Cannes Lions

TOY STORE

STARCOM MEDIAVEST GROUP, Chicago / TOYS 'R' US / 2002

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John Muszynski/Starcom BIG/EVP/Media DirectorShelley Watson/Starcom BIG/VP/Media DirectorKevin Gallagher/Starcom LIG/SVP/Media DirectorLaurie Siok/Starcom LIG/Media SupervisorJennifer/Stebner/Starcom MIG/Media SupervisorBrandon Starkoff/Starcom IP/IP ManagerDave Walker/Toys "R" Us/VP U.S. Marketing & Advertising In fall 2001, Toys “R” Us was undertaking two key initiatives to signal long-overdue changes happening at their stores. First, the company upgraded the retail experience it offered across the chain. All stores enjoyed increased staffing levels, a renewed emphasis on customer service and an increased mix of exclusive product. At the same time, stores in their top markets (representing about 60% of their sales) were remodeled to incorporate a new, more open and inviting store layout. Second, Toys “R” Us opened the doors to “the world’s largest toy store” in Times Square, built around an innovative approach to retailing toys based on collaboration between the retailer and key toy manufacturers. The communication challenge the company faced was how to get skeptical, time-pressed moms to give their stores another look. National Television National television was the key driver for this cross-platform deal. Starcom executed an upfront buy, within the context of client goals and existing budgets, and leveraged the partnership to achieve the client’s goals in ABC’s Thanksgiving prime “ad auction.” Efforts included:ABC Prime Time: The Wonderful World of Disney• :15 teasers on ABC properties • Presenting sponsor, with opening and closing billboards as well as preferred positioningABC Early Morning: Good Morning America (GMA)• 4-minute segment with GMA host Diane Sawyer at the new Times Square store construction site• 12-minute segment with GMA host Diane Sawyer talking with Toys “R” Us CEO John Eyler • GMA review of hottest toys at Times Square store with Toys “R” Us’ Lara SpencerABC Daytime: The View• 8-minute segment with CEO John Eyler presenting the hottest toys of the holiday seasonLifetime• 60-second spot roadblocked with ABC prime spot to launch new campaign• Bonus media for 45 15-second spots promoting Geoffrey’s Birthday sweepstakes • Web site overlay promoting birthday sweepstakesE! Entertainment• 8 bonus 30-second units during Monsters, Inc. programming specials• Production and media for 60 10-second vignettes Disney Kids Network• 2-week promo schedule supporting Monsters, Inc. sweepstakes that drove traffic into Toys “R” Us storesAdditional Elements Starcom negotiated favorable shares for the ABC O&O and affiliate stations in Toys “R” Us ’ top 21 markets (reflecting each station’s relative strength in its market), as well as a presence in Disney’s key national magazines (Family Fun, Disney Magazine and Disney Adventures). In addition, Starcom built on an existing continuity-based relationship with Radio Disney and added an online program to the media plan to extend the Monsters, Inc. promotion.Other Partnership BenefitsStarcom laid the groundwork for a lasting partnership, which became evident after September 11, when the two companies teamed up on a program directed toward children. Toys “R” Us developed two programs – “Make a Flag, Make a Difference” and “First Aid for Feelings!” booklets – and ABC helped get the word out. Both Lifetime and the local TV stations provided the necessary production and promoted these programs on their Web sites with very little lead time. In addition, Good Morning America turned to Toys “R” Us to sponsor their holiday toy drive, designed to benefit children affected by the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent military action. Toys “R” Us made the first donation and ultimately helped to raise over $2 million. In return, Toys “R” Us received a total of 14 segments and more than 10 minutes of airtime on GMA from late November through Christmas. For Toys “R” Us, a series of corporate-wide initiatives in 2001 were anything but fun and games for the 53-year-old company. In fact, the toy retailer was all business when it launched an aggressive plan to get skeptical, time-pressured moms to give Toys “R” Us another look. To that end, the retailer significantly upgraded its stores nationwide and opened a new flagship in New York City’s Times Square. But capturing the attention of moms across the country was no simple charge and would take more than a traditional broadcast buy. Starcom went to work.The team developed a groundbreaking, cross-platform deal that went far beyond bundling and alliances to create a true partnership with legs. The deal teamed up Toys “R” Us with ABC in an unprecedented give-and-take relationship, one that developed into a lasting partnership. Extending from ad buys on a variety of Disney properties to on-air and in-store joint promotions to considerable Toys “R” Us coverage on Good Morning America, the deal represented not merely an exchange of money, but a two-way sharing of assets. Since both companies hoped to target the same audience – mothers – the level of synergy increased even further.Conceived, negotiated and executed by the Starcom media team, the plan succeeded beyond all expectations and raised the bar for future relationships between advertisers and media companies. The Toys “R” Us /ABC deal represents a sharing of assets that transcends the typical relationship between an advertiser and media company. In negotiating the deal, Starcom was able to leverage not only Toys “R” Us’ potential advertising investment, but the national exposure a relationship with Toys “R” Us would give to some of ABC’s key properties. The result was a win-win situation: Toys “R” Us extended its visibility far beyond a typical advertising campaign, while borrowing on ABC’s credibility. Meanwhile, ABC and Disney assets were both given a boost thanks to Toys “R” Us ’s ability to reach mothers and their children.The breadth of the relationship extended from traditional advertising on ABC and Disney-owned television, radio and magazine outlets to co-sponsorships to Web promotions to cross-promotions to coverage by ABC’s Good Morning America. Following September 11, ABC even helped promote two Toys “R” Us initiatives – The “Make a Flag, Make a Difference” program and the “First Aid for Feelings!” booklets.

The results of this dynamic and far-reaching relationship say it all: In January, Toys “R” Us sales were up 2% nationwide. In February, the toy industry named Toys “R” Us Marketer of the Year. Sales at the flagship store in Times Square exceeded all expectations, breaking the $1 million mark in a single day on more than one occasion. The store is now seeing returns on an average that far exceed those of FAO Schwartz - one of its primary competitors - on its highest day.

Execution

For Toys “R” Us, a series of corporate-wide initiatives in 2001 were anything but fun and games for the 53-year-old company. In fact, the toy retailer was all business when it launched an aggressive plan to get skeptical, time-pressured moms to give Toys “R” Us another look. To that end, the retailer significantly upgraded its stores nationwide and opened a new flagship in New York City’s Times Square. But capturing the attention of moms across the country was no simple charge and would take more than a traditional broadcast buy. Starcom went to work.The team developed a groundbreaking, cross-platform deal that went far beyond bundling and alliances to create a true partnership with legs. The deal teamed up Toys “R” Us with ABC in an unprecedented give-and-take relationship, one that developed into a lasting partnership. Extending from ad buys on a variety of Disney properties to on-air and in-store joint promotions to considerable Toys “R” Us coverage on Good Morning America, the deal represented not merely an exchange of money, but a two-way sharing of assets. Since both companies hoped to target the same audience – mothers – the level of synergy increased even further.Conceived, negotiated and executed by the Starcom media team, the plan succeeded beyond all expectations and raised the bar for future relationships between advertisers and media companies.

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