October 01, 2010
Top Trumps


Fisher-Price Recalls More than 11 Million Toys and Baby Products

Fisher-Price RecallFisher-Price, in cooperation with Health Canada and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, has recalled more than 11 million toys and baby products that were sold in the United States and Canada.
The company recalled 14 models of the Fisher-Price Trike and Tough Trike toddler tricycles (approximately 7 million units in the U.S. and 150,000 in Canada), which can cause serious injury including genital bleeding when a child sits or falls on the pretend plastic ignition key. According to the CPSC, there have been 10 injuries reported.
Also recalled are seven models of infant activity centers with inflatable balls, a total of 2.8 million units in the U.S. and 125,000 in Canada. The models have been deemed a choking hazard as the valves of the inflatable balls can come off. The CPSC was notified of 46 incidents in which the valves had come off, including 14 that were found in children’s mouths.
Additionally, approximately 950,000 high chairs in the U.S. and 125,000 high chairs in Canada have been recalled, as well as the Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies Stand 'n Play Rampway (approximately 100,000 in the U.S. and 20,000 in Canada). Children can fall on or against pegs on the back legs of the high chairs. There have been seven reports of children falling on the pegs. Also, the wheels can come off of two cars in the Rampway, posing a choking hazard to kids.
Visit www.cpsc.gov for further information.

Justin Bieber Dolls to Hit Stores this Holiday Season

Justin Bieber DollBravado, a global music merchandising company, and The Bridge Direct, Inc., have caught “Bieber Fever” and will launch an exclusive line of collectible dolls, singing dolls, toys, and plush based on teenage music star Justin Bieber.
The new Justin Bieber toy line will debut this holiday season, starting with the JB Style Collection Figures, Justin Bieber Music Video Collection Singing Figures that feature accessories and a portion of Bieber’s most popular songs, and In Concert Microphones that play two of Bieber’s hit songs, plus sound effects. Also to be released will be collectible Signature Plush.
The products are expected to be available in major mass retailers on or before December 4, and will also be available for pre-sale online starting this week.
For more information on the Justin Bieber toy line, visit www.justinbiebertoys.com.

ITC to Release Medal of Honor R/Cs

Interactive Toy Concepts Ltd., as part of a partnership with Electronic Arts, will produce an interactive R/C product line based on the Medal of Honor video game series. The line will include full-function R/C vehicles that simulate the Medal of Honor game play. Players can take control of the R/C ground and air vehicles to replay campaigns and battles, with each vehicle able to interact with others. The line will be released in fall 2011.

Report: UK Toy Sales Increase 8 Percent

According to The NPD Group, traditional toy sales in the UK during the first eight months of this year increased by 8 percent in revenue compared to the same period in 2009. Sales in August increased by 15 percent.
Sales of Toy Story toys, the No. 1 license in August, have reached £20m. Other successful brands include Character Group's Zhu Zhu Pets, the best-selling toy in the UK year to date; Lego; and various World Cup-related toys and collector cards.
The NPD Group has also reported an increase in UK birthday purchases. To date, birthday present revenue this year has increased 34 percent, and unit sales are up 33 percent, compared to the first half of 2009 when birthday purchases dropped by 15 percent.

Grani & Partners Secures Ferrari License

Grani & Partners (Giochi Preziosi Group) has obtained the global Ferrari license, valid until the end of 2014, for the production of sticker albums, cards, and associated gadgets. The first product released is the “Ferrari, the Myth” sticker album, which launched this month. The deluxe format album includes 200 stickers that illustrate the history of Ferrari in the Formula 1 world. Other license use will range from free gifts accompanying Dolci Preziosi and Salati Preziosi snacks to collectibles including cards, 3-D figures, accessories, and more.
Grani & Partners has also announced it has been appointed by Sanrio as Preferred Premium Supplier EMEA for the Hello Kitty license.

I Can Do That! Games Awarded Angelina Ballerina License

Angelina BallerinaI Can Do That! Games has secured the game rights to the Angelina Ballerina license through a partnership with Hit Entertainment. The new Angelina Ballerina games will be available at mass and specialty retailers in fall 2011. The initial set of I Can Do That! Games products for Angelina Ballerina will include a board game that will have kids dancing, an Angelina Ballerina matching game, and Angelina Ballerina puzzles.




Mega Bloks Celebrates 25th Birthday with Contest

In celebration of Mega Bloks 25th birthday, Mega Brands is launching a contest that gives North American families the chance to win $25,000 towards their children’s future. Starting October 1 and running until November 30, North American families can enter to win the Mega Bloks birthday contest by purchasing the 80-piece Mega Bloks bag or by going online and registering at www.megabloks.com/25. Available at all major retailers in North America, the Mega Bloks bag features a peel-off contest card that will instantly give customers the chance to win the $25,000 grand prize or one of 25 Mega Bloks prize packs valued at $500. Online contestants can win the same prizes. For contest details, rules and regulations, and more, visit www.megabloks.com/25.
The company will also celebrate the anniversary with retail events at Toys “R” Us throughout North America, and an iPhone and iPad App for preschoolers.

Blue Planet Teams Up with Licensing Works! for Tetris Brand

Blue Planet Software, Inc., the exclusive licensing agent for Tetris, has teamed with licensing agency Licensing Works! for a new merchandise licensing program that will allow manufacturers and promotional partners to use the Tetris brand for their consumer products.
Recently announced new licensee partners include Techno Source for tabletop games and Basic Fun for electronic key chains.

Hidden City Announces New Bella Sara Deal

Hidden City Entertainment, Inc. is partnering with Edizioni Play Press S.r.l. for a collection of products featuring characters from the Bella Sara brand. The line will include activity/coloring books, magic coloring albums, tattoos, crosswords, shopper bags, and more. The new line is expected to be available in Italy early next year.

Report: Americans to Spend More on Halloween Than Last Year

According to a new National Retail Federation (NRF) study, approximately 148 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, and spend more than they did last year.
The NRF’s 2010 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, states that Americans are expected to spend an average of $66.28 on costumes, candy, and decorations, up from last year’s $56.31. Total spending for the
holiday, for U.S. adults, is expected to reach $5.8 billion.
In terms of categories, the study states that costumes will take up the largest portion of a person’s budget at $23.37. According to the survey, 40.1 percent of people plan to dress in costume, up from 33.4 percent in 2009. Approximately 11.5 percent of people plan to dress their pets. Half of consumers celebrating (50.1 percent) will decorate their home or yard.
Although spending is expected to increase, 86.8 percent of consumers said that they would spend less overall. Consumers are expecting to save money by buying less candy (45.1 percent), using last year’s decorations and not buying new ones (30.7 percent), using last year’s costume (18.5 percent), or making a costume (19.5 percent).
The survey, which included answers from 9,291 consumers, was conducted from August 31 to September 8, 2010.

Chorion Announces New Little Miss Character, Licensing Partners

Little Miss PrincessChorion has introduced the newest addition to the Little Miss family, Little Miss Princess. Adorned with a crown and pink all over, Little Miss Princess is fashion-ready and sweet as sunshine. The company will introduce Little Miss Princess-inspired fashions, accessories, and homewares designed for girls and young adults. The Little Miss Princess book title, published by Egmont in the UK and others around the world, will be available next spring along with a range of accessories and apparel.
Additionally, Chorion has secured a number of new licensing deals for the Mr. Men and Little Miss and The World of Eric Carle brands.
Digital Goldfish will launch new Mr. Men and Little Miss Apps globally at the end of October, debuting first in the UK and U.S. In France, Cesar will launch new plush, Pixi is producing a range of new plastic toys and figurines, and Jouceo will launch a range of toy product for sale through kiosk and toy stores for the brand.
New U.S. publishing partners for The World of Eric Carle include Random House Children’s Books for a range of coloring and activity books such as the Deluxe Paint Box and Doodle to launch in the fall, with further introductions in 2012. Publications International will launch scrapbooks this spring, with a line of sound books to follow in the fall.
Chorion has signed new deals for The World of Eric Carle in Germany with Joy Toy named as distributor of Kids Preferred toys. The company will launch The Very Hungry Caterpillar soft toys to the market for the first time this fall.

New Razor Packaging Allows Consumers to See Product In Action

Razor has introduced Microsoft Tag technology to its product packaging, which will allow customers to see the product in action right at the store. Each custom Microsoft Tag will send users to that product’s television commercial on the Razor YouTube Channel.
To view, shoppers download the free Tag Reader on their web-enabled camera phone and then scan the tag. Razor’s custom Microsoft Tag appears on all 2010 new products, including the Razor Sole Skate single skate, the Razor Siege caster scooter, and the Razor Ground Force Drifter, an electric-powered drifter kart. Additional Razor and RipStik product packaging will feature the tag by December.

Zorilla Entertainment’s Bush Tales Seeks Licensees

Bush TalesZorilla Entertainment, Ltd. introduces its first brand and franchise, Bush Tales. Bush Tales is a new musical production aimed at children ages 4 to 9. The characters in the series (Hustler the Meerkat, Pula the short Giraffe, Chipo the Flamingo, Bont the Baboon, and Masavi the Lion) are inspired by African storytellers, and each character has its own musical style ranging from classical to big band to country. Vocals in the production include George Asprey (Scar, The Lion King), Diane Pilkington (Glinda in Wicked), and more. 
Zorilla Entertainment is seeking licensee and distribution partners for Bush Tales merchandise, including soft toys, accessories, a new children’s clothing range, and original music sets. The first multimedia series of Bush Tales is rolling out in selected stores across the UK, and the company hopes to launch in other territories including New Zealand, the U.S., Hong Kong, and Africa. Bush Tales is also available in boutique toy and bookstores, online at www.BushTales.com, and via online retailers.

Senario Appoints The Wilko Group as Canadian Distribution Partner
Senario has appointed The Wilko Group (TWG) as its Canadian toy division sales partner. Together, the companies will expand Senario’s consumer product distribution into mass retail throughout Canada.
Jeff O’Brien, who manages TWG’s office in Toronto, will head the account. O’Brien is a founding member of The Wilko Group and has more than 20 years of experience in strategic marketing, sales, and retail merchandising.

BBC Puts In the Night Garden Rumors to Rest

Neil Ross Russell, managing director, children’s global brands and licensed consumer products at BBC Worldwide, has issued a statement regarding rumors concerning In the Night Garden:
“The rumoured demise of In the Night Garden has been premature to say the least. BBC Worldwide and Ragdoll, with the full support of Kay Benbow, controller of CBeebies, are actually in the process of developing exclusive new content, which will see the characters continue in a variety of different formats.”

Scholastic Encourages Fans to “Get Goosebumps” this Halloween

GoosebumpsScholastic Media, licensor for Goosebumps, has launched its second annual “Get Goosebumps” marketing and media campaign in support of the brand this Halloween season. The campaign includes new books, DVDs, a mall tour, and more.
New this month is the release of two new Goosebumps HorrorLand titles, The Wizard of Ooze and The Slappy New Year, as well as two classic Goosebumps stories, You Can’t Scare Me and Return of the Mummy, released as collector’s editions featuring new bonus material.
Fans can get Goosebumps on DVD with two new collections of Goosebumps stories, The Blob That Ate Everyone and Go Eat Worms!, which were released September 7 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Each collection features three tales based on R.L. Stine’s book series. Additionally, fans can log onto www.scholastic.com/goosebumps, for games, videos, and more.
For more information, visit mediaroom.scholastic.com/goosebumps.

Emily the Strange to Hit the Big Screen

Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to Dark Horse Comics’ Emily the Strange. Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass, Diary of a Wimpy Kid) will star as the title character; founder and president of Dark Horse Entertainment, Mike Richardson, will produce; and Emily the Strange creator and artist, Rob Reger, will serve as executive producer along with Dark Horse Entertainment’s Keith Goldberg.
Universal’s executive vice president of production, Scott Bernstein, and director of development, Maradith Frenkel will oversee the project for the studio.
Emily the Strange is a global brand that is licensed and distributed in 35 countries around the world.

SupperTime Signs Deal for Bowzers and Meowzers Products

Whimsical-Art.com––a kid’s wall art, nursery art, and webseller––is launching a line of Debby Carman-branded products this fall. The products will include nursery and children’s wall art based on the artist’s Bowzers and Meowzers book series. Among the products will be a gift set of a book, puppet, and a special canvas character giclee. Whimsical-Art.com will also manufacture Carman-designed whimsical wall clocks and metal signs under license.
SupperTime Entertainment is managing the merchandise, marketing, and publishing program worldwide.

LeapFrog Launches New Donation Program

LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. has announced a new program, Tag. Give. Read., to help more U.S. children learn and love to read. The groundwork of the program launched in 2009 when the company donated $1.5 million in Tag School Reading Systems and books to classrooms across the U.S., reaching more than 10,000 kindergarteners. Now, as a part of the official program, LeapFrog has donated $100,000 to DonorsChoose.org to match donations made to teachers who request Tag School systems. Additionally, for each new “like” the company gets on Facebook, LeapFrog will give a Tag book to a kindergarten teacher, up to 25,000 books can be given away.
Anyone can donate to teachers requesting Tag School systems; those who wish to give can visit the Tag. Give. Read. page at LeapFrog.com. Once a teacher’s goal for Tag School systems is half met by donors, LeapFrog will donate the rest.
The Tag Reader is a handheld, learn-to-read tool for children from pre-kindergarten to third grade. When children touch the Tag Reader to specially printed materials, they can get help with pronunciation for words, listen to audio from characters and story elements, and play activities.

Build-A-Bear Partners with U.S. Bank for Financial Literacy Program

Build-A-Bear Workshop, as part of a partnership with U.S. Bank, has introduced a new area in its Build-A-Bear Workshop virtual world that aims to increase children’s financial literacy. The virtual U.S. Bank of Build-A-Bearville, located in the virtual train station at buildabearville.com, allows the world’s citizens to save and budget through interactive games and online activities.
The bank has similar features to real-life banks, such as ATM machines, a vault, a welcome desk, and a teller counter. When citizens visit, they will find financial and savings tips. Visitors can also deposit money for investments and play banking-themed games that encourage responsible money management. Additional ATMs will be around town, which will teleport citizens to the new bank area when used.

Madame Alexander

NCP Appoints New London-Based Executives

Nickelodeon Consumer Products (NCP) has announced two executive moves in its international division. Long-time NCP executive Trudi Hayward has been named vice president, consumer products for the UK and Australia and will oversee operations and strategy. Hayward, who will be based in London, will lead all UK and Australia licensing efforts, advancing core areas such as category expansion, property management, and retail initiatives. 
Jeremy Poreca is relocating from NCP offices in New York to join the London-based team as director, international retail development, a newly created position. He will be responsible for expanding retail efforts.

Topps Hires New Head of Entertainment

The Topps Company, Inc. has appointed Staci Weiss as head of entertainment. Weiss is based in Los Angeles and reports to Topps’ CEO Ryan O’Hara. In her new position, Weiss is responsible for expanding Topps into the entertainment and media business and will work with all Topps-owned properties, including Bazooka Joe, Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packs, Dinosaur Attacks, MechWarrior, Shadowrun, and the company’s Attax brands. She is also responsible for finding and building new properties as well as developing and building media businesses.
Previously, Weiss was senior vice president for 19 Television in the U.S. where she oversaw 19’s television properties and reality franchises, such as American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. Prior to joining 19, Weiss headed Fox’s digital media group.

Bébé au Lait Names New Sales Director

Barbara Fiorentino, former national brand manager of home accessories and home décor company The Companion Group, has joined Bébé au Lait as sales director. Established in 2004, Bébé au Lait is known for its patented nursing covers for mothers. The company’s products, from reversible double bibs to hooded towels, features printed fabrics for modern, active parents.
During Fiorentino’s 15-year career in the fashion, sportswear, accessories, gifts and home décor industries, she has built sales organizations, established branded marketing and merchandising programs, and developed and implemented new sales programs for new distribution channels across the world. Before serving as national brand manager for The Companion Group, Fiorentino served as vice president of sales and marketing for several sportswear and outerwear companies, as well as the private-label accessories company Accessory Design Group.

Action Products to Retain ET Consulting, Intends to be Re-Listed on NASDAQ

Action Products International, Inc. has signed a letter of intent to retain ET Consulting. ET Consulting, based in New York, will facilitate a reverse merger with a suitable and successful company and inject capital into APII. Additional responsibilities will include keeping shareholders informed of developments ranging from day-to-day developments to updates on any outstanding debts.
ET Consulting is also in the final stages of recruiting a top-tier public relations firm for APII. APII executives have also stated that they do not intend to implement a reverse split of their stock. Within six months, APII intends to be re-listed on NASDAQ.

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