Barbie, Star Wars and LEGO Super Mario among leading licenses in Amazon’s top toys for Christmas

Classic and retro licenses including Barbie, Star Wars, Back to the Future and Super Mario have been billed among the top picks for predicted best-selling toys this Christmas by Amazon UK, proving the might of nostalgia in 2020 as we head into the critical Christmas shopping season. is betting big on some of the biggest franchises in the world of children’s entertainment this year, listing Mattel’s Barbie, Spin Master’s PAW Patrol, and MGA Entertainment’s LOL Surprise alongside the likes of Star Wars The Mandalorian, Back to the Future, and the innovative new collaboration between LEGO and Nintendo for LEGO Super Mario.

In fact, Amazon points out that Star Wars continues to be among the top searched keywords for toys on its UK platform, and suggests that ‘kids can’t get enough of the Disney+ original series, Star Wars The Mandalorian. It’s to that end that Star Wars The Mandalorian Bounty Hunter Transport Starship has been listed as a potential best-seller this year, available exclusively on

The Child Animatronic Edition AKA Baby Yoda also takes a top for most lovable character.

Meanwhile, the VTech Kidizoom in red is another Amazon exclusive. A child friendly camera that includes video editing, the HD camera comes with 20 virtual backgrounds, and includes six games.

“We know Christmas is going to be a little different this year, and at Amazon, we are doing everything we can to bring the magic of the festive season to our customers,” said Naman Agarwal, head of vendor management for toys at

“The joy of being with friends and family, in person or virtually, will be the greatest gift of all, and we’re predicting that the bestselling toys will be those that can bring people together. No matter the celebration, we are making a big effort to deliver smiles and make Christmas extra special.”

Amazon’s full list of top toys for Christmas 2020 is:

The Barbie Fresh ‘n’ Fun Food Truck – Mattel

LOL Surprise OMG Remix Plane – MGA Entertainment

LOL Surprise OMG Remix Honeylicious Fashion Doll – MGA Entertainment

Squeakee Interactive Balloon Dog – Moose Toys

Uno Showdown – Mattle Games

KidiZoom Studio – VTech

Star Wars The Mandalorian Bounty Hunter Transport Starship – LEGO

Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition – Hasbro

Back to the Future DeLorean Toy – Playmobil

PAW Patrol Dino Rescure Dino Patroller Motorised Team Vehicle with Exclusive Chase and T-Rex Figures – Spin Master

Present Pets – Spin Master

Super Mario Adventures Starter Course Interactive Figure and Buildable Game – LEGO

Licensing nostalgia: Why Mattel is looking to the allure of yesteryear in 2020 and beyond

Whether it’s in the revival of the Masters of the Universe franchise, the ongoing celebrations for the 75th anniversary of Thomas and Friends, or the new waves that its pre-school brand Fisher-Price is making across markets right now, Mattel is well and truly tapping into the nostalgia trend this year.

With partnerships, new launches, and ’80s throwbacks flying out of Mattel’s consumer products division at a rate of knots these past few months, it’s little wonder that the firm has found it licensing business ‘busier than ever’. Now, boasting a portfolio of more than 100 new deals in the pipeline, the international toy maker and home of some of the biggest children’s IP on the planet is betting big on the appeal of yesteryear.

As Festival of Licensing edges ever closer – now only a matter of days away – catches up with Mattel’s regional head of consumer products, Lisa Weger to find out just how big the nostalgia trip really is right now.

Despite the consensus that business has slowed over the last six months, we’ve seen a fair bit of activity and news coming from Mattel and its activity in the licensing space. What has 2020 been like for you guys?

There was an initial lull in business as partners adjusted to the new circumstances. However, as soon as they realized that eventually things would return to normal, Mattel’s consumer products business got busier than ever. We currently have more than 100 new deals in the pipeline across the region and most of those came in Q2.

All the data shows that partners are looking for stable evergreen portfolios that will perform independent of content releases. Mattel’s portfolio delivers that in spades, and we’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm in the market for our brands.

Can you talk us through some of the biggest developments for you guys over the last few months?

We had our most successful launch of Barbie T-shirts in Zara in May of this year, followed by a strong selling cross-category Barbie launch in more than 2,500 Biedronka stores in Poland. We are also working on our extensive marketing programmes to support our upcoming launches with Very and Skinny Dip, as well as programmes with other major retailers.

We also have a great new Barbie sewing machine launching with Sambro in Argos so kids will be to make clothes for Barbie and even themselves now.

We are also really excited about our upcoming lifestyle launches with several key fast fashion retailers including H&M for Hot Wheels. We are expanding our successful RC and arts and crafts lines, and we also have a Monster Truck brand extension launching in fall of this year.

We are seeing some of the most exciting product development coming through for Fisher-Price, some of the best that we have seen in years. We have a wonderful new offering from Eldohm musical instruments and exciting new products launching in the outdoor and mobility categories. And of course, we have had a fantastic year celebrating Thomas’ 75th Anniversary and we are looking forward to showcasing our partnership with Harrods in December.


What do you look for when translating the toy IP into the wider licensing space? Why is there such a demand for toy-driven IP across the wider licensing space at the moment, and how do you think this is shaping the look of the consumer products market currently? 

As we all know, the current pandemic has changed almost everything. Television and movie productions ground to a temporary halt and partners went in search of evergreen properties. Mattel has benefited from that and, while we all hope that the film and TV industry will be back in full swing soon, I do think that partners are liable to stick with more stable portfolios for the time being.

As far as translating toy IP to licensing, it’s always important that we make sure our product offering stays true to the brand’s DNA. We ask ourselves: what is it about this brand that sparks joy in our consumer? And will the CP product that we are developing add to that story? Will it attract that brand fan? And will it add value to the brand experience? This holds true for any product: physical, digital, entertainment or services.

 How has Mattel’s licensing strategy adapted to and evolved with the changes brought about by 2020?
We were already focused on our product and making sure we were delivering the right experience for the consumer. That required a re-focusing of our efforts and a tight collaboration between our commercial and creative teams. The change in 2020 gave us the little bit of extra time we needed to double down on those efforts while also allowing us time to research and reach out to new partners.

Have you seen any emerging trends in the licensing space over the course of the year, and how have you positioned the brand to tap into them?

We’ve seen an uptick in arts and crafts, pets, leisurewear, personalisation, home décor, puzzles and reading and we have taken advantage of all of them. These trends do offer us new and exciting ways to explore category extensions for our brands.

 Have you got any further plans to tap into this market through licensing?

Nostalgia is big right now. People are looking for comfort and familiarity. If there is one thing, we’ve all learned in 2020 it’s that planning has become much more difficult. People are turning to what they know. They’re reaching for brands that bring happy memories. You will see a lot of new product development on our brands that bring back those nostalgic looks, and products that spark joy in our adult consumer.

 What will you guys be showcasing at Festival of Licensing next month?

There is too much new news to cover, but we will be bringing exciting brand updates on all of our core properties as well as some exciting new launches in our game’s category and promotions across all of our brands.

 What will be leading the charge for Mattel’s licensing division for the rest of 2020 and into 2021?

It’s all about the products and the partnerships for us. We will be working to support our licensees and retail partners while keeping our main focus on constantly improving our product offering.

World’s most valuable toy brands could lose up to $3bn in brand value to Covid-19, says Brand Finance report

The world’s top 25 most valuable toy brands – a list that includes the likes of LEGO, Barbie, and Bandai – could lose up to $3 billion worth of brand value as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest report to emerge from the independent brand valuation consultancy, Brand Finance.

Analysis by the firm shows that the toys sector is a heavily impacted industry globally and could face as much as a 20 per cent loss in brand value. Looking beyond the toys sector, the value of the 500 most valuable brands in the world, ranked in the Brand Finance Global 500 2020 league table, could fall by an estimated $1 trillion as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Brand Finance has assessed the impact of Covid-19 based on the effect of the outbreak on enterprise value, compared to what it was on 1st January 2020. The likely impact on brand value was estimated for each sector. The industries have been classified into three categories – limited impact (minimal brand value loss or potential brand value growth), moderate impact (up to 10 per cent brand value loss), and heavy impact (up to 20 per cent brand value loss.

While according to the analysts, the toys industry is predicted to suffer a heavy impact to its brand value, it has highlighted a few clear leaders in the sector. One such is LEGO, whose strong marketing strategy and customer loyalty may allow Covid-19 to be an opportunity for the brand to reach new customers who are looking for ways to stay busy at home, states the firm.

“However, marketing and brand awareness campaigns will only take the brand so far, as it is most likely to be faced by manufacturing and distribution issues heavily impacting both the toys and retail sectors,” said Richard Haigh, managing director, Brand Finance.

In fact, the report suggests that LEGO remains the world’s most valuable toy brand by a long way, despite its brand value dropping marginally by 3 per cent to $6.6 billion.

Meanwhile, Nerf has been billed as the fastest growing toy brand this year, following an impressive 43 per cent brand value growth to $587 million. Nerf has made strong progress with its new product lines including Nerf Fortnite and Nerf Ultra. New product launches, paired with greater innovation across the brand, are supporting Nerf in rising to the challenge of increased competition in the sector.

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. According to these criteria, My Little Pony is the world’s strongest toy brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 89.8 out of 100 and a corresponding elite AAA+ brand strength rating.

My Little Pony has celebrated an impressive 20 per cent brand value increase to $302 million. The brand’s cartoon series hit the headlines last year as it featured the show’s first same-sex couple, with the episode airing on US television in time for Pride Week.

Following delays in the production of the 2021 My Little Pony feature film, due to Coronavirus, animation work has restarted on the movie, which is being created under Hasbro’s global entertainment studio, eOne. The 2017 My Little Pony: The Movie grossed over US$61 billion in the box office globally.

The Top 10 Most Valuable Toy Brands, according to Brand Finance:

Mattel Television to launch new musical Barbie movie to Netflix, Barbie Princess Adventures

Mattel Television has partnered with the animation studio Mainframe to launch a new animated musical adventure to Netflix this year in the shape of Barbie Princess Adventure. The new feature animation will launch with its own soundtrack which will be made available across all streaming platforms on August 28th.

The new adventure feature follows Barbie and her friends as they are chosen by their school to travel the country of Floravia to meet Princess Amelia, who, nervous about becoming queen, is looking for an escape and devises plans to trade places with Barbie. When a rival prince finds out what has taken place, Barbie and her friends must team up to stop him, and rescue the princess in time for her coronation.

“Barbie is an iconic character who provides endless storytelling opportunities. She inspires the limitless potential in all kids, and this brand purpose resonates deeply with children and parents alike. Barbie Princess Adventure builds on that purpose with a focus on empowerment, self-discovery and finding your voice in the age of social media,” said Adam Bonnett, executive producer, Marvel Television.

“Barbie Princess Adventure captures a range of musical genres which enables the audience to connect with the story in a variety of ways. Original music will continue to be an integral part of Mattel Television content moving forward – for Barbie as well as other brands.”

Barbie Princess Adventure features songs by Matthew Tishler and Andrew Underberg, with score and additional songs by The Math Club. The musical numbers are animated to the choreography of Paul Becker.

The digital soundtrack includes “Try It On,” “Somewhere New,” “(Not) A Picture Perfect Girl,” “Life in Color,” “King of the Kingdom” and “This Is My Moment.”

Barbie unveils 2020 Campaign Team set to encourage girls into public leadership roles

Mattel is pursuing its goal of exposing girls to future-shaping role models, this time with the announcement of its Barbie 2020 Campaign Team range, a new career set that focuses on characters in public leadership roles.

The new career set includes four diverse dolls with roles that make a winning public leadership campaign, including a candidate, a campaign manager, a fundraiser, and a voter. The aim is to show girls the importance of a political team working together to win.

With seven runs for office since 1992, Barbie has a long history of showing girls they can and should be in office. Ahead of the 2020 election, the brand is launching this new doll set alongside a full marketing program aimed at the next generation of leaders by highlighting the importance of voting and taking a stand and showing girls how to run a campaign.

The set highlights dolls of different ethnicities, including a Black candidate, to remind all girls they can lead from the polls to the podium.

“Since 1959, Barbie has championed girls and encouraged them to be leaders whether in the classroom, community or someday, of the country,” said Lisa McKnight, SVP and global head of Barbie and Dolls, Mattel. “With less than a third of elected leaders in the US being women, and Black women being even less represented in these positions, we designed the Barbie Campaign Team with a diverse set of dolls to show all girls they can raise their voices. Our goal is to remove barriers to leadership by giving girls the tools to imagine and play out their future roles.”

The brand has teamed up with She Should Run, a non-partisan non-profit that provides guidance and support to women considering a run for office. Together, Barbie and She Should Run are directly addressing the top barriers to girls’ leadership, which have been determined as self-limiting beliefs that are in line with what the brand seeks to address through the Barbie Dream Gap Project.

In addition to being a longtime partner, She Should Run is a recipient of funds from the Barbie Dream Gap Project and has dedicated resources in part to Help Her Lead, a course designed to support young girls, particularly girls of colour, in their pathway to political leadership by giving adult role models the resources and guidance to engage and inspire them early in life.

To effectively build political leadership ambition, role models can host intentional conversations about why it’s important to lead, demonstrate their own involvement through fundraising or volunteer efforts and role-play leadership activities, like giving a speech.

“With the upcoming elections and the current push for equality and representation, 2020 is an incredible time for us to inspire young women and girls to lead,” said Erin Loos Cutraro, founder and CEO of She Should Run. “Understanding the role we play in empowering our daughters is the first step – we have to have healthy conversations at home and encourage curiosity. By getting them excited today, we’re giving them the confidence to raise their voices and run for office tomorrow.”

Additional educational resources, including play ballots and printable activities, prompts for girls to write their own campaign speeches and more will be available on and a new “Ask Barbie” video will be live on the Barbie YouTube channel.

The Barbie Campaign Team, sold as a set, is available for $39.99 from major online retailers starting today.

Barbie launches health and beauty partnership with GlamGlow

The health and beauty specialist, GlamGlow has teamed up with Mattel to unveil a new, limited edition with the fashion doll icon, Barbie, and the toy brand’s own GlamGlow beauty collection.

The new collection has been developed to celebrate self-confidence through self-care skin health, and features Barbie themed spins on popular lines in the GlamGlow range, including the Charcoal Clearing Treatment Mask, and the GlowStarter Mega Illuminating Moisturiser.

The fashionista is also lending herself to GlamGlow’s SuperMud, that helps draw out dirt, oil, congestion and impurities.

A press release read: ‘GlamGlow’s GlowStarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer,-in Barbie Glow Getter custom shade, floods skin with lasting hydration while universally flattering Illuminating Pearls instantly blur, reflect and enhance the look of bare skin or makeup for an instant Hollywood glow.’

The Barbie Limited-Edition SuperMud retails at £44, and the Barbie Limited-Edition GlowStarter at £36. Both are available online now.

Mattel launches a free online resource for parents and children, Mattel Playroom

Mattel has detailed the launch of the Mattel Playroom, a new, free online resource that features activities and content from across the company’s portfolio of brands, designed to encourage kids to keep playing while handling school closures, social distancing and self isolation measures.

American Girl, Barbie, Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels, and Thomas & Friends all feature in content delivered across the new platform that includes play-from-home information and tips for parents and caregivers. The Playroom will be updated in the coming weeks with additional content and experiences.

“Our mission to inspire, entertain and develop children through play is more important than ever,” said Richard Dickson, president and COO, Mattel. “We believe in the power of play and how essential it is for child development, especially in these difficult times when so much is in flux for kids and families. We recognise the unique challenges that parents and caregivers are facing right now both working and playing from home and have designed the Mattel Playroom to be a valuable resource for them.”

The Mattel Playroom will be updated weekly. At launch, the resource gives parents and caregivers easy access to content from Mattel brands including printable colouring pages and activities, free and ready-to-play games, crafting and DIY projects, animated, stop-motion and live-action videos and downloadable apps.

The new online hub will also feature learning-at-home tips in partnership with The Toy Association and insights from Mattel’s play experts.

Parents and caregivers also have the opportunity to join the social conversation by using #KeepPlaying.

Mattel takes up arms against COVID-19 as it focuses production on face masks and PPE

Mattel has become the latest toy company to join in the fight agains the deepening COVID-19 pandemic, dedicating a slice if its production line to face masks in order to meet the urgent demand for medical supplies in the US.

In a post across social media, Mattel’s president and COO, Richard Dickson announced the company’s intentions, stating that its design and development teams in El Segundo, California, and East Aurora, New York will be producing face masks from Barbie and Fisher-Price fabric ‘to help meet the significant demand.’

Mattel is also prototyping personal protective equipment, such as face shields, for medical workers – many of which have been faced with the ongoing efforts of caring for those with COVID-19 without the appropriate safety or protective wear.

Mattel now joins a slew of toy companies who have taken up arms in the global fight against the coronavirus in the past week, including the likes of Zimpli Kids and Crazy Aaron who have dedicated portions of their manufacturing processes to the production of hand sanitiser.

Meanwhile, MGA Entertainment’s CEO Isaac Larian launched Operation: Pac-Man to bring supporters together to equip hospitals and healthcare workers with the supplies they need to protect themselves as the global fight against Covid-19 continues.

Speaking of the firm’s own efforts, Mattel’s Dickson, said: “As companies all over do what they can during these uncertain times, we are doing our part. Our design and development teams in El Segundo, CA and East Aurora, NY, are producing face masks from Barbie and Fisher-Price fabric to help meet thee significant demand for these supplies. We are also prototyping personal protective equipment such as face shields for our heroes in the healthcare profession.

“I am inspired by our people at Mattel, as well as the amazing contributions from the toy industry and companies all over the world.”

Olympic Gold Medallist Dina Asher-Smith named Mattel’s latest Barbie Shero

Mattel has revealed Olympic Gold Medallist and the fastest British woman in history, Dina Asher-Smith, as its latest Barbie Shero with the grand unveiling of a new one-of-a-kind doll created in her likeness.

The initiative has been devised to celebrate the World Champion and four times European Champion – and status as a record-making sportswoman – by spotlighting her accomplishments and recognising her as an inspiration to a new generation.

This year, Barbie is celebrating female role models in sports, in an effort to close what Mattel has previously identified as the Dream Gap – a crucial time when girls start to doubt that they can take on any role or challenge.

The campaign was launched following research that indicated that when girls play sports, they report higher levels of confidence, which in turn breaks down barriers to their self-belief.

Asher-Smith said: “I’m so proud to have my own one-of-a-kind Dina Barbie doll. It’s an honour to work with Barbie as a ‘Shero’ and work together to inspire future champions.

“Growing up, sportswomen were less visible in the media and there is still a gap when it comes to women’s sports, which is why representation is so important. For Barbie to champion female athletes and different sports shows future generations that anything is possible.

“I hope little girls will see my doll and be inspired to take up and continue to enjoy sports. There are so many amazing things have happened because of my love for running, but having my own Barbie is definitely up there.”

Heather Smith, Associate Head of Innovation at Women in Sport, added: “Currently, too many girls are missing out on the physical and mental benefits that sport provides, with negative attitudes towards sport being formed as young as five years old. Yet sport and physical activity is a fantastic way to build girls’ confidence and resilience, helping them become healthy and happy young women.

“At Women in Sport, we’re determined to help more girls enjoy these lifelong rewards of sport. With an exciting summer of sport on the horizon, that will be filled with inspirational women, we’re excited to be supporting’s Barbie’s Dream Gap sporting role models programme, which platforms these positive and aspirational role models for girls and shows them they can do and be anything.”

Barbie will continue to champion empowerment and diversity through a number of additional initiatives, including spotlighting relevant female role models who are breaking boundaries as it continues to celebrate global role models. Mattel will honour 20 women across multiple countries and continents.

The toymaker will also work to further its commitment to closing the Dream Gap with the launch of the Barbie Dream Gap Project Fund – by dedicating resources to likeminded organisations in support of closing the Dream Gap and levelling the playing field for girls.

This initiative builds on the Barbie Dream Gap Project launched in 2018, the brand’s ongoing global initiative to raise awareness around limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential.

Mattel celebrates Tokyo 2020 with the launch of the first Olympic Games toy line

Mattel is celebrating Tokyo 2020 with the launch of the first Olympic Games toy collection, featuring a variety of products from across its Barbie, Hot Wheels, and UNO brands.

In an exclusive licensing agreement with the International Olympic Committee, Mattel will launch a range of products and toys each reflecting the inclusivity and innovation, as well as a host of new sports, that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will represent.

New sports to be represented at this year’s Olympics include baseball/softball, sport climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing – all to inspire a new generation of athletes and fans around the world.

The Mattel toy and product launch is part of the International Olympic Committee’s ongoing global licensing strategy.

“In line with our Global Licensing Strategy, this new international licensing collaboration with Mattel is a great way to engage with an important audience, our younger fans and their families, and through these high-quality products to connect them with the Olympic brand and values,” said Timo Lumme, managing director of IOC Television and Marketing Services.

“Tokyo 2020 is a monumental event that brings the world together through sport and inspires fans of all ages,” said Janet Hsu, chief franchise officer of Mattel. “The Mattel Tokyo 2020 Collection honours these sports and inspires a new generation through the Olympic spirit and outstanding athletic tradition.”

Products will include Barbie Dolls Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as the doll embraces five new sports added to the Olympic programme, and the Hot Wheels Mini Collection for The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 representing iconic sports of Tokyo 2020, from historic sports dating back to the first Games in Athens, to new sports that make their debut this year in Tokyo.

Sports celebrated in Hot Wheels die-cast form include track and field, gymnastics, swimming, basketball and beach volleyball, and the newly added sports: baseball/softball, sport climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing.

Two cars within the collection are Hot Wheels versions of Worldwide Olympic Partner Toyota’s vehicles ’10 Toyota Tundra and Toyota 2000 GT.

UNO will also be part of the celebrations, with the UNO Celebrating Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 line, featuring the mascot of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Miraitowa.

The Tokyo 2020 Collection by Mattel will be available in retailers around the globe, as well as on the Mattel Shop.

Building on the Olympic Agenda 2020, the International Olympic Committee Global Licensing Strategy aims to create a tangible connection to the Olympic Games and Olympism through merchandising programmes that are aligned with the Olympic image and enhance brand value and goodwill.

The objective is to strengthen and promote the Olympic brand, not only during the Olympic Games, but between Games as well.

The IOC Global Licensing Strategy is divided into three core licensing programmes aimed at specific target groups: The Olympic Heritage Collection, The Olympic Collection and The Olympic Games Programme.