ASTRA Reveals 2010 Marketplace Theme
The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association has announced that the theme for the 2010 Marketplace & Academy in Providence, R.I. will be “Full Speed Ahead. Start Here.” The event recently changed its dates to June 13-16, 2010.
CPSC to Hold Town Hall Meeting on Toy Safety
Inez Tenenbaum, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) chairman, will hold a town hall meeting at Toys “R” Us Times Square on November 17 at 9:30 a.m. to answer consumers’ questions and concerns about toy safety hazard and requirements.
Tenenbaum, who will be joined by Jerry Storch, chairman and CEO of Toys “R” Us, and Alan Korn, executive director and general counsel of Safe Kids USA, will also talk about the steps the agency is taking to ensure that children’s toys are safe.
The event is open to the public and press, although questions will only be taken from audience members. One-on-one press interviews will occur immediately after the meeting.
Mattel Donates $1.85M to Otis College
At the Omni Los Angeles Hotel last Tuesday, Mattel, Inc. donated a $1,850,000 gift to the Otis College of Art and Design, during the school’s annual “Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region.” The 2009 report, Unleashing L.A.’s Creative Potential, discusses the state of creativity in business and the workplace. Mattel International President Bryan Stockton, who is also a member of the Otis Board of Trustees, presented the gift to Samuel Hoi, president of the college. The donation will be used to support Otis student scholarships, the art and design curriculum, and efforts to enhance the facilities.
Target Entertainment Group Signs First Licensee for Brit Chicks
Target Entertainment Group has signed Prosperity Industrial as its first licensee for Brit Chicks. The Hong Kong-based manufacturer will produce beaded craft items, including beaded jewelry kits, spray pens, spray tattoo pens, spyro art and stencil sets, paper styling kits, and scrapbooks. The licensing deal gives Prosperity Industrial worldwide rights, excluding the UK.
Brit Chicks recently premiered its virtual world, www.britchicks.com. In the virtual world, girls ages 12 and younger can create their own character, chat with friends, play games, and download music, among other things. Target was appointed by Brand Champions, Ltd., the product developer and licensor, to represent the worldwide licensing rights of the brand.
FAO Schwarz Auctions Packages for Toys for Tots
FAO Schwarz is a hosting a special online auction of four exclusive packages, called experiences, for fans of Muppet Whatnot, Barbie, LEGO, and the FAO Schwarz brand. All of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Online visitors to www.FAO.com can bid to win one of the four packages through December 10. The highest bidder of each package will receive a keepsake in addition to the prize.
Toy donations will also be accepted through December 6, and cash donations may be made through December 24 at FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue in New York City and FAO Schwarz in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. For more information on the packages, visit www.charityfolks.com/fao.htm.
Upper Deck Teams with Operation Gratitude for Military Care Packages
The Upper Deck Company has partnered with Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization that sends care packages to U.S. service members across the world, to launch Upper Deck’s Million Pack March for the Troops campaign. As part of the campaign, Upper Deck and other donators will send sealed packs of Upper Deck trading cards to deserving U.S. military members overseas.
Upper Deck will kick off the campaign by donating 100,000 packs of cards. The goal is to send 1,000,000 packs of cards by Veterans Day 2010. The company will host donation drives at major industry shows, such as the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore, and will work with Upper Deck Diamond Dealers and hobby shops to establish donation drop-off points.
Chorion Appoints New Licensing Agent
Chorion has picked Haven Licensing to be the agent for its brands Olivia, The World of Eric Carle, and Noddy. The agreement is for Australia and New Zealand. Haven is already sub-agent for Beatrix Potter in the region, and Chorion’s Mr. Men and Little Miss.
Indian Court Categorizes Scrabble as Game, Not Puzzle
In a Supreme Court case in India, it was ruled that Scrabble falls in the category of game, not educational toy or puzzle. The court concluded that since Scrabble was not a puzzle it was liable to special taxes. In a puzzle, said the court, the outcome is pre-determined, such as in a crossword or jigsaw puzzle, and there are clues. In Scrabble, there is no fixed outcome and there’s an element of chance and skill, which the court defined, is absent in educational toys. Toys and games manufacturers Pleasantime Products and Funskool sought a tax exemption arguing that Scrabble was a puzzle.
Ubisoft Presents Petz Sharing and Caring Month
Ubisoft is teaming up with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and pop band Honor Society for the launch of new Petz games and Sharing and Caring Month. The new video games for Nintendo DS will allow users to care for their virtual “petz” and send them to other Petz games via wireless interconnectivity. Users can also share their pets on UbiWorld, www.ubiworld.com.
Also on www.ubiworld.com, there will be a Petz Cause House featuring the ASPCA. Inside the virtual house, through January 4, visitors can play mini-games and earn points. The total number of points visitors earn will be announced weekly and kids can learn how those points could potentially help animals. Ubisoft will also donate funds to the ASPCA. Honor Society will contribute to the partnership by spreading awareness to its fans on caring and nurturing for animals.