"The Toys 'R’ Us Adventure is a mess, but worse, it looks cheap and feels cynical."
Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune
Tru Kids is, apparently, looking for any way possible to monetize its Toys R Us intellectual property. A case in point is the recent Chicago opening of the Toys R Us Adventure, produced in conjunction with Candytopia, a provider of pop-up, indoor interactive experiences.
Chicago Tribune writer, Christopher Borrelli, visited the new store and expressed his opinion in an article entitled: "Toys 'R’ Us falls down, goes boom on Michigan Avenue. New, ticketed Adventure is mostly a bust." He hated the experience.
Mr. Borrelli describes it as "…a branding experiment masquerading as a play space, sifted through a dissipating fog of lingering nostalgia, with a gift shop at the end." He goes on to say: " is not a return to those halcyon days. It is not the dream rekindled, or even the toy-store chain revived."
The cost of the experience is $28 for adults and $20 for children three and over. That totals out to $96 for a family of four. That's a lot of money for a brand that never charged an entry price.
There is an opportunity to buy toys in a small gift shop that features three brands: Melissa & Doug, Paw Patrol, and Schleich. It is hard to conceive of why a retailer, once billed as "the world's greatest toy store," would demean every thing it stood for by featuring only three brands.
Last year I visited a Candytopia event in New York City and found it to be overwhelmingly dull. It consisted of clever but static, candy based sculptures, a bunch of reused confetti, and a general sense of disappointment. The Toys R Us Adventure seems to be more of the same. As Mr. Borrelli puts it: "The Toys 'R’ Us Adventure is a mess, but worse, it looks cheap and feels cynical." It is difficult to understand what Toys R Us has to do with an overpriced, boring entertainment venue.
Is Toys R Us trying to rebuild the brand or just trying to get back some of what was lost with the bankruptcy, in any way possible? Based upon The Toys R Us Adventure, it is anybody's guess.
To learn more about Toys R Us and the bankruptcy, click here.