Agencies Await Toys ‘R’ Us Cut

Toys ‘R’ Us this week is expected to cut in half the list of nearly a dozen agencies who returned its questionnaire.
The list includes New York incumbents The Kaplan Thaler Group and Quantum Media International, Doner in Southfield, Mich., Goldberg Moser O’Neill in San Francisco and New York shops Saatchi & Saatchi, Bozell Worldwide, Deutsch, J. Walter Thompson, DeWitt Media and The Media Edge, sources said. JWT and Media Edge are only pitching the media portion of the $50-75 million account. Two undisclosed shops also received questionnaires, sources said.
By Friday, the field will be narrowed to six shops, which the client will visit in the next couple of weeks. Toys ‘R’ Us will then cut to three finalists, which will get a creative assignment. A selection–of either one partner or two–is expected by the end of April.
The agencies declined comment and consultant Richard Roth Associates of Chappaqua, N.Y., could not reached.
The search began shortly after Toys ‘R’ Us hired new chief marketing officer Warren Kornblum [Adweek, Jan. 11]. He did not return a call by press time. Kornblum came from Bozell, where he helped run its retail unit.
Although still the world’s largest toy seller, Paramus, N.J.-based Toys ‘R’ Us has lost market share to competitors Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target. Between 1990 and 1997, its share dropped from 25 percent to 18 percent–just 2 percent ahead of Wal-Mart. –with staff report