The Toy Industry Association has dropped gendered categories for its 2017 Toy of the Year Awards.
While the 2016 Awards boasted 'Boy Toy of the Year' and 'Girl Toy of the Year', those categories have been replaced for next year's event, with new awards including 'Doll of the Year', 'Action Figure of the Year' and 'Collectable of the Year'.
The TIA is also introducing 'a more efficient and transparent judging method' in a shake-up of how to determine the finalists for the 2017 TOTY Awards.
Toy companies, inventors, and other industry representatives are invited to submit toys, games and licences for consideration across a total of 14 TOTY categories until September 30th, 2016.
25 judges will use an online form to review, comment on, and rank hundreds of submitted products in specific categories that are relevant to their areas of expertise. They will consider each product’s creativity, originality and innovation; design and promotion; excellence; and marketplace acceptance. The judges will then participate in a live discussion to debate any categories that did not draw an undisputed roster of finalists during the online judging period.
In November, the TOTY finalists will be revealed and five ballots will open for consumers, retailers (one each for mass and specialty), media, and TIA members. At that time, public voting will also launch and will remain open at ToyAwards.org through mid-January 2017.
“For nearly two decades, the TOTY Awards have celebrated the innovative spirit of the toy industry and its ability to transport children to magical worlds through play,” said Ken Seiter, TIA vice president of marketing communications.
“With the introduction of new categories and a more straightforward judging process, we are ensuring that the awards program remains relevant and representative of the ingenious creations that originate from toy companies of all sizes.”
The categories for the 2017 TOTY Awards are:
- Action Figure of the Year (new): Toys that include action figures, and their play sets/accessories.
- Active/Outdoor Toy of the Year (formerly Outdoor): Toys that are designed for active, outdoor play.
- Activity Toy of the Year: Arts and crafts, construction and other indoor toys that inspire creative play through various forms of activity.
- Collectable of the Year (new): Toys that compose a set; can include novelty playthings, miniature versions of existing lines, licensed collectables, etc.
- Construction Toy of the Year (new): Toys that include building & engineering sets.
- Doll of the Year (new): Toys that include fashion and plush dolls, and their play sets/accessories
- Game of the Year: Children’s board, card, electronic or other physical game formats and puzzles (does not include video games or apps).
- Infant/Pre-school Toy of the Year (formerly two separate categories): Toys that are developed for infants/pre-schoolers (up to 5 years).
- Innovative Toy of the Year: Toys that utilise innovative design, technology, or manufacturing processes to enhance play value.
- Licence of the Year (formerly Property): Character or property that has had success spreading its brand throughout the industry.
- Rookie of the Year (new): A new company (created within the last 2 years) that has brought to market an outstanding toy.
- Specialty Toy of the Year: Toys primarily distributed through specialty retailers.
- Tech Toy of the Year (formerly e-Connected): Physical toys that are electronic or interact with a smartphone, tablet or gaming device.
- Vehicle of the Year (new): Powered or non-powered vehicles, and their play sets/accessories.
- People’s Choice Toy of the Year: Toy decided by consumers who vote at ToyAwards.org.
- Toy of the Year: Overall best toy of the year decided by retailers, consumers, media and TIA members.
Winners will be announced at the Toy of the Year Awards ceremony on February 17th, 2017 at The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in Manhattan, an event that will kick off New York Toy Fair 2017.
To nominate, head to TOTYawards.org.