Build-a-Bear Workshop Australia brings back chaos-causing campaign

By Nick Hall | 18 Jun 2019 View comments

Following an enormous response last year, Build-a-Bear Workshop Australia is once again bringing its chaos-causing Pay Your Age Day campaign Down Under.

The new campaign sees Build-a-Bear fans with the opportunity purchase a second product for the price of their age, once a full-price bear has been bought.

While last year’s Australian campaign drew crowds in their hundreds, it paled in comparison to the UK and US arm’s near-riot level response.

Overseas, the promotion was so successful, several stores had to be shut down amid crowd and safety concerns, with lines blocking fire exits and wait-times exceeding five hours.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail said the campaign had generated an unprecedented response.

“With much higher than anticipated demand for its “pay your age day” promotion, Build-A-Bear Workshop has become a victim of its own success. The decision to shut stores and end the promotion early was necessary on both safety and operational grounds, but it will damage the brand,” Saunders said.

“The good news is that the high demand indicates that the Build-A-Bear concept remains relevant and popular. While the company needs to plan future promotions far better, there is seemingly an opportunity to stimulate sales with the right deals and offers.”

Australian Pay Your Age Day 2.0

While interest is growing steadily, this year’s promotion shows the Australian franchise has learned from its international counterparts.

Tania Port, general manager, marketing and PR at Build-a-Bear Workshop Australia said the brand had been prepping for this day for months.

“We know the brand is well loved but the response last year was huge,” she told Inside Franchise Business.

“Based on the lessons learnt from the PYA event in the US, the Australian event was a great success with over 500,000 social impressions and 20,000 guests on the day.”

Port revealed that unlike last year, where customers could only purchase a select few products, Pay Your Age Day 2.0 sees almost all bears on offer.

“This year the offer is on our entire selection of animals excluding ‘How to Train your Dragon’ bears, compared to the four to six designs that were offered last year,” she said.

“In addition, we expect the wait times to be significantly less due to the change in the offer.”

Build-a-Bear Workshop Australia

Domestically, the Pay Your Age Day 2.0 campaign sees the Australia franchise arm return to a more stable operating model.

In May, Inside Franchise Business reported that the brand had narrowly escaped collapse after creditors for the retailer approved a Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA).

The arrangement salvaged more than 100 jobs and saw the brand out of administration, just two months after citing tightening economic conditions as an overwhelming challenge.

Port confirmed that while the new campaign is a big step forward for Build-a-Bear Workshop Australia, it had little to do with recent announcements.

“This promotion is totally unrelated to the DOCA, this promotion is to coincide with the US launch of PYA 2.0 that was planned back in January,” she said

“It is business as usual for the brand and our guests and we look forward to an exciting and more secure future in Australia.”

Build-a-Bear Workshop Australia’s Pay Your Age Day 2.0 promotion will run on June 26 and 27 across all Australian locations.