innovative in-store promos & p.o.p. with pop

Retailer: Toys `R' Us...
November 1, 1999

Retailer: Toys `R’ Us

Promotion: Buzz and Woody’s Toy Roundup Only at Toys `R’ Us and Kids `R’ Us

Number of participating stores: 1,000

Length of Promotion: Two months

Until now, a common failing of most in-store sales promotions has been the inherent problems they pose to retailers who want to accurately gauge their success once they’ve come and gone.

‘It’s very difficult to quantify a sales promotion, because you can never really know if people are coming into the store specifically to enter a contest or sweepstakes, for example, or whether they’re already in the store and happen to notice the promotion as they’re shopping,’ says Michael Tabakin, director of sales, promotions and licensing at Toys `R’ Us.

With the contest TRU has mounted for Toy Story II, Tabakin is confident the Paramus-based toy retailer has taken the guesswork out of judging consumer responsiveness toward promotions.

Branded under the moniker of Buzz and Woody’s Toy Roundup Only at Toys `R’ Us and Kids `R’ Us, the contest coincides this month with the theatrical release of Toy Story II, Disney and Pixar’s follow-up to the hugely successful 1995 kidflick Toy Story. The promo gives consumers a shot at winning a host of goodies, including US$1 million, Chevy Astro Vans, Mongoose mountain bikes, US$25,000 credit from Visa, family trips to Walt Disney World, free Toy Story II Game Boy titles and US$1,000 shopping sprees courtesy of Toys `R’ Us.

Unlike most store contests, however, where consumers need to drop a form into an entry box in order to be eligible to win, for this contest TRU has put a digital gloss on the scratch-and-win convention.

Here’s how the promo works: Starting November 7, Toys `R’ Us will begin distributing 250 million UPC codes or game pieces in each of its circulars, which go out to 50 million U.S. households. Consumers will be instructed to cut out the game piece from the roto and take it to their local TRU/KRU to get it scanned to see if they’ve won any prizes. Customers will be able to check their barcodes using one of the five scanning machines that TRU/KRU already has stationed throughout each of its stores for patrons who want to confirm the price of a product.

‘With the scannable game pieces, we’ll know exactly how many customers are coming into the store to participate in the sales promotion. It’s a tremendous marketing solution for us,’ says Tabakin.

In theory, the prospect of finding out in real time if you’ve won a prize should serve to drive consumers to TRU/KRU stores. It will also have the added benefit of forcing them to look more closely at the contents of TRU circulars, Tabakin says, while they’re searching for their game pieces. Toys `R’ Us will be running a commercial explaining the details of the contest, which is slated to air on major network and cable services beginning November 8.

In-store, TRU will promote the contest with Buzz and Woody P.O.S. signage located at each of the scanning machines; near the Toy Story II merchandising walls, which will house all the tie-in movie products; and in every department where licensed Toy Story II product is stocked. One of those areas will include the Barbie aisle, where customers will be able to find Tour Guide Barbie, the doll modeled on the Barbie character that appears in the movie, which master toy licensee Mattel produced and is distributing through TRU and Disney Studio Stores exclusively.

At a cost of US$1 million, the scan-and-win initiative is the most ambitious and expensive promotion TRU has ever done and brings together the highest number of corporate partners it has assembled for one promotion.

Mounting such a hefty promo was a way for TRU to maximize the impact of Toy Story II, which will likely duke it out with Pokémon: The First Movie for licensed kids merch sales supremacy during the all-important fourth quarter.

In a separate initiative, TRU has also tied-in with McDonald’s Restaurants. Starting on November 23, boxes of McDonald’s 20-piece McNuggets will feature Toy Story II artwork and a coupon good for US$3 off merchandise at TRU, KRU and with a minimum purchase of US$9.

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