Toys “R” Us has entered the entertainment industry with a new production arm, and it’s using the popularity of Geoffrey the Giraffe to expand beyond selling toys.
“We want Geoffrey to be [to us] what Mickey Mouse is to Disney,” says Kim Miller, the retailer’s CMO and president of Toys “R” Us Studios. “We love that he resonates with three generations [of consumers].”
Miller says she was inspired to expand the company into production after seeing Hasbro, Mattel and MGA do the same, building brands through premium content programs. Miller sees the company’s edge in Geoffrey, who is well-known to consumers, and well liked.
The studio kicked things off last month by airing the first two episodes of its inaugural live-action series Geoffrey’s World Tour (10 x two minutes, pictured) on Toys “R” Us’ YouTube channel. In the series, the mascot makes stops in 10 cities around the world, including New York, Jerusalem and Hong Kong, to hear from kids about what makes their cultures special and what play means to them.
And Toys “R” Us Studios’ co-productions are off to a strong start, having inked a partnership for an upcoming three-episode miniseries on Nickelodeon’s YouTube channel. The yet-untitled production will debut in spring and is co-produced with Paramount’s marketing agency, Paramount Brand Studio. In it, contestants must answer questions correctly and complete challenges inspired by Geoffrey’s adventures around the world to avoid being slimed.
It was essential to hit digital-first with the studio’s initial set of projects to begin building a dedicated audience of kids online, Miller says.
“It just felt like a really good opportunity to start the relationship with the consumer and also build a sense of where we’re coming from and what our values are so that when we then go to the streamers and start pitching new shows they know what we’re about,” says Miller.
She adds that more projects starring Geoffrey are already in development and the studio is looking to work with other prodcos and celebrities on family-friendly content for TV and streamers in the future.