President’s Letter -- December 6, 2010: Kicking Off the Season with a TOTY Spectacular

TIA had a terrific new event on the Monday before Thanksgiving.  Over 50 media reps and others showed up in a holiday setting overlooking the Bryant Park skating rink in New York for the announcement of the 2010 TOTY Award Nominations.

This is the first time we have made such a big deal out of the nominations.  In the past, we saved our media blitz for the February TOTY event where the winning toy is announced in each category.  But now is the season when parents and other toy givers are looking to find the best toys for the holidays, and the TOTY nominees deserve their attention.  And it doesn’t hurt for us to promote some joyful messages about toys as a counterweight to the attempts by some groups to damage the reputation of our industry.

In addition to the new venue and event, TIA has vastly expanded the process by which toys are nominated and the final winners are selected.  Nominations are awarded by independent panels of experts in each category consisting of retailers, manufacturers, inventors and toy trade publications.  Once nominated, the final winners will be chosen by a weighted voting process including consumers, retailers, manufacturers and the media.  We anticipate thousands of votes through our new website, and we are confident that the new processes will result in selections that everyone can agree upon. Photos from the press conference can be viewed on the TIA website.

But for me, the best part of our new event was the choir from the LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts that came to entertain us with holiday music.  These kids had all the energy and spirit and joie de vivre that come only from youth, and they were as excited about being part of the announcement of the nominees as anyone could be.  They were a joy to behold and a reminder of what our industry is really all about. 

Carter Keithley