Baby born marks 30 years with National Best Friend Day campaign

Brand kicked off celebrations with multi-channel campaign including social influencers sharing posts of their children enjoying gifted Baby born dolls.

Doll brand Baby born celebrates its 30th birthday in 2021 and to start a season of celebrations, it launched a multi-channel campaign centred around National Best Friend Day.

The event on 8th June involved PR, social and digital content to drive direct traffic to the website and to mark the occasion, Baby born created branded Friendship Cards for children to share the name of their best friend along with a reason why they love them.

Through an impactful Instagram gifting campaign, influencers were also gifted with two Baby born Magic Dolls and two Friendship Cards – one for each child and their best friend – and throughout the day influencer families shared posts of their children enjoying the dolls on Instagram @BABYbornUK. There was also direct swipe ups for viewers to download their own Friendship Cards for free on the Baby born website. The total reach of the Instagram activity was over 500,000 and was supported by retailers including The Entertainer and Toymaster, who also ran a competition to coincide with the date.

Social activity was enhanced by an advertorial in online parenting magazine, My BABA, and the online content shared full details of the brand’s new Happy Birthday range, which features a host of special items to mark the occasion, including the Baby born Deluxe Happy Birthday Set, which includes everything needed to role play throwing a special birthday party for Baby born – from party dress and sparkly gold sandals to purple and gold birthday crown, and even Baby born’s own birthday cake.

All activity across this 30th year will continue to be underpinned by TV presence, digital advertising and retailer partnerships, leading up to an interactive marketing campaign which will hit nurseries across the UK in September.

For more information on Baby born and the Happy Birthday range, visit baby-born.co.uk

 

Lego brings multiplayer to Lego Super Mario with addition of Lego Luigi

The introduction of Mario’s brother means two players will be able to enjoy the universe of Lego Super Mario at the same time.

The Lego Group has announced that multiplayer will be coming to Lego Super Mario with the addition of Mario’s brother Luigi to the popular Lego theme.

The interactive Lego Adventures with Luigi Starter Course will enable two players to enjoy brick-built adventures on their own custom Lego Super Mario courses and play as a team, collecting extra digital coins by doing in-sync actions like walking, flipping and jumping, or working together to defeat enemies, complete challenges, share rewards or even compete against each other.

Once connected via Bluetooth, 2-player adventures with Lego Mario and Lego Luigi (or any combination of the two figures) are made possible. The new 2-player feature was shared in a video posted by the Lego Group and Nintendo.

“For us, it’s all about encouraging continuous creative rebuilding and extended playtime. We’re not only bringing Lego Mario and Lego Luigi, their friends and enemies to life in new interactive ways for endless fun, we’re also thrilled to expand their play experience and the Lego Super Mario universe with even more new sets and characters, something we really hope will excite fans”, said Simon Kent, creative lead, Lego Super Mario.

The Adventures with Luigi Starter Course is the latest extension of the Lego Super Mario product line, the result of a unique partnership with Nintendo, that has introduced an entirely new way to play with Lego bricks.

Lego Luigi and Lego Mario are available as separate Starter Courses – both functioning as entry points into the world of Lego Super Mario – and as well as unveiling the new Bluetooth-enabled 2-player mode, there will be four new Expansion Sets, two new Power-Up Packs and 10 new Character Packs, all available from 1st August.

The Bowser’s Airship Expansion Set gives fans a first chance to build an exciting new level within the universe, taking on the infamous flying ship, and can be arranged in ‘flying mode’ or folded out in ‘course mode’. The other new products include Frog Mario and Bee Mario Power-Up Packs, which let players change up play and dress Mario in his playful frog and bee suits; and a Boss Sumo Bro Topple Tower Expansion Set, where kids can use their Lego Mario and/or Luigi figure to bring down the Topple Tower.

There is also the Lakitu Sky World Expansion Set, Reznor Knockdown Expansion Set and 10 collectible Character Packs, including Galoomba, Parachute Bob-omb, Crowber, Boo, Amp, Torpedo Ted, Bony Beetle, 1-Up Mushroom, Scuttlebug and Swoop.

 

Germany’s 468 SPAC to acquire Boxine, the company behind the Tonies brand

It is reported that the deal will see the children’s digital media and entertainment business change hands for around €1b.

German blank cheque firm 468 SPAC has entered exclusive negotiations to buy Boxine, the company behind the Tonies brand, for about €1b ($1.2b), according to Reuters.

It reports that 468 SPAC has signed a letter of intent that includes raising €100m through private investment in public equity (PIPE) for Boxine, the children’s digital media and entertainment business which produces Tonies, the screen-free audio entertainment system for ages three and up.

German company Boxine was started in 2016 by Patric Faßbender and Marcus Stahl (pictured), two fathers who came up with the idea for the Tonies, Toniebox and Creative-Tonies. Since its initial launch, Boxine has forged partnerships with publishers of internationally recognised children’s books such as Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo, as well as licensed stories and characters from The Walt Disney Company and, more recently, pre-school favourites such as Bob the Builder and Paw Patrol.

The €1b price is based on a post-money valuation, or the value after new capital injections from investors.

Reuters reports that 468 SPAC was founded by German entrepreneurs with ties to Berlin startups incubator Rocket Internet, which produced some of Germany’s leading listed tech firms such as Delivery Hero, Zalando and Hellofresh.

468 SPAC’s co-founders are Ludwig Ensthaler, who previously worked at seed investor Global Founders Capital and US-based software entrepreneur Florian Leibert. They launched 468 SPAC 1 SE, the special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) they are sponsoring, in April and raised €300m. SPACs are shell companies that raise funds in an initial public offering with the aim of merging with a private company, which becomes public as a result, providing an alternative to traditional IPOs.

468 SPAC’s merger with a target company is the third such deal in Germany after German air shuttle startup Lilium’s deal with Qell in March and Signa Sports United’s recent merger with Yucaipa.

Senior Warner Bros. Consumer Products execs to kick off opening keynote at Licensing Expo Virtual 2021

Licensing experts will address free virtual event on topics such as the power of super fandom to enhancing collaboration and in-store retail.

Two key leaders from Warner Bros. Consumer Products will kick off the first day with the opening keynote of the free-to-attend Licensing Expo Virtual, in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International, set for August 24th-26th.

Pam Lifford, president of WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences, and Robert Oberschelp, senior vice president, Global Franchise Management and Brand Product for Warner Bros. Consumer Products, will deliver the address entitled Unlocking the Fan Power of Global Franchises, moderated by License Global’s content director Amanda Cioletti.

The pair will take the virtual stage at 11am EDT/8am PDT on 24th August, presenting attendees with exclusive insight into their world-class business strategy that is a key contributor to the $292.8b licensing industry. “Licensing is a strategic tool for brands to leverage in order to extend their audience reach and gain market share—we are honoured to headline Licensing Expo Virtual and share our deep pool of insights and learnings from across Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ wide assortment of portfolios,” commented Pam Lifford.

Pam is responsible for developing all-new fan-engagement business opportunities at WarnerMedia, in addition to aligning current fan-focused activities, while Robert Oberschelp’s role includes oversight of Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ global licensing programme that brings new and existing collections to fans. They will touch on everything from the power of super fandom to leveraging e-commerce channels in 2021 and 2022, when to pull on direct-to-consumer levers, how to maximise multiple platforms, enhancing collaborations and in-store retail.

“We could not be more excited to share that executives from a world-renowned studio with global reach and influence will kick off this year’s event; Lifford and Oberschelp’s address is a must-attend,” said Anna Knight, vice president of Licensing, Informa Markets. “Between the two executives, attendees will have access to decades of experience in executing licensing campaigns that have shaped the entertainment sector and will walk away with newfound learnings they can apply to foster brand growth and expansion.”

In addition to delivering educational sessions, the free-to-attend Licensing Expo Virtual offers peer-to-peer connection, networking and deal-making, with searchable IP discovery at the forefront.

Registration for the event has got off to a strong start and pre-registrations to date include retailers Alibaba, Amazon, Claire’s, Lidl, Primark, rue21, Superdry, TJX and Toys’R’Us, and licensees Bentex Group, Bioworld International, Boeing Group, Colgate Palmolive, Ferrero, Garmin, Hallmark Cards, Her Accessories, Puma, Ravensburger, Tastemakers and Tomy International.

For more information about Licensing Expo Virtual click here.

Spielwarenmesse to offer digital platform alongside live 2022 event

Spielwarenmesse Digital will provide networking opportunities and product presentations as well as profiles of all participating companies.

Spielwarenmesse Digital

A new digital platform will run alongside the live Spielwarenmesse 2022, providing a hub for important information and networking, the organisers of the Nuremberg trade fair have announced. Spielwarenmesse eG says the platform will extend the already huge reach of the event, which is scheduled to run from 2nd-6th February, 2022.

Spielwarenmesse Digital will offer many benefits including product presentations, networking opportunities and talks from experts, as well as providing a comprehensive summary of all participating companies and their products. This includes both on site exhibitors and those taking part only digitally. The integrated search function allows visitors to research specific exhibitors, products, brands and licences, to remember relevant companies or to contact them directly.

“Our world-leading fair has huge coverage, successfully connecting the global toy industry. The new digital platform will make it even easier for attendees to network,” said Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG.

All participants will have their own personal profile that can be filled with information about individual interests, social media and other details. Personalised suggestions will help users generate new contacts on the platform. It is also possible to search for and add individual firms to a favourites list, recommend contacts to others, arrange appointments either at the fair or virtually and to chat. This is facilitated by the various communication tools on Spielwarenmesse Digital, such as private chat, group chat, audio calls and video meetings.

The extensive programme of events at the physical Spielwarenmesse will also be live-streamed on the digital platform. These include the Toy Business Forum, LicenseTalks and workshops as well as the exhibitors’ product presentations, which will be transmitted from Nuremberg to the rest of the world. In addition, Spielwarenmesse Digital gives users access to special areas and the usual information services such as the exhibitors’ press packs and the MediaPoint. The full range of services, such as press conferences and talks, will continue to be available on demand once Spielwarenmesse closes.

click here for further details about the new digital offering.

 

Wilton Bradley appoints Jeff Goldstein as country manager for the US and Canada

Jeff will be tasked with growing Wilton Bradley’s sales across the US and Canada, and brings a wealth of industry experience to the role.

Wilton Bradley has announced the appointment of Jeff Goldstein as country manager responsible for growth across the US and Canada.  Jeff, who will be based in New Jersey, brings a wealth of toy industry experience to Wilton Bradley having previously held senior sales positions with  Hasbro, Ohio Art and, more recently, Kid Station Toys.

Commenting on his new role, Jeff said: “I am excited and honoured  to have joined Wilton Bradley. The chance to be part of the team to drive sales, in the US and Canada, for such a successful and respected organisation made this an incredibly attractive opportunity. The variety of existing brands, coupled with new proprietary products, opens up a wide range of distribution channels for significant sustainable growth.

He added: “The team at Wilton Bradley has been so very welcoming and professional and has lived up to its stellar advanced billing. Our colleagues in the UK and Hong Kong continue to work diligently to offer the best in customer service. It is great to be here at such an exciting and ambitious time, and to be able to offer customers the chance to benefit from existing Wilton Bradley brands as well as our extensive design and manufacturing capabilities.”

Laetitia Westerman, head of international sales at Wilton Bradley, commented: “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome Jeff as a key member of the Wilton Bradley team. His insight and experience are invaluable, and he joins a dynamic team which continues to drive Wilton Bradley’s international growth and presence in going forward as a force within the industry.”

Toy Fair New York to host World of Toys Pavilion by Spielwarenmesse eG

The pavilion will welcome more global brands and toys to NYC when it is staged at the Toy Fair for the first time.

Toy manufacturers will be able to take advantage of a new World of Toys Pavilion at Toy Fair New York 2022 after show organisers The Toy Association announced a partnership with exhibition service provider Spielwarenmesse eG.

The World of Toys Programme by Spielwarenmesse eG gives manufacturers easy access to international toy markets, and next year the popular format will arrive in the US for the first time. The Toy Fair New York 2022 is being held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from 19th-22nd February, opening its doors soon after the Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg which runs from from 2nd-6th February.

Spielwarenmesse eG’s World of Toys programme offers a hassle-free platform for exhibiting at international industry events, providing companies with access to global markets and retailers. Exhibitors in the World of Toys Pavilion at Toy Fair New York will receive comprehensive support in organising their attendance at the marketplace, including a ready-made booth with basic furniture and fixtures. The service package covers initial planning, organisational and marketing services, and on-site support. The 2,153sq ft pavilion will be housed in a central location on Level 3 of the Javits Center.

“Toy Fair New York is a world-renowned, international marketplace celebrating its 118th year and we are eager to welcome even more new global brands and innovative toys from all over the world,” said Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association. “This opportunity leverages the newly expanded and renovated Javits Convention Center that will house the World of Toys Pavilion, along with many more show enhancements. We are thrilled to offer buyers, media and all attendees an even more enriching global experience at Toy Fair New York ’22 thanks to the addition of the pavilion.”

Commenting on the growing World of Toys family, Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG, stated: “We’ve been following developments in the US for several years and have also conducted a survey among all our regular customers which generated a very encouraging response. Now that the contract has been signed, we’re finally in a position to support exhibitors wanting to access the US market.”

Manufacturers interested in taking part can book a space in the World of Toys Pavilion at Toy Fair New York until the end of October. For details, contact Martin von Vopelius (m.vopelius@spielwarenmesse.de) at Spielwarenmesse eG.

For more information about Toy Fair New York, visit toyfairny.com. You can also visit toyfaireverywhere.info, a global B2B eCommerce platform, connecting toy manufacturers and buyers all year round.

Casdon Toys’ Roger Howard retires after 45 years with the company

From office junior to head of UK sales, Roger spent all of his working life with the Blackpool headquartered toy company.

Toy industry stalwart Roger Howard retired from Casdon Toys this week after a sterling 45 years’ service.

Roger Howard is pictured (centre) with Peter Cassidy (left) and Phil Cassidy (right).

Roger joined the team at Blackpool-headquartered Casdon as an office junior in July 1976, aged just 16, and just a few years later was put in charge of the warehouse and sales office. He has been heading up UK sales since 2000 and has had a rich record at the business – seeing it grow from a UK operation to the international business it is today.

As Toy World reported last week, Casdon Toys celebrates its 75th anniversary this month. Launched on 8th June 1946 by Thomas Cassidy, the company is well-known for its range of best-selling role-play toys.

Becoming an extended part of the Cassidy family along the path of his career, Roger said he has many fond memories of his time with Casdon: “I have had 45 amazing years at Casdon, experiencing some fantastic times from my very first Toy Fair as sales manager, to travelling the world with the job. I have worked with some great people past and present and have watched the company change and grow over the years. I’ve built up some great relationships with both customers and fellow workers and would like to wish all at Casdon the very best for future success.”

Speaking about his retirement, Roger said he was looking forward to getting away on a sunny holiday, once restrictions allow, and enjoying the relaxation.

Phil Cassidy, managing director of Casdon, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Roger so much for his unrelenting commitment and loyalty to Casdon for 45 years. Not many people can say they started a job at 16 and have continued to work in the same business right through to retirement. This is an achievement he should be very proud of. Roger’s hard work over four decades has been instrumental to Casdon’s continued success and we thank him so much for this. He was not only a great employee he has become a friend and family member.”

Anyone that would like to wish Roger well in his retirement can contact him at: rogerhoward20@yahoo.com.

 

L.O.L. Surprise! announces Tweens fashion dolls

Each Tweens doll comes with 15 surprises and packaging that turns into a bedroom play set, and is a new size in the L.O.L. Surprise! family.

The latest members to join the L.O.L. Surprise! family, the all-new L.O.L. Surprise! Tweens are positioned as ‘my first’ fashion doll collectibles and allow fans to unbox an entirely new size of L.O.L. Surprise! doll. Standing at 6.5”, Tweens sit in between L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls and O.M.G Fashion Dolls. Each Tweens doll comes with 15 surprises and reusable packaging that turns into a bedroom play set.

There are four runway-ready Tweens dolls to collect including new characters Fancy Gurl, Freshest, Hoops Cutie and Cherry B.B. Each doll comes with stunning features from head-to-toe, distinctive styles and unique personalities. Freshest, the cool and laid-back B.B. of the crew, loves skateboarding and video games, whilst Hoops Cutie is the sports enthusiast – trainers and athleisure wear are her go-to. Fancy Gurl is the ultimate super social B.B. and is obsessed with all things pink, and Cherry B.B. brings the vintage vibes with her 50s’ inspired style.

Each doll also comes with a paper ‘journal’ that tells kids little more about her personality. With fashions, shoes, accessories and much more, these dolls offer a host of surprises to enjoy as well as the fiercest styles.

MGA Entertainment will support the range with an ongoing awareness campaign including influencer and celebrity engagement, social media activity including a digital launch event, heavyweight TV and ongoing PR activity.

 

IMC Toys signs second Nickelodeon partnership deal for Cry Babies Magic Tears

A TV and social media campaign will support the autumn/winter product launches for the popular doll range from IMC Toys.

IMC Toys has signed a content partnership with Nickelodeon for the second year following the success of its 2020 Cry Babies Magic Tears collaboration.

The partnership, which was launched last September, includes the broadcasting of Cry Babies Magic Tears commercial short form episodes, linear content and a digital hub on Nick Jr.  Kick-starting with the Cry Babies Magic Tears Fantasy animated series, this has been closely followed by spring 21’s Tutti Frutti series featuring the characters in new adventures. A fourth series will air this summer to pre-empt the new autumn/winter Cry Babies Magic Tears Storyland range.

Designed to reinforce brand awareness and engagement, the Cry Babies Magic Tears content will continue to stream simultaneously across the Nickelodeon network in commercial airtime, and IMC Toys’ official digital and broadcast channel, Kitoons. The partnership will reach over one million kids in the UK, across touchpoints including P-T-V TV, a dedicated Cry Babies Magic Tears digital hub linked to NickJr.co.uk, and extend to Nick Jr.’s social channels.

“Cry Babies Magic Tears remains one of our strongest performers within the business portfolio and the collaboration with one of the world’s leading kids’ entertainment brands perfectly illustrates our commitment to investing in, and growing the brand,” said Kerry Tarrant, IMC UK marketing manager.

“By partnering with Nick Jr., we have extended our existing Cry Babies Magic Tears community, reaching and engaging a new audience of younger children. We have a phenomenal fan-base with the viewing and engagement figures demonstrating a huge appetite for related content which we will continue to develop across all of our TV, digital and social touchpoints.”

Due to the huge success of the Cry Babies Magic Tears commercial partnership, IMC Toys and Nickelodeon are also embarking on a joint venture for the VIP Pets brand following a successful pilot launch at Easter. Season one of the VIP Pets animated series is now airing across Nick Jr. and will be supported by a dedicated VIP Pets hub on Nickjr.co.uk. A second series will launch during the autumn with a 13-episode run.

Generation Entertainment’s director of content, Greta Bisetto-Donelan, said: “We are delighted to have successfully activated a fantastic content-led collaboration with Nickelodeon and IMC, for the second year running. In 2021 and 2022, Cry Babies Magic Tears will continue to be showcased on Nick Jr., to delight and entertain the pre-school audience.”

Beyond the partnership with Nickelodeon, a programme of traditional, sponsorship, digital, social and influencer-led campaigns are scheduled to support the new autumn/winter product launches.

For more information on Cry Babies Magic Tears, VIP Pets and other ranges by IMC Toys, please contact info.uk@imctoys.com.