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Spoofs & Satire

Tricks, and Beer, Are for Kids

Adding another log to the public-relations pyre where several corporations recently burned, an exclusive, damning memo from Toys’R'Us.

Fellow Toys’R’Us Employees:

As you are aware, the executive board has been meeting for the past year to perform a comprehensive review of the company. We can now tentatively announce some decisions about the future of Toys’R’Us.

In recent years we have watched our bottom line shrink, and it has become increasingly difficult to retain our key market segment: the Toys’R’Us kid. To combat this, we have elected to go beyond toys. This was new ground for us, obviously, so to help with the transition, we consulted top executives from other reputable businesses such as Hewlett-Packard and tobacco firms like Phillip Morris. They have been very helpful, identifying several new products we can offer, and also advice on how to market them.
 

Lemonade

A financial titan in the kindergarten economy, lemonade always performs well in warm weather, irrespective of boom or recession. However, scientists have drawn attention to the drink’s high sugar content, linking it to both aggravated tooth decay and hyperactive giddiness, especially among the very, very young. Not necessarily good news for parents, but this is not Toys’R’Us’s concern.

The easiest way to success is the tried-and-true method of the lemonade stand. Benches will be assembled and distributed to individual retail locations. Stands are to be set up at strategic parking lot locations in front of each store. We recommend the employment of a well-placed cardboard sign that says “LEMONADE.” Adding a clever backwards “N” for effect will indicate to children that you are on their side, but proper business attire also demands their respect.

Anticipated Inquiry: Should you tie a balloon to the folding chair for effect? Final decision to be made by regional managers.
 

Tobacco

Big Tobacco has set the standard in this market for decades. Children as young as four continue to pick up cancer-causing and habit-forming tobacco products at respectable rates.

There are already plentiful supplies of sugary “gateway drugs” which glamorize this new line of merchandise. We encourage “giveaways” at your location in anticipation of new Toys’R’Us-brand chaw, menthols, filtereds, and unfiltereds. Candy cigarettes, for example, are cheap and readily available for distribution. In the smokeless sector, Big League Chew bubble gum lets children mimic the thrilling Major League Baseball experience of stuffing one’s mouth with deliciously vile chewing tobacco.
 

Beer

Nothing is bigger in marketing these days than synergy—collaborating on product placements with other businesses can spell financial windfall for everyone involved.

In that spirit, we will be teaming up our most popular children’s toys with America’s favorite adult beverage to capture the hearts of youngsters everywhere. Possibilities include beer bottles that resemble fire engines, dollhouses, or the host of Blue’s Clues. Toys’R’Us will also introduce a line of alcohol-themed board games. One idea we have analyzed is to repackage the game Candy Land as “Beer Land,” replacing the word “candy” with “beer” as necessary. We are thinking one of the characters should be called the “Wizard of Beer,” or something equally clever.
 

Hedge Funds

For years, Wall Street has been trying to sell the age 4-8 market on the idea of high-risk, high-return funds, but with little success. But nobody has approached the issue with our trademark creativity. Until now.

The solution is simple: a cute cartoon mascot for our new financial subsidiary, InvestaCorp. Starting in early 2007, we will regularly run a 60-second spot on Nickelodeon featuring our new investment division’s dynamic spokescreature, “Gloopy,” a blue dragon who dances around a sparkling flower patch and “accidentally” fails to disclose the monetary risks associated with hedge funds. Gloopy will be quite a hypnotic presence, and by this we mean he actually hypnotizes children. While his googly eyes spin, he will explain the advantages of an InvestaCorp plan. It will be music to the ears of every five-year-old when Gloopy talks about every five-year-old’s favorite things: stock diversification and early retirement. Children will be handing over their piggy banks left and right.

The commercial ends with a shot of happy koalas tickling Gloopy, followed by a voiceover that nicely combines our professional know-how and a child’s sensibility: “InvestaCorp: Serious, professional investment ventures, brought to you by a magical flute-playing dragon that has to go pee-pee.”
 

Diet Pills

It used to be if you wanted to make a child feel the need to lose a few pounds, you had to wait until he/she had reached adolescence. Teen magazines serve that market nicely, but what about our untapped pre-pre-teens?

For the semi-literate (under five), direct mailings work well, but avoid cursive writing, or numbers higher than 10. Promotional appearances at establishments such as Chuck E. Cheese provide a great introduction to your product, especially if you couple it with free sample giveaways.

Possible lines which can be employed to snag customers:

  1. “Aren’t you tired of looking chubby in those overalls, little Jane?”
  2. “Look great in the sandbox with StayFit by Toys’R’Us.”
  3. “Here, kids. Have some diet pills.”

“Baby’s First”-Brand Weapons of Mass Destruction Home Kit

While still in the initial engineering phase, we have high hopes for this product. In limited testing in markets like Columbus, Ohio, and Peoria, Ill., the response has been positive. According to our data, customer satisfaction rates of nearly 36 percent compare favorably with a surprisingly low customer instant death rate of 93 percent. All we can say at this point is stay tuned, and invest in some protective gear for your workers.