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Toys ‘R’ Us Comeback: New AI-Generated Video Sparks Brand Revival

Toys 'R' Us Comeback: New AI-Generated Video Sparks Brand Revival
Toys 'R' Us Comeback: New AI-Generated Video Sparks Brand Revival

Toys “R” Us, a beloved toy store brand that faced decline due to private equity influence, is re-emerging with a partially AI-generated video using OpenAI’s text-to-video tool, Sora. This initiative by the brand management firm WHP Global aims to revitalize the Toys “R” Us name, which now operates toy sections in Macy’s stores and is exploring the possibility of larger standalone stores.

OpenAI’s Sora gained attention in February for its photorealistic videos created by generative AI, despite controversy over undisclosed training data sources, likely from YouTube.

While OpenAI is reportedly pitching this technology to Hollywood, WHP Global is one of the first major entities to adopt it publicly, using it to produce promotional content for Toys “R” Us.

Despite some media outlets claiming the video is the first commercial made with Sora, the press release indicates it will primarily be showcased on toysrus.com and was also presented at the Cannes Lions Festival.

The creative agency Native Foreign, which produced the video, clarified that it wasn’t entirely AI-generated; a team of about a dozen people worked on it, applying corrective visual effects to refine the AI-generated footage.

Native Foreign’s work on the Toys “R” Us project involved reusing and correcting earlier AI-generated clips, such as a scene from a bicycle repair shop. This reflects a blend of AI innovation and human creativity, achieving about 80-85% of the desired result through Sora before human intervention.

Toys 'R' Us Comeback: New AI-Generated Video Sparks Brand Revival

Toys ‘R’ Us Comeback: New AI-Generated Video Sparks Brand Revival

The resurgence of Toys “R” Us includes new ventures and stores, following its bankruptcy and the closure of its US locations in 2018. Recently, dedicated toy stores have launched in the UK under the Toys “R” Us brand, along with outlets inside WHSmith stores.

WHP Global has also opened two larger stores in the US and plans to open up to 24 more stores in 2024, including locations in airports and on cruise ships, signaling a potential revival of the iconic toy retailer.

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