The Award in a Box

About a year and a half ago a lady wrote to the museum on behalf of her mother. Almost 40 years ago, at the Canterbury auctions in Kent, when the Pedigree factory was closing down, her mother had bought a box of Sindys for her little girls. There in the bottom of the box was an award, but as she wasn’t sure what it was, she put it away.

When her daughter wrote to us, for one mad moment, we wondered if it was one of the National Association of Toy Retailers Girl’s Toy of the Year Awards? But from our subsequent correspondence, it became clear the award was a National Association of Toy Retailers award but it was earlier than those, it was from 1965, and it related to advertising.

Well, that was a new one on us, we had never heard that Sindy had won an advertising award before. So ever since, every now and then I look at Sindy’s early advertising. It all started to make sense when I managed to pick up the 45-rpm single “Every little girl’s dream come true”, the record that Mr Derek Bibby, the Managing Director of Pedigree Dolls Ltd had sent out to retailers when they were launching Sindy. Amazingly although the record is now over 60 years old, it still plays beautifully, and having listened to the catchy jingle and the dulcet tones of a man who sounded suspiciously like a 1960s BBC presenter exhorting toy shops to stock Sindy, I just thought we got to write this story.

Cynically, I had reckoned the award would be a ‘Gong for the Boys’. It turns out the Sindy Project was more than just an advertising campaign; it was all tied into the research, development and launch of Sindy in 1963. I was once told that there are three themes which humans look for in a great saga: a journey, money, and triumph over adversity. Well, in that case, this story has it all.

I have used the first hand account of David Fear, from an interview which featured in 12S Magazine edited by Thom and Hilary Sewell (it was such a great magazine and it is still sorely missed) as well as detail from the very interesting chapter “Introducing Sindy” from The History of Sindy by Colette Mansell, as well as a number of other references which fills in the detail and provides some additional background. I’ve tried to gather it all together to create a logical story and I hope it works for you.

I have lots of people to thank for the new page; Wendy and her husband Peter, who looked after the Sindy award for so many years. Caitlin, Gill and Maurice who provided photos. Jake and Philippa who provided additional information. Martin who identified the TV studio where the launch took place. Trevor who generously shared his ‘1960s Toy Shop’ painting. Last but not least, Jen who checked the page to ensure the plot made sense.

The Sindy Project – her development and launch

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