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You can't buy a stick at a toy store!

posted on February 09 2014

Walking in the woods today with Zulema, I remembered a Toys R Us commercial that I heard about. The way it was told to me was: a bus full of kids are going on a field trip to learn about trees when the teacher throws them a curveball and takes them to Toys R Us. Of course, they all go wild with excitement.

As I crunched on some leaves and watched Zulema get huge excitement over finding a feather; she carried it around in her cupped hands because she didn't want it to fly away. I just couldn't believe that a commercial like that could actually exist.

Of course seeing kids get excited is contagious and yea they love toys but they also love nature. I wondered how no one at that big toy empire considered whether disassociating their brand with something as magnificent as nature would stand them in good stead? Surely they do big market studies on what their customers want, do Toys R Us customers think that taking their kids to a warehouse filled with plastic toys will bring a smile on their kids face, even more than discovering a random feather on a trail?

So after our walk, when I got home I looked it up. And it is completely astonishing. The whole time you think someone is going to let you in on the joke, but as far as I can tell it is 100% real. 

Also most of the kids on the bus are minorities, is this ad aimed at them? And isn't it a bit stereotypical to have the one Asian boy be the one who plays with the more scientific toys? Cringe. Cringe. Cringe. The whole thing speaks volumes of the soulless motivation behind some corporations. 

But then (and there is hope) a fabulous rebuttal. The incredibly witty folks at Child & Nature, an organisation that celebrates the merits of bringing children into the outdoors, put out a genius ad with a kick-ass message:

Love. Love. Love.

Strangely, the story doesn't seem to have been picked by any of the big newspapers and so I wonder how much money Toys R Us must spend with them?

Sometimes when people ask me about our shop, I say it's a little like the flip side of Toys R Us. 

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