Get out your crayons and mobile phones. The Toys 'R Us holiday catalog drops this week. At 96 pages, "The Great Big Toys 'R Us Book of Awesome" is its biggest issue ever and includes interactive elements for the first time.
"The Big Book, as we call it internally, is done every year, but this is a significant revamp of the catalog. What we've done is add more pages, a lot more product authority, interactive virtual reality and lifestyle spreads," said Rich Lennox, Toys 'R Us chief marketing officer. "We felt over time, it had become a little bit too much of a sales promotional vehicle and it had lost some of its magic."
The magic added back in includes interactive elements that live on the content-driven lifestyle spread pages. Consumers who download the new Geoffrey Shuffle app to iPhone or Android devices can use it to hover over one of the eight special spreads to get a 3D pop-up shuffle game. It's played like a shell game, with Geoffrey and two other toys in wrapped boxes then mixed around for the player to guess where the iconic giraffe ends up.
"We're looking for a way to make sure the Great Big Book of Awesome remains relevant, and therefore it can't stay completely within a paper format," Mr. Lennox said.
The idea is reminiscent of a similar effort from Ikea from 2012, which implemented digital features to modernize its own much-anticipated catalog.
Wil Boudreau, chief creative officer at BBDO, Atlanta, said the idea behind the catalog creative is to herald the arrival of the Big Book like a big movie premiere. Still to come is a catalog-specific TV, radio and online live action work that features kids reacting to Big Book. "The Christmas tradition of looking through pages and pages of toys for kids has never gone away. It's behavior that we know happens but we've never talked about before as something to look forward too. We wanted to create excitement and interest prior to it dropping, like a movie release," he said.
The new Big Books will be mailed this week and will also be available in stores. A condensed 48-page version will be online at toysrus.com and inserted in local newspapers on Oct. 31.
The 2015 catalog name and launch ties into the Toys 'R Us recently launched "Awwwesome" TV, digital and print advertising campaign created by its ad agency BBDO. In previous years, the catalog had been called The Great Big Christmas Book and The Great Big Toys 'R Us Wish Finder.
Read more about the 2015 Toys 'R Us holiday catalog on Adage.com.