Playing is a gift: Toys R Us by Lola Mullenlowe

Santa is almost too busy during the big night that he almost forgets the most important: "Playing is a gift". AdForum sat down with Tomás Ostiglia, executive creative director at Lola MullenLowe to talk about the christmas TVC made for Toys R Us

Tomas Ostiglia
Executive Creative Director LOLA MullenLowe Madrid

Give us an overview of the campaign, what is it about and what was your role in the creation?

With this campaign we are taking Toys R Us into the territory of play and celebrating the importance of playtime, with a very noble message “Playing is a gift”. Toys are wonderful (and we’re here to sell them) but what’s really important is what you do with them. Playing stimulates our imagination and it helps us grow, learn and connect with each other as people. This campaign highlights the value of playtime between parents and children and playtime in general.


How is this holiday communication is different from the usual for this advertiser?

Since we started working with them last year, we’ve been aiming to communicate with consistency and in the same strategic direction. Last year’s holiday campaign was about a boy who went to pick up his Dad from work to take him to Toys R Us to play. This year Santa is the working Dad who is so busy he overlooks the letter his own son wrote to him. It’s a different execution of the same strategy, but both show us the true value of playtime.


What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?

This is a story that helps us transmit the core values of the brand and the direction they are moving in. The inspiration comes from the reality that all of us are living, that more and more, we have less time for the things really matter.


What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?

The man who played our Santa isn’t a trained actor. He is an auto mechanic in a small village close to where we were filming. He was a real tough guy but also very charming and warm. He withstood two long nights of filming like a true Christmas warrior. His acting skills started off a bit shaky but ended the shooting on par with DeNiro.


What is your favourite holiday campaign of all time?

Probably Monty the Penguin for John Lewis.


What can we expect as next executions for Toys R Us?

You can definitely expect ideas that are related to the importance of playing and the celebration of a memorable in-store experience. Ideas that are simple, full of imagination and bravery and everything that comes with creating good communication that connects with people.