LIONEL TRAINS Promo, Case study LIONELVILLE by Creative Artists Agency

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Industry Toys
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Creative Artists Agency
Director Mucci Fassett
Released November 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Branded Content
Product/Service: TOY TRAINS
Date of First Appearance: Nov 21 2009 12:00AM
Entrant Company: CREATIVE ARTISTS AGENCY, Los Angeles, USA
Writer/Client: Jerry Calabrese (Lionel Trains)
Client: Mark Erickson (Lionel Trains)
Chief Creative Officer: Jae Goodman (Creative Artists Agency)
Brand Agent: Lori Tabb (Creative Artists Agency)
Director: Mucci Fassett (Moonscoop)
Production Company: (Moonscoop)
Media placement: Home Video - Retail Outlets - 21 November 2009

Results and Effectiveness
The results were remarkable. Not only was the DVD a hit with grandparents, kids, and critics, but Lionel Trains had their highest sales in over 30 years. In addition to the business results, the success of the Lionel DVD has Lionel developing both a kids' television show and a theatrical motion picture – all with the goal of making 2010 even bigger than 2009, and setting Lionel back on track to be one of the world’s most beloved toy brands.

Creative Execution
Instead of creating an ad campaign, Lionel created a full-length animated DVD movie called Lionelville – Destination Adventure. It was marketed as Lionel’s first-ever family adventure DVD. The storyline takes you into the world of Lionel, on an adventure shared by grandkids and their grandparents as they try to solve the mystery of their parents’ disappearance. Like any movie, having a great story was only part of the solution. We needed great distribution. Enter Wal-Mart. And then Amazon. During the 2009 holiday season, the Lionelville DVD was featured as the centrepiece of a Lionel Train display at thousands of Wal-Mart stores.

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
Lionel Trains was once the biggest toy company in the world. But, over time, the company became one just for hobbyists, and Thomas the Tank Engine took over as the toy train of choice. Although they had lost an entire generation, Lionel knew that kids who had grown up with Lionel were now grandparents. So Lionel wanted to create a campaign that would encourage grandparents to buy Lionel Trains and share the experience with their grandkids. But Lionel didn’t think traditional advertising would do the trick – they wanted to create a story. And so they did.