Nomination and Selection Process


The nomination period has closed.


  • Nominators
    Products or properties may be nominated by any individual authorized to submit the nomination on behalf of the product manufacturer, importer or licensor. Membership in TIA is not a prerequisite for submitting a nomination.

  • Market Availability
    All TOTY 2016 nominated products must:
    • be available at retail in the United States on or before November 17, 2015;
    • have been introduced to the marketplace within the last two years.
      (NOTE: This can include a new version of an older product line, as long as the “new” product or reiteration has been introduced within the last two years.)
  • Intellectual Property Rights
    The product manufacturer, private labeler, importer or licensor of every product submitted for consideration in the TOTY awards must own or have been granted permission to use all intellectual property rights. Additionally, the submitted product must not infringe upon any other party and/or another party’s intellectual property rights.

  • Safety Reports
    If a product herein is selected for the TOTY Awards ballot, the manufacturer, private labeler, or importer of record must agree to provide copies of all relevant safety test reports to TIA for reference should any safety issues be called into question by regulatory or consumer groups during the fourth quarter holiday shopping season or beyond.
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Award Criteria

Each product nomination must include a brief (50 word) product description AND a statement (up to 100 words) explaining to the nomination committee why the product is deserving of recognition on the TOTY Awards ballot. Consideration will be given to:

  • Creativity, Originality and Innovation
    Application of design, technology, manufacturing processes, etc.

  • Design and Promotion
    Outstanding, unusual and creative execution of artwork, product/package design, promotional strategy and execution, etc.

  • Excellence of Product
    Description of play value and how play value has been evaluated.

  • Marketplace Acceptance (OPTIONAL)
    Units produced, sell-through expectations, etc.
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Selection of Finalists

Finalists will be selected by nomination committees comprised of ten (10) to fifteen (15) experts knowledgeable of the category. Each category will have its own nomination committee. Qualified individuals may be invited to sit on more than one committee. Members will represent a cross-section of:

  • Retail Buyers
    • Mass (not included for “Specialty” category)
    • Specialty (only for “Educational”, “Game”, “Innovative” and “Specialty” categories)
  • Journalists / Bloggers
    • National consumer magazine toy editors
    • Trade magazine editors
    • Mommy bloggers
  • Toy Specialists
    • Academia, graduate (e.g., FIT, OTIS, etc.)
    • Academia, practical application (e.g., preschool teacher, etc.)
    • Inventor (requires signed statement affirming no conflict or special interest in category)
  • Professionals (e.g. developmental psychologists, play therapists, etc.)

Committee members will receive all of the nominations submitted for a category; the selection of finalists will be based on both the data and personal statements provided in the nomination materials.

No single product is allowed to be a finalist in multiple TOTY award categories.  If chosen as a finalist in more than one category, the responsible company will be asked to select which category finalist nomination it wishes to accept.  For the category in which the nomination was declined, the next highest-ranking finalist will be selected so that each category ballot has seven finalists.

Each product selected as a finalist will be featured on, a website designed specifically to highlight the TOTY candidates.

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Voting for TOTY 2016 has closed.

All category ballots will be weighted as follows:

  • Consumers 20%
  • Journalists and bloggers 20%
  • Retailers (mass + specialty*) 30%
  • Members of the Toy Industry Association 30%

*Specialty retailers vote in the following four categories: educational, game, innovative and specialty.

The People’s Choice Award will be selected solely be consumer votes received via the website.

The overall Toy of the Year award will be selected based upon the following weighted voting formula:

  • Journalists and bloggers 20%
  • Retailers (mass + specialty) 40%
  • Members of the Toy Industry Association 40%

All results will be confidential until they are announced at the awards ceremony.

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Product Samples

  • No product samples are required with the submittal form.
  • If a product is selected as a TOTY finalist, TIA requires three product samples for use as follows:
    • fourth quarter media opportunities;
    • the February awards ceremony; and
    • consumer prize packages.
  • A fourth sample will be requested for inclusion in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Play.
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Representation at TOTY Awards Ceremony

Every product or property selected as a TOTY finalist must be represented by either the nominator or his/her designee during the awards presentation ceremony, in New York City. Tickets for the ceremony will be available for purchase; no complimentary tickets are provided to finalists.

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Questions / More Information

General Questions:

TIA Staff Contact:

Jackie Retzer; 646.454.5587