Brand in the news: Toys 'R' Us

There are times when looking back (nostalgia) can be a warming, enlightening, reassuring experience and an affirmation of how far a business has travelled. For me, the best recent example was Virgin Atlantic's 25th anniversary ad, which made us cringe and admire in equal parts - the 80s were a bit tacky (the man spills Wimpy ketchup down his front and look at the size of that mobile!), but Virgin, on the other hand, was and is a true trailblazer.

I have always had a soft spot for Toys 'R' Us. It's a great brand, which broke the conventions of the category. This year my children got to spend way too much time in the magical flagship store in New York, Ferris wheel and giant Lego characters being among the attractions.

But is that reality? Rerunning the 1989 TV spot might tick the warm nostalgic feeling box, but I am concerned that the current UK superstore format is no longer as enticing as it once was. In 1989, it was like nothing we had experienced before, but, while the 'Magical place' ad might bring back fond memories, I fear the reality is somewhat different 20 years on.


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