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: “Forever 21 is my favorite store to shop in, the clothes are affordable and I can find every type that I might be looking for.” –Female, 27, NY

Netflix is entering the teenage world. Their latest programming plans include shows and movies for teens and tweens, including YouTube celeb vehicle Smosh: The Movie, in an effort to attract more young viewers, “known for their elusive and fickle tastes.” Netflix’s new focus on teens is a part of their goal to be a place for every kind of audience, and could help them gain more subscribers overall, as teens tend to influence their parents’ entertainment decisions. (NYTimesFortune)

“Millennials don’t even look at email.” It’s a rumor that’s been going around, but brands should know that evidence points to the contrary. Recent research shows that almost half of Millennials say their preferred way for companies and retailers to contact them is email. Social media is of course vital to their communication with peers, but “email has also been a constant in their lives,” and is the way they deal with more “practical” communications. (B2C)

Tapingo, an on-demand delivery service that is staffed entirely by students, has become a “household name” on some of the 125 college campuses it currently services. Coffee shops that participate with the app reportedly “processing 300-500 Tapingo orders a day,” and the student couriers can deliver 3-4 orders an hour. The flexible schedule of working for Tapingo is appealing to students, who can just turn on the app when they want to accept delivery job. (TechCrunch)

Disney will be harnessing the force of unboxing videos to promote Star Wars merchandise. The brand is planning an 18-hour online unboxing marathon, “Force Friday,” featuring YouTube stars opening the toys made for the upcoming Star Wars: the Force Awakens. The approach is a huge departure from traditional toy marketing, but unboxing videos are some of the most popular on YouTube, and kids are not as exposed to TV commercials as they once were. (LATimes)

As Millennials fuel their own social good movements, it is more important than ever for brands to make a difference in the world as well. JetBlue’s recent charity effort “Soar With Reading” targets kids’ book deserts—communities where there is just one age-appropriate book for sale for every 830 children. The brand placed three book vending machines in Washington, D.C., dispensing reading material for free to young readers. (ABC)

Quote of the Day: “My favorite physical store to shop in is Walmart. There is a little bit of everything. I hate the element of people at the store but the store itself is great.” –Female, 21, OH

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