Toys "R" Us began to notice that it was seeing its core customers in its stores only two or three times a year - for birthdays and holidays, primarily.
So the toy retailing giant commissioned CDI Group (New York) to design a graphics and fixturing package to place its name and products prominently where its customers most often shop - in the supermarket.
Placing p-o-p materials in supermarkets is notoriously competitive for brand marketers. "It was particularly challenging because Toys "R" Us was also asking the retailers to pay for the graphics package," says Anthony Deen, vp, design, with CDI, "so what we developed had to be enticing, exciting and attractive, and able to drive sales."
The Toy Box program that evolved is comprised of signage that sits on top of the markets' gondolas, end-cap signage, gateway signage, cardboard dump bins, shelf strips and, when space is available, a half-height, mid-aisle gondola.
A Toy Box logo features the familiar Toys "R" Us insignia and a series of swooping concentric circles, fins and arcs that give the program "a feeling of motion and dynamism," according to Deen. The Toys "R" Us stars are printed in 3-D, to provide shadow and dimensionality. The lettering is color-coordinated for boys' (green), girls' (yellow) and gender-neutral (light blue) products. The backing is also color-coordinated according to the 12 product categories that CDI developed, such as Construction Toys, Creative Playthings, Cars And Trucks, Adventure Toys, Action Figures, Pre-School, Dolls, etc. There's also a dedicated Barbie section and one called Geoffrey's Picks (highlighting close-out and special promotional items).
The retailers participating in the pilot program - the Jewel/Osco division of Albertson's and three Ahold USA subsidiaries (Giant Foods, Stop & Shop and Tops Market) - allotted Toys "R" Us either a single run (one entire side of a 96-foot aisle), double run (both sides) or a half run. The program was first tested in 40 stores, and will now be rolled out across the entire Albertsons chain.
Client: Toys "R" Us, Paramus, N.J. - Francesca Brockett, executive vp, strategic planning and business development
Design: CDI Group, New York - Anthony Deen, Nadia Zaprianska, David Pinter, Flavio DiBlasio, design team
Supplier: Miller Zell, Atlanta (fixtures, graphics, signage)
Photography: David Hautzig, New York