TV coverage continues to showcase toys in run-up to Christmas

Golden Bear Toys, Jazwares, Just Play and Click Europe featured on ITV in This Morning’s Ultimate Children’s Gift Guide for Christmas.

Luke Nuttall takes on Golden Bear’s Soccer Bot

Presenter Steve Wilson shared his top pick of children’s Christmas presents with This Morning’s Emma Willis and Rylan Clark.

On Wednesday morning, YouTuber Luke Nuttall showed off his football skills on This Morning with Golden Bear’s Smart Ball Soccer Bot which uses advanced technology to help players to master their dribbling skills by attempting to avoid the sensor which follows the ball.

Soaring to the top spot in Circana for Outdoor & Sports Toys across October and November, and becoming the No.14 item in whole market (w/c 12th November), Barry Hughes, managing director at Golden Bear, says he’s been blown away by Soccer Bot’s sales figures.

Rylan clasps a Jazwares Squishmallows as Steve Willis demos Style Bae from Just Play

Jazwares’ internationally renowned and multi-award-winning Squishmallows, was also on the list. 100m of the super soft plush were sold last year alone and Steve explained how the varied price points and collectability make them a great gift.

Squishmallows has earned US Toy of the Year recognition for three years in a row, a testament to its global fandom of children and adults alike, and continues to feature regularly on top toy lists, including this year’s DreamToys Christmas list.

Click Europe’s Boppi 150-piece round jigsaw puzzles made it into the Christmas guide due to the range’s attractive packaging, affordability and the fact that the puzzles give kids something fun for to do to keep them entertained over the holidays. Steve presented the World Map puzzle alongside the Christmas puzzle.

Click Europe’s Boppi jigsaws made the line-up

James Shimmin, national account manager at Click Europe, told Toy World: “We honestly couldn’t be prouder, and as a result we saw an instant spike in sales across the board, as well as increased product rankings – in particular for the Boppi Round Puzzles. We are the only wholesaler currently stocking Boppi products, so please do get in touch if you’d like to secure stock in time to take advantage of the Christmas rush, or to place an order so that we can ensure you’re prepared in time for Easter when the Round Puzzles really come into their own.”

Just Play’s Style Bae fashion doll range also wowed the presenters, with both Steve and Emma Willis noting how much they loved the doll. The segment marked Just Play’s third major piece of daytime TV coverage on ITV’s This Morning, with Disney Doorables appearing back in February and its Sesame Street Elmo Slide Plush making the show’s list of Top Toys for Christmas 2023.

Amy Saunders, sales director at Just Play, commented: “We’re delighted to have achieved three pieces of broadcast coverage, on what is the UK’s prime time morning show, for some of our key products and licences. One retailer has already reported an uplift of 1182% in sales vs the day before the segment went live, which just serves to show the power of broadcast.”

Yesterday morning (Thursday 8th December), coverage of Christmas gift ideas continued, with DKB Toys & Distribution’s range of Uncanny Brands officially licensed waffle and toastie makers giving Christmas shoppers even more food for thought.

Posting on LinkedIn, Chris Lohmeyer, MD at DKB, said: “Certainly one of the best moments of 2023 for DKB Toys & Distribution: Uncanny Brands Waffle & Toastie makers appearing on This Morning. A really great partnership, and a really fantastic product that is great for Christmas.”

Click here to see the full guide of Christmas presents for children of all ages.

Exclusive: Nuremberg Toy Fair all set for 2024

Spielwarenmesse returns attracting the biggest toy and game manufacturers, distributors and retailers to NürnbergMesse GmbH.


The show consists of five packed days of networking, entertainment, product inspiration, trade deals and much, much more. Toy World spoke to Christian Ulrich, spokesperson for organiser Spielwarenmesse eG, about what makes the event an unmissable show, what’s new for the upcoming iteration, and how its organisers are ensuring it continues to offer what the toy trade wants.

Spielwarenmesse 2024 marks the second iteration of the hugely popular European show since lockdown and the 73rd since the show began. The 2023 event, which Christian says was a ‘better show than expected’, has already been surpassed by the plans for 2024’s event. When we spoke to Christian in early November, exhibitor numbers were higher – including almost 400 new exhibitors – more floorspace had been dedicated to the event, and there’s still time for companies to sign up for their own exhibition space. Visitor numbers, too, will likely surpass previous totals, as Christian explains.

“In 2023 there were still some strong travel restrictions in place, which particularly impacted our Asian attendees,” he says. “Either they couldn’t secure visas, or they were still nervous about travelling following the pandemic. We expect to welcome many more Chinese and Japanese visitors at the upcoming Spielwarenmesse, which is of course great for the show.”

While all exhibitors and attendees alike can expect the usual blend of first-class networking events, a vast range of toys and games, industry presentations and superb evening entertainment, there are also some changes this year worth noting. One of these is the new Tuesday-Saturday schedule (replacing Wednesday-Sunday), which Christian says reflects attendee feedback that the extra weekday would be better for both travel and footfall.

To read the full double-spread feature with Christian Ulrich on everything to look out for at Spielwarenmesse, click here.

There’s a round up of companies exhibiting at the show on the pages following this article – you can find Part 1 of our Nuremberg preview here.

Then, look out for a further guide to the event in the special supplement which will accompany our January 24 edition. Toy World has Spielwarenmesse covered!

Exclusive: Rubies all dressed up

Dress-up specialist Rubies continues to go from strength to strength, having signed a raft of new licensing agreements this year, released numerous costumes and accessories based on the world’s biggest properties.


Toy World caught up with Fran Hales, head of Portfolio, to find out more about how Rubies is changing the way it’s perceived by both consumers and the trade and why he believes the dress-up and role-play category is the gift that keeps on giving.

Rubies began the year with three successful showcases at Toy Fair, Nuremberg and Spring Fair.

“It’s been non-stop for everyone at Rubies,” said Fran. “We have established and developed our 365-degree plan to provide dress-up and play value all year round, not just in key sales seasons. The strategy will see us provide retail solutions across Europe via a selection of licensed and non-licensed products for our consumers.”

He added: “We’ve also celebrated landmark years with partners such as Disney and Warner Brothers, as we keep moving forward with new development in our current collection and the growth of our licensing portfolio, with the introduction of Hasbro and the World of David Walliams. Going into Q4, we continue to invest in our dropship infrastructure and ability to deliver quality products across Europe. We anticipate a strong Carnival season and are providing gift ideas for the whole family with our range of toyetic accessories.”

On asking Fran whether he expects Rubies’ licences to remain strong in 2024, he said: “It’s exciting to see how far the licensing industry has come in recent years. Healthy competition and changing consumer demands have driven a need for innovation in the form of new and original product. We continuously adapt and pivot the product offerings we can provide. It’s why we’re keen to remind customers of our more toyetic ranges such as our accessories based on Marvel, Star Wars, DC and The Wizarding World.”

Toy World asked Fran plenty more including what Rubies will be showcasing in Nuremberg 2024 and strategy for the coming year. To read the full Q&A, click here.

Exclusive: Libertas Brands’ plans for Fuggler

Toy World sat down with Libertas Brands at BLE 2023 to find out more about the Fuggler brand.

In September, it was announced that licensing stalwart Mark Kingston had joined the newly formed Libertas Brands as CEO. The agency, co-founded by Stuart Grant, owns the exclusive rights to the Fuggler brand, and Mark’s sights are now firmly set on growing and expanding the Fuggler IP across a raft of new categories. Toy World publisher John Baulch and editor Rachael Simpson-Jones sat down with Mark and Stuart at BLE to talk about Libertas Brands’ longterm franchise and licensing plans for it.

As plush ranges go, Fuggler is far from traditional. Each character sports a mouthful of unnervingly human teeth, bared in a permanently frozen smile/grimace, eyes that swing wildly between suspiciously squinted and wide open, and fur in a dazzling array of textures and colours. And of course, each has a ‘BUTT-on’ hole, exactly, er, where you’d expect it to be. The BUTT-on hole feature links to the rarity of each Fuggler and is kept secret thanks to the recycled and recyclable cardboard box, until the Fuggler fan gets home and opens it.

Fuggler lies firmly within the kidult and collector segments, with grown up fans taking to social media to share videos of them unboxing their latest character and hopefully, exposing its rare BUTT-on hole. Kidults are also fuelling a healthy secondary sale market, with some of the rarer characters going on eBay for hundreds of pounds – a first-gen Oogah Boogah reportedly ended up selling for £800 recently on eBay.

“Once our fans get the bug – or should that be the Fugg –they can’t help but want to get them all,” says Stuart. “It’s interesting to see the Marmite effect Fugglers inspire in people. They’re kind of cute, kind of scary, people sometimes don’t know exactly what to make of them. But those that love them really, really love them, in all their funny, ugly, toothy glory. We’re excited to bring that love to life through new partnerships as we head into 2024.”

You can read plenty more about the Fuggler brand here in the full article from Toy World’s December issue.

Peppa Pig celebrates 20th anniversary with Peppa’s Cinema Party

Peppa Pig is coming to global cinemas with the 20th anniversary special, Peppa’s Cinema Party, featuring all-new season ten episodes.

Peppa's Cinema PartyHasbro has announced that Peppa Pig is coming to cinemas for the character’s 20th anniversary and biggest cinema celebration ever, beginning February 2024.

The hour-long cinema release, Peppa’s Cinema Party, will screen in English in cinemas in Australia, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States, offering ten exclusive never-before-seen Peppa Pig season ten episodes, including a three-part Wedding Party Special, of which one episode features the voices of Katy Perry as Ms. Leopard and Orlando Bloom as Mr. Raccoon.

A party bus bonus episode will also be included, as well as new interactive entertainment featuring Peppa and her friends breaking into the real world through a mixture of animation and live action, with five brand new songs to sing along and dances to move to.

The entire family will be able to have the ultimate cinema outing and celebrate along with their favourite onscreen characters. The fun continues outside cinemas, with the all-new music available to stream at home, in the car or on the go.

“As we celebrate 20 incredible years of making memories with Peppa, our team is proud to bring Peppa’s Cinema Party to the big screen across the globe, enabling fans to come along and join in the party,” said Esra Cafer, SVP global brand management, Hasbro. “Peppa encourages kids and families around the world to jump in together with confidence, and this new cinema experience will bring those beloved characters to life in a new way.”

Tickets for the cinema-exclusive release will go on sale on the 7th December at and in certain markets via Atom and Fandango. All new music will be available on music streaming platforms on the 2nd February 2024.

Click here for the all-new trailer to Peppa’s Cinema Party.

Zuru unveils new Mini Brands collection in time for Christmas

As it continues to build on its miniature collectibles line, Zuru’s latest Mini Brands ranges hit UK shelves from today. 


In a pre-Christmas collectibles drive, Mini Brands Sneakers and Mini Brands Books introduce some of the most iconic global footwear brands and best-loved novels as miniature replicas.

Mini Brands Sneakers include collectible real miniature sneaker bands such as Skechers, Reebok, Airwalk and Prince. 30+ iconic Minis have perfect tiny detailing including real shoe-boxes, plus an Ultra-Rare Gold Reebok heightens the chaser element and repeat purchase opportunities. Mini Brands Books are real book brands and include 40+ classic and popular modern replica minis such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, A Christmas Carol, Stranger Things, Roald Dahl favourites and a rare glow-in-the-dark edition of Goosebumps Night of the Living Dummy. Each Mini Book has real readable pages and accessories such as bookmarks and a mini magnifying glass to help see all the mini details.

Zuru’s Mini Brands is the most liked collectible toy on TikTok, and appeals to a cross demographic of children, teens, kidults, retro collectors and self-confessed Miniacs. The UK’s No. 1 property in Miscellaneous Toys YTD (Circana, UK Retail Tracking, value sales, YTD October 2023), continues to drive the business and category growth with most recent ranges such as Mini Brands Disney 100 and Mini Brands Foodies reaching three times the predicted sales targets.

The Mini Brands capsules have been given a new, updated look, with packaging designed to reduce the impact of virgin plastic and plans to save one ton each year.

“Year-on-year we’re seeing Mini Brands go from strength to strength, thanks to a combination of innovative and disruptive design and development from the team, licence partnerships with global brand giants and a real appetite and demand amongst consumers for more Minis to add to their collections,” said Zuru UK & Ireland general manager, Will Collinson.

He added: “Mini Brands is a continuous hit with our partners, retailers and consumers, with ranges which include some of the world’s most recognisable household, toy, franchise and now footwear and book brands. 2024 is gearing up to be another milestone year for the brand. Expect to see more newness in the New Year as we make more brands than ever before Mini.”

Zuru reports three Mini Brands items sold every minute and the hashtag #minibrands amassing 6b views, with 800m impressions delivered in the UK across TikTok, YouTube and influencers since the brand launched three years ago.

Exclusive: Deddy Bears on the fright track

Deddy Bears reached 300,000 sales within its first four months and has its second release coming in Q1.

Deddy Bears

Toy World spoke with Gavin Lawler at Innov8 Creative Academy to hear about the formation of the “disruptive” Deddy Bears brand. The idea of Deddy Bears was born during the pandemic, but it wasn’t launched until February this year at the Spring Fair.

Deddy Bears are zombie-like plush which come with autopsy reports describing each character. They are supplied in a coffin, a ‘deddy bag’ or a blind bag for smaller versions. In the first four months since launch, 300,000 units were sold, and now Innov8 Creative Academy ships to 12 countries.

The bears are currently listed by retailers such as Hot Topic, Showcase, Walmart, Giant Tiger, Books-a-million, Tesco, and about 2,000 independent stores. PMS International distributes Deddy Bears in the UK, where the brand had a national rollout with HMV stores. It can also be found in Forbidden Planet, Big W in Australia, and Spencers in the US. Gavin recently signed a deal with Smyths Toy Superstores for the whole of Europe, and Deddy Bears is now available in around 15,000 retail stores globally.

“It’s been one of those situations which we call ‘lightning in a jar’,” comments Gavin. “Innov8 Creative Academy owns 100 IPs. Some of them are great and some of them are okay, but every now and again you just get that one – and Deady Bears was that one. It’s a phenomenal brand; it’s highly impulsive, has multiple price points, excellent quality and attractive packaging.”

Deddy Bears appeals to a broad spectrum of consumers, right through from child to collector, giving it mass appeal. Following the first wave’s extraordinary success, series 2 will be launched at Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg.

Click here for the full article.

Exclusive: Asmodee’s Star Wars: Unlimited TCG

Asmodee shared details of its new Star Wars: Unlimited, an all-new trading card game, at a launch event last month.

Star Wars: Unlimited

The TCG was created by Asmodee subsidiary Fantasy Flight Games, in partnership with Lucasfilm. The Star Wars: Unlimited game features iconic heroes, villains, ships and settings from all facets of the legendary Star Wars franchise, including movies, TV series, comics, video games and everything in between. The game will launch globally in 2024 and Asmodee hosted its first retailer day in Birmingham to launch the TCG, in addition to sharing its long-term plans and commitments with retail partners and selected media outlets. Toy World went along to find out more.

Before having the chance to play the game for themselves, attendees were given a presentation on the background of the game and where the creators hope it will ultimately lead to. We learned that Davide Bonati, global VP, Hobby, Sales & Strategy, who joined Asmodee three years ago after eight years at Wizards of the Coast, was presented with the draft game by the Fantasy Flight team soon after joining. Davide told the audience: “I thought it was an amazing game and incredibly fun to play. I got together with Jim Cartwright, VP of Product Strategy, to talk about how we were going to transfer the passion and energy we had for the game to the market.”

Most importantly for Davide and the team, one of the pillars of Star Wars: Unlimited is “hobby first”. This means that 90% of all stock will be sold through the specialist toy & hobby retail channel. The team has also come up with an Organised Play programme to support stores from day one.

Davide commented: “We believe that a long-term, successful TCG needs a strong community to support it, and we believe that local toy & hobby stores are the best place to build that community. We want to support specialist retailers because they are our heartland.”

To read about Toy World’s own experience of the game as well as words from Roger Martin, hobby and independent channel director at Asmodee UK, and some retail support bundles on offer, click here for the full article, which appeared in the December edition of Toy World.

Exclusive: Curious Universe’s phenomenal five-year growth

Toy World’s Marianna Casal sat down with Curious Universe’s John Styring and David Martin to hear about their vision for Crystalverse and Cutesville.

John, the company’s CEO, clearly isn’t a man to do anything by halves. Curious Universe emerged after his previous company, Igloo Books, was sold in 2014. Initially choosing to continue to utilise his expertise in the book market, John was very quickly approached by Hinkler, based in Australia, about joining forces on a wider offering. Within six months, they sealed the deal and Curious Universe was born. Now, with a wide offering of toys, craft, books and stationery, between 60-70% of products are designed and created in the UK and the rest in Australia.

Curious Universe has four divisions within the business which John refers to as ‘worlds’: Explore, for books; Play, for toys; Create, for arts & crafts and Imagine, for stationery. Although there is of course some overlap between worlds, arts & crafts is the sector which dominates – about 50% of products fall into this category.

The company is now putting more investment into its toy offering, which John predicts to be the fastest growing area of the business over the next few years. To date, Curious Universe has released about 620 new products each year across its different worlds and currently has about 2,000 products in its portfolio.

There is currently a heavy focus on two of the company’s own brands: Crystalverse and Cutesville, both toy lines which overlap into arts & crafts. Crystalverse is a collection of unicorns which users can bejewel however they like and Cutesville, which is yet to launch, is a collection of cute characters and play settings which kids can colour-in as they wish, then wash off to start again.

The company also has an upcoming project with US-based stationery brand Yoobi to donate stationery to children in need around the UK for each product sold. A video about Curious Universe’s partnership with Yoobi can be seen below.

To read more about expansion plans for Cutesville and Crystalverse which will be introducing a new character, as well as new licensed products and much more, click here for the full feature, which appeared in the December edition of Toy World.

The December issue of Toy World is out now

The latest issue of the UK’s leading toy trade magazine, Toy World, is now available to read online and is landing on desks and doormats this week. 

The December issue of Toy World is out now. The issue features an early preview from Nuremberg Toy Fair exhibitors on what products they’ll be showing to visitors and why retailers and distributors should visit their stands.

In an exclusive interview, Toy World visited Curious Universe’s offices in Bath to hear about 2024 plans for Crystalverse, an up and coming universe: Cutesville and more.

Toy World also spoke to Rubies about its latest licenced signings, to Deddy Bears (Innov8) on how the company has disrupted the plush category, to Skillmatics on the brand’s continued growth, to Libertas Brands on its plans to expand its Fuggler IP, and we report from a special Star Wars: Unlimited TCG launch event by Asmodee, where Team Toy World tried out the game for ourselves.

On top of all this, the December issue of Toy World features all the latest news, plus views and useful info from Circana, Generation Media and Toy Barnhaus. There’s a look at some Fresh new ranges, and a catch up with indie retailers in this month’s Talking Shop. Finally, we have special features with Precise TV and Mattel president and chief Commercial officer, Steve Totzke.

To read the December issue of Toy World, click here.

The team is now working on the bumper January issue. The January edition of Toy World will include an extensive preview of the London Toy Fair as well as the latest on Hot Properties. There will also be a supplement for a second Nuremberg Toy Fair preview.

The January issue will be published in early January with an ad deadline of 13th December and an editorial deadline of 1st December. For advertising enquiries, contact Mark Austin by phoning 01442 502405 or emailing

For editorial enquiries, contact Rachael Simpson-Jones –

The editorial team can also be reached on 01442 502 406.