Baby Einstein Refocuses Brand Around Infant Curiosity
Formerly owned by Disney, Baby Einstein has unveiled a refreshed branding and positioning aimed at carving out a bigger share for the infant toy company in its ongoing competition with toy giants Mattel and Hasbro as well as other children’s play upstarts.
The 22-year-old toy brand, which was founded in 1996 by teacher turned stay-at-home mom Julie Aigner-Clark, is unveiling a new mission and ad campaign by parent company Kids II in an attempt to woo millennial parents and gain a larger piece of the $20.7 billion U.S. toy market.
Under its new tagline of “Ignite a Curious Mind,” Baby Einstein now celebrates the power of exploration—and of active, hands-on play with children vs. consuming media by watching videos and listening to music, even as guided play.
“We believe in curiosity—it’s essential for children’s development and helps them from when they are born into this world,” Meryl Macune, senior vice president of global marketing at Kids II, told Ad Age. “No one in our industry is talking to parents” through storytelling, she said, and the campaign is aimed at millennial parents.
One 45-second spot poses the questions, “Where would you be without curiosity?” and points out that we never would have overcome gravity or explored space, for example.
How Baby Einstein Grew Up
Kids II acquired Baby Einstein five years ago and owns other small toy brands including Bright Stars and Ingenuity.
The company attempted a “brand revitalization” two years ago for Baby Einstein, announcing that the “iconic” brand offered developmental products designed to enrich babies’ young minds with a unique combination of language, music, art, animals and nature.
That effort amounted to tweaks to the Baby Einstein logo and visual identity. Now Kids II has settled on the logo below.
Disney acquired Baby Einstein in 2001 but battled negative reports about the brand’s educational promises and even offered refunds to upset parents. Not amused by the troubles of a marque that was only a small piece of its empire, Disney sold Baby Einstein to Kids II.
Baby Einstein founder Clark, who set out to create a new media category featuring what she called “positive, popular content for babies and toddlers” and grew her company into a multimillion-dollar franchise (with annual revenue of $1 million in 1998 to $25 million in 2001) produced children’s safety videos after selling the company to Disney.
She hasn’t been able to stay away from educational innovation for little kids, however. Last year, she introduced WeeSchool, an app that gives tips to parents for play activities based on a child’s age in months, tracks individual child development and includes music, videos and e-books.
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