Why Spin Master just ran its first master brand campaign

Who: Spin Master, with in-house creative led by creative director Mike Arnott, and Spark Foundry for media.

What: The first ever master-brand campaign for the Canadian toymaker, which is a global player whose individual brands—which include Paw Patrol, Hatchimals and Bakugan—are more widely known than the company behind them.

When & Where: The campaign consists entirely of out-of-home advertising in Toronto, using the hashtag #ToysFromTO.

Creative launched in mid November with the buy running through Christmas. There was a domination buy at St. Andrews subway station (a busy stop in the city’s core), and near the Spin Master office to help excite employees as well as consumers.

Why: The company wanted to remind gift-givers that many of the toys they might be considering for the holidays are made by a Canadian company based in Toronto. “We all know there’s this movement around choosing things that are homegrown, and things that you can take pride in that are local,” said Sandra Shatilla, head of Canadian marketing. “When you’ve got designers sitting in our office—the ones who design and come up with the ideas for the toys—it’s pretty amazing to know that a lot of that happens right on King West.”

How: Creative features some of the familiar toy brands, but with headlines and copy that playfully ties them to Toronto: a Paw Patrol tower references the CN Tower, for example, while a fingernail decorating toy mentions “Yorkville chic.” There are 20 different executions in all.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We make toys, we like to have fun,” said Shatilla. The goal was to show the toys while also telling people they are made in Toronto. “How do we start to shout a little bit from the rooftops in our backyard that we are from here, and we have your ho-ho-home town holiday hits made by elves right here.”

Why outdoor? “If it’s done well, it’s kind of bold and iconic and in your face. And the imagery that you can do, and the storytelling that you can do, when you do it well, can be quite impactful and beautiful,” said Shatilla.

Just Toronto? For now, but Spin Master could take this national fairly easily, delivering its home country story with a different hashtag. Shatilla said some of the creative concepts could also be adapted for international market, minus the made-here angle. “One example is we’ve got ‘Bakugan, the smallest ballers in the six.’ I think we could take Bakugan and then Italian-ize that and align it with some messaging for the gift-givers in Italy or the U.K. to make it relevant for them.”

David Brown