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10/25/2013

Toys"R"Us, Come Outside With Us!

Toys"R"Us just put out a video that seemingly pits nature vs. toys. The bus guide even says he likes trees, but that toys are more fun.

I don't think Toys"R"Us was trying to pit nature against toys and consumerism, maybe they were.  A casual viewing of the video would lead someone to think that. And they hardly give nature a chance in the commercial. Showing flash cards of leaves is not exciting. If that versus a toy store were my options, I’d choose the toy store every time at age 8 and now at age 35.

However, if they had given the kids an hour of romping around in the woods and climbing trees, splashing pebbles in streams, and rolling in the dirt, then asked them if they wanted to go inside and wonder around on linoleum under fluorescent lights under adult supervision, I think the kids would choose to stay outdoors. The problem is, we don't give kids today enough opportunity to play outdoors and to use their imagination. Flash cards aren't inspiring, but real leaves and real trees are amazing.

Further, if you were to give a kid the choice of something that would be fun to play with in the outdoors, I think you'd see those kids run into the toy story, grab whatever that toy might be, and run straight back outside. The problem isn't so much Toys"R"Us here, rather it's that we've become a culture where inactivity and sedentary play are the default for most kids, and Toys"R"Us is capitalizing on that trend.

So, yes, Toys"R"Us, take down the advertisement that was made with all the right intentions but with horrible consequences, and instead, let's go take those 200 kids outside together in the woods in whatever town or city the advertisement was shot for a fun day in the woods. Bring your CEO and your creative team and we'll all play together! Just tell me when, or we can even plan the day!



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