NEW YORK, NY — In the aftermath of 2013′s first major snow storm, toy industry executives braved blizzard-like conditions to gather at the Plaza Hotel in celebration of the best in children’s products. Lego Friends, a series of 23 building kits aimed at girls, captured the coveted Toy of the Year award.
Launched in January 2012, the kits focus on five main characters — Andrea, Emma, Mia, Olivia and Stephanie — pursuing interests in varied settings from a veterinary clinic to a beauty salon, cafe and suburban household. Smaller sets feature a swimming pool, design studio and inventor’s workshop.
It was a particularly good night for The Lego Group. In addition to wins in the Activity and Girl categories, the company earned Specialty Toy of the Year honours for its Lego Architecture set.
The popular Perplexus Epic from Ottawa, Ontario’s PlaSmart Inc. was recognized as Game of the Year in the hotly contested board, card, CD-ROM and electronic category.
As crews cleared streets buried under as much as a foot of white, the Toy Industry Association declared the 110th American International Toy Fair fully open. Over 150,000 products are expected to make an appearance, rounding out North America’s largest toy event. In the words of the association “The snow must go on.”, with TIA President Carter Keithley pointing out, “The TOTY Awards are a joyous way to kick off Toy Fair week.”
Individual category winners
|Activity||Lego Friends||The Lego Group|
|Boy||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shellraiser||Playmates Toys|
|e-Connected||Skylanders Giants||Activision Publishing|
|Game||Perplexus Epic||PlaSmart Inc.|
|Girl||Lego Friends||The Lego Group|
|Infant/Toddler||Tranquil Turtle||Cloud b|
|Innovation||Digital Light Designer||Crayola|
|Outdoor||Original Big Wheel||Kids Only Inc., (Jakks Pacific)|
|Preschool||Doc McStuffins “Time for Your Check-up” Doll||Just Play|
|Property of the Year||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||Nickelodeon|
|Speciality||Lego Architecture||The Lego Group|
|*People’s Choice”||LeapPad2||LeapFrog Enterprises|
The People’s Choice winner — a first for 2013 — was decided exclusively by consumers. The remaining awards were based on voting by consumers, mass-market and specialty retailers, media and other industry insiders who cast ballots between November 19, 2012, and January 13, 2013. Finalist were previously narrowed down from 650 products and properties by a nomination committee comprised of academics, journalists, toy trend experts, play therapists, inventors, designers and retailers.
Hall of Fame
During the evening, two distinguished industry members were inducted into the Hall of Fame. The late Russell Berrie was a well-known philanthropist and founder of Russ Berrie Inc., a developer of nummerous kids’ plush and baby products, and the forerunner of today’s Kid Brands Inc.
Judith Ellis is the founder and chair of the first baccalaureate program in toy design at the Fashion Institue of Technology in New York City.
The evening was sponsored by Jakks Pacific; Dallas Market Center; Coyne PR; Keller & Heckman; Freeman and LeapFrog Enterprises; Locker, Greenberg & Brainin; and Sequence Events.