Toys'R'Us turns to OpenAI Sora for its latest commercial — here's what it looks like

OpenAI Sora/Toys R Us/
(Image credit: OpenAI Sora/Toys R Us/)

Toys'R'Us, the infamous toy brand says it’s created the world’s first-ever real brand commercial using OpenAI’s much-hyped text-to-video tool Sora.

The minute-long video features an AI-made recreation of the iconic toy brand’s founder Charles Lazarus coming up with the idea for his business as a child, including dreaming of the mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe. 

Toys'R"Us Studios, the entertainment production arm of the toy brand, partnered with Native Foreign, a creative agency with access to Sora to create the “brand film”.

While OpenAI revealed Sora in February of this year, it’s yet to be publicly released, with access restricted to a select number of professional filmmakers and industry insiders. However, you may get access to it before 2024 is up.

Behind the scenes

The Origin of Toys“R”Us: Brand Film Teaser | Toys"R"Us - YouTube The Origin of Toys“R”Us: Brand Film Teaser | Toys
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While it doesn’t exactly rival Super Bowl commercials, the Toys'R'Us ad used Sora to create realistic-looking-enough scenes to generate a young Charles Lazarus and produced a variety of models for different kinds of toys.

In a statement, Toys'R'Us revealed that Sora helped them bring their concept to reality “in just a few weeks”. However, the creatives behind the project worked hard to get everything just right, starting with hundreds of different shots and ending up with a couple dozen that made it into the final cut.

While Sora can generate clips of up to a minute, most are around 10-15 seconds and most filmmakers using it say you need dozens for every one usable clip.

“The brand film was almost entirely created with Sora, with some corrective VFX and an original music score,” Toys'R'Us said.

The chief creative officer of Native Foreign told CNN that everything visible on screen was created using text prompts but admitted that some shots needed more attempts than others. “Sometimes you would create something that was almost right and other times not so right,” he said.

Unsurprisingly, reactions to the video were mixed with some hailing the ad as "great work" while others lamented that Toys'R'Us used great technology in a "horrible way".

The ad premiered at the 2024 Cannes Lions Festival in France. Toys 'R' Us is currently exploring advertising opportunities for the AI promo.

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Christoph Schwaiger

Christoph Schwaiger is a journalist who mainly covers technology, science, and current affairs. His stories have appeared in Tom's Guide, New Scientist, Live Science, and other established publications. Always up for joining a good discussion, Christoph enjoys speaking at events or to other journalists and has appeared on LBC and Times Radio among other outlets. He believes in giving back to the community and has served on different consultative councils. He was also a National President for Junior Chamber International (JCI), a global organization founded in the USA. You can follow him on Twitter @cschwaigermt.