Hundreds of toy industry executives gathered on SaturdayÂ to honor their peers at the 11th Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards program and Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York City.
A Toy Industry Association, Inc. (TIA)-administered event in support of the Toy Industry Foundation, the gala served as the kick-off to the 108th American International Toy Fair. Held in The Allen Room at NYC’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, the evening paid tribute to the best in toys and children’s entertainment and the outstanding achievements made by individuals and companies.
Interspersed with presentations of the TOTY Awards were two inductions to the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. Established in 1984, the Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made a significant mark on the toy industry. Joining the more than 55 people already on the distinguished roster are Al Verrecchia, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Hasbro, Inc. and the late Donald Duncan, Founder of Duncan Toys Company. Their biographies can be viewed on the Toy Industry Hall of Fame website.
“Tonight’s event was a wonderful way to launch Toy Fair 2011,” said Carter Keithley, TIA president. “The TOTY Awards is a great place for colleagues to gather in celebration of the creativity and playful spirit upon which the toy industry is based.”
For the first time in TOTY history, consumers were invited to vote for their favorite toys; nearly 12,500 unique votes were cast by families at ToyAwards.org from mid-November 2010 through mid-January, 2011. Along with the consumer ballot, four other ballots determined the winners: retailers (mass and specialty), media and members of the toy industry.
The Sing-a-ma-jigs!â„¢ by Mattel Inc. received the coveted “Toy of the Year” title and was awarded Preschool Toy of the Year and Innovative Toy of the Year. The awards program included 11 categories with 70 finalists.
Recognizing an outstanding toy that inspires creative play through various forms of activity, the Activity Toy of the Year was presented to Crayola Color Wonder Sound Studio â„¢ by Crayola, LLC.
Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for boys of any age, the Boy Toy of the Year was presented to NERF N-Strike Stampede ECS Blaster by Hasbro, Inc.
Recognizing an outstanding toy that helps children develop special skills and knowledge through play, the Educational Toy of the Year was presented to Leapster Explorerâ„¢ Learning Experience by LeapFrog.
Recognizing an outstanding children’s board, card, CD-ROM or electronic game, the Game of the Year was presented to Scrabble Flash by Hasbro, Inc.
Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for girls of any age, the Girl Toy of the Year was presented to Squinkiesâ„¢ Cupcake Surprize! Bake Shop by BlipÂ® Toys.
Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for infants and toddlers up to 36 months, the Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year was presented to My Own Leaptop by LeapFrog.
Recognizing an outstanding toy that combines innovation and play value, the Innovative Toy of the Year was presented to The Sing-a-ma-jigs!â„¢ by Mattel, Inc.
Recognizing an outstanding toy that is designed for outdoor play, the Outdoor Toy of the Year was presented to NERF Super Soaker Shot Blast by Hasbro, Inc.
Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for preschool-aged children (ages 3-5) the Preschool Toy of the Year was presented to The Sing-a-ma-jigs!â„¢ by Mattel, Inc.
Recognizing a property that has had the greatest success spreading its brand throughout the industry, Property of the Year was presented to Toy Story 3 by Disney Consumer Products.
Recognizing an outstanding toy that is distributed primarily through specialty toy retailers, the Specialty Toy of the Year was presented to HEXBUGÂ® Nano Habitat Set by Innovation First Labs, Inc.
A record 500+ toys, games and properties were submitted for consideration. The finalists were selected by Nomination Committees â€“ one for each category â€“ comprised of high-stature experts such as journalists, toy trend experts, play therapists, toy inventors and designers and toy retailers. Descriptions of each TOTY-nominated toy and links to each manufacturer’s website can be found online at ToyAwards.org .
For more info, also visit www.toyassociation.org
Image by davecobb via Flickr.
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