In conversation with

Huntly Gordon

Global Brand Marketing Manager at Yoto




Yoto is a screen-free speaker that lets kids listen to music, games, stories and bedtime soundscapes. But more than that, it’s a platform that opens up pathways and possibilities for kids to lead their own adventure through childhood. We worked with the brand to craft this positioning. And wrote a story that spoke to the sense of freedom that parents could give to kids through Yoto’s audio, recognising that every kid is as unique as the journey they’re on.

Huntly, Global Brand Marketing Manager at Yoto, is an adventurer in his own right. He’s responsible for bringing Yoto’s vision of childhood to life. Naturally, we wanted to know what excites his inner child.

Question and Answer

You’re Global Brand Marketing Manager at Yoto, an audio platform that powers kids’ curiosity with creativity and imagination. What does your team do to keep their imagination alive?

We dream – and dream big! Ok, that’s cheesy. In truth, there’s been very little ritual around imagination at Yoto. Like many startups we’ve had to move fast as we’ve grown – arriving in new countries, launching new products and features – and that momentum keeps us focused on the future. What we do have is a very supportive community, and we work hard to put them at the centre of our day, every day. As long as we keep listening, inspiration awaits!

Yoto briefed Sonder & Tell to build a brand story that went beyond audio. We landed on a story all about kids leading their own adventure through childhood. How are you bringing that story to life?

Our new brand story emerged just in time to greet a few milestones. It immediately found a home on our website, and it informed the messaging for our newest audio player, Yoto Mini. It also worked its way into three new brand and product films that launched at the same time. Sometimes a brand story is a jumping-off point, inspiring new ideas and actions. Other times it’s a lens, acting as a filter for things as they take shape. In either case, our new story helps us all to make kids and parents the heroes of everything we do.

Yoto decided early on to market to parents, not kids. Why is that?

Because kids get bombarded with enough signals and advertising in their lives. We’re a parent-run business making products we’d want for our own kids. Safety, privacy and trust are non-negotiable. Plus, parents are the ones shaping their family’s culture, so speaking to them makes sense. And it’s a fantastic creative challenge to balance clean, clear writing (they’re busy parents, after all) with language that ignites a little bit of childish wonder.



“Sometimes a brand story is a jumping-off point, inspiring new ideas and actions. Other times it’s a lens, acting as a filter for things as they take shape. ”

Are there any other kids brands you love for their story or tone of voice?

Who can walk past LEGO? In LEGO’s hands, the word “imagine” has so much power. It’s just so true. It’s built so deeply into the product that it defies age (unless you’re 100). And that leads them to some fantastic ideas and executions.

What are the most memorable brands from your own childhood and what sticks out about them?

I grew up smack-bang in Pokémon’s big moment. Gameboy in hand, trading cards in the folder, TV show before school – every 7-year-old in Sydney caught that bug. (It was a Weedle, for those playing at home.) Looking back, it’s surprising how playful they were as a business. They took some real punts on new products and brand extensions to feed the fandom that they’d built. There was a Pokémon Pinball series, f’chrissake! Funnily enough, I ended up working on the Pokémon account in my first advertising job. The size and dedication of their fanbase blew me away. So I guess their big moment is still happening!

And what brands are speaking to your inner child right now?

I look for brands that flip your expectations on their head – classic ‘zag’ stuff, I guess! I’m not a sneaker-head but I’m a big fan of the footwear designer Salehe Bembury. He has a childlike creative instinct, everything he does is playful. For example his New Balance sneakers with an inbuilt hiking whistle. Just so much fun. For copywriting, I love Oatly for their irreverent (yet somehow wide-eyed) tone. It takes commitment to get every bit of copy and comms singing from the same hymn sheet. I also found myself in awe of a candle recently, browsing the Vacation Sunscreen website. (Check out Well-Tipped Pool Boy). And on a smaller scale, top marks to Oxford Pennant for their collaboration with singer Keith Buckley – Trouble Scouts. It’s just a simple collection of iron-on patches for “good kids gone rad”, but I love the tone and intention behind it. Brilliant stuff.

Huntly's Storylist


  1. Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
  2. When You Wonder, You’re Learning by Gregg Behr & Ryan Rydzewski
  3. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  4. The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr


  1. Courier
  2. Record Culture Magazine
  3. Pressing Matters
  4. Sound on Sound


  1. The Way by Alex at Basic Arts
  2. The Word by Sonder & Tell
  3. Harry’s Newsletter (of recent Copywriting Examples fame)
  4. Leanluxe


  1. Tape Notes with John Kennedy
  2. Hanging out with Audiophiles with Jamie Lidell
  3. How I Built This with Guy Raz
  4. Influence with Damian Bradfield


  1. Bandcamp
  2. Pitchfork

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