August 2010 | Vol. IX - No. 8
Disney-Licensed Toys Outrank Competitors
“Toy Story” and Proven Classics Sell With Character
Many specialty retailers hesitate to buy into licensed toy lines, concerned about mass-market competition and staying power in the market. But of those that do embrace the licensed route, at least minimally, Disney is one of the most popular. Five of 43 specialty retailers named Disney as their top-selling licensed brand during a TDmonthly Magazine survey in April of this year.
DISNEY BANKS ON TOY STORY
Karen Nethery at Lee Publications agreed that “anything Disney” is the company’s most successful license. In fact, the manufacturer released four new “Toy Story” products in conjunction with the film’s June 18 release.
“Just about every order we receive has the new books on them,” she updated TDmonthly in early July. “We usually see another big surge in sales of new movie titles when the DVD comes out.”
Based on the early success of “Toy Story 3,” with a No. 1 weekend debut breaking opening-day box office records for animated films at $41 million, the November DVD release is sure to spark additional consumer interest.
BUYERS RELY ON PROVEN PROPERTIES
The Toy Story appeal, however, doesn’t ring true for every license, or in every store — especially in independent retail.
“Most of what's licensed for us is short lived, or the mass [market] sells it at our cost,” said Bob Samuels, owner of Learning Express in Andover, Mass.
Samuels was among 68 percent of 43 retailers to respond that they carry little to no licensed products in their stores.
Nancy Stanek, owner of Toys Et Cetera in Chicago, Ill., however, shared her take on what licenses do work for the specialty market.
“We can do more staple licenses out of children's literature that have been proven over time,” Stanek said, listing Madeline, Winnie the Pooh and Curious George as viable options. “Those books don't disappear.”
Corduroy Bear by Russ Berrie and Edith the Lonely Doll were also mentioned by storeowners as licenses that sell.
Schylling's PR manager Stephen Medina echoed similar sentiments. “We've always looked for licenses that are evergreen, book related and educational. We're a classic toy company; we feel that's a good fit with our toys.”
Stanek also stressed the importance of combining a license with a matching toy type, such as Lego's Star Wars line. Three of 43 retailers said Lego accounts for their top licensed sales.
MORE UGLYDOLLS POP UP
Despite doubts about license viability, new items entering the market may establish themselves as the next classic.
Medina expressed excitement about an expansion of Schylling's new Uglydoll line, to include a tin jack in the box later this year. In addition, Schylling will release products featuring popular book character Olivia.
September marks the release of a new line of Nickelodeon items from Lee Publications.
WHAT TO MAKE OF IT
True to the “back to basics” mantra often carried by specialty retailers, licensed products are sweetest when chosen in time-tested, wholesome themes. Design and branding that echoes the creative and educational values reflected in the specialty market is likely to reveal the next generation of licensed gems.
Here are some new and favorite licensed toys:
Don Freeman's Corduroy™ has been one of the most beloved bears in literature. As Corduroy™ prepares to celebrate his fortieth anniversary in 2008, APPLAUSE® is pleased to partner with the Penguin Young Readers Group to bring this most recognizable of all children's characters to life. Read Me A Story, Corduroy! Dressed in his signature green corduroy overalls, this touch-activated Caress™ plush gently moves his head back and forth while he reads aloud the endearing story of Corduroy bear in a sweet childlike voice. A perfect bedtime –– or anytime –– companion, children will love to listen to this irresistible character’s heartwarming tale over and over again. Corduroy paperback book included. Also available: plush, bookmarks, pens, backpack clips and paperback books. Suggested Retail: $6.00-$40.00.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16714 (added 12/19/2007)
Tim Burton Tragic Toys Oyster Boy Vinyl Figure by DARK HORSE COMICS, INC.
Other products from DARK HORSE COMICS, INC.
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This 8" Tim Burton Oyster Boy figure comes packaged in a full-color window box. "Working under the personal supervision of Tim Burton, we have created a trio of large-size vinyl figures that reflect all of the nuance and detail of our past smaller models," Dark Horse Comics Sales Manager Kali Dugan told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 28976 (added 6/18/2010)
Buzz Lightyear and Woody are two great friends on one big adventure. The activities include Magic Pen® Painting, and Invisible Ink with Stickers. The Special Pen also produces a rainbow of colors instantly. The Special Pen reveals the invisibly printed pictures. Then match your stickers to the appropriate spot.
Book 1: Each book includes 24 pages of fun and a special pen.
Book 2: Each book includes 24 pages of fun, a special pen and stickers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27491 (added 3/9/2010)
Features include a crinkle and squeaker for baby's listening skills, and for tactile exploration, Pooh has multiple materials, as well as knotties, ribbons and teethers.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29415 (added 7/9/2010)
This tin keepsake box measures 7” x 6”. The entire box is decorated with colorful Uglydoll art, and a metal latch at the top holds contents in place for transportation.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29416 (added 7/9/2010)
Ringling Brothers Classic Card Set by DISCOVERY BAY GAMES
Other products from DISCOVERY BAY GAMES
This playing card set consists of four timeless card games - Crazy Eights, Hearts, Old Maid and Go Fish - each designed with its own vibrant and vintage Ringling Brothers artwork.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29229 (added 6/29/2010)
This individually-detailed replica figure from the movie Avatar stands 4.25" tall and features full articulation. Each figure includes a unique weapon accessory and comes with an exclusive i-Tag for in-depth online exploration of the mysterious world of Pandora.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 28987 (added 6/18/2010)
Can Obi-Wan Kenobi deal with Hondo Ohnaka and his ruthless band of Weequay pirates, or will this powerful pirate tank from the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” TV series take the Jedi prisoner? Measuring 9.5” L x 6” W, the tank features a pop-up driver’s seat, a rotating blaster, firing flick-missiles and hidden wheels for “hovering” movement. It includes Obi-Wan Kenobi, Hondo Ohnaka and Turk Falso minifigures. The set includes 372 pieces.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29417 (added 7/9/2010)
Star Trek TNG Series 3 Data and LaForge Figure Set by DIAMOND SELECT TOYS
Other products from DIAMOND SELECT TOYS
From the Star Trek: The Next Generation series, this set contains Season 7 likenesses of android Liutenant Commander Data and Enterprise engineers Geordi LaForge and Barclay. Each 7" figure features 20 points of articulation and includes multiple series-accurate accessories.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29183 (added 6/25/2010)
Made of high-quality alpaca, this 10" bear based on the popular "Paddington" character is jointed and surface washable.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29085 (added 6/24/2010)
Suitable for ages 18 months and up, this jack in the box measures 5.75" tall (closed). A plush Ox the Uglydoll pops out of the box as it plays “Pop Goes the Weasel.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29418 (added 7/9/2010)
Mythbusters Power of Air Pressure by SCIENTIFIC EXPLORER
Other products from SCIENTIFIC EXPLORER
The Discovery Channel's Mythbusters find the truth behind urban legends using the scientific method and plenty of curiosity and ingenuity. Their unique, offbeat and often-explosive approach to science comes to a science kit that helps kids discover the powers of air pressure.
Using this kit, aspiring Mythbusters will have a gas with 'the deadly belch' and other air-powered experiments. They'll discover that although they might not even notice the air around them, it packs a powerful punch, while finding mythbusting answers to these questions:
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 28711 (added 5/28/2010)
Star Wars 3-D Stickers by CREATIVE IMAGINATIONS INC
Other products from CREATIVE IMAGINATIONS INC
This set includes one sheet of acid free 3-D stickers with a Star Wars motif.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29052 (added 6/23/2010)
This soft and cuddly "Toy Story 3" Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear plush toy is 15" tall and smells like strawberries, just like in the movie.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29035 (added 6/22/2010)
These Strawberry Shortcake and Lemon Meringue figures are ready to give their cat Custard a bath in a tub just his size. The playset comes with three figures, a bathtub, two dresses, a hat, a shampoo bottle and bubble accessories.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29019 (added 6/21/2010)
Barbie Collector Doll Pink Label Twilight Bella Barbie Doll by MATTEL INC.
Other products from MATTEL INC.
Stephenie Meyer's bestseller tells the tale of teenage romance between mortal Bella Swan and the intriguing vampire Edward Cullen. This Bella doll comes dressed in an outfit from the popular film adaptation.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 29015 (added 6/21/2010)
The Gandalf plush is a soft toy version of the wise old wizard from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Gandalf measures 7" tall and has gray hair and big black eyes. He wears a gray robe and carries a brown "wood" staff.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 28928 (added 6/16/2010)
Kids can reenact their favorite scenes from the "Toy Story" trilogy with this cute potato figure. The playful spud sports a space outfit just like Buzz Lightyear's, from shoes to protective visor.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 28903 (added 6/15/2010)
This limited edition MIMOBOT designer USB flash drive is decorated with an image of Hello Kitty and her teddy bear.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 28894 (added 6/14/2010)
Based on the character from the 2010 film remake, B.A. Baracus is 4" tall and intricately sculpted in soft plastic. He wears a yellow shirt and "denim" pants, accessorized with tan shoes, a black holster, silver dogtag necklaces, a rifle and a pistol.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 28826 (added 6/11/2010)
This eco-friendly, 3D wall decor features soybean-based foam. It installs on flat surfaces with a Velcro patch.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 28673 (added 5/27/2010)
Chalkboard Floor Puzzle by LAFAYETTE PUZZLE FACTORY LTD.
Other products from LAFAYETTE PUZZLE FACTORY LTD.
The Crayola Chalkboard Floor puzzle is a 2ft x 3ft puzzle that kids can draw on over and over again. Made up of 48 extra large, sturdy pieces, the unique chalkboard surface allows kids to draw on and erase the puzzle in a mess-free way. Crayola Sidewalk Chalk is included. Launch date: 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 28407 (added 5/4/2010)
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Writer's Bio: Marie Raven has a long history with the specialty toy industry as a family business. In addition to freelancing for TDmonthly Magazine, she writes creative and technical material for various other businesses. Read more articles by this author
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