A new marketing play for Mastermind Toys

Who: Mastermind Toys, with The Local Collective for strategy and creative, working with Mastermind’s in-house creative director, Andrew Burling. The spot is directed by Taylor Reid, with Married to Giants, Grayson and Alter Ego for post-production.

What: “Let’s Play,” the first-ever brand campaign for the toys and books retailer. It comes as the 37-year-old retailer has been reshaping its business by adding to its product assortment, bolstering its ecommerce capabilities  and upgrading its customer experience.

When & Where: The national campaign debuted this week, running across digital platforms.

Why: Mastermind has 68 stores across the country and a loyal customer base, but has identified an opportunity to drive better awareness of the brand and what it stands for, said VP of marketing and brand Susan Anderson. “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,” she said.

Mastermind Toys hired The Local Collective earlier year, after CEO Sarah Jordan took the unusual step of posting on LinkedIn that the company was seeking an agency partner and inviting interested parties to reach out via email.

The agency’s goal for the new campaign is to bring to life what Anderson describes as the “sense of wonder and discovery” that is core to the Mastermind Toys experience, while also highlighting its best-in-class curation of toys and books designed to foster imagination and child development through play.

How: The whimsical spot shows kids in a variety of settings (in their room, playing outside, etc.) when their attention is captured by something in the sky above. They all run excitedly towards a destination, which turns out to be park filled with toys of all kinds, from oversized Jenga blocks to Lego figures.

As the spot continues, we see that other toys like telescopes and scooters are slowly drifting to the ground via parachutes. The spot ends with an image of a giant hot-air balloon drifting away over the rooftops and onto its next destination.

And we quote: “This type of messaging is so much what we need right now. 2021 has been a minute,” said The Local Collective president and chief creative officer, Matt Litzinger. “It’s great to start to turn the page and feel hopeful, inspired and that childlike sense of wonder again. It’s literally how you feel inside every Mastermind store…and it feels great to help share that with the world.”

Chris Powell