Toys R Us employs AI for rebranding efforts

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AI Rebranding

Toys R Us has recently made waves by creating a brand movie with OpenAI’s text to video tool, in a bold attempt to refresh their image. This innovative approach, one of the first instances of generative AI technology in advertising in 2024, has been met with interest and acclaim. Readers find the company’s fresh approach to showcasing their inventory engaging and unique, and the perfect blend of technological innovation and traditional business wisdom.

The ad itself shines a light on its AI-creation, blending cutting-edge techniques with a seamless viewer experience. Framed as a product of AI, it highlights how Toys R Us is leveraging current technology trends to maintain relevancy. However, questions remain about the impact of such an approach on customer engagement.

Christine Moorman, a marketing professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, has expressed doubt over the long-term effectiveness of AI-based advertising. She points out the risk of alienating audiences and the importance of responding empathetically to customer preferences and norms. So, whether the public reception will be enthusiastic or apprehensive towards Toys R Us’ AI-based approach, only time will tell.

According to Moorman, responses to AI ads may vary greatly depending on demographics.

AI in Toys R Us’ rebranding campaign

Older customers could be less receptive, while younger, tech-savvy customers may find it more appealing. Moorman also highlights the need for more meaningful consideration of factors such as socioeconomic status, education level, and attitudes towards technology, when planning targeted marketing strategies.

AI in advertising is not exclusive to Toys R Us. Brands like Under Armour and Levi’s are already using it to create innovative content and set themselves apart as forward-thinking companies in the eyes of both consumers and investors. Examples include Under Armour’s AI ads that directly interact with consumers, and Levi’s use of virtual fashion models.

In contrast, some brands, like Dove, are focusing on human-centered strategies. They believe in the power of story-telling, emotion, and individual context for delivering authentic and empathetic campaigns. Dove’s campaigns have demonstrated that prioritizing people over technology can also be a winning strategy.

Asa Hiken, a tech journalist, agrees that while the quality of AI ads is set to improve, debates over their use and potential drawbacks will continue. He believes that the industry is not yet ready to unanimously endorse AI in advertising. Therefore, the adoption of AI in advertising will likely continue to be a hot topic in 2024 and beyond.