The James Group

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Binary Arts Changes Name to ThinkFun

Debuts brand developed by The James Group at 100th Anniversary of Toy Fair.

February 16, 2003 (Alexandria, VA) – Toy Fair in New York City is full of many new game introductions, but rarely does it reintroduce a successful 18-year old company under a new brand name. On February 16th, Binary Arts made a bold move to solidify its position as the leading manufacturer of mind challenging games by renaming the company ThinkFun™. The company is also introducing ThinkFun Centers to retailers to spotlight their unique product, which embodies the philosophy that problem solving is fun.

The new ThinkFun brand and “Everybody Plays” advertising campaign were developed by New York City-based branding agency The James Group. To demonstrate the broad appeal of mind challenging games to all ages, the campaign whimsically displays even animals interested in a game as people of varying ages play.

“We’re ready to take the company to the next level,” says Bill Ritchie, Founder and CEO. “We see a growing demand for mind challenging games, particularly in the specialty market. Consumers tell us that they are looking for an engaging challenge. Our new name, ThinkFun, instantly conveys the experience of our product.”

The company has had great success with mind challenging games. Their hit Rush Hour, the Traffic Jam game, has sold over three million units since 1997. Binary Arts entered the toy industry over 18 years ago with puzzles such as TopSpin and Spinout. “They’ve always stood out as the leader in mind challenging games and consumers of all ages are gravitating toward this category,” says Bert Balliet, Senior Buyer, Zany Brainy.

But more than just introducing a new brand, the company is introducing ThinkFun Centers, a flexible display concept that will help retailers highlight and sell more mind challenging games. “Everybody wants a challenge,” says Andrea Barthello, Founder and VP of Sales and Marketing at ThinkFun. “We’re giving retailers an easy way to create ThinkFun Centers in their store to meet the needs of customers of all ages and give them a chance to explore. The ThinkFun Centers are all about seeing, touching, solving, and selling.”

The ThinkFun Centers come in different versions using a modular approach to fit the needs of any retail store. Early concepts include hanging ceiling signage, hands-on displays, over-the-rack signage, and fully outfitted kiosks. The ThinkFun Centers also introduce ThinkFun’s brand launch campaign with the campaign line “Everybody plays.” The brand and advertising can be seen at the Toy Fair booth #2125 in the Javits Center or in the ThinkFun Showroom 520-A in the Toy Building.

As for new products, River Crossing, The Plank Puzzle game, leads off ThinkFun’s 2003 mind challenging game line. The challenge is simple: can you get a hiker across a crocodile-infested river using different sized planks? The solutions vary as River Crossing is a 40-challenge puzzle with skill levels ranging from beginner to expert. The tactile design of the game and magnetic pieces stand out immediately, making River Crossing a must touch puzzle.

A second major new offering is Oodles of Doodles. Think Pictionary meets Outburst on steroids. This is a great family or team game where one player is asked to draw eight quick doodles relating to a topic, like “things you would find at the beach.” The person or team who can guess the most right answers the quickest as the doodles are drawn, wins the round.

ThinkFun is also introducing the Mini Fifteen Puzzle Key Chain. The Fifteen puzzle became a run-away hit and has sold over 600,000 units since last year. Based on the classic puzzle from the 1950’s, ThinkFun’s redesign is metal cast with enamelled lettering and is much more elegant than its predecessor. Sliding the mixed-up numbers into order has never been easier or more addictive. The Mini Fifteen Puzzle Key Chain features a key chain and is a slightly smaller but no less nimble version. The original ThinkFun Fifteen puzzle is still available as well.

“When we started Binary Arts eighteen years ago,” said Andrea Barthello, “we had no idea how great an adventure we would be embarking on. Our peers and retail partners were great in showing us the ropes and helping us build our business. As ThinkFun, we look forward to the next eighteen years being even more exciting and successful than the first.”

About The James Group
The James Group is a brand strategy and full-service marketing agency with one of the most audacious taglines you will ever see: “Our clients make more money.”™ Their track record proves it. The James Group is the creator of Checkpoint Marketing™, a process that combines all the best practices of marketing into three easy steps. First, The James Group perfectly positions the brand. Second, they communicate brand messages consistently in every media from print to PR. Third, they ensure that marketing expenses do not exceed the value of a customer. The James Group focuses on midsized businesses and some of their current clients include ThinkFun, Madison’s Bag, GarageTek, and The Water Quality Insurance Syndicate (WQIS). For more information about The James Group, contact them at 212-243-2022 or visit their website at

About ThinkFun
ThinkFun is the leading manufacturer of mind challenging games. By transforming the ideas of mathematicians, puzzle masters, and game theorists into engaging products, ThinkFun has mastered the art of making toys that prove that problem solving is fun. ThinkFun games are made for anyone looking for an engaging challenge. Founded in 1985 as Binary Arts by Bill Ritchie and Andrea Barthello, ThinkFun’s products have won over 150 awards and are found in specialty toy and gift stores around the world. More information can be found on the web at Retailers can place orders by calling their ThinkFun Sales Representative or (800) 468-1864.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 27th, 2009 at 11:32 am and is filed under Press Releases. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.