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November 04, 2006

Fortune 500 Corporate Blog Review: Toys-R-Us #208

By Li Evans

Toysruslogo "I don't wanna grow up.... I'm a Toys-R-Us Kid..."  Now who among us can't sing that jingle word for word?  That's always the first thing that comes to mind when I think about Toys-R-Us, but today I write about them for the Fortune 500 Corporate Blog Review.

Toys-R-Us (#208 on the FORTUNE 500 list) is a publicly traded company under the stock symbol "TOY", however all of the stock is divided equally between two major investment firms.  Bain Capital Partners LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), and Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO) completed and acquired of all the Toy-R-Us brands in July of 2005.

No Corporate Blogs
A search of the Toys-R-Us corporate website and retail website turned up no blogs. Toys-R-Us has other brands , such as Babies-R-Us and  Personalized-By-R-Us, however, no blogs were located on Technoratitoysrus either of those sites either. A check of Technorati showed no official company blog listed in the blog directory for any of the brands nor any of the executive team.  Like Target, there are plenty of people blogging about buying things at Toys-R-Us.  There is also a lot of speculation on Toys-R-Us' success in this upcoming holiday season, especially against their biggest rival - WalMart.

As I've done with the past corporations I researched, I looked for blogs written by the major players on the executive team of Toys-R-Us.  I could not find any blogs written by CEO Gerald L. Storch, US Toys-R-Us President Ron Boire or Babies-R-Us President Deborah Derby. 

Of the three, Ron Boire was the most written about. In the past week, toy blogs, gizmo blogs, gaming blogs and electronic blogs were all buzzing with the news that you can pre-order the Wii by Nintendo at Toys-R-Us, Boire is quoted extensively about this.  Of the three Deborah Derby is the least mentioned, I couldn't find anything written about her.

Gerald L. Storch had a decent amount of "buzz" around him, but it wasn't really of the nature companies like to talk about.  The biggest take away in my search on Mr. Storch was the "breast feeding incident" at the Toys-R-Us mega store in New York City.

Why Toys-R-Us Should Be Blogging
Toys-R-Us doesn't need a blog by "stuffy" executives, Toys-R-Us could benefit from a blog written by its "Toy Development Team".  Communication with parents could set Toys-R-Us above their competitor WalMart, and keep them coming back to Toys-R-Us again and again. 

In the blog, they could feature a new toy a week and explain what the toy does, how it can entertain Toysrusgiftguideor benefit their children.  This type of blog could also really help them promote their "Hot Christmas Toy Picks", or "Toy Trends of the Season" beyond the press release they send out or short TV segments they do.  Toys-R-Us also has a neat Gift Guide and a blog could also really highlight and encourage its use.

To wrap up why else Toys-R-Us should be blogging, it can help offset of the "negative".  Not just negative press, but things that can shine a negative light on the Toys-R-Us brand.  A search on Ask.com's blogsearch gave me a set of results, but what popped up on the right hand side made me take a second look.


Lastly, if you are using FireFox as your browser, the Toys-R-Us corporate site does not load correctly in the browser, it does however work fine in IE (6.5).


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