Retailer: Toys `R’ Us
Promotion: The Grinch Holiday Whobilation
Sweepstakes Only At Toys `R’ Us
Number of Participating Stores: 700
Length of Promotion: Two Months
Toys `R’ Us customers will be seeing green this holiday season-in more ways than one. On November 16, the Paramus, New Jersey-based retailer will kick off a massive sweepstakes promotion in support of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas-Universal Studios’ live-action adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss book, which is due to arrive in theaters this month.
Valued at US$2 million, the Grinch sweeps will give customers shots at winning a grand prize of US$1 million, four first prizes of US$250,000, one US$50,000 Visa credit, three 2001 Dodge Caravans, a trip to Universal Studios theme park for a family of four, 10 US$1,000 shopping sprees through Toys `R’ Us, and 10 US$500 shopping sprees through toysrus.com.
For the Grinch initiative, TRU is bringing back the scan-and-win format that it used initially for its Toy Story 2 holiday promotion in `99. From November 11 to December 12, Toys `R’ Us will distribute Grinch game pieces in its circulars sent out to households throughout the U.S. Consumers are encouraged to tear out the bar-coded pieces, take them to a local Toys `R’ Us and run them under a scanner to see if they’ve won. The potential for instant gratification, and the fact that consumers won’t have to purchase any merchandise to participate in the sweepstakes, are major draws for customers, says Mike Tabakin, director of licensing, sales promotion and partnership marketing at Toys `R’ Us.
‘In essence, it’s like giving people a free lottery ticket. Consumers are going to have to do their Christmas shopping anyway, but if they’re on the fence about where they’re going to shop, hopefully we’re giving them another reason to come to us because we’re offering them chances to win some tremendous prizes,’ says Tabakin.
The scan-and-win sweepstakes, with its heavy media support, has already proven an effective traffic booster for the retailer during its busiest shopping period of the year. According to Tabakin, last year’s Q4 Toy Story 2 promo drew four times as many participants as conventional initiatives (albeit with considerably smaller media campaigns) the retailer has run previously during the same period.
In addition to its circulars, TRU will market the Grinch sweeps and distribute the game pieces through the November issue of Women’s Day magazine, Carol Wright mailers and Visa billing statements, as well as a direct mailer TRU will send out to its most frequent shoppers. Additionally, a TV commercial explaining how the sweepstakes works began airing in the U.S. in late October. Collectively, TRU’s media efforts are expected to generate 280 million consumer impressions. Last month, toysrus.com began offering a Grinch feature shop on-line, showcasing various products based on the movie, as well as the Whobilation game.
To get consumers in Grinch shopping mode, TRU will dress up its stores this month to resemble Who-ville, the fictional town from the book and the movie.
‘Because of the property’s Christmas theme, we’ve been able to create a much greater visual presence throughout our stores than we could for Toy Story 2,’ says Tabakin. Each of TRU’s stores will have a Grinch feature shop decked out in green fur and other key visual elements from the film. TRU’s seasonal areas will also be fitted with Grinchian touches, as will all of its price scanners and register polls. Starting this month at TRU’s Herald Square location in New York City, eight-foot-tall 3-D renderings of the film’s characters will greet visitors at one of the store’s entranceways. TRU will also give away 250,000 Grinch Christmas cards to shoppers who purchase any merchandise from its stores.
As well, Grinch master toy licensee Playmates is creating electronic figures and plush ornaments that will be sold exclusively through Toys `R’ Us stores.