Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award winners announced at Toy Fair
The top playthings and most inspiring individuals from the toy industry were honored this evening at the 18thannual Toy of the Year Awards and Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with proceeds from the awards program and event supporting The Toy Foundation’s important work to bring millions of toys to millions of children in need. Hundreds of industry executives attended the gala, which took place at New York City’s legendary Ziegfeld Ballroom.
The big winners of the night were Fingerlings by WowWee USA, Inc. and L.O.L. Surprise! by MGA Entertainment, which shared the distinguished “Toy of the Year” honor. Funko’s Mystery Minis by Funko, LLC won the coveted “People’s Choice” award for gaining the most votes from consumers. In total, awards were handed out in 17 categories:
- Action Figure of the Year: Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Dancing Groot Figure by Hasbro, Inc.
- Collectible of the Year: Fingerlings by WowWee USA, Inc.
- Construction Toy of the Year: LEGO® Star Wars BB-8™ by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- Creative Toy of the Year: Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit by LittleBits
- Doll of the Year: Wonder Crew Superhero Will by PlayMonster
- Game of the Year: Soggy Doggy by Spin Master Ltd.
- Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year: Teddy Ruxpin by Wicked Cool Toys
- Innovative Toy of the Year: Rubie’s Jurassic World T-Rex Inflatable Costume by Rubie’s Costume Company, Inc.
- License of the Year: Star Wars by Disney Consumer Products & Interactive Media
- Outdoor Toy of the Year: Bunch O Balloons Filler Soaker by Zuru
- Playset Toy of the Year: Hot Wheels® Super Ultimate Garage by Mattel, Inc.
- Plush of the Year: Disney Junior Minnie’s Walk and Play Puppy by Just Play Products
- Preschool Toy of the Year: PAW Patrol My Size Lookout Tower by Spin Master Ltd.
- Rookie of the Year: Antsy Pants™ Build & Play™ Kits by Beach House Group
- Specialty Toy of the Year: LEGO® Star Wars™ Millennium Falcon™ by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- Tech Toy of the Year: LEGO® BOOST Creative Toolbox by LEGO Systems, Inc.
- Vehicle of the Year: PAW Patrol Sea Patroller by Spin Master Ltd.
“Known as the ‘Oscars’ of the toy industry, the TOTY Awards celebrate the best and brightest people and products … all while raising vital funding for The Toy Foundation’s ongoing mission to bring help and joy to children in need,” says Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association. “The 2018 collection of extraordinary TOTY finalists and winners have brought endless fun and learning to kids across the globe. The annual TOTY awards process serves as a testament to the toy community’s deep talent, entrepreneurialism, and innovation!”
During the ceremony, two industry greats were inducted into the esteemed Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Andrea Barthello, co-founder and COO of ThinkFun Inc., and the late James R. Becker, founder of licensing company Anjar Co. They join an impressive roster of 74 toy industry luminaries, including Jim Henson and George Lucas, who have been inducted into the Hall since it was established in 1984.
More than 600 toys and games were submitted for consideration last fall by companies of all sizes; category finalists, announced in November, were selected by play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists who sit on the TOTY judging committee.
Tonight’s category winners were selected based on votes from toy retailers (mass and specialty), media, Toy Association members, and consumers. To bring extra diligence to the finalist and winner selection, The Toy Association hired accounting firm Tate & Tryon to review the TOTY rules, including the nomination, judging, and voting process. Tate & Tryon also confirmed voting calculations and verified the 2018 Toy of the Year category winners.
The overall “Toy of the Year” winners were determined by an expert panel that discussed all the finalists before rendering a decision based on TOTY votes, holiday sales, and media buzz (traditional, online, and social). The “People’s Choice” award winner was selected solely by consumer votes cast online. Descriptions of all TOTY finalists can be found at ToyAwards.org.
The TOTY Awards serve as the official kick off to the 115th North American International Toy Fair. All proceeds from the TOTY program and event contribute much-needed dollars to The Toy Foundation, which partners with generous toy companies throughout the year to bring brand-new toys to children in need.