2019 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award Finalists Unveiled

Over 100 Innovative and Exciting Toys & Games Are the Judges’ Top Picks for the Holiday Season

The Toy Association has unveiled the 123 finalists for the prestigious 2019 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards. Known as the “Oscars” of the toy industry, the TOTY Awards program recognizes the top toy, game, and licenses in the industry, and supports children in need by serving as a critical fundraiser for The Toy Foundation.link-banner

Finalists were announced by prominent online influencers who serve as TOTY Ambassadors. Between now and January 6, families can visit www.ToyAwards.org to vote for their favorite playthings in each of the 17 categories, including Action Figure of the Year, Innovative Toy of the Year, and Collectible of the Year. [SEE FINALISTS BELOW]

One winner in each category, as well as the coveted “Toy of the Year” award winner and the “People’s Choice” winner (based solely on consumer votes), will be announced at the TOTY Awards gala to be held on Friday, February 15, 2019 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in TOTY19LogoNew York City. The celebration will kick-off the 116th North American International Toy Fair and will include the induction of toy industry trailblazers into the esteemed Toy Industry Hall of Fame.

If you’re wondering what to get the kids and ‘kidadults’ in your life this holiday season, this year’s TOTY finalists are the hottest toys and games on the market. Whether you are looking for a doll, a board game, or the latest youth electronics, you’ll find great gift ideas for children of all ages. Every one of the TOTY finalists has been carefully screened by judges for its outstanding ability to deliver joy and wonder while facilitating key developmental benefits of play,” said Steve Pasierb, The Toy Association’s president & CEO.

Importantly, the TOTY Awards program supports The Toy Foundation’s important mission focused on serving children in need – whether they are living in foster care, impoverished, dealing with a traumatic or life-threatening illness, or facing other adversities,” added Pasierb.

The finalists were selected from more than 550 nominees submitted by over 200 companies of all sizes. Nineteen judges, including toy and play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists, reviewed and ranked the products in specific categories relevant to their areas of expertise. The judges then participated in a live discussion to determine the finalists in each category. They considered each product’s creativity, design, play value, and marketing.

ACTION FIGURE OF THE YEAR: Toys that include action figures

Mattel Jurassic WorldΓäó Dinosaur Action Figures

Mattel Jurassic WorldΓäó Dinosaur Action Figures

  • DJ Bumblebee (Hasbro, Inc.)
  • Mattel Jurassic World™ Dinosaur Action Figures (Mattel, Inc.)
  • Pokémon 4.5″ Battle Feature Figures (Wicked Cool Toys)
  • Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Deluxe Ninja Action Figure Assortment (Playmates Toys)
  • Stikbot Monsters (Zing)
  • Treasure X (Moose Toys)
  • WWE® Sound Slammers™ Figures (Mattel, Inc.)

COLLECTIBLE OF THE YEAR: Toys that compose a set and can be collected in multiples; can include novelty playthings, miniature versions of existing lines, licensed collectibles, etc.

Beaker CreaturesΓäó

Beaker Creatures™ (Learning Resources)

  • Beaker Creatures™ (Learning Resources)
  • Disney Doorables (Moose Toys)
  • LEGO® Harry Potter™ and Fantastic Beasts™ Minifigure Series (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
  • L.O.L. Surprise! Eye Spy Series (MGA Entertainment)
  • Lost Kitties Blind Box Multipack Assortment (Hasbro, Inc.)
  • Pikmi Pops: Pikmi Flips (Moose Toys)
  • Polly Pocket (Mattel, Inc.)
  • Twisty Petz (Spin Master)

CONSTRUCTION TOY OF THE YEAR: Toys that include building and engineering sets

  • Gears! Gears! Gears! Machines in Motion (Learning Resources)
  • GeoSmart Flip Bot (SMART Toys and Games, Inc.)
  • GraviTrax Starter Set (Ravensburger)
  • Kessel Run Millennium Falcon™ (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
  • LEGO® Harry Potter™ Great Hall™ (LEGO Systems, Inc.)
  • Marbleocity Triple Play Archimedes Screw (PlayMonster)
  • Snap Circuits BRIC: Structures (Elenco)

CREATIVE TOY OF THE YEAR: Toys that allow kids to build an/or make items that are unique to them

Avengers Hero Inventor Kit

Avengers Hero Inventor Kit

  • Antsy Pants Build & Play Kit (Beach House Group)
  • Avengers Hero Inventor Kit (littleBits)
  • Building Bricks Play N Store Table (KidKraft)
  • Cool Maker KumiKreator (Spin Master)
  • Rock And Roll It Spectrum Drum (MukikiM LLC)
  • Sew + Glow (Tech Will Save Us)
  • The Big Engineering Makerspace (Thames & Kosmos)

DOLL OF THE YEAR: Toys that include baby, toddler, and fashion dolls

Barbie ® Ibtihaj Muhammad Doll

Barbie® Ibtihaj Muhammad Doll (Mattel, Inc.)

  • Barbie® Ibtihaj Muhammad Doll (Mattel, Inc.)
  • Barbie® Robotics Engineer Doll (Mattel, Inc.)
  • Cry Babies (IMC Toys)
  • DreamWorks Spirit Riding Free Deluxe Spirit Walking Horse (Just Play/Universal Brand Development)
  • Hairdorables (Just Play)
  • L.O.L. Surprise! Eye Spy Under Wraps (MGA Entertainment)
  • Marvel Rising Secret Warriors Doll Assortment (Hasbro, Inc.)

    my-friend-fancy-nancyceb3c3a4c3b3-doll.jpg

    My Friend Fancy Nancy™ Doll (JAKKS Pacific)

  • My Friend Fancy Nancy™ Doll (JAKKS Pacific)

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Barbie® honors Savannah Guthrie And Hoda Kotb As Role Models With One-Of-A-Kind Dolls

TODAY Show Co-hosts Celebrated as Part of the Barbie Shero Program to Inspire the Next Generation of Girls

Barbie® honors journalists Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb as role models, or “Sheroes,” for breaking boundaries to inspire the next generation of girls. The pair made history as the first female duo to anchor NBC’s TODAY Show in the franchise’s 66-year history. This milestone furthers girls and women alike, as the co-hosts bring a diverse perspective in the newsroom at a time when it’s needed most. Guthrie and Kotb will be awarded one-of-a-kind dolls in their likeness at the Glamour Women of the Year Summit.

Savannah and Hoda OOAK Barbie Dolls

Barbie® honors journalists Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb as role models, or “Sheroes,” for breaking boundaries to inspire the next generation of girls.

This effort is part of the brand’s commitment to showing girls more role models through the Dream Gap Project, an ongoing global initiative to raise awareness around limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential. Research has shown that starting at the

Mattel Logo

Mattel Logo (PRNewsFoto/Mattel)

age of five, many girls are less likely than boys to view their own gender as smart and begin to lose confidence in their own competence — this is coined the “Dream Gap.”

To help close the Dream Gap, Barbie is committed to highlighting a minimum of 10 role models annually, because showing girls more role models is an effective way to inspire their limitless potential. To date, the brand has surpassed this goal by highlighting more than 20 historical and modern role models in 2018.

As we head into our 60th year, it is important that we continue to shine a light on female role models – or Sheroes as we call them – like Savannah and Hoda, to show girls they can be anything,” said Lisa McKnight, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Barbie. “Savannah and Hoda have modernized morning news and allowed more women and girls to see themselves, and their stories reflected on television.”

At the Glamour Women of the Year Summit, Barbie will honor Guthrie and Kotb on stage and lead a conversation around supporting girls. This is not the first time Barbie has partnered with Glamour, as the brand honored Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American Olympian to compete while wearing a hijab, and Ashley Graham, model, and body activist, at past Glamour Women of the Year events.

I’m so proud to continue the partnership with Barbie and The Dream Gap, especially in what we at Glamour consider to be the year of the woman,” said editor-in-chief Samantha Barry. “It’s more important than ever to show young girls that nothing is out of reach. These dolls represent a landmark moment for women this year, and I hope to inspire the next generation of women journalists.”

While the co-hosts are gifted one-of-a-kind dolls, young fans can imagine themselves in the newsroom with the Barbie TV News Team Doll set, and play out different roles in other fields with more than 50 career doll options to choose from this holiday season.

‘Let’s Go Gifting’: Nordstrom Launches its 2018 Holiday Campaign Celebrating the Joy of Gifting

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(Courtesy: Nordstrom PR)

This holiday season, Nordstrom wants to make shopping fun with Gifts That Do Good, Gifts That Inspire, and innovative services that help make the holidays completely stress-free in-store and online. The marketing campaign was produced by Nordstrom and directed and photographed by Theo Wenner, who has worked on original campaigns for Chanel, Chloe, and Topshop/Topman, as well as editorials for Vogue and Rolling Stone. The cast includes Guinevere Van Seenus, who began her modeling career walking a Nordstrom fashion show as a teenager, as well as longtime Nordstrom customer and model Jan De Villeneuve, who has been gracing runways for over 50 years.

NORDSTROM LOGO

NORDSTROM LOGO (Courtesy: Nordstrom PR)

The campaign includes a colorful, cheerful video that will run on Nordstrom.com and on the retailer’s social and digital platforms, print and out of home. A national TV commercial will launch on November 5.

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Campaign visuals from the 2018 Nordstrom ‘Let’s Go Gifting!” Holiday campaign to run in O: The Oprah Winfrey magazine  (Courtesy: Nordstrom PR)

GIFTS THAT DO GOOD

Giving back feels good any time of year, but particularly during the holidays. From gift cards that give back, to gifts that do good, Nordstrom is making it easier than ever for customers to find the perfect gift.

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Campaign visuals from the 2018 Nordstrom ‘Let’s Go Gifting!” Holiday campaign to run in InStyle magazine (Courtesy: Nordstrom PR)

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Campaign visuals from the 2018 Nordstrom ‘Let’s Go Gifting!” Holiday campaign to run in US Harpers Bazaar magazine (Courtesy: Nordstrom PR)

  • Gift Card Give Back Nordstrom donates 1% of all gift card sales to nonprofits across the U.S. and Canada. This year alone, the company has donated over $7.5 million to more than 600 organizations.

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  • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals™ In partnership with its customers, Nordstrom is supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals™ (CMNH) to make a difference in the lives of children. Now through December 24, Nordstrom invites customers to support CMNH through the purchase of $10 giving cards at any Nordstrom full-line store in the U.S. and Canada. All donations will stay local to the community in which they were given, including 55 network hospitals in regions with Nordstrom stores. The donations will fund critical treatments, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care for children and their families across the U.S. and Canada.

  • Nordstrom Signature Nordstrom is introducing a new cashmere collection featuring beautiful designs for women, men, and children. Select products within the collection are produced in factories where Nordstrom has partnered with BSR’s HERproject to implement workplace training programs on topics like health, finance, and gender equality. Since 2007, Nordstrom has partnered with BSR to launch worker empowerment programs in 27 factories around the world, reaching more than 18,000 workers.

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    Campaign visuals from the 2018 Nordstrom ‘Let’s Go Gifting!” Holiday campaign to run in US Elle magazine (Courtesy: Nordstrom PR)

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    Campaign visuals from the 2018 Nordstrom ‘Let’s Go Gifting!” Holiday campaign to run in US Marie Claire magazine (Courtesy: Nordstrom PR)

  • Treasure & Bond Nordstrom donates 2.5% of net sales from this exclusive, private-label brand to programs that empower young people to make a difference in their community. To date, the company has donated $2.5 million. This year, Treasure & Bond is supporting WE Charity, which provides educators and students with curriculum and educational resources that help them gain an understanding of the root causes of pressing social issues and provides the tools necessary to take action and make an impact. Treasure & Bond features laid-back wardrobe staples with an Americana aesthetic for women, men, children, as well as home, a new category that launched this year.

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GIFTS THAT INSPIRE

Nordstrom aims to be THE destination for unique holiday gifts at a range of price points, from a chic Topshop faux fur shoulder bag for $48 to showstopping Gucci boots for $1,790, including emerging brands and exclusive items.

November 27 - Treasure & Bond Patterned Pullover

November 27 – Treasure & Bond Patterned Pullover

  • Daily Drops Beginning November 27 through December 18, Nordstrom will release exclusive, limited products each day called ‘Daily Drops,’ to create a sense of discovery in-store and online throughout the shopping season. Products will be added to Nordstrom.com/holidaygifts at 6:00am PST, as well as on the @Nordstrom Instagram. ‘Daily Drops’ will feature exciting, new-to-market items and styles from brands like Something Navy, Christian Louboutin, Charlotte Tilbury, Rothy’s, Treasure & Bond, Le Labo, Sant & Abel, Hugo Boss x Jeremyville, and Rag & Bone x Mickey.

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  • Gift Guides Based on top-demanded categories and search terms by Nordstrom customers, the company is introducing a persona-based gift guide featuring curated and unique ideas for 11 customer personalities. Examples include The Tech Collector, The Luxe Lover, The Traveler, The Witty One, and the Do-Gooder, among others, and can be found on Nordstrom.com/holidaygifts.

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Nordstrom Holiday Gift Guide Continue reading

Hess Announces Collector’s Edition First Hess Truck, Now On Sale

Hess Corporation announced that the special limited Collector’s Edition truck, commemorating Hess Corporation’s 85th anniversary, is now on sale exclusively at www.hesstoytruck.com for $42.99 with free standard shipping and Energizer® batteries included.

Hess Corporation truck

Photo Credit: Hess Corporation truck. PRNewsfoto/Hess Corporation

Offered at the most limited quantity ever for any Hess Toy Truck, the Collector’s Edition First Hess Truck is designed as an enhanced replica of the original fuel oil delivery truck used by Leon Hess when he founded the company in 1933.

The Collector’s Edition First Hess Truck features three button-activated vintage sounds, rich LED lighting, expanded chrome-look details, a commemorative 1933 license plate, and comes packaged in a showcase box that pictures the original Hess truck fleet.

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Hess Corporation truck

Continuing the company’s annual tradition, the 2018 holiday Hess Toy Truck will be announced and available for purchase starting November 1 at 10 am EDT exclusively at www.hesstoytruck.com. This year’s holiday truck will retail for $33.99 with free standard shipping and eight Energizer® batteries included.

Parents Magazine Reveals The Best Toys Of 2018

Kid Tested, Parent Approved! This Year’s Hottest Toys Include Surprise-Inside Toys, Wearable Fun, and Silly Robots

Parents magazine, the most trusted brand and leading voice for millennial moms, has revealed The Best Toys of 2018 list for kids of all ages and interests. Earlier this year, 70 kids and their parents were invited to play and test 350 of the newest toys to hit the market. Our toy experts narrowed down their favorites to the top 44 picks for infants to school-age kids.

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Parents magazine reveals the Best Toys of 2018

Our annual list, timed to the holiday season, covers a wide range of playthings and is nearly a year in the making! We go over and over the picks, but ultimately our kid-testers make the final call,” said Liz Vaccariello, Editor-in-Chief of Parents. “From educational STEM toys to interactive games to toys that encourage creative play, this year’s list has something special for everyone.

The Parents Best Toys of 2018 list, by category, include:

Best Big Wows

  • LEGO Jurassic World Indoraptor Rampage at Lockwood Estate; 8+ years, $130
  • Nerf Nitro DoubleClutch Inferno; 5+ years, $40
  • Singing Machine Kids Pedestal; 4+ years, $90
  • American Girl RC Sports Car; 8+ years, $215
  • Fisher-Price Think & Learn Rocktopus; 3-6 years, $60
  • Brio World Smart Engine Set With Action Tunnels; 3+ years, $90
  • Our Generation Horse Trailer; 3+ years, $70 trailer, $35 horse, $25 doll
  • Hasbro furReal Ricky, the Trick-Lovin Pup; 4+ years, $130
  • Baby Einstein Curiosity Table Activity Station; 12+ months, $70

Best of Surprise Toys

  • Party Popteenies Double Surprise Popper; 4+ years, $10
  • Hatchimals’ Hatchibabies; 5+ years, $60
  • Mega Construx Breakout Beasts; 5+ years, $10
  • Ryan’s World Giant Mystery Egg; 3+ years, $40
  • Rainbocorn; 3+ years, $25

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FAO Schwarz, The World’s Most Famous Toy Store, Announces New York Flagship Opening Date And International Expansion Plans

Iconic Toy Brand will open shops in Canada, London, Australia and Spain reaching over 10,000 doors worldwidedb0656a0f5c0c0f52458b6f2fb581431

The world-famous FAO Schwarz has announced their international expansion plans as well as November 16th as the official opening date of the New York City flagship store located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Expansion plans include:

  • In partnership with Canada’s Hudson’s Bay, all 89 stores across the country will open pop-up FAO Schwarz shops, ranging in size from 300 to 1,200 square feet. Items will also be available at www.thebay.com.
  • A 27,000 square foot flagship will open in China via Kidsland China in Beijing slated for March of 2019. Additional stores and pop-ups will open over the next few years.
  • In partnership with Selfridges in London, UK, the team will open a pop-up for the holidays in early November 2018 as part of their “Selfridges Rocks” Christmas Shop.
  • Spain’s El Corte Ingles will open an FAO Schwarz pop-up in Madrid in early November 2018 through the holidays.
  • In partnership with Australia’s Myer Australia, FAO Schwarz will open a pop-up in their two flagship stores in Sydney and Melbourne as a part of their Giftorium Event starting in late October.

Founded in 1862, Frederick August Otto Schwarz opened FAO Schwarz, a marvelous bountiful emporium full of extraordinary, one-of-a-kind toys from all over the world. As one of the oldest and most iconic toy brands in the world, FAO Schwarz has always been synonymous with quality and innovation and offering cherished memories for generations of adults and children alike. (The company filed for bankruptcy in December 2013 and later bought by ThirtySixty Brands.)

The expansion to these countries further exemplifies FAO Schwarz as a global kids lifestyle brand,” said David Conn, CEO of ThreeSixty Brands, owners of FAO Schwarz. “FAO Schwarz was built on in-store experiences, which has made it a global destination over the years. In partnering with these amazing companies around the world, we are able to bring back that wonderment of toys and a deep nostalgia for the larger than life experience that FAO Schwarz has offered to parents and children alike for over 150 years.”

On November 16th, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, becomes home to the new FAO Schwarz New York City flagship with over 20,000 square feet of FAO Schwarz signature toys and items from partners such as Melissa & Doug, Marvin’s Magic and Build-A-Bear as well as FAO Schweetz in partnership with IT’SUGAR. The store will feature FAO’s staple retail experiences including the iconic dance-on-piano, magic shows, a baby adoption center, a kids’ grocery shopping experience, and a build-your-own RC race car station, among others. Many of these experiences will be duplicated with FAO Schwarz international partner locations, offering the world that one-of-a-kind toy retail experience the brand is known for.

Furthermore, the fondness associated with FAO Schwarz is wrapped up in the theatre of it all. It’s more than just toys. It’s the deep nostalgia for play that came to life and was so often larger than it. A visit to FAO Schwarz meant much more than a trip to a toy store and it will again.

Target Reimagines Toy Experience for the Holidays

(Photo Credit: Stephen Allen)

Retailer expands and reimagines space in hundreds of stores, doubles down on new and exclusive toys, and offers playful experiences for families with events and more

  • Nearly a quarter-million square feet of new space for toys across more than 500 stores
  • Remodeled toy department available in more than 100 stores
  • Deeper inventory and more than 2,500 new and exclusive toys–nearly double last year
  • 25,000 hours of joy with in-store events for families
  • New digital experience, gift finder for toys on Target.com, and digitally enabled kids’ gifting catalog

Target Corp. unveiled its plans for creating an unbeatable toy experience for shoppers this holiday season. Minneapolis-based Target Corporation serves guests at more than 1,800 stores and at www.Target.com. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit to communities, which today equals millions of dollars a week. The retailer is adding nearly a quarter-million square feet of new space for toys across more than 500 stores and will complete remodels of toy departments in more than 100 stores. Guests will find great prices throughout the season, deeper inventory and more than 2,500 new and exclusive toys—nearly double compared to last year. Additionally, Target will host nearly 25,000 hours of family-friendly store events and is introducing a new toys hub on Target.com, as well as a digitally enabled kids’ gifting catalog.963442362ab9bb70265680b00e3a6733

For many guests, finding the perfect toy to wrap up and give their little-loved ones this holiday is going to be their top priority. We want them to know that Target is here to help,” said Mark Tritton, executive vice president, and chief merchandising officer, Target. “Our team has spent months preparing for this season, selecting the assortment, deepening our inventory to offer more of the hottest items and reimagining the experience we have for toys in our stores and online. We’re excited to welcome more shoppers to Target this season and help them create memorable moments for years to come.”

Incremental Space for ToysTarget_Toys_1

By Nov. 2, Target will complete the expansion of nearly a quarter-million square feet of space for toys across more than 500 stores. The expanded departments will showcase larger items like electric ride-on vehicles, playhouses, outdoor playsets, and more. New displays will take items out of their packaging and put them into a 360-degree shopping experience. Playful signing will make it easy for guests to shop this new kid-friendly world and purchase items directly in-store or have them shipped to their home via Target.com. Continue reading