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…

 
 
Ask Millennials some questions.
Log in to get started...

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I use cloth diapers, and a lot of my coworkers don't quite understand this. They aren't condescending, per say, but I do think that they judge my less mainstream parenting style. Also, several of my online mommy Facebook groups can be VERY judgy.” –Female, 26, IL

‘90s kids (older Millennials) remember many products from the decade that have now sadly passed out of their lives. But some of their undying nostalgia is being rewarded: Coca Cola has brought back their lemon lime flavored soda Surge thanks in part to a Facebook group called “The Surge Movement.” The soda is being sold exclusively through Amazon, and the first batch sold out in about an hour. (The Verge)

GIFs are invading marketing, and the medium is now seeping into mobile communication. Popkey is essentially a GIF keyboard for the new Apple operating system. The app allows users to search for appropriate reaction GIFs without leaving their chats, save frequently used GIFs, or select from popular featured files. The tool could appeal to young consumers who are more interested in communicating via images than text. (TechCrunch)

Millennials’ reputation for not caring about cars might not be the whole story, and we’ve heard that having a car actually is important to them—if brands can create cars they want. Toyota is imagining what that car would look like with their concept the U^2, a “city car” for Millennials, or in their words, the “entrepreneurial, urban driver.” The imagined car is customizable, with a removable front seat, an iPad central console, and a tailgate that can turn into a ramp. Though Toyota isn’t likely to produce the U^2, it is possible that some of its features will be integrated into upcoming models. (Wired)

Despite the fact that the platform is technically ad-free, brands have infiltrated Vine, and its “Vine famous” stars now regularly team with companies for creative advertising. The young social media savvy players—each with millions of followers—are also becoming involved in more traditional media: Brittany Furlan has landed a sketch comedy show deal, Nash Grier is working on a film career, and Shawn Mendes’ record topped the iTunes charts. (Adweek)

Financial services are not appealing to Millennials, and the disconnect between the industry and the generation isn’t likely to be solved by reaching out to these young consumers on the platforms they frequent. A recent global study found that less than 1% of Millennials want financial service providers to contact them through social media, and 59% believe they haven’t seen financial products that are targeted at “people like them.” (CNN)

Looking for a quick Millennial stat to get you up to speed before a strategy session? Searching Ypulse is the best place to start! Silver and Gold members have access to 10,000+ articles, 20,000+ curated Millennial news items, 2 billion peer-generated opinions from our mobile, social Q&A network, and thousands of statistics on Millennials drawn from our bi-weekly national survey of the generation. Your search can begin and end with us. (Ypulse)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies