July 03, 2012

 Top Trumps

ABC Kids Expo

Toys “R” Us Features Ice Age: Continental Drift Toy Line

Ice AgeToys “R” Us has turned its stores nationwide into the ultimate Ice Age, in anticipation of the Ice Age: Continental Drift debut on July 13. In specially designed Ice Age-branded boutiques in its stores across the country, Toys “R” Us now features a collection of Ice Age products, including plush and figures, a video game from Activision, children’s books from Harper Collins, board games from Cardinal, and backpacks and lunch bags from Accessory Innovations.
Just Play, LLC, offers toys based on core characters, such as the animated Sid and Scrat plush, whose bones “crack” when squeezed, and Movie Moment Plush two-pack items. The Promotions Factory will introduce a toy lineup of play sets and figures, including two-packs and three-packs of 2-inch non-articulating figures, single blister 4-inch articulated action figures, and the Pirate Ship play set.
An online campaign allows fans to purchase toys, watch the movie trailer, and download coloring pages. The film’s official online game from Bigpoint, Ice Age Online, rewards customers who spend more than $20 on Ice Age merchandise with a $5 in-game currency gift card to be used at IceAgeOnline.com for two weeks starting July 15.

One Direction to Launch Electronics Line

Global Merchandising Services, which represents the worldwide merchandising rights for the British/Irish group One Direction, has entered into an agreement with Jazwares for a line of consumer electronics featuring One Direction. The line will include headphones, speakers, microphones, ear buds, walkie talkies, alarm clocks, boom boxes, and a karaoke machine. These products will be available at major retailers in the U.S. beginning this fall, as well as from select retailers in Latin America, Ireland, Canada, and the UK.

Saban Brands Partners with The CW for Kids Television Block

Kidsco Media Ventures LLC, an affiliate of Saban Brands, will supply programming for The CW Network’s five-hour, Saturday morning kids’ television block, allowing the company to create a revitalized and branded block with powerful programming and promotion. The block will be anchored by key franchises such as Power Rangers and Yu-Gi-Oh!, in addition to other marquee, soon-to-be-announced action/adventure and comedy shows. The company plans to re-brand the block, which will air on The CW Saturday mornings from 7 a.m.-12 p.m. starting this fall. The new block will provide the company’s programming, brands, and marketing initiatives with access to 110 million households. A new website will also be launching, providing content and activities to
keep kids engaged.
This new partnership with The CW continues Saban Brands’ dramatic growth since reacquiring the Power Rangers property in 2010. About to celebrate its 20th season, Power Rangers is the brainchild of Haim Saban.

WowWee Group Acquires Once Upon a Zombie License

Once Upon a ZombieThe Toon Studio of Beverly Hills has completed a licensing deal with WowWee Group Ltd., to bring the Once Upon a Zombie property, featuring Snow White, Cinderella, Little Mermaid, and Sleeping Beauty, among other characters, to the world of traditional and digitally interactive dolls with mobile applications.
Once Upon a Zombie tells the story of how these classical princesses took a turn in time and became Zombies living on forever.
The Toon Studio will soon launch a Once Upon a Zombie children’s book and is licensing the property to consumer product companies worldwide.
WowWee plans to incorporate technologies similar to its AppGear product line into next year’s product launch of Once Upon a Zombie.



Edushape Hires Rocket Rep for Michigan and Ohio

Edushape, manufacturer of educational and developmental toys, has named Rocket Rep as the authorized Edushape representatives for Michigan and Ohio.
Jeff Malmud, Edushape’s National Sales Manager, states, “We are pleased to have Rocket Rep representing Edushape in Michigan and Ohio. Rocket Rep’s effective in-store visits and quality customer service, combined with their aptitude for elevating brand awareness while possessing and developing strong relationships, dovetails nicely with Edushape’s reputation for quality and integrity.”

Toy Industry Foundation Launches Charity-Based Initiative

Make a Stand for KidsThe Toy Industry Foundation has launched “Make a Stand for Kids,” a new charity-based initiative that encourages young entrepreneurs to set up and run their own lemonade stand in support of the foundation’s effort to distribute toys to disadvantaged children.
To help kids and their parents get started, TIF has created www.MakeaStandForKids.org, where they can get tips and ideas for setting up their stand and download and print graphics and signage. Sample recipes can also be found to provide kids with ideas for food and beverages to sell beyond lemonade, including Orange & Apricot Punch from Kerry Vincent, Food Network Challenge judge.




Marvel and NECA Launch All-Winners Squad Merchandise

All Winners SquadMarvel Entertainment, known for iconic superheroes such as Spider-Man, The Avengers, and the X-Men, has recently shined a spotlight on the lesser-known heroes and villains.
The “All-Winners Squad” is an ensemble of Marvel cult favorites.
The National Entertainment Collectibles Association, Inc., in partnership with Marvel Consumer Products, will bring its creativity to a full line of offbeat All-Winners Squad merchandise launching this fall. Toys, apparel, and collectibles will celebrate the solidarity of these newly revived characters.


NYIGIF’s Baby & Child Moves Location and Hours

Baby & Child at the New York International Gift Fair will move to a new location—Hall 1D in New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center—and will shift its opening and closing dates to a Sunday-Wednesday pattern. For the summer market (August 19-22), 30 new exhibitors will join the nearly 150 suppliers offering products for children ages 0-10. Baby & Child exhibitors showcase arts and crafts, books, music, toys, games, puzzles, dolls and plush, gear (diaper bags, stroller accessories, and feeding accessories), wearables and accessories, layette sets, bedding accessories, and blankets. NYIGF will also present events and seminars specifically for juvenile product buyers and suppliers.

Team Hot Wheels Lands Guinness World Records Title

Team Hot Wheels green driver Greg Tracy and yellow driver Tanner Foust set a Guinness World Records title by successfully racing through a 60-foot-tall double vertical loop at X Games Los Angeles. The Team Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare, a life-sized version of a Hot Wheels orange track set, was a first-of-its-kind two-driver challenge. Watch the stunt here.
The Team Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare was modeled after the new Team Hot Wheels Double Dare Snare track set—available globally at retail—which lets  boys race their 1:64-scale Hot Wheels cars side-by-side in a vertical loop competition. The larger than life Double Loop Dare incorporated an enormous side-by-side loop, exerting a force of 7 G’s, which Team Hot Wheels drivers took on at a speed of 52 mph.

Hasbro and G.I. Joe Return to New Orleans for 19th Annual G.I. Joe Convention

G.I. JoeThe G.I. Joe Convention also known as “GIJoeCon,” hosted by the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club and Hasbro, Inc., returned to New Orleans for its 19th annual celebration, this year taking place at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel.
The convention opened to the public June 30 through July 1. Attendees got the opportunity to interact with G.I. Joe artists, creators, industry guests, and members of the Hasbro G.I. Joe brand and design teams, all paying tribute to the nearly 50-year history of the brand that introduced the world’s first action figure. This year’s convention celebrated the brand in all of its incarnations, from the very first action figure to the many animated series and comic books, to the upcoming blockbuster film.
This year, Hasbro welcomes the launch of G.I. Joe: Special Ops from Syfy Games, the first online game based on the brand. In the arena-based combat game, players can join either the G.I Joe team or the villainous Cobra organization, accessing a catalogue of iconic heroes and villains along with spectacular weapons and vehicles. The game will launch this summer on Facebook and SyfyGames.com, among other platforms worldwide.

Zodiak Kids CP Paris Plans new Promotions and Product Launches

The Saddle ClubThis summer, Zodiak Kids CP Paris will launch new products for The Saddle Club (al la Grand Galop).The Saddle Club is a series about young girls’ adventures with their horses, based on the internationally popular novels by Bonnie Bryant.
Fast food chain Flunch is sponsoring a QSR promotion running through August 10 across 240 restaurants throughout the nation. Five different premiums will be offered with the children’s menu: a bracelet, a notebook, a compressed towel and shopping bag, a heart-shaped pendant, and a pen and pencil set. Several major TV networks are set to support the promotion, including Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Disney XD, FR3, and FR5.
Koch Media will launch the second Nintendo DS game for the property. It will be available exclusively at Carrefour. A line of Rollerblades, scooters, and accessories branded in Saddle Club colors will be produced by D’Arpege.

Disney Launches Products Based on Two Hit Television Series

Doc McStuffinsDisney Consumer Products has launched an assortment of products inspired by two of Disney Junior’s hit series, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Doc McStuffins.
Releasing now through next year, the product lines include play sets, plush, and dolls, as well as party supplies, food, and apparel.
Jake’s Pirate Ship, by Fisher-Price, is a swashbuckling pirate ship that rocks and rolls when pushed along a surface, with Skully smartly perched on the lookout. Kids can
join Jake and his crew to live a pirate’s life through multiple pirate-themed phrases and songs. The Jake and the Never Land Pirates bedding set, by Jay Franco & Sons, includes a comforter, flat and fitted sheets, and a pillow case, all made of microfiber and polycotton.
The Time for Your Check Up Doc Doll with Lambie, by Just Play, allows girls to bring home their new friend and sing along to the entire “check-up” song with Doc as they nurture their own toys. Doc comes to life, speaking more than 10 phrases, and can bring her friend Lambie to life with the touch of her stethoscope, which activates with lights and sounds. The Doc McStuffins Doctor’s Bag Set, also by Just Play, includes a play thermometer, blood pressure cuff with working gauge, a sticker sheet, and Doc’s magical stethoscope.

Integrity Toys and Hasbro Announce Jem and the Holograms Collectible Fashion Dolls

JemIntegrity Toys, Inc., under license from Hasbro, Inc., has announced a series of high-end collectible fashion dolls based on the 1980s animated series Jem and the Holograms, launching at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego. This nostalgic retro doll line is designed to pay homage to both the animated series and its original companion doll line, originally marketed from 1985 to 1987.
The first doll in the commemorative collection will be Jem and the Holograms Special Edition Doll: Hollywood Jem, one of the most requested animated-based looks. The doll will be available for purchase at the HasbroToyShop Booth No. 3329 during Comic-Con International in San Diego and following the convention, at www.HasbroToyShop.com.
The dolls will mark the debut of a newly sculpted, fully-articulated body and likeness of the rock star wearing a high-end costume, delivered in collector-grade packaging. Future additions to the line will be announced in the months following Comic-Con International via a web page, which was created to bring fans the latest information about the line.

ASTRA Elects New Board Members

Members of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association welcomed retailer Linda Hays, owner of Hopscotch, Inc., as the new chair of ASTRA’s board of directors at ASTRA’s recent Marketplace & Academy. Michael Levins, CEO of Innovative Kids, was designated Chair-elect by the membership. In addition, specialty toy industry leaders were named to the Board of Directors: G. Willikers owner Bob Breneman, *Play owner Ann Kienzle, The Toy Place at Bellevue Art and Frame owner Robin McLane, Toys Unique! owner Dean May, and Lillian Davis, specialty rep with Diverse Marketing.
Jamie Seeley-Kreisman, past president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association and owner of BEKA, Inc., was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy. Other awardees include the toy store The Toy Maven, which received the Retailer Excellence Award; Blue Orange Games, which is this year’s Manufacturer Excellence Award winner; and Lillian Davis of Diverse Marketing, who was recognized with the Sales Rep Excellence Award.

Dark Horse Names Matt Parkinson VP of Marketing

Matt ParkinsonDark Horse has promoted Matt Parkinson, former senior director of marketing, to vice president of marketing. In his new role, Parkinson will oversee the day-to-day duties of the marketing department.
Parkinson, who has been with the company for seven years, previously played an instrumental part in Dark Horse’s growth online, through the development and execution of advertising, cross promotions, and social-media strategies.

Genius Brands Announces Capital Raise of $1 Million

Genius Brands International, Inc., developer and marketer of entertainment products including the Baby Genius line of music and education-based products and characters, has completed the sale of $1 million in 16 percent Senior Secured Convertible Debentures, in a private placement transaction, pursuant to the terms of a securities purchase agreement with Hillair Capital Investments L.P.
The Debentures are due on June 27, 2014 and are convertible into shares of the company’s common stock at an initial conversion price of $0.21 per share. In addition, the company issued a warrant to Hillair Capital Investments L.P to purchase 5 million shares of its common stock. The warrants have an exercise price of $0.33 per share and are exercisable for a term of five years. National Securities Corporation acted as placement agent for the offering.
Further details of the offering will be available in the company’s Form 8-K, to be filed with the SEC by the company.

Jakks Pacific Announces Preliminary Results of Self-Tender Offer

Jakks Pacific, Inc., released preliminary results of its self-tender offer, which expired at midnight, New York City time, on June 27.
Based on the preliminary count by the depositary for the self-tender offer, a total of 22,658,441 shares of common stock were validly tendered, including 3,990,783 shares that were tendered through notice of guaranteed delivery. Assuming that all guaranteed delivery shares are ultimately delivered, the company expects to purchase approximately 15.8 percent of the shares tendered by each tendering stockholder, after giving effect to the purchase of all shares validly tendered by odd lot holders. As such, the company expects to accept for payment an aggregate of 4 million shares at a purchase price of $20 per share, for a total purchase price of $80 million excluding fees and expenses related to the self-tender offer. The four million shares expected to be purchased in the self-tender offer represent approximately 15.4 percent of the company’s shares outstanding as of May 24.

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