image of dinosaurs toys on yellow background

NKD Reviews: The Toys That Made Us

At NKD, we believe that Engaged Employees are at the heart of brand engagement and The Toys That Made Usis a wonderful testament this fact.

Passion drives success! The more you believe in the importance and value of what you’re working towards, the harder you’ll work and the more you’ll fight for it.

Netflix has just released an 8-part documentary series called The Toys That Made Us, which celebrates the excitement of passion in the workplace and in the toy industry.

Each episode of The Toys That Made Us chronicles the behind-the-scenes drama around the design and development of some of the biggest selling toys of the late 20th century, including G.I. Joe, Barbie, Lego and Transformers. In each episode, the passionate and creative men and women who invented these toys are interviewed for their insights and the history behind them. Sociologists, toy collectors and toy experts also add their insights to give a fully-rounded view of the importance of these plastic bundles of joy.

Every episode overflows with passion, ingenuity and love – the men behind the creation of He-Man beam with pride describing their “ah-ha!” moment watching a group of boys play and realising that all they wanted was to be in control of their own lives, thus He-Man’s infamous battle-cry “I have the power!” was born. Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel and creator of Barbie, and other women who worked on the Barbie line are overcome with joy celebrating their uphill fight to elevate Barbie from her saucy German origins in a male-dominated industry.

At NKD, we believe that Engaged Employees are at the heart of brand engagement and The Toys That Made Us is a wonderful testament this fact.

The episodes tend to follow the same story arc: the toy companies have a boom in product and profit when the toys are first released, but then struggle to keep up with demand or make some really poor business decisions (Lego almost went bankrupt in 2003) because they strayed too far from their core business – the humble Lego brick – unimaginable, right?!) However, what there is never a shortage of at any of the companies is Engaged Employees, and that’s why the businesses and the toys continue to flourish.

Model for brand engagement

The toys themselves (the Iconic Products) are not enough to keep Hasbro, Mattel or Kenner at the top – it’s the Engaged Employees striving to make the toys more exciting, more imaginative and more playable for their Customers – the kids of world – that transforms each of those companies into a Great Brand and eventually leads to Sustained Profit and Growth. The sociologists, toy collectors and toy experts rarely talk about the toys themselves but do talk (at length) about what the toys have come to represent and the feelings, emotions and experiences they had playing with and now collecting them.

While watching The Toys That Made Us, you can’t help but get swept up in the excitement, passion and pride of these wonderfully creative, passionate, highly engaged men and women. You can’t help but get swept up in waves of nostalgia as you reconnect with your childhood experiences playing with these toys. You can’t help but get swept up in the real and tangible connection between Engaged Employees, Iconic Products and Great Brands, Great Customer Experiences, Sustained Profit and Growth.

And that’s pretty rad!

Before you throw all your toys out of the toybox in frustration, get in touch with us at, and together, we can create some truly amazing Brand Experiences.