Y&R Bows First Work for Toys R Us

NEW YORK Young & Rubicam’s first work for Toys R Us promotes a sale tied to longtime mascot Geoffrey the giraffe’s birthday and introduces the tagline, “The world’s joy store.”

A 30-second spot called “Smile,” which broke on Sunday, depicts a boy who’s mouth is frozen open at the site of a birthday toy that his parents gave him. The “wow” expression remains fixed, even when he’s taking a bath, mowing the lawn and sleeping.

At the end of the spot, his parents peek into his bedroom while he’s asleep (and snoring because his mouth is still agape). The mother says adoringly, “What an angel.”

A voiceover explains, “There are toys and there’s the perfect toy, especially at birthdays. And right now it’s Geoffrey’s birthday sale at Toys R Us.” The voiceover concludes, “After all, the only thing better than seeing joy on a child’s face is knowing you put it there.”

To celebrate the birthday, the retailer is offering a deal under which consumers who buy two toys get the third free. The spot is expected to run for at least a week.

The New York office of WPP Group’s Y&R won the estimated $125 million account in May, after a review involving Interpublic Group’s Foote Cone & Belding in New York, Omnicom Group’s DDB in Chicago and then incumbent, Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Chicago.

Previous spots, from Burnett, featured a talking Geoffrey with a sassy attitude.

Y&R is producing two more spots under the same “Joy store” tag that are slated to run in mid-October, according to sources. One depicts two children clinging to the ankles of their mother while she pushes a cart through a store, said sources. The other shows a mother arriving home with a new toy, only to be swarmed by her two sons and husband, sources said. The husband beats the sons to the toy.

The group creative director on “Smile” was Tommy Henvey, who also shared copywriting duties with Dave McMillan. The art directors were Chien Hwang and Johnny Tan.

Y&R referred calls to the Wayne, N.J.-based client, which could not immediately be reached.