TIAToy company volunteers, the Toy Industry Foundation, National CASA and Boston CASA joined forces to bring magic of play to local foster children.  

More than 100 children in foster care from Massachusetts enjoyed a winter wonderland of play today at a special Play Your Part event hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) in partnership with the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA) at Gillette Stadium.  

More than 75 volunteers from over a dozen regional toy companies — including Learning Express, LEGO, Little Kids Inc., MasterPieces Puzzle Co., TOMY, and Schylling — helped distribute brand-new toys and run holiday-themed activities for kids, such as decorating snowflakes, making ornaments, and handing out hot chocolate. 

Volunteers also assembled holiday gift bags filled with hundreds of new toys and games for each child to take home. Thousands of additional foster children throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island will receive gifts from the event this holiday season. Toys provided at the event, and in the gift bags, were donated by manufacturers, retailers and distributors to the Toy Industry Foundation’s Toy Bank.  

“From stuffed animals and dolls to board games and puzzles, these toys will bring comfort and joy to so many children currently making their way through the foster system,” says Jean Butler, executive director at the Toy Industry Foundation, in a release. “We are so proud to continue our important partnership with National CASA. Together, we have been able to provide nearly $4 million in toys to 400,000 foster children since 2013. Thank you to the toy community for helping to make our latest toy giveaway such a success, especially as the holidays draw near.”   

Play Your Part – Boston is the latest in a series of events hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation and National CASA in various cities nationwide that aim to support and comfort children living in foster care. So far this year, Play Your Part events have been held in Los Angeles and Chicago. The Toy Industry Foundation also provides National CASA with grant funding to support the recruitment and training of volunteer advocates in National CASA’s network of programs across the country.   

TIF and National CASA extend thanks to the following event sponsors: ASTRA, Empire Group, Learning Express, LEGO, Little Kids Inc., MasterPieces Puzzles Co., and Schylling. The Wonderfund, Massachusetts’ newly relaunched charity supporting children served by the State Department of Children and Families, partnered with CASA to help make this event possible.

vcsPRAsset 926669 125556 aaf1eb49 ff40 4bf9 9af5 911c3b6601ad 0Aggretsuko will launch globally on Netflix in spring 2018.

Netflix, the world's leading internet entertainment service, has announced the latest addition to its original series slate: Aggretsuko. An animated series produced by Fanworks and featuring a character originally created by Sanrio—known as the creator of Hello Kitty—will premiere globally as a Netflix original series in spring 2018.  

Retsuko is a 25-year-old red panda working as an office associate in the accounting department of a trading company in Tokyo. All she wants is to do her job and get through the day, but when office workday frustrations reach a boiling point, she reaches ‘rage mode” and vents her frustrations through death metal karaoke sessions.

Originally introduced to the world in a series of short sketches airing on TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System), the characters of Aggretsuko (whose Japanese title is literally translated as “Aggressive Retsuko”) have found a steadily growing fan base throughout the world. The Netflix Original series will be presented in ten 15-minute episodes and will follow Retsuko’s trials and tribulations as she maneuvers company politics, befriends co-workers, and attempts to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

“Aggretsuko may be a uniquely Japanese show, but the frustration it taps into—not to mention the joy of venting—is universal,” said Rob Roy, vice president of content acquisition, in a release. “We’re excited to partner with Sanrio in bringing it to a global audience.”  

Written and directed by the multi-talented Japanese creator Rarecho (Yawaraka Tank), who also voices Retsuko’s death metal interludes, Aggretsuko is co-produced by Sanrio, TBS and Fanworks (Lulu & Lolo: Tiny Twin Bears).    

Chinese New Year 2017China’s National Broadcaster CCTV will shoot the Chinese New Year Special on iconic Sesame Street set.

Building on a relationship that began 35 years ago with the televised “Big Bird in China” special, China’s national broadcaster China Central Television Children’s Channel and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational media organization behind Sesame Street, will co-produce segments for CCTV’s annual Spring Festival special. For the first time, CCTV will be on the iconic Sesame Street set in New York to shoot segments showcasing Chinese New Year traditions, customs, and legendary stories.

Since 2014, Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Lily have joined CCTV children’s hosts Ju Ping, Dong Hao, Jin Guizi, Xiao Lu, Sister Moon, Huang Wei, Red Apple, Green Bubble, Brother Sesame and Du Yue to learn about what makes Chinese New Year unique. Last year, the furry friends visited Singapore to learn about Spring Festival celebrations outside of China.

“We are thrilled to work with CCTV to create engaging educational programs for the children of China,” said Steve Youngwood, chief operating officer of Sesame Workshop, said in a release. “This partnership reflects a successful cultural exchange that we value deeply, and our co-produced programming demonstrates a powerful appreciation of each other’s differences and similarities. We warmly welcome CCTV to Sesame Street in New York.”

“What began as a small step for one big yellow bird has turned into a 35-year adventure between two organizations half a world apart,” said Xu Bin, deputy controller of CCTV Children’s Channel, adds. “We are excited to be shooting on the Sesame Street set and cannot wait to share the new show with our viewers in China.”

corona 3The gift sets, launching holiday 2018, will feature consumables and beer gear.

The Joester Loria Group, exclusive licensing agency for Constellation Brands’ beer portfolio, announced that DesignPac Gifts, a premier provider of gourmet gift baskets and division of 1-800-FLOWERS, has joined the roster of Corona licensees.

DesignPac Corona gift sets brings together a selection of product and consumables themed around the Brand’s “Find Your Beach” message and Mexican heritage. The line of gift sets will include CoronaRita drink clips, glassware, tin buckets, coolers, bottle openers, ceramics, utensils and bottle openers paired with an assortment of gourmet food offerings that range from salted snacks and cheeses to drink mixes and marinades. 

The Corona gift sets will launch Holiday 2018 at mass, club, mid-tier, better off price retailers as well as online.

“We are delighted to welcome DesignPac to the Corona licensing program,” said Debra Joester, president of The Joester Loria Group, in a release. “DesignPac’s expertise in creating quality gift sets will provide key accounts that support the Corona brand and its licensed product with a great assortment at price points ranging from $9.99 to $29.99.”

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Sam Ferguson high 2 1Ferguson will oversee Jazwares’ 2018 focus on inbound licensing.

Jazwares, a leader in the toy and entertainment marketplace, has promoted Sam Ferguson to vice president of licensing. The award-winning company’s licensing department holds the rights to global youth entertainment brands and masters the art of creating interactive brand experiences with engaging toys and content.

“I have been at Jazwares for two years and this promotion is a very exciting moment for me,” said Ferguson. “Over the last 20 years, Jazwares has built a great reputation within the licensing community and I am immensely proud to be flying the flag along with the Jazwares team. With toy show season just around the corner, we are excited to showcase everything we have been up to and learn more about new opportunities.”

“Sam is a natural in his new role. His competencies add vast experience and will help us achieve a global recognition for our brands,” Jazwares COO Laura Zebersky adds. “With Sam at the helm, Jazwares’ focus for 2018 on inbound licensing continues as the company develops its own IP’s designed to reach to new markets, audiences, and collaborations.

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