Capturing the Joy of Traditional Toys

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Tue, 07/30/2013 - 15:32 -- Nick Dager

Tom Feiler directs web spots about Kol Kids and Tribal Worldwide Toronto.Tom Feiler has directed three web commercials for the Toronto-based children’s store Kol Kid and Tribal Worldwide Toronto. The spots cleverly communicate how tech toys can’t always fulfill the joy of traditional toys. The ads are the centerpiece of a new, multi-faceted campaign for the store celebrating the value of simple play.

Feiler, a father of two children, says that he strongly identifies with the store’s philosophy towards play. “With electronic toys, whether it’s a console game or something else, kids are asked to manipulate stories that were created by someone else. The problems have been set,” he explains. “Traditional toys are inherently tactile and they require kids to use their imaginations.”

Like most great advertising, the three spots are based on a simple premise and play like found moments. Their execution, however, was the result of patient, and sometimes painstaking, direction. Feiler selected his three actors through a lengthy casting process and employed a mix of sympathetic coaching and child psychology to steer them to the performances he was after.

“As much as the spots feel observational,” says Sanya Grujicic, senior copywriter of Tribal Worldwide Toronto. “They’re actually very directed by Tom. Yet the kids come across like real kids, not actors, that’s what makes them feel relatable.”

For the spot with the kid on the staircase, Feiler gave the young actor specific actions to perform as he was playing with the device, but allowed him to improvise the critical moment where he decides to drop it. “I knew that what he came up with would be better than anything I could give him,” the director explains. “As with any actor, it’s all about knowing what he needed.”

The spots’ seeming lack of artifice is typical of Feiler’s approach to comedy, according to Accomplice Media executive producer Mel Gragido. “Its been fun bringing him to the U.S. market, as Tom has a very light touch and yet the performances he elicits are invariably spot on,” Gragido says. “These particular ads are funny because they capture moments that people recognize as real.”

Feiler, who is also an award-winning still photographer, complemented the video ads by shooting a large volume of product imagery for the Kol Kid website. “I’ve done that for a number of campaigns,” he says. “It gives the client a cohesive look and package across all media.”

The campaign also includes a “Play Engine,” developed by Tribal, an interactive web application that parents can use to come up with ideas for simple play activities such as finding shapes in the clouds, Simon Says and how to make a homemade printing press.

For Feiler and the entire creative team the campaign was a labor of love. “It’s something that we all felt very passionate about,” Feiler observes. “We felt like it was insight on kids and technology that needed to be shared.”


Agency: Tribal Worldwide, Toronto. LP Tremblay, Creative Director; Denise Rossetto, Creative Director; Andrew Bernardi, Art Director; Sanya Grujicic, Copywriter; Tiffany Chung, Copywriter; Andrew Schulze, Agency Producer.

Production: Code Film. Tom Feiler, Director; Andrew McCartney, Managing Director; Alan Lukatela, Director of Photography; Magda Czyz Line Producer.

Edit: School Editing. Kyle McNair, Editor.

Post: Fort York. Paul Binney, Online Editor. 
Notch. Jason Zukowski, Colorist.

Audio: Pirate. Stephanie Pigott, Audio House Director; Jared Kuemper, Audio House Engineer.

Accomplice Media