Feature

Toy Story 3's viral '80s ads

To stealthily promote their latest sequel, Pixar cooked up two '80s-style commercials for "Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear," a toy that never existed

To launch Toy Story 3, Pixar has gone beyond standard-issue trailers. The "masters of plumbing audience nostalgia" also created two mock-retro ads for the "Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear" — a new character that was, supposedly, a classic '80s toy — and planted them on YouTube in a viral-marketing stunt. Job well done: "This will not only be Pixar's biggest opening ever," predicts Lou Lumenick at the New York Post, "but the largest animated opening, ever" — beating Shrek 3's $121 million tally from 2007. There's no question it deserves it, says Dana Stevens in Slate. "The overwhelming mood of the movie is one of ebullience, generosity, and joy." It's a "near-perfect piece of popular entertainment." And one that is bound to register at next year's Academy Awards, says Tom O'Neill in the L.A. Times. "This third trip to toyland" could even "land a best picture nomination." Check out the highly convincing "Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear" ads — one American, the other Japanese:

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