People of Play (POP), formerly the Chicago Toy & Game Group, awarded the winners in the 13th annual Toy & Game International Excellence Awards, better known as The TAGIES, on Friday.
Winners from around the world including the United States, Uruguay, Canada, Hungary, Israel and the United Kingdom, were announced during a 90-minute virtual show presented by Spin Master. Other sponsors included Hasbro, The Michael Kohner Corporation, Oxford Games, Mattel, Radio Flyer, Exploding Kittens, Crazy Aarons, Nextoy, Kite and Rocket, Cartamundi and PlayMonster.
The show was hosted by Karri Bean, senior licensing manager, Lego at Disney Consumer Products. JoAnn McLaughlin, SVP of Hardlines Product Development, Disney Parks Experiences & Products, gave an inspiring keynote, telling the virtual audience: “You are infectious, you are rockstars. You exist both inside and outside the toy companies. I learned from you that ideas can come from anywhere and at any time.”
A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Erno Rubik, the inventor of Rubik’s Cube,and heartfelt tributes were made to inventors Norman and Arlene Fabricant who received a Celebration of Life and Achievement award, and game designer Alan Roach. His family accepted the Hassenfeld Humanitarian Award in honour of The Roachy Fund, a scholarship established to help others follow their dream of making art and playing games.
The official list of winners of the 2020 Toy & Game International Excellence Awards is as follows:
Toy Inventor of the Year (sponsored by Radio Flyer)
- David Yakos for Circuit Explorer Rocket, Circuit Explorer Rover and Circuit Explorer Deluxe Base Station with Educational Insights
Game Inventor of the Year (sponsored by Oxford Games)
- Peggy Brown for My First Rush Hour with ThinkFun and Bye, Felicia and Who’s the G.O.A.T. with Big G Creative
Rising Star Inventor of the Year
- Aron Lazarus for The Genius Star and Bee Genius
Young Inventor of the Year (Under 18 years old)
- Maayan Segal for Queeng Playing Cards
Art and Design Visuals of the Year
- Marjorie Spitalnik for Marie Curie, Mary Jackson, Amelia Earhart and Malala Yousafzai Plushies by Little Rebels. Manufactured by Dac Toys
Innovative PR and Marketing Team of the Year (sponsored by Exploding Kittens)
- Lego Star Wars team for Lego Star Wars Episode 9 campaign
Most Innovative Retailer of the Year (sponsored by Mattel)
- Mastermind Toys
Most Innovative Supplier of the Year
- Blue Orange Games
The TAGIE Awards are part of People of Play Week (November 16th-22nd) which included the POP Summit, a virtual five day educational and networking event that featured almost 200 industry experts discussing important topics ranging from licensing, pitching, marketing and retail trends. Tickets for replays of the POP Summit and the TAGIE Awards can be obtained by registering on the People of Play platform www.peopleofplay.com.