TOY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES TOP TOYS OF THE YEAR
Winners Named at the Fifth Annual T.O.T.Y (Toy of the Year) Awards Ceremony
NEW YORK, February 19, 2005 – The Toy Industry Association kicked off the 102nd American International Toy Fair with the fifth annual T.O.T.Y. (Toy Of The Year) Awards, held last night in New York City. The event pays tribute to the year's greatest and most creative achievements in toys at a gala awards celebration, organized by Toy Industry Association, Inc. (TIA). The February 19th ceremony was attended by almost 700 industry leaders and innovators. The T.O.T.Y. Awards (pronounced Toh-Tee) are designed to salute the creativity, success and playful spirit of the toy industry by honoring the best toys developed by the international toy industry for North American consumers.
"The American Toy Industry is the birthplace of the most creative and innovative toy trends and products," said Tom Conley, president of TIA. "Each year, to kick-off Toy Fair, the largest toy trade show in the United States, TIA takes the time to recognize companies, products and programs that strengthen the industry and honor them for their contributions and creativity during the T.O.T.Y Awards program."
The 2005 T.O.T.Y. Awards recognized the industry's innovation by honoring products on the market during the previous year. Walking away with top honors in 13 industry categories, including one overall Toy of the Year award - were the following winners:
WHO IS THIS YEAR'S TASK FORCE? The T.O.T.Y. Awards program was coordinated by a special task force assembled by TIA, chaired by Alan Hassenfeld, Hasbro and vice-chaired by Robert Pasin- Radio Flyer. The committee includes: Bill Beebe - Bandai America , Patrick Feely- Radica Games, Tom Kalinske- LeapFrog, Kelly Gilmore - Warner Bros , Steven Greenfield - Salo Ventures, Michael Johnston, Lou Novak- Playmates, Tom Neville- The Canadian Group, Richard Tait- Cranium, and Ben Varadi, SpinMaster.
Further information on the T.O.T.Y. Awards program, finalists and awards ceremony can be found at the TIA web site -- click on the T.O.T.Y. box.
- Toy of the Year, the best toy of the year– V.Smile TV Learning System by VTech Electronics North America
- Most Innovative Toy of the Year, for the most outstanding, unique and creative toy - Robosapien from Wow Wee Ltd.
- Infant/Preschool Toy of the Year, for toys designed for infant and/or preschool children – Fridge Phonics™ Magnetic Set from LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. and Peek-a-Blocks™ IncrediBlock from Fisher Price
- Electronic Entertainment Toy of the Year, for toys designed that merge high-technology with creativity and imagination- VideoNow Color by Hasbro/Tiger
- Educational Toy of the Year, recognizing a toy that, through play, helps children develop special skills and/or knowledge - V.Smile TV Learning System by VTech Electronics North America
- Activity Toy of the Year, recognizing a toy that inspires creative play through various forms of activity- Aquadoodle by Spin Master Ltd.
- Game of the Year, including board, CD-ROM, electronic and card game formats – Scene It?™ by Screen Life, LLC
- Specialty Toy of the Year, for toys distributed primarily through specialty retailers – Geomag by Jonic Distribution North America Inc.
- Outdoor Toy of the Year, focused on toys designed for outdoor play- Schwinn Sting-Ray Bike by Pacific Cycle
- Girl Toy of the Year, for toys developed specifically for girls of any age- Bella Dancerella Home Ballet Studio by Spin Master Ltd.
- Boy Toy of the Year, for toys developed for boys of any age – LEGO Knights' Kingdom™ by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- 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—Dora the Explorer from Nick Jr., a division of Viacom International
- Retailer of the Year, for the retailer who stocked their store shelves with a variety of popular toys, as well as for innovation in their operating systems, creative in -store merchandising, and for quality customer service – Toys "R" Us
- Inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame, toy inventor extraordinaire Reuben Klamer and toy industry innovator Lionel Weintraub.
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TIA is the national trade association for producers and importers of toys, games and entertainment products for children and families, and the owner and manager of the American International TOY FAIR® held February 20 to 23. TOY FAIR pressroom dates at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center are February 20- 23 and are February 17 -23 at the ITC located at 200 Fifth Avenue. For more information about TOY FAIR and the toy industry, please refer to the TIA web site.