August 03, 2011

Laser Pegs

CHA Opens Trade Shows to Non-Members

The Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) has picked “The Power of Community: Build Locally, Drive Socially” as the theme for its 2012 Winter Conference & Trade Show, to be held in Anaheim, Calif., from January 29 to February 1. To demonstrate “the power of community,” CHA’s board of directors voted to remove membership requirements for CHA trade show exhibitors and attendees. 
Beginning with the 2012 winter show, non-member companies can exhibit, shop the show floor, and experience the trade events firsthand. To be able to participate, all non-member exhibitors and attendees must provide valid business credentials. Non-member attendees will have unrestricted buying access to the entire show floor and may upgrade to CHA membership onsite, which will allow them to participate in CHA Conference programs, including business seminars, product technique workshops, networking, and special CHA events. 
For enrollment, contact Anthony Licata, CHA’s senior sales manager at (201) 835-1203 or

LIMA to Host Retail & Branding Conference in September

The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) will host its inaugural Retail & Branding Conference on September 13 in New York City. The LIMA Retail & Branding Conference: Driving Impact Through Consumer Touchpoints event, to be held at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, will bring together a lineup of leading retailers, brand marketers, and thought leaders to explore the future of branding, collaboration, and shopper-centric strategies. The half-day conference will merge forward-looking insights with practical strategies and applications in an intimate setting that will encourage networking and the open exchange of ideas among attendees and speakers. Each presentation will include time for a question-and-answer session with the speakers.
Attendance is limited so LIMA encourages potential attendees to register early.

Bandai Premieres ThunderCats Toy Line

Lion-OThis Friday, the new animated ThunderCats series from Warner Bros. Animation will premiere on Cartoon Network, to air regularly on the network on Friday nights at 8:30 p.m. (ET, PT). Timed to the debut, Bandai America Incorporated and Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) have launched a new ThunderCats toy line, available now at retail stores nationwide.
The new toys fuse sci-fi and sorcery with Bandai’s ThunderLynx magnet activation technology. Featured products in the ThunderCats toy line, for kids ages 4 and up, include four-inch basic figures, an eight-inch collector figure, and other vehicles, play sets, characters, and settings. ThunderCats fans can also celebrate the premiere of the show and the launch of the toy line with a free, downloadable “Viewing Party Pack.” The digital party pack includes themed games, recipes, art, and souvenirs, available for download at
ThunderCats kicked off last Friday with an hour-long special premiere event on Cartoon Network. The new ThunderCats series follows Lion-O, the young heir to the throne, who embarks on a great quest to take his rightful place as king.

My Little Pony Featured in Target Stores

My Little PonyHasbro, Inc. has premiered an exclusive My Little Pony retail program at Target Stores. The program includes an out-of-aisle premium space in the toy department devoted to My Little Pony merchandise, inspired by the magical world of Canterlot from the television series My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, which airs on The Hub. The new series debuted this week. My Little Pony-branded products featured in the Canterlot section at Target include bedding, costumes, books, T-shirts, arts and crafts, activity sets, and exclusive toys, primarily focused on the ponies Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, and Twilight Sparkle.





SqwishLand Appoints Canadian Distributor

SqwishlandSqwishLand has appointed Toronto-based Zibbers, Inc. as its exclusive Canadian distributor. Previously available only in vending machines, SqwishLand’s products can now be found in specialty, drug, craft, and toy stores. Zibbers, Inc. will help bring two new SqwishLand products to market in Canada, the DIY SqwishLand Kit and the SqwishLand soft ’n squishy bracelet. Zibbers will also increase distribution of the original SqwishLand soft ’n squishy characters and online game codes in capsules.


Eleven-Year-Old America’s Got Talent Star Gets Doll Line

This fall, The Bridge Direct will launch a line of collectible dolls, play sets, and accessories based on singer Jackie Evancho, the “little girl with the big voice” who stunned crowds on the 2010 season of America’s Got Talent. The first item to debut at retail will be a special Collector’s Edition Singing Holiday Doll that will play a clip of “When You Wish Upon A Star.” In the spring, additional singing dolls and accessory packs will join the line.

Angry Birds Rio Plush to Debut at Toys “R” Us

Angry Birds RioThe properties Rio and Angry Birds are once again teaming up, this time for a line of plush. Angry Birds Rio plush will be added to an exclusive toy line for Rio that is already on shelves at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and online at The plush, developed in partnership with Rovio’s primary toy partner Commonwealth Toy, will be at Toys “R” Us stores through the fall. In March, Fox and Rovio partnered to create the Angry Birds Rio app. On August 2, Fox Home Entertainment’s Rio was released on Blu-ray and DVD.

PBS Announces News Series Inspired by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

Daniel TigerPBS plans to launch production of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, a new animated multiplatform series inspired by the PBS television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. As the first TV series produced by The Fred Rogers Company since Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood will launch during fall 2012 on PBS Kids, along with a website that includes free interactive games for kids, online resources for parents and teachers, and other cross-platform content.

Coolabi Secures New Deals for Poppy Cat

Poppy CatCoolabi, an entertainment producer and rights management company, has secured three new UK licensing partners for its property, Poppy Cat. Children’s publisher Alligator Books is on board to create a range of art and activity books; Trade Mark Collections, a supplier of licensed children’s umbrellas and bags, has signed up for those categories; and VMC Accessories will supply a new collection of Poppy Cat fashion accessories and dress up.
Recently, Golden Bear was appointed master toy partner. Poppy Cat product ranges will launch starting in fall 2012. This fall, Poppy Cat will air on Sprout in the U.S. and TVO, SCN, and Knowledge Network in Canada. The Joester Loria Group is the exclusive licensing agent for Poppy Cat for North America and will launch an integrated licensing and merchandising program in key categories including toys, games, and apparel.

Japanese Animated Series and Franchise, LBX, Comes to the Americas

The Little Battlers eXperience (LBX), a television series and franchise based on miniature customizable robots, is heading to the Americas from Japan. Based on the animation, toy, video game, and manga franchise in Japan known as Danball Senki, the animated series came to life as a joint production effort of video game company and Danball Senki /LBX property creator Level-5 (Professor Layton, Inazuma Eleven), TV Tokyo, and Dentsu Inc., with participation from toy company Bandai, publishers Shogakukan and Media Factory, and animation studio OLM (Pokémon, Deltora Quest). The series now airs on TV Tokyo Network.
In the series, children in the year 2050 have miniature LBX robots, which they build, customize, and play with in robot battles. Thirteen-year-old Van Ridgeway has control over the LBX <AX-00> model, a super-charged version left for him by a mysterious woman. Van and his friends, with their own unique robots, are now involved in a global conspiracy in which the robot battles have become deadly serious. The friends have joined together to fight for the safety of the world.
Dentsu Entertainment USA will build upon the broadcasting and product success in Japan for all regions throughout the Americas.

NCircle Entertainment to Distribute The Wiggles DVDs

The WigglesThe Wiggles, currently celebrating their 20-year anniversary, and NCircle Entertainment have formed a new distribution partnership. Under terms of the arrangement, which takes effect immediately, NCircle will distribute all new and original DVDs from The Wiggles, plus their catalog product, in the U.S. and Canada. The inaugural Wiggles DVD from NCircle Entertainment will be released this fall. Additional details will be released at a later date.


Battat Issues Toy Recall Due to Choking Hazard

FunKeysThe U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Health Canada, in cooperation with Battat, Inc., has issued a voluntary recall of its toy keys with remote due to a possible choking hazard from fragile toy parts. Approximately 1,080,000 units were sold in the U.S. and 3,600 in Canada for approximately $9.
There have been 17 received reports of the metal keys breaking, and 14 reports of the plastic key ring breaking, but no injuries have been reported. This recall includes all B. FunKeys with factory codes H58000-01 or H26300-01, and Parents Magazine Electronic Keys with factory code H26300-0. The factory codes are located on the back of the remote. Battat can be contacted for a free mailer to exchange defective keys for a replacement set.

Kidz Bop Launches Book Line

Kidz BopKidz Bop is turning 10 this summer and will launch its first-ever series of branded books. Three Kidz Bop book titles hit store shelves this week: Kidz Bop: Be a Pop Star! by Kimberly Potts, Kidz Bop Plus One by Bethany Bryan, and Kidz Bop: A Rockin’ Fill-In Story by Bethany Bryan. Each book is packaged with a special code that is redeemable for a free Kidz Bop MP3 music download. Additionally, kids can visit to upload a video entry in the “Kidz Bop Ultimate Pop Star Look Super Contest” for the chance to win a brand new Nook e-reader and an exclusive copy of Be a Pop Star!


Topps Acquires Digital Currency Card Publisher

The Topps Company has acquired GMG Entertainment, a leading publisher of digital currency cards. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. GMG works on behalf of leading online game, entertainment, and social media destinations to grow their revenue through digital currency cards sold at top retailers around the world. Topps intends to expand the brand’s portfolio while entering the Digital Currency retail space. In addition, Topps will bring manufacturing, design, and collectibility skills to digital currency cards. GMG is Facebook’s global partner in the DCC category. GMG develops, implements, and manages the Facebook Credits Digital Currency Card initiative.

Angelina Ballerina Stars in First Feature-Length Movie

Angelina Ballerina is dancing her way into her first movie, to be released August 30 on DVD, digital download, and on demand. Angelina Ballerina: The Shining Star Trophy — The Movie, from Lionsgate and Hit Entertainment, features Angelina Ballerina and her friends performing in the big talent show in hopes to win the Shining Star Trophy.The DVD also features a Talent Show Trivia game.





McDonald’s Teams Up With The Smurfs to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits

McDonald’s is encouraging children worldwide to “Smurf the Earth” this summer with a 28-day Happy Meal campaign featuring 16 iconic Smurf designs. Smurf-themed packaging on healthy Happy Meal offerings, such as Apple Dippers and milk, will promote healthy eating decisions for children. Within the U.S., McDonald’s has partnered with The Smurfs and Keep America Beautiful (K.A.B.) to put digital codes on the back of Apple Dippers packages that can be entered online at For every code that is entered on the website, McDonald’s and K.A.B. will plant a tree (up to 100,000) in national forests across the country. Similar environmentally friendly promotions will take place at McDonald’s global locations.



Dinosaur Train Launches Amtrak Promotion

The Jim Henson Company, Random House Children’s Books, and Paramount Home Entertainment have partnered with Amtrak for a nationwide promotion this month to support the season premiere of Dinosaur Train: Dinosaur Big City, to air on PBS Kids August 22. The DVD will release August 23. 
During the entire month of August, families can embark on their own Dinosaur Trainadventure by entering the Amtrak-Dinosaur Train Sweepstakes. One family of four will win an Amtrak Vacations Rocky Mountain National Park Tour to visit the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park, Colo., as part of the grand prize. In addition, the promotion will feature Dinosaur Train placemats on long-distance trains, plus seatbacks, counter cards, and activity book giveaways in more than 100 stations nationwide. The Dinosaur Big City DVD will also include an Amtrak offer in 50,000 units.


The Toy Bank Collecting for Back-To-School

The Toy Bank, the signature program by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), is asking for donations for the back-to-school season. To donate, fill out the product donation agreement and send to Dawn Herrschaft, foundation coordinator, at Donations can be picked up or designated for the My Stuff Bags Foundation (shipping to California is required).

Sesame Workshop Hires New VP of Licensing, Strategic Partner Relations

Jennifer Ahearn, the former senior marketing manager at IBM, has been hired as vice president of licensing, strategic partner relations for Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind Sesame Street. In this position, Ahearn will be responsible for managing Sesame Workshop’s relationship with master toy licensee, Hasbro—coordinating initiatives on a global basis, leading the marketing with Hasbro, analyzing activity by territory, and monitoring the overall account from a global perspective. Ahearn will also work with the education and research team to make sure that the educational goals of the Workshop are being factored into the developmental process. She will report to Maura Regan, senior vice president and general manager of global consumer products. 

New Licensing Director for NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products Group has brought Kerry O’Donnell on board as the director of global licensing. She will focus on sales and product development for NBC and USA Network properties.
O’Donnell previously served as director of merchandising and licensing for ABC Entertainment Group, where she managed consumer products and licensing for properties including Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars, and Wipeout.

Mega Brands Reports Second Quarter Results

Mega Brands, Inc. has announced its financial results for the second quarter, which ended June 30. The corporation adopted International Financial Reporting Standards, effective January 1, and all comparative 2010 figures have been restated. (All figures are expressed in U.S. dollars.)
Consolidated net sales in the second quarter increased 6 percent to $83.9 million, compared to $78.8 million in the corresponding 2010 period. This is the seventh consecutive quarter of higher year-over-year consolidated sales since the fourth quarter of 2009. Toy sales increased 11 percent with growth in all categories compared to the second quarter of 2010. Sales of stationery and activities products increased 2 percent.
North American sales were up 6 percent, reflecting growth in both of the corporation’s product segments. International sales increased 8 percent in the second quarter, and the corporation expects further growth in the second half of the year. Net earnings were $0.3 million, compared to a net loss of $0.4 million in the second quarter of 2010.

LeapFrog Reports Second Quarter 2011 Results

LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. has announced financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2011. Retail point-of-sale, or POS, dollars were up 7 percent in the U.S. for the 26 weeks ended July 2, 2011 compared to the 26 weeks ended July 3, 2010. Consolidated net sales were $54 million in the second quarter, down 13 percent compared to a year ago, reflecting the effect of higher retail inventory at the end of 2010 and the timing of new product shipments relative to a year ago. Net loss per share was $0.21 in the second quarter, compared to a net loss per share of $0.20 a year ago. For the first six months of the year, net loss per share improved $0.01 compared to a year ago. Working capital improved $17 million for the first six months of the year compared to a year ago. Loss from operations was $13 million, compared to $12 million a year ago.

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