This week, Toys "R" Us sent out a store closing sale email that looked like an ad designed by one of those "Going Out of Business" companies. You know, the ones that have those garish signs and offer deeper discounts each week.
The look of the ad was bad enough. What was worse, as Gerrick Johnson, BMO Capital toy analyst told me, was that it was a one-size fits all blanket email. It went to everyone rather than just to customers living near the effected stores. The technology is there (has been there) to pinpoint specific areas. Why wasn't it used?
As a result, consumers who receive the email are seeing the garish red and yellow, end of the world sized font, and could easily think that the entire chain is going out of business. Yes, it says "Selected Stores Only" but how many people, these days, pay that close attention. To consumers it could well look like the beginning of the end.
Which leads me to ask the question: Has senior management given up and is "getting it over with" or are they so distanced from the marketplace that they are tone deaf?
If senior management intends to end Toys "R" Us as a business, then why destroy the brand? Toys "R" Us the company belongs financially to its investors. The brand, however, belongs to every toy company that has, for decades, invested their products, their promotions and their good will in making the Toys "R" Us brand stand for something. It belongs to every employee that gave his or her heart and soul. And it belongs to every consumer who created a memory by visiting the store.
This is not the way to end the life of our national toy brand. The consumer, the industry and their employees deserve better…far better.