CPSC Approves Plan to Publish Consumer Safety Complaints on Website
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has approved plans to publish consumer complaints about product safety hazards at www.saferproducts.gov. Beginning in March, the website will collect and post complaints that are sent in by consumers, government agencies, health care professionals, interest groups, and attorneys. Previously, before the passage of CPSIA, federal law required the manufacturer’s consent before information on product-related injuries was released to the public.
Each database entry is expected to include a description of the harm or risk of harm, a description of the product, the manufacturer’s name, the poster’s contact information (which can be kept private), and an affirmation that the complaint is truthful. After the complaint is approved and published, the manufacturer will be forwarded the complaint and will have 10 days to respond to it. If the complaint is proven to be inaccurate, the commission could edit or remove it from the website.
Because public postings can impact a company’s reputation and brand, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) requested that CPSC take steps to verify that the information is accurate before posting. TIA is also asking that CPSC beta test the database’s full posting and verification process.
Knowledge Adventure Announces Licensed Products
Knowledge Adventure has entered the licensing world with three deals, brokered by the company’s licensing agency, 360ep. Licensed merchandise will first include school supplies by Fine Line, followed by board games and puzzles by GDC-GameDevCo, Ltd., and a graphic novel by Silver Dragon Books.
The Knowledge Adventure-licensed products from Fine Line will include writing and drawing instruments, activity sets, flash cards, paper pads, and stickers. Other school supply products will include portfolios, notebooks, stationery sets, lunch kits, and school bags. The products are currently being introduced to retailers.
ASTRA Names Speakers for 2011 Marketplace & Academy
The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has revealed the featured speakers for its 2011 Marketplace & Academy, to be held June 19-22 in Anaheim, Calif. Headlining the event will be customer service coach Graham David and marketing professional and author Maria T. Bailey.
David—founder and president of Blue Beetle, in Birmingham, England—will open ASTRA’s annual convention on June 19 with his address, “Play Your Way to Powerful Customer Service.” David and his team will also lead a breakout session titled “Turning Customer Service into Sales.” David’s training company uses actors, games, posters, toys, music, and interactive exercises to help retailers learn new ways to reach customers, train staff, and address behavioral problems on the store floor.
Bailey is an author, host of Mom Talk Radio, co-host of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day” radio talk show, and CEO of BSM Media of Ft. Lauderdale, a full-service marketing and media firm. Bailey will close the Marketplace & Academy on June 22 with a presentation titled “She’s the Household Gatekeeper. Are You Connecting with Mom?”
Acting Out Announces Sale to Creative Education
According to an Acting Out email, the company is being sold to Canadian-based Creative Education. Creative Education is the manufacturer of the Great Pretenders line and the distributor of Pink Poppy accessories. Creative Education will have most of the company’s items in stock by the end of December, and founders Anna Hazard and Andrea Nasstrom will be working for the company through the end of January.
Squinkies Brand Expands with Squinkie Doos
Blip Toys has introduced a new addition to its Squinkies brand: Squinkie Doos. Squinkie Doos are just like Squinkies—small, squishy, and collectible—and are encased in a plastic toy bubble. But, each of the new Squinkie Doos has a mane of colorful hair that kids can play with.
Figure packs include three Squinkie Doos characters. The small Squinkie Doos Salon & Spa Playset includes two Squinkie Doos and hairstyling accessories such as a swivel chair, blow-dryer and hand mirror, and brush. The play set is a hairstyling center and a Squinkie Doo dispenser—the bubbles go in the salon dome and come out after twisting the dial. After the Squinkie Doos have popped out of their bubbles, they can enjoy their spa experience. Squinkie Doos are now available at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide, and will be arriving at other retailers throughout this month.
Madagascar Gets Touring Stage Show
DreamWorks Theatricals and Broadway Across America have partnered to launch “Madagascar Live,” DreamWorks Theatricals’ first-ever live family touring show. The companies expect the show to visit more than 70 cities across the United States, beginning this January.
The 90-minute stage show will feature popular characters from the Madagascar series of movies, including Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the Hippo, King Julien, and the Penguins.
For more information about “Madagascar Live,” visit www.madlive.com.
Walmart Is Most “Tweeted” Store for Black Friday
E.Life, a social media monitoring and analysis vendor, tracked more than 281,000 Tweets related to Black Friday using its Tweetmeter software to analyze what Twitter users were saying about top retail brands. The Tweets were tracked between November 18 and November 25 and included those about Walmart, Best Buy, Macy’s, Sears, Target, Toys “R” Us, Radio Shack, Kohl’s, and J.C. Penney.
The most-mentioned store was Walmart with 156,000 Tweets over the one-week period, three times as many Tweets as the other brands that were monitored. Best Buy and Macy’s followed with 47,552 and 41,950 Tweets, respectively. J.C. Penney’s received the least attention, with just 202 Tweets about the brand.
Other findings include that the top 25 cities accounted for only about 25 percent of Tweets about the brands, while less than 13 percent of Tweets about Walmart were in the top 25 cities. Sears being open on Thanksgiving, Kohl’s opening at 3 a.m. on Black Friday, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade were also popular topics on Twitter.
Bella Sara Signs Mobile Deal with WDA
Hidden City Entertainment, Inc., the rights holder for Bella Sara, has signed a new deal with Wireless Developer Agency (WDA) for the U.S. and Canadian markets. WDA will produce a range of Bella Sara-related items including wallpapers, animations, ringtones, and video streaming to wireless devices.
“WDA is pleased to be representing the Bella Sara brand for mobile products,” said Konny Zsigo, president of the Wireless Developer Agency. “We think the quality of the artwork will complement the higher-end smartphones emerging in the marketplace today and provide fans of all ages the opportunity to personalize those devices in a way that holds special meaning for them.”
Green Toys Now Available Across the Globe
Green Toys’ eco-friendly toys for kids are now available in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa as a result of a new crop of distribution deals, including Learning Resources, Ltd. in the UK and beyond; Absolutely Kids in Scandinavia; TocToys in Spain; Cukiz in South Korea; and Etzle, Ltd. in Israel. More deals will follow in 2011.
The company is slated to premiere its Green Eats line, which will feature reusable, eco-friendly tableware for kids. Made from the same 100-percent recycled plastic as the California-based company’s eco-friendly toys, the tableware will appear in stores across North America next month.
Justin Bieber Trading Cards Hit Stores This Week
Panini America is premiering an official Justin Bieber trading card set, available at select retail outlets starting this week. The collection features 150 unique cards and 30 stickers, with 500 randomly inserted Justin Bieber autograph cards. To fuel collectability, the cards can be arranged to create four different nine-card puzzles of mini Justin Bieber posters. The line also includes special card sets featuring 12 “Spellbound” cards, 18 “Download” cards and 10 “XXOO” cards. Panini’s Justin Bieber trading card packs retail for $1.99 and include five cards and one sticker.
ASTM International on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter
ASTM International has recently established a presence on social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The organization’s official Facebook page currently has more than 1,300 “likes” and provides fans with the latest news about standards development, as well as information about publications, meetings, and more. A separate Facebook page for ASTM students features news about ASTM student memberships, awards, paper contests, and information about standards in the classroom.
The ASTM channel on YouTube, at www.youtube.com/ASTMIntl, features informational videos, including those on membership, student videos, and specialized committee videos that highlight a particular ASTM technical committee or standards activity.
ASTM’s Twitter account, @ASTMIntl, currently has more than 450 followers. The organization posts updates about upcoming meetings, training sessions, publications, and other general ASTM news. ASTM’s Twitter page for students is @ASTMStudentFans.