December 31, 2020
Looking Back at the Most-read Stories of 2020

To close the book on what's been a year filled with challenges and change, check out the top 25 most-read stories of the year at toybook.com. While some are no surprise, a few stand out as real head-scratchers among the news that made headlines in the toy industry and beyond! Preview the first 15 here in the Toy Report or read the entire top 25 here.
LEGO Pulls Back Police Playset Affiliate Marketing Amid George Floyd Protests

Our most-read story of the year was spawned by a misunderstanding and a lack of context tied to a tragic event during a tumultuous month. After an email sent to members of the LEGO Affiliate Program requested a pause on marketing certain LEGO sets began circulating on social media, the Toy Book covered the story, and in turn, became part of the story as outlets across the country and around the world put their own — often erroneous — spin on the matter. The bottom line: No LEGO product was ever removed from sale, but marketing was paused due to cultural sensitivity. Read more…
Universal’s Back to the Future Franchise Celebrates 35 Years of Time-traveling Fun

At Toy Fair New York in February, Universal Brand Development kicked off a yearlong celebration of the Back to the Future franchise with new products and plans for live events. Back to the Future co-creator, co-writer, and co-producer Bob Gale spoke with the Toy Book about the enduring legacy of the film and its sequels alongside commentary from Super7's Brian Flynn, Funko's Sean Wilkinson, and Playmobil's Björn Seeger. Read more…
Amazon Unveils 2020 Toys We Love Hot Holiday Toy List

Ahead of the holiday season, members of the e-commerce giant's toy team rolled out a list of 100 hand-picked toys that they believed would be hot this year. The Toy Book showcased 25 of them in this special showcase that was big on Amazon exclusive items for kids of all ages. Read more…
Hasbro Introduces G.I. Joe Retro Collection

Following the immediate success of its G.I. Joe: Classified Series, Hasbro unleashed the G.I. Joe Retro Collection in June. Similar to what Hasbro has done with Star Wars The Vintage Collection, this new series includes 3.75-inch scale super-articulated action figures and vehicles that come in vintage-inspired packaging with retro Hasbro branding, which are available exclusively at Walmart. Read more…
Kellytoy’s Holiday Squishmallows Squad Is Here to Spread Seasonal Cheer

Jazwares' Kellytoy subsidiary continues to expand its Squishmallows collection and each new assortment is hot, hot, hot! The Holiday Squad is no exception, and by mid-August fans were lining up to add festive new characters to their collections in multiple sizes. Read more…
How COVID-19 is Affecting the Toy Industry

At Toy Fair New York in February, few would've predicted that a pandemic would soon take place on U.S. soil. By late March, the Toy Book was operating a special content hub for information on the spread of COVID-19 and how the coronavirus was affecting all aspects of the toy industry, from supply chain hiccups to office closures, furloughs, layoffs, and corporate pivots. Read more…
Crayola Teams up with Burger King for King Jr Kids’ Meal Promotion

Who knew that so many readers would be interested in a kids' meal? Read more…
Sustainable Projects Group Acquires Shark Tank Hit Soy-Yer Dough

A decade after making a deal with the Sharks on ABC’s Shark Tank, Soy-Yer Dough was acquired by Sustainable Projects Group (SPGX). The allergy-free modeling dough from Indiana-based inventors Sawyer and Samantha Sparks would undergo a name change to "Yer Dough" shortly after the publication of our article. The reason? The dough was never made from soy products. Read more…
2021 Toy of the Year Awards Finalists Revealed

The "Oscars of the toy industry" are going virtual this year, but that's not stopping the excitement. The Toy Association's annual reveal of all the nominees inspired the Toy Book's first-ever TOTYs special issue and "For Your Consideration" section — just like Hollywood! Read more…
MGA Entertainment Debuts New L.O.L. Surprise! Lights Dolls

The No. 1 doll line in the world hit the ground running in January with the debut L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Lights. The range — including O.M.G. fashion dolls, glitter dolls, and pets — stands out under normal light and a special black light. Read more…
Rubie’s Costume Co. Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Amid COVID-19 Uncertainty

Facing the uncertainty of Halloween during a pandemic, the world’s largest designer, manufacturer, and distributor of costume and related party accessories servicing more than 2,000 retail accounts found itself in bankruptcy court to reorganize its debt. Spoiler alert: Rubie's emerged from bankruptcy in October under new ownership as a sister company to NECA. Read more…
Alex Brands, Poof-Slinky Assets Are Headed to the Auction Block

Early in the spring, just on the cusp of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alex Brands quietly shut its doors. By mid-March, most staffers had been sent home, and by early April, its website went offline and lawsuits had been filed on behalf of manufacturing and logistics partners. Read more…
Mattel Unveils Star Wars: The Mandalorian Real Moves Baby Yoda Plush

Following the success of its 11-inch plush version of The Child (aka Baby Yoda) from Star Wars: The Mandalorian — the No. 1 item in plush both for the third quarter according to NPD — Mattel introduced a new version that’s even more lifelike. A few weeks later, audiences around the world learned that The Child's real name is Grogu. Read more…
Exclusive: Full Details Emerge on A Toy Store Near You, the New Docuseries from the Makers of The Toys That Made Us

The Toy Book was first to reveal the full details on A Toy Store Near You as producer Brian Volk-Weiss and the team behind Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us and The Movies That Made Us put the spotlight on stores in America and other locations around the world as they evolve to deal with the effects of the coronavirus and the spread of COVID-19 on their businesses. Read more…
Mattel Is Releasing Toys Based on Netflix’s Over the Moon

Interest was high for products tied to the Oct. 23 release of Over the Moon on Netflix. The film follows a bright young girl with a passion for science as she builds a rocket ship to the moon to prove the existence of a legendary moon goddess. Read more…
 
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