Toy Building Is Fair Game Tenants in the International Toy Center received a letter from building operator Cushman & Wakefield addressing rumors regarding a possible sale of the building. The letter indicated that while the building is up for sale, no sale is pending and the owners are interested in exploring options in today’s market. Further, the letter referenced rebranding the ITC as the Playtrade Center to reflect its goal of attracting tenants in other children’s categories. The industry is still awaiting word from the TIA regarding the venue of future shows.
Execs Expand Roles at New Viacom Division Tim Fisher and Howard Smith were given new responsibilities as part of a reorganization of Nickelodeon Recreation and Paramount Parks. Tim Fisher has new, expanded responsibilities as executive vice president of Parks of the newly formed Viacom Recreation division. Howard Smith, formerly senior vice president, Nickelodeon Recreation, now serves as senior vice president, Nickelodeon/Paramount Recreation.
Trio Kicks Around New Deal Major League Soccer, Soccer United Marketing, and adidas signed a decade-long deal making adidas the official athletic sponsor and licensed product supplier for the United States’ Division I professional league. As part of the deal, adidas and MLS will work with the soccer community on a developmental children’s league. adidas also has exclusive rights to sell all MLS League and team-branded product beginning with the 10th season in 2005.
Klamer, Wintraub Head to Hall of Fame Toy inventor and designer Reuben Klamer and toy industry innovator Lionel Weintraub were named the 2005 Toy Industry Hall of Fame inductees. The ceremony inducting Klamer and the late Weintraub will take place as part of the fifth annual T.O.T.Y. (Toy Of The Year) Awards event Saturday, February 19, 2005, at The Hilton New York. Klamer is a toy inventor and designer with more than 200 products to his credit. Weintraub (1920-1994) was one of the first industry leaders to buy inventions from an outside source and was a pioneer in the introduction of injection-molded toys.
Dora Explores New Territory Dora the Explorer will journey to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan December 11 as part of her first-ever interactive exhibition. The year-long exhibit is sponsored by Nickelodeon and features six areas including Dora’s authentic Latin American-inspired house, Boots’ Tree House, Animal Rescue Center, the Rainforest Maze, bridges, and the three-dimensional Number Pyramid.
Russ Berrie Optimistic About New Ziggy Deal Ziggy & Friends, Inc., signed a deal with Russ Berrie and Company, Inc., for a line of products that reflect the personality of Ziggy. Among the offerings is the Russ “Heart of Gold” series for the specialty channel with soft message dolls, figurines, mugs, magnets, plaques, and ornaments for everyday, special occasion, and seasonal giving. For the mass market, Russ will develop a unique line of Ziggy-related products and implement an in-store point-of-sale program.
Action Performance Supports James Dean Action Performance Companies Inc. was appointed master licensee for the 2005 James Dean 50th anniversary program through the James Dean Estate and CMG Worldwide. As exclusive licensee, the company will create a variety of die-cast collectibles, including a 1:18-scale specialty 1949 Mercury inspired by the vehicle Dean drove in Rebel Without a Cause. The James Dean 50th anniversary line also will include apparel, headwear, accessories, and gift items that can be purchased via a special Website, www.jamesdean50.com and in all channels of distribution. The program represents a departure from Action Performance Companies’ usual die-cast and merchandise programs, which typically originate from a direct motorsports tie-in.
FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide Supports UK Cult Favorite FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide will represent merchandising rights in the UK for animated TV series Monkey Dust. Trademark Products is on board with T-shirts; other categories such as posters, calendars, greetings cards, and stationery are up for grabs. Product is due on shelves in spring 2005 aimed primarily at ages 16 to 34. Talkback, the production company behind Monkey Dust, and BBC Worldwide recently launched a DVD of the first season. The series is set in a permanent urban nightmare—a nocturnal world inhabited by the sad, the lonely, and the emotionally crippled. The show’s second series currently is being repeated on BBC2, and a third series already has been commissioned for next year for BBC3.
Motor Trend Adds Two New Licensees Primedia Enterprises will expand the Motor Trend brand in the automotive accessories market with two new deals. Headline Products will produce a line of spotlights, compressors, power inverters, jumpstart systems, and other car-care accessories. Also on board is Northeastern Plastics, Inc., with a line of automotive electrical products, such as booster cables, portable lighting, replacement battery accessories, and cord sets. All products will be on shelves for the fourth quarter.
Rockey Named CEO at Front Porch Classics Front Porch Classics named Helen Rockey as its new chief executive officer. Rockey joins two other recent hires, Tom Phillips, vice president, marketing/sales, and Brian Maggio, vice president, sales. The new round of executive hiring comes as Front Porch Classics expands its retail reach into nontraditional channels such as home furnishings, department stores, and major booksellers. The company recently finalized national distribution programs with companies including Barnes and Noble, Staples, and Target Direct.
New Everlast Line in South Africa Everlast Worldwide Inc. signed a licensing agreement with Johannesburg, South Africa-based Big Brands for the development of a line of Everlast men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel. Scheduled to launch in fall 2005, the line will be distributed throughout South Africa.
NYC Licensing Opportunities The New York City Marketing Development Corp. announced the first citywide request for proposal for merchandise licensing by offering the rights to the miniature replica vehicle category, including die-cast toys and larger porcelain or pewter collectibles. Opportunities exist for the following city agencies: Parks & Recreation tractors, SUVs, and bulldozers; Taxi & Limousine Commission taxis; NYPD cars, helicopters, boats, and motorcycles; FDNY fire engines and EMS trucks; Department of Sanitation trucks; and Department of Transportation cars, trucks, and boats. Bids will be accepted via competitive sealed proposals through December 20 at 12 p.m. To obtain the RFP, contact Joseph Maltese at 646-587-5630 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gaffney’s Great Australian Tour Don’t miss your chance to see the best brands from down under LIVE in Australia by joining the Gaffney International Licensing Great Australian Tour from November 27 to December 7. For full details, visit www.gaffney.com.au For costs, flights, and other details, e-mail SharonJ@gaffney.com.au