The owner of Toys ‘R’ Us just used OpenAI’s Sora to animate the zombie brand

But though OpenAI has reportedly been pitching Hollywood on the tech, one of the first entities to publicly bite is brand management firm WHP Global, which currently licenses the Toys “R” Us brand to stores like Macy’s and is also exploring larger stores. Almost every Macy’s department store now contains a branded toy section, but those are typically a few paltry aisles of toys rather than the toy warehouses that once fueled kids’ dreams.

While some headlines are calling this the first commercial produced with OpenAI’s Sora, the press release doesn’t suggest it’ll air anywhere other than, though it also premiered in front of an audience of ad agency execs at the 2024 Cannes Lions Festival in France last week.

The PR also doesn’t try to claim it’s entirely generated by AI. Native Foreign, the creative agency that produced the footage, had “about a dozen people” working on the video and applied “corrective VFX” on top, according to director Nik Kleverov. Sora “got us about 80-85% of the way there,” he wrote on X:

It appears that Native Foreign even reused an earlier shot it generated with Sora as part of the Toys “R” Us project. Here’s a bicycle repair shop the company showed off in March, compared to the final corrected clip:

Note the typos in the sign.
Image: Native Foreign

The Toys “R” Us version.
Image: Native Foreign

Disclosure: Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company, has a technology and content deal with OpenAI.

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