by Litzky Public Relations | 11 Aug 2022
Industry Commentary, Op-Ed
When you have a terrific toy or game on your hands, recognition from trusted industry organizations and top media outlets via award wins can help build credibility, boost reputation – and give you something to brag about!
Not sure where to start? Here’s a breakdown of the most popular, highly coveted product accolades across the toy industry:
ASTRA Best Toys for Kids
ASTRA serves and celebrates the specialty toy industry, and its community of professionals are committed to providing children with healthy, quality play materials that have high play value. The top products are honored annually within the ASTRA Best Toys for Kids program, which recognizes the best items in 12 categories spanning arts & crafts, science sets, sensory toys and more.
For more information, visit: https://www.astratoy.org/best-toys-kids
Good Housekeeping Best Toy Awards
One of the preeminent editorial awards, the Good Housekeeping Best Toy Awards recognizes the most innovative, engaging, creative, educational, and (of course) fun toys and games of the year. Winners are included in a digital feature on goodhousekeeping.com, within the December print issue of Good Housekeeping, and receive potential opportunities for coverage in additional media outlets. Throughout the year, Good Housekeeping also runs several other awards programs toys may qualify for, such as parenting products, family travel, sustainability, and more lifestyle and gear categories.
For more information, visit: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/about/a35310620/good-housekeeping-awards/#toyawards
Licensing International Excellence Awards
Each year timed to Licensing Expo in May, Licensing International shines a spotlight on the innovation and accomplishments across the industry during the global Licensing Excellence Awards. With 25 categories spanning topics including Best Licensed Brands, Best Licensed Products, and Best Collaboration, there’s a lot of opportunity to celebrate. Product-specific awards include Best Toys/Games/Novelties/Role Play in two age categories (those primarily aimed at ages 0-8, and primarily aimed at ages 8+).
For more information, visit: https://www.licensingawards.org/
The National Parenting Product Awards recognize the best family products – and have been doing so for more than 30 years. Its Toy and Games categories highlight everything from creative play, outdoor fun, STEM/education, board games, card games, and video games and additional awards categories include Best for Baby, Best for Mom, and Family Favs. Submissions are open year-round, and all NAPPA winners receive a complimentary seal dated for the year of their win.
For more information, visit: https://www.nappaawards.com/
The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards
Outstanding products selected by Oppenheim Toy Portfolio testers are awarded one of four honors: the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award (representing innovative and engaging new products), the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award (new products that enhance the lives of children), Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Classic Award (reserved for products in the market 5+ years and proven to stand the test of time), and the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio SNAP Award (for products that can be used by or easily adapted for children with differing abilities). Each program is age ranked in categories for Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers, Early School (5-8), and Tweens/Teens.
For more information, visit: https://www.toyportfolio.com/awards-1
PureWow Happy Kid Awards
To build its annual Happy Kid Awards winner list, PureWow editors (and a dozen families across the U.S.) test and review a variety of contenders, providing honest feedback to help the PureWow staff uncover the very best products for kids and families. The Happy Playtime category honors top toys and games for kids of all ages, while other categories for parent, kid, and family-friendly gear and gadgets include Happy School Days, Happy Smiles, Happy Baby, Happy Home and Happy Reading. Winners are typically announced in August.
For more information, visit: https://www.purewow.com/family/happy-kid-awards
A great product is only possible because of the team behind it. The Toy and Game International Excellence Awards recognize innovation in all stages of development. For the past 15 years, the TAGIEs has showcased the creativity and originality of our industry's innovators, creating a moment to be recognized and celebrated by their peers from around the world. With categories such as Toy Innovator of the Year, Game Innovator of the Year, Innovative PR and Marketing Team of the Year, and more, it’s a great opportunity to shine a light on the creative minds that help bring products to life.
For more information, visit: https://www.chitag.com/2022-tagie-awards-submissions
Known as the Oscars of the toy industry, the Toy Foundation’s annual Toy of the Year Awards recognizes best-in-class products across several categories spanning Infant/Toddler, Outdoor, Plush, Dolls, toys for the “kidult” in all of us, and many more – including the highly sought-after Toy of the Year and People’s Choice awards. The TOTY Awards have recently shifted to a new fall timeline to give companies the opportunity to promote their nominated products and brands during the holiday shopping season, when toy sales are vital and when products are on shelf for the holidays; winners are historically announced at an annual gala timed to Toy Fair (and in 2022 will be announced during the 2023 Preview & 2022 Holiday Market held in Dallas). All proceeds from TOTY, including nominations fees and ticket sales, go directly to the Toy Foundation to support their programming and ongoing mission to provide philanthropic support and the vital commodity of play to children and families in need.
For more information, visit: https://toyawards.org/
The Toy Insider Hot 20, 12 Under $20, and STEM 10
The annual Toy Insider Holiday Gift Guide features more than 300 toys for kids of all ages, with gift guides broken down by age and toys that take top honors highlighted within the Toy Insider Hot 20, 12 Under $20, and STEM 10 toy lists. Winners are featured online at thetoyinsider.com, and delivered in print to families nationwide. Products must be new for the year and available for sale by November 1; to make the cut, the Toy Insider team conducts in-depth reviews of products submitted. In addition to their holiday programs, the team also runs a Spring and Summer Gift Guide, broken down by age group and featuring the best in outdoor fun, travel must-haves, educational items and more. All products must be new for the year, and available for sale by June 1.
For more information, visit: https://www.thetoyinsider.com/gift-guide-submission-guidelines/
TTPM Most Wanted & The People’s Play Awards
The expert team of reviewers at TTPM run both Spring and Holiday awards programs, known as the TTPM Most Wanted. There is no cost to submit – rather, TTPM considers each of the 10,000+ toys they see annually between trade shows, product testing, in-store placement, and elsewhere throughout the year. To make the list, toys should be new, on-trend, well marketed, available for purchase, and – perhaps most importantly – fun to play with! In addition to the Most Wanted, TTPM and its brand The Toy Authority run the People’s Play Awards. For this program, finalists are chosen by top industry experts, but consumers and influencers vote to decide the winners.
Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment
Another program honoring the people behind beloved brands and products that recognizes a broad spectrum of changemakers in our industry, the Wonder Women Awards celebrates remarkable leaders for their outstanding achievements and contributions in toys, licensing, and entertainment. Honorees each year include rising talent and industry icons in categories such as Social Good, Marketing/Public Relations, Design/Invention, and more. Winners are historically announced and celebrated at a gala style event timed to Toy Fair New York.
For more information, visit: https://womenintoys.com/wonder-woman-awards/
In addition to industry-led and editorial programs, most major retailers run their own campaigns naming what they anticipate will be the best-selling toys ahead of the season and/or curating gift guides by age, character, interest, and more. While there is no formal submission process, being named to a retailer hot list can make a huge impact in the holiday shopping season. Select annual programs include:
Play Nine: A Casual Card Game Built by Word-of-Mouth All the Way to the Shelves of Target
Book Review: A Lot Like Batman
Game Review: UNO
Game Review: Jenga
Book Review: PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie Books
Ted Fischer, Co-Founder and CEO of Ageless Innovation, on Unleashing the Power of Play
Lisa Wallace Shares how "I’m The Chef Too!" Moved from Her Kitchen to Kitchens Everywhere!
Hasbro's Tanya Thompson on Women Innovators of Play
Toy industry rebels build an invention studio from zero to one
Attention Toys and Games Marketers: Is it time for Tums or Veuve Clicquot?
Randy Klimpert Shares his Ukulele Collection
Steve Casino Peanut Art
Everyone's Talking about POP!
Princess Etch - a Multi-Talented Etch A Sketch Artist
Joseph Herscher of Joseph' s Machines.
Tom Dusenberry... Bought Atari, Wizards of the Coast, and Avalon Hill!
Matt Leacock created Pandemic... the game!
Scott Brown and Tim Swindle... are Launching a New Sport!
Daryl Andrews says... "GO TO CONVENTIONS!"
Ed Gartin is... the Evel Knievel of Inventor Relations!
POPDuo: Richard Dickson, Mattel’s President & COO, and Kedar Narayan, Young Inventor Challenge AMB
POPDuo: Will Shortz and Josh Wardle
POP Duo: Elan Lee, Co-Founder, Exploding Kittens.and Jeff Probst, Host and Exec Producer, Survivor
POP Duo: David Fuhrer, MNG Director, Blue Sq Innovations & Shawn Green, past Dodgers & Mets MLB Star
POP Duo: Bob Fuhrer, Founder, Nextoy and Tom Fazio, Golf Course Designer
Toy Inventors--The Heart and Soul of the Industry
Brian Turtle: 'Endless' Stories, Advice, Kevin Bacon and More! tBR Person of the Week
Jonathan Levy on Jon2.0 - from Co-Founding Mastermind Toys to Spin Master
Andrew Perlmutter's Journey from Glencoe to Funko with Crazy Ideas that turned out Golden
Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!