Mastermind Toys launches first-ever brand campaign

With kids and parents feeling a "deficit," the retailer is highlighting the importance of play.

Mastermind Toys has launched the first brand-centric campaign in its 37-year history, bringing its positioning as Canada’s “authority” on play to a national audience.

The campaign is led by a spot where kids’ gazes turn skyward as toys descend via parachutes into a suburban park with the tag, “the world needs more play.”

“We believe that the world is better when we play and that, as Canada’s Authority on Play, it was time for a call to action for more play,” according to Susan Anderson VP of marketing and brand at Mastermind Toys, who adds that it aimed to highlight its world class curation of toys and books that foster imagination and child development through play.

Despite struggles in the retail industry in recent years, Mastermind now operates 68 stores coast-to-coast and has a very loyal customer base, according to Anderson. It has also been bolstering its in-store offering, online and offline retail experience and launched a loyalty program, the retailer identified that now was the opportunity to drive further awareness of its brand and what it stands for to more Canadians.

“It’s great to start to turn the page and feel hopeful, inspired and that childlike sense of wonder again,” says Matt Litzinger, founder, president and CCO of The Local Collective, which won the retailer’s business this year after a LinkedIn solicitation by company CEO Sarah Jordan.

This is the first time Mastermind Toys has used an external agency to develop a brand-focused campaign, backed by the largest media investment it has made behind brand equity messaging. In the past, the focus has been on promotional messaging and product availability, or building up continued partnership with Today’s Parent for sponsored content.

According to Litzinger, the “play” positioning is informed by the world being in a “play deficit,” and the campaign invites every Canadian, irrespective of age, to never stop playing. While the audience is primarily parents of kids under the age of 12, the campaign also speaks to adults who are “young at heart” and believe play is more than just for fun.

“The benefits of both structured and unstructured play for both development and health are massive,” he says, adding that the parents the campaign speaks to “are lifelong learners themselves and they want to foster that characteristic in their kids.”

Litzinger adds that the way the leadership team at Mastermind had been reshaping the business helps the brand remain loved and adored, while making the necessary improvements its ecommerce capabilities and supplier partnerships.

The “Let’s Play” campaign is a national effort, with digital video and running on multiple platforms.