Fun, cheer, and good times are to be had....
...but not for everybody.
I mean dogs are hiding underneath furniture in fear of the "apocalypse".
But besides that, Toys R' Us' Geoffery the Giraffe is now unemployed.
That's right, as you probably already heard by now, the department store that sells exclusively toys is going under and the Internet is freaking out and crying after they posted this little Toys R Us viral photo tearjerker:
Some people didn't care, some people said they were too poor to go to Toys R' Us to begin with, but most people were quite upset and here are some of the Top Sad Tweets About Toys R' Us Closing:
1. I think this person meant "movie" and not motive here, but the sentiment remains: it's a sad story.
Well the answer to the question of whether it was great is: yes and no.
See, there was a time when Toys R' Us WAS great, it WAS the toy store to go to, it WAS a child's dream land, but they stopped keeping up with the times and then just WASN'T.
Back in the 90s, the prime of Toys R' Us, a lot of kids have memories of running into Toys R' Us and seeing...TOYS! From cars to dolls to action figures to Pogs and Crazy Bones it was all there. It was exciting, like an adventure. there was no other place like it.
You have to realize stores back in the day were boring; they didn't have toys. Mom and Dad picked up Pet & Cleaning Supplies, Clothes, and Groceries and dragged you along, throwing you in the child seat of cart. Your little butt would hurt and you wanted to get out but Mom and Dad wouldn't let you because they didn't want you getting lost. So you were trapped in a vehicle you had no control over driving.
Some grocery and department stores added steering wheels to the carts to give you the sense that you're driving, but even as a kid you were smart enoguh to realize it wasn't like a Power Wheel that you could actually control and drive around.
But Toys R' Us. That was for kids. That HAD toys. And not only did it have toys, but Mom and Dad didn't buckle you down in the cart. You were free.
You were Indiana Jones exploring the treasure chamber of an ancient tomb, You were Winnie the Pooh coming across a whole forest of BeeHives, you were Sonic the Hedgehog finding a whole festival full of chili dogs.
You were a kid in a toy store.
That feeling. That excitement. That happiness. That energy.
It all sticks with you. It leaves a permanent imprint in your brain, like a tattoo that you're proud to show off.
People are upset because the place that gave them that experience is closing. But here's the thing: Toys R' Us hasn't been giving that experience for years.
Once other department stores took a look at what Toys R' Us was doing and stepped up their game by adding toy aisles, what happened?
Well, Toys R' Us was no longer special. Toys R' Us was no longer unique
Not only that but parents could get their shopping list done and let their kid play with toys all in one store rather than having to make a separate trip just to look at toys.
You can sit there and blame millennial not having kids, you can blame kids for being addicted to iPads,you can even blame the greed owners and executives for overcharging for their merchandise underpaying their employees, and fat filling their own wallets. But if you want to look at the truth instead of pointing at random scapegoats as a distraction, if you really want to boil down to the nitty gritty reason why Toys R' Us collapsed, then you'll have to take a look at how they failed to market themselves as a personable brand and provide a unique experience and value to their customers.
Toys R' Us became became utterly bland. Just selling toys is not enough. Now all their competitors were (and still are) selling toys: Target, Wal-Mart, etc.
In the 90s, just displaying a whole bunch of toys on the shelf alone was enough to attract a kid.
Now every store does that. So what if you do? What makes you different?
Sure, Toys R' Us did have exclusive giveaways and even in-store events with our good ole pal Geoffery.
But it LOOKED like Wal-Mart. It didn't LOOK like a toy store. It didn't FEEL like a toy store. And that's what sells (in general) - feelings. There are some exceptions of course, like the one in New York, but as a whole, in general, across the nation, Toys R' Us looked boring.
Earlier in the article when describing how they closed, I referred to Toys R' Us as: "the department store that sells exclusively toys." Let me tell you. I chose that wording very carefully.
They were not a Toy Store. They were just a store that sold toys. English is a tricky language, and yes there's a difference.
Let me give you an example.
One of favorite places to hang out is called "Barcade". It's a bar that of course serves food, drinks, and has arcade games. Nothing new; other bars have arcade games.
But they make the arcade games the entire theme of the bar. Barcade has old school retro video game arcade cabinets; stuff like Dig Dug, Pac-Man, Centipede, Tapper, and Rampage. Stuff you can't just find any more.
The drinks are overpriced but the games are cheap and you're paying for the experience. The same could be said about a strip club, but I digress.
It's interesting that Toys R' Us has received such viral attention in the past week when no one really cared for about shopping there the past decade
What they did is they tapped into one of the biggest sellers throughout history.
There's actually a whole case study about Coca-Cola using nostalgia to sell their "classic" beverage.
There was a time when they tried releasing a product called "New" Coca-Cola, which they advertised as a new recipe with a new flavor. The product was a total flop. Sales plummeted an letters of complaints surged, saying how bad it tasted.
Soon, Coca-Cola brought back the "Classic" flavor and sales absolutely sailed through the roof, reaching an all-time high.
Some marketing experts and sociologists argue that it was a bold and deliberate move and no accident at all. Psychologists will add that it's possible they never actually changed the recipe and simply changed the label as some sort of marketing research.
Whatever the case may be, Coca-Cola was trying to sell Nostalgia...and it worked!
Nostalgia is something that takes time to build. You gotta wait on it, let it saturate.
You have to procrastinate on it.
Procrastinate means you put it off, not that you totally avoid doing it at all. You have to Procrastinate with Purpose. You do things on your terms and when they will enable the most opportunity.T here's a saying about relationships that goes "absence makes the heart grow fonder."
This is true in regards to marketing as well. Sit, back, relax, and let your customers and clients miss something about a product or service a bit, but do so with strategy and purpose.
And for god's sake, don't use nostalgia marketing when the doors are already closed and the shelves are empty.
Until next time, take it easy. Take reeeaaaal easy.