Initially a cause-marketing campaign between Hasbro's Playskool brand and nonprofit Boundless Playgrounds, the partnership quickly became something else, says Dawn Wilcox, GM of Allison & Partners. It "evolved into a social impact, grassroots, advocacy, community relations effort... to make sure children have the right to play."
The company wanted to emphasize the need for inclusive playgrounds so kids of all abilities can play together and increase awareness of Playskool and Boundless Playground's relationship together.
Playskool and Allison encouraged students, parents, and educators to enter a national essay contest; nominated community sites had the chance to receive a customized, $300,000 Boundless Playground donated by Playskool and building partner GameTime.
Allison formed alliances with 80-plus organizations, including the National Disability Rights Network, each of which helped to promote the essay contest and increase the number of qualified nominations. CVS drug stores helped publicize the contest as well, through its in-store radio network and seasonal circulars.
Nearly 1,000 nominations were received from schools, hospitals, and military bases in 44 states; the contest garnered media coverage in various publications, such as Exceptional Parent Magazine and USA Weekend.
The winner came from McCullough Elementary School in Claridge, PA. When the playground opened there on November 8, a community-wide celebration featured various activities, like a parade with floats decorated like Mr. Potato Heads and other classic Playskool toys.
According to Wilcox, the companies are committed "to doing more and doing bigger" in 2008.