Hasbro is a globally-renowned, multi-national entertainment company that focuses on toys, board games, and educational tools. The Because team has been the appointed marketing partner with the world’s largest toymaker for over five years. Their role: create Preview Rooms at the London Head Office for global buyers to confidentially see the upcoming product ranges, and to strengthen relationships with these key retailers. In 2020, due to travel bans, this live event had to be transformed into a virtual one, but without losing any of the engagement and the signature fun Hasbro brings to these product reveals. They had to move it online, and quickly, but without losing any of the magic expected from a top toy name brand.
Even though these previews were now being beamed directly into the buyers’ living rooms and home offices, it still had to have a human touch. The Because team created a bespoke digital journey, one in which the anticipation is built up, and which hypes up the ‘destination’. This final destination would contain the virtual previews of the future-season products hosted on Zoom by Hasbro staff. These video reveals had to be persuasive, engaging, and thoroughly descriptive in terms of the product details, and also needed to be done with confidentiality in mind.
The first step in this process was to create a microsite, a community hub and home for everything the guests needed on this digital journey. Since this had never been done before, the experience needed to be relaxed, simple, and easy to use across multiple markets globally.
This ‘Hasbro Home’ had three doors which unlocked at different times leading up the final live reveal. Each door led into a room with unique content – like the short, punchy employee-welcome video which introduced the buyers to the Hasbro staff in charge of the product previews. To keep this light and fun, it also poked fun at potential Zoom blunders that can (and do) happen when you’re working from home with pets and children.
To make sure there was still a physical, human touch to the experience, we sent the buyers custom gift boxes in advance to help them enjoy their virtual previews. These boxes included a branded Virtual Reality (VR) headset, slick looking stationery, tasty refreshments, and of course, some carefully chosen sugary treats to sweeten the deal.
This whole experience wouldn’t have been complete without some smart playtime: we created ‘The Great Hasbro Toy Hunt’, an engrossing VR
game which required the players to unearth Hasbro toys in a typically messy kid’s room. Not only was this a fun stress-reliever, but it also provided an excellent distraction for those buyers with kids or partners in the background during the shows.
When it comes to the actual virtual previews, we, understandably, can’t reveal any more details. Toy espionage is a very real consideration and not to ever be taken lightly. Our approach was designed with this concern front of mind, so exclusivity for the buyers was key.
Each door revealed new content, like a fun employee-welcome video which introduced viewers to the Hasbro staff that would be hosting their virtual Preview calls. To make guests feel more at ease, it also made light of potential Zoom-meeting blunders that can happen when you’re working from home with kids and pets...
To give the experience the ‘physical touch’ the guests would have had at the live event, we sent attendees gift boxes to enjoy with their virtual preview, which included sweet treats, refreshments, branded stationary and a VR headset.
We also created ‘The Great Hasbro Toy Hunt’, a Virtual Reality (VS) game that required players to find hidden Hasbro toys in a messy kid’s room. It added to the fun and provided a great distraction for their kids or partners while they would be having their virtual preview.
And the actual virtual previews? Well, that’s all a bit hush-hush I’m afraid. With this project, over the past five years confidentiality has always been especially key, and still is - toy espionage is a real threat believe it or not.
The travel bans could have served a fatal blow for these key retail relationships, but thanks to a timely digital pivot towards virtual experiences and harnessing cutting-edge technology like VR, the crisis was averted. Even though this kind of digital interaction will never replace the importance of face-to-face customer previews, this two-tier approach offers valuable versatility. A flexible offering means you can combine the virtual and live options to suit your clients: those who can travel can still attend the live events, while others who choose to stay behind can connect digitally.
If you need to create a virtual experience with a human touch, or to build on relationships with critical suppliers both digitally and face-to-face, we have the right tools and strategies to help you level-up your game.