BUILDING ON ITS STORIED HISTORY, FAO SCHWARZ® EMBARKS UPON THE NEXT EVOLUTION OF ITS BRAND, DESIGNED TO CREATE ENCHANTING MEMORIES FOR A NEW GENERATION OF KIDS
Whimsical New Look To Come Alive This Christmas at the Retailer’s Flagship Location on Fifth Avenue in New York City, in FAO Schwarz Pop-Up Stores, Within Dedicated Boutiques at Toys“R”Us Stores and Online at FAO.com; Iconic Toy Retailer Expands its Line of Timeless Signature Offerings, Presenting Them in Redesigned Packaging to Highlight Their Classic Quality
WAYNE, NJ (October 14, 2010) – FAO Schwarz® today unveiled a brand redesign that will be translated throughout all its offerings, beginning a new chapter in the nearly 150-year-old legendary retailer’s storied history. The new approach gives a fresh look to the beloved brand, while preserving the sense of tradition that has been treasured for generations.
Shoppers will experience the FAO Schwarz redesign for the first time this holiday season as it comes alive at the flagship location on Fifth Avenue in New York City, in its approximately 10 FAO Schwarz holiday pop-up stores, in dedicated boutiques being introduced in all Toys“R”Us stores nationwide, and online at FAO.com. In addition, an expanded line of FAO Schwarz signature products is being launched and some old favorites are making a comeback from the archives. Each item will be showcased in newly designed and truly gift-able packaging that reflects the quality synonymous with the brand’s heritage.
Through the years, the FAO Schwarz brand design has been transformed regularly, reflecting a mix of tradition, while embracing the current cosmopolitan view. Over time, the retailer’s logo has included a teddy bear, ABC blocks, a toy soldier, rocking horse or animated clock tower. Each icon came to represent the high quality associated with FAO Schwarz.
“We are proud to introduce the next evolution of FAO Schwarz, building on its storied history, while preserving the tradition that has defined this treasured brand for nearly 150 years,” said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys“R”Us, Inc., which acquired the exclusive rights to operate the FAO Schwarz brand in May 2009. “For many, FAO Schwarz evokes fond memories, and this redesign will help bring the classic brand to a whole new generation of children.”
Wit Makes His Debut in Logo Redesign
Displaying a herald-like color palette of deep red and two shades of silver, the FAO Schwarz logo has been redesigned, while continuing to underscore the brand’s time-honored reputation for the quality craftsmanship of its toys. The logo emphasizes “F.A.O.” – the first three initials of the founder of the world-famous retailer, Frederick August Otto Schwarz – and notes the establishment of the business in 1862. Integral to the new design is the enchanted character, “Wit,” who makes his debut, adding a fairytale element of fun and surprise – a spirit that is embodied in the experience enjoyed by millions of children each year in the New York City flagship store on Fifth Avenue.
Elevated Packaging Design Highlights the Distinction of Timeless Treasures
Further articulating the quality of a gift from FAO Schwarz is a new package design in which to showcase its signature offerings. Featuring the new logo, many items are presented in truly gift-able packaging that requires no additional wrapping and can be preserved for years as keepsakes. Items, such as FAO Schwarz collectible dolls, are presented in deep red boxes with a satin sheen exterior, while other products, such as the BIG Piano dance mat, a smaller replica of the in-store piano featured in the Tom Hanks film BIG, have been retrofitted into fabric encasements that include a satin handle for easy transportation. And, products such as the Dino Rock House and famed pups Patrick and Penelope include large hangtags with descriptive information about each product and the unique story of FAO Schwarz, helping to introduce the retailer’s heritage to a new generation of customers.
Expanding the Brand’s Product Line in Time for the 2010 Christmas Season
In addition to offering perennial favorites, such as sport sets for the young athlete, the Signature Holiday Ornament and the 2010 Collectible Bear, FAO Schwarz is expanding its line of branded products in time for the 2010 Christmas season. New introductions to the product assortment are inspired by the brand’s deep roots of quality and innovation, with each piece carefully selected and designed to complement its collection of one-of-a-kind offerings. Ranging in price from $3.99 to $799.99, the entire assortment of FAO Schwarz-branded merchandise is accessible for a wide range of budgets.
Parents and gift-givers shopping for the little aspiring bakers in their lives will find a new Wooden Bake Shoppe that features faux stainless steel appliances, doors that open and close and granite-like countertops that emulate a professional baker’s, as well as wooden accompaniments such as the Cupcake Treat Stand and Kitchen Essentials. FAO Schwarz is also introducing a new line of classic tin toys that includes a kaleidoscope, a tea set, a truck and wind-up toys, among other items, as well as a line of four 18-inch collectible dolls – Avery, Claudia, Nina and Tess.
And, this holiday, FAO Schwarz is bringing back updated renditions of some of the best-loved items from its archives:
The Big World Map – This giant classic toy from the archives of FAO Schwarz measures 47 inches high by 71 inches wide, featuring more than 60 handcrafted pieces that kids can place across the world marking continents, animals, countries, oceans, rivers and more.
Band in a Drum – Any child can become a one-man-band or share their instruments with neighborhood kids using the Band in a Drum, which includes a xylophone, maracas, drum sticks, castanets and more. Adorned with iconic FAO Schwarz characters, such as a bear and a toy soldier, the solid wood instruments can be stored inside the drum after band practice, making cleanup easy.
Sleepy Time Teddies – Seven premium plush teddies in cozy velour pajamas and nightcaps come interlocked and ready to comfort little ones to sleep – each night of the week. Assembled together in a kaleidoscope of color, each bear displays a different weekday on its nightcap.
Animal Ark – Turtles, pigs, giraffes, elephants, zebras and monkeys all cohabitate in this plush Animal Ark! Resembling real life reptiles and mammals, the 12 wild animals come in pairs and all fit inside the soft ark with their heads peering through the portholes. As kids sail away on new adventures with their animal friends, this ark doubles as a carrying case to store these stuffed creatures.
Christmas Shoppers to Experience New Look in Retail Locations and Online at FAO.com
Flagship Location on Fifth Avenue in New York City
The famous FAO Schwarz flagship location on Fifth Avenue in New York City – one of the Big Apple’s must-see destinations – will showcase the full array of FAO Schwarz signature items, including old favorites and new items being introduced this year. The enchanting retail destination will also feature the brand’s new color scheme, including the redesigned logo and Wit throughout the store. Additional enhancements to the store will continue to be made throughout the holiday season, including updates to the renowned Big Piano area and the addition of a new FAO Café.
Presenting the Legendary Christmas Collection Online at FAO.com
Visitors to the retailer’s e-commerce site, FAO.com, will also experience the new FAO Schwarz branding. And, later this month, the site will launch the 2010 Legendary Christmas Collection, an assortment of approximately 200 uniquely FAO Schwarz gift-able items, which have been carefully selected and brought together in one online gift destination. The collection includes FAO Schwarz signature items, along with some extraordinary offerings, including a selection of gifts priced up to $25,000, such as the Barbie Foosball Table by Bonzini.
To showcase the most exquisite FAO Schwarz products, a flash animation of the Legendary Christmas Collection enlarges each item for online shoppers with the click of a button. Once selected, each item’s story comes alive through dedicated pages that appear in pop-up windows, providing a full product description. In addition, to make gift selection easy, the Legendary Christmas Collection is also categorized in specialty Gift Boutiques reflecting a variety of categories, such as age, price, award winners and favorites, which will help shoppers narrow down the best gifts for the children on their lists.
More information about the legendary FAO Schwarz offerings this holiday season may be found by visiting FAO.com.
Introducing Year-Round Dedicated FAO Schwarz Boutiques in Toys“R”Us Stores Nationwide
Dedicated FAO Schwarz boutiques have been introduced in all Toys“R”Us stores nationwide, bringing classic treasures to customers in local markets. These shops highlight a thoughtfully selected assortment of approximately 85 unique FAO Schwarz playthings at affordable price points ranging from $3.99 to $199.99. Located prominently at the front of each store, the shops occupy 230 square feet on average, and are highlighted with signage featuring the new FAO Schwarz logo and Wit. And, customers experiencing the magic of FAO Schwarz for the first time can learn the history of the brand through panels displayed in the FAO Schwarz boutiques devoted to sharing its story.
Last year, for the first time, FAO Schwarz shops were featured within Toys“R”Us stores to accommodate shoppers during the busy Christmas season. The new shops will be permanent fixtures with new FAO Schwarz merchandise offerings arriving on a regular basis throughout the year.
As part of the holiday toy expansion in the company’s Babies“R”Us stores, FAO Schwarz-branded infant and toddler items, such as a plush pink purse, Horses in a Stable and Animal Ark, are available in all of the nearly 260 Babies“R”Us stores nationwide.
FAO Schwarz Pop-Up Stores
FAO Schwarz recently announced it will operate approximately 10 pop-up stores for the 2010 Christmas season. These locations will also feature the new look of FAO Schwarz, as the iconic retailer brings an edited assortment of its enchanting toys to some of the most well-known shopping locations throughout the country. Upon entering these approximately 2,500-square-foot stores, customers will be drawn to vivid displays, lending an element of distinction and holiday spirit to these seasonal shops.
About FAO Schwarz
For nearly 150 years, FAO Schwarz has been a brand synonymous with quality and innovation, offering an unparalleled selection of extraordinary toys that have enchanted generations and cultivated a loyal clientele. The famous FAO Schwarz flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, which attracts millions of visitors annually, is the only one of its kind anywhere in the world. The complete assortment of the company’s products, including a line of toys marketed under the FAO Schwarz brand name, can be found in-store and online at FAO.com. The iconic FAO Schwarz brand is exclusively operated by Toys“R”Us, Inc., the world’s leading dedicated toy and juvenile products retailer.
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