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Giraffe Takes Center Stage in New Toys R Us Ads

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Leo Burnett introduces a more realistic Toys R Us symbol, Geoffrey the Giraffe, in a rebranding effort that heralds the retailer's redesigned stores.

"We didn't think the cartoon would be as fun or dramatic as an 18-foot animal walking down the streets," said Jon Moore, executive creative director at Burnett.

The campaign be gan with teaser ads last week that had the animatronic giraffe run ning through various American landscapes, concluding with the words, "The big guy's back." A subsequent brand spot links together all the scenes from the teasers to tout the impending debut of a Toys R Us store in New York's Times Square.

More spots show Geoffrey directing kids to the Barbie section of a new Toys R Us, while explaining the store changes and grilling employees about the location of merchandise.

The depiction of Geoffrey is meant to show "an 11-year-old in a giraffe's body," said Burnett executive creative director Ned Crowley. "He's a toy expert and runs the company."

The campaign has no tag, but uses the line, "We're ready. Are you?" as a "call to action," said client evp of worldwide marketing and brand management Warren Kornblum. "The goal is to let people know there's a new Toys R Us."

The rebranding ef fort is the culmination of an 18-month program to improve the stores' presentation and service, Kornblum said. "We realize we haven't treated people the way they should be treated," he said.

Toys R Us spent $75 million on advertising last year, according to CMR. Kornblum said spending on the rebranding effort would remain about the same.