The Toy Association confirms 2023 New York Toy Fair dates

As the dates were confirmed, The Toy Association added that the New York Toy Fair will remain at the Javits Centre, its home for many years.

Earlier this year, The Toy Association announced that it would be moving the New York Toy Fair from its traditional February date to a new timeslot in the autumn.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that the show will take place from 30th September – 3rd October, 2023.

Speaking of the decision to move the show, back in February this year, Toy Association president Steve Pasierb commented: “The board has decided Toy Fair is moving to the fall, which meets the prime timing of an evolved and swiftly evolving toy industry. Fall can deliver a powerful pre-holiday opportunity for companies to make product news that matters, something that can’t happen in February. Fall in NY is particularly appealing to allied industries, including licensing, entertainment and studios not currently part of Toy Fair, but important to the business of toys and now intrigued by potentially joining in.”

Assuming the dates of the LA Toy event remain similar to this year, it would appear that the New York show will start around one week after the LA event finishes.

“Retail buyers tell us they want to do their LA run, hold those key appointments, and depart — not have a Toy Fair elsewhere in LA too,” added Steve. “In fact, there was little board or major retailer support for anywhere other than NY. The board and Trade Show Committee are fully aware and accept some LA-based companies will take a different position in a fall Toy Fair, or use it for other purposes.”

The timing of the event also has ramifications here in the UK: Brand Licensing Europe, the leading licensing show for the European market, has taken the decision to move its dates back 24 hours to avoid overlapping with the New York Toy Fair. As a result, BLE 2023 will take place from 4th-6th October.

More information will be available at www.toyfairny.com in due course.

See the latest new roles added to Toy World’s recruitment round-up

Engino and Craft Buddy are among the latest companies looking to fill vacancies through Toy World’s popular recruitment section.

Engino is looking to hire an experienced International Sales Executive to lead its exports department. This position is a remote one, allowing working from home, but will require a lot of travelling to visit customers and exhibit at trade shows around the world, as well as regular visits to the headquarters in Cyprus for training and coordination.

The successful candidate will be in charge of opening and growing key accounts in two main pillars:  the retail and distribution of STEM toys, and the education sector, either direct to schools or Ministries of Education, or through selected dealers.

The ideal person will have toy industry or Edtech experience and at least six years’ experience in a similar role. Please click here for further information.

Craft Buddy is seeking a talented and driven Trade Sales Manager – Maternity Cover  to join the successful and exciting Arts, Crafts & Toy company in a key department – B2B sales – on a maternity cover, fixed-term basis.

The post-holder will manage their own portfolio of craft, toy and gift store accounts, both in the UK and abroad and assist the Head of Sales in putting together product proposals for key accounts. The successful candidate will ideally have a proven track record in the sales or customer service industry, and will enjoy the responsibility of handling their own sales accounts. For further details click here.

Other vacancies currently being advertised include:

  • DKB Toys & Distribution is seeking a Field Sales Account Manager – North of England & Midlands who will help aid the exponential growth of the business. This role will be home based with office visits as well as travel to meet suppliers.
  • University Games is seeking an Area Manager to find new business and growth within independent and educational accounts in the South West.
  • An Assistant Brand Manager is being sought by Tomy to join its Central Marketing Team and support on the development of European brand strategy.

Do you have a vacancy you’d like to fill? Toy World is where the trade goes for the latest recruitment opportunities. For more information or to place an advert and feature in a future Recruitment Round Up, contact Mark Austin, sales director mark@toyworldmag.co.uk

Get involved in the October issue of Toy World

Work will soon be starting on the upcoming October issue and all the details and deadlines you need are below.

The October 2022 issue of Toy World will be published at the beginning of the month. A special Character Licensed Merchandise section will highlight the latest properties and licensed ranges. The focus will be on licensees and licensed merchandise, primarily showcasing new licensed ranges which will be hitting the market in Q4 ’22 and Q1 ’23.

Licensors are also welcome to have a presence in the October issue, if that works for them from a timing point of view.

There’s also a feature on Pre-Christmas advertising, detailing the marketing support that will be underpinning key ranges as we approach the festive season.

Of course, this issue will also include regular features like Talking Shop, Indie Viewpoint, NPD Insight and Allegedly, as well as a curted content from guest contributors and a host of exclusive feature interviews. As usual, Toy World will bring you all the latest news from the toy industry.

The editorial deadline for the October edition is the 1st September, while the ad copy date will be 13th September. Companies wanting to be involved are advised to get the ball rolling in good time.

For advertising enquiries, contact Mark Austin by phoning 01442 502405 or emailing mark@toyworldmag.co.uk.

For editorial enquiries, contact:

Rachael Simpson-Jones Rachael@toyworldmag.co.uk

Samantha Giltrow Sam@toyworldmag.co.uk

or Suzie Sparkes Suzie@toyworldmag.co.uk

The editorial team can also be reached on 01442 502406.

MGA signs multi-year agreement for Armored Saurus

MGA will develop a range based on on Armored Saurus in an agreement which includes distribution of the new series along with toy and merchandising rights.

MGA Entertainment and Daewon Media, a South Korean cultural content company specializing in character and animation related media, have announced the signing of a multi-year, worldwide agreement for MGA to develop, produce and distribute a new video series based on the hit show from Daewon, Armored Saurus.

The show mixes visual effects (VFX) and live action. In addition to distribution rights (outside of South Korea, Japan, and China), the deal includes toy and merchandising rights. The global launch of the newly re-imagined brand, content and product is projected for 2024 in North America, Latin America and Europe.

A 2021 South Korean television series developed by Daewon Media, Armored Saurus is the story of armoured dinosaurs with mechanical powers and their trained pilots, who fight against extraterrestrial invaders that are set on destroying Earth. Season one of the re-envisioned series is planned to be 13 half-hour episodes and will include updates to the existing VFX and live action as well as updated storylines to appeal to a global audience.

“MGA continues to explore partnerships like this one as part of our growing entertainment focus and this agreement with Daewon Media is a big step in bringing fresh, innovative children’s content and products to a broader, global audience,” said MGA Entertainment founder and CEO Isaac Larian. “We are eager to begin work on this new, action-packed series and accompanying toys and licensed products to introduce kids around the globe to the Armored Saurus world.”

Dong-Hoon Jung, CEO, Daewon Media added: “We are pleased to announce this agreement, combining our expertise and experience in content creation with MGA’s global business capabilities, experience managing IP in many categories and its global infrastructure. We look forward to accelerating the promotion of toys and other licensed products in 2024.”

Lego launches new Hogwarts Express Collector’s Edition

In celebration of the new Lego Harry Potter set, the Lego Group is offering fans the chance to play, build and stay on a real Lego Hogwarts Express train. 

The new Hogwarts Express Collector’s Edition measures 118cm long. Rich in details both inside and out, the model includes the steam engine, the coal car, the passenger car featuring light up bricks, and a spectacular replica of Platform 9 ¾, which can be attached in several different places. The full train sits on a track-display-base and includes a turning lever to activate the wheels.

This set features an impressive twenty Lego minifigures inspired by four fan-favourite film moments, including Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and a never before seen before adult Lego Harry Potter.

Fans can uncover iconic scenes and quotes from the movies that all link to the train or the platform as they build a magical Lego Harry Potter world. The set will transport them through the journey from when Harry, Ron and Hermione first meet in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, through to when Albus Severus Potter goes to Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

Marcos Bessa, Lego designer commented: “The Harry Potter movies ignite that feeling of magic within us all. When we were working on this set, we wanted to bring to life different moments from across the movies. Whether your favourite is the original trio meeting on the train or moments from movies later in the series, this set really brings back spellbinding memories from all of our favourite parts of the Harry Potter films.”

Supporting the launch of the new line, a competition will offer fans the chance to take part in a magical adventure along one of the United Kingdom’s most beautiful heritage railway lines. The one-night experience also includes playing with the new Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Express set, a movie screening and a luxury stay in a bespoke carriage.

The Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Collector’s Edition set is available from 31st August 2022. More details about the competition can be found at www.lego.com/howarts-express.

The new-look Lego Store Leicester Square had its grand reopening this month to become the biggest Lego store in the world. The store features impressive 3D Harry Potter builds including Gringotts, Diagon Alley and a Dark Arts scene. Fans will also get the chance to get their Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Collector’s Edition set signed by Lego designer Marcos Bessa on 31st August at the Lego Store Leicester Square between 5-6pm.

Fanattik becomes UK distributor for Handmade by Robots

The partnership will support a growing UK fanbase and increasing demand for the Handmade by Robots collectible vinyl figures.

Handmade by Robots, the creator and producer of collectible vinyl figures, has announced a new distribution partnership with UK-based gift and collectibles company, Fanattik.

A growing Handmade by Robots fanbase in the UK presented an opportunity to establish a local distribution partner to support increasing demand for product and directly supply retailers in the UK and Ireland.

Handmade by Robots creates and releases vinyl figures driven by some of the most recognisable entertainment characters in pop culture such as Scooby-Doo, Ghost Face and Batman. The strategic partnership with Fanattik, an established licensing partner for powerhouse brands such as Universal Studios and Hasbro, will enable the companyto expand its presence outside of the US.

“Partnering with Fanattik will put our collectible figures in the hands of even more fans around the world,” said Mary Olson, creator of Handmade by Robots. “Fanattik, like us, is obsessed with bringing the most unique and interesting pop culture products to retailers and fans alike.”

“Fanattik only gets involved in projects that spark our passion and from the moment I saw these figures I knew they were something special,” said Anthony Marks, managing director at Fanattik. “We are proud to add Handmade by Robots figures to our portfolio of collectibles and represent their brand in the UK and Ireland.”

The figures will be available in select stores Q4 2022, launching to the wider market early 2023. For details on how to become a stockist, contact hello@wearefanattik.com

 

Rose Ayling-Ellis and friends celebrate new Barbie Fashionistas

The Rose, Barbie & Friends campaign brings together Rose Ayling-Ellis along with a cast of diverse models that reflect the new inclusive line of Barbie dolls.

Rose Ayling-Ellis poses with first ever Barbie doll with hearing aids

A Barbie doll with a behind-the-ear hearing aid, a Ken doll with vitiligo, a new Fashionista doll with prosthetic leg and a wheelchair Barbie doll have gone on sale across the UK. Strictly star & Eastenders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis is taking part in a new campaign: ‘Rose, Barbie & Friends’, teaming up with a cast of diverse talent to pose in front of the cameras with dolls that reflect, and celebrate, their differences.

Stunning images of Rose Ayling-Ellis, who has brought deaf inclusion to the forefront of national conversation; alongside inspiring models Jamie, a 17 year old student with vitiligo; Renee a model and paraplegic wheelchair user and Faisha, a yoga teacher and model with a below-the-knee prosthetic limb are released today. The models are posing with the new inclusive Barbie dolls, as the Barbie brand celebrates a broader view of beauty, enabling kids to play with more dolls that reflect themselves and the diverse world around them.

“It’s so important for children to be able to see themselves represented in the toys they play with,” explained Rose Ayling-Ellis. “When I was little, I would draw hearing aids onto my Barbie dolls to make them look like me, so I am thrilled that Mattel is releasing more dolls that encourage kids to celebrate and embrace their differences.”

Rose Ayling-Ellis is a deaf actress. Born to hearing parents, Rose learnt British sign language (BSL) as a young child after her mother was motivated to improve their ability to communicate with each other and to immerse Rose in the deaf community. Since then, the deaf community and BSL have been integral to Rose and her identity. Rose joined the cast of EastEnders in 2020 and was the first deaf character to use BSL on the soap. In 2021, Rose was the first deaf contestant to appear on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and went on to win the competition. As well as acting, Rose’s passions lie in sharing deaf culture and advocating for the deaf community, evidenced by her involvement in campaigning for the BSL Bill to be passed by government.

Earlier this year Rose became the first celebrity to use British Sign Language to read a CBeebies bedtime story and later this month, she will deliver the Alternative MacTaggart lecture at Edinburgh Television Festival where she will discuss her experiences as a deaf actress and life in the TV industry.

Leading educational audiologist and hard of hearing advocate Dr. Jen Richardson added: “I’m honoured to have worked with Mattel to create an accurate reflection of a doll with behind-the-ear hearing aids. As an educational audiologist with over 18 years of experience working in hard of hearing advocacy, it’s inspiring those who experience hard of hearing reflected in a doll. I’m beyond thrilled for my young patients to see and play with a doll who looks like them.”

Since the inception of the Barbie Fashionistas line, over 175 looks have been introduced, offering children a variety of skin tones, eye colours, hair colours and textures, body types, disabilities, and fashions to choose from.

Lisa McKnight, Executive vice president and Global head of Barbie and Dolls, Mattel, Inc. said: “The Barbie brand wholeheartedly believes in the power of representation, and we are committed to continuing to introduce dolls featuring a range of skin tones, body types and disabilities to reflect the diversity kids see in the world around them.”

The 2022 Barbie Fashionistas line is available in the UK now.

Finalists announced for Toy of the Year Awards

Wow! Stuff’s Jurassic World Real FX Baby Blue is among the finalists at the TOTY Awards run by the Toy Association.

The finalists – all 122 of them – have been announced for this September’s Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards.

As expected, the list is dominated by US companies but flying the flag for Britain in the Action Figure category is Wow! Stuff with its Jurassic World Real FX Baby Blue animatronic dinosaur.

“To be a finalist in one of the most hotly contested categories at the TOTY Awards is kudos to our fantastic teams,” said Wow! Stuff’s head of Licensing, Kenny McAndrew.

The finalists, across 17 categories, were selected by a panel of judges comprising play experts, journalists, academics, retailers and other toy experts, and now it’s up to the voters to determine the winners.

Everyone is invited to visit ToyAwards.org to vote for their favourites in each category, with voting closing on 2nd September. Category winners will be announced at the TOTY Awards on 20th September at the Dallas Market Center, on the opening day of The Toy Association’s 2023 Preview & 2022 Holiday Market.

The overall Toy of the Year and People’s Choice award winners will be announced on 21st November, 2022. Voting for the People’s Choice Award, decided by online consumer votes, will remain open until 11th November, 2022. The Toy of the Year will be determined by a panel of expert judges.

Reacting to the news that Jurassic World Real FX Baby Blue has reached the finals of the Awards, Wow! Stuff’s head of Licensing, Kenny McAndrew added: “The TOTY Awards are the highest honour in the global toy industry. The Action Figure category is the one everyone wants to win and now that they take place ahead of the holiday season, any winner can utilise the prestige and authority of the TOTY Awards to say ‘don’t take our word that this is a truly special toy, see what our industry says’.”

“The finalists are marvelous examples of innovation and imagination to deliver the power of play to children and adults alike,” said Pamela Mastrota, executive director of The Toy Foundation. “While the TOTY Awards spotlight the best of the best in toys, it’s heartening that our toy family chooses this platform to unite behind the TTF’s core programme areas. Thanks to your collective support, we’re able to deliver millions of toys to disadvantaged youth, improve pediatric care in under-resourced communities, and help attract diverse talent to the industry.”

The TOTY Awards are a key fundraiser for TTF to support its year-round philanthropic work and all event proceeds (including TOTY nomination fees) benefit its initiatives, including the Children’s Hospital Play Grants programme to bring the healing power of play to children in hospital settings.

To see the full list of Toy of the Year finalists, click here.

 

Asmodee unveils summer campaign: Trains and Boats and Planes

Asmodee games will be available on trains, boats and planes this summer as the company tries to ease stress for travelling families.

Trains and Boats and Planes

A selection of the games that travellers will be able to enjoy this summer

Delays, cancellations, lost baggage, Covid and post-Brexit rules have combined to create chaotic travel conditions so far this year, with travellers made to queue or sit around for hours with little in the way of entertainment. This is where Asmodee thought it could help out.

The company’s new summer initiative, Trains and Boats and Planes, will see some of Asmodee’s most famous games, including Dobble, Bananagrams, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, BrainBox and Ticket to Ride London, appear on trains, boats, planes and in airports during the busy summer holidays. Newer games such as So Wrong It’s Right and Noggin will also be part of the campaign. The games provide endless fun that families of all ages can enjoy, while also reducing everyone’s screen time and encouraging everyone to socialise together.

Head of marketing at Asmodee, James Arnold, explained: “Travelling with children can be stressful at the best of times, but this year we have seen everything that possibly could go wrong, go wrong. It felt important to us that we find a way to ease summer holiday stress, not only for parents but also for the children. That’s how we came up with the idea of providing games for trainlines, ferries and airports to use as a way of entertaining their passengers.”

Throughout the course of the campaign, Asmodee games can be found in railway station concourses, landside at airports, and, of course, on trains and boats and planes.

Toy World swells editorial team

Suzie Sparkes has joined Alakat Publishing as editorial assistant and staff writer, working across Toy World and Licensing.biz.

Toy World is pleased to welcome Suzie Sparkes to the team as Alakat Publishing goes from strength to strength. Suzie joins the company from Gameplan Europe, a consultancy directed towards child related consumer markets throughout Europe.

Suzie worked as a research consultant at Gameplan, a wide ranging role which has given her a broad range of skills and invaluable experience of the toy industry, both of which she will be able to put to good use at Toy World and Licensing.biz.

Suzie’s varied career to date encompasses research, admin and proofing, customer service, sales support and pan European operations. As operations manager EMEA at Kodak Ltd, she was responsible for the operations and logistics of a $60m subsidiary of the company, and also worked in several other roles.

Working in research for the toy industry at Gameplan, Suzie has come to know Toy World’s esteemed publication well. “Having read Toy World for the last four years as part of my research, I am delighted to now be part of the team putting it together,” she commented.

Publisher John Baulch addded: “We are pleased to welcome Suzie to the team. The continued success of Toy World, plus our recent acquisition of Licensing.biz means that we are busier than ever, and an extra pair of hands will be a welcome addition to all concerned. I’m sure that Suzie’s varied skillset, her positive attitude and the industry knowledge she has gained while working at Gameplan will stand her – and Alakat – in great stead as we continue to produce our market leading toy industry title, Toy World, and work more extensively with the licensing industry on Licensing.biz.”

Suzie joins Rachael and Sam on the editorial team and can be contacted on suzie@toyworldmag.co.uk.

To find out more about our plans for Licensing.biz, contact John Baulch on 07932 651207 – john@toyworldmag.co.uk  and for advertising enquiries, contact Mark Austin on 07710 532952 – mark@toyworldmag.co.uk.