November 24, 2010


TIA Announces 2011 TOTY Nominees, Toy Industry Hall of Fame Inductees

In a special press conference held at New York City’s Bryant Park, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) unveiled the 70 nominees for the 2011 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and the inductees for the 2011 Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The TOTY finalists were selected from a record pool of 500-plus toys, games, and properties that were submitted for consideration.
TIA announced that through January 14, retailers, media, members of the toy industry, as well as consumers, can vote for their favorite toys and each ballot will be weighted to determine the 2011 TOTY winners. Winners will be announced during the TOTY Awards ceremony on Saturday, February 12. To see the 2011 nominees, visit
Also announced by the TIA were the 2011 inductees for the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Al Verrecchia, chairman of the board of directors at Hasbro, and the late Donald Duncan, founder of Duncan Toy Company. Verrecchia and Duncan will be recognized for their contributions and service to the toy industry at the TOTY Awards.

Report: More Households Plan to Shop on Black Friday Compared to 2009

According to a new national consumer poll commissioned by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs, 31 percent of households plan to shop this Black Friday compared to 26 percent in 2009. The survey also reports that the strongest driver of Black Friday shopping is children, as 43 percent of households with kids are planning to shop on that day. Additionally, 37 percent of households reported that they plan to shop on the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving.
In terms of regions, the South leads the nation in those who plan to shop on Black Friday with 35 percent of Southern households. The Midwest and West follow with 30 percent, and then the Northeast with 25 percent.

Rubie’s Gets Chuggington License

ChuggingtonRubie’s Costume Co., Inc. has obtained the license to create official Chuggington Halloween costumes, accessories, and everyday dress-up. The CGI-animated series debuted in the U.S. in January and airs daily on Disney Channel’s Playhouse Disney programming block. Each episode has an entertaining storyline that also teaches social readiness lessons.

More Retailers to Offer Cyber Monday Deals

A new survey,’s eHoliday Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, states that nearly nine in 10 retailers (88.2 percent) will have a special promotion for Cyber Monday, up from 72.2 percent in 2007. Almost half of companies (49 percent, up from 42.9 percent last year) will offer specific deals. Many are also planning one-day sales (41.2 percent versus 32.9 percent last year) and free shipping on all purchases (21.6 percent versus 15.7 percent last year). Most retailers (62.7 percent) will send promotions and deals to shoppers through a special Cyber Monday email.
Slightly over half of American workers with internet access (54.5 percent) will set aside time over their lunch hours or at the end of the day to shop online from work. Employees most likely to shop from work include men (56.5 percent) and young adults 25-34 (71.8 percent).

Gift Card Purchases and Spending to Rise, Says NRF

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2010 Gift Card Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, Americans will spend more on gift cards this year with an average of $145.61, up from $139.91 last year. Total gift card spending is expected to reach $24.78 billion.
The survey also reports that the average amount spent on each card will increase as well, rising from $39.80 last year to $41.48 this year. According to the survey,
77.3 percent of shoppers will buy at least one gift card. In terms of what type of gift card, 39.2 percent of respondents said they will give a gift card for a department store, and 33.4 percent said they will give a gift card for a restaurant. Other places include book stores (23.7 percent), electronics stores (19 percent), entertainment venues like the movies (14.1 percent), and coffee shops (13.9 percent).

Lego to Bring Pirates Toys to Store Shelves This Spring

Pirates of the CarribeanA new collection of Lego-branded Pirates of the Caribbean construction toys are scheduled to launch in the spring, announced The Lego Group and Disney Consumer Products. The collection will include eight new building sets that will bring the Pirates action, stories, and characters to life in Lego form. The Lego Group, Disney Interactive Studios, and TT Games have also announced that Lego Pirates of Caribbean: The Video Game is scheduled for release on multiple video game platforms in May. The fourth installment of the movie series, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, will premiere in the spring.



Ohio Art Named Exclusive U.S. Sales and Marketing Agent for Nanoblock

NanoblocksKawada Company has named Ohio Art Company as the exclusive U.S. sales and marketing agent for Nanoblock, the Japanese building and construction sets that are being described as the world’s smallest toy building blocks. Developed in Tokyo, Nanoblocks employ a patented double feather design to lock pieces firmly together. Each set includes 150 to more than 500 pieces.
Nanoblocks will be available starting this holiday season at FAO Schwarz in New York City, and then will be available nationwide at Toys “R” Us stores in February. Two sized sets will be offered: the mini-series, featuring different animals ranging from dogs to koala bears, and the “Sites to See” series, allowing builders to construct iconic architecture from around the world including the Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower.

Richard Scarry Busytown Products Hit Borders Stores Nationwide

Super Stupendous StoriesThe Cookie Jar Group, parent company of Copyright Promotions Licensing Group, and Random House have partnered with Borders to offer exclusive Richard Scarry Busytown products this holiday season. Available now, Borders stores nationwide are featuring a collection of classic Richard Scarry tales, Super Stupendous Stories, published by Random House; a Richard Scarrysmall beanie plush assortment and large Huckle Cat plush from The Bridge; and an exclusive boxed board book set from Five Mile Press.  
In addition to these exclusive products, Borders stores will also offer more Richard Scarry products including classic books; new TV tie-in books from Richard Scarry’s Busytown Mysteries; a variety of board, memory, and card games; floor puzzles; and DVDs. 
A full toy line based on the property will launch in fall 2011. Additionally, a live, ticketed stage show is in development for smaller venues for fall 2011.

New Toy Exhibition Center to Open Next Week

According to TradeArabia, BS International, the trading arm of China’s Shantou Chenghai government, will open the Middle East’s largest toy exhibition center in Dubai on November 28. The Chenghai Toy Exhibition Center, located at the Business Village near Clock Tower, will span 35,000 square feet, and will store more than 50,000 samples from 110 factories from China.

Bella Sara to Participate at Equestrian Event

Bella SaraBella Sara is participating in the Salon du Cheval in Paris in December. Gitte Braendgaard, creator of Bella Sara, will sign autographs at the Salon on December 10,
11, and 12. MJA Licensing is managing the Bella Sara booth for the duration of the show, which runs December 4–12.
Licensing partners such as Thermopyles, Hachette, Sahinler, Giocchi Preziosi and others will showcase their products. Bella Sara fans in Paris can meet the creator of the brand, Gitte Braendgaard, at the event. Braendgaard will sign autographs at the Salon on December 10-12.

Smarty Pants Names Top Kids Brands

WiiFacebook may not officially allow those under 13 to create accounts, but that's not stopping first through sixth graders from naming the site as one of their Most Loved Brands of 2010. According to Young Love, an annual study by youth and family research firm, Smarty Pants, Facebook's brand affinity ranking among kids ages 6-12 jumped 85
positions in the past year and is now a Top 100 brand among tweens 9-12.
Nintendo's Wii holds on to the No.1 spot, followed closely by McDonald's, M&M'S, Disney Channel, and Oreo. The remaining top 20 Most Loved Brands include Nintendo DS, Doritos, Popsicle, Chips Ahoy!, Nickelodeon, Disney, Reese’s, Capri Sun, Toys ”R” Us, Pringles, Cheetos, iPod, Skittles, Crayola, and Goldfish. The iPod Touch and
iPad made 2010 debuts at No. 35 and No. 109, respectively. Young Love was conducted online among a representative sample of U.S. households with children. More than 270 consumer brands across 20 categories were evaluated during the six-month study.

StoryPlay Cards Picked as a Hyatt Resort Toy Box Game

StoryPlay CardsThink-a-lot Toys’ StoryPlay Cards— a deck of 90 storytelling and playing cards for kids—has been picked as one of the included games in Hyatt Resort's Toy Box, powered by Toy Tips program. Each toy in the program undergoes stringent testing by the Toy Tips Research Institute, an organization that gives independent reviews to ensure that each toy meets specific criteria including level of activity, skill development, and age appropriateness.
For more information about the Hyatt Resort's Toy Box powered by Toy Tips, visit or

Angelina Ballerina Partners to Promote Dance

Angelina BallerinaHit Entertainment’s Angelina Ballerina Stars of Tomorrow Program (AB Stars) and Dizzy Feet Foundation unveiled a Public Service Announcement campaign last week, which stars Angelina Ballerinaand the Dizzy Feet founding members. The initial two PSAs, designed to encourage children’s awareness of and enthusiasm for dance, feature Dizzy Feet board members interacting with the CG-animated Angelina Ballerina in her world at Camembert Academy. The PSAs will be featured in an online and social media campaign. Next year, the PSAs will appear on Hit Entertainment DVDs, including Angelina Ballerina, Thomas & Friends, Barney, and Bob the Builder.

Madame Alexander

Street Surfing Adds New Team Members

Street Surfing, LLC is expanding with two newly created positions. Tony Terrazzi has been named international sales manager and Sandra Leo has been named senior category manager. Both managers now report to James Nunziati, vice president of sales and marketing.
Terrazzi joins Street Surfing from Oakley where he served as global merchandise manager. In his new role as international sales manager, he will primarily focus on maximizing strategic distribution and expanding the company’s presence through in-store presentations and consumer events in Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Africa.
As senior category manager, Leo will be charged with supporting product development on a worldwide basis as well as developing integrated North American marketing plans directed at promoting retailer initiatives. Leo has more than 10 years experience with major companies including Bandai, Tomy, and Playmates.

VTech Reports Six Months Results

VTech Holdings, Ltd. has announced its results for the six months ending September 30. Group revenue for the period increased by 10.3 percent to $813.9 million. The company attributes growth to sales in Europe, Asia Pacific, and other regions. Profit attributable to shareholders of the company rose 2.3 percent to $93.6 million. Net profit margin fell from 12.4 percent to 11.5 percent, which the company attributes to a change in product mix, a higher cost of materials, and rising labor costs, among other things.

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