August 20, 2020
The July/August Issue of the Toy Book Is Here!

It’s an understatement to write that 2020 hasn’t been the most predictable year for our professional and personal lives, but it is shaping up to be quite surprising for our industry. Despite how tumultuous this year has been so far, there’s a lot to be excited about this holiday season. Our new issue is jam-packed with information, including coverage of the dolls, games, and construction categories; a look at how brands are creating engaging content during lockdown; and so much more. Read it here!
Chicago Toy & Game Group Rebrands as People of Play

The Chicago Toy & Game Group has rebranded under a new name: People of Play (POP). ChiTAG founder Mary Couzin will continue to lead POP in its efforts to “continue the mission of promoting innovation, creativity, and connectivity in the toy and game industry.” Read more…
Epic Games Starts a ‘Battle Royale’ with Apple, Google

After welcoming millions of players into the Battle Royale on its cross-platform smash Fortnite, Epic Games is now fighting a battle of its own. The Fortnite app was delisted from the Apple App Store and Google Play for Android devices after Epic Games issued an update that created a direct payment method for players to purchase V-Bucks — the pillar of Fortnite’s in-game currency system. Apple, and subsequently, Google, believe this to be a violation of their Terms of Service (ToS) and removed the popular game from their stores. Read more…
WowWee, LEGO, and Sesame Workshop Among Winners of 2020 Licensing International Excellence Awards

After careful consideration, a panel of judges comprised of 152 executives from around the world evaluated more than 600 entries from companies in 22 countries to determine the nominees for the 2020 Licensing International Excellence Awards. Last week, the winners were announced across 23 categories in a first-ever virtual event that was attended by nearly 1,000 members of the industry. Read more…
Just Play Launches Licensed Face Masks

The designs include Barbie, Hot Wheels, Ryan’s World, PAW Patrol, Blue’s Clues & You!, Harry Potter, Batman, Trolls, Minions, Jurassic World, Hello Kitty, and more. Each mask features ear loops, a contouring nose strip, and three layers of protection, including a protective fabric layer; a filter layer; and a soft, inner layer. Read more…
Simplay3’s Brian McDonald Talks Toys on the ‘Power Kid Podcast’

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks Brian McDonald, vice president of sales and marketing at The Simplay3 Co. On the show, McDonald and Albritton discuss why it is so important to have designers and engineers that are deeply rooted in the rotational molding process that Simplay3 is known for. Listen here...

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Educational Insights Donates Playfoam to Chelsea’s Charity Art Kits

Fueled by concerns from the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chelsea’s Charity — an organization created by 10-year-old Chelsea Phaire last year — spread its wings beyond the East Coast in an effort to aid kids in up to 22 states. Chelsea’s Charity provides art kits to kids living in foster care, domestic violence shelters, and homeless shelters. In honor of Phaire’s 11th birthday this month, Educational Insights contributed Playfoam for distribution in more than 350 art kits. Read more…
Mattel Television Launches Barbie Princess Adventure on Netflix

Following the success of Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures on Netflix, Barbie Roberts is starring in a new animated musical from Mattel Television that is set to debut on the streaming platform beginning Sept. 1. Barbie Princess Adventure is a modern fairytale involving self-discovery, a rival prince, and a hefty dose of original pop songs. Read more…
Hasbro, GameMill Team Up for G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout

This fall, the legendary battle between G.I. Joe and Cobra returns to video game consoles for the first time since 2009’s movie-based G.I. Joe Retaliation. On Oct. 13, Hasbro and GameMill Entertainment will release G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout, a third-person shooter for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. Read more…
The Creators of The Elf on the Shelf Rebrand as The Lumistella Co.

The creators of The Elf on the Shelf are rebranding to expand the scope of their “North Pole universe.” CCA and B LLC is now The Lumistella Co., named for the ancient Christmas comet that serves as the origin for the magic behind all of the characters in Santa’s North Pole in The Elf on the Shelf lore. Read more…
New Pokémon Sword and Shield Trading Card Expansion Hits Retail

The Pokémon Co. dropped Pokémon Trading Card Game: Sword & Shield — Darkness Ablaze Expansion, and that means there are more creatures to be caught. The set includes seven Pokémon VMAX (a high-risk, high-reward card), 14 Pokémon V, nine full-art Pokémon V, 17 Trainer cards, four full-art Supporter cards, and three new Special Energy cards. Read more…
Radio Flyer, Tesla Launch Ride-on for Toddlers

Radio Flyer and Tesla have teamed up to create a new ride-on for toddlers ages 18 months-4 years old: the My First Model Y. Priced at $99, the ride-on is designed to look like Tesla’s full-size Model Y vehicle and features a honking horn, working steering, an ergonomic seat, and black induction wheels. Read more…
Cloudco, Moonbug Collaborate for Care Bears

Under a newly inked agreement, Moonbug will take the reins in leading content creation, distribution, and management of the Care Bears YouTube channel. Effective immediately, the arrangement kicks off with Care Bears: Unlock the Music, a new 26-episode 2D animated series. Read more…
The Op’s Summer Puzzles Channel Classic Horror, Animal Crossing

The Op is taking on the real-life horror of boredom with new jigsaw puzzles inspired by It: Chapter 2, Beetlejuice, and Friday the 13th. Additionally, the company issued a colorful puzzle based on Nintendo’s Animal Crossing. Read more…
YuMe Expands Distribution for Harry Potter Magical Capsules

Following a debut last month during Walmart’s virtual Collector Con, distribution for YuMe‘s latest Wizarding World collectible range is expanding. Harry Potter Magical Capsules are hitting physical and digital shelves at Hot Topic, Walgreens, Indigo Books and Music, Walmart, and Amazon. Read more…
Greenlight Collectibles Preps Seasonal Hobby Exclusives

Greenlight Collectibles is rolling toward fall with a pair of seasonal exclusives that will only be available at hobby retailers. New 1:64-scale die-cast Volkswagen Type 2 Panel Vans will be used as a canvas for Halloween and Thanksgiving-inspired deco to set the stage for future holiday releases next year. Read more…
Abacus Brands to Release Bill Nye’s VR Science Kit This Fall

The star of Bill Nye the Science Guy is lending his face and voice to the first-ever branded version of Abacus Brands‘ virtual reality science kits. Bill Nye’s VR Science Kit uses augmented-reality tech to illustrate scientific themes as animated and live-action versions of Nye appear to pop out of each page of the included 80-page, illustrated interactive workbook. Read more…
Be Amazing Toys! Launches Snow Pets

From capsule dispensers to water reveals, unboxing toys are getting more extreme every year to kids’ delight. Next month, Be Amazing Toys! is launching Snow Pets, blind box collectibles that kids can reveal through a wintery reaction that sets off a mini-avalanche of overflowing snow. Read more…
Games to the Rescue! A Look at Gaming Trends in a Challenging Year

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people everywhere have been playing games. In just a few months, the change in societal dynamic has impacted both sales and overall trends across the industry. Much of the appeal is that playing games offers a way for people to connect both in person — and virtually — to escape what’s happening in the world. Read more…
Talkin’ Toys: Meet Horizon Group USA’s New CEO

The Toy Book chats with Janet Hsu, the former Mattel executive who recently took the helm as CEO of Horizon Group USA, a privately-held leader in the creative craft toy DIY space. The New Jersey-based company designs, manufactures, and distributes a wide variety of kits across several categories, including DIY, STEM/STEAM, outdoors, and tween. Read more…
Jeff Freeman Joins PlayMonster as Vice President Global Operations

Wisconsin-based PlayMonster just added another seasoned executive to its ranks. Following the appointment of Tim Kilpin as its president this summer, the company appointed Jeff Freeman to serve as its new vice president global operations. Freeman previously served as senior vice president at Mattel’s American Girl. Read more…
Walmart Crushes Q2 Estimates with 97% Increase in Digital Sales

The evolution of retail continues amid shifting consumer habits accelerated by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Walmart reported its second-quarter earnings (the company is in the fiscal year 2021) with total revenue of $137.7 billion, a 5.6% increase over the same period last year. Same-store comp sales were up 9.3% with strong growth in grocery and general merchandise. Walmart’s e-commerce sales grew 97% in the second quarter with growth across all channels. Read more…
Target Exceeds Q2 Expectations with Highest-ever Sales Growth

Target reported its second-quarter earnings this week with a total revenue of $23 billion, a 24.3% increase over the same period last year. Same-store comparable sales were up 10.9% while digital sales grew 195%. Same-day services (Order Pick Up, Drive Up, and Shipt) grew 273%. Continuing the omnichannel focus of its business, most of Target’s digital sales were fulfilled using the company’s stores as distribution hubs. Read more…
 
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