’s $25 Mil. in Play

Web Site Leaves Burnett, Which Keeps Bricks-and-Mortar Biz
LOS ANGELES– is searching for an agency to handle creative and media duties for its $25 million account, sources said.
Leo Burnett, Chicago, handles ad duties for both in San Francisco and its
bricks-and-mortar counterpart, Toys “R” Us, in Paramus, N.J. Burnett’s Starcom handles media chores for both businesses.
The agency is not expected to defend the Web business, sources said.
According to a proposal request sent out last week, is contacting mid-sized to large shops with billings of at least $100 million. The company “prefers a San Francisco- or Los Angeles-based agency,” the proposal request states, “but is open to exploring New York or other geographic options, provided the agency … has exceptional credentials and is considered a potentially perfect fit.”
Based on credentials and past work, the company will draw up a list of six to eight shops to visit before selecting three to four contenders.
Select Resources International, Los Angeles, is managing the process., which operates separately from the toy store chain, needs a shop with “a strong retail mentality” and one that “will be able to generate highly memorable and compelling creative that resonates with both moms and kids,” the proposal request states. The company also says it prefers agencies with e-commerce experience and that, while not part of the review, it could consolidate interactive advertising with the selected shop.
Notably, the company writes that it would prefer an agency without tobacco business, noting it is a “highly ethical, family-oriented company that wants to stay clear of agencies with relationships with tobacco manufacturers.”
Burnett, longtime agency for Philip Morris brands including Marlboro, has handled the account since last July. Its first campaign broke during last year’s holiday season. The TV spots highlighted the availability of toys through the site during that busy time, depicting the ridiculous notion of a boy playing with a rain check, instead of a toy.
Ironically, had a difficult time meeting demand and did not process many orders in a timely manner. Despite that, Burnett executives point to the site’s overwhelming demand as proof of its advertising’s success. –with Aaron Baa