Instead of Santa and the North Pole, toy store chain Toys "R" Us is utilizing a newsroom and reporters in some of its digital promotional efforts this holiday season.
The news-themed campaign features more than 70 spots for TV, radio and social media. Toys "R" Us' so-called TRU news team includes kids as reporters, producers and technicians, delivering toy news with demos, stats and live cuts to in-store reporters. Content includes where consumers can find the best toy values, as well as information about popular toys.
According to Toys "R" Us, like a local nightly news broadcast, each TRU news team broadcast opens with the station call letters, "TRU," and the campaign's tagline, "All the toys, all the time."
Toys "R" Us worked with advertising agency The Escape Pod to create the campaign. Vinny Warren, creative director of The Escape Pod, said the ads began airing in late October. The spots will continue to roll out throughout the holiday season.
Digital content, including some of the TV spots, will live on Facebook and YouTube. Toys "R" Us has 3.1 million likes on Facebook and 35.4 million video views on Facebook.
According to Warren, the campaign includes some online-exclusive content, including a Toys "R" Us jingle sing-along meant to familiarize a new generation of children with the song, as well as a 2012 Holiday Hot Toy List. The Toys "R" Us 2012 Holiday Hot Toy List video was posted on Toys "R" Us' Facebook page on October 9. It has 246 likes.
Toys "R" Us is also pushing so-called "Hot Toys" with the hashtag #HotToys on Twitter. The Twitter posts include links to the Toys "R" Us' 2012 Holiday Hot Toy List page on its website, which, as the name implies, features popular toys. Toys "R" Us has 329,000 followers on Twitter.
Toys "R" Us opted for a reporting motif because the brand didn't want to go down the traditional holiday route with this campaign, Warren says.
"Basically, we decided that we didn't want to do the traditional holiday campaign, spending all our time reminding parents it's Christmas and kids want toys," Warren adds. "They already know all that stuff."
The newsroom theme also plays into the idea of the holiday season as the biggest news of the year for kids, according to a press release.
The TV ads will air on networks including FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, TBS, TNT, Lifetime, TLC, ABC Family, Bravo, Food Network, USA, CW and E!.
Toys "R" Us operates 873 Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It operates additional locations internationally. In addition, it operates the FAO Schwarz brand.
A Toys "R" Us spokesman was not available for comment by deadline.
Additionally, Toys "R" Us' Facebook page also features a Give Back campaign that includes ideas about how customers can donate time and goods this holiday season. In addition, the Facebook post about the campaign says whenever a "generous benefactor" pays off another person's layaway order at Toys "R" Us, the company will donate $200 worth of toys to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. The Facebook page features a Give Back Tracker with a map that highlights a location where a layaway order has been paid off. Posted on November 5, it has 5,100 likes. This campaign includes more traditional holiday imagery.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014