Playtime is to marketing as friendship is to encouragement and success!

The story of how my Toy Box has become a playground where I’ve been able to reconnect with old friends and remind them how to play too.

“Ladies and gentlemen may I now introduce to you my pal, and chairman of the drink cooler, ol’ brown eyes himself, ‘The Donfather’ Don Urgo!”

One of the coolest things for me about the internet is the ability to reconnect with friends that you haven’t seen in years, and distance and time in the real world would never allow for the two of you to cross paths again. Such was the case with me and my pal Don Urgo.

I originally met Don in 1999 in Harrison, Arkansas. I was running movie theaters for Carmike Cinemas and Don was a pastor with a heart of gold and an entrepreneur’s spirit. Together the two of us paired up to raise funds for the fledgling women’s shelter in the area. That initial project helped us create a fast friendship that also gave life to our individual visions for more than simply what was around us.

As fate and life would have it, a few years after meeting Don headed back to his original hometown in New Jersey and I went back on he road “up and down the dial” in radio. Oh yeah, WKRP style baby! From time to time I would think about Don and some of the discussions we had on reaching for the stars if you will, but figured those days were long gone. And they very well could have been if not for that social media juggernaut that Zuckerburg built; facebook.

On one of those reflective nights where you find yourself being bombarded with memories from days gone by I got to thinking about Don again. Well this time I took a bit of a more proactive step and searched for him on facebook. Having a rather unique name it was very easy to find him and send a message to say ‘hi’ just for the heck of it. Let me tell ya, that was a very fortuitous couple of lines!

As fate would have it Don was now a SUCCESSFUL entrepreneur with his online drop ship business and was just getting ready to expand into something a little more personal. (Here’s the fortuitous part I was talking about) Don was going to release an energy drink, branded with his likeness, to help spark interest and buzz at a few clubs and restaurants that he was involved with in New Jersey and Florida. After seeing the things here at the Toy Box as well as some of my TV stuffs Don approached me to create a label for the drink. I did and I gotta tell ya, there is something really cool about seeing your work going from on screen pixels to a physical item being held in someone’s hand.

After the drink label I followed up with a couple of posters to promote the beverage. This led to where we are today… the makings of Little Don…

“A drink you can’t refuse and a rush you can’t deny, come on, order a case today!”

Don had gotten such a kick out of what was happening with mini me and the Toy Box he wanted to see what a Little Buddy Don could do for his marketing. And while there is so much more to come in the near future, I can say now that this is going to be one of the most fun campaigns I’ve ever been privy too.

With a guy like Don, everything is larger than life… even i he only stands 8 inches tall!

“Why exactly are you sharing all this frilly, fluffy, warm and cozy stuff with us Jim?” you ask? Because the whole thing boils down to one beautiful truth for me that I hope you too will grasp. My passion for toys and collectibles isn’t about escapism to a time gone by that will never be back. It’s about keeping that youthful mindset fresh and available when grown up life needs a break. I’m not saying everyone should sit on the floor for a couple of hours every day playing pretend with your toys, but what I am encouraging you is to find something be it old or new that reconnects you with the child like innocence that we were all born with that gets faded, jaded and scarred with age. Whether that’s an actual toy, or a DVD of your favorite movie or TV show or scheduling mandatory time to catch every single football game your favorite team plays, is irrelevant… just so long as its something that reminds you that life isn’t all about ‘adult stuff’. It’s about living, loving and laughing too.

“So how ya been pal?”

By holding on to this belief and passion I’ve created a playground for myself where old friends were able to come and play at too. And while they (read Don) may have been caught up in the grown up world he’s now been able to loosen up a bit, sit back and smile at the Little Don sitting on his desk and let loose his imagination again to where he can share his passion with those that may also benefit from the playgrounds he creates.

So what about you; Do you still have a playground you can escape to? And if not, why not? Do yourself and he world a favor – Go Play! Jim 07/08/2012

It such a crazy surreal world sometimes. Mini me created by Dawn, flanked by cans labeled by me. This must be how the Taco Bell Chihuahua felt or something.

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Author: Jim Bumgardner

Jim's Toy Box features programming that is inspirational, uplifting and motivational all the while offering encouragement to those who wish to make the most of this life in preparation for the next.

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