March 21, 2012

 Toy Fest West

Walmart Partners for Angry Birds In-Store Promotion

Angry BirdsAccording to Reuters, Rovio, maker of the hit mobile game Angry Birds, is partnering with Walmart to embed clues to a new version of Angry Birds in merchandise sold in Walmart stores. Walmart will stock limited-edition T-shirts, plush toys, and snacks containing clues that unlock bonus levels of Angry Birds Space, which will be available beginning on March 22 in app stores.
Walmart said it would offer the first of four special “golden eggsteroid” clues to its more than 13 million Facebook fans starting today. The remaining clues will be in the merchandise that is set to appear in stores on March 25.
Rovio has a similar agreement with Barnes & Noble, where shoppers can buy Angry Birds merchandise and earn game credits.
Rovio's deal with Walmart covers more than 3,000 of the chain’s stores.

Famosa’s Pinypon Makes Its U.S. Debut

PinyponPinypon, a new line of collectible and customizable mini-dolls, pets, play sets, and vehicles, is making its U.S. debut after a successful launch abroad. This colorful collection of interchangeable friends is developed by Famosa. Pinypon’s U.S. launch marks Famosa’s official entry into the U.S. market, with plans to introduce additional brands later this year.
With Pinypon, girls can swap outfits, accessories, hairstyles, and even faces to create their own special friend. Not only can girls dress Pinypon using fashionable clothing, but they can spin the head around for an alternative personality. The accessories can be stored inside the doll to avoid any lost pieces.
The dolls are available nationwide at Toys “R” Us and Target stores. For more information, visit


Classic Media Expands, Acquires Olivia from Chorion

OliviaClassic Media has acquired the rights to Olivia from Chorion. Olivia originated as a book series that was first published in 2000 by Ian Falconer, then sold more than six million books, and was awarded the Caldecott Honor. Now an animated television series, Olivia airs in more than 120 countries, and broadcasts on Nick Jr., ABC (Australia), Five/Milkshake! (UK), Treehouse (Canada), and TFI (France).






Random House and Nickelodeon Announce Partnership

TMNTRandom House Children’s Books will now be the primary book publisher of Nickelodeon properties. Beginning in spring 2013, the publishing program with Nickelodeon will expand to include a variety of new formats, including hardcover and paperback picture books, storybooks, leveled readers, chapter books, junior novels, and board books.  
Random House will publish two new properties this fall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and modern fantasy-adventure series, Winx Club.






Simon & Schuster Signs Master Publishing Deal for Mike the Knight

Mike the KnightHit Entertainment has signed a North American master publishing deal with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for new preschool property Mike the Knight. The deal will mark the brand’s first consumer product licensing agreement for the U.S. and Canada.
Simon Spotlight, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, has acquired the rights to produce a variety of story, picture, novelty, activity, and coloring books, as well as non-interactive e-books, with new titles set to launch next year. The deal further expands Hit Entertainment’s work with Simon & Schuster, who signed on early last year as the UK and international publishing partner for Mike the Knight.




Garbage Pail Kids Become a Collectors’ Item

Garbage Pail KidsAfter 25 years, the Garbage Pail Kids brand is making a comeback as a collectible item. A book containing 206 images from Series 1 through 5, from 1985 and 1986, and a set of four limited-edition, previously unpublished bonus stickers will be available. Cartoonist Art Spiegelman is featured in the introduction, and John Pound closes the book with the afterword.







Hasbro Recognized as One of the “2012 World’s Most Ethical Companies”

Hasbro has been named one of the “2012 World’s Most Ethical Companies” (WME) by the Ethisphere Institute. The institute is a business ethics think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement, and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption, and sustainability. Approximately 5,000 companies were nominated, with only 145 making the cut. Hasbro was the only branded play company to receive the honor.
The Ethisphere Institute ranks organizations by reviewing codes of ethics, litigation, and regulatory infraction histories; investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; and nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers, and customers.
This is the sixth year Ethisphere has published the WME rankings. For more information about the companies selected and methodology, visit

Imperial Toy Launches National Science In-School Program

Glow FusionImperial Toy has partnered with Zim², a youth marketing company, to launch a national science-based, in-school program centered around Imperial’s newest bubble product, Super Miracle Bubbles Glow Fusion Bubble Solution. This month, nearly 700,000 children nationwide, who are in first through third grade, will participate in the program as they create “Chemiluminescent Systems” while learning about the science of glow. Armed with the solution for each classroom, teachers will incorporate the product into their science lesson of the day. Kids will learn about the scientific process that makes the solution glow, and will participate in several Glow-based science activities. Each classroom will be able to enter to win Glow Fusion Bubble Solution for every student in the class.







Fourth Annual Do Good Stuff-A-Thon Set for May 11

The Toy Industry Foundation, in partnership with the My Stuff Bags Foundation, will hold its Fourth Annual Do Good Stuff-A-Thon on Friday, May 11 at the My Stuff Bags Volunteer Center in Westlake Village, Calif. Held during National Foster Care Month, the Stuff-A-Thon brings together industry members to help fill thousands of My Stuff duffel bags with items such as toys, handmade blankets, clothing, and toiletries. To RSVP or to become a sponsor, contact Foundation Manager Marisa Media at (646) 454-5581 or For more information, click here.

A Squared Elxsi Appoints President of International

A Squared Elxsi Entertainment LLC (A2E2), a joint venture between A Squared Entertainment and Tata Elxsi Ltd, has appointed Paul Robinson as president, A Squared Elxsi International. Formally KidsCo CEO and co-founder, and Walt Disney Company SVP of international television, Robinson will establish a new London office with responsibility for content distribution in all formats, content acquisitions, brand licensing, and the continued international expansion of the company.
Robinson is responsible for the international expansion of A2E2’s growing portfolio of brands, including Build-A-Bear Workshop, and will spearhead the international development of a licensed merchandise and consumer product range that will extend the brand outside existing Build-A-Bear Workshop stores.
A2E2 is also turning its focus to new toys, digital and entertainment products, accessories, apparel, books, and additional branded merchandise, to build on the brand’s 15-year heritage.

Katie Cosgrove Promoted at TJLG

Katie Cosgrove has been promoted to senior brand manager at The Joester Loria Group. Cosgrove has been with The Joester Loria Group since 2004, managing the licensing programs for various clients.

Märklin, Inc. Appoints Ron Gibson to LGB Brand Manager

Märklin, Inc. has appointed Ron Gibson to the new position of LGB brand manager. Gibson comes to the company after spending three years with Märklin, Inc.’s exclusive distributor, Wm. K. Walthers, Inc., as LGB sales specialist.
In his new position, Gibson will work in the field, visiting retailers to provide merchandising and sales support. He will also conduct hands-on product training, demonstrate LGB at shows, provide technical assistance, and continue working closely with Walthers to bring the LGB brand to the marketplace. In addition, he will advise Märklin’s product development staff in Germany on LGB new product selection and growth strategies for the North American market.
Gibson’s background includes positions at United Model Distributors, California Hobby, LGB of America, and Roll Models. He is also a past president of the Large Scale Manufacturers Association.

Wow! Stuff Obtains £4.8m Investment from Britain’s Business Growth Fund

Britain’s Business Growth Fund (BGF), established to help the country’s fast-growing small- and medium-sized businesses, announced a £4.8m investment for a minority stake in Wow! Stuff. This is BGF’s third investment this year and its fifth since launch.
Wow! Stuff says the BGF investment will allow the company to “bring new and revolutionary products to market, develop future innovations, and expand into the U.S., where significant growth opportunities exist.” The company is also look to hire a Shenzhen team of engineers and American- and UK-based teams of inventors to bring sourcing and the supervision of manufacturing processes in-house.

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