Emotion Key to Leo’s Toys Debut

Agency’s Dual-Branding Approach Targets Both Kids and Parents
CHICAGO–Leo Burnett attempts to evoke an emotional connection between children and Toys ‘R’ Us in its first campaign for the retailer.
“Toys ‘R’ Us occupies a unique place in a kid’s heart,” said Burnett senior vice president and managing creative director Jonathan Hoffman.
Burnett won the $70 million business in May. Its inaugural campaign’s two-pronged approach targets kids and parents with different television executions. While the retailer already appeals to children more than discount rivals Target Stores, Kmart and Wal-Mart, it saw a “major opportunity” to convince parents that shopping at Toys ‘R’ Us was important for their children, said Warren Kornblum, chief marketing officer at the Paramus, N.J.-based client.
“We want to say this is about the kid,” Kornblum said. “What should compensate for the convenience factor [of other retailers] is the richer experience you will have with your child.”
One adult-targeted spot shows a boy running with a toy airplane. “Of all the journeys you’ll take your kids on, just remember, flights of fancy could be the most important,” says a voiceover. The spot ends with the tiny plane landing in front of a Toys ‘R’ Us, and the tag, “It’s all for them.”
Other adult-oriented spots show children dreaming about Toys ‘R’ Us and a girl who gets a toy reward for successful toilet training. The latter ad was developed after planners discovered many parents used trips to Toys ‘R’ Us as a reward for their children, Hoffman said.
“A lot of [this campaign] is written from real experience,” he added.
A spot aimed at children depicts a boy who is allowed to choose “one thing” on a trip to Toys ‘R’ Us; he chooses the entire store. The tag for that spot is changed to read, “It’s all for you.”
The campaign, which broke over the weekend, will be followed by product-oriented ads later this fall. Brand-oriented work is expected to continue throughout the year.
“Toys ‘R’ Us needs to be more than a seasonal store,” Kornblum said.