Toys “R” Us is trying to reclaim its coveted spot at the top of retail toy empires, and despite reorganizing under bankruptcy protection, several significant efforts were made in October. On top of reinventing the in-store experience by unveiling the free-to-play augmented reality (AR) app known as Play Chaser in locations nationwide, Geoffrey and Co. deployed a new brand philosophy and reminded urban commuters of the fun to be had with that iconic red toy known as the Etch A Sketch.
Earlier this month, the company participated in placing a massive, interactive Etch A Sketch above the Fulton Street subway station in New York City with the hashtag #todayweplay inviting anyone who grew up after 1960 to take a stroll down memory lane. Under that, the platform that held this gargantuan Etch A Sketch urged passersby to “Etch out some playtime”—perhaps a subtle message about how fast-paced and business-centric modern life with omnipresent screens and personal devices has become.
That said, the Etch A Sketch, designed by Andre Cassagnes of France and subsequently manufactured by the Ohio Art Company, is in many ways a prototype for digital signage in that it undermines static messaging by nature and allows for kids to refresh their graphical or textual content by simply shaking the device and clearing the canvas. Check out the videos below to see children of all ages etch out some time in their busy commuter schedules to interact with this larger-than-life installation: