Masters Of The Universe joins Rubies’ costume line-up

The new range of costumes based on the cult property Masters of the Universe will be available across EMEA later this year.

Masters of the UniverseRubies has announced that another iconic Mattel  property will be joining its 2022 costume collection with the addition of He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe and Masters of the Universe: Revelation.

He-Man returned to screens in 2021, with both the critically acclaimed series Masters of the Universe: Revelation and He-Man: Masters of the Universe available to stream on Netflix. The new animated series has sparked a rejuvenation of the property for a new generation of fans. Off the back of the series, Rubies will be launching deluxe childrens’ costumes for both He-Man and Skeletor, along with a He-Man accessory kit. The new range will be available across EMEA later this year.

Masters of the Universe: RevelationGeorges Ghougassian, group director Licence and Brands, commented: “He-Man has been on TV screens for almost 40 years now and its legacy is one we are delighted to add to our costumes collection. With both Masters of the Universe: Revelation and He-Man: Masters of the Universe, we are welcoming in the next chapter of the He-Man and are honoured to be able to bring this icon, and his arch-nemesis Skeletor, to life for a new audience. This latest addition to Rubies is also testament to the incredibly strong relationship we share with Mattel, and we are delighted to bring these beloved characters to life through dress-up.”

Jazwares appointed master toy licensee for Roblox game Adopt Me

Inspired by the popular Adopt Me gameplay, Jazwares’ new toy line introduces more ways to play to millions of fans around the world. 

Jazwares has announced that it has entered into a multi-year global master toy licensing agreement with Uplift Games to create a toy line based on the popular game Adopt Me. Enjoyed by millions on the Roblox platform and playable on mobile, tablet, PC and Xbox, Jazwares will bring the excitement of Adopt Me out of the Metaverse and into the physical world.

The Adopt Me experience creates opportunities for players to explore a family-friendly online world where they can build and decorate houses, adopt over 200 cute pets, and use in-game tools to create their own emergent fun with friends. With over 28b visits and a record breaking 1.9m peak concurrent users on Roblox, Adopt Me is the platform’s most popular and successful game of all time, with billions of lifetime plays.

“Our unparalleled expertise in bringing metaverse IP to life, coupled with Uplift Games’ smash hit Adopt Me, brings a new evolution for Jazwares as we continue to innovate the future of play,” said Sam Ferguson, vice president of Licensing at Jazwares. “Fans are going to love our in-game inspired figures and play sets featuring an array of pets, accessories and more that authentically expand the Adopt Me experience beyond digital.”

Set to launch at retailers and online in spring 2023, Jazwares has licensing rights to design, manufacture and market a full line of toys across various categories for the popular property, inspired by the adorable pets seen in the magical world of Adopt Me on Roblox.

Sophie Sirera, director at Uplift Games, added: “Adopt Me has captivated millions of players around the world in the Metaverse since 2017. We’re excited to partner with Jazwares to bring players new ways to create their own future nostalgia in the physical world in addition to the virtual world.”

ToyZone, a specialised 360º toy agency with design superpowers

ToyZone is a 360º toy agency with more than 25 years of experience in the toy industry.

ToyZone benefits from a multidisciplinary team of designers, content creators and marketing experts that can make your toy project a success. And with more than 300 products launched, this agency knows what it is doing.

The agency has been recognised by Mojo Nation as one of the Top 100 most influential toy companies, and its clients include some of the largest toy manufacturers in the world. ToyZone offers a full experience to its clients: it provides toy design, entertainment and IP licensing services.

ToyZone is an innovative and enthusiastic specialist toy design agency that is enjoying strong success, with design collaborations continuing to rack up and an ever-increasing suite of services on offer. But how did this come about?

The beta version of the agency was launched four years ago in Spain, and the Covid-19 pandemic gave its founders – Jose Manuel Diaz Ballarin and Alex Prieto – the time and space to both fine-tune it and consolidate their offering. The agency was created with the intention to offer toy companies and inventors a one-stop shop for their toy development, design and entertainment needs. Jose and Alex are toy professionals themselves, so they both know how painful it can be to find the right team or partner.

The raft of ToyZone services can be accessed by anyone and everyone. ToyZone offers a 360° approach to toy design, from conception, branding and sourcing right through to manufacturing. Looking at entertainment, ToyZone will help give brands a second, virtual life that encompasses everything from basic motion graphics used to demo projects to full animated series and state-of-the-art in-app games. All are connected to ToyZone’s data science technology, which provides direct audience reports, instant rewards and much more.

During its journey in the toy industry, ToyZone has launched over 300 award-winning toys into international markets, and – thanks to its relationships with key global retailers – it has a wide view of the marketplace. This background, and ToyZone’s know-how about both the North American and European Toy markets, allows the agency to guide its customers, helping them outperform their competitors and achieve excellence.

In addition to this experience, ToyZone clients also benefit from access to a multidisciplinary team. The combination makes ToyZone the perfect companion for any toy company or inventor that aims to launch a new concept into the market. ToyZone success stories include Eolo’s Marvel Battle Cubes, made in association with Boti and fully designed by ToyZone, as well as Jiggly Pets. The agency works with a number of very well-known toy brands, but all its past and current projects are under NDAs.

ToyZone is very clear about its advantages over other agencies in the marketplace: focus is key, so ToyZone is one of only a few exclusive agencies fully specialised in toys and family entertainment. Its structure allows it to cover all areas of the toy development process. As Jose and Alex proudly say – their eyes and minds are 100% toy-driven.

Readers interested in working with ToyZone can find out more and get in touch by visiting the new website – www.toyzone.es – or emailing sales@toyzone.es.

Moonbug names Just Play as master toy licensee for raft of hit properties

The agreement will see Just Play develop an extensive range of toys based on Little Baby Bum, Lellobee City Farm and more.

Moonbug EntertainmentLittle Baby Bum has named Just Play as global master toy licensee for several of its popular IPs.

Just Play’s portfolio of brands will include pre-school favourites Little Baby Bum, Lellobee City Farm and My Magic Pet Morphle (North America only), with product launching from autumn 2023. Just Play will also develop ranges for the shows Gecko’s Garage and Go Buster. Product ranges will vary depending on the property, but key categories include figures and play sets, vehicles, plush and role-play toys.

Duncan Tate, global head of Hardlines, Consumer Products at Moonbug Entertainment, commented: “Our partnership with Just Play reflects our ongoing commitment to bringing new opportunities for our fans to interact with our beloved characters and extend the storytelling to the home environment through imaginative play. Just Play is already a trusted partner to Moonbug and we are very much looking forward to further develop innovative and creative products with it.”

Lellobee City Farm

Anna Chapman, VP Marketing & Licensing EMEA at Just Play, said: “We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Moonbug on some of the world’s most popular kids’ entertainment brands. Moonbug’s data-driven approach to content development provides us with great insights that enable us to provide product solutions for families. Just Play is looking forward to bringing these new hit properties from show to shelf and helping kids learn through play.”

Barbie joins Rubies’ licensed costume portfolio

The new partnership between Mattel and Rubies will show girls that ‘anything is possible’ via a range of Barbie costumes spanning some of the doll’s most popular careers.

Having recently been named as the top global toy property of the year, Barbie will
be partnering with Rubies as it and Mattel announce a brand-new Barbie dress-up collection for 2022.

Barbie has shown girls they can be anything since 1959. By providing purposeful play with over 200 careers, highlighting global role models, showcasing diversity and inclusion and leading the mission to close the Dream Gap, Barbie continuously strives to help kids reach their limitless potential. As the world’s No.1 fashion doll Barbie is an international icon and muse and continues to both spark imaginations and influence conversations around the world.

The new Barbie children’s dress-up range will be available across EMEA and features popular styles including Astronaut, Ballerina and Princess costumes. Both the Ballerina and Princess designs feature reversible sequins on the bodice, perfect for creating two looks in one.

The production of the officially licensed costumes for Barbie is a significant addition to the company’s ongoing successful partnership, which includes some of the most iconic characters created for children’s entertainment such as Fireman Sam and He-Man and The Masters of The Universe.

Georges Ghougassian, group director, Licence and Brands at Rubies, commented: “Barbie is known the world over for encouraging children to reach their limitless potential, whether that’s a career as a teacher, astronaut or fashion designer. As the industry leader in costumes and dress-up, our aims align as we inspire our core audience to become whoever they want to be. We are incredibly excited to be launching our latest Barbie costumes: it’s an exciting next step in our relationship with Mattel as we broaden our representation of its much-loved brands.”

Rubies’ official licensed Barbie costumes will be available to pre-order soon at rubiesuk.com.

Topps scores Campaign of the Year for Match Attax

The Campaign of the Year award was presented to the Topps UK Sales & Marketing team at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, London. 

L-R: Jonathan Marsh (National Accounts & Development manager, Topps UK), Holly Taylor (Marketing manager, Topps UK), Ian Foster (Marketing & Digital Content director, Topps UK), Zoe Fitzpatrick (Circulation Sales administrator, Topps UK), Steve Conner (Sales Director, Topps UK) and Stuart Hale COO, The Fed, with award presenters Tom Evans and Nicola Humes.

Topps was honoured at the prestigious 2022 Newspaper and Magazine Awards on Thursday 12th May, taking home the hotly contested Campaign of the Year accolade for its Match Attax Season 2021/22 Collection.

It’s been a strong start to the year for Topps following its January 2022 acquisition by Fanatics Inc., the US global digital giant specialising in licensed sports merchandise, trading cards, collectibles, digital collectibles and NFTs. In April this year, Topps secured exclusive licensed trading card and sticker rights for UEFA Euro 2024 and UEFA Euro 2028. The deal was announced via an impressive viral campaign featuring renowned manager Jose Mourinho, one of the biggest names in European football.

The Campaign of the Year award was presented to the Topps UK Sales & Marketing team at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, London, as the Association of Circulation Executives hosted its first live awards event since 2019. Judges highlighted the ‘clear quantifiable success’ of the Match Attax campaign, which was launched in August 2021, as well as the team’s ‘innovative use of social media to drive print sales and brand awareness’.

Topps collaborated with influencers The F2 Freestylers (27m digital followers) and top young England players Mason Mount and Jack Grealish to promote its 2021/22 collection, which featured the biggest superstars from the best clubs in the world.

First released in 2006, Match Attax has become the world’s most popular football trading card game. The 2021/22 collection saw a 159% increase in year-on-year sales, with fans of all ages enjoying the content of the collection and the fun associated with searching for the most exclusive cards.

Next up for Topps is the UEFA Nations League Stickers collection, which goes on sale in the UK on 2nd June, followed by the UEFA Nations League Match Attax 101 collection, which will launch at the end of June.

One For Fun’s Leanne Jennings completes Race for Life

Leanne is raising much-needed funds for Cancer Research, and has thanked all those in the trade who have donated to her efforts so far.

Leanne (no. 10175) and her friends before the race

One for Fun’s Leanne Jennings and six of her equally enthusiastic friends took part in the Muddy 5K Obstacle Run for Cancer Research this weekend at the Norfolk Showground.

Leanne said: “For those that know me well, you will know that my motto in life thus far has been ‘I only run if I am being chased, so if you see me running – be worried!’ However, when a friend asked me back in January if I wanted to get involved in it this year I didn’t hesitate to say yes.”

Leanne dedicated her race number to Steve Webb, who sadly died of cancer earlier this year.

Leanne added: “Joking aside, we all know someone who has been affected by cancer – some lucky ones and some not so lucky ones. Most recently we lost our friend and colleague Steve Webb, who I honoured on my race number.”

Steve Webb, head of Retail at Cartamundi, passed away earlier this year after a short battle with cancer. Steve spent several years at One For Fun as strategic account manager.

Leanne would like to thank everyone in the trade that sponsored her. Those that haven’t yet can donate via this link.

Mattel nominates Kayes of Cardiff as distribution partner to selected Toymaster and AIS members

In a letter sent to selected Toymaster members, Mattel has recommended Kayes of Cardiff as its preferred distribution partner and advised affected retailers to place orders via Kayes as of 1st July. 

Mattel has announced a major change to the way it deals with selected members of the independent retail channel. In a letter sent out to selected Toymaster members on Friday 13th May, the company said it has looked at the best ways to efficiently and effectively support the independent retail channel, ultimately deciding to cease direct supply of certain accounts as of 1st July.

Instead, affected retailers were recommended to order Mattel products via Kayes of Cardiff, which Mattel has named as a new distribution partner. Kayes carries the full Mattel toy range and will, as a minimum, be able to offer retailers the same discounts and rebates Mattel itself offers. Kayes will also pass on relevant Mattel promotional offers.

The letter reads, in part: “We have worked with Kayes of Cardiff for many years and are confident that they will be able to offer you a seamless service. A member of their team will be in touch with you shortly to discuss your needs moving forward.”

Readers wishing to contact either Mattel or Kayes in the meantime are advised to email the following:

Michael Hick, VP and country manager, Mattel UK, explained: “We always pride ourselves on working closely with our retail partners and offering the best possible service and solution for their businesses, so working in partnership with Kayes of Cardiff to support those Toymaster members that we are no longer able to supply direct will give them the service and choice of Mattel toys that are suited to their business needs.”

Philip Kaye of Kayes of Cardiff added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Mattel and Toymaster to offer selected members a direct service. We carry the full range of Mattel toys as well as the normal promotional offers and look forward to working with members to service their needs from the Mattel range.”

The news comes just days after Orchard Toys appointed Kayes of Cardiff as its exclusive distribution partner. Under the terms of the partnership, Kayes will carry the entire Orchard Toys product portfolio. Independent retailers will still be able to order split-pack quantities of Orchard Toys games and jigsaws, and benefit from the same pricing they currently receive. Additionally, the appointment will benefit many small independents with a lower minimum order quantity.

Representatives from the Kayes of Cardiff team will be present at the Toymaster May Show this week from 17th-19th May, on both the Orchard and Mattel stands.

IETP announces new assessment module to help companies achieve their environmental ambitions

The ICTI Ethical Toy Program says the module offers a fast and low-cost solution for achieving supply chain environmental oversight. 

Today, the ICTI Ethical Toy Program (IETP) has announced the launch of an Environmental Assessment Module, a new online tool to facilitate climate action for the global supply chain. IETP’s Environmental Assessment (EA) is a quick and cost-effective solution companies can use to gain oversight of the positive and negative environmental impacts of their business operations and those of their suppliers.

The Environmental Assessment can be implemented globally and offers a new way for businesses in any industry to establish and advance their Environmental Strategy. Through clear, consistent, and consolidated information, businesses of any size can benchmark their supply chain partners and identify risks and opportunities. This assessment will enable companies to better understand the environmental performance of their global supply chain and to report on it. Businesses can leverage this information to develop action plans for their sustainability strategy and join forces with the rest of the world in combatting climate change.

“IETP is committed to meeting the needs of our members, together with them we’ve created the IETP Environmental Assessment,” says Carmel Giblin, president & CEO of the ICTI Ethical Toy Program (IETP). “The objectives of this development from the very start were to enable companies to collect relevant data, at scale and at low cost. I am delighted to be able to say today that we have achieved that objective successfully. All companies of every size want to play their part in combatting climate change and I am confident this new tool will help companies meet their own objectives, the expectations of their customers and the requirements of regulators globally.”

For a full breakdown of the features and benefits of the Environmental Assessment module, read the detailed article published in the May issue of Toy World here.

IETP’s Environmental Assessment Module is available to all businesses from any industry starting on the 16th of May, for more information about the environmental areas covered, cost per assessment, or for a sample of the report, please contact todd.merton@ethicaltoyprogram.org, or click here.

The final countdown to Generation Media’s KidsCon22 event is on

All proceeds from the KidsCon22 event will go to UK toy industry charity the Toy Trust, which distributes donations to charities helping disadvantaged and disabled children.

KidsCon22Following a hiatus over the last two years of lockdown, Generation Media, a leading independent media specialist for children, young people and families, has announced KidsCon’s return to the big screen in Leicester Square’s Vue Cinema on the morning of 26th May 2022.

The industry wide event, titled ‘Tomorrows World Today’, will play host to an array of internal and external speakers, as well as a panel of thought leaders in the children’s advertising space.

To facilitate Generation Media’s growing international client base, the event will simultaneously be streamed in the Metaverse, bringing the experience to life for those who cannot attend the in-person event.

Generation Media CEO Dean Weller commented: “We are delighted to announce the return of KidsCon. Following two years previous success scaling the event, we are excited for it to return even bigger and better post lockdown. We have an exciting line-up of guest speakers and of course the latest insights and thinking from the GM team. It will be a morning not to be missed.”

The full line up of speakers, and industry panel of experts, has now been announced. Tickets cost £50 per person, with all proceeds going to the UK based children’s charity, the Toy Trust, and include lunch and a drinks reception at a nearby rooftop venue.

To secure your ticket to KidsCon22, click here.