May 05, 2011

Laser Pegs

Build-A-Bear Workshop Launches New Merchandising Program

A Squared Entertainment (A2) announces new merchandising arrangements with several companies, including Enterplay, LLC, Playmates Toys, Wild Pumpkin Licensing International, and Bulldog Licensing, Ltd. for Build-A-Bear Workshop. These relationships will help expand Build-A-Bear Workshop merchandising programs at specialty, mid-tier, and mass-market retailers, internationally.
Enterplay, LLC will create a line of Build-A-Bear Workshop Fun Paks. The program includes trading cards, novelty items, mini plush with trading cards, and other trend products. The trading cards will tie into, the Build-A-Bear Workshop online entertainment destination and virtual world. Playmates Toys will develop a line of mini figures and play sets, including a grand collection of mini bears, other furry friends, and play environments. The line will launch next year.  
A2 Entertainment will also be developing entertainment and external licensing programs for Build-A-Bear Workshop and are looking for new partners and categories for both hard and soft goods for the brand.
Wild Pumpkin Licensing International will manage all product categories for Build-A-Bear Workshop in Australia and New Zealand, while Bulldog Licensing, Ltd, will expand the global entertainment brand through licensed product in the UK. Both companies will have products launching in the market early next year.

Kellytoy USA to Develop Emily the Strange Plush Toys

Emily the StrangeCosmic Debris, creator of Emily the Strange, and Kellytoy USA have entered into a multi-year agreement, arranged by memBrain Licensing, to develop a range of Emily the Strange plush dolls and toys. The new collection of “Strange” plush will be available throughout North America in select retailers later this year.
The Kellytoy USA deal is part of an aggressive, multi-year licensing strategy for Emily the Strange, spanning numerous product categories and distribution channels. In addition to new licensing deals for apparel, accessories, room décor, electronics, stationery, and video games, memBrain Licensing says more limited-edition products will be announced for San Diego Comic-Con in July. 

Toy State Partners with Dub Magazine for Toy Cars

Dub Magazine, a lifestyle magazine on custom car culture, has partnered up with Toy State for a new line of toys under the Dub Garage brand. Dub Garage is specially designed for the new generation of car enthusiasts, ages 6 and up. Each toy will capture Dub’s signature wide-body styling and distinctive Dropstars and TIS (Twenty Inches Strong) rim designs, and will feature Toy State’s lights and sounds play features. Design details—including customized ring headlights, realistic Pirelli tire treads, Eibach lowering kits, and Borla exhaust sounds—will add authenticity to the line. Dub Garage toys will be available beginning in October at major U.S. retailers.

DC Comics Warns Retailers of Hazardous Green Lantern Sign

According to, DC Comics has advised retailers with the “Green Lantern Animated Light Up Display” to unplug the display immediately, citing a fire hazard. The website reports that DC Comics’ Senior Vice President of Sales, Bob Wayne, relayed a message on the CBIA Forum, saying that there have been reports of electrical problems with the display. According to the story, there has been at least one fire associated with the display, and other retailers have noticed “burning plastic” odors. Wayne is expected to notify retailers about what steps the company plans to take regarding the Green Lantern sign. The sign cost retailers $150.

HIP Brands Acquires Global Rights to Psyclops

PsyclopsHenson Independent Properties (HIP) Brands, the third-party licensing banner within The Jim Henson Company, has acquired global licensing rights (excluding the Philippines) to Psyclops, the multiplatform product and online experience for tweens, teens, and young adults. Psyclops features funny, contemporary one-eyed characters that embrace the worlds of music, art, dance, and technology. 
Under its global licensing contract, Hip Brands will seek to develop an extensive range of Psyclops-branded consumer products in key categories including toys, designer plush, apparel, home furnishings, stationery, gifts, social expression, personal care, publishing, food, and electronics.

Tandars Maker Picks Licensing Agency

TandarsYoha Technologies, the maker of interactive pet toys Tandars, has signed G Squared as the brand’s worldwide master merchandising and promotional licensing agency.
Plans are to sign agents in various territories around the world as Tandars products roll out. G Squared will handle licensing opportunities in the U.S. and Canada.






The Wildflower Group Signing Licensees for Cut the Rope

Cut the RopeThe Wildflower Group is currently developing a comprehensive new licensing and merchandising program for Cut the Rope, the physics-based game that is published by Chillingo (a division of Electronic Arts) and developed by indie games publisher, ZeptoLab. The program is set to debut in Q3 2011.
The Wildflower Group is currently in discussions with potential licensees for Cut the Rope board games, card games, and puzzles; back-to-school, stationery, and other paper products, including journals, stickers, posters, and calendars; sleepwear, loungewear, and boxers; publishing; food and candy; and accessories, including bags, backpacks, and jewelry. Already on board is Commonwealth Toy & Novelty, which is producing licensed soft/plush toys and accessories, PVC toys and accessories, activity sets, room décor (pillows, flags, wall hangings, etc.), and balls. In addition, apparel manufacturer Changes has signed on for the brand.  

You’ve Been Sentenced! Maker Inks Distribution Agreement

You've Been Sentenced!Toy and game manufacturer McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds, creator of the You’ve Been Sentenced! word game, has signed a representation agreement with NH Contract
Management, LLC (NHCM). The agreement covers all international distribution for McNeill Designs’ roster of toys and games.
Richard Gill, president of NHCM, has developed, distributed, and licensed games and toys for the global toy market on his own behalf, as well as for third-party inventors and companies. Gill is also a former co-owner of the Pictionary game and former executive VP of Horn Abbot International, the former international owner of Trivial Pursuit.

Coolabi Signs Golden Bear for Poppy Cat Toys

Poppy CatProducer and rights management company Coolabi has secured Golden Bear as the master toy partner for its property, Poppy Cat. A brand new toy line including plush, plastics, and arts and crafts for the UK and Eire will launch in fall 2012.
Poppy Cat has recently signed up companies for the categories of TV tie-in publishing, magazines, nightwear and underwear, and games and puzzles. Poppy Cat will make its debut on Nick Jr. in the UK this week. The show has also made international TV sales, including Sprout in the U.S., plus Australia, Canada, Korea, Poland, and the Middle East.
The series is co-produced by Coolabi’s television production arm, Coolabi Productions, and King Rollo Films.

Moonscoop Signs New Broadcasting Deals for SamSam

SamSamMoonscoop has signed new deals with worldwide channels for its 3-D-animated preschool series SamSam. Italy’s Rai and Turner Broadcasting Italy have both acquired broadcasting rights for season two of SamSam. In addition, SamSam continues to build a presence in Asia with Okto in Singapore and Hong Kong cable channel I-cable acquiring both seasons of the show (52 x 7’ and 39 x 8’), and Pelican taking home video rights for Singapore and Malaysia.
SamSam follows the adventures of the smallest of heroes. He doesn’t have super powers yet, but it doesn’t mean he can’t fly his own SamSaucer into space or can’t deal with dirty-rotten monsters. He uses his brain and a bit of imagination to get the job done. The series is based on the comic book series of the same name.

Hallmark Property to Be Made into Animated Comedy Show

Asteroid AndyOut of the Blue Enterprises has been tapped by Hallmark Properties to develop a new television concept for the web-based Hallmark property, Asteroid Andy. Revolving around a boy who lives on Earth many moons from now, with his family and diverse collection of intergalactic pals, the half-hour animated comedy show will primarily target boys age 6 to 11. Secondarily, the series will also target girls age 6 to 11 and older boys. Peter Martin, a nearly 20-year veteran of Hallmark, created the Asteroid Andy characters, storylines, visuals, and voices. Out of the Blue, creator of Super Why!, is headed by former Nickelodeon executives Samantha Freeman and Angela C. Santomero.

Chuggington Partners with Amtrak for Select Train Tour Stops

As part of a collaboration between Amtrak and Ludorum plc, creator of Chuggington, select stops on Amtrak’s 40th anniversary Exhibit Train tour will feature Chuggington Depot, a dedicated area for young train fans to play and learn.
The tour will kick off May 7, on National Train Day, at Washington Union Station in Washington D.C. The tour will stop in various cities nationwide until next spring.
The Chuggington Depot will feature characters from Chuggington,and train-themed activities will include play tables with Chuggington die-cast trains, a photo opportunity, a coloring mural, screenings of the television series, a Chuggington story time, and more.
For additional information, visit

LIMA Announces Conference Program Highlights

The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA) has announced a comprehensive lineup of more than 30 seminars for Licensing International Expo 2011, which will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, June 14-6. Program highlights include the first Brand Licensing Competition at the Expo, the
Pre-Show State of Retail Session and Tour, and sessions on topics such as issues in sourcing and manufacturing, royalty rates, licensing partnerships between for-profit and non-profit entities, and more.
For more information, to view the complete 2011 seminar lineup, or to register online, visit

Harvard Psychologist and Author to Give Keynote Address at CHA Summer Show

Dr. Jeffery Brown, a Harvard University psychologist and author, has been picked by the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) to be the keynote speaker at the CHA 2011 Summer Conference & Trade Show, to be held July 19 in Rosemont, Ill. His presentation will be based on his new book, The Winner’s Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success, which gives strategies to increase specific brain function that drive “winning” behavior.
Additionally, CHA has announced it will use its new conference format, which was introduced at the Winter Conference & Trade Show, at the Summer Show. The new format offers more convenient show hours, increased networking opportunities, access to the trade show floor, and unlimited access to conference programs and special events through an all-access conference and trade show badge. The badge’s advance registration price is $25. 
Online conference registration opens May 5. To learn more, visit

Second Annual WordGirl Definition Competition Winner Crowned

Third-grader Virendra Jewram of P.S. 135Q in Queens, N.Y. has been crowned the winner of Scholastic Media’s second annual WordGirl Definition Competition, a live webcast that challenged students to “battle for word domination.” Jewram answered questions demonstrating proper word usage, reading comprehension, and definitions to win the grand prize of a desktop computer and 500 books for his school, along with a Scholastic Dictionary, Scholastic Thesaurus, and WordGirl prize pack for each member of his class. He also randomly chose Brian Pahl’s third-grade class at Sunnyland Elementary School (Bellingham, Wash.) to receive an assortment of 500 books for their school, among other things.
More than 4,300 classrooms from schools across the country registered to participate in the live webcast, a 63 percent increase in participating classrooms from the 2010 event. Photo: Virendra Jewram is congratulated by WordGirl after winning the grand prize at Scholastic’s second annual WordGirl Definition Competition. Photo Credit: Miles White

Call for Toy Donations

The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) is asking for the industry’s support to help bring comfort to young victims affected by last week’s succession of fatal tornadoes in the south. Making a difference is as easy as donating a toy, game, book, or other plaything to The Toy Bank. Products will be distributed in partnership with Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) to disaster relief agencies currently requesting toys and games in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, and Tennessee. To donate, email or fax (212-675-1328) a product donation agreement to Foundation staff that will then provide all of the necessary information regarding donation shipments. For more information about The Toy Bank or TIF’s national partnerships, please contact the Foundation at (646-454-5581).


Shirley Price Promoted to Funrise Toy President

Funrise Toy Corporation has promoted Shirley Price to president. She will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations and processes of the company. Price began her career at Funrise Toy in 1987. “Shirley has been instrumental in positioning Funrise as an adventurous innovator of superior toys and an industry leader in the manufacturing and distribution of the most popular children's toys,” said Arnie Rubin, CEO of Funrise, in a press release. “We are thrilled to promote her to this important position.”

Former Jakks Exec Joins Imperial Toy

As part of a strategic growth move for the company, Imperial Toy, LLC has hired seasoned toy industry executive Genna Rosenberg as executive vice president, strategic marketing, communications and business development. Rosenberg joins Imperial after serving 11 years at Malibu-based toymaker Jakks Pacific, Inc.
“We are absolutely thrilled to bring Genna Rosenberg into the Imperial Toy family as EVP of strategic marketing, communications, and business development,” says Peter Tiger, Co-CEO of Imperial Toy, in a press release. “She brings more than 15 years of toy industry expertise in communications, brand promotions, marketing, licensing, investor relations, social media, and philanthropy. She will be an integral member of our senior management team as we focus our efforts to maximize and expand our core categories.”

TIA Appoints SVP, Technical Affairs

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has appointed industry veteran Alan P. Kaufman as senior vice president, technical affairs, joining the association’s external affairs team. In this newly created position, Kaufman will lead the continuing development and implementation of technical policies and strategies relating to toy safety, the environment, supply chain issues, factory processes, and other related matters. He will work closely with Carter Keithley, TIA president; Ed Desmond, TIA executive vice president of external affairs; and Joan Lawrence, TIA vice president of standards and government affairs.
Formerly, Kaufman served as vice president for global product safety and regulatory affairs at Toys “R” Us, Inc. He has also spent more than a decade directing production, sourcing, and technical services within The Walt Disney Company and its affiliated companies.

Industry Veterans Become Members of The Toy Bank Committee

Tom Klun, vice president of sales at LeapFrog, and Justin Discoe, co-founder of Sprig Toys, have joined The Toy Bank committee, announced the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF). The committee meets year-round and members provide their expertise and perspective on how to increase the number of toys donated to The Toy Bank. The committee is led by Rick Neitz of Rick Neitz & Associates, LLC, and Tom Neville of The Canadian Group. Other members include Lori Bessette of Hasbro, Inc., Chris Blake of Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.), and Shirley Price of Funrise.

Russ Berrie License Holder Files Bankruptcy

According to, The Encore Group, the company that bought the license to use the Russ Berrie brand name, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. reports that The Encore Group, which operates other divisions as The Russ Group, Inc. and Russ Berrie U.S. Gift, Inc., listed its assets as $100,000 to $500,000 and its debts as $10 million to $50 million in a filing with the federal Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey.
The original Russ Berrie infant and juvenile products company changed its name to Kid Brands, Inc. in 2008 and then licensed the rights to use the Russ Berrie brand name to The Encore Group. According to reports, Kid Brands owns the name and can re-license it to another manufacturer if the court ends the agreement with Encore.

LeapFrog Announces First Quarter Results

LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. announced its financial results for the first quarter, which ended March 31. Retail point-of-sale, or POS, dollars were up 8 percent in the U.S. for the 12 weeks (ending March 26), compared to the 12 weeks last year (ending March 27, 2010). Consolidated net sales were $40 million, down 6 percent, reflecting the effect of higher retail inventory at the end of 2010. Net loss per share was $0.34, an improvement of $0.03. Net sales from the international segment were $13 million, up 37 percent, and included a 2 percentage point favorable impact from changes in currency exchange rates.

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