Toys R Us Takes Geoffrey On The Road

This giraffe is ready to party. To remind kids around the country that Toys R Us is alive and well at their local Macy's, the retailer plans an immersive multicity experience for families this fall. Geoffrey's Tour Across America will focus on entertainment, food -- and, of course, toys. Kim Miller, chief marketing officer, tells Retail Insider what's behind the road trip.

Retail Insider: Let's start with an ownership update. The company has had plenty of ups and downs since the 2017 bankruptcy.

Kim Miller: WHP Global acquired Toys R Us in 2021, and we now generate $2 billion in sales. It's been quite a ride. We have 1,350-plus stores in over 30 countries. We call them the G-30 for Geoffrey.

From the beginning, there's been a lot of magic and emotional connection to this brand. Now, it's the 2.0 version. The love is incredible, yet we can bring in all the modern aspects of it. We're building a community around the brand and conversations with consumers around the globe. Fans are excited about it as well.

We've updated the song. It's the same melody, with a little R&B. We've created the Geoffrey Dance, which has gone global.

Retail Insider: Why did he need a dance? Other than the obvious TikTok reasons?

Miller: To celebrate his birthday! He's never had a birthday before, and we made it Oct. 17, very close to the kickoff of the holiday toy season. He's nine and a half. He'll always be nine and a half, like Elmo will always be three. The toy industry is very holiday-focused, birthday-focused, present-focused, treat-focused.

Retail Insider: Besides your mascot, what are the brand's underpinnings?

Miller: We are again becoming the retail authority on the pillars of play. Knowing what play and toys mean to children and parents is important. It's key to human development -- musically, language-wise, and small and big motor skills. Play is essential.

Through COVID, parents and kids connected in a way that hadn't happened before. They were in one place, and play became something parents and kids engaged in again. And parents realized the value of it.

We've been working on empowering parents through social media, tools, videos and buying guides. That's a big distinguisher for this brand.

Retail Insider: What attracted you to this job?

Miller: My history is very much in lifestyle, and I thought bringing a new generation to Toys R Us was exciting. I had worked with Martha Stewart, and this was a little like the Martha and Snoop of it all, reinventing and modernizing it.

Retail Insider: How are you approaching marketing?

Miller: There's a commercial for the holidays, paid media, and the Toys R Us catalog. And a lot of traditional stuff is happening in stores. That's important. In Macy's Herald Square, there's a playground and a giant Lite-Brite. But no matter the footprint, every Macy's has toy tables so kids can unbox and play with toys. The experience combination of the two brands is powerful.

Retail Insider: What's the goal of the tour?

Miller: We're in every Macy's, where we're a 365-day-a-year storyteller. And I want Geoffrey to be to us what Mickey Mouse is to Disney. He's a hit on TikTok, with about 900,000 followers. He's on YouTube. Gen Z has embraced him. And every millennial is a Toys R Us kid. He's part of this nostalgia. So we're bringing back the Geoffrey Mobile, a wrapped tour bus with some fun bells and whistles so that he can fit in it.

The primary purpose is to bring awareness that Toys R Us is every Macy's. We call them "playcations" -- families can come down and have fun.

The three-day events will be in parking lots and serve as a connector back to stores. We'll start late summer, and it's also a big runway for back-to-school and into the holiday season. And we'll have a Santa-type tracker, so kids can know when he's getting close to their town.


Retail Insider: I don't know why, but it has always irked me that he's Geoffrey with a GEO, not Jeffrey with a J. What's the backstory on that?

Miller: I don't even know who we could ask to figure that out. He’s been around a long time. So I don't know about Geoffrey and the GO. But I know he is the OG.

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