Do you remember visiting the toy aisle as a little kid? Toys for boys were on one aisle, and toys for girls on another. Toys for boys normally had masculine imagery, while toys for girls emphasized femininity. This is the way toy companies and retailers wanted it: A clear gender-based line of demarcation.
The only problem: This is not how kids wanted it. To a kid, a toy is a toy. Toy retailers were — and arguably some still are — reinforcing outdated social norms in their marketing. Savvy toy retailers are doing away with this approach. So called “boys” toys are now intermingled with so-called “girls” toys. The focus is now on gender-neutral marketing.
Of course, the broader lesson: Society is constantly evolving. Norms slowly change. Sometimes — as in the toy industry — the values of consumers are not aligned with retail practices. However, when retailers adapt their practices…the outcomes are well received. For example, companies like Amazon and Target have received positive public relations benefits (i.e. free advertising) by focusing on gender neutrality in their toy marketing.
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