TIA Announces 2012 TOTY Awards Finalists, Hall of Fame Inductees
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has announced the 77 finalists for the 2012 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards. Through January 15, toy lovers of all ages can vote for their favorite toys by visiting www.ToyAwards.org.
The finalists, representing 67 unique products or properties from 51 companies, were selected from nearly 600 nominees. TIA invites consumers, mass retailers, specialty retailers, media, and members of the toy industry to vote. Each of the five types of ballots will be weighted and used to determine the winners and the overall “Toy of the Year” award. Winners will be announced during the awards ceremony on Saturday, February 11—the kick-off to the 109th American International Toy Fair. To view the finalists, click here.
Additionally, TIA revealed that Arnie Rubin, founder and CEO of Funrise Toy Corporation, and the late Frederick August Otto Schwarz, founder of FAO Schwarz, have been selected as the next inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame comprises a roster of 57 individuals who have been recognized for their significant contributions to the growth and success of the toy industry. The newest inductees were nominated by toy industry members and selected via vote from TIA members and previous Hall of Fame honorees.
Report: Retail Executives Less Optimistic About Black Friday
According to a new survey by BDO USA, as reported by Bloomberg.com, some top executives at retailers are less optimistic about Black Friday sales growth compared to last year. According to the survey, executives estimated that purchases on Black Friday might rise 1.6 percent. Last year, executives estimated an increase of 3.8 percent. Approximately 78 percent of respondents in the survey expect a gain in promotions; last year, the figure was 64 percent. BDO conducted the survey last month. Figures are the average estimates of 100 participating executives from public and private U.S. retailers of various sizes, including 12 in the top 100 by annual revenue.
Day After Christmas to See Surge in Foot Traffic Says Report
ShopperTrak expects retailers to get a belated Christmas gift this year. According to a ShopperTrak report, more shoppers (an increase of up to 60 percent) are expected to walk through retailer doors the day after Christmas this year compared to the day last year. An increase is expected, says ShopperTrak, because December 26 falls on a Monday for the first time in six years. ShopperTrak anticipates the day to rank third in foot-traffic for the holiday shopping season, just behind Black Friday and Super Saturday (the Saturday one week before Christmas).
WBCP Announces Roster of Licensees for Happy Feet Two Release
The animated family comedy adventure Happy Feet Two premiered last Friday, and Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) has announced its global collection of licensees for the movie.
Thinkway Toys is the global master toy partner for the property, and has debuted toys that feature dance moves, interactive play features, music, a talk-back mode, and more. Additional offerings from the wide roster of licensees include Rubie’s Costume Co. with an assortment of costumes; Pressman Toy with all-new interactive games; Build-A-Bear Workshop, offering collectible soft plush; MeadWestvaco with themed calendars; Hallmark, offering decorative ornaments and party supplies; Anagram International with party décor; Penguin Children’s Books with books inspired by the film; and more.
New Licensees for Wildbrain’s Yo Gabba Gabba!
Wildbrain Entertainment has signed seven new licensing deals for its hit series Yo Gabba Gabba!. Funko, manufacturer of entertainment bobblehead products, vinyl action figures, and plush toys, will develop a line of Yo Gabba Gabba! collectible toys, available at specialty, department stores, and mass retailers nationwide starting in April. Nyko, manufacturer of accessories for Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and 3DS, will develop game accessories and an all-new DS docking station/alarm clock for the property, which will be available across all retail channels late next year. Press Pass, Inc., the trading card and licensed collectibles company, will develop a line of Yo Gabba Gabba! trading cards that will be sold across all distribution channels starting in February.
Bravo Sports to Offer Marvel-Branded Outdoor Products
Bravo Sports Corporation has partnered with Marvel Entertainment, LLC to produce a variety of Spider-Man themed outdoor recreation products, featuring both the classic comic book Spidey, as well as imagery from the recent theatrical franchise. Bravo Sports will manufacture and distribute the Spider-Man licensed products, which will arrive in Target and Toys “R” Us stores in January.
The Annoying Orange Gets TV Series
The popular YouTube web series, The Annoying Orange, will soon debut as a new half-hour television series. Co-created by Dane Boedigheimer and produced by entertainment management and production company The Collective, the television series will be the latest brand extension for The Annoying Orange. Licensed merchandise for the brand includes a toy line from The Bridge Direct, Inc.; The Annoying Orange: Kitchen Carnage app for iPhone and Android phones; and apparel and accessories at JC Penney locations nationwide. The new series will premiere on Cartoon Network next year.
ASTM International Launches Revamped Website for Magazine
ASTM International has launched a revamped online version of its flagship magazine, Standardization News (SN). The magazine’s new website, www.astm.org/standardization-news, offers more frequently updated ASTM news that is organized into industry sector gateways. The 10 gateways (building construction, transportation and infrastructure, end use products and recreation, chemicals, metals and materials analysis, energy, personal and occupation safety, medical, environment and sustainability, and quality assurance) serve as web portals to information about ASTM standards development activities, meeting and training course dates, publications, and more.
The SN online homepage also features access to a digital edition of the current issue of the bimonthly magazine, as well as access to the Spanish- and Chinese-language versions.
Douglas Company Debuts Embroidery Program for Retailers
Douglas Company is offering a new embroidery program for retailers. Stores can add an embroidered emblem to a T-shirt worn by a plush animal, or add an embroidered emblem to a canvas tote carrying a plush animal to showcase a company logo or regional destination. Retailers can choose from eight 10-inch animals that wear T-shirts, or Douglas’ canvas tote design that holds one of 50 eight-inch plush animals. The quantities offered are 288, 144, or a minimum of 72 pieces.
NCircle Entertainment Obtains DVD Rights to LazyTown
NCircle Entertainment has partnered with the producers of LazyTown, the preschool series that launched in the U.S. in September, exclusively on 24-hour preschool network Sprout. NCircle Entertainment will distribute LazyTownDVDs in English and Spanish in the U.S. next year. The deal marks the brand’s DVD premiere in the U.S.
Match Stars Line of Action Figures to be Distributed Internationally
Pattni Imaginations, the company behind the new Match Stars range of soccer action figures, has announced details of a new international distribution agreement that will see the figures launched across Latin America.
After signing a deal with Mexican distributor Funky Toys, Pattni’s Manchester United and FC Barcelona Match Stars lines will launch in Mexico initially, before being distributed across the rest of Latin America.
Match Stars are fully poseable action figures and have a spring-loaded kicking action feature. Agreements have been signed with some of the biggest names in soccer, with Match Stars lines set to appear in the official kits of Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester United, and FC Barcelona. Star players, such as Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Andy Carroll, and Lionel Messi, will be closely replicated.
River Monsters Children’s Book to Debut Next Year
Discovery Communications is expanding its Animal Planet publishing program with a new children’s book (targeted to kids ages 8-14) based on the network’s series River Monsters. The book, River Monsters Extreme Adventure: The Search for Bigger, Faster, Meaner Fish, will be published by Publications International, Ltd., and will release in January in North America. The book will be available exclusively through Scholastic Book Fairs before debuting in retail locations in late summer.
To support the initial launch, Scholastic Book Fairs created an author video to accompany the book. The publishing program is managed on behalf of Animal Planet by its North American licensing agent, the Joester Loria Group.
K’NEXpert Search Winners Announced
K’nex Brands has picked the winners of its 2012 K’NEXpert Search. The nationwide search asked kids ages 5 to 12 to submit original designs made entirely out of K’nex pieces. For the first time, three creative kids (one from the three age groups) were awarded $20,000 savings bonds for college, in celebration of the company’s upcoming 20th anniversary next year. The three grand-prize winners are Andy from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; Andrew from Glenmoore, Penn.; and Josef from Plano, Tex. The grand-prize winners will visit the K’nex headquarters in Hatfield, Penn. on December 2.
TIF Calls for Donations for Toy Distribution in Newark, N.J.
On December 17, Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) will host its next toy giveaway in Newark, N.J. At the event, hundreds of deserving kids served by Franciscan Charities in Newark’s West Ward will receive their own holiday toy. TIF notes that for most of the children, it will be their only gift. Everyone is invited to donate and to join TIF in person for the event. For the donation form, click here.