For the past several years I’ve been attending the TAGIE Awards (The Toy & Game Inventor Awards). Held during CHITAG, the Chicago Toy & Game Fair, I’ve watched the event grow tremendously. This year’s event, held at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, was completely sold out. It was hosted by Tim Walsh (inventor of Tribond and Blurt and now filmmaker for the movie Toyland) who has a great comedic style. Hasbro inventor relations’ main man, Mike Hirtle, gave the keynote address. For me, there were two highlights during the evening. The first was the lifetime achievement award presented to Eddie Goldfarb. He has created more popular toys than can be named here. However, some of his highlights include Yakity Yak Chattering Teeth, Ker Plunk, and Battling Tops. The second highlight was watching Kate Daniels win the Young Inventor Award. It was presented by Seth Calvin, the 2009 winner, and John Ratzenberger (of Cheers and Toy Story fame. He’s the voice of Hamm the piggy bank). I also enjoyed the open bar. . . perhaps a little too much.
ASTRA is gearing up to better serve its members in 2011 through media outreach, seminars, and a redesigned website.
Toy Industry Association has a host of activities planned for Toy Fair 2011.
With today’s concerns about childhood obesity and unhealthy lifestyles, parents are eager to get their children outside to play. Few categories help them do that in the way that sports toys can. With the innovative steps manufacturers are taking, parents may not have to push their children too hard to go out and play.
Even though the Harry Potter saga comes to an end this year (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 2 hits theaters July 15), the Harry Potter licensing program continues to work its magic.
Jazwares, Inc., which launched in 1997, has taken on a number of high-profile licenses over the past few years. The company offers a wide array of toys, electronics, and stationery products featuring Sonic the Hedgehog, WWE, Strawberry Shortcake, Ben 10, Hershey’s, and many others. The newest addition is Star Wars. Also, the company has developed proprietary lines such as this year’s Mix Pups.
Celebrity brands are still one of the strongest categories in licensing today and companies such as Bradford Licensing are well aware of the draw that the right name can have for the right licensing deal. Bradford Licensing president Michelle Minieri talks with aNb Media about one of Bradford’s newest clients to enter the celebrity licensing category: Denise Richards.
4sight has been working with Ecuadorian artist Belen Mena to license her property, Pachanga. Although the word means “a party,” the property is based on beautiful moths that Mena studied in the forests of Ecuador.
About a year and a half ago, the father and son team of Glenn and Travis Rutherford opened the door to The Rutherford James Group, a brand extension, licensing, and strategic consulting firm. The company is an amalgamation of Glenn Rutherford’s Logan James, Ltd., and Travis Rutherford’s Travis James, LLC, companies. Both principles bring decades of experience in the licensing business to the new company, which already has offices in California, Colorado, and Dubai. Glenn Rutherford, chairman and co-founder of The Rutherford James Group, takes a moment to talk to Royaltie$ about what sets the company apart and what’s on tap for a new company run by industry veterans.