, Japan

Toys “R” Us Japan wins Marketing Initiative of the Year in 17th Retail Asia Awards

This is for the Toys "R" Us Asia's Dream Toy Creator Contest.

As a known toys retail brand across countries globally, Toys “R” Us Japan initiated a new contest in 2021 which gained recognition within the marketing community.

It held its inaugural, first-of-its-kind toy design competition in Japan for children to fuel their imagination and provide them with a platform to showcase their creativity to the world.

It is a unique campaign designed to stimulate children's imagination and creativity to bring their dreams to life.

The contest was held across Japan from July to August 2021. It was open to and invited pre-school and primary school children to design their very own dream toy.

Each category was carefully planned out and different mechanics were laid out.

The pre-school entries were judged on the quality of their drawings, whilst the primary school entries were judged on creativity, imagination, how popular the toy would be and the creator’s ability to convey their ideas.

Finalists gave a remote presentation, explaining the background, thoughts, and ways of playing that led to the toy ideas they created.

Illustrations of finalists’ artwork were refined by a professional animator and turned into artistic drawings which were showcased in a special exhibition.

To effectively promote the event, the company made use of the digital space to execute the campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was also done to support the use of technology among children.

It worked with Youtubers who fell within the same age range as the contest participants. Online cartoons were also created to target parents and help them understand the benefits of the campaign.

From here, children were directed to upload their drawings on a website especially launched for this campaign. The works were open for viewing by the public.

For the judging process, Toys “R” Us partnered with influencers who were popular among children and with experts on toys and toy designs. This was to make sure that there was a balance in perspectives.

Winners were awarded with Toys “R” Us credits which can be used to buy toys. In effect, this also helped drive in-store traffic.

The grand winner of the event was an 11-year-old primary schoolboy who won for his work entitled “Mom’s Anger Barometer Scale”.

To parallel the contest, the company also held an internal Dream Toy Creator event to drive staff engagement in its office and stores across Japan.

For this project, the company was given the Toys & Games Retailer of the Year – Japan award in the recently concluded 17th Retail Asia Awards. It is a prestigious annual event that gathers the region's best retailers and recognises the most outstanding retail initiatives.

In giving this award, it took into consideration three of its achievements.

First is that it provided an opportunity for children to showcase their creativity to the world. Second is that the number of submissions reached 3,280, and third, parents appreciated the opportunity offered to connect with their children through the creation process.

The 17th Retail Asia Awards is presented by Retail Asia. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2023 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's outstanding retail initiatives, please contact Jane Patiag at [email protected].

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