aNb Media News, August 27, 2015

Walmart Kicks off the Holiday Season with Toy Week

Walmart - Little Live Pets
A toy tester plays with Little Live Pet Clever Keet from Moose Toys

Walmart is officially kicking off the holiday season with its first-ever Toy Week. Toy Week coincides with the highly anticipated Force Friday events, which launch at 12:01am on Friday, September 4. That’s when new and exclusive Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise will be unveiled at Walmart. Walmart says that more 500 new Star Wars products will be available in stores and thousands more on spanning almost every category in the store. Force Friday events are expected to take place at 2,900 Walmart locations on Friday (Sept. 4) and Saturday (Sept. 5). The film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters on December 18.

In addition, Walmart’s holiday layaway program will launch on August 28, which is a full two weeks earlier than last year. Walmart says it has lowered the price for eligible items to $10 with a $50 minimum basket. There is no opening fee for customers to start a layaway account, and they only need to put down 10 percent. The last day to pick up layaway items is December 14.

Also, as part of its holiday season kick-off, Walmart announced its Holiday Toy List, which was chosen by hundreds of kids ages 18 months–12 years old. This year’s top picks fell into four distinct categories, which were chosen by Walmart.

Future Foodies—Food-themed toys:

  • Hasbro Pie Face
  • Skyrocket Toys Chocolate Pen
  • Wicked Cool Toys Girl Scout Cookie Oven
  • Moose Toys Shopkins Scoop Ice Cream Truck Playset

Veterinarians in Training—Animal-themed toys:

  • Fisher-Price Little People Zoo
  • Fisher-Price Imaginext Ultra T-Rex
  • Spin Master Paw Patrol Mission Chase
  • Just Play Doc McStuffins Vets ’n Pets Care Center
  • Moose Toys Little Live Pet Clever Keet
  • Hasbro Furreal Unicorn

Adventure-Seekers in the Making—Action-packed toys

  • VTech Ultimate Raceway
  • MGA MC2 Deluxe Lab Kit
  • Mattel Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage
  • Fisher-Price Thomas Shipwreck Rails Playset
  • Jakks R/C Hulk Smash Vehicle
  • Mattel Hot Wheels Terrain Twister
  • Jakks Max Tow Truck
  • New Bright R/C Pro Reaper
  • Fisher-Price Beatbo
  • Hasbro Nerf Rotofury
  • Blip Toys Hovertech Battle FX
  • Alpha Voice Command Helicopter

Dreaming Design Stars—Create and decorate:

  • Mattel Frozen Ice Castle
  • Hasbro My Little Pony Canterlot Castle
  • Mattel Barbie Dream House

For more information on Walmart’s Holiday Toy List as chosen by kids, visit

Francis Steps Down from DreamWorks Animation

DreamWorks Animation (DWA) announced that Michael Francis, the company’s chief global brand officer, will step down from his full-time duties in December. DWA expects to retain Francis’ services as an external consultant.

DWA also announced that Jim Fielding, head of global consumer products, will oversee its licensing and franchise management businesses going forward and report directly to DWA president Ann Daly.

Since 2013, Francis has overseen the company’s branding, licensing, consumer products, and franchise management efforts, and going forward he plans to work closely with DWA. He will also serve as a board member for AwesomenessTV.

Before joining DreamWorks Animation in 2013, Francis was the founder of Farview Associates, LLC, a global brand agency representing a diverse slate of retail, design, and celebrity partners. Previously, he was president of J.C. Penney, where he oversaw marketing, merchandising, design, and global sourcing. Francis spent more than 26 years with the Target Corporation, ultimately serving as global CMO. Francis says he plans to resume his own business in addition to working with DWA.

Daron, Toys and Models Corp. to Merge

Daron Worldwide Trading and Toys and Models Corp. announced that they are merging as of September 1. The new company will operate under the Daron name from the Daron offices in Fairfield, N.J. Ronald Marx, president of Daron can be reached at and Jan Halvorsen, founder of Toys and Models Corp. can be reached at

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