Today (Tuesday May 26) sees the launch of a new initiative which will see the toy, entertainment and licensing communities join forces to raise funds for masses of small charities which have been severely affected in the economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ToyAid – co-founded by Richard North, ceo of Wow Stuff!, and Joel Silverman, ceo and co-founder of KidsKnowBest – will be supporting Global’s Make Some Noise, which is the registered charity of media group Global, owner of Heart, Capital, LBC, Classic FM, Smooth, Radio X and Gold.
At launch, ToyAid already has the support of more than 30 toy and entertainment companies, which will either donate a minimum amount of money or pledge some proceeds from the sale of specific items through June, whichever is the greater number.
Once a pledge has been made, a logo will be sent for the company to add to any of the products to further raise awareness of the initiative, these will be added on digital platforms and retailer sites.
Awareness will further be strengthened by KidsKnowBest, which is utilising its digital marketing skills to engage thousands of influencers, plus Norton PR and a number of other agencies. The Light Fund – the licensing industry’s registered charity – has also stepped forward to support the initiative, acting as the collection point for donations.
The idea initially stemmed from Joel worrying about the mindset of various friends, leaders and entrepreneurs he had met in the industry. With retailers closing and Amazon prioritising essential items and rightfully so, he thought it would be the perfect time to unite an industry, bring joy to families and help support a wonderful cause in the process.
“We’ve got some amazing industry leaders who have already done so much so quickly; from making PPE to building ventilators, supplying free toys and games and lots more,” Richard told Source. “I felt if we could galvanise every toy and entertainment company together, from big to small, we could make a huge difference to the charities, children and families who need it most. ToyAid is inviting every single company that works in, on or around the toy and entertainment industry to come together, shoulder to shoulder, for one purpose; to give what they can to help others.”
Richard continued: “In my entire career, I have never seen a reaction to a scheme of any kind like I’ve seen from ToyAid. We know the businesses Joel and I have asked to support us are hurting, many of them personally and professionally. I know my business is. Yet, every call we’ve made, every video conference we’ve had, has been met with the same response; how do I join, when do I join? Every single one of you should be proud.”
Joel added: “Richard has been a brilliant partner and together we have rallied the industry’s best. It is only going to get bigger and we will raise a lot of money for charity. With Global’s amazing radio stations providing airtime, we can give the toy and entertainment industry a voice and show we care.
“We’ve had amazing pledges from companies across all sectors of the toy and entertainment industry. Special recognition to Smyths Toys Superstores, which kicked things off by pledging an incredible £50,000 to this cause.”
Joel continued: “This collaboration was to bring the industry together, like nothing had before. Shelf space is competitive, but if we don’t stick together then there won’t be shelf space to fight over in the future. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought ToyAid would start with such tremendous support.
“It may also be something we do every year if the industry is keen to support it.”
You can sign up to ToyAid by visiting the official website – www.toyaid.org.