Introducing the Playgro Fun First Platform — We Interview Marc Brick

Marc Brick, co-founder of Playgro, has dedicated over 30 years to fostering the development of the next generation through play. As a global enterprise operating in over 100 countries and numerous retail outlets, Playgro has been at the forefront of infant development toys since its inception. Marc is renowned for his collaborations with esteemed international distribution firms and globally recognized hypermarkets and retail chains. His entrepreneurial spirit shines through in the growth and success of the Playgro.

Playgro has been in the infant toy business for over 30 years and from humble beginnings in Melbourne Australia in 1992, Playgro is now a global business. Playgro recently released its “Fun First” platform which challenges the societal norms around infant performance and placing an emphasis on family fun and enjoyment. The Toy Universe had the chance to speak to Marc Brick, Playgro CEO, about the release of the new platform and what the future holds.

Thanks for speaking to The Toy Universe Marc. Can you provide an overview of the Playgro business and explain your role as CEO?

Playgro has been in business for over 30 years, and is a company dedicated to creating fun, innovative and engaging toys for infants. Our mission is to see the next generation thrive, set by a foundation of play. It’s about fostering development through play and encouraging learning and discovery in the early years of a child’s life. As CEO, my role involves steering the company towards fulfilling this mission by overseeing the broader business development capability, alongside my co-founder Gavin championing product development.

Playgro released the “Fun First” platform in February. Can you explain the platform and its purpose?

Fun First has been in the making for just shy of a year, and we launched to the world on the 28th February, 2024. Fun First, as the name suggests, is all about giving permission to parents to prioritise fun and play. We noticed that young parents are pushing back on the pressure for their child to look, play or develop a certain way, and we’re actively supporting them to lean out from “perfect parenting”.

It’s also a philosophy that we’ve adopted at a business level, repositioning all of our business operations, product, marketing and sales around how we can prioritise fun and minimise pressure on parents.

Games and play can be competitive however it seems that the “Fun First” platform is focused on fun, minimising stress and mental wellbeing rather than competition?

Correct. Fun First has a big focus on bucking the trend of “perfect parenting”, and the pressure of infant development that has been reinforced by brands for years. Of course, we’re always going to have to do some things as parents that aren’t necessarily enjoyable, but being able to prioritise some time before the necessary tasks to have some fun and play with your child is ultimately what we are looking to achieve.

How did the “Fun First” idea/concept come about?

We started our Fun First journey with consumer research, and it was incredibly important to us to understand what’s important to today’s parents. From there, we filtered those insights through to strategy, the creation of the new brand platform, and how we would ultimately activate for our launch earlier this year.

Based on the research, it was incredibly clear to us that the new generation of parents are pushing back in a way that previous generations never have. They’ve grown up with social media, in an increasingly complex and digital world, and as such they’re able to recognise and critique the myth of perfection presented to them online – and as they have children of their own, that critical eye is turning to parenting. They’re not interested in performative or perfectionist parenting, and they’re really, really interested in having fun. In fact, 76% of the parents we surveyed said that fun was the most important factor to them when buying an infant development toy.

Can you explain the five ‘spokes-animals’ and how they fit into the platform and your website?

Our Playgro Pals, Penny, Clip Clop, Cleo, Tamika and Roary, are an incredibly exciting element of our new strategy, and a big focus for us on injecting fun and cuteness into the infant development toy category. Each of the five Playgro Pals is an ambassador for a product age range, helping parents and shoppers to navigate our range and find the right fun, for the right age. For example, we have Penny for 0m+ and Clip Clop for 3m+.

If you look closely, you’ll see these characters have already been around the Playgro ecosystem for years, whether it be in product or marketing (Our Clip Clop Activity Rattle is one of our hero products, for example). We’ve given them a makeover and now we’re putting them front-and-centre, so keep an eye out for their fun antics!

The “Fun First” platform will also be adopted internally into the Playgro business. How will this be achieved and what are some of the focus areas?

When you’ve been around for over 30 years, and you’ve grown from a small family business into a global company like we have, there comes a time when we need to freshen things up a bit. We’ve used the opportunity of launching Fun First to mark a real change for Playgro and a new chapter that we are entering into as a business.

We’re focused on helping our teams and our customers to better focus on fun, and prioritise the moments of joy in their lives. It’s also about coming together as a team to celebrate our wins, and focus on the positives, no matter how big or small.

Fun First is a philosophy that we’re taking from the boardroom to a customer meeting and everywhere in between. Whether it’s getting home a bit earlier to make it for bathtime, or simply finding some more time within the week to do the things that are fun to you. We even had an ice cream truck and an office full of balloons on launch day, how fun!

Finally, is the “Fun First” platform something you are looking to develop and further build on into the future of Playgro with new characters and concepts?

Most definitely — This is only the beginning for Fun First and the start of an incredibly exciting new chapter for Playgro. Fun First isn’t just a campaign for us that we will forget about in a few weeks; we’ve changed our business strategy and we’re committed to bringing more fun to parents across the world. We’re currently working on the next ways that Fun First will show up for our customers and consumers, but it’s already flowing through on our social media, website, content and more. Watch this space.

This article originally appeared in Edition 9 of The Toy Universe Magazine




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