May 09, 2012

Target Secures Marvel’s The Avengers Merchandise

The AvengersTarget Corp. has partnered with Marvel Entertainment, LLC to bring merchandise based on Marvel’s The Avengers to its shoppers. Through the deal, Target will offer an assortment of Marvel’s The Avengers-themed toys, clothing, and bedding, as well as a selection of Marvel Super Hero movies in stores and online at Toys include Captain America’s Blast Shield, Thor’s Thunder Hammer, and Lego sets featuring characters and movie scenes. There will also be themed T-shirts, backpacks, shoes, sheets, pillows, and throws. Target will stock shelves with Marvel Super Hero films, including Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and several other animated features.

LeapFrog to Bring Popular Shows to the LeapPad

Sesame StreetLeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. has partnered with three television series to bring their content to LeapFrog’s LeapPad. Through this deal, Chuggington, Sesame Street, and Little Pim will be available for download at the LeapFrog App Center this summer.   
Chuggington features modern trains from around the globe to help teach children universally positive values. The series, created by Ludorum, will be available this May on the App Center.
In June, users will be able to download Sesame Street and Little Pim. The episodes of Sesame Street will be from the most recent season, which focuses on science, exploration, and curiosity. The addition of Little Pim, a series that teaches languages and cultures, marks the first time LeapFrog brings language learning to its App Center. The company will offer English, Chinese, and French language videos at launch.

Case Against Cepia, LLC Regarding ZhuZhu Pets Dismissed

The lawsuit filed by Jason Heller against Cepia, LLC in the District Court for the Northern District of California has been dismissed. In the lawsuit, Heller had alleged that Cepia misappropriated the idea for its ZhuZhu Pets product line from him. After reviewing more than 20,000 pages of development documents produced by Cepia, Heller admitted on a Stipulation filed with the District Court that he could not find any evidence that Cepia had access to Heller’s alleged idea for a similar product and that Cepia had independently developed the ZhuZhu Pets product line. Since no wrongdoing was found, the lawsuit was dismissed.

K’nex Launches Line of KISS Buildable Figures

K'nex KISSK’nex has entered a licensing agreement with KISS that allows K’nex to create building toys inspired by the band KISS. The deal was brokered by Live Nation Merchandise, KISS’s exclusive global licensing agent.
Each buildable figure features the iconic black and white makeup, trademark hairstyle, and platform boots of one of the band members. The sets include all four band members and their instruments so fans can recreate the full band experience. The package also doubles as a stage.
The KISS buildable figure packs will be available exclusively at Target,, and this fall.




Little Prince to Distribute TCG’s Roxx in Israel

In an exclusive arrangement, TCG is partnering with Little Prince, Ltd. to launch the Roxx brand in Israel. Little Prince will accompany the launch with a comprehensive integrated marketing and public relations campaign beginning this summer that will allow boys throughout Israel to experience Roxx Nation. Roxx is a new collectible and tradable head-to-head competitive game of skill. is a membership platform aimed at building brand loyalty, introducing new activities, and showcasing top players and collectors.

Zibbers to Represent Funnybone Toys in Canada

Funnybone Toys, creator of the Array, Cubu, and Spectrix color-based card games, has selected Zibbers to represent its products across Canada. Previously only available in the U.S., the Funnybone Toys product line will be offered to the 2,500 retail accounts across Canada that Zibbers works with, including Chapters/Indigo Books & Music. Zibbers, Inc. has serviced the specialty and mid-tier markets for more than 26 years. Funnybone Toys’ three games will be featured in the Zibbers catalog, and will be represented by Zibbers at all major gift and other relevant trade shows in Canada, beginning next month.

Underwriters Laboratories Keeps Companies Sustainable with New Launch

UL Environment, a business unit of Underwriters Laboratories (UL), has launched a free web-based tool that will help manufacturers assess their corporate sustainability efforts. Part of UL Environment's Sustainability Quotient (SQ) Program, this tool provides manufacturers with a preliminary analysis of their sustainability initiatives relative to the requirements of the UL 880 standard, such as environmental purchasing policies, greenhouse gas reduction targets, and sustainable supply chain code of conduct. The tool also aggregates responses from all survey respondents and provides an overall benchmark of sustainability progress to date. 

Thor and Loki Costumes Added to Caption Action Line

ThorRound 2 and Captain Action Enterprises are adding a new Marvel costume set for classic superhero Thor. The Thor costume set is the first new Marvel Super Hero costume to be added to the Captain Action line in more than 40 years. Along with the Thor costume and accessory set, an all-new Loki costume set for Captain Action’s nemesis, Dr. Evil, is scheduled for simultaneous release. All Captain Action figures and costume sets come in two versions: basic and deluxe. Wave 2 of the Captain Action line, including Dr. Evil and both the Thor and Loki costume sets, will be available in August at Toys “R” Us, hobby shops, and comic shops nationwide. Captain Action returned to toy shelves this year along with new costume sets featuring Spider-Man and Captain America.



Care Bears Celebrates 30th Anniversary with New Show

Care BearsThe Care Bears return to television this summer in an all-new CG animated series, Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot. The series, which will appear on The Hub, brings back old characters while introducing new ones including a younger addition, Wonderheart Bear. The Hub’s marketing team will support Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot through traditional and non-traditional off-channel media designed to drive sampling of the new iteration of the iconic original series. The half-hour show, produced by American Greetings Properties, premieres on June 2 at 8 a.m.



Cloud b Sponsors What to Expect When You’re Expecting Sweepstakes

Cloud bCloud b is sponsoring a new sweepstakes on the company’s Facebook page in partnership with Lionsgate’s upcoming film, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, and The Honest Company. The sweepstakes, which launched on May 1, will run through May 31 in conjunction with the film’s May 18 release.
To enter, parents are invited to submit the cutest photo of their child sleeping. The photos will be posted under a tab on Cloud b’s Facebook page, and Cloud b fans will be able to vote for their favorite photo. The three photos with the most votes on May 31 will move on to a finalist round held on June 1. The winner will be selected based on creativity and cuteness by Cloud b judges. 
The winner of the Facebook sweepstakes will receive a six-month supply of nontoxic diapers from The Honest Company as well as a Cloud b Sleep Sheep bundle, valued at more than $700. Two runners up will also receive a package of Cloud b products.

Jakks Pacific Elects Leigh Anne Brodsky to Board of Directors

Jakks Pacific, Inc. has announced the election of Leigh Anne Brodsky as a new independent member of its board of directors and her appointment to the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and Compensation Committee of the Board. Brodsky is a 25-year veteran of the children's entertainment and toy
industry. Until September 2011, she served as president of Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products, Inc., where she oversaw worldwide licensing and merchandising for Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central.

Lima Sky Names Eric Karp Chief Licensing Officer

Lima Sky has named former Mind Candy executive Eric Karp as its chief licensing officer. A veteran of film, television, publishing, and new media-based consumer products, Karp will work directly with founder Igor Pusenjak to develop a creative and cohesive ecosystem of products around Lima Sky’s properties. He will begin by overseeing licensing of Doodle Jump in close collaboration with agent FremantleMedia Enterprises.
Over the past two decades, Karp has held positions at Chorion, MGM, and Fox Family. Most recently he established the western hemisphere presence for Mind Candy, Ltd., owners of the multiplayer game Moshi Monsters.

TÜV Rheinland Appoints Gerhard Luebken as CEO, North America

TÜV Rheinland has named Gerhard Luebken the new chief regional officer, president, and CEO of TUV Rheinland North America Holding, Inc. and of TUV Rheinland of North America, Inc. In his new role, Luebken will head the management team in North America and will oversee the company’s operational, financial, and administrative functions. 
Luebken comes to North America from the Greater China region, where he most recently served as vice president Greater China at TÜV Rheinland and managed the Shanghai operations with 800 employees. Across the Greater China region, he was responsible for several business lines, including commercial, medical, and solar products as well as rail, automotive, systems, training, and consulting and industrial services. Before that, Luebken gained technical and managerial experience while holding various management positions with the company in Japan and Taiwan, where he began his career with TÜV Rheinland in 1990 as project engineer and manager.

Reports: Rovio Entertainment Preparing IPO

According to multiple reports, Rovio Entertainment, maker of Angry Birds, might be planning an IPO. On Monday, in its first public disclosure of financial results, Rovio said its finances were good enough for a listing. “This company is preparing itself and getting ready,” said Anders Lindeberg, Rovio's head of investor relations, in a Reuters report. Rovio said its sales jumped to $106 million, and analysts have valued the company at up to $9 billion. Previously, Rovio said it would not be ready for an IPO until next year, likely in New York or Hong Kong.

LeapFrog’s Q1 Sales Leap 81 Percent

LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. has announced its financial results for the first quarter, which ended on March 31. First quarter net sales were $72 million, up 81 percent compared to $40 million last year, which included a 1 percent negative impact from changes in currency exchange rates. Net sales growth, said the company, was primarily driven by lower retail inventory at the start of the year compared to last year, an earlier Easter, strong content sales, and continued high consumer demand for LeapPad. First quarter 2012 net sales increased 98 percent in the U.S. segment and increased 49 percent in the international segment. Gross profit was $30 million for the quarter, up 153 percent from a year ago. Gross margin was 41.3 percent for the first quarter, up 11.7 percent compared to a year ago. Loss from operations was $9 million for the first quarter, an improvement of $13 million, or 61 percent, compared to a year ago. Net loss per share was $0.14, an improvement of $0.20.

Target Reports Q1 and Year-to-Date Financial Results

Target Corporation reported that the company’s first quarter 2012 comparable-store sales increased 5.3 percent compared with the first quarter last year. Target’s net retail sales for the four weeks, which ended on April 28, were $4.978 billion, an increase of 2.1 percent from $4.874 billion for the four weeks, which ended April 30. On this same basis, April comparable-store sales increased 1.1 percent. Year-to-date net retail sales totaled $16.537 billion, an increase of 6.1 percent compared to the comparable period last year.

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