What happened to the Toys"R"Us giraffe?
THE EVOLUTION OF GEOFFREY THE GIRAFFE
Formerly known as Dr. G. Raffe, Geoffrey the Giraffe made his public debut in the 1950s in print advertisements for Children’s Bargaintown, the predecessor of Toys“R”Us. He was famous for saying things like, “Toys ‘R’ Us,” a quote that paved the way for the future of the company. In the 1960s, when Children’s Bargaintown became Toys“R”Us, Dr. G. Raffe was renamed Geoffrey and was crowned the official Toys“R”Us “spokesanimal.” Geoffrey the Giraffe has been a beloved member of the Toys“R”Us family ever since.
Over the past 50 years, as the company evolved, so did Geoffrey. And, although his appearance has changed over time, he remains an enduring and iconic symbol associated with the brand and a fun-loving, playful friend for generations of kids.
1965 - When Children’s Bargaintown became Toys“R”Us, the artist who created the original Dr. G. Raffe, designed a more life-like version of the character who was officially renamed ‘Geoffrey’ by a Toys”R”Us sales associate. By 1968, Geoffrey’s popularity had grown so much that he frequently made appearances at events and an entire line of Geoffrey-themed products were introduced in Toys”R”Us stores. In 1973, Geoffrey reached celebrity status, starring in his first Toys”R”Us television commercial, in which he appeared with hundreds of excited kids dancing through streets.
1975 - As Toys”R”Us continued to grow in the 1970s, so did Geoffrey’s family, when the company introduced his wife, Gigi and their son and daughter, Junior and Baby Gee. Each family member had their own role to play. Following in Geoffrey’s footsteps, Gigi and Junior could be found on weekly cartoon strips that accompanied toy sale announcements, while Baby Gee turned up in advertisements for baby products.
1985 - As customers responded favorably to Geoffrey’s new family members, they began joining Geoffrey during his visits to stores, parades and other fun events, in the 1980s. In addition, the family could now be seen in advertisements together, as they were educated living in a New England lighthouse and driving the Geoffreymobile, a double-decker bus filed by potato chips.
1999 - Geoffrey went through a significant transformation during the 1990s. Going back to basics, Geoffrey’s family bowed out of the spotlight so that Geoffrey could personify the nature of true Toys”R”Us customers: kids. Geoffrey’s new image as a light-hearted kid also defined his role in marketing the brand. He was no longer a promoter, rather a mascot that represented fun.
2001 - In conjunction with launch of the Toys”R”Us international flagship store in Times Square in 2001, Geoffrey received his fifth makeover, when he was altered to reflect the spirit of youth in kids of all ages. Geoffrey transformed from a cartoon character to a real-life giraffe who talked. An animatronic version of Geoffrey the Giraffe (created by Stan Winston Studios) was voiced by Jim Hanks, brother of actor Tom Hanks. This idea resulted in a more realistic image of Geoffrey who later starred in an award-winning commercial in 2002, recognized as “Top Spot of the Year” by Advertising Age magazine.
2007 - In 2007, Geoffrey was once again redesigned, along with the company’s logo, to communicate the company’s logo, to communicate the company’s message that “We’re New Again!” As this time, Geoffrey regained his cartoon-like features and his giraffe spots were replaced with stars to represent the magic of the Toys”R”Us brand.
Today, Geoffrey the Giraffe continues to be the fun-loving, light-created Toys”R”Us spokes animal, a kid-at-heart who never ages! In 2010, Geoffrey was named one of the “Top 25 Mascots of All Time” by AOL’s WalletPop.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH