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Toys”R”Us Studios and Native Foreign Use OpenAI’s Sora to Narrate the Origin Story of Beloved Toy”R”Us® Brand

The legendary Toys"R"Us brand jumped ahead of the curve by creating the first-ever brand film utilising OpenAI's new text-to-video engine, Sora.

The trend of making movies with AI started several years before OpenAI’s Sora was revealed. The first AI-generated short film, “Sunspring,” authored by an AI system named Benjamin, premiered at the Sci-Fi London Film Festival in 2023. This historic event paved the stage for more ambitious efforts, such as “The Frost,” a 12-minute video in which DALL-E 2 created every shot. Following these pioneering efforts, numerous additional businesses joined the AI filmmaking space, including Runway’s Gen-2 model, Stability AI’s Stable Video Diffusion, Pika Labs, Meta (via its Make-A-Video tool), and Google (via Lumiere). These previous attempts revealed AI’s promise in filmmaking, paving the way for more complex systems like as Sora to develop.

The legendary Toys”R”Us brand jumped ahead of the curve by creating the first-ever brand film utilising OpenAI’s new text-to-video engine, Sora. Toys”R”Us Studios, the worldwide toy brand’s entertainment production arm, has worked with Emmy-nominated creative firm Native Foreign, whose Chief Creative has alpha access to Sora, which has yet to be publicly published. They collaborated to launch this brand video during the 2024 Cannes Lions Festival, exposing it to an audience of brand and advertising industry executives at an exclusive LBB Beach event in France.

Toys “R” Us: Brand Film Teaser. This is the culmination of the FIRST EVER brand film developed with OpenAI’s Sora technology in collaboration with Native Foreign. 

It shows a young Charles Lazarus, the founder of Toys”R”Us and the creator of Geoffrey the Giraffe, dreaming of a magnificent location that will revolutionise toy stores forever.

The Origin of Toys”R”Us brand film was co-produced by four-time Emmy Award-winning producer and Toys”R”Us Studios President Kim Miller Olko as executive producer, and Nik Kleverov from Native Foreign as director. Sora can create up to one-minute films with realistic sceneries and many characters using typed-in directions. The marketing piece relates the narrative of Toys”R”Us founder Charles Lazarus and his vision that changed toy stores forever, with the popular mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe appearing to him in a dream – a dream that came true much to the pleasure of generations of children. 

“Charles Lazarus was a visionary ahead of his time and we wanted to honor his legacy with a spot using the most cutting-edge technology available. Our brand embraces innovation and the emotional appeal of Toys”R”Us to connect with consumers in unexpected ways. We aim to capture that nostalgic feeling and deliver it uniquely to Toys”R”Us kids of all ages. Partnering with Native Foreign to push the boundaries of OpenAI’s Sora is truly exciting. Dreams are full of magic and endless possibilities, and so is Toys”R”Us,” said Kim Miller Olko, Toys”R”Us Global Chief Marketing Officer and President of Toys”R”Us Studios.

“The creative industry is experiencing a renaissance, much like Toys”R”Us,” said Nik Kleverov, Chief Creative Officer at Native Foreign. “Through Sora, we were able to tell this incredible story with remarkable speed and efficiency. Toys”R”Us is the perfect brand to embrace this AI-forward strategy, and we are thrilled to collaborate with their creative team to help lead the next wave of innovative storytelling.”

Toys”R”Us Studios and Native Foreign used OpenAI’s Sora to bring an idea to life in only a few weeks, compressing hundreds of iterative images down to a handful dozen. The brand film was nearly entirely developed by Sora, with some corrective VFX and an original music soundtrack composed by Aaron Marsh of the renowned indie rock band Copeland.

Toys”R”Us has joined the ranks of brands like Coca-Cola and Starburst in using generative AI for advertising materials. This technology is also critical to the expansion goals of tech behemoths like Google and Meta, as well as agency holding organisations like Publicis, WPP, and Havas.

Picture of Anshika Mathews
Anshika Mathews
Anshika is an Associate Research Analyst working for the AIM Leaders Council. She holds a keen interest in technology and related policy-making and its impact on society. She can be reached at anshika.mathews@aimresearch.co
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