DMA: Data and Marketing Association
Consumer Help

Travel Agency for the Imagination

Agency: FCB Chicago    •    Client: Radio Flyer Inc.    •    Category: Art Direction    •    Award: Certificate

Radio Flyer, maker of the famous, beloved Little Red Wagon, is the world's leading producer of wagons and tricycles. They make hundreds of award-winning products in 25 countries. Since 1917, the family-owned company has created staples of childhood, building a legacy of high-quality, timeless, innovative toys that inspire outdoor, active play. What better time than the Radio Flyer centennial anniversary to celebrate and inspire imaginative play with vehicles that run on imagination?

Campaign Objective

Today, children are playing less. A lot less. Imaginative play has given way to structured, scheduled activities and new technology. In fact, kids spend seven hours a day in front of a screen, but experience less than seven minutes of free play. And it turns out, play is essential for normal development. Some studies indicate a lack of play can result in children being less creative, less independent, less resilient and more emotionally distraught.

Target Audience:
The Radio Flyer Travel Agency was designed to spark kids’ imagination, encourage creativity and, of course, take them on their dream adventures. Whether they wanted to go syrup surfing on Flipping Pancake Island or frolic with four-legged friends on Mount Puppy–kids were encouraged to create their own adventures, and our job was to help get them there. Like all travel agencies, Radio Flyer Adventure Travel had travel posters, brochures, passport services, even important travel essentials designed to bring kids’ imagination to life. And of course, we helped arrange all the transportation, inviting kids to invent imaginary product features and test them in-store. The adventure continued: families shared their own travel photos and reviews of all the incredible destinations their imaginations took them to.

The Execution

This idea was inspired by make-believe and the creative nature of children. Today, kids’ creative freedom and imagination is being limited by structured play. So the travel agency for the imagination — a full retail experience — was created from a kid’s POV to provide an opportunity to dream big and enjoy an experience that brings their imagination to life. Radio Flyers’ core consumers are families with kids up to 7 years old. We knew that to be relevant, we needed to be located in an urban yet family-centric community. The Lincoln Square area, in Radio Flyer’s backyard, is home to many young families, which can be seen walking the neighborhood and enjoying its pedestrian-friendly streets. With neighbors like Timeless Toys and Amy’s Candy Bar, Lincoln Square was the perfect place to launch the travel agency for the imagination. The fully integrated campaign–which comprised the pop-up store, radio, direct digital and social–incorporated Radio Flyer paid and owned assets. The experience was introduced on March 15, with a drive-to-store video shared on social channels. A second video of highlights was released to celebrate National Little Red Wagon Day: a holiday initiated by the iconic toy brand to celebrate 100 years of outdoor play and imagination. Social media extended the impact of the travel agency both nationally and internationally, inspiring countless families to encourage free play, and imaginative adventures, on Radio Flyers.

The Stats

In the travel agency, Improv actors from Chicago’s legendary comedy group were hired as travel agents to help kids imagine amazing destinations to visit by playing off of what kids came up with. They also helped arrange itineraries and pick the perfect Radio Flyer vehicle to get there with. The experience was fun and
magical to kids while entertaining to parents. Vintage-style travel posters were essential to the Radio Flyer travel agency experience. The intent was to bring to life some of the most popular destinations kids loved to imagine, while giving them something to take home–a keepsake to hang in their bedroom. To create our official Travel Destinations Poster Collection, we chose 10 well-known international artists who were hand selected per destination and given the freedom to bring their imaginations to life, to create storybook-worthy artwork for both parents and kids. Every kid went home with their own travel poster, passport, travel-stamps sticker sheet, keepsake T-shirts and brochure with a map of fun details and things to know about the destination and life-saving travel essentials. Since you can’t go on adventure without being fully prepared, we made sure our young customers were packing their travel-size essentials. If you’re going to Dragon’s Butt Kingdom, you’ll definitely need Dragon Drool Defense (sunscreen) because sunburn is no fun when you are on vacation. Equally important is your Rabid Monster Repellant (insect repellant) and Beast Barf Blaster (hand sanitizer).

The Results

Over 300 children and parents visited the travel agency for the imagination throughout its opening day. Over 1,500 new destinations were imagined, 928 imaginary product features were tested, 2.2 zillion-trillion dragon farts were detected, 97 ninjas were wrestled, 14 mile-wide pancakes were eaten, 300 languages were spoken and/or invented, and countless new adventures were planned. The goal was brand recognition for Radio Flyer’s 100-year celebration, and the travel agency gained significant press coverage from outlets including ABC, NBC, CBS, Chicago Business Journal, Juxtapoz, and several parenting blogs. The launch video was released on National Little Red Wagon Day–a holiday initiated by the iconic toy brand to celebrate 100 years of outdoor play and imagination. It garnered 202 placements and more than 23.3 million impressions. And most importantly, we saw a flood of fresh imagination while remaining 99.9 percent tearfree.


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