Mattel and Walmart partner again to expand virtual store concept

Mattel and Walmart are decking the halls for commuters, having launched virtual pop-up toy stores in Vancouver and Toronto on Monday with a Montreal execution starting Nov. 18.

This is the second year for the campaign, growing from last year’s Toronto-only execution.

Melissa Farjo, national account manager for Mattel, said the two-city expansion is due to excitement over last year’s project, though she declined to give numbers pertaining to its success. She says the three cities were chosen based on their number of commuters and smartphone penetration.

The virtual stores, which will all be open for about four weeks, are essentially life-sized photographs of shelves of toys, accompanied by QR codes and search codes. Customers scan the codes with their smartphones to order the toy, which then ship to the their home for free before Christmas. The selection includes about 50 toys.

Consumers who don’t want to use the QR codes can go directly to and punch in the search code instead.

The “stores” are running in commuter hot spots, like Montreal’s McGill subway station, and a special initiative with Ontario’s GO Transit will transform one car on 10 trains into a toy store on wheels, with a complete wrap inside and out. The Montreal version is entirely in French.

An ad campaign accompanies the initiative, with targeted mobile and desktop digital ads, print advertising with the Toronto Star and in-store signage at Walmart.

BrandFire Marketing Group handled out-of-home media buy and creative. Carat did the online/digital media buy. GCI Group oversaw PR.

“Last year’s Virtual Toy Store was a great success for us,” said Cheri Anthony, director of merchandising for toys at Walmart, in a release. “By partnering again with Mattel, both companies continue to spearhead leading-edge and ambitious marketing initiatives that push technology in a direction that is beneficial for our consumers.”

Brands Articles

30 Under 30 is back with a new name, new outlook

No more age limit! The New Establishment brings 30 Under 30 in a new direction, starting with media professionals.

Diageo’s ‘Crown on the House’ brings tasting home

After Johnnie Walker success, Crown Royal gets in-home mentorship

Survey says Starbucks has best holiday cup

Consumers take sides on another front of Canada's coffee war

KitchenAid embraces social for breast cancer campaign

Annual charitable campaign taps influencers and the social web for the first time

Heart & Stroke proclaims a big change

New campaign unveils first brand renovation in 60 years

Best Buy makes you feel like a kid again

The Union-built holiday campaign drops the product shots

Volkswagen bets on tech in crisis recovery

Execs want battery-powered cars, ride-sharing to 'fundamentally change' automaker

Simple strategies for analytics success

Heeding the 80-20 rule, metrics that matter and changing customer behaviors

Why IKEA is playing it up downstairs

Inside the retailer's Market Hall strategy to make more Canadians fans of its designs