With two children 10 and 7, not to mention a new puppy, Matthew Litzinger is experiencing first-hand the difficulty of keeping cooped-up kids from going stir crazy during this stay-at-home period.
“There’s really no escape,” says the president and chief creative officer of Toronto agency The Local Collective, who’s been joking that the expected wave of so-called COVID babies resulting from the self-isolation period will all be first borns. “Most people who have kids, that’s the last thing they’re doing right now.”
The fact is, stressed parents forced to work from home are currently seeking something, anything, to keep their kids occupied as this unprecedented period stretches into weeks and possibly months, says Litzinger.
That was the impetus for a new agency project called the ABC’s of Imagination, a digital alphabet book spearheaded by Litzinger in association with creative director Pepe Bratanov; brand director Amanda McMillan; managing director Kaitlin Doherty; integrated strategy director Michael Ash and solutions and operations director Lauren Brown.
The book collects colourful and whimsical kid-friendly images (an armadillo with tank tracks, an elephant with monarch butterfly wings, etc.) combined with a series of fun factoids designed to appeal to older children. The factoid for the letter “M,” for example, informs readers that in 2016, Mozart sold more CDs than Beyonce.
All of the images were created by The Local Collective staff using stock images, while agency staff sourced all of the accompanying factoids.
“People need help, and wouldn’t it be great if we could occupy kids’ time using what we consider the most important thing at this moment, which is imagination,” says Litzinger. “It’s something meant to brighten people’s day, add a smile to their face and have enough intrigue that they want to come back and look at it again.”
The Local Collective is selling digital downloads of the book for $3.99, with all proceeds going to Food Banks Canada.