Incumbent Burnett Invited to Participate in Closed Search

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NEW YORK ( -- Toys "R" Us said it has launched a review of its creative advertising account, now at Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.

Burnett has been invited to participate in the review, which is expected to be completed in May. The closed review will be handled in-house, by invitation only. Toys "R" Us will send invitations to eight or nine agencies and will develop a shortlist in a matter of weeks, said Warren Kornblum, the chain's chief marketing officer.

$116 million
Toys "R" Us spent $116 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

The account has been with Burnett for five years, Mr. Kornblum said. "We owe it to our shareholders and our business partners to take a look at what's going on," he added.

The company is taking a look at its overall business strategy, including marketing, he said.

The Wayne, N.J.-based toy retailer has been competing with big-box retailers such as Wal-mart and Target Stores, which persistently undercut Toys "R" Us' prices.

To compete, the chain has refocused on its toy stores by trying to turn them into shopping destinations through remodeling and adding more merchandise such as clothing and home video. Toys "R" Us closed its Kids "R" Us children's clothing chain, and is testing a new concept, called Geoffrey, which includes hair-cutting services and party rooms.

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