Had your fair share of Toy Fair?: The week’s toy industry news in review

It may be hard to believe but Toy Fair is over. The biggest week in the UK toy industry is over, and what a week it was! We had some huge announcements, giving us a tantalizing taste of the year ahead. While you nurse your hangover, sit back and catch up on all the scoops you may have missed during this eventful three days.

Those lucky enough to be in attendance of the Toy Fair will surely agree that one of the most impressive stands at the show was Underground Toys, the firm behind the massively successful Funko Pop! Vinyl line who had an impressive fleet of pop culture icons were on display. As the popularity of the Pop line grows, many of you were eager to read about the news that the firm has been acquired by Funko to be the European arm of their business. This coupled with the raft of new figures announced at toy fair, spells an exciting year for the firm.

In other Toy Fair news, making a big wave on the site was the news that Bladez Toys is to partner with Mattel for a new line of Hot Wheels in the form of Hot Wheels R/C Bladez Quad Racerz that will launch later this year. In a twist on the Hot Wheel’s formula, fans will be able to fly and race the 2.4GHz radio control quadcopters while also connecting a racing chassis to drive, drift and race.

There plenty of plains, trains and automobiles catching eyes at Toy Fair, but elsewhere, everyone’s favourite sentient locomotive Thomas the tank engine made headlines with the announcement of the new global brand campaign for series ‘Thomas and Friends’. The campaign will promote values such as collaboration, communication, sharing, manners, kindness, and the abilities to express and understand feelings and emotions. The popularity of this article might just go to show that in times like these, a little positivity goes a long way.

Another childhood favourite caught the attention of our readers this week, in the form of The Powerpuff Girls. The newly launched Powerpuff Girls range of Spin Master hit shelves on January 21st backed by an extensive marketing campaign headed up by The Powerpuff Girls Super Saturdays initiative, which will see stores host branded activities, exclusive discounts and competitions for four consecutive weeks.

Elsewhere, GP Flair is readying the launch of its new brand Glimmies, set to launch in stores across the UK on February 11th. The new brand was a big deal to ToyNews readers, especially given the TV, digital print and YouTube placements that will back the campaign.

Flying high was the announcement that Big Bird and the rest of the Sesame Street crew would be hitting store shelves in plush and hand puppet form, courtesy of Sambro. The firm will focus on creating a variety of branded products to build a strong presence with major retailers working closely with Sesame’s UK licensing agency CPLG’s local network of offices. Given the popularity of Kermit the Frog memes, Sambro may have just opened the door for a whole new generation of pre-school memers.

Of course for members of the Toy Industry, one of the most prestigious events of the year was a huge deal. I’m talking of course about the Toy Industry awards. Click here for the full list but among the notable winners were Spin Master, Ty and Smyths Toys. Congratulations to all involved and here’s to another exciting year of innovation and success.

Still holding strong in the top ten is the L.o.L. figure announcement, as well as the Floogals toy line, which are quickly becoming running jokes that may never die.

Finally, the NPD has valued the toy market at over £3.5 billion despite Brexit fears. The past year has seen some amazing innovation and talent new and old excelling to get amazing results. If Toy Fair is anything to go by this year is going to be one filled with excitement, positivity and alcohol! So, so much alcohol.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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