New York, NY | February 16, 2018 – The top playthings and most inspiring individuals from the toy industry were honored this evening at the 18th annual Toy of the Year Awards and Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with proceeds from the awards program and event supporting The Toy Foundation’s important work to bring millions of toys to millions of children in need. Hundreds of industry executives attended the gala, which took place at New York City’s legendary Ziegfeld Ballroom.
The big winners of the night were Fingerlings by WowWee USA, Inc. and L.O.L. Surprise! by MGA Entertainment, which shared the distinguished “Toy of the Year” honor. Funko’s Mystery Minis by Funko, LLC won the coveted “People’s Choice” award for gaining the most votes from consumers. In total, awards were handed out in 17 categories:
“Known as the ‘Oscars’ of the toy industry, the TOTY Awards celebrate the best and brightest people and products … all while raising vital funding for The Toy Foundation’s ongoing mission to bring help and joy to children in need,” says Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association. “The 2018 collection of extraordinary TOTY finalists and winners have brought endless fun and learning to kids across the globe. The annual TOTY awards process serves as a testament to the toy community’s deep talent, entrepreneurialism, and innovation!”
During the ceremony, two industry greats were inducted into the esteemed Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Andrea Barthello, co-founder and COO of ThinkFun Inc., and the late James R. Becker, founder of licensing company Anjar Co. They join an impressive roster of 74 toy industry luminaries, including Jim Henson and George Lucas, who have been inducted into the Hall since it was established in 1984.
More than 600 toys and games were submitted for consideration last fall by companies of all sizes; category finalists, announced in November, were selected by play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists who sit on the TOTY judging committee.
Tonight’s category winners were selected based on votes from toy retailers (mass and specialty), media, Toy Association members, and consumers. To bring extra diligence to the finalist and winner selection, The Toy Association hired accounting firm Tate & Tryon to review the TOTY rules, including the nomination, judging, and voting process. Tate & Tryon also confirmed voting calculations and verified the 2018 Toy of the Year category winners.
The overall “Toy of the Year” winners were determined by an expert panel that discussed all the finalists before rendering a decision based on TOTY votes, holiday sales, and media buzz (traditional, online, and social). The “People’s Choice” award winner was selected solely by consumer votes cast online. Descriptions of all TOTY finalists can be found at ToyAwards.org.
The TOTY Awards serve as the official kick off to the 115th North American International Toy Fair. All proceeds from the TOTY program and event contribute much-needed dollars to The Toy Foundation, which partners with generous toy companies throughout the year to bring brand-new toys to children in need.
About The Toy Foundation www.toyfoundation.org
The Toy Foundation (TTF) is a 501c3 children’s charity whose mission is to provide joy and comfort to children in need through the experience of toys and play. TTF serves children who are coping with serious illness, enduring temporary home placements in the foster care system, suffering from abuse or neglect, experiencing separation from a deployed military parent, or dealing with devastating natural disasters. To date, TTF’s signature program, The Toy Bank, has provided $200 million in toys to 24 million children in need around the globe, thanks to its generous toy industry donors.
About The Toy Association www.toyassociation.org / www.thegeniusofplay.org / www.playsafe.org
Founded in 1916, The Toy Association™, Inc. is the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and delivering toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages. The Toy Association leads the health and growth of the U.S. toy industry, which has an annual U.S. economic impact of $107.5 billion, and its 950+ members drive the annual $27 billion U.S. domestic toy market. The Toy Association serves as the industry’s voice on the developmental benefits of play and promotes play’s positive impact on childhood development to consumers and media. The organization has a long history of leadership in toy safety, having helped develop the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 40 years ago, and remains committed to working with medical experts, government, consumers, and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play.
As a global leader, The Toy Association produces the world-renowned North American International Toy Fair and Fall Toy Preview; advocates on behalf of members around the world; sustains the Canadian Toy Association; acts as secretariat for the International Council of Toy Industries and International Toy Industry CEO Roundtable; and chairs the committee that reviews and revises America’s widely emulated ASTM F963 toy safety standard.
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Media assets: www.toyawards.org/press