Young man speaking, standing in front of a screen displaying an image with toys arranged on a plate, with text above reading 'Play is food for the mind - variety matters'

Stereotype-busting campaigns from rising young marketers

Marketing students from across Europe and beyond pitched creative ideas and proposals for a campaign to challenge gender stereotypes in the toy industry, as Let Toys Be Toys acted as client for the annual Ad Venture student competition.

Congratulations to the winning Team Eden of Sup de Pub in Paris, whose winning proposal ‘You are what you play’ impressed the judges with its unified, and highly-translatable campaign concept, and mix of easily achievable and more ambitious ideas.

Image of man in a supermarket - all products on one side are, on the other side all are blue. Underneath text reads 'It's absurd to choose food based on gender? How come we do it with toys all the time?'Team Eden’s concept drew on Let Toys Be Toys positive approach, finding a message to bring parents together around wanting the best for their children and proposing the idea of ‘play as food for the brain’. So, just as all parents want their children to be nourished with a good range of food, they should aspire to a good balanced ‘play diet’, not restricted by gender.

Said team strategy lead Mohsen Elsayed, “It was really rewarding to work on a campaign that we felt was worthwhile and important. It definitely gave us a good reason to be motivated about this project. Taking part was an enriching and exciting experience, and we hope that our work will help in moving the cause forward.”

Read more about the ‘You are what you play’ proposal.

Four young people holding glass trophies

The winning team: Mohsen El Sayed, Adrien Coucaud, Médoune N’diaye-Doherty and Laurène Baudoin

Jan Binar, President of the European Association of Communication Agencies (EACA), and jury member said: “Sometimes an idea can create a shortcut in time and space. It’s a brilliant concept to take something that people are familiar with, and use it to connect people straight to the emotion of nourishing a child’s growth, without having to engage with the complexity of of the concept.”

A round of applause too for the runners up, Team Swinburne, from Australia, who proposed a toy rating scheme and website to help consumers, and marketers, see toys differently, and Team Vis, from Bournemouth University in the UK, whose campaign concept targeted Dads in particular with a creative idea involving a new twist on nursery rhymes.

The Ad Venture competition

Let Toys Be Toys were thrilled to have been the ‘client’ for this year’s Ad Venture.

Four young people standing in front of a projection screen displaying 'Play & Grow'

Team Swinburne travelled from Australia to present their ‘Play and Grow’ campaign concept in the Ad Venture competition final

“It’s been brilliant to see the energy, ideas and creativity that the students have brought to the brief, and the different approaches they’ve taken. We’ve definitely got insights and ideas that we can pick up and run with – and some we’d love to be able to do if we can find a bit of budget!” said Jess Day, who represented Let Toys Be Toys in the final judging round.

The competition is run by the European Association of Communication Agencies to give marketing students the chance to create their own campaign in response to a brief from a real client, and put their classroom skills to the test.

Between September and March, a jury of marketing professionals, Let Toys Be Toys campaigners and collaborators whittled down over 25 team entries to a shortlist of ten, and then to the three finalists who got to present their work at the final in Paris.

Group of twelve young people standing in front of a projection screen reading Edccom Ad Venture

Just three teams: Team Swinburne, from Australia, Team Vis from Bournemouth in the UK and Eden, from Ecole Superieur de la Publicite in France made it to the final in Paris, out of 25 original entries.

Big thanks to all our jurors, and of course to the student teams. Well done to the final ten: Team ACED, Sup de Pub, France; Five Agency, ESP, France; Gamechangers, Hogeschool Gent, Belgium; Pineapple Pie, Hogeschool Antwerpen, Belgium; PlayMx, Falmouth University UK; Pushed Agency, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey; and Rebuilt Agency, ESP, France. You can view a gallery of all their campaign summaries on the EACA website.

Said Day: “We’re really happy to have got this brief in front of lots of young marketers at the outset of their careers, and hope that it’s given them a chance to think about how marketing messages can help promote stereotypes, or help to challenge them, as well as getting really great creative input.”

If you have ideas of how we could access funding or sponsorship to help make the students’ plans a reality, then do drop us a line at!

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