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Play-Doh launches Colour of the Year

by Jasmyn Nagar

A spoof campaign aimed to get parents to get Play-Doh out of the cupboard. Heroing that colour that parents hate and kids love to create by smushing all the doh together.

Business Challenge
The thought of getting the Play-Doh out can fill some parents with dread… the mess, the mixing of colours. But messy play is crucial for children and their creative development, so how could we nudge parents to embrace Play-Doh in all its colour smooshing, bits-in-the-carpet glory?

Our job was to challenge these preconceptions and encourage parents to get Play-Doh out of the cupboard, a frequency brief, which if delivered correctly, could also offer a halo to consideration.


• Encourage parents to use and consider Play-Doh more often at home

• Drive buzz and conversation amongst millennial parents with kids aged 2-5

• Inspire play


We fronted their pet hates head-on, in a parody campaign that poked fun at parental neurosis around Play-Doh colour mixing, all with a knowing smile.

We knew that the mixing of colours was a key pain-point for parents (but the best bit for kids), so we built a campaign celebrating exactly what parents hate the most and launched:

Play-Doh’s Colour of the Year

We named Nemesis Grey as Play-Doh’s inaugural Colour of the Year, celebrating it as the colour to watch out for in 2021. That instantly recognisable colour created by mixing a random combination of Play-Doh shades together – a sight that grown-ups are all too familiar with and dread their children doing.


To launch our first Colour of the Year, we mimicked the coveted annual announcements from colour specialists Pantone, and developed a playful, integrated 360 campaign to celebrate, exaggerate and hero the beautiful smooshed-up Play-Doh.

• First, like all the best colour experts, we crafted discerning and intellectualised messaging about the hue of Nemesis Grey, creating colour swatches and mood-boards.

• We filmed a Mockumentary (fronted by entertainment icon Rylan Clark-Neal) a short film lifting the lid on the top secret process our pre-school panel of colour experts undertook to choose the colour of the year.

• New research was commissioned to explore the thoughts and behaviours of UK parents and messy play. The study found 53% of parents played with their children more post lockdown, but 46% were reluctant to encourage ‘messy play’.

• We partnered with high-profile content creators to film and shoot hilarious videos capturing their own opinions of the new colour (spoiler alert, they – like most other parents – hate it!).

• Lastly, we got hands on and messy with our Festive Doh-Along – a live streamed, mix up your colours workshop for kids and grown-ups hosted by Rylan and a Play-Doh artist. The more colour smushing, the better.

• We engaged a series of micro-influencers to spread the word and drive event attendance.



· 3x pieces of engaging content (hero mockumentary, trailer and the Doh-Along)


· The story generated 35 pieces of mainstream media coverage, 10 of those pieces in national newspapers, with estimate coverage views of 3.3million.

· 80% of the coverage featured the mockumentary video and was posted on both Rylan and Play-Doh’s social channels reaching a total of 2.24million.


• Our content creators reached an additional 2.1m people but most importantly sparked a series of conversations with over 11,000 comments across the posts agreeing, resonating and sharing their own experiences of this infamous smushed up colour.

• A total of 3,800 parents tuned into the Festive Doh-Along on a December Sunday morning.

Business Impact

• The campaign was a huge success and the brand saw a significant spike in conversation on the day of launch across social channels
Widespread media coverage ensured Play-Doh was front of mind for lots of parents in the UK that week

• Coverage generated was 100% positive

• A total of 23,000 engagements across all influencer content

• Influencer content resulted in a ROI of 262% based on unpaid and paid-for creators


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