BRAINPLAY REVIEW GAINS APPEAL WITH MERGER: MORE SHOPS CALL AFTER WEB TOY SITE'S DEAL WITH K*B TOYS IS ANNOUNCED

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When Brainplay.com began its $10 million review more than a month ago, the company knew it would eventually merge with Consolidated Stores Corp. to create KBToys.com. However, executives didn't tell the agencies that. They simply sent out the request for proposals and waited.

Some shops responded, others didn't.

Then on May 19, Consolidated and Brainplay.com announced they would join forces; in about a month, Brainplay.com will become KBToys.com. Now, the agencies that didn't respond to the initial RFP -- along with several others -- are angling for the business.

Scott Wilder, VP-marketing and product development for Brainplay.com, admitted the RFP was purposefully sent out before the joint venture was announced.

"We've had a lot more agencies calling. That's why we did this. We wanted to make sure we got the right people. Your heart really has to be in it," he said.

While Mr. Wilder declined to offer up details about the pitch or the agencies in it, he did say that nothing will change. The shops already in the review will stay in, others won't be added. The company is still looking for an agency to handle both online and offline advertising and the budget will remain the same, he said.

The new KBToys.com Web site will be 80% owned by Consolidated Stores, which also owns more than 1,300 K*B Toys stores, and 20% owned by Brainplay.com. The existing site at KBToys.com will be revamped and consolidated with Brainplay.com's site.

The management of Brainplay.com will run the new site, which will sell toys, videogames, software and videos. K*B Toys will use its purchasing weight to buy products for the online store. Both companies are hoping K*B's more well-known brand also will help boost sales.

KBToys.com faces competition from toy-selling Web sites including eToys

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