The Light Fund announces Master Sponsors for English Channel Relay fundraiser

This summer, on a day between the 30th of June and the 3rd of July when the weather conditions are right, two boats of six swimmers will be racing each other across the English Channel to France in aid of The Light Fund charity. All the participants will be from the licensing industry, trying to be first to make it from Dover to the French coast – a 21-mile journey that could end up closer to 40 miles if you include tidal shifts.

The Light Fund has attracted a large and growing number of sponsors and donations for its forthcoming English Channel Relay fundraiser, and it can now proudly announce the Master Sponsors – the two groups that have taken on the biggest sponsorships available for this year’s Light Fund challenge.

Playmates Toys and Wow! Stuff have both guaranteed five-figure sums to support the pivotal role of the two pilot boats transporting, supporting and protecting both six-member swim teams during the relay.

A Light Fund spokesperson says: “For over 55 years, Playmates Toys’ commitment to quality and excellence in the design, development and marketing of character-rich toys has inspired imaginative play for generations of children worldwide. Wow! Stuff is a name globally synonymous with toy innovation for licensed brands. The names of both Master Sponsors will now appear on the two vessels: Pilot Boat Optimist and Pilot Boat High Hopes.

“The Playmates Toys and Wow! Stuff sponsorships won’t just support the hire of the boats, they will pay for the pilot, crew, observers, Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation (CS&PF) registrations and access to the internal marina at Dover as well as pick-up collections, car parking and – of course – a licence for swimming across the busiest shipping channel in the world – with around 1,000 vessels per day in transit.

“Both sponsorships also include a more-than-generous donation towards this year’s Light Fund Challenge target of £250,000, which will be shared by principal beneficiary the RNLI and a number of other organisations and projects supported by the charity that is inspired, and run, by the licensing industry.”

Playmates Toys and Wow! Stuff are in distinguished company. Some 70 other businesses working in the licensing industry have supported the swimmers with sponsorships varying from hundreds to thousands of pounds – and covering everything from drinks bottles to deep sea water training, towels to film and drone technology.

The money raised and pledged so far has taken the two teams almost two-thirds of the way to their target of £250,000 – which will be a record for any single Light Fund challenge.

The generosity of all the companies backing the cross-Channel swim will be saluted both on and beyond the day of the swim itself. Every sponsor will be namechecked in a special thank-you video that will be among the highlights of this year’s Licensing Awards ceremony.

With only four months until the English Channel Relay takes place, there are still many sponsorship opportunities available. Interested parties can find out more about corporate sponsorship options here. Individuals are very welcome to donate via the event’s Just Giving page, where you can also follow the teams preparing for the big day. There’s also an Instagram feed and a Facebook page containing team photos and updates.

On the day itself a limited-access live feed is also planned in tandem with GPS trackers on each pilot boat: watch out for announcements on how to follow the challenge as it happens.

Michael Chan of Playmates Toys says: “We jumped at the opportunity to give our backing to this extraordinary challenge and play a role in bringing essential support to these two brave and committed teams. It’s a real honour to be a Master Sponsor for the licensing industry’s biggest charity challenge of the year.”

Richard North, CEO, Wow! Stuff, says: “When we heard that the licensing industry was supplying two teams to do a relay swim across the Channel we thought two things: ‘Are they mad?’ and ‘How can we help?’ The Light Fund helped the toy industry initiative ToyAid, which Joel Silverman and I set up during the height of the pandemic. This is Wow! Stuff’s thanks for that involvement and our commitment to be with the mad team of Light Fund swimmers every step – or stroke – of the way.”

As Stephen Gould, who will be captaining one of the two teams, says: “Without the dozens of sponsors and hundreds of smaller donations from so many people in the licensing industry this wouldn’t be happening. If you’ve backed us already, our sincere and grateful thanks. If you haven’t as yet, there are many more opportunities to support our teams and the many very worthwhile causes backed by the licensing industry’s very own charity.”

The Light (Licensing Industry Giving Help Together) Fund was born when a group of like-minded people from the UK licensing industry came up with the idea to form a committee to help those less fortunate than themselves. The Light Fund is a registered charity, which raises monies to fund worthwhile charity projects that help children, women and men. Since its inception, back in 2004, The Light Fund has raised over £1.7 million and funded hundreds of different charity projects.


Bulldog signs Wow! Stuff for master toy global deal

Licensing agency Bulldog has agreed terms on a deal with Wow! Stuff for the toy company to become the first licensee for the ‘boundary breaking’ 2.5D animated series Odo.

Created by Sixteen South Originals and co-produced with Letko, Odo has now sold into more than 128 countries. In the new Master Toy global deal, Wow! Stuff will create a comprehensive range of toys including plush, dolls, figures and accessories, role-play toys, play sets, track sets, construction toys and bath toys.

Odo is a little owl with big ideas and was recently selected to join the Bulldog family of brands following its stellar TV launch last year. The first series comprises 52 x 7-minute stories and has already been pre-sold to many leading networks and broadcasters worldwide. The series is now airing every weekday on Milkshake! in the UK.

Odo has also been signed by HBO Max in the US and is airing on MiniMini+ in Poland, TVO Kids and Knowledge Kids in Canada and ABC in Australia. Many more territories will roll out throughout 2022.

The series combines humour and heart and aims to teach young children self-efficacy and to believe in themselves to help combat the troubling rise in childhood anxiety and depression levels. Each episode sees Odo positively tackle challenges with the help of his best friend Doodle, under the loving watchful eye of Camp Leader, an eagle.

Wow! Stuff’s Director of Licensing, Kenny McAndrew, is delighted with the deal. “We were pitching against some of the biggest toy companies for Odo,” he says. “Everything Odo stands for resonates and aligns with our own values, we wanted this with all our hearts – and I think that showed through in our pitch! Odo is unique; Odo the owl is gender neutral, the themes are groundbreaking and the series is grounded on social justice. And it’s very, very funny.”

Vicky Miller, Licensing Director of Bulldog Licensing, adds: “Wow! Stuff’s reputation for innovation is really unmatched in the industry and that’s what we wanted for Odo. The series is breaking boundaries in its approach to children’s mental health and wellbeing, it’s a trail-blazer in the preschool entertainment arena. Similarly, Wow! Stuff always goes above and beyond to create innovative, show-stopping product ranges and that’s just what Odo deserves”.


Smash hit gaming franchise Fall Guys joins the Wow! Stuff Wow! Pods collectables line up

Mediatonic’s smash hit gaming franchise, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has joined the Wow! Stuff portfolio as the award-winning toy maker welcomes the IP to its character brand collectables range, Wow! Pods.

Recognised as the breakout gaming hit of 2020, Fall Guys quickly established itself as one of the most joyful multiplayer titles available, in which players tumble over bizarre obstacles, shove through unruly competitors, and overcome the laws of physics to avoid elimination in their quest for the crown. 

Now, Fall Guys’ brightly coloured beans are stumbling into the spotlight as main characters of the new Wow! Pods Fall Guys collectables range. The products will feature the Wow! Stuff patent applied for Swipe to Light function which reveals mystery icons under the UV light.

Wow! Stuff’s co-founder and head of licensing, Kenny McAndrew, said: “Fall Guys is a phenomenal hit and the characters are loved by thousands of players around the world. Fall Guys fits perfectly within our ethos of ensuring Wow! Pods meets the fandom thirst from fans of character brands.” 

Fée Heyer, Devolver Digital’s head of global licensing, added: “We are careful in our selection of licensees and want the finest innovation that truly fulfills the wishes of our Fall Guys fans. We have seen how successfully Wow! Pods has re-invented and re-invigorated the collectables market with its unique set of cool features, and we’re so excited for Fall Guys fans to see their favourites realised in real life with this special range of collectables.”

Wow! Pods Fall Guys will be available across leading retailers in the UK, Europe and North America from September 1st. SRP $/£/€14.99.

SEGA Europe details ‘hand-picked’ Sonic partner line up across toys, textiles, food & drink and more

SEGA Europe has unveiled a new line up of merchandise and consumer product deals for its flagship character, Sonic the Hedgehog, in what it has billed ‘a hand-picked line up of industry leaders’ to help celebrate the property’s landmark 30th anniversary this year.

With production on the film sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 now underway and the recent unveiling of the new Netflix series, Sonic Prime – both slated for 2022 – SEGA is enticing audiences with ‘plenty to get excited about in Sonic’s immediate future’ thanks to a swathe of new partners for the brand.

“This is a momentous year for Sonic the Hedgehog and his fans, and we are incredibly proud to be partnering with so many leaders in their field across such a diverse range of product categories,” said Jason Rice, director of brand licensing at SEGA of Europe. “Our partners list will continue to grow throughout the year so look out for more exciting announcements in the near future!”

In the world of toys and collectibles, SEGA of Europe has recently teamed up with toy innovation company, Wow! Stuff, on its award-winning Wow! Pods range, which will feature light-up characters from the Sonic universe, housed within interconnecting display cases.

A new deal has also been inked with HoloToyz, who will be launching a range of stickers, decals and temporary tattoos embedded with augmented reality technology which can be brought to life via its free HoloToyz app, while long standing partner First4Figures will also be launching a brand-new, limited edition 30th Anniversary resin statue. 

Meanwhile several deals have been inked with leading players across home, textiles and personal care including, Character World for bedding, Groovy UK for bath robes, towels and washbags, Stor for tableware, and UK based company Corsair will market a brand-new range of kids’ toiletries including wash mitts and bath fizzers.

In the gifting and greetings cards space, SEGA Europe continues to add new partnerships to support an already flourishing business. Fizz Creations is preparing gift sets, drinkware, electrical accessories, games & puzzles and even Christmas decorations, whilst leading online retailer Moonpig, has already launched a successful series of personalised greetings cards.

The Sonic licensing programme is also expanding into food & beverage with leading UK based food manufacturer Finsbury Foods set to launch branded celebration cakes into major grocers later this year, and G FUEL’s Sonic branded energy drink, already a massive hit in the US, will be arriving to UK shores soon. 

In the world of contemporary art and pop culture SEGA Europe is proud to be partnering with Moor Art Gallery for a series of exclusive screen-printed poster art and 30th Anniversary commemorative enamel PINS, all slated to launch later this year.

And finally, The Blue Blur’s existing fashion & lifestyle business is set to grow and expand with a series of new collaborations including high-end fashion designer, Marc Jacques Burton. He is set to market a limited 30th Anniversary capsule collection, including jackets, hoodies, tees, and accessories to be distributed online and through select luxury fashion outlets worldwide.

Elsewhere, Global Brands Group is developing an exclusive new kids’ apparel range for leading fashion retailer Skechers, to launch throughout Europe in the near future.

Wow! Stuff signs global rights for Love, Diana toys to bring ‘Wow’ factor to latest range

Wow! Stuff has signed the global rights for Love, Diana, the kids’ lifestyle brand based on the YouTube sensation, Kids Diana Show with plans for a range of innovative toy takes on props found throughout the Love, Diana Adventures series.

With over 4,4 billion monthly views on YouTube and over 180 million active subscribers, Love, Diana licensed merchandise is currently in high demand, selling fast across its retailers including Target, Walmart, Amazon, Smyths, Claire’s, Tesco and more.

Wow! Stuff will now be embedding what it calls its ‘Magic-Light Technology’ into the Love, Diana brand’s flagship item, the Magical Wand Haribrush – as used by Diana in the live action-animated series, Love, Diana Adventures. The new launch will allow kids to re-enact what they see Diana doing during her on-screen adventures.

Other flagship props from Wow! Stuff’s tech team will include the Light Up hair Bows featured on every Love, Diana Adventures episode, as well as Diana’s Secret Password Journal – a voice activated electronic journal with its own secret compartment.

Kenny McAndrew, director of product development, Wow! Stuff, said: “Kids Diana Show and the Love, Diana brand perfectly complements our leading tier one pre-school brands. We’ve added our ‘WOW’ point of difference to Diana’s favorite key props, utilising our product development team which has scientists and engineers at its core, all of whom love creating that magical WOW factor in toys.”

Danny Spronz, managing director EMEA,, who co-led the deal alongside Stone Newman, chief revenue officer, said: “Wow! Stuff never ceases to amaze the industry with its ability to create wholly bespoke products that deliver a real ‘WOW!’ to kids. Its innovation and ability to engineer really fantastic products, on brand and in universe, aligns with our aim to ensure Love, Diana brand merchandise stands out from a crowded market sector.”     

Launching Summer 2021, Wow! Stuff’s flagship Love, Diana products SRP’s range from £/$/€9.99  to £/$/€29.99

Wow! Stuff unleashes new Jurassic World line up with flying toys, collectables, and more

Wow! Stuff is continuing to expand its portfolio of hit licensed brands with the addition of Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s blockbuster franchise, Jurassic World.

Under the new partnership, Wow! Stuff will unleash a series of collectables and flying toys based on the iconic Pteranadon, including the Pteranadon Jump Rocket that sends the flying dinosaur 50 feet skywards, as well as the new Dino-Glider featuring a jet motor that powers its dinosaur along a circular flight path.

And this is just the tip of the prehistoric iceberg of the range currently in development. The range will also be joined by an extension to Wow! Stuff’s popular collectable Wow! Pods – the ‘swipe to light’ collectable that hit the number one best-seller spot on Amazon last November.

Jurassic World Wow! Pods SFX feature a special effects sound mode. Kids can ‘swipe to light’ to reveal hidden icons inside the hexapod while they Clap to Roar to release dinosaur roars authentic tothe sounds of those in the Jurassic World franchise.

Dialing up the cute factor within the new collection is Wow! Stuff’s own innovative take on dinosaur hatching with the Drop ‘n Pop dinosaur egg like no other. Kids can simply drop the egg onto a hard surface and watch it pop open to reveal a soft plush dinosaur. The line features both Bumpy – the baby dinosaur featured in Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, or the infamous T-Rex.

When popped open, the dinosaur sits at the base of its egg, making it the ideal item for display. They are also easy to squash back into the eggshell and re-seal.

Kenny McAndrew, director of new product development and licensing at Wow! Stuff, said: “The Wow! Stuff way is to continually innovate in our product development so that we truly ‘WOW’ the fans of great tier one brands.

“Jurassic World has been a fabulous brand to work on with its rich story lines and evergreen status. It’s one of the biggest and most loved brands in the industry and also the undisputed leader of the dinosaur toy category. We believe the fans are going to love the range we’ve created.”

The range is expected to land on shelves from June this year.

Wow! Stuff’s collectables range Wow! Pods tops the Amazon Best Seller Charts

Wow! Stuff’s recently-launched and hit collectable range, Wow! Pods has risen to in the sales ranking to top the charts on Amazon’s Best Seller list in two categories, a result that the company cites as ‘all the more impressive,’ given that the brand’s TV ads haven’t even aired yet.

“We have some super TV commercials waiting in the wings which were due to air across the usual TV channels in the UK,” said Richard North, Wow! Stuff CEO. “We had seen the sell-through success in other territories and now at UK retail without any promotions at all, so decided to launch with our social media campaign from the KidsKnowBest team.

“The sales at our retail partners has beaten everyone’s forecasts and we’ve now sold out several times and are ranked number one in two categories across Amazon: Kids’ Play Action figures and Collectables Figures and Memorabilia.

“Facebook comments are extraordinary, fans just love them and 2021 will reveal loads of new great brands and rare models for fans to add to their collections.”

Marvel, DC, Harry Potter, and Pixar brands are among the leading licenses within the Wow! Pods collection, while Facebook comments indicate that the Wow! Pods collection has already picked up a broad age range of fans and collectors.

One social media comment read: “See, you’re advertising with young kids which means I’m gonna feel stupid buying em… I’m still gonna. I’m 52 and a nerd so the hell with it.”

Moonbug Entertainment taps Wow! Stuff for new CoComelon pre-school toy range

The British toy innovation company, Wow! Stuff is continuing its move into the pre-school category having signed a multi-territory licensing agreement with Moonbug Entertainment for its popular 3D animated series, CoComelon.

Launching in 2021, Wow! Stuff will unveil a new range of products based on the kids’ show, with prices ranging from £9.99 to £79.99. It will include a CoComelon activity table, puzzle blocks, night lights, and more.

Richard North, Wow! Stuff CEO, said: “Our mission is ‘to partner with tier one licensed brands and work until our brains hurt to deliver innovation that is on brand and in universe.’

“This new agreement with Moonbug allows us to expand the playful world of CoComelon with new experiences that kids and families will absolutely love.”

Head of product development and licensing, Kenny McAndrew, added: “We have been working with CoComelon for some time and have seen how the brand has captured families around the globe with its educational and engaging content. Now that it’s a Moonbug brand, we’re delighted for what’s to come from our relationship and the new ways in which we encourage play.”

Simon Philips, senior in-house advisor at Moonbug Entertainment, said: “As we look to bring new ways for fans to engage with their favourite characters, we need partners who can create toys and products that truly bring them to life.

“Wow! Stuff’s reputation in developing innovative toys is unparalleled and we look forward to bringing them kids worldwide.”

CoComelon is the world’s most-viewed YouTube channel with over 3.5 billion average monthly views and over 100 million subscribers. The show centers around the everyday experiences of Baby JJ and his siblings and helps preschoolers learn letters, numbers, animal sounds, colors and more.

Its upbeat videos impart positive, prosocial life lessons that provide parents with an opportunity to teach and play with their children as they watch together.

For national and international sales enquiries please contact

Wow! Stuff sees sell-out success of its character brand collectables Wow! Pods

Wow! Stuff’s character brand collectable range, Wow! Pods has struck sell-out success in less than four weeks since its UK launch across Amazon and other retailers, making it the company’s ‘fastest-selling toy range to date.’

Manufactured and distributed in the UK by Wow! Stuff, the Wow! Pods range has seen its ranking on Amazon shoot up by 80,000 places at launch. The rise in sales took it to the number one position in its category and a top 500 Best Seller rank across the Amazon Toys and Games category before selling out.

Wow! Pods also sold out at other retailers with new stock arriving this week. It all repeats the sell-out success seen at launch in Australia and New Zealand by appointed sole distributor, Jasnor.

“Sell in is important but sell out is even more so. Wow! Pods are the fastest selling toy we have launched to date,” commented Dawn Lavalette, commercial director at Wow! Stuff. “Our new Wow! Pods TV commercial featuring the Marvel brand and characters has not yet gone live so to sell out before it does is proof that consumers love the product, and is a great precursor to our North America launch next year.”

Wow! Stuff co-founder and head of licensing, Kenny McAndrew, added: “The combination of tier one key licensed brands such as Marvel, Disney, Pixar, The Wizarding World (Harry Potter) and DC (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) with Wow! Stuff’s artistry and innovation seems to have hit the Zeitgeist.

“Our ‘Swipe to Light’ feature combined with ‘Collect and Connect in both Physical and Digital’ approach using Augmented Reality has proven a winning recipe. There’s much more to come as we move into 2021 with a raft of special editions and rare Wow! Pods plus we’re adding more of the most sought after brands loved by fans.”

Innovators of licensed plush The London Toy Company is launching ‘huge toy range for 2021’

The London Toy Company – the plush artists formerly known as High Resolution Design – famed for pushing the envelope of plush design with licenses such as TfL and Harry Potter, has revealed its plans for the non-plush toy space next year.

Founder and director, Joel Berkowitz, has told ToyNews that fans and customers of the brand can expect to witness the launch ‘of a huge range of new toys’ across its existing portfolio of licenses. Products will span the likes of train sets and diecasts, as well as bakewear and squishy toys.

The project has been a top secret one and the work of the London toy Company as it continues to grow in the space, expanding its portfolio of products, designs, and licensing partners along the way. The firm currently holds partnerships with Warner Bros. for its Harry Potter collection of plush toys – brokered via a partnership with Wow! Stuff – Transport for London, and more.

“I can’t share it all right now,” said Berkowitz, “but it is all majorly exciting for us as we continue to grow.”

It was during the UK’s nationwide lockdown period that Berkowitz took the opportunity to evolve the company beyond its High Resolution Design moniker and rebrand as The London Toy Company. In what has been a year of trepidation, Berkowitz’s outfit has managed to achieve both growth and recognition when it took home the SME News Awards for Enterprise’ Best Soft Toy Manufacturer 2020 accolade.

Here, ToyNews catches up with company founder and director, Joel Berkowitz to talk about the successes of the past 10 months.

Hi Joel, it’s good to catch up with you! To kick us off – another award to the company name – Congratulations! Can you talk us through the award win and what this means to you guys? 

Thank you, Rob! Given all we have been through this year, it was an incredible surprise to have won the SME News Awards for Enterprise – Best Soft Toy Manufacturer 2020! We have been recognised for commercialisation, brand partnerships and innovation of our portfolio licenses.

How is the award win reflective of the London Toy Company today, the ‘journey’ that the business has made to date and the strength of the company in 2020?

This award is humbling to know that we are recognised for the work we have been able to accomplish over the last 4/5 years. The diversity, capability and integrity of the team has put us in a really good position in the market and things seem to be snowballing for us!

Over the last few years we’ve seen you guys push the boundaries and innovating in the plush toy aisle further and further. How important is it to you that The London Toy Company keeps pushing that envelope and reinventing the plush category?

When entering any industry, it is important to have a vision of difference. We have created our own niche in the vehicles soft toy category. We’re different to other manufacturers as we avoid character-plush and settle for complex, sometimes near impossible shapes and forms that vehicles typically elude.

We are constantly innovating and developing new toys and finding out what works and doesn’t work so we can streamline our offerings for the marketplace.

You’ve got some big licenses like Harry Potter, Transport for London and JCB on the books – how did these partnerships come about? What do you guys look for in a licensing partnership? What inspires each next step of the business?

Based on our vision for super-realistic vehicle soft toys, we decide to work with brands where there is a gap in the market. We always try to ensure that when entering into an agreement, that it is a fair partnership where expectations can be managed by both parties in a sensible fashion.

We’ve found that our licensors have been very sensitive to us given that we are relative newcomer to the industry and we appreciate their support greatly.

Funnily enough, we were introduced to the guys at Wow! Stuff after a friend of our co-director suggested we think about Harry Potter. I had thought about the idea previously, but were concerned about commitments to Warner Brothers at the time. We ended up producing some samples of the Knight Bus, Hogwarts Express and Ford Anglia and met with Wow! who really went WOW! Our partnership was made official and the toys were born.

How has business been for you guys through 2020? How have you guys adapted to the changes that have been thrown at the industry?

Given the rapid move to even more online shopping, we took the chance to rebrand our company during lockdown. We were previously known as High Resolution Design, but needed something much simpler, fresher and easier to understand for the online consumer.

The London Toy Company couldn’t have been a better fit for us and we are almost finished rolling this out across the business. Our sales with online retailers have skyrocketed and our Harry Potter range has turned things around for us much quicker than we hoped.

One thing that has struck amid the pandemic is the evolution of the consumer and the value they place on play. Where do you think the plush sector fits in today, what are consumers looking for from their plush toys today and how is The London Toy Company delivering that?

With all toys, they have a lifecycle that we are all familiar with. The difference for plush is that often, they are seen as an emotional play item that is comforting and versatile. Sadly, as less consumers visit shops, they don’t get the same interaction online as they would in person.

For the Christmas season, we will have videos with footage produced remotely that pick up on this emotional connection to the toys to help customers understand the product as best as they can.

How are you guys looking as we head into the key Christmas period? How optimistic are you for 2021?

We have been working with a number of influencers to help consumers get a better feel for our toys, right from their living rooms. We have some exciting content that I cannot wait to see.

I think we will see a slower year of growth in ’21 as we play catch-up with franchises and content to work with, but there is plenty for us to be getting on with in the meantime.

What’s the next big move for you guys?

In 2021 we are going to be entering into the non-plush space with the launch of a huge range of new toys within our existing licenses. I can’t share it all right now as they are top secret projects, but they are along the lines of squishy stress toys, train sets and diecast as well as the bakeware and footwear categories. All majorly exciting for us as we continue to grow .

Anything you’d like to add?

Wishing everyone a very safe and prosperous end to this crazy year. Most retailers beat me to it with their Christmas range already on display since August, but here’s to a Merry Christmas and a Happy Chanukkah to all in our fantastic industry!