Why Toys R Us Should End Its New Ad Campaign
To encourage early holiday shoppers, Toys R Us has released a new ad in which they surprise a bus full of bored kids with a trip to a Toys R Us store, where they are free to choose any toy they like. The kids erupt in cheers. Everyone is happy. As promised, Toys R Us turns frowns upside down. But why were kids frowning in the first place?
The ad depicts the kids on their way to a field trip to a forest, with a dull game of name-that-leaf underway as they depart on the bus. The kids are bored, falling asleep, and clearly unimpressed. Here's where we have an issue with Toys R Us, and why we've asked them to stop running this ad:
Trips to the Forest Are Good for Kids
Decades of research has demonstrated that visiting natural areas is good for kids: it boosts their creativity, helps them concentrate, helps them build coordination and balance, helps them learn to assess risks, keeps them healthy, and more. Unfortunately, research suggests that kids are getting less and less time outdoors, and they're paying the price. We need to be doing all we can to encourage kids to get outside more, not less.
Trips to the Forest Are Fun
Yes, toys are super fun. We love them! But things that are made from plastic are not more fun than things that are made from nature. Natural places offer endless opportunities to create and explore and connect with friends—many of the same features that toys try to capture. And let's not forget that the stick is in the Toy Hall of Fame.
Environmental Education Is Vital
Our world—the world that the kids in that commercial will inherit—is facing a lot of really tough environmental challenges. Environmental educators are working hard every day developing fun, interactive, and surprising ways to connect kids to the natural world and help them develop the skills they need to protect it. It's hard work, and the people who do it are completely dedicated to it. And research shows that it works. As a company that's for kids, Toys R Us should be supporting that work, not disparaging it.
Many companies are doing great work to support the effort to connect children with nature. The Walt Disney Corporation, another company focused on children, even has a whole program dedicated to it. We think Toys R Us should have the same kind of commitment. We hope lots of kids find great toys under the tree this Christmas, but not at the expense of the forests. Join us in letting Toys R Us know we don't support their new ad campaign.