Author: Ali Mierzejewski

Flying High-Tech

Toy Drones Fly to New Heights Although it seems like they’re becoming commonplace in the R/C aisle, the concept of a flying R/C is actually still quite novel in the category. The progression from ground R/C to difficult-to-fly helicopters to slightly more stable quadcopters led us to where we are now: within constant search of how to make this still-challenging play pattern more fun. Truthfully, a company could add lots of bells and whistles into a drone, but that still doesn’t mean a consumer will pick it up off the shelf. Since flying an R/C tends to be more...

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TIA Announces Toy of the Year 2017 Winners

Last night, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the 2017 Toy of the Year award winners at the 17th annual Toy of the Year Awards and Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony, hosted at The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City. Winners in each of the categories include: Toy of the Year LEGO Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster (LEGO Systems) People’s Choice Pop! Vinyl (Funko) Action Figure of the Year DC Super Hero Girls Action Figure Assortment (Mattel) Active/Outdoor Toy of the Year Bunch O Balloons (Zuru) Activity Toy of the Year Crayola Air Marker Sprayer (Crayola) Collectible of the Year Pop! Vinyl (Funko) Construction...

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Disney Unveils Elena of Avalor Product Line

Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media unveiled its new product line inspired by Disney Channel’s upcoming animated TV series Elena of Avalor, which debuts Friday, July 22. The Disney Store Michigan Ave. location in Chicago commemorated the launch of Elena of Avalor products in store by creating a custom window display with art from the series. Actress Jenna Ortega, who voices Elena’s younger sister, Isabel, and stars on Disney Channel’s Stuck in the Middle, was there to help unveil the new design to fans. The assortment includes fashion dolls, costumes, dress-up accessories, apparel, books, backpacks, and home décor that take inspiration from the adventurous, brave new princess and her kingdom of Avalor, a fairytale land inspired by Latin and Hispanic cultures and folklore. Elena of Avalor products are available now at Disney Store. Additional items will be available at mass retailers starting in July and rolling out through August from companies including Hasbro, Jakks, Amscan, Disguise, Studio Fun, Bendon, Phoenix International Publications, Inc, Franco Manufacturing, and Children’s Apparel Network. Highlights from the new product line include: Elena of Avalor My Time Singing Doll (Hasbro): Kids can sing along with Elena of Avalor as she embarks on magical adventures. Press Elena of Avalor’s gem necklace to hear her sing “My Time,” a powerful song featured in the series. The doll’s articulated arms will allow her to hold the included guitar as she sings this magical song....

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Game of Drones

Drones compete to be top dog in the R/C aisle by adding extra features, gaming, and more. Winter is coming—well, at least for the toy industry, which is constantly looking forward to Q4—and toy manufacturers are always competing to provide the best products at the best price. Last year, we saw an influx of drones hit the market. A lot of companies were jumping on the trend, from traditional R/C companies to newcomers to the game that were importing in unknown brands. Retail shelves and online retailers were flooded with a variety of drones, making it a bit of a struggle for consumers to sift through all the options to find the one that suited their needs. This year, the R/C toy category is seeing a bit of a change in the form of fewer players and more features. The drone category is becoming an even tougher category in which to compete—kids and experienced fliers alike are both looking for more than just a quadcopter with a camera. Not only are companies looking for new ways to innovate their drones, but they’re also looking to find ways to make the nuances and technicalities of drone-flying more accessible to a wider audience. A lot of the added features are making drones semi-autonomous, allowing younger and more novice fliers the chance to get in on the action. “We’re taking a different...

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K’NEX Launches Brave & Beautiful Mighty Makers Campaign

K’NEX Brands launched Brave & Beautiful, a video marketing campaign that coincides with their new Mighty Makers line that encourages and inspires girls to build big ideas and dream even bigger. The Mighty Makers line, which was introduced earlier this year, features STEM-themed engineering toys designed to empower girls through creative, story-based building sets. The Brave & Beautiful video features original music of the same name, written and performed by Jessica Owen. It starts with young girls talking about what they love to build and what they hope to be when they grow up. They also answer questions like “What do...

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