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Toy Industry Association Celebrates the Best in Toys at Annual Awards Celebration

Toy of the Year Spin Master Receives “Toy of the Year” Honors for Bakugan Battle Brawlers Battle Pack Series 1 Spheres

New York, NY | February 15, 2009 – The Toy Industry Association (TIA) honored leaders of the industry tonight at the 2009 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards program and Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The annual gala pays 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. The event was held in New York City at Pier 60/Chelsea Piers and was attended by more than 450 guests representing a diverse cross-section of the toy industry.

The TOTY awards presentation included winners in each of eleven categories; nearly 75 unique products were nominated. Of these winners, one product is recognized as the overall “Toy of the Year.” The 2009 award recipients include:

  • Activity Toy of the Year, recognizing a toy that inspires creative play through various forms of activity - Crayola Color Wonder™ Magic Light Brush™ – Crayola LLC
  • Boy Toy of the Year, for toys developed for boys of any age – Bakugan Battle Brawlers Battle Pack Series 1 Spheres – Spin Master
  • Educational Toy of the Year, recognizing a toy that, through play, helps children develop special skills and/or knowledge - LeapFrog TAG™ Reading System – LeapFrog
  • Girl Toy of the Year, for toys developed specifically for girls of any age - Playmobil Horse Farm – Playmobil USA, Inc.
  • Electronic Entertainment Toy of the Year, for toys that merge high-technology with creativity and imagination- FurReal Friends Biscuit My Lovin' Pup – Hasbro
  • Game of the Year, including board, CD-ROM, electronic and card game formats – Bananagrams® – Bananagrams LLC
  • Infant/Preschool Toy of the Year, for toys designed for infant and/or preschool children – Elmo Live – Fisher-Price, Inc.
  • Most Innovative Toy of the Year, for the most outstanding, unique and creative toy - Air Hogs Zero Gravity Micro – Spin Master
  • Property of the Year, for the licensor that had the greatest success spreading its brand or property throughout the industry while generating interest and excitement — Bakugan Battle Brawlers – Cartoon Network
  • Outdoor Toy of the Year, focused on toys designed for outdoor play - Crayola® 3D Sidewalk Chalk – Crayola LLC
  • Specialty Toy of the Year, for toys distributed primarily through specialty retailers – Create Your Own Pop-Up Books – Creativity for Kids®/Faber-Castell USA
  • And finally, the Toy of the Year – Bakugan Battle Brawlers Battle Pack Series 1 Spheres – Spin Master

Interspersed with presentations of the TOTY Awards were two inductions to the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Joan Ganz Cooney, the co-founder of Sesame Street Workshop, and Jack Pressman (deceased), founder of Pressman Toy.

Joan Ganz Cooney is the one of the visionaries and the chief moving force behind the creation of Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) and the most successful children’s television show in the history of either commercial or educational television, Sesame Street.

Before Sesame Street, successful children’s programs were entertainment oriented and appeared on commercial television; educational programs were thought to be boring and pedantic and appeared on public television which garnered a smaller, but more affluent audience.

Ms. Cooney recognized that television could do more than entertain . . . it could provide supplementary education at a fraction of the cost of classroom instruction. and established an organization which continues to produce innovative programming for all ages. Via Sesame Street, she brought public television to the forefront of the national consciousness and demonstrated that quality educational programming could attract and hold a mass audience.

Jack Pressman (deceased), founder of Pressman Toy in 1922, was a leader and early creative force in the toy industry. Under Jack’s leadership, Pressman Toy was among the first to introduce licensed products such as toys and games featuring Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney 1937), Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie and Groucho Marx. He is also credited with discovering and bringing Chinese Checkers to the masses in 1928. A consummate innovator, Jack was one of the first manufacturers to use plastic in his toys and to promote his products on television. He died in 1959, leaving behind a footprint on toy makers, children and consumers.

The posthumous award was accepted by Mr. Pressman’s wife, Lynn Pressman Raymond, and his youngest son, Jim.

Established in 1984, the Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made a significant mark on the American toy industry. More than 50 persons are already on the Toy Industry Hall of Fame roster.

“The Toy Industry Association is pleased to honor the great companies and ingenious individuals who create products that delight children of every age,” said Carter Keithley, president of TIA. “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 the first day of Toy Fair 2009.”

The TOTY Awards and Hall of Fame induction ceremony is sponsored by TIA and held in conjunction with the 106th American International Toy Fair®. An estimated 20,000 persons kicked off Toy Fair 2009 during its opening earlier today at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Additional information about the TOTY Awards and the Toy Industry Hall of Fame can be found online.


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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 about TIA, visit www.toyassociation.org. For more information about the TSCP, visit www.toycertification.org.