Toys 'R' Us commercials though were probably my biggest influence and primary trigger to ask my parents to spend some hard-earned cash on toys. When the "I don't want to grow up" jingle was heard, it was full attention mode to see what was new or on sale. Looking back on these TV ads now though is a little weird. Some of the marketing ploys are pretty clear and show "the sign of the times." Other TRU ads were just plain strange and didn't make sense.
Here are 10 things I learned while rediscovering several Toys 'R' Us commercials from the '80s:
Several commercials featured mascot Geoffrey taking kids through a portal door to what we presume is his home world. In it, the kids lounge on large mushrooms and read oversized toy catalogs. And at the end of the ad, they shuffle down a yellow brick road that leads to a store. No offense Geoff, but unless you have life-sized G.I. Joe vehicles in your world, I think I'll pass.
If you can decipher the intended message in the ad above, I'd love to hear it. We've got parents dressing like their kids, destroying toys, and acting like fools. Apparently, they are also making their kids pedal their own cars to the store with them literally collapsing when they get home. Must be what happens when parents listen to bad hip hop?
"Okay Dear, today is your first day of summer break. If you want that talking bear for Christmas this year, you'll need to make twelve pumpkin pies a week for Grammy from now through the 3rd week of December."
You'd think giraffes would show a little more care for their calves (yes, I Googled what baby giraffes are called.) Driving with the top down in a snow storm with no seat belts (or snow treads) is just asking for a trip to the ER for Christmas if you ask me.
$34??!! You'd think after kids tried it out in the store and cartridges sat on the shelves that this ad probably got pulled off the air. I mean, I'm surprised my parents didn't have to take out a loan when they bought me my 2600 which was probably the $130 advertised price in this commercial. I'm almost certain if they had bought me E.T., I would've never got that Sega Master System years later.
In one of their trips to Geoffreyland, a random guy appears along side the TRU mascot. Who is he? Is he like Geoffrey's handler that escorts him around like TRU secret service? Apparently, he also likes Magnum, P.I. because he has an awesome mustache and is wearing what looks like a Detroit Tigers baseball cap. A little creepy if you ask me.
For years Toys "R' Us pounded that jingle into our heads which contained the line "there's a million toys at Toys 'R' Us that I can play with." The economy must have hit TRU hard one year because according to the above commercial, they downsized to 18,000 per store.
Toys 'R' Us knew what grabbed our attention in the '80s...robots. Large robots as tall as Geoffrey. If I had to guess, this 1986 commercial was the source of my plea to get a Rambo Skyfire Assault Helicopter for Christmas that year.
How else would you explain this commercial? It's definitely a cool concept of teaching "Asteroids 101." Maybe Matthew Broderick took this course in preparation for Wargames. But I still don't get why chose the "professor" as the love child of Dr. Ruth and the head Nazi in The Blues Brothers.
Look, I remember those crappy costumes back in the day with the sharp plastic masks held together with a rubber band and a staple. But it looks like TRU's Halloween budget was spent more on the cool animation in this commercial rather than their actual merchandise. I don't remember Big Bird being a pterodactyl and Yoda living in Smurf village.