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November 17 - 24, 2023

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy and Thankful


I have so much to be thankful for, especially this year! I’ll start with you – thank you for reading the Bloom Report! And a big appreciative thank you for sending notes and ideas, news, cartoons, advertising in and sharing tBR with your teams.


Next up are the many who attended and supported POP Week this year – sponsors, speakers, attendees, exhibitors, pitchers, presenters, mentors, judges, models, directors, producers and more.  The vibe and level of excitement was the highest it has ever been in 21 years and that is saying a lot! The venues for our various events were perfect and their staffs amazing.


Thank you for using our POP website. We appreciate your notes thanking us for helpful resources, finding jobs, filling jobs, entertaining reviews, 3 Truths and a Lie, quizzes and your many posts, blogs, articles and much more. With your help we had 296,000 unique users in the past 12 months and 95% of them consumers through SEO! 


Finally, a heartfelt thank you to our extraordinary teams, contractors, Board and Committee members and volunteers that make it possible to do what we do and do it better each year.


With an Abundance of Gratitude,


  • The BLOOM REPORT is fantastic and it allows me to stay on top of all the breaking news in the Toy industry! - Wai Or, Longshore Ltd.

  • “I seriously look forward to each Friday to learn most every update + more in the Industry. Priceless info! Thank you” -Michael Kohner, The Michael Kohner Corporation

  • "TBR is required reading for: inventors, manufacturers, retailers, marketers, suppliers, absolutely everyone!" - Robert Fuhrer, Founder, NEXTOY

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Industry Commentary - Michelle Spivak 

Tips for Brand, Private Label and License Guides for Product Development and Packaging

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In the world of consumer goods, including toys and games, companies utilize branded, private label, and/or licensed guides for product development and packaging. Branded guides are crafted in-house, private label brands belong to retailers, and licensors have their own guides. To illustrate the distinctions, let me draw on examples from brands I've worked with in the past.


Take "Just My Style," a tween brand created by the designers at my former workplace. Products bearing this brand would be presented to retailers by the sales team, and upon approval, the retailers would stock the items. Now, let’s take Creatology. This is a private label brand for the arts and crafts retailer, Michael’s. When you visit the store, you may notice similar products with different packaging, including well-known brands alongside the retailer's private label. Retailers often commission external companies to create products under their private label.


Finally, we have licensed guides. Licensed guides are distributed to companies with licensing agreements, wherein companies pay the licensor for the rights to use the license. The licensor provides a guide to these companies, either as a PDF or through a portal with downloadable assets. Some licensors update their guides seasonally or yearly, while others have less frequent changes.


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Make a Bear-y Special Difference: Giving Tuesday for Kids in Hospitals 

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As we kick off giving season, we invite you to be a source of joy and healing for children and families facing the challenges of illness and hospitalization. 


This Giving Tuesday, your compassionate contribution to our enCourage Kids Teddy Bear initiative can bring courage, peace, and joy to those who need it most.

Sara was terrified in the emergency room as she grappled with severe stomach pain. Confronted with the prospect of an IV placement, her anxiety was overwhelming. Yet, thanks to Teddy, a tool designed for both comfort and education, Sara found the strength to confront her fears. The Child Life Specialist used Teddy to demonstrate the procedure, turning a frightening moment into a moment of courage and calm. As Sara hugged tightly onto Teddy during the IV placement, she emerged with a proud smile, proclaiming her bravery to her mom.

Support Kids Like Sara

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3 Truths and a Lie with Pro Inventor Randy Jamison

How well do you know your colleagues? Click HERE for answers. If you filled in your POP Profile Fun Facts and you aren't part of this game yet, let us know! 

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Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile! 

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Cartoon of the Week: Thank you to someone who wishes to remain anonymous for the funny cartoon this week! 

Lexophile Lovers:  "Becoming a vegetarian is a huge missed steak." Thank you, Jerry Cleary for sharing with our readers! 

Memorable Quotes:

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.” - - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Take care of each other. Take care of yourself. Repeat.” - - Lin-Manuel Miranda

Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me!  Mary

Financial and Legal


Paladone struck a deal to acquire WeCool Toys, the New Jersey-based company behind Compound Kings and a wide array of slime, compounds, activity sets, R/C vehicles, and more. WeCool Toys was founded by industry vets Jeff Osnato and Ross Alber in 2016 and has grown to include thousands of products across multiple categories sold in 35 countries.


Remote animation workers are joining the collective call for union recognition, following a big year in general for labor solidarity in Hollywood. Yesterday, 10 workers at Walt Disney Animation Studios—structured in a unit known as the Traveling Lab—filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. The employees reside in six different US states, working remotely for the studio behind films...


Biden plans to use cold-war era law in attempt to lower US prices. Defense Production Act of 1950, passed to streamline production during Korean war, was last used during Covid pandemic. The White House has announced it plans to use a cold-war era law to ease supply chain issues that the administration argues are contributing to higher inflation – a key electoral challenge to Joe Biden’s re-election chances next year as pollin...


***The above posted after November 24th***


Canada’s Mastermind Toys Files for Creditor Protection as Store Closures Loom. The Canadian specialty toy retailer says that the challenges facing its business “have become too significant to ignore.” As a leading specialty retailer of toys, games, and books across Canada, Mastermind Toys plans to keep its 66 stores open for business — and honoring holiday promotions — for the time being, as the CCAA proceedings unfold.


Sam Altman: Ousted OpenAI boss to return days after being sacked. OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman will return as boss just days after he was fired by the board, the firm has said. The agreement "in principle" involves new board members being appointed, the tech company added. Mr. Altman's sacking on Friday astonished industry watchers and led to staff threatening mass resignations unless he was reinstated.


Microsoft offers to match pay of all OpenAI staff. Microsoft has offered to match the pay of any staff who join it from crisis-ridden OpenAI. Sam Altman was controversially sacked as CEO on Friday, leading to a job offer at Microsoft to lead "a new advanced AI research team". Almost every staff member at OpenAI has threatened to leave unless he and co-founder Greg Brockman are reinstated. 


OpenAI staff demand board resign over Sam Altman sacking. Staff at OpenAI have called on the board of the artificial intelligence company to resign after the shock dismissal of former boss Sam Altman. In a letter, they question the board's competence, and accuse it of undermining the firm's work. They also demand Mr Altman's reinstatement. 


Sam Altman: What on earth is happening at OpenAI? Picture a boardroom battle at a multi-billion-dollar company whose futuristic tech might either save or destroy the world. Its chief executive, who has the ear of world leaders, toppled as senior colleagues turn on him - only for the rest of the company to demand they themselves should be fired. 


Sony sued for $7.9 billion over UK PlayStation Store pricing. Sony will be going to UK court over allegations of ripping off consumers with its PlayStation Store. Per Reuters, the PlayStation maker is being sued for 6.3 billion pounds (or $7.9 billion) following claims from 2022 that it intentionally inflated digital game and content prices on its titular storefront. 


Assassin's Creed publisher Ubisoft suspends X advertising. The French company joins others in boycotting X, formerly known as Twitter, amid a row over the spread of antisemitism and far-right ideology on the platform. Assassin's Creed maker Ubisoft has paused advertising on X, formerly known on Twitter, after platform owner Elon Musk endorsed an antisemitic post and Media Matters claimed...


Catan, Ticket to Ride and Exploding Kittens maker confirms job losses - with more to come - as Asmodee owner lays off hundreds of staff. One of the largest publishers in the tabletop industry posted big numbers for its corporate owner, the Swedish holding company Embracer Group, but that didn’t save it from a wide scale restructure plan meant to chip away at a reported $1.4 billion debt mountain. 


3 Toys & Games Industry Stocks to Watch in a Gloomy Industry. A decline in retail sales of toys is a concern for the industry. The robust performance of smart toys, STEM toys, sports toys and fashion dolls and accessories bodes well. Industry participants have been undertaking efforts on the digital front and focusing on better execution of marketing and promotional initiatives to drive growth.

Generation Media transitions to Employee Ownership Trust. The transition to an EOT scheme grants employees a number of new benefits and reflects the ‘people first’ ethos Generation Media has championed since the start. One of the global leading independent media specialists for children, young people and gamers, Generation Media, has announced its induction into an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) scheme. 


‘I was addicted to social media - now I'm suing Big Tech’. Hundreds of families are suing some of the world's biggest technology companies - who, they say, knowingly expose children to harmful products. One plaintiff explains why they are taking on the might of Silicon Valley. "I literally was trapped by addiction at age 12. And I did not get my life back for all of my teenage years." 


Retail sales hit lowest level since 2021 lockdowns. Shoppers bought less fuel and food in October as they were hit by rising living costs and poor weather, according to official figures. The volume of products sold last month fell by 0.3% to the lowest level since February 2021 when large parts of the UK were in Covid lockdowns. Retail sales had widely been forecast to grow in October. 


Black Friday came early this year, signaling worries about holiday demand. Early Black Friday discounts were far higher this October compared to prior years, signaling retailers are concerned that demand could be tepid during the crucial holiday shopping season.  Promotions across a range of categories, including apparel, appliances and computers, were significantly higher last month than in 2021 and 2022...

UK economy growth forecasts slashed for next two years. The UK economy will grow much more slowly than expected in the next two years as inflation takes longer to fall, the government's forecaster says. Living standards are also not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2027-28, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said. It comes as the chancellor announced tax cuts and a rise in benefits in his Autumn Statement. 



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Financial Reporting


Americans Spend a Record Amount on Thanksgiving Shopping. What Did They Buy?


***the above posted after November 24th***


Mattel and Minecraft partnership reportedly delivers over $200 million in revenue

Streamer Spend In Europe Nears $5.5B Thanks To Post-Covid Bounce But Is Likely To Fall — EAO Study





Trends, Lists, Market Research, and State of the Industry

If you have any questions whether the Barbicore trend is continuing, you just need to look to the eleven Academy Awards predictions for Greta Gerwig’s Barbie film (including Best Picture, Director, Actress and Costume Designer) and Assouline’s new oversized coffee table book with text by the uber-talented author Susan Shapiro.

REPORT: Multiplatform sports content drives tween fandom. We Are Family's latest study draws on insights shared by more than 4,300 seven- to 12-year-olds from North America, Europe and Asia.


***the above posted after November 24th***


50 Years Of Thanksgiving-Themed TV: From Charlie Brown & ‘All In The Family’ To ‘Succession’ & ‘The Goldbergs’ – Photo Gallery


We review 5 of the biggest pieces of gaming tech on sale this Black Friday.

The Generation Gap in Screen Size Preference - While older generations lean towards larger screens, the younger counterparts opt for the convenience of smaller phone screens.

LEGOs, Barbie and Hot Wheels among most popular toys this holiday season, survey says.

NRF Top Picks for Toys and Gifts for the Winter Holidays

Not just kid play: Toy companies aim more products at older adults

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

Bob Iger Criticizes Disney’s Moves Under Chapek: ‘I Was Disappointed in What I Was Seeing’. Iger also addresses Disney pullback from X after Elon Musk's endorsement of antisemitic conspiracy theory. He said Disney’s current CEO succession planning process “is robust right now” and added that he will “definitely” exit as chief executive when his recently extended contract is up at the end of 2026.


Steve Reece - Toy Industry Journal - The Massive Volume Driving Potential Of Off Shelf Placement In Retail. FOOTFALL: THE LIFEBLOOD OF PHYSICAL RETAIL. You will have seen really good retail stores who flounder and fail because their location denies them access to the same number of passing eyeballs as their weaker competitor located in a better place. Footfall is everything for physical retail.


***The above posted after November 24th***


John Baulch, Toy World - The price isn’t right… it’s the Friday Blog! Much as it pains me, I feel I have no choice but to start this week’s Blog off with some thoughts on the topic that is on everyone’s lips at the moment – price reductions in the toy aisles. One retailer sent me a message with a fairly blunt summary: “I’ve never seen anything like it in all my time in toys… it’s like a real-life Amazon marketplace out in the stores.”

5 times Black Friday shopping madness turned violent — even deadly. The day is all but synonymous with crowds, headaches and sometimes violence. Cabbage Patch dolls may have sparked one of the first Black Friday discount donnybrooks, but over the years the annual retail rumble has gotten even more aggressive, even deadly at times. Here are some of the most egregious Black Friday bargain brawls, ranging from...


Disney’s box office problems ramp up pressure on CEO Bob Iger and studio chief Alan Bergman. It’s rare for Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger to acknowledge his company has had creative missteps. So when he does, it’s probably wise to pay attention. “As I’ve looked at our overall output, meaning the studio, it’s clear that the pandemic created a lot of challenges creatively for everybody, including for us,” Iger said...

Kidscreen talks to licensing execs from Upper Deck, hand2mind and Relatable about new opportunities in the market, including demand for card games that can age down. Licensing is a difficult business where a few super-categories dominate the market, and it’s hard to stand out unless you have a big brand—or unless you find the gap. Kidscreen talked to three toycos about white-space opportunities...


The most sustainable toys are the ones that are fun for decades. As the holidays approach, my kids’ toys evoke a Christmas carol, and not in a good way. I count: 12 Brio train cars, 11 plastic veggies, tens of Magna-Tiles, 900 picture books, eight tiny teacups, seven bathtub boat toys, six packs of markers, five sidewalk chalks, four tasteful block sets, three cans of slime, two blowup swords and a mountain of plush...

Building Resilience. Amid A Mental Health Crisis, Toy Industry Takes On A New RoleAs more children emerge from the pandemic grappling with mental health issues, their parents are seeking ways for them to build emotional resilience. And toy companies are paying close attention. While still in its early phase, a growing number of toy marketers are embracing MESH — or mental, emotional and social health...


Why are millennials still attached to American Girl? The American Girl doll was invented in the nineteen-eighties by an enterprising former grade-school teacher and news anchor in her mid-forties named Pleasant Rowland, during a visit to Colonial Williamsburg. Rowland was also a successful author of textbooks and other educational materials, and wanted to capitalize on what seemed to her to be...


Toys that survived Be’eri Massacre displayed on Int’l Children’s Day. The world celebrated International Children’s Day on Monday, but Israel did not, as dozens of children are being held captive in Gaza. Instead, toys recovered from Kibbutz Be’eri, one of the sites of the massacre, were displayed for the world to understand the terror these children suffered. Through the images of broken toys, burned, shot, and stained with...

Ready for Battle — Black Friday and the holiday toy rush! As families across the U.S. gather for Thanksgiving this year, the eve of the holiday shopping season is upon us. While the pandemic era skewed the numbers for 2020, 2021, and 2022, with unexpected sales spikes, supply chain issues, and many other factors, I don’t think it’s done yet. 

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History and Nostalgia


Don’t Dump the Daisy from Ideal (1970). Straight out of 1970, Don’t Dump the Daisy is an action/dexterity game from Ideal. Two to four players each start the game with ten marbles and, directed by cards, attempt to be the first to place all their marbles on the petals of the game board’s centerpiece, a large, plastic daisy. The marbles rest in small depressions on each of the flower’s six petals.

Barnstormer from MARX (1975). Released in 1975 by MARX Games, Barnstormer players must combine their physical reflexes with intuitive guesswork. Players compete to build a flight tower one block at a time in the unpredictable flight path of a circling biplane. The tower is constructed using a set of eight coloured disks and a wind-up biplane randomly dives and climbs around the 18-inch square playsheet...

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Licensing and Entertainment 


Jay@Play to distribute Gigantosaurus toys in the US. United Smile's range of playthings for the dino-themed IP from Cyber Group will stomp onto US retail shelves early next year. Jay@Play is working on establishing itself as a toy gateway into the US market. It signed a similar deal in October with United Smile to roll out Zoonicorn products there next year, as well as inking a US distribution agreement in July with...


Hasbro has announced that Peppa and her family and friends will return to screens, premiering in the US on Nick Jr. on 4th Dec. at 7 p.m. EST.  Season 10 introduces viewers to Granny Sheep for the very first time, voiced by actress Sandra Dickinson, who moves in with Suzy Sheep and Mummy Sheep. This new character and narrative serve as a representation of the first multi-generational household in the Peppa Pig series.


***The above posted after November 24th***


Bluey‘s global paw print is expanding to include the Middle East for the first time in 2024. BBC Studios Kids & Family has signed a deal with free-to-air channel Spacetoon Kids, which has picked up the show’s first season to launch sometime next year. Based in Dubai, the pan-Arab net targets kids ages four and up.

WBD preps merch and content for the Powerpuff Girls’ 25th anniversary. The brand is flying into a range of deals spanning all-new books and a Roblox integration. WBD has signed on new licensees such as Funko (collectibles), Nike (shoes), Igloo (lunch bags), Bobbi Brown (makeup), Casetify (phone accessories) and Dumbgood (apparel, pictured). And the super-powered trio is also gearing up to make a mark on bookshelves...

A new kids channel called Moochi has just launched in the UK on digital TV platform Freeview in a bid to fill the gap left by bigger broadcasters shutting down their linear services in the region.  London-based investment firm Graft Ventures is financing the channel, which is available in more than 12 million homes through Freeview’s linear service and the Freeview Play app for smart TVs and phones.

This Christmas, McDonald’s unveils the Paddington Happy Meal inspired by the animated television series, The Adventures of Paddington.  Paddington Happy Meal. Available in all restaurants nationwide from 22nd November until 3rd January 2024, the Paddington Happy Meal encourages families to be kind like Paddington, the bear who has the power to ignite acts of kindness in everyone he meets.

WildBrain’s Strawberry Shortcake Brings Holiday Spirit to Fans Through New Promotional Partnerships and Activations. The seasonal activations follow the launch of WildBrain’s new CG-animated Netflix special, Strawberry Shortcake’s Perfect Holiday, which tells the story of Strawberry Shortcake and friends preparing for the “Winterswirl” holiday celebration.

Zigazoo Kids, a community dedicated to inspiring the next generation with a social media network aimed at connecting kids through their interests and unique talents, proudly announces its latest achievement: surpassing 500 members of its Creator Club. This special group is home to some of the biggest kid Influencers and actors, bringing Zigazoo Kids’ reach to hundreds of millions...

Crunchyroll, the ultimate anime destination for global fans, has teamed up with Crocs, a world leader in innovative casual footwear, on its first-ever Jujutsu Kaisen limited-edition collaboration. The globally popular anime has been reimagined into a collection of Crocs’ Clogs, Slides, and Jibbitz charms featuring fan-favorite Jujutsu Kaisen Chibi characters and iconic designs from the hit dark fantasy series. 

Sony Pictures Television – Kids (SPT – Kids), announces that the third season of its highly acclaimed and award-winning animated series, Hilda, will debut on Netflix from 7th December. Having faced Trolls, Safety Patrols, Black Hounds and more, Hilda returns in season 3 with a brand-new appetite for adventure. Our intrepid, blue haired heroine will be lured into mystical worlds that will lead her to a deeper...

Hasbro debuts new chapter 6 episodes of My Little Pony: Make Your Mark and Wintry Secrets of Starlight special. Will the power of friendship overpower all obstacles? On November 23, the hit entertainment series My Little Pony: Make Your Mark returns to Netflix for Chapter 6, with three new 22-minute episodes and a Secrets of Starlight special. 


Ms. Rachel picks Spin Master as her master toy partner. Spin Master has signed on as the first global master toy partner for Ms. Rachel’s YouTube channel (7.14 million subscribers) in a deal brokered by Creative Artists Agency’s entertainment and sports division, CAA Brand Management. Creators Rachel Griffin-Accurso and Aron Accurso produce educational content for toddlers, including learn-to-talk videos...

LEGO travels back in time with Orent Express set. The Orient Express set was designed by 27-year old Paris-based, LEGO fan Thomas Lajon, as part of the Lego Ideas program. The LEGO Group has unveiled the LEGO Ideas Orient Express, a beautiful brick recreation of the one of the world’s most luxurious and legendary forms of travel.

Panini launches Barbie Core sticker Collection. Panini America has released its 2023 Barbie Core Collection. The collection includes a sticker album and a 50 pack of Barbie-themed stickers. The 2023 Panini Barbie Core Collection Album and 50 pack feature Mattel characters such as Malibu and Brooklyn in sticker form. The 50 pack includes 176 stickers organized into 50 packets - 128 standard paper stickers, 24 glitter stickers...


Hasbro unveils epic Teddy Fresh x Magic: the Gathering collection. Los Angeles-based fashion brand Teddy Fresh announced its new collaboration with renowned card game Magic: the Gathering, under license by Wizards of the Coast, a division of Hasbro. As two brands known for celebrating their communities in their industries, the collection displays beloved artwork from the enthralling world of Magic. 


VeeFriends, Chuck E. Cheese kick-off new partnership and renovations with GaryVee Birthday Celebration. Chuck E. Cheese family entertainment centers will now feature animated characters from VeeFriends, an entertainment company that uses Web3 technology to bring hand-drawn characters to life. The collaboration joins a list of different VeeFriends licensing deals and follows Chuck E. Cheese’s...


'Aquaman 2' trailer; Pedro Pascal circles 'Fantastic Four 4'; 'Dune 2' bumped up; Marvel and Disney rescheduling; 'Alien Legion' optioned. Special mid-week showbiz round-up. Warner Bros. Pictures released a new trailer for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (see below). This movie is headed to theaters on December 22, 2024. Pedro Pascal is reportedly in talks with Marvel Studios to join their Fantastic Four movie...


Toys and Games of Worcester passes Go with custom Monopoly. Winning Moves has released a new, regional-based Monopoly exclusively with Toymaster member, Toys and Games of Worcester. The original version, last released 16 years ago, has been revamped and re-released from the team at Winning Moves, with the help of Tim Evans at Toys and Games of Worcester. 


University Games launches Godzilla puzzle. University Games has announced the introduction of a Godzilla 3D translucent color puzzle. In its licensing agreement with Toho, University Games created its 7-inch Godzilla puzzle, the latest addition to its line of traditional and licensed 3D Crystal Puzzle lines. 


Xplore expands even further with EXG Pro brand. Available soon from Xplore, over 100 licences from global leaders in gaming and entertainment and over 150 products make up the EXG Pro portfolio. Toy World can now announce that EXG Pro is broadening its reach across the UK&I market by partnering with Xplore Distribution from 2024, to support and distribute to more retail outlets. 


All I want for Christmas is…Barbie! A beloved toy for generations, Mattel says Barbie makes the perfect Christmas gift offering endless storytelling fun that lasts beyond Christmas morning. This year, a special Barbie x Mariah Carey Holiday Celebration Doll has been released, as Mattel celebrates the chart-topping singer, songwriter and actress by creating a Barbie doll in her likeness. 


'Superman: Legacy' casts villain; 'Harley Quinn' renewed; 'Madame Web,' 'What If...?,' 'Rebel Moon,' 'Chicken Run,' 'Garfield,' and 'Merry Little Batman' trailers. The cavalcade of showbiz news keeps coming now that the strikes are over, and it's time for another round-up. James Gunn has added a villain to the cast of Superman: Legacy, according to Deadline.  


New Chainsaw Man figures revealed from Bandai. Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America is expanding its Anime Heroes action figure line with the addition of Chainsaw Man. The Chainsaw Man figure stands at 6.5 inches tall and has 20 points of articulation. “Anime is constantly evolving and changing, and we want to ensure we are offering the best to our customers,” says Daisuke Zama, SVP brand toy department...

Little Tikes Story Dream Machine partners with Sesame Workshop. The Little Tikes Company, subsidiary of MGA Entertainment (MGA), introduced the Little Tikes Story Dream Machine earlier this year. The toy projector launched with a catalog of story collections for extended story time. Now, the brand has announced an expansion to this catalog via a collaboration with Sesame Workshop, the global nonprofit...


Fanhome collaborates with MGM Consumer Products to release Robocop build-up model. Fanhome, the leader in subscription-based collections and models, today announced a collaboration with MGM, the intellectual property rights owner of the RoboCop franchise, to bring the film’s legendary cyborg law enforcement officer home to fans with the RoboCop build-up subscription. 


Symbiote Studios reveals plush toy lineup through 1st half of 2024. Symbiote Studioshas revealed its product lineup through the first half of 2024. Featuring a combination of original designs such as company mascot Catnip Bravo in addition to product lines based on leading entertainment and video game properties such as My Little Pony, Transformers, Shovel Knight and Power Rangers, every Symbiote Studios...

The essential 'Star Wars' Holiday gift guide. It didn’t matter whether you called him “Baby Yoda,” the child or “Grogu,” two years ago, that was the “it” toy of the season. But the Star Wars franchise, like blue jeans, never goes out of style, and chances are you or someone you know needs some “Star Wars” gifts this holiday season. 


Sambro and Toikido join forces on Smashlings range. Global toy and gaming studio Toikido has joined forces with Sambro International to roll out its latest Piñata Smashlings collectibles and toys collection. Under the new three-year partnership, which was facilitated by Toikido’s licensing representative IMG, Sambro will deliver an extensive range of arts & crafts, stationery, bags and novelty toys. 


Disney Lorcana online sales hit by “most aggressive” attack ever seen by queue provider. Ravensburger says it plans to “reallocate” Rise of the Floodborn cards to other channels before the holiday rush. Disney Lorcana’s second set fumbled its digital launch earlier this week thanks to a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that publisher Ravensburger is now attributing to a targeted attempt to disrupt the sale...

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People of Play


With an Artist’s Help, Paddington Can Go Anywhere. For nearly 1,000 straight days, Jason Chou has inserted Paddington, the anthropomorphized bear, into absurd situations. He has no plans to stop. Paddington is the busiest bear in Hollywood. While fans wait another year for the 3rd installment of his film franchise, Paddington has found time for roles opposite Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hanks and Robert De Niro. 


Crayola colors in its licensing team.  Anna Roca has come aboard to spearhead partnerships and an expansion in LatAm and Mexico, joining other recent CP team hires Thomas Dimech and Gabby Munoz. All four execs report to Warren Schorr, SVP of Crayola’s business development, global licensing and experiences team. 

PlayMonster Group announced that Brian Fitzharris has joined PlayMonster as the new Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). With an impressive background in the toy industry, Fitzharris brings a wealth of experience that will undoubtedly strengthen PlayMonster’s global market position and enhance both client and vendor relationships. In this new role, he will be responsible for driving the growth and success of...


***The above posted after November 24th***


Mattel’s Josh Silverman leads the way in location-based entertainment. Location-based entertainment (LBE) has become a prominent trend, and intellectual property (IP)-driven companies like Mattel are already making a big impact in this space with plans to continue its expansion into new verticals beyond the toy aisle. The Toy Book spoke with Josh Silverman, Mattel’s Executive Vice President and Chief Franchise Officer...


Vivid Goliath bolsters marketing team. Alesha Khan has been appointed as brand manager for the group to support a turbo charged portfolio of new developments on track to launch in autumn/winter 2024. “We’re delighted to announce that Alesha has joined the Toy Marketing team,” said marketing controller Chloe Burrowes. “Alesha joined us from Panasonic, where she has worked across its electronic brands portfolio.

Hyve Group announces leadership team appointments. Hyve Group has announced the appointment of two new leaders to the team for Spring and Autumn Fair– Jackson Szabo as portfolio director and Soraya Gadelrab as the new event director . Hyve Group says the two senior appointments to the team will strengthen and revitalize the leadership team for the wholesale shopping destinations...

In conversation with Disney’s Fawn Veerasunthorn and Peter Del Vecho. The director and producer behind Wish discuss the unique challenges of creating an animated film worthy of the venerable studio's 100-yr anniversary. Heading into its opening weekend, Wish is a 2D-/CG-animated musical comedy that explores the power of wishes. The film commemorates Disney’s 100th anniversary by celebrating everything...

The Weathered Plastic Confessions of a Toy Collector. A daring exposé of a grown man’s toy collection. Ahem. I have an announcement to make. I have a massive Transformers collection. Come in, and know me and my 5 different Optimus Primes better, man. All toy collectors know that, sooner or later, they’ll have to ‘come out.’ And not just once. Again and again, to each family member that dares to ask. There’s dating. 


Melissa & Doug built a $1 billion toy empire. Now they’re making stress-relief toys for adultsAfter 30-plus years of selling wooden toys, Melissa and Doug Bernstein are now selling mindfulness products. Last year, the brand generated nearly half a billion dollars in revenue. Now, 35 years after launching, the Bernsteins are ready to move on from the company they have devoted their lives to. Last month, they sold...


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Companies and Brands


Cards Against Humanity mocks X and TikTok by launching its own social platform. If X, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram have all felt less than safe lately, now there’s a new option where the chances for misinformation and controversy are lowr.Cards Against Humanity has created Yowza, a new social network where users can perform...


***The above posted after November 24th***


Nerf Action Xperience launches in Manchester, England. Nerf Action Xperience, an action-packed entertainment attraction, has officially opened its doors at Trafford Palazzo – making Manchester the location for its first-ever European launch. Following a soft opening period when trailblazing Nerf fans could try out the new adrenaline-fuelled entertainment venue, the site has now fully opened seven days a week. 


Heathside announces Rainbow Brite toy line. Heathside Trading will distribute the Rainbow Brite range, including dolls, from The Loyal Subjects in the UK and Holland. First introduced in the 80s by Hallmark, Rainbow Brite is a character franchise that has brought colour and imagination to children for generations. 


Moose Toys’ newest innovations hit #1. Moose Toys, an innovative leader in the toy industry, boasts two number one hits for the month of October, according to Circana; both distinctions are for the toymaker’s original innovations. Buzzed about sales sensation Cookeez Makery was the #1 top growing new brand for the month, within the total market, and Beast Lab in its first full month of sales...


LeapFrog unveils trio of new wooden toys. LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., a leader in innovative educational toys for children, today announced the availability of new additions to its range of eco-friendly learning toys that ignite children's curiosity while promoting key educational skills. The exciting new products, featuring materials sourced from responsibly managed forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council...

'Pokemon TCG: Scarlet & Violet - Paldean Fates' product line revealed. The Pokemon Company International has revealed the product line details for Pokemon TCG: Scarlet & Violet - Paldean Fates, a new special set, which begins releasing into retail on January 26, 2024. This sees the return of Shiny Pokemon. There are over 100 Shiny Pokemon in this set, including Shiny versions of characters like Pikachu, Tinkaton, Ceruledge...

Stroll on down to 'Bark Avenue'. Good Games Publishing will release Bark Avenue, a dog walking game, into retail on November 29, 2023.  In Bark Avenue, players take on the roles of dog walkers in upper Manhattan. They will need to optimize their routes in order to make the most of time in this pick up and deliver game. 


Big Potato Games releases Mints or Mince. Big Potato Games has released its newest game, Mints or Mince – a free app that’s all about guessing if your friends are saying “Mints” or, you guessed it, “Mince.” Players first need to round up two or more friends. One player, the guesser, holds the phone to their forehead and, on clicking start, a photo will appear showing beefy mince or minty mints. 


LEGO expands its largest manufacturing facility. The LEGO Group is continuing to grow — this time with its Monterrey, Mexico factory. The company plans to add a new packing building, warehouse extension, and a number of other facilities to the location, with a total of more than 60,000 square feet of new operational space. 


Etta Loves, Keith Haring Foundation launch sensory bath toys. Iconic pop art is being featured in a new set of bath toys from Etta Loves. Keith Haring is known for his use of bold lines and recognizable iconography. He’s remembered for both his art and activism, having worked on a number of pieces tackling issues such as AIDS awareness and more. 

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

RoboCop: Rogue City becomes Nacon's best-ever game launch. The two-week old RoboCop: Rogue City has become the best game launch of Nacon's 42-year history. While the publisher didn't give hard numbers, it nonetheless called out the game for accruing 2.7 million "active game sessions" and 435,000 players in its half-month life.

Savage Game Studios rebrands as Neon Koi, has new action game focus. PlayStation acquired Savage Game Studios last year to help with its mobile plans, but the rebrand to Neon Koi may be more than a simple name change.Savage Game Studios is no more, and in its place is Neon Koi. The German developer revealed its name change and an entirely new mission statement for the mobile developer...

Steel Wool Studios to release ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted 2’ in December. Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted is getting a sequel game that continues to embrace the virtual reality (VR) trend. The continually growing Five Nights at Freddy’s brand has gone beyond the world of video games with a recently released movie, a number of collectibles, and more. 


Noggin will cut the ribbon on its Nogginville world next month. Nickelodeon’s Noggin streaming app is looking to make learning more personal and help kids build real-life skills with its new game world Nogginville, which launches in early December. In Nogginville, kids can explore different locales from the Nick universe, play mini-games and meet their favorite characters.

MGA Entertainment releases ‘Pui Pui Molcar Let’s! Molcar Party!’ for Nintendo Switch. MGA Entertainment and publisher NightHawk Interactive have released Pui Pui Molcar Let’s! Molcar Party! The Nintendo Switch game is inspired by the stop-motion animated series Pui Pui Molcar, which follows guinea pigs that are transformed into cars. 

Highlighted Press Releases

GOKI AWARDED THE GERMAN SUSTAINABILITY AWARD 2024 IN RECOGNITION OF ITS NEARLY 20-YEAR COMMITMENT TO REFORESTATION EFFORTS IN GERMANY. Charlotte, NC (November 29, 2023) – goki is being honored with the German Sustainability Award 2024, the first toy company ever to receive this coveted award. It is presented in collaboration with Germany’s Federal Government, the Council for Sustainable Development, and other high-ranking representatives from business, municipalities, and research institutions. The jury particularly acknowledges the company’s long-standing commitment to reforestation and its social engagement. The ceremonial award ceremony took place on November 23 in Düsseldorf, with the participation of Federal Environment Minister Steffie Lemke, Defense Minister Bernd Pistorius and Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Anchor for CNN, among others.


THIS HOLIDAY SEASON UNLOCK A SHARED LOVE OF THE GAME WITH AWARD-WINNING FUTURE FANS FOOTBALL. Teach The Concepts Of Football To Young Kids. With The Future Fans Storybook-Led Experience. Columbus, OH (November 29, 2023)— Mike Schroder, co-founder of Future Fans, is aiming to make other football families’ dreams come true this holiday season. His award-winning new game Future Fans Football brings families together around learning the sport so they share the love of being fans, just like it did for Schroder and his family.


TICK-TOCK: LAST MINUTE IDEAS FOR EVERY KID ON THE LIST TO WRAP UP OR STOCKING-STUFF. Tag’d Trackable Watch From Watchitude® Is In Stock & Ready To Ship For Hanukkah (December 7-14), Christmas or Secret Santa Exchange. New Brunswick, NJ (November 27, 2023) – Can sprinkles give your kids more autonomy in 2024? Yes, says Watchitude, makers of the $22 Tag’d Trackable Watch – Sprinkles! The candy-colored slap band style digital watch hides a secret that gives parents a watchful eye (no pun intended) as kids keep track of time. Mom or Dad simply slip their Apple® Airtag™ (not included) underneath the watch face. Kids boast a stylish cool watch to show off to their friends.


***The above posted after November 24th***


MY GNOME SAYS: GIVE THE KIDS A GIFT SO BIG IT WON’T FIT IN THE HOUSE, BUT THAT’S THE IDEA!  My Gnome On The Roam Entices Tots To Get Out In The World, For A Lifetime Of Adventures That Become Mesmerizing Family Memories. Roam On Over For Black Friday & Cyber Monday Savings To: Madison, TN (November 22, 2023) — Whoever said big things come in small packages must have met the little gnome that families are talking about! Just in time for holiday giving, My Gnome on the Roam® (found at is a brand of toys, books and tools that help busy families create adventures and capture the memories of those adventures. The result is a gift that can’t be confined to just one moment but will be used again and again and recalled fondly until the kids are grown and flown.


WE WISH YOU A MOOSH-MOOSH CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY NEW YEAR OF CUDDLY COMPANIONS FROM HEAD TO TOE! Kids And Kidults Will Adore Holiday 2023 Collection Of Wearable Moosh-Moosh Hoodies & Sliperz Plus Stocking Stuffer Clipz And Of Course Starlight Buddies, Squared & Sleep Pillows. Simi Valley, CA (November 20, 2023) – With visions of gingersnaps, nutcrackers and elves in their heads, the designers at Moosh-Moosh have reimagined the most delicious ideas of the holidays into the perfect presents for every kid (and kidult) on the list. Are those Slipperz winking at me? Yes, when it’s Gingersnaps sporting a red bow tie. The cutest and most creative holiday presents are being rolled out this week online at

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Safety and Counterfeiting


Fat Brain Toys Announces Top Five Counterfeited Toys of 2023.   As the holiday shopping season kicks into full gear, Fat Brain Toys is putting out a word of caution to all toy buyers. Finding a good deal on a toy could be putting your child in real danger. With the proliferation of third-party marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, and Temu, the barrier to entering the U.S. toy market has been eliminated and has opened the flood gates to counterfeit and knock-off toys coming from questionable resellers.


***The above posted after November 24th***


Discarded toys are creating an e-waste disaster. Here’s how to stop it. While modern parents are bombarded with ads for toys that light up, make sounds, move under their own power, and respond to voice commands, they don’t hear much about the environmental crisis fueled by electronic toys, or e-toys. According to a recent report by the WEEE Forum, a multinational nonprofit organization focused on the management...


Illinois group warns of dangers surrounding some kids' toys, including smart devices, water beads. Consumer advocates are warning parents about the dangers that could be presented by some toys, as the holiday shopping season ramps up. The annual Trouble in Toyland report focused on smart devices, which give some toys the ability to spy on children. 


Target Recalls Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Toy Mushroom Peg Sorters Due to Choking Hazard (Recall Alert). This recall involves Hearth & Hand with Magnolia 13-Piece Toy Mushroom Peg Sorter with the model number 324-06-3185. The playset includes a board with mushrooms decorated in a dotted pattern in multiple colors. The board measures about 6 inches wide and 8 inches long. 

Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

Wizards of the Coast announced the location for MagicCon Chicago, an event for Magic: The Gathering, which will take place on February 23-25, 2024. The event will take place at the McCormick Place Lakeside Center in  Chicago, Illinois.  Along with the event location, WotC also announced the new promos available for the event.  A new Counterspell promo card will be included with badge purchase.


***The above posted after November 24th***


The International Emmys announced and celebrated its 2023 winners last night in New York, handing out three awards for children’s programming.  The UK’s Magic Light Pictures took home this year’s Kids: Animation prize for The Smeds and the Smoos (pictured, 27 minutes), a holiday special that BBC One premiered last December. Based on a book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler...


The Toy Foundation reveals Toy of the Year and People’s Choice Award winners. For the third year in a row, The Toy Foundation has named Jazwares’ Squishmallows the Toy of the Year as part of the Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards. The popular plush brand was also named 2023 Plush Toy of the Year and 2023 Collectible of the Year. 


Parents 2023 Best Toy Awards. Any seasoned parent will tell you, not all toys are created equal. Some toys bring immediate joy that fizzles soon after, while others are so reliably fun they get passed on from child to child. It can be hard to figure out what’s worth purchasing when every other trinket is promised to be the "hottest toy of the year." 

Zuru unveils permanent exhibition stand at Nuremberg Toy Fair. Zuru will be presenting its new permanent exhibition stand at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg for the first time in Jan. 2024. Zuru‘s new permanent exhibition will be found in Hall 12.2 at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg. In a move that follows the company’s recent unveiling of its flagship campus in El Segundo, LA, such permanency...

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed

If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our readers. Archives can be found HERE

Marty Krofft, co-producer of iconic children’s television shows including “H.R. Pufnstuf” and “Land of the Lost,” died Saturday afternoon in California, his representative announced. He was 86. Krofft died of kidney failure in Los Angeles surrounded by family and friends, his publicist B. Harlan Boll said in a statement. 

The producer, along with his brother, Sid Krofft, are known for their work creating hit children’s television shows that spanned several generations in the 1970s. The duo had been doing puppet shows when NBC asked them to produce a Saturday morning children’s series. That became “H.R. Pufnstuf,” which had established itself as a fan-favorite character from their live gigs. “Its success spawned a feature film, produced with Universal Pictures as a partner and distributor,” his representative wrote.


Jim Southworth. Baldur's Gate 3 developer Larian Studios announced the passing of one of its developers, Jim Southworth. He served as the animation lead for the game's cinematics. "Jim cared deeply about his team," Larian wrote, "and the results shone through in their work. He loved making games, and we loved making them with him. We're all going to miss him." Southworth first joined Larian in 2019 as Baldur's Gate 3 was in Early Access as an art lead through the third-party vendor Turbulenz Limited. He then became a part of the studio full-time in 2021 to lead production on its in-game cinematics. His career spanned multiple studios and games, including 2005's Blade II and EyeToy: Kinetic and 2016's PlayStation VR Worlds.


Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

Added Friday Morning Chicago Time. Check Back for Complete Lists.


Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US) 

Toyworld (UK)

  1. Slow and steady wins the race …it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Deadlines for Toy World’s January issue are looming

  3. The Entertainer’s Big Toy Appeal is back!

  4. Generation Media transitions to Employee Ownership Trust (EOT)

  5. Toys and Games of Worcester passes Go with custom Monopoly

  6. Squishmallows takes home US Toy of the Year award

  7. Pembrokeshire’s Mermaid Gift Shop joins Toymaster

  8. Sambro and Toikido join forces on Smashlings range

  9. Zuru unveils permanent exhibition stand at Nuremberg Toy Fair

  10. All I want for Christmas is…Barbie! Powered by Toyworld

  1. Revell unveils new James Bond model kits

  2. Michelle Mendelovitz takes the helm at Mattel Television Studios

  3. Warner Bros. celebrates 25 years of The Powerpuff Girls

  4. Sony Pictures announces final season of Hilda

  5. Sambro and Toikido join forces on Smashlings range

  6. Bluey Series 3 arrives on CBeebies next week

  7. McDonald’s unveils the Paddington Happy Meal

  8. Punchbowl invitations to star Warner Bros characters

  9. Zuru cooks up MasterChef Mini range

  10. Bluey: The Videogame is out now

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US) 

Wizards of the Coast Reveals Changes for 'Magic: The Gathering' Prereleases
WizKids Reveals Three New Sets of 'D&D Book Tabs'
Two New 'Warhammer 40,000 Combat Patrols' Announced
Rolling for Initiative -- 'Disney Lorcana: Rise of the Floodborn' Arrives
Asmodee Sales Up, Dark Horse Down
Dueling Lawsuits Between University Games and Forbidden Games
Konami Announces 'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG' 'Speed Duel GX: Midterm Destruction'
Beefcake Dr. Ian Malcolm Redefines 'Oil-slicked Card Treatment' in 'Magic: The Gathering' Secretversary Superdrop
Flat River Group Now Carries Nord Games
Steamforged Games Unveils Two 'Dark Souls RPG' Products

Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)

Squishmallows from Jazwares Takes Home Prestigious "Toy of the Year®" Award for 2023.

The pre-sale for Barbie dolls that are inspired by the popular Mexican pop group, RBD, has opened.

Mattel has released a Mariah Carey doll to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season.


The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

Video of the Week 

Hidden Roles Podcast:

Adam Hocherman... talks breaking into toy and game trends!



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