FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:   Adrienne Appell
 Toy Industry Association
 Office: 646.520.4863   
 Mobile:  646.207.3724
 aappell@toyassociation.org


5th Annual Engage! Conference and Expo Opens Today during Toy Fair

Conference Tracks to Explore Digital Strategies, Tools and Challenges


New York, NY | February 15, 2011 – The 5th annual Engage! Conference and Expo, co-locating with the 108th American International Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, opened its doors this morning for a two-day run.

Engage! 2011 will provide entertainment companies, youth brands, advertising agencies and other industry professionals with the critical information they need to reach kids and youth through digital technologies. The robust conference will feature more than 100 speakers; session tracks will focus on tools and strategies for reaching the constantly connected consumer, address the proliferation of new devices and services allowing consumers to be “always on,” and discuss the new set of challenges this presents for companies.

“The toy industry is increasingly influenced by the technological advancements being made in other industries,” said Marian Bossard, VP of Meetings and Events at the Toy Industry Association (TIA). “Having Engage under the same roof as Toy Fair for the second year in a row is a wonderful opportunity for our shared audiences.”

The partnership between the two shows provides all Toy Fair attendees with full access to the Engage! exhibit floor.

Engage! 2011 session tracks include: App Strategy and Development; Social Games, Casual MMO’s and Virtual Worlds; Digital Kids – Business Strategies; Digital Kids – Creative, Design and Development; Digital Monetization Strategies; and Gamification.

Keynote speaker Brian Reynolds, Chief Game Designer at Zynga, welcomed participants this morning at 9:30 a.m. Reynolds is a 19-year industry veteran, recognized for being one of the industry’s most talented and productive game designers and honored by PC Gamer magazine as one of 25 “Game Gods.” Zynga is the world’s largest social game developer with more than 360 million active users and 65 million active daily users, who enjoy Zynga games like Farmville, Frotinerville, Mafia Wars, Petville, Zynga Poker and Treasure Isle.

Rick Wion, Director of Social Media for McDonald’s USA, will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday, February 16th; Wion’s professional efforts at McDonald’s include social marketing campaigns, long-term branding, issues management, customer service, and employee engagement. Using new trends in technologies to enhance McDonald’s balanced menu options is a key component of the brand’s current endeavors.

Toy industry professionals speaking at the event include:

• Eric Hardman, Director, Hasbro Online Media, Adult/Family/Preschool Content, Hasbro
• Jeanette Juetten, Girl Online Content Marketing Manager, American Girl / Mattel
• Bill Ritchie, Co-Founder and CEO, Thinkfun
• Reyne Rice, Trend Specialist, Toy Industry Association 

Toy Fair is the largest toy trade show in the Western Hemisphere, bringing together more than 1,100 exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers and sales agents from 100 countries to showcase an estimated 100,000 toy and entertainment products to the 9,000 unique retail outlets scheduled to attend. The show is taking place now through Wednesday, February 16th at 4:00 p.m.


About the Toy Industry Association (TIA)
TIA is the not-for-profit trade association for producers and importers of toys and youth entertainment products sold in North America, representing more than 500 companies who account for approximately 85% of domestic toy sales.  Toy safety is the number one priority for the toy industry. TIA has a long history of leadership in toy safety including development of the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 30 years ago, and working with government, consumers and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play. For more information, please visit www.toyfairny.com, www.toyassociation.org or www.toyinfo.org.