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: “My significant other and I had known of each other since grade school, but we connected at first on social media.” 

–Male, 20, WY

Fourteen percent of Millennials 18-32-years-old are currently parents, and they’re becoming an influential majority as they simultaneously take over the workplace. Balancing work and childrearing will likely be a priority for the generation, and while young parents today want longer maternity and paternity leaves, this type of flexibility is not often offered. For those with older children, parents want the ability to make children’s mid-day events, even if they have to work later at night to make up for it. Tech companies are “leading the pack” in providing good parental leave policies, and if talent begins to leave due to inflexible policies, other industries could follow suit. (Fast Company)

Kids today are more stressed out than ever, but one school’s effort to lesson their load has parents up in arms. In an effort to combat students’ frustration, exhaustion, lack of family time, and loss of interest in learning, a public elementary school in New York City recently assigned students the tasks of reading books and spending time with their families instead of traditional homework. However, parents are threatening to take kids out of school in protest, and have even assigned their own homework to “fill the gap.” Parenting trends currently lean towards the intense, competitive, and overprotective, and we’ll be interested to see if the pendulum swings as more Millennials become parents of K-12 kids. (DNAinfo)

Instagram is a vital Snapshot Marketing platform, and they’re introducing even more features for brands who want to appeal to young, visually-driven consumers. The app will now host sponsored, carousel-style posts featuring multiple photos that can be flipped through until the user is given the option to click for additional content. The new format “allows for sequential storytelling,” and has the potential to draw more brands to advertise on the platform, which is already bigger than Twitter with 300 million monthly users globally. (Adweek)

Always’s original “Like A Girl” ad was included in Ypulse’s round up of our favorite marketing of 2014 for standing out in the category of grown up girl-powered marketing. Now the brand has released a follow-up in honor of International Women’s Day with a new spot that features girls all over the world scoring, experimenting, running, calculating, and climbing “like a girl.” After the original ad aired during the Super Bowl this year, Always reported that 79% of women and 59% of men 16-24-years-old said it had altered their perception of what “like a girl” means. The sequel continues the brand’s championing of young girls, and asks viewers to keep doing things #LikeAGirl. (Huffington Post)

Ozo, an adorable 3D-printed bear, is introducing children to the Rubik’s Cube. The retro toy stumps even adults, but it turns out the exercise helps develop important mental capabilities. Ozo Bear teaches kids problem solving with body parts that have to be rearranged to put him in the correct shape. The product is still in early development stages, but mass production predicted for Ozo’s future and 3D-printed playthings are an emerging toy trend to watch. (psfk)

Every other week we tap into our panel of 150,000+ young consumers in a survey of 1,000 13-32-year-olds for their take on current events, trending topics, changing attitudes, and new norms. The question library in the My Library tab on Ypulse.com allows Silver and Gold subscribers to see what we’ve asked and how we’ve asked it for every monthly survey we've done, giving them a better understanding of how we talk to Millennials and an accessible data bank of all of the Millennial statistics available to them. (Ypulse)

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