NEW YORK, Feb. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Hundreds of toy executives and guests from around the world gathered in New York City this evening to honor the year's top toys and industry icons at the 13th annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
A Toy Industry Association (TIA)-administered event in support of the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), the "Oscars" of the toy industry took place at the Plaza Hotel, kicking off the 110th American International Toy Fair. Throughout the evening, TOTY Awards were presented across 12 categories – from e-Connected and Innovative to Educational and Outdoor. [FULL LIST OF CATEGORY WINNERS BELOW]
In addition, the overall "Toy of the Year" award was presented to LEGO Friends (The Lego Group), while LeapPad2 (LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.) received the inaugural "People's Choice" award.
Interspersed with the presentation of the TOTY Awards were two inductions into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Judith (Judy) Ellis, Chair of the Toy Design Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and the late Russell (Russ) Berrie, Founder of Russ Berrie Inc. The new inductees join a distinguished roster of 59 other luminaries who have been inducted into the Hall since its establishment in 1985.
"The TOTY Awards are a joyous way to kick off Toy Fair week," said Carter Keithley, TIA President. "This event honors the creativity and innovation of the toy industry while supporting the philanthropic work of our very own Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), which brings the gift of play into the lives of needy children around the world."
Award winners were selected with the input of consumers (on ToyAwards.org), retailers (mass and specialty), media and members of the toy industry. The five ballots – open from November 19, 2012, to January 13, 2013 – were weighted and used to determine the category winners, with the exception of the "People's Choice" award which was selected exclusively by consumers who voted on ToyAwards.org.
And the winners are...
- Recognizing an outstanding toy that inspires creative play through various forms of activity, the
Activity Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO® Friends (The LEGO Group)
- Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for boys of any age, the Boy Toy of the Year was presented to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shellraiser (Playmates Toys)
- Recognizing an app-cessory or other physical toy that interacts with a smartphone, tablet or gaming device the e-Connected Toy of the Year was presented to Skylanders Giants™ (Activision Publishing, Inc.)
- Recognizing an outstanding toy that helps children develop special skills and knowledge through play, the Educational Toy of the Year was presented to LeapPad2™ (LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.)
- Recognizing an outstanding children's board, card, CD-ROM or electronic game, the Game of the Year was presented to Perplexus Epic™ (PlaSmart Inc.)
- Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for girls of any age, the Girl Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO® Friends (The LEGO Group)
- Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for infants and toddlers up to 36 months, the Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year was presented to Tranquil Turtle™ (Cloud b)
- Recognizing an outstanding toy that combines innovation and play value, the Innovative Toy of the Year was presented to Digital Light Designer (Crayola)
- Recognizing an outstanding toy that is designed for outdoor play, the Outdoor Toy of the Year was presented to The Original Big Wheel™ (Kids Only, Inc., a division of JAKKS Pacific, Inc.)
- Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for preschool-aged children (ages 3-5) the Preschool Toy of the Year was presented to Doc McStuffins "Time For Your Check-Up" Doll (Just Play)
- Recognizing a property that has had the greatest success spreading its brand throughout the industry, Property of the Year was presented to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon)
- Recognizing an outstanding toy that is distributed primarily through specialty toy retailers, the Specialty Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO® Architecture (The LEGO Group)
Descriptions of each TOTY-nominated toy and links to each manufacturer's website can be found online at ToyAwards.org. The finalists were selected from nearly 650 products and properties submitted for consideration. Nomination committees comprised of academics, journalists, toy trend experts, play therapists, toy inventors & designers, and toy retailers narrowed the field to the slate of 84 finalists.
Event sponsors for the evening were JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (diamond level), Dallas Market Center and UL (silver level); Coyne PR, Keller & Heckman, Freeman and LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (bronze level); and Locker, Greenberg & Brainin and Sequence Events (friends).
About the Toy Industry Association (TIA) (www.toyassociation.org)
TIA is the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and bringing toys and youth entertainment products to kids of all ages, representing more than 600 companies who account for approximately 85% of domestic toy sales. Toy safety is the number one priority for the toy industry. TIA has a long history of leadership in toy safety and works with government, consumers and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play.
About the Toy Industry Foundation (www.toyindustryfoundation.org)
While other organizations provide food, shelter and support services to children and their families, the Toy Industry Foundation sees to it that these children have toys and opportunities to play in an attempt to restore both fun and a sense of normalcy to their lives. The Foundation currently fulfills its mission through core programs including The Toy Bank™ and grants to organizations whose missions are in line with that of the Toy Industry Foundation. The first industry-wide program of its kind, The Toy Bank receives donations of newly manufactured toys from members of the toy industry and distributes them through local charities to underserved, at-risk and homeless children throughout the United States and around the world.
SOURCE Toy Industry Association