TLP Doesn’t Skimp for High-Volume Hasbro

DALLAS Creating 126 commercials for a single client is not easy. Providing high-production values on small budgets makes the task harder, but Tracy Locke Partnership said it has found a way to make it work for Hasbro.

The Dallas-based Omnicom shop won its first assignment for the client’s toys division two years ago, and now handles work for Hasbro’s entire toy line. (Grey Global Group’s Grey in New York handles chores for Hasbro’s games division.)

Uproar, a TLP division specializing in youth marketing, is responsible for creating the Hasbro ads. The 35-person team is split between New York and Dallas. The group generally plans and creates 8-14 commercials at a time, and uses the services of four Dallas-based companies to complete the ads: Stone Core Films, ReelFX, Juniper Music, and Video Post and Transfer.

TLP president and chief creative officer Robert Chimbel did not know if the arrangement would work when he devised it two years ago, but it does—and the shop sees it as the most efficient way to handle the work. “It drives a lot of the costs out of production,” Chimbel said. Staffers from the different production companies often sit in with the TLP team to brainstorm ideas as well, he said.

The ads that result from the collaboration do not just show children playing with toys. Rather, the work tends to include some animation that makes the toys come to life, such as cartoon equines for My Little Pony ads, or animated machines for Hasbro’s Transformers.

Some ads do not feature toys at all. TLP has created a series of 60-second spots that resemble movie trailers and introduce characters in the G.I. Joe collection. A super directs kids to go to G.I. for more content and product information. A later spot shows kids playing with the action figures.

The trailer-like spots are examples of the agency’s effort to create content to support certain toys. They are the embodiment of Chimbel’s belief that increasingly, agencies need to be more of a partner in intellectual property with clients since “the agency model is broken.” He said TLP one day might do direct-to-video content creation to support toys. “Entertainment and marketing are the same things in the kids market,” he said.

TLP also assists Hasbro with national and retail promotions and new-product development. Erik Nelson oversees creative on the account as group creative director.

The agency plans to launch a new round of toy spots within the next week.

The Pawtucket, R.I.-based client spent $90 million last year to advertise its toys, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.