Baby Einstein targets millennial parents for bigger piece of toy market

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Nobody puts baby in the corner—Baby Einstein, that is. Under the ownership of Kids II, the 22-year-old toy brand is unveiling a new mission and ad campaign in its attempt to attract millennial parents and gain a larger piece of the $20.7 billion U.S. toy market. On Tuesday, Atlanta-based Baby Einstein is rolling out a campaign themed "Ignite a Curious Mind," which is designed to link its brand with the power of exploration.

"We believe in curiosity—it's essential for children's development and helps them from when they are born into this world," says Meryl Macune, senior VP, global marketing at Kids II. She notes that "no one in our industry is talking to parents" through storytelling, and that the campaign will help connect with millennials as they become parents.

In one 45-second spot, a voice asks "Where would you be without curiosity?" (It answers that you, and everyone else, would have suffered without historical and scientific developments, like capturing color, overcoming gravity and exploring the deep, not to mention inventions such as the search bar.)

Baby Einstein worked with New York-based Piro on the campaign, which is its first and will include more content such as short "snackable" video this fall.

While the brand is small in comparison to toy giants Mattel and Hasbro, and also competes with the likes of Spin Master, the company behind the Hatchimals craze, Baby Einstein is hoping its rebrand will grow its reputation with new parents who are more thoughtful about purchases and what a brand stands for. To that end, it's partnering with German manufacturer Hape, known for its wooden toys, on a "magical touch" piano, which uses touch sensors like on an iPhone but is made of wood. While Baby Einstein's "sweet spot" is 0 to 12 months in age, this fall it plans to "age up" many products to appeal to toddlers, Macune says.

Kids II, which acquired Baby Einstein five years ago, plans to roll out rebrands to its other brands, including Bright Starts and Ingenuity, eventually as well.

"It's more than a marketing message—we're infusing curiosity in everything we do under this brand," says David Butler, chief growth officer at Kids II.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article referred to one of Kids II's brands as Bright Stars. It is Bright Starts.

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