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Jazwares Tops Toy Awards, Winning License of the Year

By Allison Watkinson

TLL Reporter

The highly-anticipated, in-person Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards & Celebration event has officially named this year’s top toys and games.

The prestigious awards spotlighted the finalists across 17 different categories of play. The categories include collectibles, grown-up, plush, specialty, the newly created ride-on category, and more.

“We are excited to have the industry in-person to celebrate the TOTY winners, all of which are extraordinary examples of creativity and imagination that deliver the benefits of play to children and adults alike,” said Pamela Mastrota, executive director of The Toy Foundation.

“We congratulate each of the category winners, and all the innovative nominees, on receiving this incredible honor and we thank the industry for continuing to choose this award ceremony to support the Foundation’s programming and raise funds for the benefit of children in need.”

Eighteen winners were announced, including a tie for Specialty Toy of the Year. The overall Toy of the Year and People’s Choice award winners will be announced on Nov. 21, 2022.

Jazwares’ 16-inch Squishmallows line won the award for Plush Toy of the Year, while the entire brand was named License of the Year.

Jazwares arguably landed on top of the awards list this year, winning the coveted License of the Year Award as well as the Plush Toy of the Year, both for its breakout hit line Squishmallows.

That said, LEGO won the most awards of any company, with an impressive five wins. The full list of winners by category is below.

The upcoming Toy of the Year award winner will be determined by a panel of expert judges and the People’s Choice award winner will be decided by online consumer votes.

The following TOTY winners have been announced:

  • The Action Figure of the Year Award was given to the Jurassic World Dominion Super Colossal Gigantosaurus from Mattel.
  • The Collectible of the Year Award was won by LEGO Minifigures: The Muppets from LEGO Systems.
  • The Construction Toy of the Year Award was received by LEGO MARVEL I am Groot by LEGO Systems.
  • The Creative Toy of the Year Award was given to Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball by Moose Toys.
  • The Doll of the Year Award was won by the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Fresh Fierce Collection by The Fresh Dolls, a World of EPI Company.
  • The Game of the Year Award was given to the Pokémon Trading Card Game: Pokémon GO Elite Trainer Box by The Pokémon Company International.
  • The Grown-Up Toy of the Year Award was received by LEGO Ideas The Office by LEGO Systems.
  • The Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year Award was won by the CoComelon Ultimate Learning Adventure Bus by Just Play.
  • The Outdoor Toy of the Year Award was given to Twister SPLASH by WowWee.
  • The Playset of the Year Award was won by LEGO Super Mario Adventures with Peach Starter Course by LEGO Systems.
  • The Plush Toy of the Year Award was received by the 16″ Squishmallows plush by Jazwares.
  • The Preschool Toy of the Year Award was given to Crayola Color & Erase Reusable Mat by Crayola.
  • The Ride-On Toy of the Year Award was won by Mario Kart 24V Ride-On Racer by JAKKS Pacific.
  • The Specialty Toy of the Year Award was received by Ann Williams Craft-tastic Nature Scavenger Hunt Potions by the PlayMonster Group and Snap Circuits: Green Energy by ELENCO.
  • The STEAM Toy of the Year Award was given to Bill Nye’s VR Science Kit by Abacus Brands.
  • The Vehicle of the Year Award was won by the LEGO Technic McLaren Formula 1 Race Car by LEGO Systems.
  • The License of the Year Award was given to Squishmallows by Jazwares.

The category winners were determined by votes from Toy Association members, toy retailers, media, and consumers.

Jazwares says it was thrilled with the result, as its successful Squishmallows plush brand secured the highly sought-after License of the Year Award, and the company’s 16-inch Squishmallows was named Plush Toy of the Year.

“There was significant competition in these categories from an incredible roster of world-renowned brands, which makes our recognition for license of the year and plush toy of the year that much more significant for Jazwares,” said Jeremy Padawer, Chief Brand Officer at Jazwares.

“As Squishmallows continues to thrive around the globe, we are so honored to be recognized in these categories by our peers and The Toy Foundation.”

Since Squishmallows debuted in 2017, the plush brand’s large global audience and incredible popularity has resulted in massive expansion in a variety of product categories.

The Squishmallows brand has expanded its reach to more than 55 countries and has received multiple line extensions.

These extensions include HugMees by Original Squishmallows, Squish-Doos, Stackables and Squishville, as well as consumer products programmes ranging from apparel, accessories, home decor, pool floats, and more.

Hosted by The Toy Foundation (TTF), the Toy of the Year awards program highlights both the industry’s creativity and its collective philanthropy.

The Toy Foundation is a global children’s charity that provides philanthropic support and opportunities for play to families in need.

In addition to naming the winners, the 23rd edition of the TOTY Awards showcased the industry’s support for TTF’s programs: delivering toys to children across the globe, funding play therapy in children’s hospitals, and introducing the industry to fresh talent.

TTF’s local partners participated in the celebration. These partners included three children’s non-profits — Dallas Metro, Rainbow Days, and The Birthday Party Project — which all received toy donations. In addition, the Baylor, Scott and White McLane Children’s Hospital was named one of TTF’s new play grants recipients.

With help from the industry this year, over 4 million dollars in aid was delivered to Ukrainian children and play therapy activities were made available to 175,000 pediatric patients.

The next TOTY Awards will take place Sept. 29, 2023, kicking off Toy Fair week in New York City.

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