UPDATE: Toys ‘R Us Breaking Bad Figures: Crisis or Not?

Bryan Cranston can joke about this, but it’s become a serious story for Toys ‘R Us if only because of the volume of press coverage about the Breaking Bad-themed toy line. Here’s the company’s only response to date:

“The products you reference are carried in very limited quantities and the product packaging clearly notes that the items are intended for ages 15 and up. Items from this TV series are located in the adult action figure area of our stores.”

So is this a big deal or not?

Jennifer Vickery, CEO/President of Tampa’s National Strategies Public Relations (which also “works with a coalition of substance abuse prevention organizations”), writes:

“Having this item for sale, especially just prior to the holidays, is a PR decision gone wrong. I contemplate what planners, buyers, decision makers, marketing individuals and executives even agreed to allow these figures to be in the hands of impressionable kids and teens.”

At the same time, Toys ‘R Us sells both “Call of Duty” and “Grand Theft Auto,” which contain more violence per hour than the average BB episode. We also assume that any kid interested in a Walter White action figure has seen enough of the show to have a basic understanding of what’s going on…

walter white

The Change.org petition calling on the store to stop selling these toys currently has more than 8,000 signatures, but we wonder whether Toys ‘R Us will act beyond issuing the above statement.

Should they?

UPDATE: The answer to that question is “yes.” Toys ‘R Us officially pulled the toys from the shelves today, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The company’s spokesman also had a cheeky way of confirming it:

“Let’s just say, the action figures have taken an ‘indefinite sabbatical.'”

Well played, at least.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.