Given that Spin Master Ltd. is the creator of Hatchimals, the hottest product on the planet this festive season, it’s not surprising to see the popular egg-shaped toy as well as several other products from the Toronto company in the running for a 2017 Toy of the Year (TOTY) award.
The U.S. Toy Industry Association, sponsor of the annual TOTY program, announced its list of 100 finalists in 14 categories, earlier this week. The shortlist of nominees includes Spin Master’s Hatchimals, Air Hogs Helix Sentinel Drone, Meccano Micronoid, Escape Room the Game, Zoomer Marshall, Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone, and Zoomer Chimp. And Paw Patrol, created under a collaboration between Spin Master and Toronto’s Nelvana Studios is one of seven properties vying for License of the Year.
However, Spin Master was not the only Canadian firm nominated for a prestigious TOTY, often called the “Oscars” of the toy world. Quebec’s well-known Foxmind Canada was shortlisted for its wonderful brain-bending game, Maze Racers. It is competing against Spin Master’s Escape Room in the Game category.
This year’s finalists were selected from 700 nominees submitted by more than 250 companies of all sizes. According to a TIA spokesman, a more rigorous and transparent judging method was recently introduced, with 25 judges, including toy and play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists, reviewing and ranking products in specific categories relevant to their areas of expertise.
Judges considered each product’s creativity, originality and innovation, design and promotion, excellence, and marketplace acceptance before narrowing the field to the slate of finalists.
The winners in each of the categories and the coveted “Toy of the Year” will be selected based on votes from mass and specialty toy retailers, media, TIA members, and consumers. The “People’s Choice” award winner will be selected solely by consumer votes, which can be cast online.
The winners will be announced at a TOTY Awards ceremony on Friday, February 17, 2017, preceding the opening of the 114th North American International Toy Fair on February 18.
For more information, contact the Toy Industry Association.