Overcoming Gender-Based Toy Marketing One Advertisement At A Time

Many kids grow up thinking that pink is for girls and blue is for boys, as the picture below shows. Dolls, princesses, and beauty related toys are typically marketed to girls, whereas building sets, cars, and action figures are mostly advertised to boys. However, such stereotypical marketing can have negative effects, providing children with narrow views of what it means to be a girl or a boy. Brands and marketers have received much criticism in the past few years for perpetuating these traditional constructions of gender, however, others are slowly seeking to change this problem. One of our Youth Advisory Board members, Julia Tanenbaum, weighs in on this subject, highlighting areas of frustration and where progress is being made. 

Overcoming Gender-Based Toy Marketing One Advertisement At A Time

Pink and Blue ToysDespite conventional wisdom that today’s children can pursue whatever career or lifestyle they please without their gender impairing their ability to succeed, the toys we raise them with send a completely different message. This year has given us toys like Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood “award” nominated LEGO Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop, which shows girls that they can only learn engineering principles when their materials are pink beauty supplies and they can “get primped and pretty” instead of, say, building. Although LEGO has received much attention for its offensive gender marketing, children are constantly bombarded with toys espousing equally damaging messages. Bratz dolls and Barbies teach girls to focus on their appearance and aspire to be stick thin, while Nerf guns and military themed toys inspire boys to be violent and active, with little scope for nurturing or creativity. These toys and their limiting messages are bad enough in themselves, but they are just part of…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: "A benefit of unplugging is getting a more personal view of the world back. (Social media tends to distort your perception to bend to what others are thinking/feeling/saying/doing.)” —Female, 25, MN

Liam Matthews, a teenager from New Zealand, has grown his Instagram following from under 150,000 to over 1.5 million in the course of a year by combining celebrity glamour shots with DIY cross-dressing. His profile documents his attempts to mimic the looks of young female celebrities using fabric scraps, an array of wigs, and strategically placed ramen noodles. Sticking to side-by-side comparison images and a focus on the most popular young celebrities, Matthews has struck a format that makes imitation the sincerest form of humor. (Uproxx)

Every brand seem to want their own hashtag catchphrase, but authenticity and sheer common sense are being compromised by some in pursuit of the viral tag. Over the course of 12 hours, one writer noticed 39 distinct hashtags, including #unseenacne for Neutrogena which was deemed “#FreakingGross” by one Twitter user and a #sorrynotsorry copycat from Equinox coined #preapologize. While the latter has seen 1.2 million impressions (many from the company and its employees), some have been so confused by the wording that they had to ask Equinox directly what it was supposed to mean. (WSJ)

Good thing OKCupid users aren’t raising much alarm over recent experiments conducted on them, because the company is unapologetic. The three experiments that faked matchmaking results and manipulated conversations were detailed in full on OKCupid’s trends blog under the title "We Experiment on Human Beings!" Internet skeptical Millennials are used to their data being used behind-the-scenes, and may not have as much issue with OKCupid as other tests made public (like those from Facebook) because “experimentation in dating is part of the process” to improve matches. (NYT

Transparency communication is the new buzzword at Johnson & Johnson who has started a movement to win over Millennial moms. The first ad in the planned 40-plus series announces that they will remove controversial ingredients from their products and reminds viewers that J&J employees are parents themselves, having them write 1,000 promises to reflect the company's dedication to change. Future video series will serve to debunk myths, educate new parents, and connect them through social media forums. (AdAge)

A Disney princess clothing collection from BlackMilk, featuring Snow White bomber jackets, mermaid leggings, and Hakuna Matata skater skirts, is selling out. Mind you, this collection is made for adult females. We took a look at what happens when the princesses grow up, and discovered that Millennials are eager to co-opt Disney imagery and update it to fit with their current lifestyles. Though some don't appreciate their favorite animations being slapped onto skintight clothing, the bold and graphic prints clearly appeal to some and would probably make for some unique rave gear. (Jezebel)

Quote of the Day: “In the future, I'd like to pay off my student loans and not starve or get evicted. A stable job would be nice.” –Male, 26, PA

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