LDC Top 50 2023
Darran Garnham wore a giant chicken suit to a meeting with the creators of hit video game Gang Beasts. “We’d created a range of Gang Beasts toys so I decided to dress up as one of the characters and hand-deliver the first batch,” says Garnham. “I love seeing a client’s face when we put toys in their hands. It’s a buzz to take something from screen to sketch to shelf.”
Garnham started entertainment company Toikido in 2020, working with the likes of Netflix to bring brands to life through toys and merchandise.
Our special sauce is that we move very quickly in an industry that has been doing it the same way for so many years.”
What was your personal aim when you started the business?
I had a brilliant career working on brands such as Moshi Monsters at Mind Candy, Minions at Universal Pictures and Toy Story at MTW Toys. I’d watched these amazing studios grow and it just felt like it was my turn. I noticed that my kids were engaging with video games and social media content and spotting trends faster than the industry. I thought, “There’s got to be a business in this.”
What’s your USP?
We can launch a mass market, physical product from a digital game in five months, where it would take other agencies 15 months. Clients love working with us. We live and breathe creativity and move at the speed of culture. It’s like advertising legend Peter Mead says in his book Nice is not a biscuit: “Both parties should leave a deal with a balloon.”
As a leader, how do you bring people with you?
Everyone in the business is a shareholder and we try to go that extra mile for the team. We recently sponsored an employee’s daughter to compete in the Dance World Cup in Portugal, for example. I host a Toikido friends and family day in my back garden every year with a BBQ, bouncy castle and band. Our company motto is: “If it isn’t positive and doesn’t bring you happiness, don’t let it in.”