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Press release

BRIO celebrates 130 years of play


The Swedish toy company is celebrating its 130th anniversary by paying tribute to the importance of play and by letting adults be children again for a day.

"For us, it is the act of playing which is of vital importance. For over a hundred years, it has developed us both as a company and as people. Our ambition is not only to make durable toys that last for several generations; for us, it is also important that we enrich people's childhoods, and the rest of their lives", says Sophie Elvefors, Deputy Managing Director of BRIO.

In 2014, BRIO celebrates its 130th anniversary. Instead of looking backwards and profiling ground-breaking milestones such as its Labyrinth game (1946) and miniature wooden Railway (1958), the Swedish toy company has decided to pay tribute to the concept of playing, and wants to celebrate the child within us all.

Around the world, there is a growing concern that play is not afforded the important and necessary role it should have in children's upbringing. Research shows that children are given less and less opportunity to play freely and that families are spending less time with each other.

In November last year, the Cambridge researcher Dr. David Whitebread was awarded the BRIO prize for his report, "The Importance of Play". This year, BRIO is continuing its work of introducing more play into people's daily lives. In its campaign competition, "Liberate a Friend", BRIO gives adults the chance to reawaken their inner child. The winner will be paid to take time off from work in order to be a child for a day.

"It’s a fun way for us to place the focus on something that we think is important. Free play is being given less and less of a role, despite the fact that we know that it is central to the development and creativity of both children and adults.", says Sophie Elvefors.

The train that stops in every home
A child's first BRIO toys are often inherited from their parents and they go on to create imaginative worlds by combining the older toys with new, more-modern BRIO products. During the past decade, BRIO has launched several innovative concepts. Modern monorail trains and aeroplanes now run along the same railway lines that grandad played with as a child.

"We have put a lot of energy into raising the value of playing and expanding, for example, the Railway world. At the same time, we are doing this in a respectful way to ensure that the old and the new literally fit together”, says Michael Heun, Product Development Manager at BRIO.

BRIO’s 130 year history
BRIO was founded in 1884 in Osby, a small community in the south of Sweden. BRIO gained a reputation for making toys of high quality. As early as the 1940s, BRIO was appointed official supplier to the Swedish Royal Court, an honour the company retains to this day.

BRIO's first global success, the Labyrinth game, came in 1946. This was a unique invention that was not only adored by children but was also used all over Europe in the rehabilitation of thousands of injured pilots, following the Second World War.

Since then, successes have followed one after the other. 1958 saw the launch of BRIO's miniature railway, with tracks and bridges made of wood. The BRIO Railway with all of its components constitutes BRIO's largest export.

"One of the keys to BRIO’s survival and growth during its 130-year history is that we always placed our focus on the child and the act of playing while, at the same time keep in pace with the times. BRIO’s history is an inherent part of the company’s identity and will be a strength as we look to the future”, says Sophie Elvefors.

For further information and questions, please contact:
Francisca Kertzscher, Marketing Manager BRIO AB, telephone +46 702 01 53 97
E-mail: press@brio.net

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