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How philanthropy is powering Hasbro’s success in India

Hasbro, Inc. is a global play and entertainment company with toy, board game, and media assets, headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Hasbro’s iconic brands include NERF, Magic: The Gathering, My Little Pony, Transformers, Play-Doh, Monopoly, Baby Alive, Power Rangers, Peppa Pig and PJ Masks, as well as premier partner brands. Through its global entertainment studio, eOne, Hasbro is building its brands globally through great storytelling and content on all screens. Hasbro is committed to making the world a better place for all children and all families through corporate social responsibility and philanthropy.

Amid the global pandemic, Hasbro has announced its ‘Cans of Kindness’ initiative with Save The Children India to provide cans of colourful and reusable Play-Doh to thousands of children across India to inspire creativity and learning. This is to support the non-profit’s ‘Right to Play’ initiatives for the health and well-being of children in India. Keeping this objective in mind Hasbro, Inc through its global philanthropic partnership is supporting Save the Children’s education Programmes has planned this initiative and are providing vulnerable children with Hasbro toys, games and learning resources, to inspire creativity and learning.

Hasbro, Inc. has reported a 4% increase in its net revenues to $1.72 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, including a favourable $12.2 million impact of foreign exchange. Revenues up 21% in Hasbro Gaming and 27% across the total gaming category, 20% in TV/ Film/ Entertainment and 7% in Franchise Brands. Hasbro’s Q4 2020 operating profit stood at $186.4 million, while net earnings were reported at $105.2 million.

In conversation with Adgully, Lalit Parmar, Head of Marketing, Hasbro India, speaks about how Hasbro India, with the help of its toys and games, is reaching out to children and in partnerships with NGOs is supporting through the Save the Children Education programs.

The ‘Cans of Kindness’ initiative sounds very interesting. What’s the key objective in initiating this campaign with the NGO Save the Children? How will it help in the growth and development of children?

At the center of everything that we do at Hasbro is our purpose of making the world a better place for all children and all families. We strive to use our business as a force for good!

It’s been a year with unprecedented outcomes, playgrounds and schools closed, a privilege that children sorely miss. Hasbro announced the Cans of Kindness initiative with Save The Children India to provide cans of colourful and reusable Play-Doh to thousands of children across India to inspire creativity and learning. This is to support the non-profit’s ‘Right to Play’ initiatives for the health and well-being of children in India.

With Play-Doh, children can make and create anything they imagine, explore the world around them through fun open-ended activities and explore physical, social, emotional thinking, and creative skills. As they get curious, their story-telling skills are also enhanced. Through hands-on discovery, children can practice hand-eye coordination and develop fine motor skills, setting the foundation for future success.

Tell us more about the ‘Value of Play’?

Growing up, some of our fondest memories revolve around Play – with friends, family, sometimes by ourselves. Exploring, creating, and inventing – all form the basis of Play. It’s interactive, engaging, fun, and educational.

Through play, children develop social skills, learn to express their emotions, and gain confidence about their own capabilities. The value and benefits of play transcend just educational benefits for young children. When playing with toys and games, families come together and build memories, children imbibe life lessons, develop critical thinking and creativity, while having a lot of fun! This forms the basis of the “Value of Play”.

A big step in building the Value of Play during the global pandemic has been the launch of Bring Home the Fun, a global initiative by Hasbro, created to further the company’s purpose to make the world a better place for children and their families. The initiative provides parents and caregivers resources to help keep kids occupied and engaged during extended time at home and indoors.

BringHometheFun.com features many family-focused resources, including tips for family playtime, activity challenges to keep kids occupied, ideas for using games and toys to stimulate kids’ brains, and suggestions on how to cope with increased emotional stress. Featuring crafts using Paly-Doh compounds, trick-shot challenges that get kids up and active with NERF blasters, entertaining content, including Transformers, My Little Pony. Here, parents and caregivers will find inspiration to bring the power of play into their homes while keeping an emphasis on fun and creativity.

With concerted efforts, strong industry partnerships, innovative and high-quality toys and games, we can truly create a strong Value of Play proposition in India.

Do you run philanthropy initiatives in other parts of the globe regularly? Any examples that you can share on such social activities from other countries?

Through a global philanthropic partnership, Hasbro, Inc. is supporting Save the Children’s education programmes, providing vulnerable children with Hasbro toys, games and learning resources, to inspire creativity and fun. In the United States, we work with the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation to distribute toys outside our operating areas and bring joy and a message of hope to children. Hasbro’s Play Relief program is designed to supply emergency shelters worldwide with toys and games in times of disaster. Play Relief helps provide a sense of normalcy, a bit of comfort and a distraction for displaced children and families.

Global Day of Joy is Hasbro’s annual company-wide day of service. Every year in December, employees from each Hasbro office around the world participate in service projects to benefit community organisations. In 2020, the Global Day of Joy was largely virtual, but we were still able to make an impact for more than 100,000 children in 40 countries around the world. Over the years, Hasbro India has partnered with the Nargis Dutt Foundation to set up Toy Libraries in Leh and Maharashtra and donated various toys and games to thousands of children at the Smile Foundation in Mumbai.

How do you make philanthropy campaigns like this an annual feature?

Every day we work together with an aim to create a world where every child experiences hope, kindness and joy. This is core to our employee culture and is a part of who we are. That can be through donations, volunteering hours, and strategic partnerships. We leverage all our company assets to make the greatest impact possible.

I personally feel humbled with the multitude of opportunities to work in our communities. Across the globe, our employees have the benefit of taking four hours of paid time off every month to volunteer with programs and organisations that benefit children and their families.

In addition, team building company-sponsored volunteer projects are organised throughout the year, allowing groups of employees to make a meaningful difference in the community through service. Although the past year was challenging, employees still came together virtually and found innovative ways to make a positive impact in our communities.

The power and influence of toys in shaping and growing underprivileged kids is a constructive approach that will benefit them and help them move in the right direction. How do you keep bringing fresh thinking and innovative ideas with your toys to sustain these efforts on an ongoing basis?

Play forms the basis of every child’s development – physical, emotional, intellectual and beyond that it’s FUN! The ‘Joy of Play’ is an essential piece of childhood and is part of everything we believe in at Hasbro.

For children with developmental disabilities, play isn’t always accessible out of the box. A passionate group of Hasbro employees from across the company teamed up with The Autism Project, a longtime philanthropic partner of the Hasbro Children’s Fund, to figure out how to make play accessible to all children. The ToyBox Tools program was created to provide structure through a series of tools rooted in evidence-based and emerging best practices. These instructional videos, printable materials and play-mats are designed to help families, caregivers and teachers unlock the power of play, and to make play more fun and enjoyable at a child’s own pace.

To keep pace with technology and consumer needs, we leverage consumer insights to ensure that children and families have the most innovative and immersive play and entertainment experiences with our brands.

We listen to our consumers, really go in-depth to understand what they want and create products that fit their lifestyle, including engaging content, enhanced play experiences and digital interaction. Our Marketing, Design and Development teams are constantly researching and looking at the latest trends to uncover new technology to incorporate into our products.

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