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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“I believe in a higher being, whether it takes the form of a god or it's more abstract like the universe.”—Female, 21, FL

An avocado-inspired chocolate is selling out fast, and Millennials’ obsession with avo is getting the credit—lest we forget the lattes and the proposals of the past. Waitrose’s gimmicky treat has a dark chocolate shell, a dyed green white chocolate interior and small chocolate “stone” sprinkled with cocoa for the center. The play on a traditional Easter egg chocolate is Waitrose’s best-selling product in its 114-year-history, selling out repeatedly since its recent launch. (The Independent)

Vacation companies that confiscate travelers’ smartphones are selling out their trips. The Wanderlust Generation isn’t just looking to travel, they’re looking to unplug—in spite of their penchant for picture-worthy excursions. All of Off the Grid’s phoneless itineraries sold out and more are being added for 2018. Yoga retreats and hotels are offering device-free options as well, with one hotel offering iPhone cases to anyone who makes it 24 hours with just a “dumb phone” replacement. (NYP)

Kids can’t get enough of Roblox, and the platform just went “cash-flow positive.” ComScore found that children under-13-years-old spend more time on Roblox than on YouTube, Netflix, or any other similar platform. For teens, the game came in second, behind YouTube. The gaming sensation lets kids create and interact in digital worlds, build their online friendships, and make money—if they’re a “top creator.” (TechCrunch)

Unboxing is getting an augmented spin for Nike’s next sneaker drop. The Millennial and Gen Z-favorite brand has created a link that leads to “a virtual box” containing the new shoes. Users can access the box via any platform and then open the box and use their cursor or finger to check out the Deerupt shoes from “all angles.” Nike also recently let sneaker heads virtually run across the world in their Nike React shoes via in-store treadmills. (GlossyMobile Marketer)

YouTube Red is headed to the box office for the first time with their original movie, Vulture Club, starring Susan Sarandon. In the past, they’ve premiered content on their premium service and in limited releases, but rumor has it this will be their first big bet on a full theatrical release. Everyone from Amazon to Hulu is upping their original content to compete in the streaming wars, and though YouTube has all eyes on their free platform—their paid service is lagging behind the competition. (IndieWireThe Verge)

“I’ve been using Apple products for years. Although Samsung technology is probably better, I am so used to Apple that I would probably not switch.”—Female, 18, PA

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