Beanie Babies, introduced in 1991, were once the hottest toys in the world. Yet they managed to get so popular without benefiting from a single TV commercial (aside from a McDonald's Happy Meals tie-in).
But now, Beanie Babies maker Ty Inc. is launching a new line of plush animals, with a uniquely modern twist—and has hired Leo Burnett to promote the line with the company's first-ever TV spot, beginning with Black Friday this week.
The new plush toys, called Peek-A-Boos, show you how completely—some might say how depressingly—smartphones have come to dominate children's play. The Peek-A-Boos aren't so much toys as toy holders. They're designed to hold phones upright so kids can play on them more easily. (They also have a microfiber bottom that doubles as a screen cleaner.)
The spot itself is memorable, mostly because of the song—a stick-in-your-head tune from music agency Comma that features the product name being repeated over and over. It's almost like a Japanese commercial in its cartoony repetition. And Burnett has no doubt it will win kids over.
"From early on, we felt we had something special," says agency associate creative director Brandon Crockett. "Lots of kids broke into dance during the auditions, and much of what made the final cut was improvised on set. We made an effort to create a song and performances that would appeal not only to kids, but their millennial parents, who were the original Beanie Baby collectors."
Peek-A-Boos will retail for around $5 to $6 each and are available in four styles: Penni the penguin, Chimps the monkey, Uni the unicorn and Pups the dog. The spot will air on national cable and broadcast throughout the holidays. The product will also be promoted in paid social and on Ty's social media channels.
"Kids love plush animals and they love technology, and the Peek-A-Boos change the way they interact with both," says Ty Inc. founder Ty Warner. "Peek-A-Boos appeal to all ages and can hold all phones and mini tablets while playing games, talking on FaceTime or watching videos hands free."
Client: Ty Inc.
Campaign: Peek A Boos
Spot: "Peek A Boo"
Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago
Associate Creative Directors: Brandon Crockett, Angela Paris
Art Director: Jill Solarcyk
Senior Vice President Executive Producer: Denis Giroux
Producer: Kimberly Cowie
Senior Business Manager: Elvena Dowd
Senior Talent Manager: Linda Yuen
Talent Manager: Regina Gomez
Managing Account Director: Catherine Davis
Vice President Account Director: Jennifer Klopf
Account Supervisor: Meredith Metzl
Account Executive: Abu Ngauja
Account Manager: Sue Rickey
Vice President, Senior Attorney: Laura Cooney
Director, Commercial Clearance: Thomas Clark
Production Company: Slim Pictures
Director: Karen Cunningham
Executive Producer: Tom Weissferdt
Producer: Pat Harris
Chad Gray: Office Manager
Post production: Optimus
Producer: Tracy Spera
Editor: Aaron Porzel
Audio Production: Comma
Senior Composer Creative Director: Pete Schmidt