brand evolution

Build-A-Bear Goes Digital: CMO Gina Collins on Engaging "Beyond the Plush"

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 20, 2015 02:16 PM

Ever since Gina Collins joined Build-A-Bear Workshop as CMO last year from Coca-Cola, her mission has remained the same: Maintain the brand’s core promise and move it into the digital age. 

The first Build-A-Bear store opened in 1997, and today there are over 400 stores worldwide—and more than 125 million furry friends travelling around the globe.

Build-A-Bear continues to focus on creative play, and each child selects a heart as they build their friends. A retail makeover program will start refreshing its stores, while it experimented with a pop-up in New York City's Times Square and temporary boutiques at Macy's and other retailers this past holiday season. On the digital side, the seven-year-old is shutting down with users being sent to instead.

Licensed toys continue to be a hit. Appealing to collectors of all ages, the company’s co-branded products include a Disney Princess line (with a limited edition $80 Cinderella Bear tied to the live action movie), a just-launched Easter collection and products inspired by Disney’s Frozen and Marvel characters in addition to Hasbro’s My Little Pony property. (Coming up: a collection tied to Disney's December release of JJ Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII.)

brandchannel spoke with Collins about how Build-A-Bear is evolving to address today’s—and tomorrow's—customers.Continue reading...


Sign of the Times Square: Toys "R" Us is Closing Iconic New York Store

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 18, 2015 01:12 PM

It’s a sad day for kids (if not weary parents) as Toys "R" Us prepares to shutter its 110,000-square-foot flagship retail store in the heart of Times Square, New York, by February.

Crowded and chaotic, the Broadway location has been one of New York's biggest tourist attractions for visitors with tots in tow since opening in Nov. 2001.

To be sure, there are thrills aplenty at the 16-year-old store, from the giant animatronic T-Rex and life-size Barbie dollhouse to the Superman holding up a car, giant LEGO creations, remote-controlled planes buzzing overhead and 60-foot-high ferris wheel. In short, it feels like a theme park as store.

But now, following a soft holiday season, it's simply got too much store, and may be broken up into numerious retail spaces as it hunts for a new home. Continue reading...

chew on this

Kraft Singles + Kids Eat Right Logo = Confusion For Some, Concern For Others

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 16, 2015 04:15 PM

The US Food and Drug Administration does not consider Kraft Singles to be cheese.

When Kraft called it “pasteurized process cheese food” in 2003, the FDA rejected the label because it contains “milk protein concentrate,” the New York Times reports. So Kraft opted instead for “pasteurized process cheese product.”

Despite that history, Kraft Singles will soon display a new logo on its packaging—one many consider misleading.

As part of a three-year deal with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to raise awareness about the lack of dairy, calcium and vitamin D in kids’ diets, the processed cheese slices will become the first product to carry the Academy's Kids Eat Right logo.Continue reading...

media brands

Kicking Off TV Upfront Season, Nick Revives Noggin Brand as Kids App

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 27, 2015 11:01 AM

At its upfront event for TV and digital advertisers this week, Viacom's Nickelodeon, now 35 years old, announced the resurrection of its former Noggin TV brand as a mobile app for preschoolers—and the return of beloved characters Moose A. Moose and Zee D. Bird.

Noggin, the cable channel that was renamed Nick Jr. in 2009 and went off the air in Feb. 2012, is relaunching as a $5.99/month ad-free subscription video service with kid-friendly content.

Coming to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch on March 5 (download the app here), titles at launch will include: Allegra’s Window, Blue’s Clues, Blue’s Room, Franklin and Friends, Gullah Gullah Island, Little Bear, Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends, Ni Hao, Kai-lan, Oswald, Pocoyo, Robot and Monster and The Upside Down Show.

“We are reintroducing the Noggin name with this new mobile service because of its built-in equity with moms and as a signal of the high-quality preschool content that will be curated for it,” stated Cyma Zarghami, the recently-promoted president of the Viacom Kids and Family Group. Continue reading...

license to thrill

Classic Toy Brands Look to the Future at the 2015 New York Toy Fair

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 17, 2015 11:01 AM

Hello Barbie ToyTalk talking doll

The 112th annual North American Toy Fair is on in New York, with licensing partnerships bringing together brands that tap into the toy industry's top trends of 2015, from the maker movement to tech innovation and beyond.

Case in point: Mattel is partnering with Google to reinvent the View-Master from its 1939 roots as a proto-3D virtual reality device, relying on cardboard disks with stereoscopic images inserted in a plastic device and observed through a viewfinder.

Now View-Master is using a different kind of cardboard: Google Cardboard, which uses an Android smartphone app to deliver a 360-degree animated environment.Continue reading...

bc q&a

#LikeAGirl After the Super Bowl: 5 Questions with Always on What's Next

Posted by Dale Buss on February 5, 2015 04:35 PM

Always Like a Girl

Of all the surprises in Super Bowl advertising this year—the dadvertising, the sadvertising, the screaming goat baaaadvertising—perhaps the biggest was how affecting P&G's Always Big Game commercial proved against the backdrop of the climax of the NFL season and the Big Game extravaganza.

Quietly, powerfully continuing the conversation sparked by the NFL's controversial handling of its domestic violence crisis this past season, the Always ad and the related #LikeAGirl social campaign took note of this context but did so in a surprising, engaging and not at all heavy-handed way.Continue reading...

CES Watch

CES 2015: Mobile Parenting Minds the Kids—and Pets

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 6, 2015 02:02 PM

Helicopter parents have hovered within the zeitgeist for at least the last five years—and consumer-electronic manufacturers are capitalizing with a slew of new gear being shown at this week’s CES 2015 show in Las Vegas.

Every angle of a baby’s existence can now be tracked and codified. Might hospitals want to add data-crunching and connectivity tips to the courses that are generally provided to new parents before they take their little one home?

Parents looking to take the temperature of their tiny tot can now just look at their mobile device. A "smart pacifier" from Pacif-i does all the work. And if your kid isn’t into pacifiers, the new TempTraq will do the trick. Its smart patch sticks to the child’s skin and syncs with a parent’s mobile device so they can get a steady stream of temperature readings.Continue reading...


IKEA Hires First Children's Illustrator in Residence to Engage Kids

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 19, 2014 10:34 AM

IKEA has a charming idea to enchant kids with the idea of the family meal—hire a kids' book illustrator to spark their imaginations.

The Swedish furniture retailer's UK team tapped artist Sarah Horne as "illustrator-in-residence" in a first for the brand.

Its Wembley store in London invited her in to collaborate with kids on ways to bring fun back to the dinner table—part of the brand's commitment to make every meal a special occasion and enhance the quality of life at home. 

See what happened below.Continue reading...

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