June 18th, 2012 By Jack Morton
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This weekend, my best friend came to the city to visit. New York boasts a wide array of activities for 20-somethings, so what did we do? Among other things, we went to the Toys “R” Us in Times Square and relived parts of our childhood. You should have seen us; we were more excited than the majority of the kids who entered the store. One of my favorite parts – Candyland.
Having also just recently visited Universal Studios, I’m very impressed by how well these companies execute their branding efforts. It’s all about the experience. Take Candyland; the welcome sign is designed like the path on the game board and, underneath it, a life-size version of King Kandy welcomes you. When you enter, you’re overwhelmed by every type of candy imaginable, from Necco wafers and candy dots to over-sized gummy bears and warheads (who knew they still made those?!). The walls are aligned with candy drawers, every inch of shelf space is occupied, and even the decorations are candy-themed. Even though the strong sugar smell is enough to turn off those with the biggest sweet-tooth (like me), my experience was so great that I didn’t think twice about paying the price-per-pound. Similarly, the experiences at Universal and other theme parks are also so engaging and well thought out. In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the experience encompasses every last detail – even the picture frames talk to you.
While I unsuccessfully found a power wheels big enough for my 6’4’’ frame, my experiences at Toys “R” Us and Universal Studios were so enjoyable that I know for a fact, when I’m a dad, I will endure the inevitable headache and bring my kids to those places, knowing full well I will enjoy it just as much as, if not more than, them.