aNb Media News, May 21, 2018

ASTRA Announces 2018 Excellence Awards Winners

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) announced the 2018 winners of ASTRA’s Excellence Awards. Selected by ASTRA membership, the awards recognize leading retailers, manufacturers, sales representatives, and young professionals who represent the best of the specialty toy industry. The 2018 awardees are:

  • Retailer of the Year
    Dancing Bear Toys, Ltd.
    Erika Evers and Sarah Evers, Owners
    Asheville, NC
  • Manufacturer of the Year
    Marky Sparky
    Escondido, CA
  • Sales Representatives of the Year
    Carle Wunderlich
    Lisle, ILKatherine Hodges
    Sandy Ruben & Associates
    Garner, NC
  • Young Professional Rising Star
    Steve Starobinsky
    Diverse Marketing
    Dallas, TX

“Our annual gathering at Marketplace & Academy is an appropriate time to pause and recognize those leaders who have had a big impact on growing the specialty toy industry,” says Kimberly Mosley, ASTRA president. “Our honorees exemplify what makes the specialty toy industry special: an appreciation for the role of play in healthy child development; a commitment to top-notch service; and a willingness to help others in the industry succeed.”

The award ceremony will take place on Monday, June 11, 2018 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA during ASTRA’s annual Awards Breakfast and Business Meeting. For additional information, visit

Hasbro Sniffs Out Trademark for Play-Doh Signature Scent

Hasbro announced its iconic Play-Doh scent, known and loved by fans around the world, is officially recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a registered trademark of the brand. The trademarked scent, which Hasbro formally describes as a unique scent formed through the combination of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough, makes the Play-Doh brand one of the few active scent trademarks in the country.

Since Play-Doh first hit the toy aisles in 1956, its distinctive smell has been a hallmark feature of the brand. Throughout its history, the Play-Doh recipe has remained largely unaltered.

“The scent of PLAY-DOH compound has always been synonymous with childhood and fun,” says Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice-president of Global Marketing for the Play-Doh brand. “By officially trademarking the iconic scent, we are able to protect an invaluable point of connection between the brand and fans for years to come.”

Licensing Agency Neon Brands Launches at Licensing Expo

Neon Brands launches its new licensing and marketing agency at Licensing Expo with a slew of new brands. Neon has been appointed the exclusive worldwide licensing agent, representing Betches Media, Ponysitters Club, and Titan1Studios.

Betches Media is a multi-platform media company producing original content for millennial women to experience comedy and empowerment. Betches Media’s website, Instagram and podcasts reach millions of fans, with unfiltered commentary on pop culture, world events, politics, health and wellness, and relationships. Two New York Times best-selling satirical books (I Had a Nice Time and Other Lies… and Nice Is Just a Place in France: How You Win at Basically Everything) are in market, with a third on the way this October titled When’s Happy Hour? and an animated series is in the works with Emma Roberts and Comedy Central.

Ponysitters Club is a new live-action series targeted to kids 6–11, produced and distributed by Brain Power Studio, launching worldwide on Netflix this August. The series follows Skye and her friends as they care for a variety of animals on Rescue Ranch. Together the Ponysitters practice compassion and empathy for animals that have experienced an unfortunate past all while balancing school, family and growing up.

Titan1Studios is a graphic novel publisher and interactive producer that creates and services immersive experiences for mobile, VR/AR, and location-based entertainment. The studio holds IP for multiple acclaimed properties including Knight Guardians of Relativity, New Humanz and Zomben.

Neon Brands will be developing full-scale customized licensing programs that will reflect each property’s values and target audiences.