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Peachtree Playthings
Toylines (alphabetical order)
Motorixed Fly WheelZ (2000)
Motorixed PullbaX (2000)
Toylines (chronological order)
2000 Motorixed Fly WheelZ
2000 Motorixed PullbaX
Company history
About Peachtree Playthings    
Toys marketed under the name Peachtree Playthings were first introduced in 1990 by Southern States Marketing, Inc., a manufacturers representative firm. Since then Peachtree Playthings has grown to include a variety of different categories of products ranging from Activities, Vehicles, Girls Dress Up and Role Play, Tools, Junior Sports and Summer Seasonal products. The products marketed under the name Peachtree Playthings are manufactured by Peachtree Playthings (HK) Ltd., a Hong Kong Corporation. Southern States Marketing, Inc.(a Georgia corporation) owns a majority stake in Peachtree Playthings (HK) Ltd. This company is located in Atlanta, Geargia, hence the company's name.
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official website for Peachtree Playthings
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From the News Archive
Toys: The movie industry's new playthings

When Michael Bay, cinema’s reigning champion of vehicular carnage, thinks your idea for an explosive, special-effects-laden blockbuster is lame, you’ve got problems.
A few years ago, Bay, the director of “Armageddon,” “The Rock” and “Bad Boys,” was in his editing room when Steven Spielberg called to offer him a new project: an action movie about giant robots that metamorphose into cars, trucks and planes.
As Bay recalled in a recent interview, “I’m like, ‘OK, great, great, great.’ And I hung up the phone. And I’m like, ‘That sounds like a dumb idea.’”

What helped persuade Bay to take the first “Transformers” movie — which in 2007 took in more than $700 million worldwide at the box office, and whose sequel, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” opened Wednesday — was a visit to the Pawtucket, R.I., headquarters of Hasbro, which creates the Transformers toys.
There Bay, 44, was given a thorough education on the narrative embedded in the 25-year-old toy line: a back story about warring factions of valiant Autobots and nefarious Decepticons who bring their battle to Earth from their home planet, Cybertron.
Bay was sold.
“I don’t consider this a toy,” he said. “It’s not. To me it’s the furthest thing from it. It was about the mythology and that there was a story here.”
For Hasbro, this summer will see not one but two of its most lucrative properties spun into big-budget movies. The “Transformers” sequel will be followed on Aug. 7 by a live-action adaptation of its G.I. Joe toys, called “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.”  The pair of films is the payoff of a strategy that the toy company has been cultivating for nearly a decade: infusing movie-friendly story lines into its popular playthings and teaching Hollywood that these stories can be translated onto cinema screens. It’s an approach that many other toymakers also are taking, unwilling to cede theater marquees to the creations of comic book publishers such as Marvel and DC.  As fans and collectors know, the Hasbro toys have histories that stretch back for decades.
The original G.I. Joe, a 12-inch-tall soldier known as “America’s moveable fighting man,” was introduced by Hasbro in 1964. After the Vietnam War, Joe’s connection to the U.S. military was played down, and in 1982 the soldier was recommissioned as a pocket-size special missions force of numerous agents. The Joe team was given a nemesis, Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization (back when such things seemed suitable for youthful reveries).
Two years later, Hasbro imported a series of action figures created by the Japanese toy company Takara, consisting of robots that disguise themselves as vehicles and other technology, calling them Transformers.
The G.I. Joe and Transformers toys, and their comic book and cartoon spinoffs, dominated the marketplace in the 1980s. But in the 1990s, their popularity faded as children turned their attention to newer phenomena such as Pokemon and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
“There’s certainly a fad element to what kids are into,” said Gareb Shamus, the publisher of the collectibles magazine ToyFare. Some properties, he said, “just need to take a breather.
Posted 7/26/2009
Jakks Dec 2007 WWE suit tossed - Playthings
MALIBU, Calif.—A Federal court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by World Wrestling Entertainment against long-time licensee Jakks Pacific, its officers and other defendants, the toymaker announced today.

A Jakks Pacific figure of WWE star Shawn Michaelsplaythings.com/articles/images/PLAY/20071203/Jakks_WWEShawnMichaelsCrop.jpg align=right vspace=10>The judge in the action World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. v. JAKKS Pacific Inc., et al., 1:04-CV-08223-KMK in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York stated that the reasoning behind the decision 'will be issued in short order.'
 
Litigation among the parties remains pending in a state court.

WWE's suit accuses Jakks of offering $100,000 in bribes for rights to WWE video games, according to Forbes.com. The professional wrestling organization had asked the federal court to void its licensing deals with Jakks, plus sought damages. 

Jakks' toy and video game rights to WWE's characters expire in 2009.
Posted 12/8/2007
Hasbro Dec 2007 Fox's Licht joins Hasbro - Playthings
PAWTUCKET, R.I—Hasbro has tapped Twentieth Century Fox executive Lisa Licht for the newly created position of General Manager, Entertainment & Licensing.

Licht will look to “further strengthen and deepen Hasbro’s already successful track record with the entertainment industry, while building upon the Company’s strong and growing licensing programs around the world, leveraging Hasbro’s brands in a wide variety of consumer-focused categories,” according to the company. She most recently served as Fox’s executive vice president responsible for global marketing partnerships.

“We are thrilled to bring Lisa on board. She is a highly respected entertainment executive and the right person to lead our accelerated efforts as we look to create additional immersive brand experiences beyond traditional toys and games,” said Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s chief operating officer.

Licht held several senior posts at Twentieth Century Fox prior to her appointment as EVP, including Senior Vice President, Feature Film Promotions and Field Operations; and Senior Vice President, Marketing, Licensing and Merchandising.

Prior to joining Twentieth Century Fox, Licht was a marketing VP at Mattel, where she managed the worldwide Barbie doll line.
Posted 12/8/2007
Nov 2007 The sad state of today's toys (The Devil’s Playthings) - Los Angeles Times

The Devil’s Playthings
It’s toxic, all right.

I don’t have the space to account for all the pathos and pathology at Toys R Us. (And, in fairness, much the same would apply to the toy sections of big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target.) Nor do I have room to bemoan the fire hose of marketing pressure turned on children to get them to buy into franchises, everything from Spider-Man to Hannah Montana, whoever she is. A lot of writers have covered this ground, anyway. Of recent note is Benjamin Barber’s scholarly if distempered “Consumed,” which describes how advertisers lay siege to young people to create a lifelong dependency on consumption. To me, the money quote comes from R. Buckminster Fuller: “Those who play with the devil’s toys will be brought by degrees to wield his sword.” Typically at this time of year, retailing experts offer their lists of hot toys for the season. Among the buy-early favorites for 2007 are Webkinz, stuffed animals that come with fluffy avatars in an online Webkinz virtual world—dry sand for emotionally thirsty children. And so, in honor of the first day of orgiastic holiday shopping this Friday, I thought I’d offer my own list of the most awful, creepy and child-nullifying products for sale this year. Or, in Fuller’s happy phrase, the devil’s toys. Please enjoy.

Monopoly Electronic Banking Edition: Instead of the traditional pastel currency, this edition of the Parker Bros. game uses debit cards and a swipe-here card reader, the better to inculcate bitty buyers into the effortlessness of impulsive buying. The tokens also have been updated to depict a Segway personal transporter and a flat-screen TV, among other items. The charming and evocative top hat and iron have thus been exchanged for the contents of K-Fed’s storage unit.

Play Along’s Tattoo Doodle Monster: Play Along has a large line of stuffed animals that children can decorate with washable pens. The Tattoo Doodle Monster includes temporary tattoos and various stencils for children to use on themselves. “Hey Dude, I’m Inkee,” the box says. This is a great toy if you want your 4-year-old to grow up to be Tommy Lee.

Tiger Electronics’ Dream Life:Absolutely the saddest thing in the store. The tag line for this TV plug-in game is “Create the Life You Dream About.” In the game, the player (either a girl or a fairly confused boy) begins a new school year: “Bad hair day? Swing by the salon & try out a new hairstyle. . . . Make lots of friends—joina sports team—or just hang out . . . it’s all in your hands.” I can’t help thinking about the poor kid who’s drawn to this game, frantically flipping buttons in the vain hope it will reunite her divorced parents.

Planet Toys’ CSI: Forensic Lab: Join Grissom’s crew! Ages 10-plus. Sweet, suffering Jesuits. First of all, if you are allowing your 10-year-old to watch “CSI,” you should be reported to the authorities. Second, do you really want your middle-schooler dusting for prints or learning to run a black light over your upholstery? I do appreciate that this toy hearkens back to a time when apprenticeship toys—chemistry and Erector sets and build-a-radio kits—tempted young minds with careers as chemists and engineers. But really, forensic technician? How long before you discover grandpa sleeping in a recliner, surrounded by crime scene tape? Obvious brand extension: CSI Special Victims Unit Rape Kit.

Fisher-Price Star Station: Baby karaoke. Say no more.
Posted 11/17/2007
Family Dollar Nov 2007 action figures recalled - Playthings

Wash., D.C.—The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Henry Gordy International, Plainfield, N.J., has recalled 380,000 Galaxy Warriors Toy Figures, sold exclusively at Family Dollar Stores, due to excessive levels of lead in the surface paint.
The posable spaceman figures, manufactured in China, are about 4.5-inches tall and come with two accessories. They were sold in various colors including yellow, grey, silver, blue, green, gold, black, and red nationwide at Family Dollar from January 2006 through October 2007.
No incidents or injuries have been reported, but consumers should take the recalled toys away from children immediately and return the toy to the company for a full refund plus postage. For additional information, contact Henry Gordy International at (888) 790-2700.
Posted 11/17/2007
Gordy Int & Family Dollar Nov 2007 Galaxy Warriors action figures recalled - Playthings

Family Dollar action figures recalled
Playthings, NY -

Wash., D.C.—The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Henry Gordy International, Plainfield, N.J., has recalled 380,000 Galaxy Warriors Toy Figures, sold exclusively at Family Dollar Stores, due to excessive levels of lead in the surface paint.
The posable spaceman figures, manufactured in China, are about 4.5-inches tall and come with two accessories. They were sold in various colors including yellow, grey, silver, blue, green, gold, black, and red nationwide at Family Dollar from January 2006 through October 2007.
No incidents or injuries have been reported, but consumers should take the recalled toys away from children immediately and return the toy to the company for a full refund plus postage. For additional information, contact Henry Gordy International at (888) 790-2700.
Posted 11/9/2007
Oct 2007 Now, the noses on most stuffed playthings coming out of China's factories are stitched or embroidered.

SHANGHAI, China — Coming soon to a toy store near you: plush teddy bears with altered noses.
Reeling from global recalls, China's toy factories are scrambling to ensure the safety of their products, down to the venerable teddy bear.
src=http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2007/10/23/2003970730.jpg
Mostly gone are the old-style black vinyl or plastic noses, which contained chemicals. Now, the noses on most stuffed playthings coming out of China's factories are stitched or embroidered.
Toy retailers and manufacturers are hurrying to contain the fallout from recalls that terrified parents, damaged toy companies and gave Chinese toymakers a black eye. Toy manufacturers now strive to show that they've improved quality, even if it means costs will rise.
At the Shanghai Toy Fair, producers eagerly demonstrated design changes. They tugged on seams of stuffed toys to show double stitching and pried at plastic eyes to demonstrate how they wouldn't fly off. Materials such as artificial leather, which can contain noxious chemicals, no longer appear. Sales agents pulled out certificates to prove that paint they used was found free of toxic lead content.
Posted 10/27/2007
Toys 'R' Us Sept 2007 pops up in NoHo - Playthings

WAYNE, N.J.—Toys “R” Us will open a 25,000-square-foot temporary location in New York City’s NoHo neighborhood, designed to cater to holiday shoppers, next week.

Located at 692 Broadway, in the former Tower Records building, this “pop-up store” will officially open on October 1 and operate through January 31, 2008. The four-level store will feature a mix of hot holiday toys and a selection of perennial favorites such as dolls, action figures, electronics and educational toys. Like at TRU’s Times Square location, visitors will also find an assortment of New York City-themed souvenir products.

“As the busy holiday shopping season approaches, we are pleased to offer another convenient location in New York City to assist families with all their toy-buying needs,” said Ron Boire, president, Toys “R” Us, North America. “This temporary site is a great complement to our international flagship store in Times Square, and we are excited to offer shoppers access to The World’s Greatest Toy Store in the busy NoHo neighborhood.”
Posted 9/29/2007
Jakks Sept 2007 'Fancy' licensee - Playthings

MALIBU, Calif.—Jakks Pacific has been added to the licensee list for merchandise based on Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy book series.

Jakks' plans include dolls, girls' role play and dress-up, and craft and activity items based on property, the licensing of which is guided by United Media. The toymaker’s Fancy Nancy line is slated to launch at an unnamed major mass market retailer in North America spring 2008.

“Fancy Nancy is an endearing brand that we will continue to nurture and grow,' said Joshua Kislevitz, senior vice president, domestic licensing, at United Media. 'We are confident that our partnership with Jakks will help translate Fancy Nancy into an inspiring and whimsical toy line that will be embraced by retailers and consumers alike.'

Created for children ages 4 to 7, Fancy Nancy, a picture book about a vibrant young girl who adds pizzazz to the ordinary, was first published in 2005 and has been on The New York Times Children's Bestseller list for over 86 weeks. The follow-up book, Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy, was published in March 2007 and has been on the same list for over 23 weeks. An additional 13 new titles are scheduled to be introduced over the next few years.
Posted 9/29/2007
Sept 2007 Worried by reports of the toxic metal showing up in toys, many parents are buying kits and swabbing playthings. ...

MILWAUKEE — The number itself is enough to make any parent cringe: 9 million and climbing.

That’s how many toys and pieces of children’s jewelry have been recalled so far this year for poisonous lead levels.

But what some parents are doing — buying home lead-testing kits and wiping them across dolls and books, trains and trucks — is wasting money on a false sense of security, doctors and other experts say.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in its own limited testing found that the kits can be unreliable.

“I always think, ‘Is this toy going to be recalled in a couple months?’ It’s become a huge concern of ours,” said Denice Giovan, who has a 3-year-old son, Nickolas.

Tired of the uncertainty, Giovan got some home lead-testing kits and started swabbing all Nickolas’ favorite toys.

No sign of lead so far, she said.

Giovan used a test called LeadCheck, which sells for $5.97 at The Home Depot.

Distributors of the test say sales have skyrocketed in recent months after the recalls but would not provide specific numbers.

Sales at Home Depot have been steady, a company spokeswoman said.

Nan Cox, co-owner of Ace Hardware in Mequon, Wis., said she has definitely noticed an uptick in sales of home lead tests.

Despite the recent rush to test toys at home, experts warn parents not to trust home lead kits for toys.

“We don’t recommend them,” said Enesta Jones, spokeswoman for the federal Environmental Protection Agency. “Studies have shown they’re not reliable enough to tell the difference between high and low levels of lead.”

Most home lead tests also cannot detect lead beneath a surface, where many times the toxic metal is hidden and gradually becomes exposed as the toy ages.The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tested 25 toys — also using LeadCheck — and got two positive results.

However, when taken to a lab for a more comprehensive analysis, both were found to have only trace levels, well under the 90 parts per million of leachable lead, the internationally accepted cutoff level for safety.

At the same time, a toy ball that had shown no signs of lead with the home test came back from the lab with a potentially dangerous level of 108 parts per million.

Marcia Stone, president and chief executive of Hybrivet Systems, the Massachusetts-based company that manufactures the LeadCheck test, said the tests are suitable for use on toys but are reliable only when testers follow specific steps — steps that are not included in the kit’s instructions.

For example, Stone said testers must first scratch or rough up the surface of the toy to ensure an accurate reading.

Nowhere in the directions does it tell testers to do that.

Stone said the company is working with the distributor to get the information out.

While the home test kits are relatively quick and inexpensive — roughly $6 to $30 depending on the type and number of tests in a kit — epidemiologists and pediatricians say a far better way to tell if your child is being poisoned by lead is to have a blood test.

Many pediatricians offer a simple finger prick, for starters. If the level from a finger prick comes back high, doctors will suggest a full-blown blood test for confirmation.

Blood tests cost roughly $100, including clinic and lab charges, and are typically covered by insurance companies.

The vast majority of lead poisoning in U.S. children comes from paint used in homes built before 1978. The paint peels and creates dust, which can make its way into children’s mouths.


 
 
Posted 9/29/2007
Jakks Sept 2007 Taps toy vets - Playthings
MALIBU, Calif.—Jakks Pacific has added toy industry veterans Michael Rinzler and Stuart Cohen to its ranks as marketing and sales executives, respectively.

Rinzler joins the company as vice president of marketing charged with leading Jakks’ girls and stationery divisions. For the last 15 years, he held posts at the likes of MGA Entertainment, Equity Marketing and Mattel.

Cohen, Jakks’ newly named director of international sales, comes to the company having previously held management positions at Imperial Toy and Creativity Inc
Posted 9/22/2007
U.S. Toy Co./Constructive Playthings Aug 2007 Frances Wang Gershon, 'last of a generation' in toy industry, dies

Frances Wang Gershon, a pioneer in the toy industry and co-founder of U.S. Toy Co./Constructive Playthings in Grandview, died Tuesday after a long battle with leukemia. She was 84.
Gershon founded U.S. Toy with her first husband, Elvin Klein, in the living room of their four-bedroom President Gardens apartment in 1953. The company now boasts eight stores in seven states, including its 1 million-square-foot headquarters in Grandview, and posts between $65 million and $100 million in annual sales. During peak season, it employs about 450 people.

Gershon
Until recently, Gershon was majority owner of the family-owned company, which will continue to be owned and run by her children and grandchildren.
“She not only was a woman founder of a company back when that was unusual, but she was a teacher by trade and she literally created the educational toy business,” said grandson Jonathan Freiden, U.S. Toy’s vice president of business development. “She was a pioneer. It was really her vision.”
In a 1994 interview, Gershon recalled there were few good toys when she was teaching nursery school more than 50 years ago.
“You’d go into drugstores and grocery stores and see revolving racks of hose and sundries, but no toys,” she recalled. “So we decided to package toys and sell stores on the idea of putting them on racks.”
The fledgling operation got a big break when Macy’s ordered supplies for six racks.
In the early going, Gershon assumed a male alias at the New York Toy Fair because some vendors refused to work with women.
The advent of Head Start in 1965 caused the business to take off, and the toy-rack business evolved into a toy-catalog business.


Gershon’s vision of a company that produced nonviolent educational toys led to the creation of U.S. Toy’s Constructive Playthings division, which focuses on educational toys, books and other products.
Gershon was among the first toy merchants to develop multicultural dolls whose facial features reflected those of the children who played with them.
In 1999, Gershon was named Master Entrepreneur of the Year in the regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards. At the national awards ceremony, she was named a National Entrepreneur of the Year.
Gershon was active in numerous Jewish and charitable causes. She was the recipient of many awards, including Lifetime Civic Service Awards from the Missouri and Kansas departments of education.
“She had a passion for her business and her family,” Freiden said. “We have scores of employees who have been here for 20, 30, even 40 years. She cared for each of them like a family member.
“Now all her peers in the toy industry are gone. She was the last of a generation.”
Posted 9/2/2007
Radica Aug 2007 Funkeys exclusive at tween chain - Playthings

Radica's Funkeys exclusive at tween chain
Playthings, NY -

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.—Radica USA is offering an exclusive version of its new U.B. Funkeys game at tween specialty retailer Limited Too.

Radica’s U.B. Funkeys features a line of 42 collectible vinyl toy figures—some more collectible than others—each of which unlocks areas of a branded website where fans can explore a virtual world full of “games, stores, quests and surprises,” according to the company. By playing games on the site, visitors earn virtual coins by which they can customize the ‘cribs’ in the Funkeys world.

Radicaplaythings.com/articles/images/PLAY/20070828/LTFunkeysStarterKitCrop.jpg align=left vspace=5>Limited Too’s exclusive pink version of U.B. Funkeys, which arrived in stores this month, includes a special pink hub, unique unlock code and special packaging. This version of the game’s code gives kids access to virtual Limited Too items that they can place in their cribs.

“We’re excited to partner with Limited Too to bring a special edition Funkeys character to tween girls across the country,” said Jim Wagner, senior vice president of Radica, Mattel Brands. “Limited Too has proven to be a leading tween retailer over the years and this partnership provides a fantastic opportunity to deliver a fun version of our new game that will appeal directly to tween girls.”

Radica’s U.B. Funkeys Starter Kit ($19.99) includes a U.B. Funkeys hub—a reader that allows a computer to know which Funkey vinyl a child is using—along with two vinyl character figures and PC software. Additional Funkeys characters are sold individually for $4.99.
Posted 9/2/2007
Jakks Aug 2007 Now Master Toy partner for Max & Ruby - Playthings

Jakks masters Max & Ruby
Playthings, NY -

MALIBU, Calif.—Nelvana Enterprises, Toronto, has signed Jakks Pacific as master toy and activities partner in the United States for products based on the Max & Ruby animated series and books.

Under the agreement, the Child Guidance preschool and Flying Colors activities divisions of Jakks will develop, manufacture and distribute the company’s Max & Ruby merchandise. Plush, preschool learning toys, figures, foam puzzles, jumbo floor activities, roll desks, posters and more are covered in the agreement. Jakks plans to launch the line in 2008.

“We are excited to partner with Jakks Pacific to create products that capture the essence and important messages of Max & Ruby. We look forward to an extensive and creative portfolio to expand the world of Max & Ruby to preschoolers,” said Mark Nothrwood, vice president of merchandise licensing for Nelvana.
Posted 8/19/2007
Bandai July 2007 Celebrating 15 years of Power Rangers - Playthings

CYPRESS, Calif.—Bandai America has launched a series of festivities to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers in the U.S., including a limited edition Power Rangers toy line.

hspace=5playthings.com/articles/images/PLAY/20070730/PowerRangers15thAniv65MightyMorphinRedRanger93Crop.jpg align=left vspace=5>The anniversary exclusives will include 5-inch figure History sets, which showcase five Red Ranger figures from the past. In addition, 6½-inch Red Ranger figures (pictured: Red Ranger circa 1993) with a display stand and accessory will be available in 13 different editions. The Power Rangers Mega Mission Helmet will appeal to younger fans, and will combine role playing with internet compatibility.

Bandai kicked off its festivities with a meet and greet event with the Power Rangers at Comic-Con 2007 in San Diego this past weekend, and begin a 15th Anniversary Celebration Tour featuring games, activities and a chance to learn moves and take photos with the Power Rangers in 15 different cities across the US and Canada.

“The Power Rangers 15th anniversary celebration allows us to engage and thank fans of all ages, from the 4 year old boy of today who loves playing with our action figures, to the adult fan who’s still collecting Power Rangers, having grown up with the TV show,” said Matthew Golding, director of marketing, Bandai America. “We invite everyone to join us for this once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the Power Rangers toy line.”

The company is also asking Power Rangers fans to help it get the toy inline into the Strong National Museum of Play's National Toy Hall of Fame.
Posted 8/5/2007
NY Licensing Show June 2007 A to Z - Playthings

Buzz Report: Licensing Show A to Z
Playthings, NY -
Another favourite, Family Guy, expands its line of products with toys and novelty items from licensing partners like Mezco Toys, NJ Croce and Kurt Adler. ...
Posted 7/15/2007
Licensing July 2007 The latest toy deals - Playthings

In 2008, Harrison Ford returns for the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise, and Hasbro is already on board as the master toy and game licensee. Under the partnership, Hasbro will develop a line of action figures, vehicles, role play toys and games, scheduled for release spring 2008, just before Lucasfilm’s movie release in May.

Lucasfilm has also signed Lego to produce construction toys based on the Indiana Jones films, including next year’s installment. Four playsets based on the original Indiana Jones trilogy will launch in 2008. Three of the sets will be based on iconic scenes from the first film, Raiders of the Lost Ark: Temple Escape, based on the movie’s rolling boulder scene; Race for the Stolen Treasure, based on Indy’s fight between two trucks; and Indiana Jones and the Lost Tomb, which will let kids reenact the scene when Indy rescues Marion from an Egyptian tomb full of snakes. The fourth set, Motorcycle Chase, is based on a scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy and his father escape to a hidden temple. Playsets based on the fourth movie will launch in May 2008, concurrent with the film. Like Hasbro, Lego already produces a line of toys based on the Star Wars movies.
Lego is also licensing out some of its most popular properties, including Bionicle, Exo-Force and the classic Lego brand, partnering with several licensees to bring the brands to life through high-quality merchandise in children's lifestyle categories, including children's furniture with partner InCap Ltd. Furniture, an expansion of apparel with Soul Industry, food from Kellogg's and additional video games by TT Games.
As master toy licensee, Mattel will take on Speed Racer and the latest Batman film, The Dark Knight—both out next summer—in categories including: vehicles, action figures, action play, remote control vehicles, handheld electronics and games and puzzles.
Written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix creators), Speed Racer is a live-action adventure film based on the classic anime series, first created by Japanese anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshido in the 1960s as a manga series, following the adventures of the young race car, a Mach 5 race car. Inspired by Mach 5, the Hot Wheels brand will offer a wide assortment of die-cast vehicles, race sets and track sets as well as additional  R/C vehicles, modeled after the famous car, from Tyco. Radica, Mattel's games and electronics division, will develop a line of games and puzzles, including a special-edition UNO card game. Speed Racer products are expected to arrive in retail late March 2008.


 
Posted 7/15/2007
June 2007 Pokemon builds TRU Times Square boutique - Playthings


Pokemon builds TRU Times Square boutique
Playthings, NY -
NEW YORK—With its flagship brand reinvigorated by the success of the latest Pokemon video games and the debut of a new season of its television series, Pokemon USA will open a boutique in Toys “R” Us Times square on June 6 for a one month promotion featuring “an extensive collection” of licensed merchandise, including several exclusives.

The boutique, open through July 5 on TRU Times Square’s second floor, will offer products ranging from action figures and plush to backpacks and T-shirts. Among the assortment are exclusive Pokémon: Diamond & Pearl action figures from master toy licensee Jakks Pacific based on new characters from the property’s latest video games and season 10 of the Pokemon animated TV series, which began airing this week on Cartoon Network. In addition, the new Pokémon Trading Card Game: Diamond & Pearl 3-Pack booster blister will also be available one week earlier at the store—starting June 15—than anywhere else.



In addition to product, fans will be able to watch the recently released movie Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea on a big screen monitor in the boutique.  
 
“Pokémon fans of all ages are in for the thrill of the summer when they visit our boutique at Toys ‘R’ Us Times Square,” said Caryl Liebmann, Pokemon USA’s director of retail development and promotions. “The boutique will be brimming with exciting new Diamond and Pearl merchandise, as well as other Pokémon items that will be available for a limited time only. This is an amazing opportunity to celebrate the rich world of Pokémon and will inspire kids who want to add all the new characters to their collection.”
 
More than 1 million copies of Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl for the Nintendo DS were sold in the titles' first five days at retail, making them the fastest-selling Pokémon games since the franchise’s U.S. introduction almost a decade ago. According to independent sales data gathered by the NPD Group, the two best-selling video games in April were Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl.


 
Posted 6/11/2007
Fisher-Price June 2007 Recalls Rainforest swing - Playthings

Fisher-Price recalls Rainforest swing
Playthings, NY -

Fisher-Price Rainforest Swing playthings.com/articles/images/PLAY/20070531/FPrainforestswing2.jpg width=216 align=right vspace=10 >WASHINGTON—Fisher-Price is recalling approximately 112,000 units of its Rainforest Open Top Take-Along Swing because of a potential entrapment hazard.


According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, infants using the swing can shift to one side of the swing and become caught between the frame and seat. Fisher-Price has received 60 reports of infants becoming entrapped in such a way, resulting in cuts, bumps, bruises and red marks.


The recalled toy features a palm tree mobile and two hanging plush toys. The swings are approximately 23 inches high and have two carry handles on the left and right sides. Only model numbers K7203, K7192 and K7195 (located under the right handle on the swing) are included in the recall. They were sold at discount department stores and toy stores nationwide from November 2006 to May 2007 for about $65.


The CPSC is advising consumers to stop using the swing and contact Fisher-Price for instructions on how to return it to receive a voucher for a replacement product. The toymaker can be reached by telephone at (888) 303-5631 or online at www.service.mattel.com.
Posted 6/11/2007
Jakks May 2007 Master toys for Shusybye - Playthings

MALIBU, Calif.—Jakks Pacific has signed a worldwide master toy licensing agreement for the infant preschool entertainment brand Shushybye, which will premiere on May 28 on BabyFirstTV as an animated series; Jakks' product will launch this summer with plush toys.
The Shushybye Show
, a brand of the Encino, Calif.-based The Shushybye Company, is currently available daily via XM Kids radio. Shushybye Video On Demand programming is also available on Comcast and ReelTime.com. The show follows the adventures of the Shushies characters, which are designed to encourage children to look forward to sleep and to help serve as part of the important parent-child bedtime ritual.


Shushybye is an original and imaginative brand that is attracting industry, media and consumer attention,” says Tamre Logan, senior vice president of marketing, preschool and activities for Jakks Pacific.  “Thoughtfully developed to encompass play opportunities for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, Shushybye also appeals to parents with its unique message encouraging children to look forward to bedtime. We look forward to bringing Shushybye toys to market as part of our growing Child Guidance brand, and expect to begin with a line of plush toys at retailers supporting the property.”

Steve Syatt, creator of Shushybye adds, “Jakks Pacific is a trendsetting toy leader with an industry-recognized executive team committed to delivering quality and innovation to toy retailers worldwide. We are proud and excited to be working with this extraordinary toy manufacturing world leader for Shushybye.

The Shushybye Baby animated show will premiere later this month and air twice daily. In addition to the toys from Jakks, the characters will be translated into products in multiple other kid categories this year, including bedtime storybooks (St. Martin’s Press) and sleepwear (Adorable Kids, Inc.). Music CDs featuring original sleep-themed rock songs and lullabies performed by The Shushybye Dream Band will also be available from Koch Records, along with a DVD from WGBH Boston Video.
Posted 5/27/2007
Diamond Select May 2007 Acquires Art Asylum - Playthings

Diamond Select acquires Art Asylum


Art Asylumplaythings.com/articles/images/PLAY/20070515/AAMiniMatesBlackSpidey.jpg width=216 align=right vspace=10 >TIMONIUM, Md.—Diamond Select Toys and Collectibles (DST) has acquired select assets of New York-based Art Asylum, effective immediately. The deal comes “after a long and prosperous relationship between the two companies,” DST said.

Art Asylum’s longest running brand, the 2-inch, articulated Minimates block action figures, will now be controlled by DST, which has utilized the brand previously for its Street Fighter, Rocky and Marvel licenses. DST had also contracted with Art Asylum for its Star Trek and Marvel lines; but will now “have the full breadth of talent in house, and available for upcoming releases—including the new Battlestar Galactica line and future projects,” DST said. The company also has licenses to create Spider-man 3 (pictured) and 24 products.
Adam Unger, who served as a vice president at Art Asylum, will work with DST on a consulting basis during the transition with a focus on new business development and sales.
Art Asylum was founded in 1996 by Digger T. Mesch and Donna Soldano as a development and design house; its work has been manufactured by numerous toy companies, including Toy Biz (Marvel Toys), Playmates, Hasbro and Play Along. After several years, the company created Art Asylum LLC to manufacture its own toys, developing lines for licenses such as Batman, Star Trek, Tony Hawk, Bruce Lee and the rock band Kiss.
“Art Asylum made its mark on the toy industry with its unique style and top of the line development. We are excited to have access to all the tools that built the company and utilize them to help grow our business even further,” says Chuck Terceira, director of DST.
Soldano—as well as Art Asylum’s Robert Yee—will join DST as part of the deal. Soldano has more than 10 years of experience in developing toy lines for both the specialty and mass markets, while Yee has occupied several toy industry posts, including serving as director of legal affairs for Toymax Inc. and as director of research and development for Monogram International.
More recently, Yee, an original member of Art Asylum, rejoined the company in 2005 to head up product development. Mesch, meanwhile, recently formed Dig Deep Entertainment in Hong Kong to develop original content for film and television as well as to develop proprietary 3-D products. Mesch will continue to act as consultant on projects that Dig Deep develops for DST; recent lines include DST’s Marvel Civil War busts and Marvel Zombies.

“The acquisition takes DST’s product development and production departments to new levels, and we are excited on all fronts,” Terceira says.
Posted 5/27/2007
Jakks May 2007 Jakks' master toys for Shusybye - Playthings

MALIBU, Calif.—Jakks Pacific has signed a worldwide master toy licensing agreement for the infant preschool entertainment brand Shushybye, which will premiere on May 28 on BabyFirstTV as an animated series; Jakks' product will launch this summer with plush toys.
The Shushybye Show
, a brand of the Encino, Calif.-based The Shushybye Company, is currently available daily via XM Kids radio. Shushybye Video On Demand programming is also available on Comcast and ReelTime.com. The show follows the adventures of the Shushies characters, which are designed to encourage children to look forward to sleep and to help serve as part of the important parent-child bedtime ritual.


Shushybye is an original and imaginative brand that is attracting industry, media and consumer attention,” says Tamre Logan, senior vice president of marketing, preschool and activities for Jakks Pacific.  “Thoughtfully developed to encompass play opportunities for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, Shushybye also appeals to parents with its unique message encouraging children to look forward to bedtime. We look forward to bringing Shushybye toys to market as part of our growing Child Guidance brand, and expect to begin with a line of plush toys at retailers supporting the property.”

Steve Syatt, creator of Shushybye adds, “Jakks Pacific is a trendsetting toy leader with an industry-recognized executive team committed to delivering quality and innovation to toy retailers worldwide. We are proud and excited to be working with this extraordinary toy manufacturing world leader for Shushybye.

The Shushybye Baby animated show will premiere later this month and air twice daily. In addition to the toys from Jakks, the characters will be translated into products in multiple other kid categories this year, including bedtime storybooks (St. Martin’s Press) and sleepwear (Adorable Kids, Inc.). Music CDs featuring original sleep-themed rock songs and lullabies performed by The Shushybye Dream Band will also be available from Koch Records, along with a

DVD from WGBH Boston Video.




Posted 5/12/2007
Hasbro March 2007 Stuffing Easter baskets - Playthings

Hasbro stuffs Easter baskets


PAWTUCKET, RI.—HPG, the licensing division of Hasbro, is launching an assortment of seasonal-licensed goods around its properties My Little Pony and Tonka for Easter and for summer.


The line of Easter product, targeted for children ages 2 to 5, includes Easter-inspired MLP plush, both cloth and plastic baskets, refillable eggs, and activity and story books.  For Tonka fans are plastic and plush fire or dump truck baskets and Tonka stuffers like mini Tonka fire and dump trucks, stickers, puzzles and assorted plastic tools.


hspace=10playthings.com/articles/images/PLAY/20070321/Hasbro.gif width=288 align=left vspace=10 >For the summer season My Little Pony and Tonka pails, shovels and towels will be available for outdoor playtime.


“Brands like Tonka and My Little Pony already part of kids’ everyday play experience so bringing them into holiday and recreational categories is natural,” says Bryony Bouyer, senior vice president of the Americas for HPG. 'We think young children will really get a charge out of an overflowing My Little Pony-themed Easter basket or trekking down to the beach with a Tonka pail that is brimming with tools for creating the ultimate sand castle.”
Posted 3/24/2007
Hasbro March 2007 Stuffs Easter baskets - Playthings

Hasbro stuffs Easter baskets


PAWTUCKET, RI.—HPG, the licensing division of Hasbro, is launching an assortment of seasonal-licensed goods around its properties My Little Pony and Tonka for Easter and for summer.


The line of Easter product, targeted for children ages 2 to 5, includes Easter-inspired MLP plush, both cloth and plastic baskets, refillable eggs, and activity and story books.  For Tonka fans are plastic and plush fire or dump truck baskets and Tonka stuffers like mini Tonka fire and dump trucks, stickers, puzzles and assorted plastic tools.


hspace=10playthings.com/articles/images/PLAY/20070321/Hasbro.gif width=288 align=left vspace=10 >For the summer season My Little Pony and Tonka pails, shovels and towels will be available for outdoor playtime.


“Brands like Tonka and My Little Pony already part of kids’ everyday play experience so bringing them into holiday and recreational categories is natural,” says Bryony Bouyer, senior vice president of the Americas for HPG. 'We think young children will really get a charge out of an overflowing My Little Pony-themed Easter basket or trekking down to the beach with a Tonka pail that is brimming with tools for creating the ultimate sand castle.”
Posted 3/22/2007
2007 Bratz beat Barbie in Q4 - Playthings
According to The NPD Group, Bratz was the No. 1 fashion-themed doll property during the final quarter 2006, beating the second ranked property by 7 percent. Last week, Mattel reported that its domestic Barbie sales had grown in every quarter of 2006 after a down year in 2005, but apparently not by enough to keep Bratz out of the top spot.


The leading fashion doll line based on full-year 2006 sales was not announced.


“The consumers have spoken…Bratz is the clear No.1 fashion doll in the USA and we intend to stay at No. 1,” said Isaac Larian, MGA Entertainment’s CEO, who added that the line’s momentum is continuing into 2007.


“Early sales of our spring ‘07 line already show a double digit increase.” Larian tells Playthings. “We will keep that pace and increase it with product innovation and marketing. The Bratz live action movie, produced by Avi Arad, will take us over the top.”



The Bratz line was power during the 2006 holiday season by the very “blingy” Forever Diamondz assortment of jewel-encrusted divas. The dolls recently were named the Doll of the Year in the U.K. and are in the running for the Toy Industry Association’s Girl Toy of the Year award at the 7th Annual T.O.T.Y. Awards, which takes place this Saturday, February 10th, 2007, in New York City.


Commenting on his dolls’ appeal, Larian told Playthings that Bratz are strong because of several factors: “their true multicultural look, [they] relate to what kids do now—we change them per kids wishes all the time—and [our] attention to detail and [the dolls’] ‘passion for fashion.’”

Posted 2/6/2007
New York Gift Show Feb 2007 Brings on the toys - Playthings

New York Gift Show brings on the toys




NEW YORK—The Toy Fair previews came early this week as toy and game companies like HABA, Manhattan Toy, Schylling, Melissa & Doug, ThinkFun and dozens more showcased some of their ’07 offerings at this year’s New York International Gift Fair in New York, which runs through Feb. 1 at several Manhattan locations.
Toy makers branch out
The NYIGF is a growing venue for toymakers to show off their latest wares, according to some exhibitors who spoke with Playthings, particularly those interested in reaching out to buyers across ancillary toy retail segments—such as museum and zoo stores, hospital gift shops and boutiques.
For Bead Bazaar, a Rockville, Md.-based maker of arts and crafts products, puzzles and educational toys, the gift show covers all of its key retail markets (including some toy stores), while the American International Toy Fair is specifically for meeting with toy retailers, says Sheri Porsaid, vice president of development for the company. “Here, we get more variation [of buyers than at Toy Fair],” Porsaid says. “We fit any market, zoos, gift shops, hospitals, toy stores.”
This year, the 12-year-old company is launching new craft sets, including Beadoodles, mini bead kits that can be used to make up to four accessories; Bead Bags, small bags of beads in Splash, Jungle and other design themes; Teeny Bead Meddlies, smaller bags of wooden beads, charms, and cotton string for making two or more accessories; Lacing Bead Buddies, larger, wooden beads for ages 3 and older that come with charms and strings with wooden box for storage; Frame Ready to Go, a crafty frame set that can be personalized; Bead Chests for storage of different charms; and Pop Up Puppets in Manimals (different animals) and King’s Men themes as part of the Kid Journeys line. Older kids and tweens can design with Sofistikits, which include a small booklet of accessory ideas, and the ABC Pop Ups, which are ABC puzzle pieces that double as stencils.
No shows at Toy Fair
Ornaments and paper products are tops for B. Shackman Co., but toys will be just as big moving forward. For the famous Christmas ornaments, toys and novelties company—which first opened shop in New York City in 1898—toys in the traditional wood and soft fabrics/plush categories are a focus in 2007 and will remain so in years to come, the company says. So far, Shackman has several wooden pull toys made in the Czech Republic, like a duck pull toy that quacks when tugged along, paper doll cut outs, plastic wind-up toys, classic noisemakers, play tea sets, marionettes, puzzles, flip books, masks, puppets and more.
Joanna Durret, executive vice president for B. Shackman, tells Playthings that toys are such an important category for them that her son, a buyer for the company, is currently on his way to the Nuremberg Toy Fair in Germany to search out some new toys to distribute in the states. The company used to exhibit at Toy Fair, but found they reach all their retail markets through the Gift show. However, they are not closed to the idea of exhibiting at Toy Fair again one day. “We sell a balance of paper and novelty, unique novelty for toy stores,” says Durrett. “But [toys], it’s really a category we want to expand.”
Posted 2/2/2007
Silverlit Toys Jan 2007 Tiny R/C helicopter spurs suit - Playthings
Silverlit says PicooZ counterfeits a safety hazard

SAN FRANCISCO—Hong Kong’s Silverlit Toys Manufactory Ltd. and Spin Master Ltd., Silverlit’s North American distributor, have filed a lawsuit against online retailer Hobbytron.com for allegedly knowingly importing and distributing what they say is a counterfeit version of Silverlit’s PicooZ remote-control helicopter.
Silverlitplaythings.com/articles/images/PLAY/20070110/SpinMasterHavocHeliCrop2.jpg width=288 align=right vspace=10 >The complaint against Hobbytron.com accuses the company of copyright infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin charges. Spin Master and Silverlit are seeking a preliminary injunction against the company.
Hobbytron.com is the operating name of Absolute Toy Marketing Inc. of Orem, Utah. Absolute’s senior management were on a sourcing trip aboard and not available to comment for this story according to spokesperson David Politis. To the best of his knowledge, executives from the company have not seen the lawsuit, Politis told Playthings.
Hobbytron previously purchased authentic Silverlit toy helicopters, according to Silverlit, yet Silverlit claims Hobbytron.com also “knowingly carried counterfeit products—confusingly identified as PicooZ—that also infringed on Silverlit’s packaging and instruction manual.”

At this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Hobbytron unveiled its own branded micro R/C helicopter, dubbed Picco 3. The retailer currently offers a micro R/C helicopter on its site called the Picco Z.
Silverlit’s PicooZ helicopter is the smallest R/C model helicopter in the world according to a recent certification by Guinness World Records. According to Silverlit, the toy’s development necessitated “breakthroughs in aerodynamics, hardware and programming, including elements such as the density of the foam fuselage material, advanced Li-Po batteries and protective hardware to avert any possibility of overheating.”

“It is highly unlikely that counterfeiters are concerned about these protective measures, so consumers may unwittingly have bought unauthorized knock-offs that pose fire and safety hazards to children,” said Eddie Wong, Silverlit’s director of marketing and sales.
Silverlit says that shortly after Christmas the company began receiving complaints from U.S. consumers about PicooZ helicopters overheating. Those toys turned out to be counterfeit versions of the product, according to Silverlit.
Earlier in the holiday season, the company began a campaign to notify consumers and the trade of knock-off versions of PicooZ helicopters being manufactured in China. Chinese customs officials subsequently raided manufacturing plants in six cities, seizing more than 1,000 toys, according to Silverlit.
In response to the situation, Spin Master has begun selling Silverlit’s PicooZ helicopter under a new brand name, Havoc Heli, a move intended to help avoid confusion in the marketplace between Silverlit’s toy and alleged counterfeits with the same or similar names.
Posted 1/30/2007
Largest toy retailers see higher holiday sales - Playthings


Largest toy retailers see higher holiday sales
Playthings, NY -
NEW YORK—Holiday sales levels for many of the nation’s top toy and game retailers, including Wal-Mart, GameStop and Target, rose significantly in 2006 compared with the same shopping period in 2005, in line with or exceeding expectations. Consumer electronics, video games and online business were key drivers, retailers said, although some admitted that deep discounting also played a role in boosting sales.
Wal-Mart
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.—the top U.S. toy and game retailer according to Playthings' annual ranking of major toy sellers—reported net sales for its U.S. Wal-Mart division for the five-week period ending Dec. 29, 2006, of $28.795 billion, up 3.1 percent from $27.920 billion in the year-ago period. Meanwhile, the company’s Sam’s Club division—which is ranked No. 18 on Playthings’ industry list—posted sales during the same period of $4.861 billion, a rise of 5.6 percent from $4.605 billion a year ago.
Same-store sales for Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club during the same period rose 1.3 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively, from 2005. Wal-Mart’s growth in particular was led in part by strong electronics sales, according to the company.
“We believe Wal-Mart is becoming more of a destination for electronics as consumers recognize that we have a leadership position on low prices,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and CEO of Wal-Mart U.S. “Customers liked the values they found in digital TVs, digital audio products, computers and gaming systems.” Also, the DVD release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Deadman's Chest was a “huge hit,” Castro-Wright said, crediting the flick with leading strong DVD sales, while price rollbacks on board games from mid-October through Dec. 24 “generated strong sales” for toys.
Target
Minneapolis-based Target Corp.—the No. 3 retailer on Playthings’ industry leaders list—reported sales for the five weeks ended December 30, 2006 of $9.254 billion, up 9.9 percent from $8.420 billion in the year-ago period. Comparable store sales increased 4.1 percent from 2005.
“Our December comparable store sales growth was in line with our expectations,” said Bob Ulrich, chairman and CEO.
Amazon.com
The Seattle-based major national e-tailer said 2006 was its 'best year ever,' with over 4 million items ordered and shipped to 200 countries this holiday season.

The company's top toy sellers included the 20 Questions game from Radica, the Laugh & Learn Cuddly Learning Puppy from Fisher-Price and the Princess Genevieve Doll (Barbie In the 12 Dancing Princesses)from Mattel. Top video game systsems were the Nintendo DS Lite, Play Station 2 and the Xbox 360. Top video games the New Super Mario Bros., Brain Age and Madden Football.


 
Posted 1/9/2007
MGA 2006 refutes Bratz sweatshop story - Playthings

MGA refutes Bratz sweatshop story
Playthings, NY -

NEW YORK—MGA Entertainment is denying accusations that working conditions at a factory complex in mainland China where Bratz dolls are produced amount to sweatshop labor.
Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, Van Nuys, Calif., tells Playthings the facilities in question—which do make Bratz dolls as well as products for other toy manufacturers, he says—have higher working conditions than those described in a report issued last week by the National Labor Committee, a New York-based non-governmental watchdog group.
 “MGA uses first-rate factories in the Orient to make its goods,” says Larian. “The same factories make products for the world’s biggest toy manufacturers.”

According the report (http://www.nlcnet.org/live/article.php?id=197), there are approximately 4,000 men and women who work at the Hua Tai 4K factory complex in Guangdong Province, part of the Hong Kong-based Hua Cheng Group, which runs several factories in mainland China. The report stated that workers are paid 17 cents for each doll they assemble; that some workers are forced to work seven-day weeks of up to 94 hours, denied work injury or health insurance and cannot take off sick days; and are docked five hours’ wages if they break a doll during production.
The report, conducted in collaboration with China Labor Watch, includes detailed interviews with workers documenting working conditions at Hua Tai 4K as well as contradictory interviews with the workers in Guangdong conducted by monitors from Wal-Mart.
Representatives from Hua Cheng Group could not be reached for comment. The company is not listed as a current recipient of a seal of approval from the International Council of Toy Industries’ ICTI CARE program, a sanctioning process designed to ensure fair labor treatment and safe working conditions at toy production facilities worldwide.
Charles Kernaghan, director of the National Labor Committee, tells Playthings that his group would like to see companies like MGA, for whom Hua Tai 4K factory employees have said they manufactured the most products, to step up and put pressure on the group that owns the factory to change the way it treats its workers.
'[Factory groups] have said there will be improvements, but we still don’t see them. MGA,…and other people who distribute these products, have to step up and put pressure on the factory,” Kernaghan says.

 
Posted 12/29/2006
Zapf Creation AG Dec 2006 Zapf CEO resigns - Playthings


Zapf CEO resigns
Playthings, NY -
ORLANDO, Fla.—German doll maker Zapf Creation's CEO, George Kellinghusen, has resigned from the company, effective immediately, after only six months in charge. The reason for leaving was not disclosed.
The decision was announced by its supervisory board, but whatever prompted the resignation was not mentioned.


Kellinghusen was named CEO in June and had been chief financial officer since February. Zapf Creation said that Thomas Pfau, the company's chief marketing and sales officer, would fill both positions on an interim basis until a replacement was found.

Zapf Creation AG recently reached a long-term joint sales agreement with MGA Entertainment.Under the 10-year agreement, MGA will have exclusive sales rights for Zapf Creation products in North and South America and will use Zapf Creation's sales channels to sell its products throughout major European markets. The agreement has a term of ten years. Zapf Creation will also be able to use MGA Entertainment for its brands in the non-toy sector to expand its product.
Posted 12/21/2006
Hasbro Dec 2006 Hasbro walks into Play-Doh sneaker deal - Playthings

hspace=10playthings.com/articles/images/PLAY/20061218/Hasbro.gif width=288 align=right vspace=10 >

PAWTUCKET, R.I.—Hasbro has signed a deal with Reebok International to manufacture the Play-Doh collection of toddler footwear, a line of gel-cushioned shoes for youngsters just learning to walk and run.

The Play-Doh Versa Classics have been developed specifically for toddlers up to 3 years old. In addition to gel-cushioning, the sneakers feature Reebok’s Versaflex technology, which the company says keeps growing feet comfortable through special grooves in the outsole that allow for proper foot and arch development, wide upper construction that match the natural shape of toddlers' feet, and lightweight materials that permit children to walk naturally. The sneakers, available in sizes 4-10, are also equipped with fasteners that shut. Each pair of shoes, which retail for approximately $30, comes with 1-ounce of Play-Doh molding compound.


“Kids have been unleashing their imagination by creating masterpieces with their hands and the beloved Play-Doh modeling compound for 50 years,” says Leigh Anne Cappello, vice president of marketing for Hasbro’s Preschool Brands.  “We’re now bringing the Play-Doh compound fun factor to the feet with the Versaflex Play-Doh sneakers. The combination of Reebok’s Versaflex technology, designed to meet the needs of toddlers’ growing feet, combined with the rainbow of bright Play-Doh compound colors makes these kickers appealing for both kids and their moms.” 
Posted 12/21/2006
Hall of Famers: Easy-Bake, Lionel - Playthings

Hall of Famers: Easy-Bake, Lionel
Playthings, NY -
... of an LED display after Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based Hasbro bought Kenner ... authentic detail, smooth-operating three-rail tracks, and transformers that allowed ...
Published 11/10/2006
Lost finds its way to TRU - Playthings

Lost finds its way to TRU
Playthings, NY -
... Bryan Burk and McFarlane Toys’ Todd McFarlane at Toys “R” Us during a private meet and greet to help launch the new Lost action figures, based on the ...
Posted 11/7/2006
Show Report: Fall Toy Show - Playthings

Show Report: Fall Toy Show
Playthings, NY -
... MGA Entertainment, Los Angeles, previewed the first fruit of its new relationship with German doll maker Zapf: a large doll called Mommy, Make Me Better that ...
Published 10/27/2006
KBToys.com offers deferred billing - Playthings

NEW YORK—KBToys.com, which is operated by the Denver-based eToys Direct, is now offering extended deferred billing, subject to credit approval, to its online holiday shoppers through December 31. The company began offering the service on both KBToys.com and eToys.com in 2004 as a 30-day deferred billing program; it was extended to a 90-day program for last year's holiday season as well.
'It's a good option for people who may not want to charge it all and pay the credit card fees. If they know they can pay it off in a couple of months, they can make Christmas a little more special,' Gary Redmond, senior manager of online marketing for both sites, tells Playthings. 'I've been thinking of taking advantage of it myself.'
'This is the second holiday season that we've offered it,' Redmond says, though he also notes that, 'more people are taking advantage of it this year' due in part to the program being featured more prominently and in more locations on the company's sites. There's definitely been a jump in usage of the program over last year’s levels and its popularity is growing, especially as we ramp up into the holiday buying season, he says, adding, 'It makes the holidays better for everybody, I think, if they have different options.
'The percentage [of customers electing deferred billing] has definitely increased, especially over the last few weeks,' Redmond says. 'Compared to last month, the percentage of people that use Bill Me Later has doubled compared to other payment types. I think it becomes more compelling when you get closer to the holidays too.'
Redmond says the current top holiday picks among visitors to the sites include big-ticket items like the FurReal Friends Pony: Butterscotch from Hasbro’s Tiger Electronics, Pawtucket, R.I., and the T.M.X Elmo from Fisher-Price, East Aurora, N.Y., as well as less aggressively marketed toys like the Speed Stacks line of sport-stacking cup sets from Play Along Toys, a division of Malibu-based Jakks Pacific, and the Miuchiz, handheld digital characters that also live in a complete online world, from MGA Entertainment, Los Angeles.
Posted 10/27/2006
Show Report: 2006 NY Fall Toy Show - Playthings
Show biz: Fall Toy Show






NEW YORK—The lights eventually dimmed at the Jacob Javits Center on Monday afternoon, booths were dismantled and toy exhibitors packed up their belongings until next time—Hong Kong, Nuremberg, Toy Fair 2007.
For some, this year’s American International Fall Toy Show was an uncomfortable shift from the showroom event they’ve been used to for years, but for most it was a success and for many, it was even better than it had ever been before.



According to TIA, there were 1,115 attendees at the show, representing 590 retail outlets.

An interesting change
The new show format offered more open space to preview and an opportunity to have just as many, or more, walk-in visits as confirmed buyer appointments than in a traditional showroom, according to some exhibitors who spoke with Playthings. It was something Mark Slusarz, vice president of sales for Rowley, Mass.-based Schylling, said helped his business. “The show is excellent,” he said from the show floor. “We were booked and had about 60 confirmed appointments. Other people also stopped by who didn’t have appointments. Everyone came through, and they weren’t preoccupied. They had time. No one felt rushed.”

He added, “The interest level was high—very, very high—in comparison with the toy building. We effectively doubled our confirmed appointments this year.”

The sentiment was echoed by first-time show exhibitors McWiz Kids. The company, which has just started to launch its preschool-aged games in the U.S. after seven years in the market—first in its native Quebec, then throughout Canada—had the chance to meet with Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, Barnes & Noble and other interested retailers throughout the four-day show. Bob McDuff, president of McWiz, told Playthings that the company initially started out small and now wants to go big in the American market. 'This is the first time we’re in a mass market show.” he said. “So far, so good. Appointments were good. We have Wal-Mart Mexico interested in five of our products, Toys “R” Us is interested in four products.”
Posted 10/26/2006
Jakks granted Littlest Pet Shop license - Playthings

Jakks granted Littlest Pet Shop license

MALIBU, Calif.—Jakks Pacific is launching a line of craft and activity items this month based on Hasbro’s Littlest Pet Shop brand.

Jakks' Flying Colors brand will market the line, which will include rolling art desks, tracing plates, character magnets, stamper sets, activity kits and travel activities.



'Littlest Pet Shop features a line-up of adorable pet characters that children love to collect, with a look and style that translates well into the activity aisle,' says Tamre Logan, senior vice president of Jakks’ Flying Colors division.

The company expects to begin shipping its Littlest Pet Shop products in North America this month.
Posted 10/24/2006
Hasbro Q3 earnings rise 23 percent - Playthings


BBC News
Hasbro Q3 earnings rise 23 percent
Playthings, NY -
PAWTUCKET, RI—Hasbro, Inc ... a year ago, due to strong performance of the company’s Littlest Pet Shop, Playkool, Nerf, Transformers, Star Wars, Monopoly, Clue ...
Hasbro sales show good holiday start
Hasbro 3Q profits rise
Hasbro Posts Solid Results Despite Star Wars Impact
 -
Published 10/24/2006
Tear-jerker will say good-bye to ITC - Playthings

AT THE FALL TOY SHOW - Spin Master co-CEO Anton Rabie has trouble containing his enthusiasm for what he believes - and it's clear he really believes it - will be the greatest single event the industry has ever seen: Sunday night's party and movie premiere sponsored by his company and Hasbro. About 2,500 people are expected to show - retail buyers, inventors, licensors, media and other toy manufacturers.
And no, there will be no merger announcements surrounding the unusual partnership between Spin Master and Hasbro that made the party and movie possible. 'People think Hasbro is buying us and that's absolutely incorrect,' he insists.
The event is just a feel-good experience, Rabie says, where everyone across the industry can simply let their hair down, laugh, dance, sing and bond. Spin Master and Hasbro are picking up the $100,000 tab, with additional support from the Toy Industry Association.

'With all that's gone on in the last seven or eight years, we felt that all of the fun had been sucked out of the industry,' Rabie says. 'So whether you're a competitor, a friend or foe, or whatever, this party is for everyone in the industry to just come together, let go and have an incredible time. It's developed a life of its own - it's grown organically.'
The party, taking place at Manhattan's The Crowbar nightclub starting at 8 p.m. tomorrow night, will also be the premiere of a documentary, 'The Treehouse,' celebrating the 100th anniversary of the toy building, currently in the throes of conversion to residential condominiums.
While historians will note that 2006 is neither the building's nor the International Toy Center's centennial - the building at 200 Fifth Avenue was constructed in 1909 and didn't become 'the toy building' until sometime after World War I, the 1930s or the 1950s depending on whose memory is being tickled - the documentary 'is about the spirit of our industry,' says Rabie.
The film, which cost about $20,000 to produce, started to come together about six months ago after Rabie listened to stories from teary-eyed toy business veterans in the building last February following the site's final official Toy Fair. 'Some people have spent their lives there - more time than they've spent at home. The stories are endless,' he says.
Rabie says when he viewed the documentary for the first time last week he was driven to tears himself and quickly overnighted a print of it to Hasbro's Alan Hassenfeld, who personally co-sponsored its production.
The finished film represents no particular agenda in terms of the search for a new showroom building, which so far has eluded the industry. And, the film and the party, Rabie says, are bigger than any one company; it really is just about saying a fitting good-bye to the structure that housed the industry for so many years.
That said, Rabie has his personal hopes. 'If I were to have a wish for what happens after the party, it would be that the industry comes together in a proper way to find a home in New York.' The problem, he adds in regard to the difficulty the industry experienced trying to secure a new showroom building this past summer, is that 'the industry couldn't come together. It wasn't anyone's fault in particular. It was just fragmented.'
Rabie says he hopes 'the industry comes back together to bring back 'the treehouse.' That's the goal.'
 
Posted 10/22/2006
Playmates toys with The Land Before Time - Playthings

Playmates toys with The Land Before Time
Playthings, NY -

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif.—Playmates will be the master toy licensee for the upcoming animated television series The Land Before Time, which will air on the Cartoon Network starting spring 2007.

Playmates, under license from Universal Studios Consumer Products, will introduce a new toy line for the animated series in fall 2007. It will include a full line of figures, vehicles, play sets and plush for ages 3 to 7.

The 22-minute series is based on the 1988 original feature of the same name about a prehistoric world of young dinosaur characters like Littlefoot the Apatosaurus, Cera the Triceratops; Ducky the Parasaurolophus; Petrie the Pterodactyl; Chomper the Tyrannosauraus and Spike the Stegosaurus. The series has had 11 installments since the 1988 release. 

Posted 9/14/2006
Hasbro teams with Disney Parks and Resorts - Playthings

Hasbro teams with Disney Parks and Resorts
Playthings, NY -
PAWTUCKET, RI—Hasbro will collaborate with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts on a program featuring Playskool-branded tips and other information for parents of ...
Published 9/13/2006
Gearing up for TMX Elmo - Playthings

Gearing up for TMX Elmo
Playthings, NY -
... still-top-secret 10th anniversary version of Tickle Me Elmo will be unveiled to the public next week and toy retailers KB Toys and ToysRUs are reading ...
TMX(TM) Elmo set for global debut on September 19th
Published 9/12/2006
Harry dino toys debut at Target - Playthings

Harry dino toys debut at Target
Playthings, NY -
BURBANK, Calif.—Fisher-Price, master toy licensee for children’s book turned Cartoon Network television series Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs ...
Published 8/30/2006
Zapf, MGA distribution deal - Playthings

Zapf, MGA distribution deal
Playthings, NY -
By Staff. RODENTAL, Germany and LOS ANGELES—Zapf Creation AG and MGA Entertainment have reached a long-term joint sales agreement. ...
Published 8/15/2006
International Playthings Inc., a Subsidiary of Grand Toys...
International Playthings Inc., a Subsidiary of Grand Toys International Limited, Announces the Retirement of Ted Kiesewetter HONG KONG, Aug.
Published 8/2/2006 by  Canada NewsWire 
Mattel rebounds in Q2 - Playthings

Mattel rebounds in Q2
Playthings, NY -
... Second quarter worldwide gross sales for the Fisher-Price Brands business unit, which includes the Fisher-Price, Little People, Rescue Heroes and Power Wheels ...
Mattel Swings to 2Q Profit From Loss
Toy giant swings to profit
Mattel swings to 2nd-quarter profit from year-ago loss
 -  -
Published 7/17/2006
Wrapped Up: 2006 Licensing Show - Playthings

Wrapped Up: 2006 Licensing Show
Playthings, NY -
... Doo!, Tweety, Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones and The Jetsons to the kids and collectors with action figures from McFarlane Toys, Tempe, Ariz. ...
Published 6/30/2006
Anime/Manga - Playthings

Anime/Manga
Playthings, NY -
... Bandai America, Cypress, Calif., has created a series of 4-, 6- and 8-inch action figures for the series depicting all 10 alien heroes. ...
Published 6/28/2006
Surf’s Up for Jakks Pacific - Playthings

Surf’s Up for Jakks Pacific
Playthings, NY -
CULVER CITY, Calif.—Sony Pictures Consumer Products and Jakks Pacific have announced a new licensing agreement to produce and distribute toys and leisure ...
Published 6/26/2006
Spotlight: Licensing Show 2006 - Playthings

Spotlight: Licensing Show 2006
Playthings, NY -
... Ben 10, the network’s original series about a boy who can transform into alien beings, boasts action figures and vehicles by Bandai America this summer. ...
Posted 6/20/2006
Mattel, Funimation take on Spider Riders - Playthings Published 6/19/2006
Fisher-Prices get the World - Playthings Published 6/13/2006
Marvel Madness - Playthings Published 6/7/2006
Elfenbein joins Sony - Playthings Published 5/31/2006
Hasbro streamlines philanthropic efforts - Playthings Published 5/27/2006
Pokémon USA adds Mattel, Nick vets - Playthings Published 5/24/2006
Build-A-Bear coming to a Happy Meal near you - Playthings Published 5/13/2006
Mattel charity arm plans $2.5M payout - Playthings Published 4/26/2006
Sanrio adds Mattel alum - Playthings Published 4/26/2006
Hasbro reports Q1 loss on increased revenues - Playthings Published 4/25/2006
Mattel reports Q1 operating loss - Playthings Published 4/19/2006
Directed by Power Rangers toys - Playthings Published 4/19/2006
Universal to distribute Mattel DVDs - Playthings Published 4/15/2006
Hasbro will tend 'Night Garden' - Playthings Published 4/13/2006
Toys go to the Dogs - Playthings Published 4/12/2006
Playthings honored for editorial excellence - Playthings Published 3/30/2006
Fisher-Price and Loews Hotels love little kids - Playthings Published 3/26/2006
Here's a chance to sort through DiCaprio's old playthings Posted 3/24/2006
Here's a chance to sort through DiCaprio's old playthings Posted 3/24/2006
Here's a chance to sort through DiCaprio's old playthings - Philadelphia Inquirer Published 3/24/2006
Toys for boys - Playthings Published 3/23/2006
TRU celebrates MLB Opening Day - Playthings Published 3/21/2006
Wild Planet, McDonald's team up - Playthings Published 3/21/2006
Let it show! - Playthings Published 3/19/2006
Let it show! - Playthings Published 3/19/2006
Spawn-Batman deal - Playthings Published 3/19/2006
Wild Planet, McDonald's team up - Playthings Posted 3/19/2006
Jakks eyes the ‘tiger’ - Playthings Published 3/19/2006
Jakks plans Happy Bunny program - Playthings Published 3/19/2006
NY Comic-Con overwhelmed - Playthings Published 3/19/2006
FAO’s toy auditions - Playthings Published 3/10/2006
NY Comic-Con overwhelmed - Playthings Posted 2/27/2006
Let it show! - Playthings Published 2/19/2006
Let it show! - Playthings Posted 2/18/2006
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