Toys R Us: Burnett’s Range Is Key

CHICAGO-Leo Burnett’s track record of producing advertising with cross-generational appeal helped it land Toys R Us’ $70 million U.S advertising account, company officials said.
The Chicago agency drew upon its work for Hallmark, Disney and McDonald’s to showcase its ability to appeal to both kids and parents, said Warren Kornblum, the Paramus, N.J., retailer’s chief marketing officer.
“Burnett got where we wanted to go with the brand,” Kornblum said. “They understood Toys R Us is a place that celebrates the American family.”
The agency’s Starcom Media Services unit was awarded media chores. Kornblum said the pitches were made and evaluated independently.
“Obviously, [Burnett and Starcom] talked to each other, and we’re confident they’ll work with each other, but it could easily have gone unbundled,” he said.
Burnett’s first duty, Kornblum said, is to create a new brand image for the struggling retailer, which has been losing market share to discount rivals such as Target Stores, Kmart and Wal-Mart. New work is expected to break sometime in the fall.
The other finalists were Doner, Southfield, Mich., and Deutsch, New York. Burnett’s presentation emphasized consumers’ emotional attachment to Toys R Us, said business unit managing director Myron Lyskanycz, who led the pitch.
New York media shops The Media Edge and Western Initiative Media competed for the media account.
The incumbents were The Kaplan Thaler Group and Quantum Media International, both New York.