It’s been one week since the Toy and Game Inventor Excellence Awards (the TAGIES) so I’m little late in posting this but it turns out to kind of be a good thing as Bruce Lund posted his entire TAGIE keynote at Global Toy News which saves me the trouble of trying to paraphrase what he wrote! You can read it HERE. I will say that I loved how he started it off, “Friends, esteemed colleagues, arch rivals, competitors, respected associates, toy people, I welcome you to this, the opening of the tenth annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair and the fifth anual TAGIE Awards.” It’s true, we are friends and arch rivals, competitors and respected associates — it’s the nature of the business! But thankfully Mary Couzin had a vision of a night where we could put our competition and rivalries aside, celebrate what a great industry we belong to, and a few fine folks who have added to it in a meaningful way. Enough chit chat from me, on to the winners!
Excellence in Toy Design – Tony Morley(worked at Kenner, Milton Bradley, and then Red Racer Studios)
Excellence in Game Design – Leslie Scott (from the UK, best known for Jenga is seen above at right laughing with presenter Richard Gill)
Rising Star Inventor – Martin Nedergaard Andersen (from Denmark and in 18 months has licensed 25+ games — his schedule at any of the trade shows is NUTS! I’m always astounded at how many meetings he packs in and I’m pretty certain the only way his schedule is possible is to have something similar to Hermione’s time turner. Martin is seen above accepting his award with Richard Gottlieb of Global Toy News, Tim Walsh of The Playmakers as well as the Pony Royale PlayChic model looking on.)
Young Inventors of the Year – Seth and Alexia Kempe (for inventing HoodiePets and these kids did a great job of making the crowd melt with their speech. So cute! )
Excellence in Electronic Toy or Game Design – Apptivity Hot Wheels from Mattel
Excellence in Character Design – Dora the Explorer from Nickelodeon
Hassenfeld Family Humanitarian Award – Peter and Andrew Brown (from the UK, you can read about them HERE and their acceptance speech was quite charming with Peter complimenting his son Andrew on a job well done.)
Lifetime Achievement Award – Theo and Ora Coster Family (from Israel, Ora gave a lovely speech followed by her son Boaz who gave everyone in the audience a peek into the history of Theora Design which you can read more about HERE. My favorite bit of Boaz’s speech was a bit about Ora coming up with a Russian roulette game that was shown only once to a client as, let’s say it didn’t go over that well. Then he showed a slide of the same game which came out in Asia — but wasn’t theirs. Overall, Boaz had some lovely stories and if you didn’t know much about them by the end of their time on stage you completely understood why they were being honored.)
Inventor Advocacy – Mel Taft (Unfortunately Mel is too old to travel anymore but Reyn Guyer, of Twister fame, read a letter he wrote. Mel was an inventor relations rep for years and you could tell from his letter that he LOVED working with inventors and couldn’t stand idly by when a company considered screwing an inventor out of a deal. Personally I’m a little too young to have experienced working with Mel, but I know quite a few people suggested to Mary that he be honored for his work and from the stories it sounds like honoring him was absolutely deserved. You can read more about him HERE.)
In Memoriam – Stan Clutton (Stan passed away earlier this year and it is obvious that Stan will be missed and it was amazing to hear how he impacted the toy industry. Stan worked for Bandai, Galoob, Playtime and finally Fisher-Price. As Elliot Rudell said, “He left us early, but left behind a great standard on how inventors and toy companies should work together.”)
I should also mention that Tim Walsh of The Playmakers did an outstanding job hosting, like he does every year. And Mary and her team really outdid themselves putting everything together including getting TV personality Kevin Harrington to present the Young Inventors of the Year award. The only real big letdown of the evening was that the sound system was HORRIBLE — for the music video of Ben Dermer and his band I plugged my ears and it was hard to hear the video Hasbro put together for the Costers. Thankfully, they’ve both been posted online so I can 1. hear them and 2. share them with you! Hasbro’s Video for the Costers is at the top.
Ben’s Music Video:
Also, if you’d like to see more pictures from the event, please head over to Facebook or Google+ to view the photos.