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Toy Industry Celebrates the Best of the Best at Annual TOTY Awards Celebration

Zhu Zhu Pets Cepia, LLC Sweeps with Top Honors and Two Category Awards for Zhu Zhu Pets; John Lasseter and Sam Walton Inducted into Toy Industry Hall of Fame

New York, NY | February 13, 2010 – More than 400 executives from across the toy industry gathered to honor their peers tonight at the tenth annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards program and Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Well-recognized as the “Oscars®” of the toy industry, the annual gala paid tribute to the best in toys and children’s entertainment; outstanding achievements by individuals, teams, and companies; and the creativity and playful spirit upon which the toy industry is based.

Hosted by the Toy Industry Association, Inc. (TIA) at New York City’s Chelsea Piers/Pier 60, the event was the kick-off to the 107th annual American International Toy Fair.

Zhu Zhu Pets by Cepia, LLC was named as the overall “Toy of the Year” winner and captured two category awards. The coveted TOTY awards program included twelve categories with more than 80 finalists; winners included a tie for Preschool Toy of the Year:

  • Recognizing an outstanding toy that inspires creative play through various forms of activity, the Activity Toy of the Year was presented to Crayon Town by Wild Planet Entertainment
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for boys of any age, the Boy Toy of the Year was presented to Bakugan 7-in-1 Maxus Dragonoid by Spin Master
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy that helps children develop special skills and knowledge through play, the Educational Toy of the Year was presented to Mindstorms NXT 2.0 by LEGO Systems
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy that merges high-technology with creativity and imagination, the Electronic Entertainment Toy of the Year was presented to Rubik’s TouchCube™ by Techno Source

Toy Industry Celebrates the Best of the Best at Annual TOTY Awards Celebration February 13, 2010 | Page 2

  • Recognizing an outstanding children’s board, card, CD-ROM or electronic game, the Game of the Year was presented to Sort It Out! by University Games
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for girls of any age, the Girl Toy of the Year was presented to Zhu Zhu Pets by Cepia
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for infants (ages 0-2), the Infant Toy of the Year was presented to Crayola Beginnings Color Me A Song by Crayola, LLC
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy that combines innovation and play value, the Innovative Toy of the Year was presented to Zhu Zhu Pets by Cepia
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy that is designed for outdoor play, the Outdoor Toy of the Year was presented to My 1st Scooter by Radio Flyer
  • In the evening’s only tie, the Preschool Toy of the Year recognized two outstanding toys that are developed for preschool-aged children (ages 3-5): Tonka Chuck & Friends Chuck My Talking Truck by Playskool and Bilibo by Active People.
  • Recognizing a property that has had the greatest success spreading its brand throughout the industry, Property of the Year was presented to Bakugan by Cartoon Network
  • Recognizing an outstanding toy that is distributed primarily through specialty toy retailers, the Specialty Toy of the Year was presented to by Sprig Toys

TOTY nominations represented a broad cross section of the toy industry, covering products for both specialty and mass market retail sectors. The toys featured on the ballot were selected by members of the TOTY Nominations Committee, a group comprised of industry professionals including major retailers, academia, toy journalists and inventors. Awards were determined by a vote of the TIA members and associate members (one vote per member organization).

Descriptions of each TOTY-nominated toy and links to each manufacturer’s website can be found online at www.ToyAwards.org. Photos of the event can be found on the Toy Industry Association’s Facebook page.

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 American toy industry. Joining the more than 50 people already on the distinguished roster are John Lasseter, chief creative officer, Walt Disney Company and Pixar Animation Studios, and principal creative advisor of Walt Disney Imagineering and Sam Walton, founder, Walmart Stores (posthumous award).

Chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and principal creative advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering, Lasseter is a two-time Academy Award®-winning director and oversees all films and associated projects from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. He directed the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed Toy Story trilogy, A Bug’s Life and Cars; additionally, he executive produced Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles.

A posthumous award was presented to Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart Stores. In remarks during the presentation ceremony, Alan Hassenfeld, chair of the Hall of Fame Committee and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Hasbro, Inc. commended Walton for his special affinity for toys and rapid expansion of toy departments in Walmart Supercenters. From the debut of Walton’s first discount merchandise store in 1962 to his death in 1988, the retailing giant had opened more than 1,700 stores in the United States. By the end of the 20th century Walmart had become the world’s largest retailer. Walton’s award was accepted by Laura Phillips on behalf of the Walton family.

“Gathering with colleagues from across the industry and coming together in celebration of the TOTY Award winners and the Toy Industry Hall of Fame inductees is a wonderful way to kickoff Toy Fair 2010,” said Carter Keithley, TIA president. “Tonight’s event pays tribute to the creative professionals and fun and innovative products that make our industry so great.”

Event sponsors for the evening were Razor and Spin Master (gold level), the American National Standards Institute, Dallas Market Center and Loeb and Loeb (silver level) and Global Events Group (event partner).


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About TIA
TIA is the not-for-profit trade association for producers and importers of toys and youth entertainment products sold in North America, representing over 500 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 including development of the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 30 years ago, and working with government, consumers and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe play.

For more information, visit www.toyassociation.org, www.ToyAwards.org, or the Toy Industry Hall of Fame website.