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Toys R Us applies the sticky nature of mobile video in new ads

In its latest ad campaign, Toys "R" Us is tapping traditional television spots and social media networks in a cross-platform strategy that encourages consumers to share how toys inspire their everyday lives.

The unveiling of a new hashtag #LetsPlay is being disseminated across the most popular destinations visited respectively by desktop, mobile and tablet users, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube with premier placements on Hulu and Hulu Plus. Content includes commercial clips, behind-the-scenes photos and video from the broader ?C?mon Let?s Play? marketing plan.

?We know that Play can happen in a planned activity or spontaneously almost anywhere, and we?re taking advantage of different avenues to continue telling our campaign story where our fans frequent,? said Adrienne O?Hara, director of PR for Toys?R?Us.

?When we approached the campaign, we wanted to develop a visually compelling brand marketing program that showed how we, as a specialty toy retailer, have the unique ability to help fuel kids? imaginations with the toys we carry.?

?Toys are not commodities; for kids, they are the gateway to dreams. Through the ?C?mon, Let?s Play? campaign, we?re showing kids, and kids-at-heart? in a way they well understand? that Toys ?R? Us is a special place where imagination and creativity have no limits,? she said

Toying with virality
By 2017, video will account for 69 percent of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco, and is quickly becoming a key means for consumers to satisfy their information and entertainment needs. More and more retailers are realizing that video is the future of content marketing as Nielsen claims 64 percent of marketers expect the medium to dominate their marketing strategies in the near future.

The brand campaign was designed in partnership with advertising agency The Escape Pod and ?Action Movie Kid? YouTube channel creator Daniel Hashimoto.

Serving as inspiration for this new brand campaign was one of Hashimoto's original 'Action Movie Kid' viral videos filmed at his local Toys "R" Us, which shows his three-year-old son James playing with a toy light saber he picked up off the shelf and magically unleashing its powers via special effects, as though he were a real-life Star Wars character.

Toy Lightsaber viral video

Toys "R" Us partnered with Hashimoto to direct its latest TV ads, which include 15- and 30-second spots that will serve as the cornerstone of the company?s ?C'mon, Let's Play? program and air on all major cable networks and in cinemas nationwide during G and PG rated films.

The first TV spots to air capture children playing with toys inside a Toys "R" Us store and illustrate how their imaginative dreams become a fun reality. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gear, for example, magically transforms kids into their favorite superheroes. Playing with a beloved Imaginarium train set unlocks a make-believe world in which a child becomes a railroad conductor. ?C'mon, Let's Play? visually demonstrates that toys can help develop creativity, improvisation and social skills, as the retailer continues to invest in targeted, digital marketing efforts to develop meaningful customer relationships and further drive brand engagement.

The power of video
The reach of video is peerless as evidenced by YouTube, which receives more than 1 billion unique visitors every month, more than any other channel apart from Facebook for a weekly audience of near 20 million.

San Francisco-based camera company GoPro launched its channel four years ago and started producing videos as a way to promote its cameras. But the popularity of the campaign took a life of its own, and now GoPro is taking a cue from its customers and producing many of its own videos as well. The change has tripled their amount of views so far this year proving that if brands are able to engage viewers they will not only share the video with others, but spend more time interacting with a business.

GoPro has become the leader of a new trend among businesses to market its product and build a brand through online videos to garner attention and the medium?s inherent shareability.

For any social media campaign or SEO exercise, video is one of the best tools in the kit, owing to its natural ability to engage and lend to easily digestible content that in an age of information overload, is paramount for keeping the attention of consumers.

Axonn Research found seven in 10 people view brands in a more positive light after watching interesting video content from them. And with production costs dwindling, companies with a limited budget can utilize YouTube and apps such as Vine, with its 6 second clip length, to increase opportunities and gain competitive advantage on new fronts.

Toys ?R? Us does well in promoting across multiple channels to realize video's potential. Social media is an important factor to consider when making it easy for users to find and share content on various devices. Ooyala has claimed a tenth of all video plays happen on mobile and tablets, and it's an increasingly important segment, with mobile phones holding 41 percent more share of video consumption at the end of last year than at the start.

?We?ve got incredibly passionate fans across all of our social channels, and with more than four million followers on Facebook alone, and a growing base on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest, among others, we know that when we have a platform for fun conversations to live, our fans get involved,? Ms. O?Hara said.

?With #LetsPlay for example, we?ll keep fans engaged with fresh content and updates, including exclusive news, behind-the-scenes footage from the ad shoot and special deals tied to the campaign.?

?We?ll also continue sharing relevant toy-related news, timely trends and our fans? best photo and video content to keep things fresh and fun on a daily basis,? she said.

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York