Responses by Wieden+Kennedy
Background: When we met the clients in December 2018, there was a lot of pressure on Fisher-Price to make a comeback, as Mattel was in the midst of a multi-year turnaround. Fisher-Price had become so ubiquitous over its nearly 90-year history that it was no longer top of mind. We were charged with making the brand culturally relevant again.
Reasoning: The toy industry has become very serious in recent years. Positioning toys as tools for early childhood development, toy brands were speaking and acting like adults. We saw the Let’s Be Kids campaign as the antidote to this, and as an invitation to grown-ups to return to the magical world of childhood.
Challenges: Fisher-Price is not only a global company, but it also does business within several industries, from baby gear and toys to apparel and home décor. Finding a single truth that resonates strongly with both parents and kids across countries and cultures involved a bit of needle threading. In addition, the toy category is full of many tried-and-true conventions. In order to really break through, we would need to walk away from the status quo.
Favorite details: Fisher-Price is the brand that plays with everything, including advertising. We love how we were able to bring this idea to life. The one-minute spot subverted the conventions of a more traditional feature and benefit-focused toy category to examine what a child might imagine while engaged with a toy. Everything we did was in service of elevating the world of childhood while inviting parents back into that world. We played with it all.
Visual influences: It was important to remind adults of the way kids see the world by respecting kids’ imaginations. We tend to think of a kid’s world as cute crayon drawings and loud colors, but the power of a kid’s imagination should be represented in the highest form of execution. To a kid, a simple red wagon is a vital part of an epic adventure. A toy walker is the conduit to a life of freedom. And a random collection of toys is the setting of an imaginary land where toys come to life. Our visual language invites adults back into childhood by showing them how incredible their imagination was before they grew up.
Anything new: Fisher-Price is a kid’s toy brand that we associate with our own memories of childhood. But these toys are mainly for kids who are too young to ask for them, meaning our audiences are adults. Because we came in without a lot of preconceptions, we found the weirdness of a toy brand speaking to adults creatively exciting. So, we thought that if we’re talking to stressed-out parents about toys, we should bring them into the fun instead of treating them like purchasers.