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I'M A DESIGNER, A
PASSIONATE GAME
CREATOR, AND
ENERGY DRINK ENTHUSIAST

IMAGINATION INCLUDED

Layout, Design & Execution

INTRODUCTION

Did you know that 72% fewer kids have imaginary friends than 5 years ago? Well, neither did I, until we introduced Toys "R" Us Canada's Imagination Included campaign leading into the holiday season of 2022. The goal with this campaign was to shed a light on the lack of imaginary friends, and prove that Toys "R" Us is more than just a store. To prove that a trip to Toys "R" Us is an experience.

THE PROBLEM

At one time, long before the declaration of bankruptcy for the United States branch, Toys "R" Us was a fun place to visit, with events every weekend, demos in-store, demo tables (which are different from demos) and before TRU Canada stopped carrying video games, console set-ups where you could play a short demo of one of the most popular games available on Nintendo's current time-accurate console. Toys "R" Us also used to host different in-store distribution events for games like Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. There was a period of time where it was the place to be!

Subsequently, according to the stat, the apparent reality is that kids now don't have imaginary friends. The idea that imaginary friends are a concept lost to time blows my mind, but also proves that more kids are spending time being distracted by toys, games, or a tablet to allow themselves the opportunity to be bored. Being bored, despite what you may believe, or have been told, is a good thing. Boredom is what allows us as humans the opportunity to shape a new reality, and strengthen our imagination.

MEET THE FIGMENTS

The figments were our fun little group of mascots for the Imagination Included campaign. The basic premise was to create very basic, primitive shapes void of features, accessories and expressions to give not only us as a design team the freedom to get creative, but also consumers. They were conceptualized as mascots to be used throughout all of the holiday marketing material as visual proxies for imaginary friends.

Speaking of imaginary

In addition to our cute imaginary friends, the figments, in association with advertising agency Broken Heart Love Affair, creative director Sal Stranges, and marketing director Allyson Banks, conceptualized not only this campaign, with it's use of colour, iconography and visual language, but they also created Mr. Ferguson, another stand-in for a true imaginary friend in this commercial advertisement; watch it here.

The entire campaign was focused on, and centered around the idea of imaginary friends, all in an attempt to present Toys "R" Us as the leading purveyor of play, and I can speak from personal experience when I say children don't play anymore, at least not the way the children of my generation did. Children's imaginations are dwindling remnants of generations past because play isn't what it used to be, for fear of sounding like too much of an old soul.

IMAGINATION INCLUDED INSTAGRAM FEED
MOCKUPS & SCREENSHOTS

IMAGINATION INCLUDED INSTAGRAM REELS
MOCKUPS & SCREENSHOTS

IMAGINATION INCLUDED EVENT TILES

IMAGINATION INCLUDED WEEKLY DEALS WEB BANNERS

IMAGINATION INCLUDED HOLIDAY TOY BOOK HERO BANNER

IMAGINATION INCLUDED TOY BOOK CALLOUT HERO BANNER

IMAGINATION IS IMPORTANT

Whether you're a child or a fully-grown adult, imagination is important. It's the part of the human experience that helps keep us young... or at least youthful at heart. Since the successful completion of this campaign, I've tried to start re-learning how to use my imagination through games like Dungeons & Dragons, and through means of writing, reading, drawing and creating more now than I have since I was 10 years old. Over a decade ago. I've found ways to train my imagination, and I think you should, too, whether it's with friends through games like D&D or with your kids. Show them what it means to play, and I mean truly play, and give them the same experience most of us had growing up. They deserve it.

© Luca Crognale-Manzoli
croggy.design@outlook.com