Dolls are getting more diverse all the time, and that diversity extends beyond ethnicity. Peek online or at your local toy store, and you’ll see that the doll aisle offers a wider variety than ever before, including boy dolls, ones featuring characters with interests in science and computers, and models depicting disabilities. Truly, we are living in a Golden Age of doll play, given how many niches are represented. And that’s leading to something pretty interesting: that the different niches themselves are starting to blur together.
by Catherine Mevs, strategy director, Red Peak Branding
With more and more Millennials stepping into parenthood, big name toymakers are trying to guess at the expectations of a new generation of parents. However, from Mattel’s introduction of its Siri-inspired Hello Barbie to Hasbro’s more compact preschool toys, thus far their efforts are either misguided or not going far enough.
GoldieBlox, a company set out to get girls building by giving them a role model in the STEM fields, introduced a brand new commercial for its newest product: a Goldie action figure. The commercial shows the company’s alternative to the fashion doll industry. Set to Metric’s “Help, I’m Alive,” the slightly creepy, but very empowering GoldieBlox ad encourages girls to break the mold.
As AdWeek points out, the commercial has the same idea as Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl commercial that introduced the Macintosh computer. Girls all dolled up like—well—dolls line up to grab perfect dolls off an assembly line that are dressed just like them. Meanwhile, Big Sister robotically drones repeatedly, “You are beauty and beauty is perfection,” until one Goldie-inspired little girl in overalls and red Chucks steps out of line and smashes the machine with a hammer.
The result? A brand new Goldie action figure for girls.
GoldieBlox’s past commercials have garnered a lot of attention, including one that earned a spot during last year’s Super Bowl.
GoldieBlox will bring its design and engineering toys to life at the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The toymaker’s new float, titled The Girl-Powered Spinning Machine, will transform GoldieBlox toys into larger-than-life form in an elaborate, creative, and brightly colored machine.
“The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an iconic celebration and we’re thrilled to join the line-up this November with the first-ever float that is specifically designed to showcase the principles of engineering,” said Debbie Sterling, the founder and CEO of the company. “Macy’s Parade floats are the ultimate engineering spectacle, and relatable to kids everywhere. We can’t wait!”
The engineers and craftspeople at Macy’s Parade Studio worked closely with the GoldieBlox team to design and build the float as three distinct stages. It will use kid power to spin, pull, and rotate a myriad of elements from giant pinwheels and parachutes to jogging wheels.
Some girls like to play with dolls, while others might enjoy more crafty activities. But some girls also want to take charge at an early age and are interested in subjects that are stereotypically dominated by men. Recently, there has been an emergence of toys that help young girls develop an early interest in areas such as business, math, and science, as toy companies follow the trend of encouraging young girls to follow their dreams to the career path of their choice.
Fashion Angels will be launching a line of products this fall called It’s My Biz, designed to encourage tween girls to consider careers in business. Barbie launched Entrepreneur Barbie this year, drawing inspiration from female entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses, such as Rent the Runway, Girls Who Code, and Genuine Insights. Finally, Debbie Sterling, the creator of Goldieblox, created her product with the mindset of “disrupting the pink aisle” and building girls’ confidence in their spatial abilities to develop an early interest in math and science, areas usually dominated by men. [Read more...]
Every so often, I babysit my cousin’s two kids, one boy age 5 and one girl age 6. During one particular instance, we ended up saving a city on the brink of destruction while playing with a police construction set accompanied by a fire truck and superhero action figures. That’s when Alex asked his sister why she wanted to play with us when we were playing with “boy” toys.
“Because it’s fun,” she casually replied in a heartbeat, adding a quick shrug. And it was as simple as that. But what would make Alex question why his sister wanted to play with him even though there were no female characters involved in the story?
While some toys in the industry are truly gender neutral, others are “reverse gendered.” Gender neutral toys, such as certain board games and Play-Doh, do not intentionally appeal to the divide between girls and boys. Reverse gendered toys don’t exactly have the opposite purpose, but the companies attempt to reach a broader audience. A manufacturer will make changes to a previously gender-specific toy to make the opposite gender drawn towards it. The most common way this is done is having the exact same product produced in two different color palettes. [Read more...]
WIT Honors Outstanding Business Leaders with 10th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards
At a February 18 dinner attended by more than 400 executives, Women in Toys (WIT) celebrated 10 visionary women business leaders with the 2014 Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards. The award recipients are: Kiyomi Haverly of Mattel, Global Brands; Naz Cuevas of Rovio Entertainment Inc. and Donna Tobin of Hasbro Inc.; Rita Raiffe, design director at Gund; Stefanie Barone of M.Z. Berger & Co.; Susie Lecker of Fisher Price; Michele Litzky of Litzky Public Relations; Joan Packard Luks of The Seranata Group; Christina Jansa of Target; and Debra Sterling of GoldieBlox.
On February 15, the eve of American International Toy Fair, hundreds of toy executives and industry guests gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City for the 14th Annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Rainbow Loom, from Choon’s Design LLC, won Toy of the Year as well as prizes in three additional categories, while GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, from GoldieBlox Inc., took home the People’s Choice award by pulling in the most online votes from consumers.
The event also featured five inductions into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Jill Barad, former chairman and CEO, Mattel; Horst Brandstätter, president and owner, Playmobil/geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG; Jack Friedman, former chairman, CEO, and co-founder, Jakks Pacific; and Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr, co-founders of Wham-O Toy. [Read more...]