brands under fire

Fisher-Price Under Fire for Making False Claims About Educational Apps

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 8, 2013 01:43 PM

After new parents nail down the basics of changing daipers and hourly feedings, most are concerned with building their new bundle of joy's cognitive level. With a more than ample amount of products, including videos, books and apps available to choose from, a parent's investment in education can start pretty early. However, not every product and method out there lives up to its claims, which is where Fisher-Price is finding itself these days. 

The longtime toymaker and others like them have come under fire by advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which has said that the companies involved have all produced mobile apps that claim to be able to help kids get smarter—but actually can’t. The Washington Times reports that the group has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the practice.Continue reading...

license to thrill

Hasbro Extends Licensing Agreement with Booming Angry Birds Franchise

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 18, 2013 07:05 PM

Because there isn't already enough Angry Birds-themed merchandise in the world, Hasbro and Rovio's Angry Birds have signed a new expanded licensing agreement that will find new Birds gear hitting the market before year’s end.

Since the original Angry Birds mobile game launched in 2009, more than 12 million copies have been sold through Apple’s app store alone. That has led to Angry Birds-branded T-shirts, pillowcases, cake toppers, pet toys, skateboards, and, of course, Duck tape.

Rovio, the creator of the brand, began distributing a weekly animated cartoon series, Angry Birds Toons, in March and a full-length animated Angry Birds movie is expected to hit screens in the summer of 2016, according to a release.Continue reading...

china

Lego's Asian Building Block

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 19, 2013 11:17 AM

The "clear leader in a declining toy industry," Lego has seemingly done the impossible. Despite the trademark on its one trick expiring, the brand has not only refused to die, but become the aforementioned leader in a slumping industry. If it doesn't already, Lego will have its own chapter in business school textbooks of the future.

Now, the brand is once again being a maverick by going to China—not for the cheap labor but to dominate the market. It's a block in the eye of the Chinese brand that's been knocking it off for years.Continue reading...

kiddie brands

Lego the Clear Leader in a Declining Toy Industry

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 22, 2013 04:04 PM

Lego—Europe’s biggest toymaker and the world's third largest—is having an impressive year thanks in large part to a new building block set for girls.

“Lego Friends” is the company’s sixth effort to target girls and their “most significant” new product in a decade according to CEO Joergen Vig Knudstorp. “We were able to develop and launch products that children all over the world have put at the top of their wish lists in 2012.” “Lego Friends” was the company’s fourth-best selling product line in 2012, after “Lego City” sets, “Lego Star Wars” and “Lego Ninjago.”

Remarkably niche, Lego is singular in pushing through the widespread malaise affecting the toy industry, reporting an impressive 25 percent increase in revenue in 2012, topping No. 1 Mattel's sales growth. The Denmark-based company, which is still owned by the founding Kirk Kristiansen family, boosted their market share to 8.6 percent overall, with 85 percent of the U.S. building-block market—their best customers—under their belt. Continue reading...

what becomes a legend most?

Barbie's Dreamhouse Coming to Florida and Germany

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 19, 2013 11:43 AM

The most famous fashion doll in the world, Barbie, is currently taking offers for her Dreamhouse Malibu mansion. Now, Mattel has issued an open invitation to literally step inside her world with Barbie The Dreamhouse Experience.

Two life-sized houses—complete with pink elevators, a walk-in “glitterizer” and a “diamond” ring display—will open next month in south Florida at Sawgrass Mills and for European fans, in Berlin, Germany.

Why Germany? It turns out that Barbie has roots in the country. American businesswoman Ruth Handler is credited with the creation of Barbie for her daughter, who in the 1950’s, like all little girls, had only paper dolls or baby dolls to play with. Handler convinced her husband Elliot, a co-founder of Mattel to create an adult-bodied doll based on a German doll called Bild Lilli. Barbie made her debut in 1959, followed by the reveal of the original Barbie Dreamhouse in 1962.Continue reading...

what girls want

Barbie Puts Dreamhouse on the Market to Make Way For High-Tech Digs

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 15, 2013 10:01 AM

With a pink elevator, hot tub and spa, pink granite countertops and only three walls, Malibu's most famous resident is finally putting her house on the market. That's right: for a cool $25 million, Barbie's Malibu Dreamhouse in the 90265 zipcode can be yours.

It's being "sold" via a listing on Trulia—"The only house in Malibu with a truly unobstructed view of the ocean (after all, it only has three walls)—and a celebrity real estate agent in Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles" cast member Josh Altman. It's all part of an effort by the iconic toy company to highlight the doll's revamped image and new playset, set to be released for the 2013 holiday shopping season.Continue reading...

games people play

Toy Fair: 'Breaking Bad' Action Figures, a 'Julius' Spinoff, New Crayons and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 11, 2013 05:13 PM

The 110th American International Toy Fair has kicked off in New York, which means that it is time for toy freaks to opine on everything from Superman’s underwear to the merits of creating toys based on "Breaking Bad" — a TV show about a dying chemistry teacher who turns to cooking up methamphetamines in a desperate cash-raising scheme for his family.

Warm and cuddly? Not exactly. But the fair has that elsewhere in droves, including a new line of Fisher-Price plush toys (and other items) relating to the launch of Saban's forthcoming "Julius Jr." show for preschoolers on Nickolodeon's sister network, Nick Jr. — a spinoff of Paul Frank's omnipresent monkey character. ("Julius Jr. is a funky monkey with a penchant for invention," according to a press release.)

Saban, which also owns the Power Rangers brand, is also debuting a bevvy of new action figures, plush toys, board games, consumer electronics and more as the Rangers celebrate their 20th anniversary. The brand has a new show on Nickelodeon as well — "Power Rangers Megaforce" — which has some new products attached to it.Continue reading...

brand revival

Parents Hope Mattel Doesn't Go Off-Track With Thomas the Tank Engine

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 2, 2013 11:11 AM

Thomas the Tank Engine has been steaming along on the fictional island of Sodor since 1945, but he is finally catching up to the times. Still, the news that Mattel is ready to revamp the little British engine that could for new markets has some parents of Thomas-obsessed kids worried.

Thomas started out as the creation of British clergyman Rev. Wilbert Audry, whose goal was to come up with a story to entertain his measles-ridden son. Today, Thomas is a global kids powerhosue brand, from toys and licensed goods that expand on his popular TV series.

The Thomas brand brings in about $1 billion in retail sales annually and was a big part of the reason Mattel shelled out $680 million last year for the engine’s former owner, HIT Entertainment, which also parted ways with such beloved kid characters as Barney, Angelina Ballerina, and Bob the Builder as part of the deal.

Finally, Mattel is ready to boost the Thomas brand.Continue reading...

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