Toys “R” Us is facing a wave of criticism after its latest advertisement, entirely created using artificial intelligence. The ad, developed with OpenAI’s generative video tool Sora, depicts the company’s founder, Charles Lazarus, as a child and his vision for the iconic toy store and its mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe.

However, the execution has fallen flat. Viewers have slammed the ad for its unsettling visuals and lack of emotional connection.

Critics describe the ad as having a “weird dream” quality, with inconsistencies in the young Charles Lazarus’ appearance throughout the 66-second clip.  Social media users point out jarring changes in facial features and clothing, making the character appear disjointed.

Industry professionals echoed the concerns. Robin Schmidt, CEO of metaverse multimedia firm BasedAF, criticized the ad for lacking the “soul” a good commercial needs.

The technical shortcomings aren’t the only issue.  Some question the marketing strategy behind using AI to depict a story rooted in nostalgia and human connection. Despite the backlash, the ad does represent a bold move for AI in advertising.  Whether it paves the way for future success or serves as a cautionary tale remains to be seen.