced than its predecessor, the 2016 Cyber Robot, the new Evolution Robot registers and
executes all player demands in real time and comes complete with sound effects and lights to add to the robotic experience. Visitors to Clementoni at Toy Fair will also see the Interactive Globe demoed on stand, with which you can explore the World using its featured optical reader pen. The company’s 2017 puzzle offering continues to lead the way with new licenses and AR technology. Clementoni puzzles are a strong foundation of the
business and the licensed category for 2017 includes new launches animated children’s TV hit Shimmer & Shine, Disney Pixar’s Cars 3 and Minions Despicable Me 3. The Minions range includes a 1000-piece impossible puzzle with all three popular characters and high definition imagery, perfect for testing adult intellectual skills. At the show Clementoni will also be launching its 3D Virtual Reality puzzle collection,
Hall 5, 5L30,St a Gallery nd 155 featuring 3D googles and panoramic qualities. The range covers themes of cities, animals, scenery, sightseeing and fantasy. 0208 782 1136
GIBSONS The trade fair season is upon us once again and Gibsons is looking forward to the opportunity of meeting customers old and new. This year the games firm bring with them significant expansions of the Gift collection, a host of new puzzle designs and some exciting new games. Presented in a mini tin version of the recognisable London Underground logo, Mind the Gap is a brand new quick-play card game for young and old. Grab a ticket and hop on board the tube as players compete with other travellers to reach their destination in first place – it’s a Morden adequate way to while away a few hours. Mind the Gap has a strong shelf appeal, and is ideally situated for the gift and tourist market alike. The latest addition to the Iconic Brands collection, the Official VW Campervan is a 500-piece puzzle packaged in a recreated and miniature version of the vehicle.
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Finally, following the success of Gibsons’ The Great British Bake Off jigsaw range, the team has introduced a new 250-piece puzzle, which comes packaged in a “cake-slice” tin. Featuring some of the best bits from the last seven seasons of the nation’s favourite baking programme, this is bound to be a popular addition to the existing range for fans to enjoy. The Gibsons team will be donning their aprons at this year’s Spring Fair, and visitors are invited to swing by for some sweet treats. 020 8661 8866
Hall 5, E30-F31
SHOWGUIDE GUIDESPRING SPRING FAIR 2015 SHOW FAIR 2017 AMSCAN
Amscan’s latest ranges promise to be an exciting display for wholesalers and retailers, with new products across the party, balloon and costume categories available as part of the company’s 2017 offering. In addition to everyday ranges for popular occasions such as birthdays, weddings and baby showers, there will also be new seasonal Halloween items on display. With licensed product playing a major part in partyware, the stand will feature an array of new ensembles including; Batman, LEGO, Thomas & Friends and Nickelodeon’s Shimmer and Shine to name a few. Amscan has expanded its dress-up offering for 2017 with the addition of several inspiring new styles and costume accessories. In particular, this year customers will find a variety of Book Week outfits for children of all ages, including themes such as fairy tale, historical, careers and more. Adults are encouraged to look out for an enticing display of new decade-themed costumes and wearable accessories, including Amscan’s new Witch Doctor costume accessories. To complement the costume collection the firm has recently launched its Amscan Create range of face paints. Featuring a variety of colour face paint creams and palettes, items to create gory special effects, plus a selection of face paint kits and accessories, the range is ideal for Halloween. The stand will feature an inspirational walk-through tunnel, which will incorporate an assortment of new everyday ranges including, Sparkling
Celebration for milestone birthdays, as well as a babythemed display. With demand for innovative yet cost effective party favours growing, Amscan will be launching its complete new Favours collection featuring an extensive choice of party bag fillers from flying frogs, to 3D puzzles, stickers and much more. There will also be the opportunity to learn how to create stunning displays with balloon demonstrations that will be held by Amscan’s creative projects manager, Chris Horne, which will take place on the stage in Hall Three. There will be two separate demonstrations each day, including ‘The One Stop Party
How many Spring Fairs have you attended? This will be my third year at the Spring Fair. What’s your favourite Charlotte Cox, part of the show? Marketing The Party Show in Hall Executive, Amscan Three. There is always a
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Shop’, which will reveal a selection of designs and ideas for a variety of occasions that combine elements from the party, balloon and costume categories. In addition there will be a seasonal focused seminar, which will provide ideas on how to create eye-catching designs for key occasions throughout the year. Amscan will also be making its first appearance on the Spring Fair Catwalk. The show will feature a mix of the latest costume trends for both children and adults, which will happen three times each day in Hall Three. 01908 288 500
‘buzz’ especially on the first day of the show. What’s your least favourite part? It is a tiring week. Networking or early night after the show?
Hall 3, Stand 3A10-C 11
Early night, it takes a lot of energy to get through the whole week. Why does it remain an important show for you guys to attend? It’s a great chance to meet potential new
customers and existing ones and showcase our latest ranges for the year and inspire people. What advice would you give those attending for the first time? Wear flat shoes.
Visit the Rubieâ€™s stand at Spring Fair (Hall 5) and Nuremberg Toy Fair (Hall 12) for upcoming costume ranges in 2017
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SHOWGUIDE GUIDESPRING SPRING FAIR 2015 SHOW FAIR 2017 RAINBOW DESIGNS Spring Fair is set to see the arrival of some exciting new product additions from Rainbow Designs this year. There will be a number of line extensions unveiled at the show for some of Rainbow Designs’ most established brands, including the likes of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Paddington, and more. Joining the ever-popular My First Thomas collection this spring will be a set of fun Attachable Jiggle Toys, the
number one engine will be joined by his friends: red engine, James and the green engine, Percy. Also new to the collection will be an activity-packed Developmental Mirror complete with a Thomas styled teether and crinkle character to help keep baby entertained. Elsewhere, there will be new products unveiled in the timeless Paddington for Baby collection. This range,
which has enjoyed great success with retailers and consumers alike, will see some new spring additions including a Baby Silicone Teether, a Paddington for Baby Attachable Jitter Toy and a plush Stacking Toy enter the collection. Rainbow Designs will also have some brand new lines to announce for Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar range.
The new Zippie Caterpillar and Jingler Caterpillar are fantastic additions to Rainbow’s Very Hungry Caterpillar nursery collection. There will also be a new Caterpillar Comfort Blanket available in the striking bold colours of the famous character, as well as a Jumbo Activity Mat with multiple features to keep baby entertained. Guests will be able to see all of Rainbow Designs’ 2017 collections including the likes of My First Thomas & Friends, Paddington, Peter Rabbit, Peppa Pig for Baby, Guess How Much I Love You, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Miffy and The Snowman and The Snowdog at this year’s Spring Fair show. 01329 227 300
Hall 5, Stand G18-H19
SAMBRO Sambro always has a huge presence at the annual Spring Fair and 2017 will be no exception for the company, with a stand showcasing more licenses and lines than ever before. In line with the company’s growth plans, Sambro’s licensed portfolio has been extended during the latter part of 2016 with new properties added to existing licensing deals, as well as seeing them work with new licensors. The firm has also added to the number of categories it offers, and visitors to the Spring Fair will be able to see new lines attributed to Sambro’s new Soft Lines division. Categories offered at the show will include arts and crafts, stationery, bags, toys and games, pocket money, wheeled, outdoor, fashion accessories and more, with the list of 2017 licenses also shaping up well. The Trolls collection has been supremely popular with fans and
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will be added to throughout the year as will the Pokémon range, which has seen a revival of the plush backpacks. Despicable Me 3 and Cars 3 are some of the most anticipated film launches, and Sambro will introduce new products exclusively at Spring Fair. Nickelodeon’s Paw Patrol continues its ascendance and more categories will be added with unique innovations to its bag collection. New licensed ranges will also launch into retail and customers will be the first to see Spiderman Homecoming, Forever Friends, Hello Kitty and other new collections. Nikki Samuels, licensing director at Sambro, said: “It’s hard to communicate how vast our ranges are so we would urge customers to come along and see us, so they can appreciate the scope our licensed collections offer retailers of all sizes.” 0845 873 9380
Hall 5, 5K50
SPRING FAIR HALL 5 STAND K100
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SHOW GUIDE: SPIELWARENMESSE 2017
Nuremberg Toy Fair It’s that time of year again where the industry heads to Nuremberg Toy Fair to indulge in all the latest toy trends and possibly a Bratwurst or two. Here, Jade Burke talks to Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse, to find out what this year’s show has in store and why guests should keep their eyes peeled for new and interesting exhibitors
oasting an impressive exhibition space of 1.82 million sq ft, (that’s the equivalent of 30 football pitches), it’s fair to say that Nuremberg Toy Fair isn’t one to miss on the toy industry calendar. Spanning across six days, guests from all corners of the toy industry will get the chance to clap their eyes on the latest products hitting the market, while networking over a Bratwurst sausage or two. Despite a string of new exhibitors under its belt, according to the show organisers there is a clear emphasis on quality over quantity this year, as Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG, explains: “For us, quality always takes priority over quantity – as is demonstrated by our list of people who want to exhibit but whom we cannot serve. “But also in the other halls, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for interesting exhibitors and their product highlights.“ Nuremberg Toy Fair comprises a huge range of toy companies, focusing on varying sectors from traditional, arts and crafts, figures, wooden and more, and with 28.7 per cent of the companies only choosing to exhibit in Nuremberg and at no other trade fair, it’s evident just how crucial this show is to the industry. “As a leading international trade fair, the Spielwarenmesse is a reflection of the global market,” insists Kick. “Because we see ourselves not only as a trade fair organiser,
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but also as a marketing service provider for the toy industry, we provide an informative supporting programme that is tailored precisely to the needs of trade visitors and which is continuously being expanded.” 2,851 exhibitors took part in last year’s show, where around 70,714 visitors turned up to feast their eyes on all the latest toys, and it looks like this year’s event will be no different. Boasting a new Tech2Play activity and a babies and infants area, as well as brand new themes for the TrendGallery, this year’s show is nothing but jam packed. “We continue to develop every year and take account of changing market requirements, so we are launching the Tech2Play activity area,” explains Kick.
“With the new babies and infants area, we will offer visitors an extended range of offerings in the baby and infant segment, which should give them a good overview.” Offering services for retailers is high on the agenda at this
We continue to develop every year and take account of changing market requirements. Ernst Kick, Spielwarenmesse year’s show, as the TrendGallery has been decked out with the latest trends circling the industry, including ‘Body and Mind’, ‘Girl Power’ and ‘Swap & Collect’, where retailers will be able to ‘get
the stimulus they need for their everyday business life’. In addition, in the Toy Business Forum, guests will be able to listen to lectures and various new topics every day, which will specifically address the needs of a retailer. With exhibitors including the likes of Mattel, Hasbro LEGO, Spin Master, Jazwares, MGA and more lined up, 2017’s show certainly looks set to trump last year’s. Kick continues: “There was a high degree of satisfaction, with visitors being particularly enthusiastic about the high level of innovation last year. This is a result that we are proud of. “It confirms that we are doing something right and it is also a huge spur for the upcoming event. We are confident that this ‘Spirit of Play’ will also be transferred to the 2017 Spielwarenmesse and that we can continue our success.” January/February 101
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Service 12.0 Nord
Service 12.2 Süd
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VIP West/ Mitte
Eingang/ Messepark / Fair park Entrance West
2 Service 2/3/4 ärn -B to Ot e traß r-S the reu
Modelleisenbahnen und Zubehör Model Railways and Accessories
Spiele, Bücher, Lernen und Experimentieren, Multimedia Games, Books, Learning and Experimenting, Multimedia
Technisches Spielzeug, edukatives Spielzeug, Aktionsspielwaren Technical Toys, Educational Toys, Action Toys
Festartikel, Karneval, Feuerwerk Festive Articles, Carnival, Fireworks
Holzspielwaren und Kunsthandwerk Süd Wooden Toys and Craftworks Karl-Schönleben-Straße
West Einfahrt . Access
Lifestyleprodukte Lifestyle Products
Schulbedarf, Schreibwaren, Kreatives Gestalten School Articles, Stationery, Creative Design
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Messepark / Fair park VIP Ost2
Sport, Freizeit, Outdoor Süd-Ost2 Sports, Leisure, Outdoor
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Puppen, Plüsch Dolls, Soft Toys
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Eingang/Aussteller-Shop Eingang/ Exhibitors Shop Service 5/6 Entrance Entrance FrankenMitte halle Service 4 Service 4/5
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Baby- und Kleinkindartikel Baby and Infant Articles
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Puppen, Plüsch Company .......................................Hall/Stand Dolls, Soft Toys Company .......................................Hall/Stand
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Dracco Company Ltd ..........................Hall 10.1 / D-19 HTI........................................................Hall 12.2 / P-09 Albion Alloys Ltd.......................................Hall 7 / D-73 Karl-Schönleben-St Drumond Games ...............................Hall 10.1 / D-19A Hy-Pro International Ltd ......................... Hall 7 / C-25 ALEX .........................................................Hall 3 / D-03 Spiele, Bücher, Lernen und Eduk8 Worldwide Ltd. .....................Hall 12.0 / C-01-2 Imagine8 UK LTD ................................. Hall 12.0 / I-24 Alfred Franks & Bartlett ...........Eingang Mitte / C-05 Modelleisenbahnen und Zubehör Experimentieren, Multimedia Lifestylep Egmont Toys ............................................Hall 2 / C-08 Imaze Toys LTD .....................................Hall 7A / D-167 Amalgam Collection ................................ Hall 7 / A-54 Model Railways and Accessories Games, Books, Learning and Lifestyle Pro Engino Toy Systems ................................ Hall 4 / F-06 IMC Toys Deutschland GmbH ........... Hall 12.2 / P-26 Ambi Toys ....................................... Hall 4 / E-51, F-50 Experimenting, Multimedia Epoch Co. Ltd. ................................ Hall 1 / D-05, F-26 Indigo Jamm ............................................Hall 3 / C-20 Arklu Ltd - Lottie Dolls .............................Hall 1 / E-15 Extreme Toys Ltd..................................Hall 7A / F-103 Insect Lore ...............................................Hall 5 / D-29 Aurora World Ltd ......................................Hall 1 /edukatives C-01 Technisches Spielzeug, Schulbeda Fiesta Crafts Ltd ...................................... Hall 1 / B-09 Inspiration Works Ltd .............. Hall 12.0 / G-18, F-20 Bandai.................................................. Hall 12.0 / E-01 Festartikel, Karneval, Feuerwerk Spielzeug, Aktionsspielwaren Kreatives 9 / B-33 Pacific Inc ................................. Hall 12.0 / F-23 Bigjigs Toys Ltd ....................................... Hall 3 / A-31 Festive Articles,Jakks Carnival, Fireworks Technical Toys, Educational Toys, Fun Shack (UK) Ltd .................................Hall School Arti James Galt & Co Ltd ....................... Hall 4 / E-51, F-50 Jazwares GmbH ....................................... Hall 6 / C-41 Bladez Toyz ............................................. Hall 6 / A-38 Action Toys Creative De Games Workshop Ltd .............................. Hall 7 / B-59 Jellycat Ltd............................................... Hall 2 / E-08 Brainstorm Ltd .............................. Hall 12.0 / B-03-2 Gen42 Games ..................................... Hall 10.0 / C-01 Jumbo ................................................ Hall 10.1 / D-12A Cartamundi NV .......................... Hall 10.1 / B-06, C-11 Gibsons............................................Hall 12.0 / A-04-4 GmbH ............. Hall 10.1 / D-12A Hall 10.1 / F-15, D-12 Casdon Ltd ......................................... Hall 12.0 / C-04 Golden Bear Products Ltd. ......................Hall 5 / C-15 K’NEX ........................................................ Hall 4 / E-95 Character Options ......................... Hall 5 / B-54, C-51 Green Board Game ..........................Hall 12.0 / B-03-1 John Adams Ltd ............................. Hall 5 / B-54, C-51 Cheatwell Games................................Hall 10.0 / A-03 Keel Toys Ltd ............................................ Hall 1 / C-09 Commotion Distribution................Hall 12.0 / A-04-6 Hasbro GmbH .................................Hall 12.0/F-10, H-05 Kiddimoto Ltd ......................................... Hall 7 / C-20 Danilo Promotions Limited ...........Hall 12.0 / B-04-3 Hornit........................................................Hall 8 / B-05
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Kidkraft Netherlands B.V. .......................Hall 3 / A-42 Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. ....Hall 10.1 / D-14 Le Toy Van ................................................Hall 3 / D-36 LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc ..................Hall 12.2 / P-19 LEGO GmbH ........................................ Hall 12.2 / P-01 Little Bird Told Me ................................... Hall 2 / E-04 Manhattan Toy Europe Ltd ..................... Hall 3 / E-06 Maps Toys ....................................... Hall 12.0 / A-04-2 Marvin’s Magic ................................Hall 12.0 / B-04-4 Mask-arade Limited .......................Hall 9 / D-57, E-58 Mattel GmbH........................................Hall 12.2 / P-15 MGA Entertainment Int. ....................Hall 12.2 / P-08 Mookie - TP Toys........................... Hall 7 / C-09, D-08 NECA ......................................................... Hall 5 / C-59 Neviti ......................................................... Hall 9 / F-75 Orange Tree Toys ......................................Hall 3 / A-15 Orchard Toys Ltd ................................ Hall 10.0 / H-13
Oxford Diecast Ltd. ................................. Hall 7 / C-52 Parrot.........................................................Hall 8 / E-22 Peta (UK) Ltd. ................................ Hall 12.0 / B-03-3 Pioneer Europe Limited .......................... Hall 9 / D-76 Playlearn .................................................. Hall 5 / D-16 Playmobil ............................................ Hall 12.2 / P-07 Plum Products Ltd. ................................ Hall 7 / B-28 PMS International Group PLC ................ Hall 1 / B-18 Primo Toys .............................................. Hall 5 / A-87 Professor Puzzle Ltd ........................... Hall 10.0 / I-07 The Puppet Company Ltd. ......................Hall 1 / F-09 Pyramid Posters .............................Hall 12.0 / A-09-1 Rainbow Designs Ltd................................ Hall 1 / E-22 Ravensden Plc ......................................... Hall 1 / D-04 Renart Ltd ....................................... Hall 12.0 / C-01-4 Revell GmbH (Hobbico Inc.) ...............Hall 12.2 / P-13 Rubie’s Masquerade............................ Hall 12.0 / I-29
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Company .......................................Hall/Stand Sambro International......................... Hall 12.0 / G-12 Santoro Ltd .............................................. Hall 1 / F-06 Seven Towns .......................................Hall 10.0 / G-22 Shades Music................................. Hall 12.0 / B-03-4 SmileyWorld Ltd ....................... Eingang Mitte / C-09 Sport and Playbase Ltd. ............... Hall 12.0 / B-03-9 The Pokémon Company International ............................ Hall 10.1 / C-04, D-09 Tobar Group Trading Limited ................. Hall 4 / F-95 Tomy UK Co. Ltd .................................. Hall 12.2 / P-11 Top Race Ltd. ...................................... Hall 7A / D-129 Underground Toys ....................................Hall 5 / A-72 Wicked Vision LTD ............................. Hall 12.0 / D-04 Worlds Apart Ltd. .....................................Hall 7 / C-21 Wow Toys .......................................... Hall 12.0 / C-01-1 Yellow Door ............................................Hall 3A / F-19 Youngstart Int. Ltd .........................Hall 12.0 / B-04-6
SHOW GUIDE 2017 SHOW GUIDESPIELWARENMESSE SPIELWARENMESSE 2015
Mattel’s Nuremberg line-up looks set to be better than ever, with new ranges from its pre-school brand Fisher-Price and a collection of TV-inspired toys on the way, the toy powerhouse looks set to make its mark at the German toy fair
017 looks set to be a promising year for global toy brand Mattel, as the firm looks forward to an exciting year ahead, innovating and challenging the toy industry as it continues to inspire the wonder of childhood. Mattel continues to build on the success of its core brands Barbie, Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels and Thomas & Friends, as well as exciting new launches and brand extensions to its ToyBox portfolio. Barbie continues to evolve and in 2017 will empower girls to try on every facet of who they can become, from a princess to a president, bringing this to life as only Barbie can. Barbie will also continue to build on the ‘You Can Be Anything’ campaign celebrating how Barbie inspires the limitless potential in every girl.
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Throughout the year Barbie will introduce magical new content and toys with fairytale segment Barbie Dreamtopia. Dreamed up for a younger girl, Barbie Dreamtopia is a make-believe world imagined by Barbie’s youngest sister Chelsea, empowering girls to be heroes of their own stories. Continuing the momentum from the successful 2016 Barbie Dreamtopia launch, a dreamy toy range includes fairies, mermaids, princesses and a Barbie Dreamtopia Bubbletastic Fairy Doll and the Barbie Dreamtopia Magical Dreamboat. The Barbie Dreamtopia franchise already encompasses consumer product lines, publishing and apps. Barbie kicks off Q1 with a dynamic new feature film, Barbie: Video Game Hero. This adventure re-imagines Barbie in a vibrant,
energetic new multi-dimensional video game world and is supported by a toy line including the Barbie Video Game Hero Light-up Skates Barbie Doll.
Barbie will also continue to build on the ‘You Can Be Anything’ campaign celebrating how Barbie inspires the limitless potential in every girl. Mattel Elsewhere, the Barbie Fashionistas range introduces more diversity than ever before across the four new body types offering more variety and
greater representation with over 20 different looks. A range of fashions, skin tones, eye colours, hairstyles and accessories enhance the brand’s storytelling. In addition, Barbie introduces an exciting new pet play doll with the Barbie Walk & Potty Pup. Animal lovers will have fun taking this adorable puppy for a walk, potty training and playing out friendship and nurturing stories between two best friends. Mattel’s iconic doll will also support key segments and products with an extensive marketing and retail programme including TV, digital and PR. This year also sees Mattel launch its new animal thematic property. Dubbed Enchantimals, the brand will introduce girls to magical forest characters, who all have their very own pet sidekick.
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The story begins with the special bond that exists between woodland creatures and the unique girls who live among them, the Enchantimals. Like inseparable siblings, each Enchantimal and her sibling animal share an unbreakable bond and animal-inspired attributes, abilities and affections. Keepers of the forest, the Enchantimals, strive to maintain balance and harmony amongst all living things with plenty of fun and mischief in the process. Girls will enjoy the play pattern, bright and vibrant colours, and whimsical environments in this enchanting new world. The range includes the doll plus an animal friend assortment with different characters including a Peacock pair. These whimsical small-scale six-inch fashion dolls have rooted hair, soft goods fashions and animal cues that match their furry friends. Enhantimals will launch with a strong 360-degree marketing campaign and
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a multiplatform content strategy allowing girls to learn more about these new forest friends. On top of this, Monster High empowers girls to believe in themselves and celebrates the power of friendship and kindness. Join the ghouls for a brand new thrill-filled ride in spring feature film, Monster High Electrified, and see Frankie Stein and friends light up the world with their amazing power and potential. DC Super Hero Girls – the first superhero brand with girl empowerment in mind – will introduce new heroes throughout the toy range for even more superpowered adventures. Meanwhile, collectables brand My Mini MixieQ’s allows girls to pop and swap their cubetastic creations for endless customisations, while also introducing rare limited edition figures for the first time. Baby boom Fisher-Price continues to pave the way as an early childhood
development company, bringing innovation to the market with new product launches, creative initiatives and new campaigns. The Fisher-Price brand campaign will champion the message of ‘Let Children be Children’, freeing kids to experience the joy of their own desire to learn, imagine, discover, while also helping them to develop into happy, capable individuals. The brand message will be supported with a marketing campaign that will be amplified across TV, social media and PR, as well as exciting media partnerships with well-known channels targeting millennial parents. This year’s toy range continues to help children learn to think independently, fostering curiosity, experimentation and problem solving skills. These learning toys also engage kids in a hands-on, open-ended discovery, enabling them to become life-long learners. Extending on the phenomenal success of BeatBo, sees exciting new additions to the range with
SHOW GUIDE 2017 SHOW GUIDESPIELWARENMESSE SPIELWARENMESSE 2015
BeatBo Buggies and Bright Beats Juniors, which boost thinking skills with playful melodies and bright lights to stimulate baby’s senses. The new Monster range for infants has been developed to increase gross motor skills, while helping little ones discover cause and effect. This includes the Press n’ Go Monster Vehicles, which encourage babies to crawl. Building on the success of CodeA-Pillar in the pre-school category, 2017 will see the expansion of the range with the Smart Scan Colour Chameleon, which encourages pre-schoolers to explore the world of colours and numbers. 2017 also sees the launch of the newborn range by FisherPrice’s creative director, Jonathan Adler. In this baby collection for today’s families, toys have beautiful contemporary designs and features, which offer sensorystimulating fun while also encouraging self-discovery. Mattel’s ToyBox offers an exciting portfolio of brands, including Fisher-Price’s own Imaginext. The brand’s new products give every child the chance to be a superhero, recreating action and adventure with the DC Super Friends Arkham Asylum, DC Super Friends The Joker and Harley Quinn Battle Vehicle and Power Rangers Morphin Megazord. In addition, the firm’s highly anticipated launch of the new Shimmer and Shine toy range sees pre-schoolers release their inner genie. Based on the hit series from Nick Jr, the range brings to life the magical adventures of the genies in training with floating dolls, musical play-sets, magical bangles and bath time fun; Shimmer and Shine playtime divine. The popular Blaze and the Monster Machines extends its toy range into 2017 with all new playsets and vehicles. RC Blaze puts the power to drive Blaze at super speeds into children’s hands, while the action packed Hyper Loop play-set brings the stunts and stories to life. Meanwhile, Octonauts also has some exciting new editions to its portfolio, bringing heroes the
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latest underwater adventures, with brand new vehicles and figures for budding explorers. Fisher-Price is also bringing the lovable, energetic and curious pre-school favourite, Bing, to life with exciting new toys in its popular range. With fun interactive features and classic Bing details straight from Bing’s World, the new additions to the range include new soft toys and vehicles, perfect for playing out every pre-schooler’s favourite Bing moments and adventures from the hit TV series. In 2017, the Thomas & Friends brand launches ‘Set Friendship in Motion’, a true global franchise brand statement. With a focus on the importance of first friendships and developing the skills to be a
RC Blaze puts the power to drive Blaze at super speeds into children’s hands, while the Hyper Loop play-set brings the stunts and stories to life. Mattel good friend, the campaign will speak to millennial parents to highlight the brand’s unique ability to help pre-schoolers achieve these milestones, setting them up for lifelong friendships. An extensive, multi-platform brand programme will engage preschoolers and millennial mums across different touchpoints, from engaging social content to exciting partnerships, PR moments and TV advertising. The toy range for 2017 sees the launch of the updated My First range, introducing a cute new design. New for spring is the My First: Day to Night Projector where Thomas will have little ones raring to go in the mornings and sound asleep at night. While the Adventures range introduces
the Shark Escape set where Thomas and Harold are preparing for a big storm that’s about to hit Sodor. Finally, the Trackmaster range introduces the Demolition at the Docks set, so little ones can join Thomas on his latest adventure on the tracks. On top of this, Bob the Builder will encourage children and parents to Build with Bob in 2017, creating activities that allow little builders and mums to learn and play together. Next year will also see the launch of Mega Machines the Movie, where three new mega characters join Bob in his biggest build ever. A multi-platform marketing programme will incorporate activations across TV, PR, radio, digital and social. In addition, new for the scene is the Switch & Fix Bob, featuring a rotating tool belt, lights and construction sounds. Mega Bloks continues to ‘build them up’, communicating the creative and developmental benefits of construction play with mum. An extensive toy range includes a new ABC Learning Train and new characters to the Lil’ Vehicles Assortment, while Mega Bloks Thomas & Friends is now available in maxibricks form. New for 2017 is the Power Rangers line in support of the film release in March including; the Zord Assortment, Factory Showdown and Super MegaZord.
to create exciting track systems to demonstrate creativity, perseverance and competition. An extensive full-year multi-platform brand programme will engage with child and mum through activations that will be amplified through TV and digital advertising, events, social media and PR. Kick-starting the year at full throttle, Hot Wheels introduces the Double Your Collection promotion, encouraging children to build their own epic Hot Wheels diecast collections to obtain a limited edition car and the chance to have their collection doubled. Boasting a new toy range, fans will be able to get their hands on the large-scale Dragon Blast play-set, introducing thrilling adventures and dramatic story-based play with multiple possibilities to enjoy. Lastly, new for Track Builder is the integration of brick components to foster creativity and experimentation, encouraging children to use their imaginations and create endless configurations. 01628 500 000
In the fast lane Elsewhere, Hot Wheels will continue to ‘Make It Epic’ in 2017, encouraging children
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SHOW GUIDE 2017 SHOW GUIDESPIELWARENMESSE SPIELWARENMESSE 2015
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Following a storming year thanks to the viral sensation that was Chewbacca Mom, 2017 looks set to be another exciting one for global toy firm Hasbro, with new toy lines on the way from children’s brands Play-Doh and Nerf
his year saw Hasbro light up the internet with its latest toy additions, as the toy firm’s Chewbacca Mask and game, Speak Out, swept across the nation thanks to a series of viral videos. The first video to storm the charts was that of Candace Payne – AKA Chewbacca Mom, who was seen laughing hysterically while wearing the mask. Next came Katie Pryor, who will forever be known as Speak Out Mom. Pryor was filmed wearing the Speak Out mouthpiece while trying to say ridiculous statements, such as, ‘Spied at the planetarium’. It’s safe to say that the global company has enjoyed a successful year in all aspects of the toy industry, but it isn’t just games such as Speak Out which have gone on to have a lucrative year, with new collections from both Play-Doh and Nerf on the way.
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The Play-Doh Kitchen Creations from Hasbro bring culinary creativity to playtime, with a range of new play-sets for children to squish and mould into all sorts of tempting creations.
The Nerf N-Strike AlphaHawk is part of the AccuStrike Series, which features darts designed for greater accuracy. Hit the mark with the precision of the most accurate Nerf darts. Hasbro The Sizzlin’ Stovetop makes real sizzling sounds as junior chefs pretend to rustle up masterpieces in the kitchen, with the noise
starting up as soon as the pans are placed on the stove, intensifying when a Play-Doh creation is added. The set comes with four stampers to stamp entrees including steak, eggs, burgers and fish, with side dishes using the half-moulds. Also included are the tongs and spatula – with no washing up needed. With the Noodle Makin’ Mania dishes from pretend pasta, makebelieve macaroni to imaginary ramen, this play-set can create all kinds of noodle dishes. All it takes it choosing one of the four noodle discs to change the shape, then kids can load Play-Doh into the noodle maker and press the handle to squeeze out the noodles. There are also moulds for make-believe raviolis, macaroni and cheese and fun toppings. Elsewhere, the Shape n Slice play-set provides a fun set of kitchen-themed tools that allow budding chefs to slice imaginary
ingredients on the cutting board, toss all together in the bowl and then share with plates and spoons. There’s even a presser tool to squeeze out a variety of shapes, including celery, garlic and more. Elsewhere, Hasbro’s toy blasters brand, Nerf, is also going from strength to strength. Kids can strike with confidence as they blast darts designed for accuracy. The Nerf N-Strike AlphaHawk is part of the AccuStrike Series, which features darts designed for greater accuracy. Hit the mark with the precision of the most accurate Nerf darts. The AlphaHawk blaster fires one dart at a time from a revolving, easy-load drum that holds up to five darts. Kids are encouraged to take aim and strike like a hawk. The latest blaster includes 10 Elite foam darts that are designed for greater accuracy. 020 8569 1234
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CARTAMUNDI Cartamundi is planning some major announcements at the international Toy Fair in Nuremberg this year. The firm will be telling visitors about its newest product launches, which are targeted at a wide and varied range of consumers, while showcasing some exciting new additions to the product lines that have made Cartamundi a major name in playing cards and card games. The new Fundels educational card games range takes the fact that our brains are 68 per cent more active when we are having fun and adapts it to a series of card games that offer fun, as well as learning for children. The Fundels range combines entertaining and colourful games and packaging with themes like language, conceptual thinking and mathematics. Fundels will be available in two formats. The flagship premium
games have been created to fit with and follow the National Curriculum specific key stages and offer game rules and pack text in a special dyslexia font, which increases readability for dyslexic children. The Fundels games will also be available in a ‘flash card’ version. Shuffle Monopoly Deal has proved to be one of the most popular games in the Shuffle line. Cartamundi’s product category brings well-known games and licenses to card games and
combines them with digital technology, meaning users can start playing without reading thanks to the animated game guides in the free app. Shuffle Monopoly Deal Cities takes the game to the next level by incorporating London’s landmarks and hotspots into the gameplay. It’s a must-have for all fans and for tourists who want to discover the city or take home an original souvenir. The cards even include the nearest tube station to guide tourists to landmarks.
struggling with lack of sleep, said: “I genuinely think the #SleepTightAllNight unicorn is one of the best creations ever. My daughter is staying in her bed.” Golden Bear is looking to further establish the product as a must have for sleep deprived parents in 2017, with two new additions to the Sleep Tight All Night range. Leading the new licensed introductions at Nuremberg is the DC Super Friends range. Based around Batman and Superman, fans of all ages will love this collection. The new range encompasses feature plush in the form of Interactive Power Punch Batman, as well as fun slingables and an interactive playmat launching AW17. For the vehicles sector, the firm is bringing out new My First JCB lines with a new look highlighting the indoor and outdoor uses of the toys.
Following the success of the Big Wheelers, two new lines, Tough Talking Joey JCB and Doug Dumptruck will launch later in the year featuring chunky muddy wheels and rumbling sounds, as well as vanishing mud splat bath toys and squashy Squishies. A new Go MINI Freerunner buildable track set is sure to get
Following the success of its PAW Patrol Snap and Happy Families games, Cartamundi’s PAW Patrol Twist game is on its way. In the Rescue Memo game players have to bring together a full PAW Patrol team to win. Players can even play when the lights are out: the cards in the game are glow in the dark. PAW Patrol Twist also features a four-in-a-row game, based on the different PAW Patrol badges. There’s also much more on show at Nuremburg. Fans can expect a range of new and established brands, from film, TV, music and more. Marco van Haaften, international marketing director at Cartamundi Services NV, said: “We’re looking forward enormously to discussing our new card games, new ranges and new ideas with visitors to Nuremberg.” 01268 511 522
GOLDEN BEAR Fresh from signing a global deal with Brands With Influence, Golden Bear will be showcasing its Bush Baby World range, which is set in a magical land where dreams are made. A brand new concept for children aged from five to nine years old, Bush Babies are cute and cuddly characters with adorable eyes and fluffy ears. A unique patented system allows children to wiggle their eyes and waggle their ears. The range also includes a Sleepy Pod where each Bush Baby can snuggle up, and for added role-play there is an enchanting Dream Tree play-set to collect on which the sleepy pods can hang. Currently being hailed as the solution for a good night’s sleep, the innovative Sleep Tight All Night range has been achieving fantastic reviews from mums since launch. As one mum, of the Mummy Memories blog,
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all pre-schoolers revved up in AW17. With four metres of track to collect, this brightly coloured set with interactive features will provide hours of fun for children and parents alike. Last but not least, Harold will be joining the Thomas & Friends range in the spring, with a new interactive and fun Talk Along Thomas being released in the autumn. 2017 also marks the start of the In the Night Garden ’10 years of magical journeys’ in celebration of its 10th anniversary. 01952 608 308
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LEAPFROG 2016 has been an incredibly busy year for LeapFrog. The toy brand has launched a series of new products to its core learning toy range, as well as LeapStart, all of which have received support from multi-channel marketing campaigns, designed to engage both parents and children. The all-in-one interactive learning system, LeapStart, has had an astounding first few months since its launch in July 2016, surpassing initial forecasts and being well received by parents and children alike. In addition, LeapStart has been industry-recognised with accolades from the Rainbow and UK Mums TV Choice Awards. Looking ahead to 2017, LeapFrog will continue to help kids leap ahead by investing further in its toy category. An anticipated 14 new lines will be launched across multimedia learning, print based learning and
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learning toys in autumn/winter 2017. In addition, a series of new colour updates have been made to 2016 launches including Count & Crawl Kitty, Scout’s Goodnight Light and both LeapStart systems, as well as existing favourites Scribble & Write, Fridge Phonics and Learn & Groove Musical Table. Sally Walker, UK MD of LeapFrog, said: “2016 has been a great year for LeapFrog and has seen us create exciting new products that have really engaged with children and their parents. “LeapStart has had wonderful feedback and as a consequence exceeded sales expectations, which is testament to its unique combination of fun and education. We look ahead to 2017 with excitement as we grow the LeapFrog toy aisle with new products with our unique blend of education and entertainment.” 01895 202 840
SAMBRO Sambro continues to grow the European arm of its business during 2017 where the company will announce exciting new PanEuropean licenses exclusively at the Nuremberg show. The ever-popular PAW Patrol range continues to dominate across Europe and Sambro will add to its successful collection, which spans bags, arts and crafts to outdoor and novelty and lots in between.
The company has also seen popularity of the My Little Pony ranges soar throughout Europe, while brand new arts and crafts products including DC Superhero Girls and Miffy will launch. 2017 looks set to be a bumper year for huge film releases and Sambro has a licensed range to complement some of the hottest properties around. Visitors to the Sambro stand at Nuremberg will be able to get a first glimpse of
brand new collections including Despicable Me 3, Beauty and the Beast, Cars 3 and LEGO Batman. A seasoned Nuremberg exhibitor, Sambro will also showcase its selection of licensed ranges in a bigger stand compared to previous years. The company continues to not only grow its licensed portfolio but also the number of categories it offers, which enable European buyers to capitalise on current licensed trends.
Pokémon is one of the company’s collections that will see significant extension, as well as the Trolls range which saw initial products launched by the firm perform brilliantly both pre and post the movie’s November 2016 release. Nikki Samuels, licensing director at Sambro, said: “It’s hard to pinpoint a hero product in our ranges as they are so vast. “Our sales across Europe increased significantly during 2016 and this is due to our relationship with licensors and our ability as a company to create licensed products, which can be delivered quickly and efficiently to help maximise all of our customers’ sales.” 0845 873 9380
Hall 12. 0, G-12
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SAKAR INTERNATIONAL Sakar International will be exhibiting a full range of Trolls youth electronics at the upcoming Nuremberg Toy Fair. The wide range of Trollsthemed products include kid-safe headphones featuring Poppy’s iconic fuschia hair and with built-in volume limiter, completely optimising the listening experience the headphones provide clear sound at a safe noise level for kids. Sakar’s Trolls’ ear-cups are also lightweight and come with an adjustable headband for kids, to help provide even more comfort. Trolls Karaokes, come with a microphone and a bonus twosong CD with music from the animated film, for an exciting out of box experience. Children will have a fun and immersive experience from the moment they press play.
Hall 12, A-11
In addition to the headphones and karaokes, Sakar’s Trolls’ range includes digital cameras, walkie talkies, standing microphones and much more for kids to enjoy. In addition to Trolls, Sakar will be showing a large assortment of
electronics of brands including the likes of DC Super Hero Girls, Batman, Avengers, Disney’s Frozen, Nerf, My Little Pony, LEGO Batman, Beat Bugs, Thomas and many more during its time at the toy fair. 02476 518 500
ZIMPLI KIDS Zimpli Kids is inviting visitors to this year’s show to drop by the company’s stand at Nuremberg Toy Fair 2017. Zimpli Kids will be showcasing its full range of innovative children’s products guaranteed to ‘wow’ the audience, as well as some brand new outdoor products that the firm promises ‘fans won’t want to miss’. The best selling products, including Gelli Baff and Slime Baff, offer an exciting way for children to turn bath time into fun time with a range of amazing textures, colours and fragrances, while also providing the added benefit of having varied educational properties. Gelli Baff and Slime Baff, hit an incredible viral milestone during December by clocking up over one billion views and counting, on YouTube since October 2015. Gelli Baff powder is a unique bath time product that magically turns
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bath water into thick colourful goo. Whereas Slime Baff provides a completely different texture as it turns water into a gooey, oozy bath of slime. Zimpli Kids will also be presenting some brand new outdoor products available to view at the show, including Slime
Bombz, Slime Blaster and the SnoBall Battle Pack. The Slime Blaster and Slime Bombz ranges take water fights to the next level. Users can simply fill the Blaster or Slime Bombz Bottle with water, add
the magical slime powder and get ready for slime time. Another product new for 2017, available to view at the show is the SnoBall Battle Pack – so get ready for snow ball fights all year round. Not only does the product provide endless outdoor fun for children worldwide, it transforms a once seasonal experience into something that can be enjoyed all year round. All users need do is add the SnoBall powder to water and watch it magically transform into realistic-looking snow that can be moulded to create snowballs for exciting snowball fights. 01254 460 006
Hall 4, C-85
SHOW GUIDE 2017 SHOW GUIDESPIELWARENMESSE SPIELWARENMESSE 2015
EDUK8 EDUK8 is ‘delighted’ to be back at Nuremberg Toy Fair this year, where the firm is set to showcase its popular Belly Bump Balls, along with its award winning large games range. Launching at Nuremberg this year will be the new Eduk8 n Play range including lots of great new products for 2017, such as the new Large Activity Play Mats that boast Zoo, City, Construction and Farm themes. These brightly coloured, water resistant, durable 200x120cm roll mats will stimulate a child’s imagination by creating a mini-world for them on the floor. Making them perfect for indoor and outdoor play. EDUK8 will also be showcasing its extensive range of hands-on science and maths orientated toys, ideal for encouraging STEM learning in young minds. The toy firm has been serving the demand
for STEM toys and are constantly innovating new products.
One of our new additions this year is the new Dice Domes that will be available in large and mini: the dice are encased in a dome and, when the plunger is pushed, spin and land with a new number face-up. This way there are no more lost dice, while also
providing an engaging way to build numeracy skills. As an independent, toy design and manufacturing company distributing educational toys, for the past 15 years, EDUK8 has been building on its expertise and experience. All of the company’s toys are tried and tested with children of all ages and abilities from three to 14 years, and are made with high quality materials for schools and, more recently, the consumer market. EDUK8’s ethos is to make learning and education fun for children of all ages and ability levels to enjoy, and the toy firm invites all visitors to this year’s Nuremberg Toy Fair to make an appointment and stop by the stand. 01434 672 336
Hall 12, C-01-2
HY-PRO Hy-Pro will be displaying its latest innovations at Nuremberg this year, with both of the company’s Zinc and Flyte brands. The Flyte case scooter range will be in full display. Alongside the existing Mini and Midi Flytes, the Maxi will finally be making its debut. This new backpack style model is designed for older children and teens to scoot around the world, or just to school and back. With a high quality specification, the Maxi has real scooter credentials while doubling as a stylish backpack. Under Zinc there will be an array of wheeled toys including the brand’s hybrid scooters, new designs of skates and skateboards, as well as new twists on old favourites like the Street Gliders. Zinc will also debut a whole selection of new electric products, including multiple lithium models.
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The Smart A power board is the brand’s first foray into the power board market. The Smart A comes in multiple colour designs and has its own range of accessories to mix up the riding experience, including the Smart Kart and telescopic Smart Bars. In addition, the lithium power board reaches speeds of up to 7.5mph and all safety and testing documentation has been verified by Trading Standards. This comes as part of a whole range of power boards from Zinc, which will be revealed at Nuremberg Toy Fair, including models for children aged six years and up, with the aim of
bringing the two-wheeled craze to the wider market. Sticking to its scooter roots, Zinc will also debut its new Smart Quantum lithium powered commuter scooter. This foldable, lightweight model has an aircraft grade aluminium frame and reaches speeds of up to 15mph. On top of that, the existing Volt range will also debut new models with the Volt XT line. These take advantage of new lead-acid battery technology, allowing for new slim line and lightweight electric scooters. 01582 610 100
Hall 7, C25 www.toynews-online.biz
New year New colours! Look out for the new on-trend hardware colours coming in
400+ replayable activities for school and life† L PRESCHOO
2017: Preschool in pink and Primary School in purple, to add to the existing original colour ways! This interactive system for school success has already been given top marks by teachers; it grows with kids from Preschool to Primary School, with a library of interchangeable activity books that together provide 400+ replayable activities.
*Based on a survey conducted by iChild of 200 teachers. These teachers used LeapStart and the accompanying products with children aged between 4 and 7 in their schools over a two month period from June 2016 – August 2016. 400+ activities available with 16 activity books. Each sold separately. †
See us at Nuremburg Toy Fair: Hall 12.2, Stand P19 Order now 01895 202 840 Or visit leapfrog.co.uk
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SHOW GUIDE 2017 SHOW GUIDESPIELWARENMESSE SPIELWARENMESSE 2015
RAINBOW Rainbow Designs is excited to announce an abundance of exciting new nursery and toy lines at the Nuremberg Toy Fair. Joining Rainbow’s renowned licensed ranges for 2017 will be a beautiful new Elmer for Baby Collection. The stimulating range will feature an Elmer rattle, a soft Comfort Blanket, as well as a plush Ring Rattle all in the bright colours of the world-famous little patchwork elephant. Rainbow Designs is also thrilled to be introducing a brand new range of pre-school craft products to their World of Eric Carle collection. These innovative craft activity sets have been designed to encourage creativity and help little ones hone their fine motor skills. The range will feature a collection of Super Dough Model Kits to collect including a Ladybug, Brown Bear, Elephant and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Suitable for ages three and over, the resusable Super Dough requires no baking as it hardens in the air. Other new lines will include a set to create a Very Hungry Caterpillar Wooden Door Hanger, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Colour and Construct 3D Characters set and the new Sew-nStuff Caterpillar set – a perfect first sewing kit for any child. Sure to please the little ones, exciting new lines also to be unveiled for 2017 include some feature plush toys in both the Paddington and new Peter Rabbit TV Collections,
Hall 1 E-22 as well as fun new line extensions for the My First Thomas & Friends, The World of Eric Carle
Developmental Toys and The Very Hungry Caterpillar Baby and Nursery collections. 01329 227300
FUNRISE With a big bubble bonanza and a whimsical new licence for pre-schoolers, there’s many a reason to visit Funrise’s stand in Nuremburg Toy Fair. Following a bumper year for bubbles in 2016, Funrise is set to create a bigger bubble bonanza with a new Giant Gazillion collection that’s perfect for outdoor play. For 2017 the bubble experience gets even bigger with Gazillion’s superior bubble solution being taken to another level, as well as new gadgets and gizmos. Still at affordable price points, the new lines include a Giant Bubble Mill; the ultimate large machine that blows giant bubbles. Coming complete with an 8oz bottle of Giant Bubble Solution, key features include a rotating wheel that blows giant bubbles continuously. Alternativley, fans can also look out for the Giant Bubble Palm Juggler or the Giant
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Bubble Power Wand for more big bubble fun. Nuremburg will also see a magical new license showcased. This new property comes off the back of an animated Netflix original show that launched last year. With plastic, plush and play-sets planned alongside dress up items, this range is sure to be a hit with youngsters. The show encourages kids to be empowered by their creative potential and the products further embody this. In addition to big bubbles and a brand new license, the Funrise stand will be home to the expanding Tonka range. Returning to the Funrise portfolio in autumn, Tonka is proving to be the brand of choice for boys collecting toy vehicles of all sizes, from Tonka Tinys to the Tonka steel range. 2017 also marks is a big year for the brand with a 70th anniversary to celebrate. 01908 555 640
Hall 12. 2 P-21
Toy Fair 2017 Show Preview
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SHOW GUIDE: TOY FAIR 2017
Toast of London It’s finally here, the show that sees over 250 companies pack in to London’s Olympia for a week long celebration of the latest in innovation from the toy industry. Yes, it can only be the London Toy Fair, and boasting an exhibitor space of more than 22,000 square metres, there’s plenty to raise a glass to. Robert Hutchins catches up with Toy Fair’s head of operations and sales, Majen Immink to talk expectations for this year’s big show
hat can visitors expect from Toy Fair 2017? It will certainly be as big as ever, covering 22,000 square metres of Olympia. But size isn’t everything and the most important thing is that it will be another vibrant, busy and dynamic show, reflecting an industry that continues to flourish and innovate. There will be hundreds of product launches, a generous sprinkling of celebrity appearances and the unveiling of Toy Fair’s Best New Toys on the first morning. How many visitors are you expecting this year? Over 250 companies are exhibiting at Toy Fair and visitor numbers remain consistent year on year. We don’t want to elevate our numbers by talking about quantity of visitors, but we do want to ensure that the right people come together to make Toy Fair a quality show that is worthwhile for exhibitors and visitors alike. Toy Fair delivers visitors from major retailers to small specialist independents, including the likes of Argos, Tesco, Amazon, Toys R Us, Sainsbury’s and more. How has the show evolved in recent years? It’s a mixture of growth, reflecting a buoyant sector and regular content tweaks to help ensure everyone gets the most out of Toy Fair. This will be the fourth
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year that we have filled the Upper West Hall as we try to keep up with the demand for space. Fundamentally, we retain the same structure and ethos on which Toy Fair is built; providing a platform for manufacturers to show their products to and meet with the retailers that represent our business on the frontline. What is the strength of the London Toy Fair in the European and global toy industry? Toy Fair is where the global toy industry talks directly to UK buyers, from the biggest global manufacturers and the smallest start ups meeting the leading national chains alongside our
incredible network of fantastic independent retailers. We also make sure we provide a platform for new companies and breakthrough products through
We ensure the right people come together to make Toy Fair a quality show, worthwhile for visitors and exhibitors alike. Majen Immink, Toy Fair the Greenhouse Area and we look even further forward by hosting a design seminar on the final afternoon of Toy Fair.
What excitement have you seen around the 2017 show? Toy Fair is an incredibly exciting and key event in the industry’s calendar. This has been reflected by a sold out 2017 show. What tips have you got for first time toy Fair visitors? Don’t underestimate the scale of the show. It is almost impossible to look around in one day, so plan your visit in advance. Work out which exhibitors are vital for you to see, work out how long you will need and book your accommodation early. There are a lot of new and exciting products to discover on the show floor, so make sure you have a good look around. The Greenhouse area is a great spot and Best New Toys is a must. January/February 117
Relaxation Garden 320
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1 Two Kids.................................. GH54 4D Cityscape.................................E35 8th Wonder ..................................GH3 A Girl For All Time ......................GH11 AB Gee of Ripley.......................... B40 Aardvark Swift.........................…GH10 About Time................................. B100 Accentuate Games ..................... G65 Alex Brands Juratoys .................H90 Alpha Toys....................................F101 Alphabet Pie .............................. GH46 Amerang ........................... Gallery 215 American Jewel ...........................GH6 Anamalz .........................................E66 Aniworld........................................ B99 Arckit.................................Gallery 165 Arklu .............................................. B90 Articulate Scotland .................. GH33 Asobi .................................Gallery 124 Aurora World................................ D35 Bachmann Europe .......... Gallery 110 Bandai UK ........................Gallery 600 Battle Front Miniatures ...............B97 Beasts of Balance .....................GH47 Bertoy ........................................... G46 118 January/February
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Big Potato..................................... H46 BigJigs Toys ................................. H39 BKD ...............................................GH9 Bladez Toyz ......................Gallery 123 Blue Orange ..................................E35 Brainstorm ....................................E79 Breyer.............................................E66 Brian Clegg ................................... B95 Brixies ...........................................E118 BTHA Exhibition Members Lounge ............................. Gallery 205 The Bug Store ........................... GH24 Bureau Veritas .......................... GH58 Café UL ........................................G122 Cambridge Brainbox................ GH36 Cartamundi ..................................... H1 Casdon ...........................................E30 Character Group .........................E119 Cheatwell Games .........................F20 Chelford Ltd ................................. B98 Chicco ...............................Gallery 180 Clementoni Spa ............... Gallery 155 Click Distribution ............Gallery 120 Clockwork Soldier .....................GH32 Cloud B ...........................................F16
Coiledspring Games ....................E35 D’arpeje.............................Gallery 190 Delta Kids ...................................... F25 Depesche ...................................... H50 Destination Board Games........ GH13 DKL Marketing .................. E66 & F66 Dracco ........................................... G30 Educational Learning Mats ........GH5 EduK8 Worldwide............................F1 The Elf on the Shelf.................... G119 Engino .............................. Gallery 545 Epoch Making Toys....................B130 Esdevium Games........................E109 Eurofins.......................................GH23 Extreme Fliers..................Gallery 415 Fashion Angels .............................E66 Fiesta Crafts....................................D2 Flair.................................................E39 Fundamentally Children Gallery 154 Funkit World...............................GH25 Funrise International ..................G90 Furry Friends............................. GH44 Galt Toys.......................................... E9 Games Workshop ............Gallery 198 Geomag World .................Gallery 501
Getretro ..................................... GH62 Gibsons ......................................... E40 Ginger Fox ....................................B115 Golden Bear Products .................E69 Great Gizmos ............................... G20 Green Board Game Company .....E15 H Grossman ..................................E49 Halilit ............................................. E90 Hama ..............................................E66 Hippychick.................................... B49 Hornby Hobbies.............................D11 House of Marbles ....................... G110 Hubelino UK .............................. GH29 IMC Toys...................................... E129 Indigo Jamm ................................H40 Infantino Bkids UK ..........Gallery 310 Insect Lore.....................................F90 Interplay.........................................G10 Intertek ......................................... G66 Jazwares ....................................... D99 John Adams Leisure ................. G100 John Crane ....................................E20 Jumbo Games ...............................E46 Jumboo Toys ............................ GH26 KD UK ...............................Gallery 630 www.toynews-online.biz
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105 Turner Media Innovations Lounge
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Make Time 2 Play Café
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153 TFTV Studio
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Keel Toys ...................................... B60 Keycraft ........................................ D20 Kiddimoto .....................................H44 Kidicraft ........................................ H30 KidKraft .........................................F50 Kids@Play........................Gallery 200 KidsOut ............................. Gallery 152 King International ....................... H42 K’NEX ................................Gallery 510 K-Play ...............................Gallery 420 Le Toy Van..................................... E10 Learning Resources .................... D36 LEGO ................................ Gallery 550 Lexibook ........................................ B18 Liberty House Toys ......... Gallery 179 LittleConcepts ........................... GH51 Loona Toys .................................... B16 Lottie Dolls ................................... B90 Lucky Voice ......................Gallery 145 Magformers UK ..............Gallery 540 Marbel ........................................... B50 Marvin’s Magic............................. H65 Melissa & Doug .............................F40 Micro Scooters ............................ B45 Mini Master Sports ..................... GH1
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Miniprop ........................... Gallery 175 Mookie Toys ................................E149 Morning......................................... H70 MTW Toys.........................Gallery 105 MV Sport & Leisure..................... B30 Myweeteepee............................ GH39 The NPD Group................Gallery 146 Orchard Toys ................................ B12 Oxford Die-Cast ...............Gallery 195 Papo UK ............................Gallery 128 Paul Lamond Games....................E50 Playmags Toys ............................G40 PlayMais ........................................E66 Playmobil ..........................Gallery 210 Plum Products ............................. C50 Posh Paws .................................... D89 Press Office and Best New Toys…..............Gallery 158 Rainbow Colours .............Gallery 410 Rainbow Designs ........................E120 Rainbow Dreams ...................... GH50 Ravensburger .............................E140 RDM Creations ......................... GH48 Re:Creation ................................. E125 Revell................................ Gallery 100 H70
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ToyNews .......................................... E2 Trunki ............................................ C45 Ty UK ................................. Gallery 119 Underground Toys .....................E130 University Games ......................... F10 Vivid Toy Group ............................B70 VTech ...............................Gallery 500 West Design Products .................B35 Wicked Vision .............................E100 Wild Card Games......................... H20 Wilton Bradley ..............................E89 Wind Designs ............................... H52 Winning Moves ............................E115 Wow Toys ...................................... G15 VISITORS ENTRANCE Zimpli Kids........................Gallery 144 H30
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Sakar International ....................F100 Sambro ............................Gallery 400 Scento Scented Stationery ........E66 Schleich ....................................... B121 Scootaheadz ............................. GH45 Simba Smoby ............................. E135 Simbrix....................................... GH20 Skip Hop ......................................B135 Smart Toys and Games...............F36 SmartLab.......................................E66 Spin Master Toys ........................E131 Star images ...................................B22 Tactic Games ............................. D109 Thames and Kosmos ....................F15 Think Distribution ........... Gallery 147 ThinkFun ........................................E35 Titan Merchandise ...................... C42 Tobar Group .................... Gallery 305 TOMY ............................... Gallery 520 Toy Box Company .................... GH59 Toy Butler .................................. GH34 Toy Retailers Association.......................Gallery 150 Toymaster Lounge .........The London Room
Press office & Best New Toys
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Almost infallible, the LEGO Group reported growth in its turnover for the first half of last year, while at the same time accelerating investments in building capacity and capabilities around the globe in order to prepare for the firm’s future growth. In short, the company had yet another good year in 2016 and is poised for further growth – perhaps fuelled by the recent reshuffle among its top executives – for the year ahead. 2016 sales growth was, by large, driven by innovation in well-established lines such as the popular LEGO City and LEGO Ninjago, as well as in its new theme LEGO Nexo Knights. This year, LEGO will be showcasing product from its portfolio of successful, established IPs and licensed partners, and as the largest within that portfolio, LEGO City will be offering a selection from the latest Police and Great Vehicles themes. Hero items for the Police range include a refreshed Police Station and the High Speed Chase, which sees LEGO City
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police hero, character Chase McCain brought to life in minifigure form for the first time. 2017 also marks the year of big film franchises, and among them is the first LEGO Movie spinoff feature, The LEGO Batman Movie. LEGO will be unveiling the new line-up of building sets to support the release of the movie, alongside its LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, LEGO DC Super Hero Girls, LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Disney Princess. The firm’s own IP, LEGO Ninjago, will also see the release of its first feature film later in the year, and for the first half of the year, visitors to the firm’s stand will be able to view a collection of new sets based around new narrative surrounding the franchise’s terrible twosome, The Time Twins. Elsewhere, LEGO Technic continues to offer challenging builds and a diverse product assortment that is centred on iconic real-life vehicles to help foster engagement among older children, as well as the adult fan community.
LEGO Friends, meanwhile, will launch ten new sets in January 2017, and with a focus on celebrating friendship, fans of the range can join best friends Mia, Olivia, Stephanie, Andrea and Emma to make some ‘magical memories’, as they host parties as Stephanie’s House, get fit at the Heartlake Sports Centre or order presents from the Heartlake Gift Delivery. From friendship to fantasy now, and this year will see the LEGO Elves story turn darker, with more tension and even more conflict as Emily and the Elves unite the magic to save Emily’s little sister, Sophia, who has followed her in to Elvendale and been caught by the evil Goblin King and his minions. It’s enough to turn your stomach. Time then, for some pre-school relief, and LEGO Duplo has some fantastic new themes for kids to enjoy in 2017, which will stimulate the imaginations of little ones, while also offering them some great role-play opportunities. The My First range is a great introduction to building for
young toddlers and the first half of the year sees the introduction of My First Bird, My First Plane, My First Cakes, My First Bus and My First Carousel. Prices for the line start from £3.99. And Duplo Town just keeps growing, with plenty of fun to be had with the addition of Pizzeria, Family House, the High Street, Nursery School, Birthday Party and Family Pets. For the slightly older builder, LEGO Juniors offers little ones an ideal introduction to the LEGO name with sets combining standard LEGO bricks and larger elements for an easier first build. New additions for 2017 include Batman vs. Mr Freeze, Police Truck Chase, Fire Patrol Suitcase and the Demolition Site. There are also two new LEGO Friends sets for kids to enjoy: Mia’s Farm Suitcase and Andrea and Stephanie’s Beach Holiday. So it’s a well-rounded offering that makes up LEGO’s toy fair season line-up, be sure to catch up with the latest from the group by visiting its stand at Gallery 550 in London. 01753 495 000
Come play a round with us! Winning Moves Stand #E115
at London Toy Fair
+44 (0) 207 298 9500 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bananagrams.com
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SPIN MASTER 2016 was a phenomenal year, according to Spin Master’s commercial director of marketing, Phil Hooper, for the firm that has seemingly hit the jackpot with a range of Christmas big hitters. And it is a momentum the firm is keen to see push forward into the New Year, as the team that sees itself at the leading edge of play and innovation in the toy industry, begins to set the scene for Christmas 2017. Spin Master’s entertainment properties and brands continue to lead the industry as PAW Patrol makes strides across the globe, while Zoomer, Air Hogs, Meccano and Bunchems continue to delight youngsters. The company ended 2016 on a high, creating the year’s most in-demand toy in the form of Hatchimals, and Spin Master’s tradition of disruptive innovation continues into 2017 with new
developments in the field of robotics and STEM. Movie and TV franchises continue to play a big part in Spin Master’s portfolio as excitement builds for the launch of the allnew Powerpuff Girls toy line this spring, while the firm readies a range of action figures and role-play toys to support the May release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge. PAW Patrol maintains its wellestablished position as a leading pre-school brand. 2017 sees the introduction of new characters and settings, including a jungle storyline for spring. These new characters and themes will be reflected in a new toy range, a line that will be supported with numerous large scale store visits. The company’s fast-expanding games division welcomes new introductions including Escape the Room: The Game, which
includes expansion packs, while Get up and Go will have a strong focus with two new introductions: Pop Knot and Wobbly Worm. Air Hogs will be launching a bold new look alongside new AR technology and new segments for 2017, while Spy Gear has been refreshed to incorporate a Ninja theme. The Meccano line will introduce new materials that add a realistic styling to the new models, including a Corvette. The Meccano Tech line continues to infuse advanced robotics with
the addition of new, intricate programming elements in 2017. Elsewhere, Bunchems has seen strong growth throughout its first year and is set to be a staple item in Spin Master’s arts and crafts offering. Sticking with the creative sector, the Cool Maker range will see the introduction of new materials and projects. Kinetic Sand and its new compound Kinetic Rock is in for a big year, while Spin Master makes headway with Swimways and Kelsyus. 01628 535 000
Chuggington follows the adventures of characters Wilson, Brewster and Koko as they
explore the locations within the world of Chuggington. With its focus on creativity, innovation and quality, Jazwares has established itself as a leader in licensed products and will deliver a diverse line of toys to reflect the Chuggington ethos. The new range joins Jazwares’ portfolio of popular licensed properties including Minecraft, Animal Jam, Peppa Pig, Danger Mouse, Chuck & Friends, Dino Train, Terraria, Adventure Time and more. 0203 598 0270
JAZWARES Toy firm Jazwares is unveiling a number of exciting new properties at this year’s London Toy Fair, including a brand new toy range for Chuggington and its First Act collection. These will join an updated Animal Jam toy range, designed to bring the popular digital world to life with new collectable pets, plushies and play-sets. Animal Jam, created in partnership with National Geographic, is a safe online playground for kids to explore animals and the great outdoors. Through the platform, kids can create and customise their own animal characters and dens, make new friends, adopt pets, team for adventures and learn more about animals, all at the same time. All of the toys in the new range arrive with unique codes that unlock exclusive content in the online game, meaning they
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appeal to existing fans of the digital world, as well as attracting new ones. Elsewhere, Jazwares’ First Act range offers musical products, instruments and accessories for children and young adults under the First Act and First Act Discovery brands, as well as an array of licensed properties. The range will span tuneable stringed instruments, percussion pieces and wind instruments for kids of all ages, and features a line of 30-inch designer acoustic guitars, a three-piece drumset and electronic keyboard. As Chuggington’s global master toy partner, Jazwares will be unveiling a new collection of toys to hit shelves this Easter. A line up of 24 Little Chuggers will be available to collect, with various track packs and iconic location play-sets, in an affordable range inspired by the hit CGI series.
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It’s toy fair season once again, and Wilton Bradley has taken things to a whole new level this year, with a host of some of the biggest licenses in children’s entertainment joining its burgeoning portfolio. Expect to find an ever increasing number of exclusives among the offering, as the firm hits London Toy Fair in style. Leading the run this year is Wilton Bradley’s new Monster Smash Ups brand, which is owned and distributed by the team itself. Children can race, smash, eject and rebuild these rechargeable, high speed, radio control monster trucks. Once collision has occurred, the front bumper of the monster truck activates the seat ejection, sending the driver flying across the room. Kids can watch him propelled, while tilt-turning, racing and swerving the truck, thanks to its realistic monster truck suspension.
The range comes with three intergalactic monster truck characters to choose from, including Vicious Viper, Raging Raptor and Rowdy Rhino. The Monster Smash Ups range will be supported with TV advertising and a promotional video, which is now ready and will be airing throughout London Toy Fair for fans to view. A heavy weight multichannel marketing campaign is also planned for 2017 and will include TV advertising, as well as a number of other fan engagement initiatives. The firm is currently welcoming customers to its London Toy Fair stand to play, race and crash the Monster Smash Ups trucks in the galactic Monser Smash Up finale arena, where they can also watch the new TV advert. Brand new for 2017 is Wilton Bradley’s range of Mi-Mic Wireless Microphone Speakers. These are wireless enabled
How many Spring Fairs have you attended? Wilton Bradley has done 12 in total.
Dave Ellis, National Accounts Manager, Wilton Bradley
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What’s your favourite part of the show? Seeing months of hard work that has gone in
karaoke microphones, complete with quality built-in speakers. Users can simply connect their phone, tablet or computer to play their favourite song and sing away over the top of the music to their heart’s content. Complete with echo function, USB charging and seven LED light functions, this microphone provides endless fun for all ages and according to the firm, are going to be ‘hugely popular’ throughout 2017. Moving into outdoor fun, and the popular Toyrific Ride On range has been strengthened this year with three new – and exclusive – licensed electric rideons, including a Mercedes SLS, Mercedes GLA and a BMW bike. The ride-ons incorporate luxury features such as adjustable seats and real working doors to match the iconic branding. Meanwhile, a built in mp3 connection lets kids listen to their favourite tunes as they drive around. And if that’s
to developing our new product ranges come together at the show. What’s your least favourite part? Getting up at 5am to meet with the BBC Breakfast team.
not luxury enough, the GLA even boasts air conditioning. Sticking with ride-ons and the Bubble Fire Rescue Electric Ride On, another exclusive to the Wilton Bradley portfolio, has been hailed a major success with retailers over the 2016 Christmas period. On top of the exciting features fans have come to expect from a standard electric ride on, the Fire Engine also includes a nozzle which fires out real bubbles. The bright, eye catching packaging makes this a winner in store and a fantastic present. ‘We are very proud of our offering for 2017 and look forward to the opportunity to show off our products at London Toy Fair on stand E89,’ read a statement from Wilton Bradley. ‘We also welcome you to organise a visit to our newly refitted showroom on the outskirts of Exeter.’ 01626 835400
What are your top tips for surviving Toy Fair? Berrocca, a pint of beer and a good breakfast. Why is Toy Fair an important show for you? The show is attended by all of the key toy buyers
from around the country and beyond, all under one roof in a short space of time. So, it’s a great opportunity to discuss the year ahead with key customers, as well as meeting new buyers.
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BANDAI The Power Rangers will be arriving at cinemas across the UK from March 24th, marking the brand’s first big screen outing since 1997. From Lionsgate, this new reimagining of the now classic children’s brand, follows five ordinary teens who must become the extraordinary when they learn that their small town is in danger. While they each discover their super abilities, Bandai will be offering support from the sidelines, with its full range of movie-based toys. Launching from January 1st, the range will be supported with its own dedicated marketing campaign. Summer, meanwhile, will see the launch of the new TV series Power Rangers Ninja Steel, in which the rangers will learn to master an arsenal of throwing stars, Zords and Megazords, made of legendary ninja steel, to
help stop the evil threat and save the planet. The new toy range – spanning action figures, role-play and the new Mega Morph segment – will help kids’ get on board too, with a line-up to be unveiled for the first time at the upcoming London Toy Fair. Elsewhere, Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir made its debut on the Disney Channel in 2015, which quickly went on to become its number one show. This spring will also see the free to air launch of the popular animated show on POP, as well as the new toy line that will feature fashion dolls, role-play accessories and action and feature figurines. Bandai will also be continuing its distribution partnership with toy company Famosa this year, as the popular collectable mini doll brand Pinypon sees a Pirates and Mermaid theme released for
fans to enjoy this summer. Nenuco is new to Bandai’s nurturing range and delivers an interactive doll that aims to encourage young girls to be the best mummy in the world by completing simple tasks with the goal of lighting the symbols up on the doll’s chest. As the UK distributor of Monchhichi dolls, the firm will be showcasing its current portfolio for fans to see at London Toy Fair, alongside its Finding Dory offering and Banpresto import collection, which will also be on display. 0208 324 6160
draw a bizarre phrase in a bid to win the game. Mr Lister’s Quiz Shootout is a Western-style shootout of a game that uses brains for guns, as two teams go head to head facing quirky questions and making lists. It joins Bucket of Doom, a Kickstarter funded title that challenges players to
escape a series of threatening scenarios with the use of hundreds of useless objects. The celebrity rhyming game, Obama Llama is the first title from Edmondson as it presents a simple rhyming charades game, while Qwordie is the result of a night of passion between Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit; part
BIG POTATO Turning its hand to everything from quiz games to party titles, kids games to toys, the team at Big Potato develops, nurtures and brings both home-grown and outside concepts, to a vibrant and growing market. Developed by the team behind the shouty-outy trivia game, Linkee, Big Potato will debut three new games at London Toy Fair, including a family quizzy game, a family spy game and one heck of an adult party game. The three new titles join an already burgeoning portfolio of titles including Rainbow Rage – a game constructed by the radio DJ and TV presenter, Matt Edmondson, OK Play, a stacking, grabby game that’s tagline reads ‘easy to play, but tricky to win’, and Scrawl, a game in which players must attempt to
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quiz, part word game, it’s a whole new kind of game. All titles under Big Potato’s portfolio will be supported by the Big Potato mobile app, which offers extra features from timers and scoring systems to additional content to lengthen the lifespan of the games. 07828734553
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ESDEVIUM GAMES Esdevium heads into the Toy Fair season celebrating its best ever year, thanks in large to the success of key gaming brands, The Pokémon Trading Card Game and the ever-popular, Dobble. Esdevium’s most significant change to the roster this year is the addition of the hugely successful Rory’s Story Cubes as the firm has teamed with the brand’s owner, The Creativity Hub, to offer the full range of Story Cubes to UK stores. Story Cubes, a line that has sold in excess of seven million copies worldwide since launch, will be available exclusively from Esdevium across 2017 and will be a big focus for the group’s Toy Fair stand this year, with demos and range plans available. The firm is also preparing for another bumper year for the Pokémon Trading Card Game, which sees its February releases brought up to date
with November’s new video games Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. The game has seen ‘unprecedented success’ throughout 2016, fuelled by the success of the Pokémon Go app and a surge of activity surrounding the brand’s 20th anniversary. Of course, the reasons to visit Esdevium’s stand come thick and fast. For instance, and back by popular demand, is the new series of the colourful pocket money collectable, Zomlings. Series Five introduces more than 100 original Zomlings to collect, including the important rare gold and silver characters. Buyers should also keep an eye out on the Esdevium stand for the most backed Kickstarter project of all time, Exploding Kittens or the Board Game Club’s Game of the Year, the spy-themed Codenames and challenge the entire team to a game of Dobble. 01420 593593
POSH PAWS It’s hotting up for Posh Paws this year as a run of big blockbuster movies means new ranges among the firm’s best-selling collectables and backpack lines. The first big budget movie to be hitting screens and shelves alike this year is the live action adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson and Downton Abbey’s Dan Steven’s. The title has been tipped to follow in the footsteps of the success of Disney’s recent run of lice action remakes, such as Cinderella, Maleficent and The Jungle Book. Posh Paws’ range will feature Beast and Belle in a variety of sizes as well as a full cast of characters in its Beauty and the Beast Tsum Tsum collection. The firm is powering up with some Power Rangers plush ahead of the release of the action movie from Saban this Easter, while the mischievious
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Minions are back once again in Despicable Me 3, starring the franchise’s favourites, as well as new characters and new outfits in Posh Paws’ plush collection. Lightning McQueen is racing his way back onto the big screen in July with Cars 3, an all new animated adventure that will see the racing car and his troupe of friends hit the track with a new
generation of racers. Posh Paws’ new Cars 3 plush range will feature Lightning McQueen and his pals as well as the younger models. From the Marvel Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 and Spiderman Homecoming will each feature heavily in Posh Paws’ 2017 roll out, with Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Star Lord and Baby Groot all immortalised in plush form. London Toy Fair will also see Posh Paws reveal an all new Star Wars premium plush
collection, along with new toddler Moana Plush toys to coincide with the film’s DVD release. The Disney lines continue with the studio’s first Latina Princess Elena of Avalor, as well as Lion Guard, Disney Princess and Tangled, while the collectable craze continues with new Disney Tsum Tsum characters being released each month. The 2017 collection will include characters from new releases such as Cars and Marvel, as well as classic characters such as Muppets, Aristocats and Star Wars Phantom Menace. But it’s not all just about the plush and Posh Paws will also release a new range of licensed plush backpacks. The range will see new product for Animal Jam, Despicable Me 3, Powerpuff Girls, Teletubbies, Thunderbirds, Care Bears, Disney and Sesame Street. 01268 567 317
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JOHN ADAMS John Adams Leisure is celebrating its 50th anniversary this Toy Fair and it’s doing so in the only way it knows how – with a whole roster of exciting new gaming titles. This year sees the company continue to build upon its successful heritage within its creative play craft range as it adds a cast of over 20 new and refreshed product lines to its 2017 portfolio. For budding artists, there is a range of new drawing products including Pixelo – a kit that allows youngsters to doodle, dot and draw with a special electronic pen, while for stunning spiral designs that illuminate before you eyes, there’s the Spiralite. Alternatively, kids can try GlowPad, a kit that allows little artists to create mind-blowing illuminations and glowing messages. Following what it has billed a ‘super successful launch,’ there are new titles being added to the eZee Beads range, including new
3D themes and a special licensed PAW Patrol set. John Adams’ popular line of Blo Pens will see new introductions in the form of My Little Pony Creative Cases, turning the packaging into a handy mini easel, as well as a cool colour changing Spray Magic set and a Glitter Studio, allowing youngsters to add more sparkle to their crafts. For those sweet of tooth – and let’s not pretend that’s not you, either – check out the Chocolate Sprinkle Stix, a product that allows users to create a sprinkle storm in the kitchen and make their own bite-sized treats for friends and family to enjoy. Elsewhere, John Adams continues to lead the way in the action science category, allowing children to create their own super powers with the Super Science range. With sets to represent both heroes and villains, kids can choose whose side they’re on before getting stuck into the science of it all.
Soggy Doggy and Silly Sausage, which was ranked at ninth place in ToyTesters.tv’s top toys for Christmas 2016, have caused more than a stir among family gamers over the past year, and thanks to the success of each, John Adams has seen its range of branded games grow only stronger and in greater volume year on year. New for 2017 is Mr Bucket, the original, racing, chase the bucket game. Players are encouraged to quickly scoop up the coloured balls and place them into Mr Bucket before he shoots them out again. Giggle Wiggle is sure to be a family favourite this year, too. Starting from the bottom, players must race their way to balance the coloured balls on his hands, as he twists and turns, dancing to the music. Be the first to stack all of your balls on Giggle Wiggle’s hands to win. And if it’s laugh out loud fun you’re after, Don’t Be a Donkey has it all. Players must shout ‘Donkey’ and grab a carrot, but
the player who didn’t get a carrot first must lift up one of their donkey ears. Lose three times and the unfortunate loser must wear the donkey mask. If you’re more of a traditionalist, then don’t forget Rummikub, a range that has been extended in 2017 with the all new Rummikub Twist. Played in exactly the same way as the classic game, Twist features new additional Joker tiles to add an exciting twist to the game. Remember Tetris? Of course you do – it was one of the top selling video games of all time, how could you not? Well, now it’s a game that can be played as a table top title, as players go head to head in a strategic battle with two modes of play. All of the key new launches will benefit from TV advertising and a full PR plan throughout 2017. 01480 414 361
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BANANAGRAMS Bananagrams, the anagram game that drives you bananas, will be showcasing its two newest games at London Toy Fair this year: Bananagrams Party and My First Bananagrams. Aimed at kids aged ten and upwards, Bananagrams Party introduces concepts such as the re-gifter, the thief, switcheroo and pouch head to the classic bananagrams gameplay. These, of course, are just some of the 14 chaos inducing Party Power tiles in the new Bananagrams Party edition that sees each offer players the power to unleash a special action on the opponent of their choice. Whether it’s making them play without using their thumbs, or forcing them to do a lap around the table, each action is sure to cause mayhem while players race to use all their letter tiles and complete their own Bananagrams word grids.
Meanwhile, My First Bananagrams is a brand new game designed to help ripen little learners’ vocabularly. Aimed at kids aged four and upwards, the early learners version differs from the original family word game with colourful lower case letters and unique double letter tiles, designed to make it easier for miniwordsmiths to race to complete their word grid. My First Bananagrams also breaks away from the bunch with a distinct ripening green banananshaped pouch. With the remit of catering to a wide range of abilities among siblings and pals, My First Bananagrams
includes a collection of fun games, with ten curriculumbased mini games that are designed to become more challenging as confidence and vocabulary grows. The title uniquely includes new double tiles with vowel teams, word families and digraphs. This makes it
the Playnest to stimulate touch, vision and hearing and, suitable for kids from birth, the three in one Playnest and Gymn is sure to play an important role in a baby’s physical and play development. Galt will also reveal six new items to its range of Creative Cases: Flower Lights, Beady Animals, Paint a Piggy Bank Set, Jungle Wind-Ups, Cross Stitch
Case and Fashion Knitting. All of which will be welcome additions to this popular range. Meanwhile, young scientists can get their fix as Galt introduces an exciting new Explore and Discover range. Five lab kits including Science Lab, Glow Lab, Magnetic Lab and Slime Lab all encourage children aged five to eight years to experiment while having fun and are compatible with the National Curriculum. All new products will be showcased alongside Galt’s
the perfect game for children as they learn to read and spell. Bananagrams has sold more than seven million copies in over 30 countries across the globe since launching in 2006 and is loved by an army of fans including the cast of ITV’s Downton Abbey, Dame Judi Dench, Scarlett Johansson and many more. 0207 298 9500
GALT Galt Toys will be introducing the first three in one Playnest and Gym to the crowds at London Toy Fair this year. The double sided Playnest, plus a soft rainbow gym with three toys supports baby during rest and play from birth, lying down and later sitting up. The soft velour resting area with harness cradles a young baby over the inflatable ring, while parents can add the soft rainbow gym with three colour toys to stimulate babies with bright colours, patterns and sounds. Simply turn the Playnest over to reveal a padded seating area to support an older baby in a sitting position, and enable them to reach out and explore the world safely. There are eight multisensory features around
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existing portfolio that includes the iconic Ambi Toys range, as well as new products in First Years and Active Play ranges. With a focus on young art, new products will be added to the Activity Packs and Fairy Friends ranges next year. Meanwhile, new construction sets, puzzles, Horrible Science and Fashion Club products, with a focus on education and learning, all of which will be launched for 2017. With 180 years’ experience in toys and education, Galt designs toys to encourage children to learn through play. The team produces and sells quality toys which meet the needs of all stages of a child’s development from birth to ten years old. 0161 428 9111
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MARVIN’S MAGIC Entering its 30th year, Marvin’s Magic has led the way to become the recognised brand leader for all things magical. It prides itself on being the pioneer of in-store theatre and entertainment with a reputation for being the destination company, combining demonstration with excellent sales numbers to boot. Marvin’s Magic launched its first internationally renowned magic department within Hamleys’ London store, and nearly 30 years later, has maintained the magic of Hamleys in all it does. Innovation and the rich heritage of magic, combined with cutting edge technology, has heped the firm produce award winning ranges including the i-Magic range – smart magic for smart devices, along with compelling videos, all of which feature in its best-selling and ever-popular sets.
These sets have proved a success in both the domestic and international markets, being perfect for youngsters and hobbyists alike. Marvin’s Magic has a knack for nurturing young talent, too and past in-store demonstrators include the likes of TV presenter Stephen Mulhern, who came up through the ranks at Marvin’s Magic and is now regularly performing on TV screens. Together, the pair has created a range of Stephen Mulhern’s Unbelievable Jokes and Pranks, which will be launched at Toy Fair this year. Marvin of Marvin’s Magic, said: “We are proud to have started out literally millions of magicians worldwide on their magical journey and are continuing to inspire and encourage the next generation of talented magicians through excellence in the craftmanship of magic.
“It’s magical to see the smiles and amazement we bring to children and adults alike.” 01582 849 000
every day. That’s an average of 48 new views a second. The firm will also be presenting a brand new outdoor Slime range this year: Slime Bombz and Slime Blaster, aiming to take water fights to the next level. Slime Bombz lets children create their own Slie to gunge their
friends by simply adding the slime to a bottle of water, shake up and create the sticky goo. They can then fill up a balloon and get ready for all of the sliming action. Meanwhile, the Slime Blaster gets kids to load the Blaster Gun Tank with water and the premeasured Slime Powder. Each Slime Blaster gun comes with enough powder for over 200 slime shots for outdoor fun. Elsewhere and the Snoball Battle Pack lets kids create their
ZIMPLI KIDS Zimpli Kids specialises in a range of highly innovative children’s toys and is going all out to deliver the ‘wow factor’ at London Toy Fair this year, with a full range of products along with a new outdoor range that it promises, will not disappoint. The London Toy Fair would not be complete without the firm’s most popular products and recent viral phenomenons, such as Gelli Baff and Slime Baff. Gelli Baff transforms bath water into a thick, colourful goo and back again, whereas Slime Baff changes water into a bath of gooey slime. Zimpli’s bestselling products have clocked up over 1.3 billion views on YouTube in just over 12 months, averaging 4.2 million views
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own snow balls for snow ball fights all year round. Simply add the SnoBall Battle Pack powder to water, watch it transform into realistic snow, then mould to create your snowballs. Each box has enough powder to make over 60 snow balls. 01254 460 006
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RE:CREATION It’s promising to be a huge year for Re:creation as the company is set to generate further growth with the addition of several new brands to its portfolio. Continuing to lead the charge, Re:creation’s Razor portfolio will once again raise the bar in electric ride-ons with new introductions to be unveiled at Toy Fair. HoverTrax 2.0, the company’s most recent launch will continue to be a big focus, but the firm is excited to be delivering more news from this ground-breaking ride-on as the trailblazers continue to set the pace in hover boards, with outstanding new developments. With over eight years in the industry top spot for electric scooters, Razor is set to reveal at Toy Fair its latest innovation that will introduce a whole new audience to the world of electric
ride-ons, as well as gearing up to set the pace in a new sporting arena. Meanwhile, the company’s Snuggables plush portfolio has gone from strength to strength in 2016, with Stretchkins and Bright Light Pillow predicted to be delivering results in the plush aisle. Both will benefit from new additions in 2017. Two new TV advertised brands will strengthen the Snuggables portfolio. Visitors to Toy Fair
will meet the Talk Back Zoo collection, which features voice recording technology that enables the range of four Talk Back Zoo animals to repeat back everything their owners say. In addition, Re:creation welcomes back the successful Tummy Stuffers range of cute cuddly animals that love to be fed socks, clothes, pyjamas, shoes, bedding, pillows and more. With the phenomenal results of The LEGO Movie under its
belt, Re:creation’s LEGO Lights portfolio has much to offer in 2017. Big things are afoot for the portfolio as the hero of the hour, LEGO Batman is set to feature in his own big screen animated adventure, launching in cinemas in February. The supporting LEGO Lights line will have its debut at Toy Fair, introducing new features to fans. Squinkies ‘Do Drops will be showcased at Toy Fair. Season One hits shelves this January and Re:creation will reveal at the show, the new line-up for Season Two. A huge raft of new characters and ‘do’s will add to the fun, while new play-sets offer new environments for role-play. Foxy farm fun is the order of the day with Re:creation’s new action game. Fox in a Fix, due to be revealed at Toy Fair, sees a cheeky fox try to stuff his pockets with stolen chickens. 0118 973 6222
sector. During 2017 the firm will welcome 16 new licenses to its portfolio including Animal Jam, Disney Pixar Cars 3, Disney Beauty & the Beast, Elena of Avalor, Rapunzel, Despicable Me 3, Paddington, Power Rangers Dino Charge, with other licenses arriving for autumn/winter. New products have also been added to existing licenses PAW Patrol, Thomas & Friends, My Little Pony, Avengers Assemble and there are more introductions in the company’s award-winning generic range. Sales continue to grow and high points of the 2017 range include a shaped lighthouse created by Colin Thompson, arguably the world’s most popular puzzle artist. Paddington stars in his own stylish ‘I love London’ design,
there’s iconic art by L S Lowry, classic Flower Fairies designs and artwork from the UK’s most popular puzzle artists. Other key launches include a 3D Sneaker, a vintage Volkswagen T1Camper Van and licensed editions of the successful and collectable My 3D Boutique range.
The BRIO World range continues to grow with the introduction of the Village range. In addition to the fire and rescue launch in 2016, new for 2017 is the police collection. With motorbikes, a helicopter and a boat, there is plenty to keep children entertained for hours. 01869 363 800
RAVENSBURGER 2016 was another strong year of growth for Ravensburger who is looking forward to presenting over 100 new items to customers at Olympia Toy Fair. Highlights include the development of the company’s games sales, and sales continue to flourish. To ensure this trend continues, a key introduction for 2017 is Buggaloop, the next edition in the Bugs in the Kitchen series, featuring a crazy Hex Bug dashing across, around and now under the game board. Popular classic children’s games Funny Bunny and Penguin Pile Up are being relaunched. There are developments in the licensed games area too, building on the success of the Surprise Slides, Labyrinth and Eye Found It formats. With more than three times the market share of its nearest competitor, Ravensburger continues to lead this important
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WINNING MOVES Winning Moves has a wide range of licensed products on display at both the London Toy Fair and the Spring Fair. As a result of the ever-growing success of the firm’s Top Trumps Quiz range, including Star Wars, Animals and Sports (£9.99), Top Trumps will be showcasing Disney Classic, WWE and DC Comics from its new Top Trumps Quiz range. The line has already been backed by TV support throughout 2016 with a campaign that helped the game to become a huge hit with the whole family. The story continues with Top Trumps Match; the game in which players race to match five character cubes in any direction to win the game, or take the win from their opponent by using the special Top Trumps card. Supported with TV both Disney Princess and Marvel Avengers Top Trumps Match (£19.99)
received great Amazon customer ratings of 4.6. New licences for 2017 include DC Comics, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Shopkins, Despicable Me, Candy Crush and Mario, among many more.
Trolls Top Trumps is jampacked with your favourite crazy and magical characters from the Trolls universe. The pack launched two weeks ago and stormed straight to the number one best seller within the Top
Trumps range. The team is now urging retailers to be quick to get their hands on the collection, before they are gone. Following a very strong sell-through in 2016, the 2017 Shopkins range expands to include Top Trumps (£4.99), Junior Monopoly (£19.99), Guess Who (£19.99), Match (£19.99), WHOT! (£4.99) and Collector’s Tins (£9.99). Visitors to the show will have the chance to pick up an exclusive Toy Fair offer, receiving five per cent off an order of £500, or ten per cent off of orders of £1000. The 2017 Top Trumps range includes Animal Jam, Friends, Star Trek, Despicable Me, plus a range of classic retro packs with a brand new vintage-style case. Come and visit the team at London Toy Fair stand E115 to find out more. 0207 298 9500
SAKAR Sakar International will be exhibiting a full range of Trolls youth electronics at the upcoming London Toy Fair. The wide range of Trollsthemed products include kids‘ safe headphones featuring Poppy’s iconic fuscia hair and a built-in volume limiter, completely optimizing the listening experience and providing clear sound at a safe noise level for kids. The ear-cups are lightweight and feature an adjustable headband for maximized comfort for every child. Trolls Karaokes come with a microphone and a bonus two-song CD with music from the film, for a superb out of box experience for the family. Children will have a fun and immersive experience from the moment they press play as, in addition to the headphones and Karaokes, Sakar’s Trolls’ range
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includes digital cameras, walkie talkies, standing microphones and more. The firm will also be showcasing a large assortment of electronics featuring hit brands including Super Hero Girls, Batman, Avengers, Frozen, Nerf, My Little Pony, Lego Batman, Beat Bugs, Thomas and more. 02476 518 500
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UNDERGROUND TOYS Underground Toys is back with a whole host of pop culture toys, collectables and homeware items to whet the appetites of all those visiting Toy Fair 2017. For Star Wars fans, the new-look stylised Star Wars talking plush range builds on Undergrounds Toys’ awardwinning assortment that first launched in 2008, retailing at a lower price point than before for fans to get their hands on. The new, stylised eight-inch Yoda, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Kylo-Ren, R2-D2 and BB-8 will be available from March this year, fully equipped with sound and lights to help bring each character to life, with additional characters joining later in the year ahead of Episode VIII. Talking toys from the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 film will also arrive in the form of the new nine-inch Groot and Star Lord
characters, entertaining fans with popular phrases from the film for fun that lasts long after the credits roll. As a partner and sole distributor of Funko products in Europe, Underground Toys are welcoming many exciting new
additions to existing ranges, including the ever-expanding Pop! Vinyls. The latest characters from blockbuster movies will hit stores ahead of each film’s release to cinemas. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, Thor:
Ragnarok, Beauty and the Beast, Cars 3 and Star Wars characters will all be available from the toy firm, alongside familiar faces from Netflix’s lastest series, Stranger Things. Visitors to the booth will also enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane with the iconic Power Rangers, as one of the many cult favourties on show during London Toy Fair, creating an eye-catching pop culture bonanza. A new 1.5-inch blind bagged Pint Size Heroes range introduces licenses including the likes of Five Night At Freddy’s, Disney and Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, sitting alongside new licenses in the toy firm’s Mystery Mini, Pop! Rides, Pop! Tees, Rock Candy format and more. 01708 374 499
SMART TOYS AND GAMES January 2017 sees the expansion of the Smart Toys and Games’ portfolio with the launch of the highly anticipated GeoSmart, alongside brand new sets and games from the likes of SmartMax and SmartGames. The company’s focus on innovation is highlighted in the new range, with toys and games that entertain, educate and excite both adults and children. GeoSmart has been billed as the future of geometric play and an ideal STEM magnetic construction set that enables fun learning at home as well as in the classroom. Featuring bright colours, strong magnetic pieces and a patented double-safety system, GeoSmart offers unsurpassed safety and durability for endless creative play. The kits range from basic starter sets to battery powered remote controlled vehicles. One of the stand out
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products is The Mars Explorer, which contains 51 pieces of varying shapes and LED lights. Meanwhile, the award-winning SmartMax range will expand to include more sets that allow children aged one and upwards to explore the world of magnetism in a fun and safe way. The new My First Safari range contains six wild animals, including crocodile, hippo, lion, rhino, elephant and giraffe, which promises to stimulate children with bright colours and a soft, tactile feel. As the magnets are interchangeable, children can mix the creatures up, which offers an interactive game play to test their knowledge and understanding of the toy. SmartGames’ new releases range from the very easy to the extremely challenging; perfect for players of all ages. Each product’s unique and
innovative game mechanic with varying levels, means that these educational games are perfect for both adults and children as young as six. They come in travel, compact and table top editions in plastic or a premium wood range. Finally, the latest IQ launch XOXO is said to provide ‘hugs and kisses’ for everyone’s brain. Using logical thinking, the player has to fill the grid with ten colourful double-sided pieces, leaving Xs and Os in a sequence. 01903 885 669
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KIDS@PLAY Kids@Play is celebrating the launch of its new battery powered Land Rover at this year’s London Toy Fair. The new, sleek-looking rideon features a re-chargeable six-volt battery pack, designed to guarantee a total of 350 recharges, meaning kids can ride in style for hours on end. The Land Rover boasts a proper suspension across all four of its wheels and arrives with a painted body, working headlights and brake lights. It also boasts an FM radio, meaning youngsters can blast out the tunes and impress the neighbourhood. All that, and it comes with an mp3 socket, leather seats, a working horn and forward and reverse gearing. Talk about a life in luxury. The product is just one of many new ideas arriving at Toy Fair all courtesy of Kids@ Play who will be exhibiting its
complete and exciting range in the fair’s Gallery, Stand 200. 01291 429 007
WILD CARD GAMES With over £4 million of retail sales in the UK, family games specialist Wild Card Games continues to add to its range of award-winning titles. Top sellers such as Who Knows Where?, Maponimoes, Frenzi and Backpacker as well as the award-winning Arithmanix and Astronauts are joined by the new hit, Ski Run, the Ultimate Skiing Game, and 6 Suits – a title set to revolutionise games played with playing cards. With ten per cent off orders placed at the Toy Fair, 6 Suits enables users to play all of their favourite card games and more, in a fun new way. With six suits of nine cards, it’s a playing cards revolution, says Wild Card Games, as the Royal Court has been thrown out. Players can spice up the traditional games of Rummy, Poker and Cheat or get stuck into the three new 6 Suit specific
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games such as Game Changer, 999 and Cross Out. Meanwhile, Ski Run has been a massive hit, with three reprints in its first year alone. The classic family race game is popular with everyone and sells strongly in the New Year through until the end of the ski season in April. Gameplay sees the lead player change throughout as fortunes
fluctuate and players attempt to use the right cards at the right time to stay one step ahead of their opponents. On the other hand, the awardwinning, leading seller Who Knows Where? is the global location guessing game in which players race opponents to become the first to travel the world by locating famous
places on the world map. With over 1000 locations to guess in five categories, it’s billed as a fun way to learn about the world around us. To find out more about the Wild Card Games offering and the success of its existing lines, book a meeting or visit the stand at H20. 07916 349 942
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RAINBOW DESIGNS Rainbow Designs is ready to unveil a host of new products across a number of its prolific toy and nursery brands at this year’s Toy Fair. 2017 will see the arrival of some fantastic feature plush toys in two of Rainbow Designs’ most famous brands: Paddington Bear and the recently launched Peter Rabbit TV collection. In line with the new Paddington 2 Movie, set to premiere in November, Rainbow Designs will launch two fun and exciting feature plush; Dancing Paddington and Crazy Cycling Paddington. Youngsters will be able to dance along to the calypso rhythm with Paddington as the bear swings his hips to the beat of the music as well as saying five different phrases. Little ones will also have fun with the Crazy Cycling Paddington as they follow the bear as he cycles on his bike.
The two new toys join the ever popular Talk to Me Paddington and My Name is Paddington feature toys that were launched last year. Meanwhile, there’s a host of new feature plush toys available in the new TV Peter Rabbit Toy
Collection, including the Hopping Peter and Hopping Lily boasting waggling ears and a host of five different phrases. The collection will also include Talking Peter and Talking Lily feature plush toys as well as an 18 inch soft toy range that
well as learn detailed information for 120 of the most important molecules. Happy Atoms will be available in both an introductory and full fixed set. Meanwhile, Gekobot is a wallclimbing robot which uses a motorised air suction system and battery powered motor to make the legs move back and forth as well as up and down. On the other hand, the Giant Triops contains everything a child needs for successful Triops breeding. These little creatures have been around since the time of dinosaurs. It’s following Mattel’s Imagination the Possibilities campaign
with Barbie, that Thames and Kosmos is introducing the Barbie STEM kit for budding scientific designers everywhere. The full-colour storybook manual guides the journey through seven building projects and more than seven experiments. Build a spinning closet rack, washing machine, jewellery holder,
includes popular characters Benjamin Bunny and the cute Squirrel Nutkin. See all of Rainbow Designs’ 2017 collections including the hit pre-school properties My First Thomas & Friends, Paddington, Peter Rabbit, Peppa Pig for Baby, Guess How Much I Love You, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Miffy and The Snowman and The Snowdog at Toy Fair this year by visiting the team at stand E120. 01329 227 300
THAMES AND KOSMOS Since 2001, Thames and Kosmos has been developing science kits for children around the world, to the delight of parents and teachers alike. Now, and returning to the London Toy Fair for the sixth year, Thames and Kosmos is excited to unveil the new range of fun, interactive STEM toys and Strategy Games all in time for a spring/summer release. Happy Atoms leads the line up with its revolutionary approach to teaching chemistry as it lets children discover the world of molecules in a hands on, intuitive way via its physical and digital STEM kit. Using a set of 50 atom models representing 16 different elements, children can assemble their own magnetic molecular models. They can use the included app for iPad and iPhone to identify the molecule from tens of thousands of varieties as
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hammock or shoe rack and learn all the scientific processes along the way. Further in the strategy games sector and the firm is readying to launch three themes for the popular Exit Games series in which players must use their team spirit, creativity and powers of deduction to crack codes, solve puzzles, collect objects and earn their freedom. Secret Lab sets the scene of a medical study where players seem oddly to be the only ones invited, while Abandoned Hut taps into the creepy train analogy as after a night of rest, players wake to find the windows barred and doors secured by a combination of locks. Pharaoh’s Tomb and Kerala complete the strategy game line up for the company this year. 01580 212 000
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MARBEL Marbel is gearing up for an exciting 2017 with an array of crafted new products. As an exclusive UK and Ireland based distributor of a range of fun and innovative toy brands, the firm is excited to be extending its Hape Railway range with new sets including The Mountain Mine, bringing train play to life with a selection of tunnels, cranes and bridges. And that’s not all, because Marbel boasts ‘plenty more to offer’ among its line up at this year’s show. The firm is delivering its new Little Splashers range this year, a range, it boasts, designed to make bath time fun and exciting. Perfect for water play, the collection is designed to encourage growth and development among youngsters. It doesn’t stop there, of course, and Marbel’s Push and Pull range will now welcome the VW
Walker, offering kids their very first road trip as they choose from two loved classics: the VW Campervan or the VW Beetle, both available in blue or red. With a wooden design, sturdy construction and rubber nonskid wheels, the walker helps encourage the importance of walking and motor skills, helping kids to take their first steps in real style. The firm will be greeting visitors to its stand at B50 with a smile and a chance to explore this year’s entire offering and urges everyone to come along and have a look around. 0207 060 4582
ORCHARD TOYS Visitors can go ape at this year’s show as Orchard Toys is heading to the London Toy Fair with a line up of five new games for youngsters to play. Leading the portfolio is Cheeky Monkeys, a counting game for all the family, in which players battle to collect the most bananas. Children are encouraged to make strategic decisions, choosing whether to play it safe after their first run, or turn the spinner to collect more bananas. The game features exciting twists to make counting fun, including the Cheeky Monkey card that every player will want. The 3D tree and hanging monkeys also add a new dimension to this competitive, yet fun game. Smelly Wellies, meanwhile, is a fun and simple matching game in which players turn over welly cards to find matching patterned wellies for their quirky monsters,
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while Toys is a great addition to Orchard Toys’ pre-school puzzle range. The box features six large, two-piece jigsaw puzzles with familiar first toys such as a teddy bear, a doll and a toy car. The colourful imagery of the puzzles is great to engage early learners.
As well as its new lines, Orchard Toys is launching some new extensions to its best-selling literacy games. Match and Spell Next Steps is the perfect progression from the best-selling Match and Spell. The game has exceeded expectations
for Orchard Toys and has been a huge hit among parents, teachers and educational professionals. Aimed at kids aged five and over, this reading and spelling game helps to develop more advanced reading and spelling skills using both sounds and blends. The game features double sided boards, meaning it can be played in two different ways to extend learning. Alphabet Flashcards introduces children to the letters of the alphabet in a fun way, with colourful illustrations and a double-sided card for every letter of the alphabet. The cards have been billed as the ‘perfect tool for conscientious parents looking to teach children their ABCs and first words.’ 01953 859 526
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ACCENTUATE New German and French editions of the accent guessing game, Accentuate will be top of the bill at this year’s Toy Fair, as the team unveils its latest lines. The game that sees players take it in turns to read aloud a movie quote in a randomly selected accent is going continental this year. Following a study on French and German regional accents, and having worked with language experts from both countries, the Accentuate team has decided to make the international move. Calling on the help of experts from Oxford University and the Honorary Consul of the German Consulate in Liverpool, the team has created an authentic new versions of the game for the foreign markets. Each edition has 90 Accent Cards with 30 different accents repeated three times. The French edition comprises of 12 French
accents and 18 international, while the German version has 13 German regional accents and 17 international ones. The movie quotes have also been taken from different films for each territory, with French movie quotes in the French
edition, and famous German film quotes in the other. As in the UK and US Accentuate games, the accents are graded on levels of difficulty. The team behind Accentuate, which was successfully funded by Peter Jones in BBC’s Dragon’s
Den in 2015, will be on the stand showcasing all versions of the game, including the UK and US variations of the game. 0330 400 4162
COILEDSPRING Coiledspring is inviting all visitors to this year’s London Toy Fair to join the team in a game of Happy Salmon, a simple, fast-paced card game packed to the gills with high-fiving, fin-flappin’ fun. Actions include the classic High 5, the unifying Pound It, the frantic Switcheroo and the delightful Happy Salmon, all of which will have players doubled over in laughter. Each time a player celebrates a match, they quickly discard a card. The first person to get rid of all of their cards wins, and with so many mini-celebrations built into the play, it’s the happiest game ever. The cute fish pouch, meanwhile, makes Happy Salmon perfect to take to a friend’s, on holiday or even just traveling upstream and arrives in its very own, unique CDU that can hold up to three units of the new game.
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Meanwhile, muggles can enter J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World at stand E35 as the team showcases four new poster puzzles featuring images from the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film, alongside the 450-piece Diagon Alley. Equally magnificent, visitors can hop aboard Hogwarts Express for a journey into the world of Harry Potter. This 460-piece 3D puzzle of the iconic steam engine will embark on a voyage full of surprises. A visual masterpiece, the locomotive features intricate detail from the original train and, as the firm says, simply cannot be missed. Models of the Hogwart’s Great Hall and Astronomy Tower are a sure wow, connecting to create a stunning 3D puzzle made up of 1,725 pieces. Go on, dare you to count them all. 020 3301 1160
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GP FLAIR With several new collections for the boys’ aisle, as well as the hottest names for girls, GP Flair is looking forward to one of its busiest Toy Fairs to date. The big news on the stand will be the first reveal of Ben 10, as Ben Tennyson prepares to embark on a whole new adventure; and with it comes a new master toy collection from the renowned Playmates. The company’s vast experience in the action figure market will be for all to see with the entry point being the basic articulated collection. There are eight characters to collect including Ben along with many of his alien alter-egos such as Forearms, Heatblast and the aptly named Diamondhead. Fans can then progress to the larger scale Power Up figures, standing up to six inches, each of the four characters has a unique surging power-up feature creating light and sound effects. In addition, 13-inch super deluxe figures are available as Heatblast and Forearms. Two Omnitrix watches round out the Ben 10 line up this year. Following the successful launch of Season One and with Season Two fresh in the aisles this month, The Grossery Gang’s
Season Three will be new to discover and promises to leave a lasting impression on Toy Fair visitors with its new rotten theme. 150 putrid personalites will make their debut, grouped into seven new sub-gangs. Autumn will also see the Grossery Gang branch out into new categories as the first Grossery Gang action figure assortment prepares to land. Elsewhere, the third Despicable Me film is set for release in summer and Flair is proud to be launching the first collectable range for the license. Developed by Moose as part of a new Mineez portfolio, the launch range will include over 75 collectable figures, with rare, ultra-rare and special editions to drive collectability. The Shopkins franchise keeps growing, too, this time with the launch of its Season Seven collectables line. New play-sets will mark the launch that sees over 140 party themed Shopkins characters to collect. The new collection, together with the new Shoppies will be released to market in time for Toy Fair and is
expected to be be one of the most popular to date. Shopkins Happy Places and its dolls house pattern were release in autumn 2016 with phenomenal success. Visitors will get the first sight of a new license for Happy Places, one which will bring with it a huge fan base. Glimmies will be a dazzling discovery for retailers as the magical characters that glow in your cupped hand and when placed in the dark, make their first appearance. Visitors to Toy Fair will see new waves of Glimmies characters with additional features to behold. The new Glimwheel also launches in July and allows three Glimmies to enjoy a Ferris Wheel ride while also providing the perfect play and display solution. And after all the fun and games on the Glimwheel, girls will take their Glimmies back to the Glimtree. The magical tree is an interactive play-set with rooms for your Glimmies. Once inside the tree, the Glimmies will light up and create an enchanting forest glow. Doc McStuffins is evolving to match the exciting new Baby Nursery within the Toy Hospital theme
from the TV series. At the heart of this adorable new collection is the Baby Lil’ Nursery Pals assortment of four adorable babies dressed in plush onesies. Or to really experience the nurturing play pattern there’s Get Better Baby Cece. The ultimate Doc Mcstuffins Baby experience however will come from the Baby Check-up All-inOne Nursery. Within the Snuggles Pets range – Peppy Pups launched in autumn with phenomenal success as their quirky kidpowered puppy delighted little ones everywhere. For 2017, two new breeds, a Pug and French Bulldog, bundle into the Peppy Pups kennels. GP Flair’s Cool Create division is also to see substantial growth in 2017. Fans of the popular Cool Cardz are going to be coveting the new range of design studios, whilst expanding on the success of the Shaker Maker range into food is the new Shaker Baker. IDO3D will push the boundaries of creativity even further with the new Formula 4D, allowing kids to simply create or clone any of their favourite miniature items. 0208 643 0320
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Toy Fiar 2017 will be home to a brand new product launched by one of the newest brands on the toy scene, Little Brian. Introducing: Paint Sticks, a toy that provides a clean and convenient way to paint with no need for water, or the mess that comes with it. The solid paint sticks twist up and down, just like a glue stick, and allow vivid colours to be transferred directly onto surfaces like canvas, wood, paper, card and even glass, drying within minutes of use. Paint Sticks are also extremely versatile and offer a range of different techniques, from blending and stamping to the art of scraperboard. Aimed at kids of all abilities, they are also sized for young hands.
Not only do they provide hours of fun, they also help develop a child’s creativity and improve motor skills, dexterity and co-ordination, all of which play an essential part in any child’s overall development. Compact in size, Paint Sticks can fit in the handbag or travel bag and can be put away as easily as they are pulled out; ideal for keeping children entertained on a long journey or busy at a restaurant’s table. Although Little Brian has only been on the scene for the past nine months, Paint Sticks has already won three awards, having been named overall winner
in the creative play category of the Practical Pre-School Awards and most recently crowned the winner in the painting and colouring materials category for four to seven year olds in the 2016 Creative Play Awards, meaning it really is a toy industry product that is currently going from strength to strength. To celebrate its recent success, Little Brian will be launching two new products on its stand at this year’s London Toy Fair; Paint Sticks Day Glow, which provide a fluorescent colour and Paint Sticks Metallic, which displays an eye-catching, shimmering effect when it is transferred to paper, card or even glass. Little Brian is keen for guests to visit its stand. 01706 667 016
construction toys, all of which will be presented at the London Toy Fair. In January 2017, Engino will be launching the Qboidz series and the Inventor 30 in 1 Motorised Adventure Models set. The Inventor 30 in 1 Motorised Adventure Models set introduces new designs and models for young builders to experiment on. Engino offers a series of toys that cover the range of six to 13 year olds, construction games and STEM education. Geared at pre-schoolers, the Qboidz range from Engino boasts the ability to stack cubes as well as snap them together, via its patented Engino Toy System, a concept, the firm boasts, puts it ahead of its closest competition.
All these series will guide kids from two years old until their adolescence and will provide them with the foundation to excel in the STEM and Robotics
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How many Toy Fairs have you attended? This will be my first, both attending and exhibiting and I am very excited. What’s your favourite part of the show? Having never been before, I am excited and looking forward to seeing and experiencing all elements of the show. Where’s your hangout for networking after the show? You’ll find me and my team in a local bar having a catch up and reflecting on the day. We’re always more than happy to continue conversations with people we have chatted to and also people we maybe didn’t get the chance to meet.
ENGINO This year, Engino will be present at the Olympia Toy Fair to showcase the work, research and development that goes into its expansive range of innovative and educational products. New products, ideas and a new look are some of the things that customers and markets should be excited for this year. Since its inception in 2003, Engino has had one goal; to provide the best construction and educational toys for children. Following many years of research and development and its focus on innovation and creativity, Engino is ready to boost children’s interest towards engineering and STEM. This has all led to the firm’s 2017 offering, a line of seven uique, STEM-geared
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PLUM PRODUCTS Plum, the interactive play specialist is announcing its UK exclusive distribution deal with Globber Scooters at London’s Toy Fair this month. Globber is an international brand recognised for its innovation and design. With products from its award winning My Free Five in One adaptable scooter and balance bike to its new electric scooter and My Too’s one second Kleefer folding system, bringing style, colour, guaranteed quality, unique features and accessoires from this versatile range. To complement the new product category, Plum has also secured distribution rights from Authentic Sports for scooter ranges No Rules and Muuwmi, giving them authority in this bustling sector. This is the first time that the Authentic brand has been made available on the UK market,
having already taken the German and French markets by storm. The Muuwmi brand offers a diverse product range with scooters for any age range where No Rules provides urban designs for teenagers with their use of graphics, lights, tyres, double suspension and a patented locking feature. As well as securing new distribution business in 2016, Plum Products also received numerous awards across the role play and outdoor toy categories and created more new products in one year than ever before. Brand new concepts, hitherto kept under wraps, will become reality this coming spring/ summer as the company unveils addition lines. Visit Plum at stand C50 alongside the full range of scooter products, you can also view new retail merchandising options for its renowned large
outdoor play equipment. The firm is excited to talk visitors through its extensive line at this year’s show and urges retailers to drop by its stand at London’s main event this year. 0844 880 5301
JUMBO GAMES Jumbo Games will be exhibiting a number of exciting new products from both its adult and children’s ranges at this year’s London Toy Fair 2017. With its number one adult puzzle brand, Wasgij, commemorating its 20th Anniversary throughout 2017, Jumbo will be celebrating this puzzling milestone in style with the launch of ten new products, three in January, three in April and four in June. Visitors to the Jumbo stand will get to see the latest January Destiny, Mystery and Imagine…? releases, as well as a sneak peek at the seven releases due later in the year, across the Original, Christmas and Back To…? concepts. The unveiling of the brand new collectable range, Wasgij Retro, will also be shown at the show. Other adult portfolio highlights will include 11 news releases from
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Jumbo’s Falcon de Luxe range. The puzzles cover the muchloved, traditional Falcon themes of Nostalgia, Scenery, Cottages, Animals and Transport, across varying piece counts from 200XL to 1,500 pieces, so that there’s a puzzle for everyone. Jumbo will also be introducing a new 500XL puzzle format, for those that are keen for more of a ‘challenge’ from the 200XL puzzle, but at the same size of a standard one.
Jumbo will be launching its new eyecatching Premium Collection, featuring new and refreshed jigsaw puzzles in piece counts from 300XL through to 5,000 pieces, covering themes of cities, animals, scenery, sightseeing, fantasy and more. Launching this Premium Puzzle Collection aims to further strengthen Jumbo’s
position as the UK’s leading Adult Puzzle Manufacturer, as they want to be the ‘the one-stop shop, for all your puzzle needs. The firm will also showcase new jigsaw puzzles from its entertaining comical Jan Van Haastaren collection, along with new Puzzle Mates jigsaw accessory products. From its Children’s licensed portfolio, Jumbo will be offering attendees to the stand the chance to view over 12 new products with additions to its puzzles and games ranges including Peppa Pig, Bob the Builder, Thomas and Friends foam puzzles and several new and Disney properties, such as Cars 3, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Minnie’s Happy Helpers and Elena of Avalor. Teens won’t be forgotten as Jumbo will have its popular Emotify Game on stand, too. 01707 260 436
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VTECH With continued growth and development in 2016, VTech Baby has secured its number one infant and toddler position for another year, increasing by 6.4 per cent. 2017 will be no exception; with the inclusion of two new ranges being launched; Pop-aBall and GearZooz. Pop-a-Ball is an action- packed range which aids motor skill development while GearZooz is a range full of fun, cause and effect elementsboth ranges teach numbers and colours as well as encouraging imaginative play-perfect for your VTech babies. VTech will take the Toot-Toot success to a younger audience with the introduction of a brand new addition for 2017, to the award winning Toot-Toot Family; Toot-Toot Drivers Baby. Toot-Toot Drivers Baby will include a Baby Driver, a Fire Engine Book, and a Drive
and Discover Police Car, which includes the renowned interactive features and fun sound effects that consumers have come to love from the TootToot Range. Kidizoom Action Cam has been consistently in the top ten within the electronic entertainment tablets category since launch. 2017 will see the Kidizoom Action Cam get even better with the new 180-degree rotating lens that will give a greater variety of action shots and videos, while still retaining the fun features such as the slow and high speed recording and photo burst modes. The new Action Cam 180° will come with all the same accessories, including various mounts and the waterproof case. Products in the KidiCreative range create demand and generate sales that are consistently high throughout the year.
With the winning combination of a huge, well known license and the proven achievements as well as VTech’s experience of this category, the two new Star Wars Smart Watches are set to be a massive success in 2017. The new First Order Stormtrooper and BB8 Smart Watch, feature Star Wars mini games, signature sound effects and Star Wars themed 3D style clock faces and can add themed effects to the photos and videos that are captured using the built in camera. With over 80 new products launching at Toy Fair 2017, VTech is looking forward to welcoming visitors to its stand to check out the newest offerings from the team. 01235 555 545
range has now gone on to sell over 22 million units worldwide and the sales show no sign of slowing down. The Hatch It Grow Alien range, a unique design, completely designed in-house, will add to the success story at pocket money prices - simply immerse the Egg in water and
wait for another little alien to hit the planet. Another pocket money priced winner which will introduce yet another new generation of children to the Alien Egg concept. Emojis are massive worldwide and Grossmans is introducing a full range of outdoor products for 2017 including scooters, pogo sticks, skateboards and spiral ball. Grossmans will be introducing the world’s largest growing Alien at Toy Fair 2017. This new product – the Hatch It Mega Growing Alien will reach up to three-feet in height, from a standard eight-inch egg. The Mega Growing Aliens will be growing throughout Toy Fair in a specially designed display tank and is expected to retail at around £9.99.
H. GROSSMAN It’s all change at Grossmans as the company are showing hundreds of new products at Toy Fair 2017. Grossmans is introducing a revamped scooter offering for London with over fifty per cent of the range updated with new themes and new packaging. The Ozbozz brand is renowned for its outdoor products and this year sees a whole selection of new lines including the brand new Twist and Fold Scooter, a stylish scooter available in three colourways, with four wheels and height adjuster which folds away - bound to be a winner for 2017. Alien Eggs took the toy world by storm in 1999 winning numerous awards including the coveted Toy Craze of the Year. The popularity of this range has never waned, this
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Dinosaurs will never go out of fashion and the award winning Megasaurs range has been extremely popular, the gift sets are updated and available across all price points from pocket money to the 30 piece gift sets. The pocket money range has been doubled with lots of new items at great prices. From yoyos to water wrigglers, from bubble wands to skipping ropes, traditional to trendy Grossmans have something for everyone. Talking about the changes, owner, Martin Grossman said: ‘We are introducing these new ranges to soften the blow for retailers in 2017 as prices will increase. Most of our items are at 2016 prices to help retailers beat the rise in costs,” H. Grossman has also got some surprise items under wraps, come along and see them at the show. 0141 613 2525
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PAUL LAMOND GAMES Paul Lamond is looking to conjure up a storm at this year’s Toy Fair, as the firm makes its debut into the world of magic with the talented magician, Jamie Raven. The gifted magician, who wowed audiences and judges alike with his extraordinary magic skills on the 2015 series of Britain’s Got Talent and finished
as ‘Top Human’, has teamed up with Paul Lamond Games to develop four Magic Sets. The four sets: Card Magic, Magic of the Mind, Street Magic and Sleight of Hand will be available from February, and contain all the components needed to perform tricks. Each set also contains a secret online link to allow budding magicians
to learn the tricks of the trade directly from Raven. Paul Lamond will also be unveiling an abundance of exciting new lines at Toy Fair 2017 including a Now That’s What I Call Music board game and a brand new range of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt products.
Questions from the 80s, 90s and 21st Century, as well as covers to sing and song titles to be mimed will ensure that the whole family is entertained with this great new board game. There is a new fresh and exciting We’re Going on a Bear Hunt range of games and puzzles set for 2017. The new range features illustrations from the TV production of the classic children’s tale. The new lines, which will be available from February, include a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt four-in-one Games Cube, a Memory Card Game and a Jumbo Floor Puzzle. There will also be four entertaining 1,000-piece That’s Life Spot the Difference puzzles launching at the show, along with a set of condiment-based games known as The Spicy Games and a new Murder Mystery Dinner Party game; A slice of Murder. 020 7254 0100
FIESTA CRAFTS Known for its wide range of educational games and extensive puppet line, Fiesta Crafts is launching a new range of play figures to take creative storytelling to a whole new level, which will all be on show at this year’s London Toy Fair. The poseable toys arrive as a cast of striped pirates, girl pirates, kings, queens, princesses, princes, red knights, blue knights, jesters, royal guards, beefeaters and more for children to play with. Each play figure comes with movable, bendy arms and legs that stay where users put them, making them ready to be a part of any story children will want to tell. The figures come with colourful costumes and embroidered details, as well as accessories, meaning they are dressed to impress for any storytelling occasion.
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Fiesta Crafts has also launched a new range of Big Puppets. The company has supersized four of its much loved hand puppet characters, including crocodile, monkey, pterodactyl and triceratops that have all been treated to the substantial growth, now ranging from 42 to 63cm tall. Boasting soft, bright fabrics, children will enjoy playing with these bigger puppets on their own or with their normal sized dopplegangers, which aim to encourage both individual play and role playing for endless imaginative play possibilities. But that’s not all as the firm’s collection of puppets are also educational too, helping to improve a child’s speech and language skills, while also improving their confidence to tell stories aloud and share stories with others. 0208 804 0563
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TRENDS UK Trends UK is heading to London Toy Fair with a host of new releases this year, including the likes of Splashlings, Shopkins Kinstructions, Pop Up Inflatables, ELAs and more. Splashlings leads the way for Trends’ portfolio this year and thanks to the success of the line in the US, it is making its way to UK shores this year. A line of mermaid characters and their own pets highlights imaginative play for girls. The collectables range includes mermaids, treasure shells and sea creatures. A series of webisodes supports the range, showing the Splashlings living out fun adventures in animated episodes, that will be supported with TV and media campaigns. Elsewhere, Shopkins Kinstrucitons follows a strong 2016 for the brand and features Wave Three of the range with the Deluxe Chef Club Academy.
In pop up inflatables the Pops Up City play-scape creates a fantasy world for kids, offering lots of soft, imaginative role play. Suitable for indoor and outdoor play, they come in a small storage box and inflate to a kid-sized play area. Themes in this line of inflatable, Velcro-attached collection include the Princess Castle, Emergency Rescue Centre, Construction Site and Knights’ Castle. All of which will be available from spring this year from £44.99. Under Trends’ pre-school portfolio are a line of electronic learning aids starring kids’ favourites Thomas and Friends and Peppa Pig. Peppa’s Singalong & Learn Microphone joins the Peppa’s Laugh & Learn Laptop and a new Peppa Pig
Play Mat arriving at stores this autumn. In tech toys, the VR Real Feel Racing set from VR Entertainment puts players inside the racing action with a headset, 42 mm lenses that harness the power of a smart device and a racing app featuring Bluetooth technology steering wheels with Force Feedback.
In pocket money toys, Trends UK and Wind Designs are launching the new Thumb Chucks, a new craze item from Zing Toys, that – with online tutorials – will have kids performing tricks like it’s going out of fashion. Under the games umbrella, the new BlastBox game from Zing will be available this summer. A suspense filled action game challenges players to inflate balloons and place them inside the BlastBox. Be Amazing and Haynes complete the offering under Trends’ Science and Hobby portfolio, as Insta-Snow and The Geyser Tube encourage kids into the world of STEM activities. Discovery Kids Toys are inspired by authentic Discovery Channel content, lead by the Discovery Kids Galaxy tracker Smart Telescope. 01295 768 078
In the boys’ aisle, Stretch Armstrong and his arch enemy Vac Man join Stretch Monster, while the launch of the new Minecraft figures in late autumn last year will be rounded out with a full roll out of figures for 2017. Fresh three-inch scale figures and accessories will be available and a new take on the Animal Mob will be released as a flock of tame creatures are added to the vast collection. Collectables will be high on the agenda with the launch of Twozies season two in spring. 140 new characters will be added plus new special, limited edition and ultra-rare Twozies including Prehistoric, Ocean Pearl and the Cute n’ Fluffy characters. The focus will continue to be the Surprise pack with two collectables inside,
while Fun Two-gether playsets will introduce new Beach Party and Road Trip themes. Disney Crossy Road is the latest collectable from Moose Toys and it will enter Character’s portfolio in late spring, bringing the world’s most recognisable characters in an on-trend eightbit pixelated style. Finally, don’t miss Little Live Pets which continues to be a huge property. Not only will the existing lines be refreshed but four Little Hedgehogs will work their way onto shelves in assorted styles. Also added to the line is the cute Surprise Chick, a self hatching egg that gives light to a cute chick. In autumn, a smaller world of pets will arrive including Teeny Ladybugs, while a Dream Kitten will be the perfect counterpart for 2016’s Dream toy Snuggles My Dream Puppy. 0161 633 9800
CHARACTER OPTIONS Character Options always brings something fresh to toy Fair, offering some of the most exciting properties in the boys, girls, pre-school and creative play sector. The team is upping its game once again, with a brand new games portfolio. A game of memory is on the cards with Slide FX, a test of speed, skill and of course your knowledge retention. Inspired by the likes of Tetris and Rubik’s Cube, Slide FX is an electronic pattern and colour memorisation game with a unique twist and slide feature. Five Nights at Freddy’s brings one of the world’s most popular mobile games to life in 3D. Freddy the demon teddy holds tokens and is resting peacefully when the lights are low. Players take suspense-filled turns to spin the dial and take tokens from under his nose, one token too far and Freddy wakes up.
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Boom Blast Sticks is an explosive stacking game which will test players’ skill and nerves. Not for the faint hearted, the aim is to carefully stack up the 40 interlocking bones before the stack explodes. Elsewhere, the Piston Cups Race Game which sees players race to the finish with characters from the new Cars 3 film.
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MORNING Morning has ticked a lot of boxes over the last year. Not only did the firm rocket to success with the distribution of the crowdfunding hit, Exploding Kittens (the highly-strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roullette) as well as Scythe by Stonemaier Games (a dystopian, alternate history war game). It also released its second Morning title, Gobbit. In addition to this, the team has fine tuned works on its upcoming swathe of four games, some of which will be published later this year. All this, and the firm opened a new branch in New York all in the hopes of taking the US market by storm. This year, the team is refocusing its efforts on publishing and its third game, Hope will be released in April this year, to be followed by the launch of Kill the Unicorns and Mines of Olnak.
Its first game targeting younger audiences, Ikan, will also make an appearance very soon. Ikan is a fantasy-themed
game all about finding treasure, slaying monsters and navigating labyrinths and is expected to release in 2017.
This iconic franchise is just one of the famous properties available at the show and the successful Trolls collection will continue allowing retailers to capitalise on The Trolls Movie phenomenon. Sambro is renowned for its stationery and arts and
crafts ranges and its new Moana products are perfect for fans of the new Disney characters. Two movies enjoying their third instalments in 2017 are Despicable Me and Cars. Lightning McQueen and his friends return in Cars 3 and Sambro will be waving them along with a full range of products to celebrate. Meanwhile, Despicable Me 3 launched in June 2017 and its popularity is set to soar as the firm delivers a roster to ensure retailers can offer a robust range.
One surprise for 2017 is the launch of Gobbit Cup, a competition in which Gobbit players around the world fight it out to become the ultimate world champion. Shops and cafés will host their own, or call on the experts at Morning to run it for them. Full attention is now on the firm’s next game, Kill the Unicorns, a game that has already captured the hearts of players around the world, in Cannes, Paris, London, Essen and Nuremberg in 2016. The Kickstarter campaign is planned for spring this year, so check the Morning blog on Morning.us for the latest updates on their new games. +33 685 146 042
SAMBRO Sambro is one of the biggest destinations for licensed products at the 2017 London Toy Fair and with a vast selection of some of the hottest properties of the year, retailers can expect to see yet more additions to the popular stable. With a wide range of price points and an unrivalled selection of categories ranging from pocket money and stationery right the way through to arts and crafts and outdoor, Sambro is able to offer customers current, high quality and complete licensed ranges for a wide selection of audiences. Pokémon continues to dominate and the collection of bags, and arts and crafts will be added to the line up throughout 2017.
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PAW Patrol continues to be a huge success for Sambro and the range will be refreshed and added to along with other evergreen Nickelodeon licenses including Blaze, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and of course, everyone’s favourite undersea goofball, SpongeBob SquarePants. My Little Pony is still a firm favourite with girls and gorgeous arts and crafts will be launched exclusively at Olympia, just in time to tie-in with the new animated movie based on the popular girls property, set to release in October 2017. New licensed ranges will also launch and customers will be the first to see new products from the latest addition to the Marvel cinematic universe, Spiderman Homecoming, Forever Friends, Hello Kitty and other new, exciting collections. 0845 873 9380
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MV SPORTS MV Sports is excited to be back at Toy Fair after a busy 12 months developing nine new licenses, five property refreshes and two new own brand ranges. This year also sees battery operated ride-ons as the company’s hero products with a selection of life like and iconic vehicles for all tastes. PAW Patrol has been arguably the success story of 2016. As well as MV Sports’ main range of products, 2017 sees the introduction of two new authentic style ride-ons, including Ryder’s Quad and Chase’s Cruiser. In addition, both products have authentic livery designs, forward and reverse gears and speeds of up to 3kmh. The Thomas range still features the firm’s core products of ride-ons, trikes, scooters, bikes and helmets and is boosted by the 12v ride-on.
This impressive battery operated ride-on includes forward and reverse gears with a dashboard indicator, two speed settings, up to 3kph speeds and lights and engine sounds. With Thomas face moulds and measuring at over 1m long, riders can experience arcade style thrills in their own home.
Cars 3 sees the return of the Lightning McQueen with MV Sports’ 6v McQueen ride-on. At a huge 115x63.5x52cm, drivers will feel completely immersed in the product. It features both forward and reverse gears and will reach speeds of up to 3kmph. Innovation has
been concentrated on this category with the Dashboard Tri-Scooter; an interactive dashboard unit activated by a key fob and buttons for lights, sounds and action. For older boys, Batman is as unstoppable as ever. Still the nation’s favourite hero, the core category of scooters and bikes remains at MV Sports, including the ever popular 6v trike and 14-inch bike boasting a bat shaped fin and plaque. The iconic Batmobile has also been upgraded; children can ride to the rescue in this authentic look 6v battery powered rideon. Featuring forward and reverse gears, and reaching speeds of 3kph, budding superheroes will feel right at home. So fans should get ready to save the day. 0121 748 8000
REVELL With an abundance of kits spanning cars, trucks and motorcyles, Revell is nothing but short of exciting toys for enthusiasts to snap up. To mark the summer film release, the award-winning Revell Junior Kit range has been extended with leading childrens‘ licence, Cars 3. These newly tooled, easy-toassemble construction toys for ages four plus bring favourite characters from the movie to life with light and sound. Large parts are connected by plastic screws and child-friendly tools, transforming each model kit into a fully functioning toy. Fans of all ages and abilities can create a piece of their own Star Wars universe with model kits in Rogue One, Classic and Episode VIII packaging. Elsewhere, the Build & Play Star Wars range of construction toys for ages six plus are easy
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to assemble and boast light and sound for added play value. The Easykit Star Wars models are suitable for ages eight plus and collectors, as pre-painted kit parts are simply clipped together with no gluing required. To celebrate the franchise’s 40th anniversary this year, the Star Wars Classic limited edition model kits are suitable for
ages ten plus and include the 1977 film poster. Other landmark licences include the newly tooled Halo model kits for ages eight plus. Based on the hugely popular first-person shooter video game franchise, each durable kit includes between 30 to 50 parts, light and sound features and poseable figures, including the exclusive Warhammer Build + Paint Series One model kits for ages eight plus and fans, which
feature the heroic Space Marines battling against the indomitable Orks. Each kit includes high quality paints and brushes, glue and decals. Revell introduces an amazing variety of new plastic model kit releases for modellers and newcomers to the hobby, including the newly tooled McLaren 570S and Porsche 934 in 1:24 scale. A wide range of VR drones, selfie drones and racing drones from Revell Control will suit all ages, for example on the ground, a new RC car brand launches for kids aged from eight to 12. Dubbed X-treme, the item will boast top speeds of up to 25 kmh and dust and splashproof electronics. A colourful range of RC cars, trucks and animals extends the pre-school RC brand, Revell Control Junior. 0845 459 0747
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MGA ENTERTAINMENT With a focus on collectables and learning for 2017, MGA will introduce a variety of new ranges to the market this year. LOL (Lil Outrageous Littles) brings the excitement of unboxing and collectables together, allowing children to unwrap seven layers of surprise before reaching their LOL figure. Once unboxed there’s one last surprise – each LOL has a surprise water function. At £7.99 each, there are over 40 LOLs to collect in Series One. Meanwhile, Num Noms continues to grow only stronger in 2017 with the launch of Series Three and over 100 new characters, a variety of new food flavours and new light up Num Noms. Children can now create even more combinations with the scented, stackable collectables. MGA will also continue the growth of its girls’ ranges. Arts and Crafts favourite Gel-a-Peel
will introduce a selection of new colours, including a glow in the dark collection, and a Bead Design Station. Aligned with STEAM, fashion doll Project MC2 will launch new cosmetic chemistry themed STEAM accessories as featured
in its hit Netflix show, with a continued focus on core products – the Project MC2 Spy Bag and ADISN Journal. This spring will see the new developments for the Lalaoopsy doll brand, with new entertainment content launching
globally on Netflix in January and updates to the popular mix ‘n’ match segment. Little Tikes adds to its creative outdoor play portfolio for spring. The new Fountain Factory Water Table brings STEM learning to pre-schoolers in a fun hands-on way. Adding to the ride-on range, The Little Tikes Princess Horse and Carriage is the ultimate princess experience. Parents can take its reins to pull the carriage along or rotate for little ones to lead the way by themselves. In the Little Tikes trike range, the new Fold ‘n Go 5-in-1 Trike Deluxe is designed to provide maximum portability with its unique compact foldaway mechanism, making it the ultimate convenience for on-thego parents and children alike. Swing by the MGA stand at this year’s show. 0845 0533 333
Bladez is known for its Star Wars inflatables and this year the company is delighting fans further with a line up of three new characters to its 2017 offering. For the first time, Star Wars RC ranges will be TV advertised as Bladez continues to enhance its marketing support to drive awareness of its cool products. The venture last year into preschool introduced the younger market to its first RC experience with a range featuring Peppa Pig, Teletubbies and Thomas and Friends. The Teletubbies TV campaign had a big impact and the in-store dedicated display area and daily demonstrations at Hamleys have been a hit with customers. The power of demonstration is key and Bladez is happy to talk to retailers about opportunities and additional support to help bring characters to life in-store. The inflatable play mats have also
been best sellers, with no mess, no splash concept of an indoor water puddle even selling out in November. Bladez is also exploring new product categories for innovative pre-school lines, including a Teletubbies Puzzle track with the Teletubby Car from the new TV series which combines puzzle fun with vehicles.
Build a track up to 50cm wide using the brightly coloured tile pieces, then watch the car whizz around while being guided by the groove on the track. With eight interchangeable pieces, young fans will be able to re-configure the track in any number of combinations for endless play. 02392 658 255
BLADEZ TOYZ 2016 was a busy year for Bladez and 2017 will be no different as more brands are added to the portfolio and more characters join the collection of fun radio control inflatables. There are also exciting developments within the world of traditional RC as the new Hot Wheels toy range launches this autumn. This will see a brand new, innovative play system combine radio control with one of the hottest global toy brands. This summer sees the launch of Despicable Me 3 at the cinemas and following years of success with the RC inflatable Minions, Bladez is excited to be refresheing its offering and unveiling new movie characters at Olympia. One of the highlights will be a radio control character of Agnes’ favourite unicorn toy Fluffy, with an easy to use controller and drive and spinning function.
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K’NEX In 2017, construction toy firm K’NEX will bring STEAMagination to life with innovative new products that create a universe in which engineering, art and fun all click together. With new additions to its existing strong and diverse product portfolio, K’NEX will continue to showcase its unique qualities of scale, movement and open-ended creativity. January sees the K’NEX Intro Assortment offer a fine introduction to the range at just £6.99, with three models to
Gallery 510 168 January/February
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choose from, each item is suitable for kids aged five years and upwards. A Rocket Car, Stealth Plane and Motorcycle can be bought separately, or fans can collect all three to create a Helicopter Combo Build. K’NEX STEM Exploration sets, also launching in January, will allow children to explore STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) skills while they play, whether at home of in the classroom. Two kits, priced at just £14.99, offer three experiments each. Choose between Gears or Levers and Pulleys, while the Vehicles set has five experiments
and seven different models to build, each with a different power source, for £24.99. The K’NEX STEM Explorations Roller Coaster and K’NEX STEM Exploration Swing Ride allow children to explore the science of theme parks, including three suggested builds, each with an experiment idea. K’NEX Super Mario Series Eight Mystery Bags are a pocket money treat and impulse buy that have been timed with the launch of the new Super Mario iOS game. The K’NEX Plants vs Zombies line will also be refreshed with new mystery bags and play-sets. New for July 2017 is the show stopping K’NEX Thrill Rides Web Weaver, a motorised coaster set which comes complete with 399 K’NEX parts and pieces, plus a spider coaster car, ready to zoom around the track as it glows in the dark. In July 2017, K’NEX will combine its expertise in construction play patterns with a powerhouse license, with the launch of a K’NEX My Little Pony range. With items ranging from £14.99 to £49.99, the line is set to be a hit with girls aged three and up, offering a range of buildable figures and play-sets based on one of the biggest kids’ licenses in the world. Kid K’NEX will be available at retail for the first time ever in July 2017, inspired by its popularity in early years educational settings.
The range introduces construction play to children aged three and up, supporting their cognitive development with sets that feature chunky, brightly coloured pieces. In addition to a Kid K’NEX Budding Builders Tub (£34.99) with 100 parts and pieces, plus 50 building ideas, the line also features animal and wheel inspired sets, with prices starting from £12.99. K’NEX Building Tubs will be refreshed in July 2017, extending to age five and up for the first time ever and offering items from £27.99 to £49.99. New additions include the Power and Play Motorized Tub (£49.99), which brings builds to life through movement and the Imagination Makers Tub (£34.99) aimed at girls who enjoy construction play, Popular with girls who love building, the K’NEX Mighty Makers line will be refreshed with a big ticket item in July 2017. The Mighty Makers Amusement Park Fun set has more than 1,000 pieces to build three theme park rides, priced at £89.99. A hit since its launch, the K’NEX K-FORCE range of buildable, customisable blasters will be refreshed in July 2017. Brand new Barracuda, with pump action blasting, and Sabretooth, with lever action blasting, are both priced at £34.99 and can be built and rebuilt to create five different models one at a time. To support new and existing lines throughout 2017, K’NEX will implement a robust 360 degree marketing programme featuring TV advertising, kids’ press, strategic partnerships and digital activity including a new K’NEX kids hub hosted by Kizi.com, while continuing to grow a fanbase on social network PopJam. 0118 925 3270
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CLEMENTONI Clementoni is putting its main focus on the infant and science markets when it exhibits a number of new product lines at Toy Fair in January. The company will be demonstrating its growing portfolio across these sectors where it has excelled in the last eighteen months. Following the success of the Baby Clementoni lines in 2016, showcasing at the 2017 London Toy Fair will be the new two in one Interactive Football Table – a talking educational toy which not only teaches children letters, numbers, shapes and colours, but also recognises and communicates each goal scored with the child. Also, showcasing will be ‘Doc’, a children’s educational robot programmed to give children their first experience of using animatronics. Visitors to Clementoni at Toy Fair will also see the Interactive
SCHLEICH Schleich will showcase its many play worlds at Toy Fair, with new additions for 2017 including Super Heroes, animal figurines and larger playsets. Kicking off the year in true DC Super Hero style, the figurines gain reinforcements in March 2017: Hawkman, who derives his superpowers from his golden armour, and the wise and invincible Shazam. Another new arrival in the DC range is master thief Catwoman, who loves playing her games of cat-and-mouse with the police. Two new figures from the Wonder Woman film will be released in May, and characters from the highly anticipated superhero film, Justice League will also be available from September 2017. The pre-school offering for Farm World and Wild Life will expand for the New Year. Key to each of the ranges will be
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Globe demoed on stand, with which you can explore the World using its featured optical reader pen. Children will be able to learn about continents, countries, capital cities, surface areas, populations, currencies, languages, territories, elevations, time differences and many more interesting facts. With more than 300 questions divided into varying difficulty levels, children can test their knowledge and the product is supported by an accompanying app which can be downloaded on mobile devices and used interactively with the Globe. Clementoni has always been well known for its innovation in the puzzles market, with which it was traditionally associated. The company’s 2017 puzzle offering continues to lead the way with new licenses and AR technology. The puzzles line
ranges from pre-school through to adult offerings and is both licensed and non-licensed. At the show Clementoni will also be launching its unique and new eye-catching 3D Virtual Reality puzzle collection, featuring 3D googles and panoramic qualities. The line covers a wide spectrum of themes, including
cities, animals, scenery, sightseeing and fantasy. Launching this first-of-a-kind Virtual Reality Puzzle Collection will inevitably further strengthen Clementoni’s puzzle presence in the UK. Visit the Clementoni team at their Gallery 155 stand during the show for all the product details. 0208 782 1143
Alternatively, the Tractor with Trailer and Hay Conveyor will also make great additional purchases to the already loved Farm World range. The Horse Club collection has received a great response from both retailers and consumers since its launch in AW16 and now the equestrian-themed collection will offer even more play value as further horses and play-sets are added to the robust and exciting stable for the year ahead.
For Q3, there will be four more Horse Club play-sets including the Mobile Vet Van. Complete with a multitude of accessories such as a portable X-ray machine, a young Hanoverian foal and doctor’s bag. In addition, the Riding School with Riders and Horses will be introduced to the Horse Club range this year. There will be some new horses arriving at the Riding School: alongside the horse stall with Lusitano mare, the Horse Club range will also be acquiring another set with Pintabian mare, foal and a horse groom. These play-sets can be connected with each other via their paddocks, as well as with the Riding Centre set. Finally, the popular Dinosaur collection will be bolstered with a Feathered Raptors Set, complete with three dinosaurs that have moveable arms and jaws. 01279 870 000
brand new Starter Sets with the highlight for the second half of the year being a Croco Jungle Research Station, the ideal starting point for all new Wild Life adventures. This play-set includes a big crocodile skull and integrated secret hiding place, the research centre as well as a viewing platform. Further accessories include a ranger figure, a fire pit, scientific equipment, and four different animals among others.
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MAKE IT REAL Make It Real will be making its debut appearance at London Toy Fair in 2017. The brainchild of ex-Wooky Entertainment talent Oliver Williams and Isaac Wolman will present its inspirational range of creative products for the first time in Europe. Since the company’s inception it has already secured distribution in over 50 countries across the world, administered from its two sales offices. A US sales office covers Northern America and Canada and South America and is headed up by Wolman, whie Williams looks after the rest of the world. The mantra of the new company is ‘Create, Dream, Share and Repeat’. So much more than just a craft company the firm has devised and gathered a team of ‘Dream Guides’. These professional mentors are women working in
Apart from the licensing lineup the company will show a full range of creative craft products, hero items include a new home décor range and the perfect kit to create your very own Knot and Bling Mermaid Tail, perfect for any budding artist. Make It Real’s goal is to empower girls to think creativley through interactive play and put a creative spin on everyday activities. This goal is evident throughout the firm’s educational product ranges, with products that aim to connect girls with real-life role models, thriving in exciting and creative fields. Make It Real’s skill-building toys can be seen at Stand 165 on the Gallery. Be sure to swing by to get the flavour of this unique and creative brand. 0161 302 4100
Stand 165 the creative industries. Through a free app they will share ideas, encourage creativity and host competitions which offer unique ‘money can’t buy’ prizes. Make It Real has already been appointed Arts and Craft partners for Animal Jam which has over 55 million players
worldwide. The new company is also proud to be associated with Disney and will be introducing new Beauty and the Beast, Descendants, Disney and Elena of Avalor Sketch portfolios covering a variety of top titles including the all-time family favourite Frozen.
Ensuring kids have playthings that are just like grown-ups is what Casdon does best, which is why as times and models change in the real world, this firm keeps on trend for pretend play. The Dyson Cord-free Vacuum is a must have for any home and now the little ones can copy the cleaning ritual with their very own Cord-free Dyson. With its realistic hose and vortex cylinder, Little helpers will have fun taking part in the pretend cleaning. The Cord-free Dyson joins other successful Dyson toy merchandise, together with branded roleplay collections with household names such as Kenwood and Morphy Richards. Added to this line up is the collection of Casdon classics that are perfect for the little helpers, little shoppers and even the little cooks, all keen to take part in all of those daily household chores, we mean, routines.
A huge social media programme reaching hundreds of thousands of parents is already well established and will continue with a strategic campaign with top influencers and social media schedule for 2017 to further the awareness of all the firm’s much loved toys and products. It’s easy to see why Casdon has been the most well-known supplier of domestic appliance replicas over the past 70 years and the company is keen to show what makes its product so unique to the attendees of Toy Fair 2017. Swing by the stand to find out why Casdon’s roleplay range has been enjoyed for generations. 01253 691 486
CASDON Famous for trusted brands such as Little Helpers and Little Shoppers, Casdon combines pretend play with household names to bring replica kitchen appliances and role play accessories to the play room. There’s a whole house full of pretend-play branded appliances to discover at Toy Fair plus a range of dolls accessories for the most popular sized doll with the firm’s hugely successful Baby Huggles portfolio. The Baby Huggles range is a proven seller and with its fresh new look, offers a one-stop shop for baby dolls. 2017 will see a contemporary and up-to-date feel to this collection that is perfect for any modern 46cm doll. Characterised by its colour scheme, Baby Huggles is a cohesive collection of car booster seats and changing mats, all at affordable prices.
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Stand E69 Following a successful 2016, Golden Bear is heading to London Toy Fair with an extensive range of exciting new products and licenses. Spanning new plush toys, vehicles, play-sets and more, Golden Bear’s latest line-up certainly has something for everyone to enjoy. Fresh from signing a global deal with Brands With Influence, the company will be showcasing its Bush Baby World range, which is set in a magical land where dreams are made. A brand new concept for children aged from five to nine years, Bush Babies are cute and cuddly characters with adorable eyes and fluffy ears. A unique patented system also allows children to wiggle their eyes and waggle their ears. This sparkling new range launches with a collection of Bush Babies who make sure children dream of wonderful things. The range also includes a Sleepy Pod where every Bush Baby can snuggle up, and for added role play there is a Dream Tree play-set to collect where the sleepy pods can hang. Currently being hailed as the solution for a good night’s
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sleep, the innovative Sleep Tight All Night range from Golden Bear has been receiving fantastic reviews from mums since its launch. One mum, from the Mummy Memories blog, who is struggling with lack of sleep, said: “I think the #SleepTightAllNight unicorn is one of the best creations. My daughter is staying in her bed.” Golden Bear is looking to further establish the product as a must have for sleep deprived parents in 2017, with two new additions to the Sleep Tight All Night range. 2017 also marks the start of the In the Night Garden ’10 years of magical journeys’ in celebration of the brand’s 10th anniversary, and heralds Golden Bear’s launch into the nursery sector with the In the Night Garden Baby line. The collection will include a selection of nursery toys all based around the much-loved characters from the property including Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka characters. As well as adorable soft toys, the range will include cuddly blankies, rattles and hanging chimes, which have been designed to delight and entertain
little ones, as well as stimulate the senses. The company will also be showcasing a strong new line-up of pre-school toys, including a fresh Ninky Nonk Train set, a cute and cuddly Peekaboo Igglepiggle and My Friend Upsy Daisy plush, as well as a Walking Makka Pakka soft toy. Following the introduction of the Fun Sounds Big Red Boat, which is set to make a splash this spring, the Musical Statues Dancing Great BigHoo is getting ready to headline Golden Bear’s Twirlywoos line-up at this year’s Toy Fair. Driving forward the success of the newly refreshed Something Special Mr. Tumble range, the company is launching the new Adventure Track Set with Drop in Driver, as well as a new feature plush in the form of Sing Along with Mr Tumble. Leading the new licensed introductions is the hugely exciting DC Super Friends collection. Based around the infamous superheroes, Batman and Superman, DC Comics fans of all ages will love this collection. The new range encompasses feature plush in the form of Interactive Powered Punch
Batman, as well as fun slingables and an interactive playmat launching autumn/winter 2017. For the company’s burgeoning vehicles sector, Golden Bear is bringing out newly refreshed My First JCB lines, highlighting the brand’s indoor and outdoor uses. Following the success of the Big Wheelers, two new lines, Tough Talking Joey JCB and Doug Dumptruck will launch later in the year featuring chunky muddy wheels and fun rumbling sounds, as well as new vanishing mud splat bath toys and super squashy Squishies. A new Go MINI Freerunner buildable track set is sure to get all pre-schoolers revved up in autumn/winter 2017. Boasting four metres of track to collect, this brightly coloured set with interactive, features will provide hours of fun for children and parents alike. Last but not least, Harold the Helicopter will be joining the Thomas & Friends range in the spring, with a new interactive and fun Talk Along Thomas being released in the autumn. 01952 608 308
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EPOCH MAKING TOYS
EPOCH Making Toys will be at Toy Fair 2017 (stand B130) with its flagship brand Sylvanian Families and arts and crafts range, Aquabeads. The firm will once again be bringing its award-winning exhibition stand, comprising a life-size Sylvanian Families Cosy Cottage to Toy Fair this year. Brand new products for 2017 will be on display together with all the existing lines in this evergreen collectable toy range. Demo areas will also showcase the connectable features of the core products. Outside of the Cosy Cottage, there will also be a room resembling a lighthouse which will be open for visitors to venture inside and play with the new Sylvanian Families Starry Point Lighthouse. Complete with over 25 pieces, a story book and
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a projector unit which can shine different night time scenes on to a child’s bedroom ceiling, the Starry Point Lighthouse is the ‘star’ product in the upcoming 2017 range. And that’s not all, as there will also be the chance to see rest of the new play-sets as well as the upcoming two launches for spring/summer and autumn/ winter 2017. Throughout the fair, Freya Chocolate Rabbit and Ralph Walnut Squirrel mascot figures will be making appearances to show retailers the potential value of live events. EPOCH making toys will also showcase the core Aquabeads categories which will feature 16 new products, including the Deluxe Studio (complete range), Tea Time Set (theme Refill range) and a new Template Set
(accessory range). These items will all have new packaging and a new Aquabeads logo, designed to appeal to both boys and girls. New licensed products will also be on display inside the Cosy Cottage structure, including Disney Princess and Cars 3. Visitors can touch and feel the new play-sets available, including new Cars 3 sets that can create 3D creations – the first of its kind - which comes complete with wheels for racing. Yuki Otsuka, marketing manager at EPOCH Making Toys, said: “2016 has been a really successful year for Sylvanian Families all round; the brand had experienced continuous growth throughout the year and will welcome its 30th UK anniversary in 2017. “We have seen tremendous growth in our social media
Stand B130 followings, which shows the new fans and interests the brand has created. We can’t wait to show our new 2017 ranges at Toy Fair. “We’re really keen to showcase the new licensed Aquabeads products, and hope that the new packaging will help us to reach a new target group as it very much appeals to both boys and girls. With the introduction of our Star Wars sets during 2016, we were able to tap in to the boys’ craft market and hope this extra change to our core product packaging will enable us to continue broadening the brand’s big appeal.” Visit the EPOCH Making Toys team at stand B130 to catch all the newest items on display. 0843 557 4062
W NE FOR 2017
Just one of next year’s EXCITING new range.
Come and see us at Toy Fair! Olympia London: 24th – 26th January, Stand E 49
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ASOBI With an extensive portfolio spanning toys, games and craft kits, Asobi is set to showcase several new products at London Toy Fair, as well as unveiling some exciting developments to its existing lines. For 2017, the company will be putting its weight behind Schmaze, a unique range of safe, plush sports toys for babies and toddlers to enjoy. The Schmaze My First line is a series of rugby, cricket and football based soft toys each with their own character and identity. The My First Rugby set includes the plush rattling rugby ball Grubber, with onesize easy fastening soft rugby boots Ruck & Maul. The My First Football set features the plush rattling football Dribble, with complementary soft soccer boots One and Two. Meanwhile. for cricket lovers there’s the My First Cricket set
with plush bat Willow and Cherry the soft ball. A gift for a baby and a sports enthusiastic parent, the Schmaze range for kids aged from nought to 18 months provides safe play and fun for all the family. Asobi is also looking to build on the success of its Micador early stART arts and crafts products. Items are specifically designed and developed especially for little ones from the age of 18 months to four years, and Micador has created a whole range of innovative and inspiring arts and crafts that are safe for pre-schoolers. Ease-of-use for little hands is also key to their success and their shape, while size and texture have been designed with children in mind, along with the way youngsters handle products. The extensive range means children will be spoilt for choice
and includes beeswax crayons, safety markers, washable oil pastels, stencils, craft packs, chunky stampers and more. The Elf For Christmas proved to be a hit for Asobi in the gift and toy market throughout 2016, and the company is expected to demonstrate at Toy Fair how this remarkable, good behaviour toy is being developed into an allyear round product. 01628 200 077
PLAYMOBIL As a manufacturer in preschool toys, Playmobil makes a triumphant return to London Toy Fair, debuting its very first entertainment brand licenses, Ghostbusters and How to Train Your Dragon, alongside over 200 new original products. The Ghostbusters range will feature much-loved characters, locations and sets from the iconic film out to “save the world in miniature.” Sets include the famous Firehouse and Ecto-1 vehicle, plus a towering Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to give our heroes a run for their money. Whether strange happenings are taking place in the neighbourhood or at the Playmobil Knights’ Castle, the fearless team will be ready to tackle any supernatural spirits. The fun doesn’t stop there, as an original DreamWorks Playmobil range will be flying in for a visit. The tale of a young
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Viking named Hiccup and his unlikely friendship with a dragon, adored by families worldwide, are available in toy form for little ones to play along with at home, ahead of the release of 2018’s How to Train Your Dragon 3. The new licenses, set to delight both loyal and new fans, are joined by a whole host of new
The new Police Headquarters with a prison has a fingerprint scanner, command centre and telephone system, as well as a secret breakthrough wall where wily criminals can escape. Brand new for 2017, the Romans and Egyptians range is on hand to help make learning fun and teach little ones all about times gone by, with the Pharaoh’s Pyramid and Roman Warrior’s Ship leading the way. Elsewhere, Cruise Ship, City Airport and Summer Camp ranges are sure to bring happy holiday fun to playrooms in 2017. With a new Porsche 911 Targa 4S, plus Princess, Pony Farm and Forest Life ranges to add to the mix, there is sure to be something for everyone on the Playmobil stand this year. 01268 548 111
ranges showing the small world play that the toy giant does best. The new Playmobil Police range will be a sure fire hit with budding little heroes, almost 40 years after the first Police sets launched in 1978.
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We kick off the New Year by celebrating the triumphant return of Boglins, get ‘mouth-to-mouth’ with Hasbro’s party game Speak Out and kick around some slightly inappropriate ideas for new Funko Pop! figurines
Last month the Clutter Art Gallery in Beacon, New York played host to The Boglins Custom Toy Show. The Boglins on display were custom pieces from artists such as Dok A and Jon-Paul Kaiser.
The exhibition was attended by only the crème de la crème of Boglins fandom, as well as creator Tim Clarke. The creations were sold to Boglin superfans with prices ranging from $80 to $1,200.
What the Funk?
With the Boglins primed to make a comeback, perhaps Clarke and co. would do well to appeal to millennials – surely there is millions to be made in enticing the YouTube generation with ‘Vloglins’.
Funko is working overtime to make sure that no pop-culture stone is left unturned by its ultra-cute Pop! figurines. In 2016, copious amounts of classic movie franchises were immortalised in Pop! form,
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including the likes of Pulp Fiction, Scarface and A Clockwork Orange. This got us thinking, which classics would lend themselves well to the vinyl treatment? Our picks: Requiem For A Dream, Notting Hill, The Excorcist and Annie Hall.
Playing a game that asks you to say ridiculous statements with a mouthpiece can prove to be tricky. Well, that’s what the ToyNews team found while playing Hasbro’s SpeakOut. As we all sat down at the monthly Board Game Club, donning our new mouth jewellery, the table certainly wasn’t short of saliva and remnants of that day’s lunch between everyone’s gnashers. Despite the grossness, you can see why Hasbro’s game has proved to be so popular with kids and adults alike, as most of the team were close to wetting themselves from the laughter.
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