Babies `R’ Us crawls to Amazon
What’s good for the parentco is good for its subsidiaries. As part of its alliance with Amazon, Toys `R’ Us will move its Babies `R’ Us site over to the e-tailer’s platform this month. Coincident with the transition, Babies `R’ Us will unveil a number of changes.
Among them, the site will sport a cleaner, more sophisticated look to reflect the changes in infant fashions, which have become more lifestyle-oriented in recent years, says Toysrus.com spokesperson Jeanne Meyer. Other changes will include the launch of new features, such as a comparison-shop function that allows shoppers to simultaneously compare a product’s price and specs with other items in the same category, and an e-mail service for first-time moms.
Tentatively titled Ages and Stages, the optional service will send weekly e-mails to expectant moms containing health tips and advice that is indexed to the stage of each woman’s pregnancy. Parenting.com, which recently inked a content agreement with Babies `R’ Us, will supply the e-mail editorial, which will contain product suggestions towards the end of each woman’s term.
In support of the Babies `R’ Us transition to Amazon, Toysrus.com will launch a massive e-mail and direct mail campaign to its customers, as well as highlighting the move in its next Babies `R’ Us catalog in September.
Power Rangers to land at TRU
Toys `R’ Us will transport kids to a different galaxy with the launch of Saban’s Power Rangers Time Force Time Blaster virtual reality ride. The ride, which Saban will set up at 40 U.S. TRU locations, starting May 26 and running through to October 7, aims to duplicate the experience of space travel as it is portrayed in the franchise’s latest TV show. Among other authentic elements, the ride will treat passengers to a four-minute 3-D film and motion-based seating and atmospherics such as smoke, mist and odors. Saban expects to shuttle 200,000 consumers through the tour, each of whom will receive a copy of Fox Kids Magazine and a pair of 3-D glasses at the end. With a price tag in the neighborhood of US$3 million, the tour, which toyco Bandai is sponsoring, is the most expensive and ambitious store promotion Saban has mounted for Power Rangers to date.
‘What [kids] will get with the ride is a deep strong connection to the property and, hopefully, a whole lot of incentive to run right into that Toys `R’ Us store and buy a bunch of Power Rangers product,’ says Elie Dekel, president of consumer products and promotions at Saban.
So far, spending significant amounts of money on store promotions has proven to be a successful strategy for driving sales of licensed Power Rangers merchandise. In 1999, The Lost Galaxy Tour, which included a large inflatable world that Saban blew up in the parking lots of Wal-Mart, boosted sales of Power Rangers products by 400% at stores that hosted the event.
Starting last month, TRU began promoting Time Blaster in its circulars, and will continue supporting the event in its stores with related POP. Saban will provide additional exposure via Fox Kids Magazine, FoxKids.com, the Fox Family Countdown Radio Show and local TV affiliates. A Time Blaster sweepstakes, which runs till June, will see Saban loan the Time Blaster ride to the grand prize winner, to host his or her own private Power Rangers event.
Hasbro has a finger on what a girl wants
Though the US$225-million finger toys category is still predominantly a boys-only affair, Hasbro is betting its new line of miniature shoes, called Shoezies, will enable girls to participate in the craze.
‘Girls love to wear and collect shoes, and we’re trying to capture this pastime through Shoezies,’ says Valerie Jurries, director of girls toys at Hasbro. Targeted to girls ages eight to 11, Shoezies are modeled after the latest in women’s footwear fashions and come in 36 styles. The first three collections-Girls Night Out, Steppin’ Lively and She’s Got Style-were released nationwide last month at mass and specialty toy retailers. Each collection consists of six pairs of shoes (US$4.99 each), each with its own box. The other three collections-Big Night Out, Stars Are Out and Sittin’ Pretty-will hit stores in late July.
To help house all of the Shoezies Hasbro expects girls to buy, this month it’s releasing the Shoezies Display Center (US$12.99), which features a swivel floor and will hold up to 12 pairs of Shoezies. Hasbro kicked off its marketing campaign last month with girl-targeted TV spots, and is currently trying to secure placement of the product in TV shows and films.