Back in our day (1990), there was a TV advert in the UK for American toy store brand Toys “R” Us.
Believe it or not, the advert stuck with us over the years and even caused a bit of a furious debate around 1998 at high school with our mates. Behold!
It’s a Magical Place: The Confusion With the 1990 Toys “R” Us Advert
Nice, eh? There are a few problems going on here, though. These are:
- The advert fails to satisfactorily highlight who this “Jeffery” individual is. It states, “Jeffery and helpers…” And we’re left to assume the giraffe is Jeffery. Although it’s unclear. That’s bad storytelling!
- Is it Jeffery or Geoffrey? Again, unclear.
- Why are all the “helpers” children?
- Why are they all the same height?
- Why do some of them look identical? Are they twins?
- Does Toys “R” Us only hire twins?
- Are they hired? The advert states “helpers”—is this slave labour or do they receive a contractually structured income?
- Why is there a giraffe working for Toys “R” Us? The RSPCA should be informed about that.
- If giraffes are so helpful to Toys “R” Us, why is there only one of them in that store?
- Why is everyone so happy? Are they on drugs? Surely the mind-numbing drudgery of mundane work would have them all miserable and depressed? What’s the magic formula for such work-based happiness?
You could suggest we’re overthinking this. But the main point of contention for us at high school kicks off at the 23 second mark.
There’s Millions of Jefferies?
It’s all about what the lady singing says… it’s highly contentious here in England. There are two possibilities:
- “There’s millions of Jefferies all under one roof.”
- “There’s millions, says Jeffery, all under one roof.”
Both raise serious complications regardless of your stance:
- If there’s millions of Jefferies how do Toys “R” Us keep so many giraffes in such confined quarters? That’s not an RSPCA issue, more about getting the army involved at that point and the Supreme Court.
- Jeffrey says there are millions of toys under one roof. Okay. That’s more plausible. But where’s this talking giraffe come from? Is that a direct quote? Where’s this “Jeffery” now and can he repeat his verdict on camera for empirical evidence?
Now, we argued the bejeezus out of this at high school.
And it’s not just us. Heck, we also traced this debate to a Money Saving Expert forum thread in 2009.
Under, “Okay, this has been bugging me for years” someone states:
“In the toys r us ad on tv, it goes, there’s millions of […]’s all under one roof, what is the blank please, you know to me it sounds like there’s millions of Jeffries all under one roof !!!!! rotfl”
To which there are responses such as:
- “It is Jeffries and damn you all that says it isn’t!”
- “I googled it and apparently Geoffrey Giraffe is the face of Toys R us:D”
- “I think its ‘there’s millions says Geoffrey all under one roof’ – Geoffrey is the name of the giraffe in the logo.”
- “I thought it was ‘millions of debris all under one roof ‘ and now it is under my roof, flipping toys everywhere.”
- “they used to show an animation of jeffrey talking in the early days of the ad, might have to go to tvark for a link”
- “I always thought it was ‘debris’ & thought it was weird they would call the toys debris!”
- “I thought it was millions of Geoffreys too. “
- [in response to “debris”] “Me too. Which, thinking about it doesn’t make sense grammatically, but then they can’t spell ‘are’ or indeed ‘r’. “
Great, that’s settled then. It’s “millions of Jefferies all under one roof.” Only took us 31 years to get the answer, but it was worth the wait.
Well, what do you think?
Did you have this advert in your region of the world? *Gritted teeth* Let us know your take in the comments.