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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

ADdicted: TRU Nostalgia

"I don't want to grow up, 'cause maybe if I did... I wouldn't be a Toys R Us kid!"

That was my favourite advertising jingle when I was young.

It's still my favourite jingle now that I'm old, actually.

When I was a kid, Amazon didn't exist. Walmart wasn't known, at least in Canada. There were still dozens of places you could buy toys, but the undisputed best place to go was Toys R Us.

There was something magical that happened when your parents took you to Toys R Us (or "TRU" as it's often shortened to in the industry). They were the "authority on play" long before Mastermind arrived, but through a series of missteps over the decades, TRU lost its magic and became just another store.*

That's why I was so excited when I saw this new Toys R Us spot, called "Imagination Included": it feels like they're finally trying to bring some of the magic back to their brand.

Maybe it's the nostalgia talking, but I loved everything about this ad.

A furry in need of a rescue. An epic battle between Snake Eyes and Skelator. (If you know, you know!) A whoopee cushion! I didn't have high hopes for the spot as it began, but it grabbed onto me at the 13-second mark and didn't let go.

And the piece de resistance for me?

The return of the jingle at the very end.

Of course, one marketing campaign won't be enough to bring back the Toys R Us so many people from my generation knew and loved.

But it's a wonderful start.


* I teach a course on "Retail Marketing Strategies" for York University's Schulich School of Business, and Toys R Us is one of the options students can choose for their final report. The goal of the final report? Take a company that has "opportunity areas" and use the lessons from the course to make recommendations on how it can be better. I've always thought Toys R Us was an "easy" retailer to choose for this assignment... because there are so many "opportunity areas" from which to choose. That's why I wrote, "one marketing campaign won't be enough to bring back the Toys R Us so many people from my generation knew and loved." But again, it's a wonderful start.


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