Marketing for children, not genders

by Stratton Craig

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Toys R Us has announced plans to stop the gender-focused marketing of its children’s toys, under pressure from consumer group Let Toys Be Toys[1]. The organisation will no longer directly position toys for boys or girls, to avoid encouraging them to develop according to gender stereotypes.
Enter the average toyshop and you’ll quickly notice a divide: toys are arranged in different sections for boys and girls. If these aren’t labeled explicitly, they’re distinguished by colour: typically blue, red and black for boys, with pink and white sections for girls.
Within the boys’ section you’ll find miniature cars and action figures, while dolls populate the girls’ section, alongside play areas like a ‘Disney Princess Kitchen’[2].
The copywriting that promotes these toys is also often directly tailored to boys or girls. Adding ‘Disney Princess’ to the title of the kitchen positions it for girls, while action figures are commonly promoted with descriptions like: ‘perfect for fun-loving boys’.
Good copywriting always has an audience in mind, and it’s vital to ensure that your copy appeals to the target market. But being gender-specific is now seen as an old fashioned approach – indeed it excludes a large number of children who could be interested in your product.
Rather than specifically mentioning that a toy is aimed at a certain gender, or dividing a store or website into boys and girls sections, companies like Toys R Us are now focusing on the interests of children instead. A superhero action figure is likely to appeal to kids who know the character, and a toy motorbike might be preferred by an energetic child, or one whose parent rides a larger version. Both can be enjoyed by either gender, and the marketing of such toys is adapting to reflect this.
We always have our client’s target audience in mind when copywriting – whether it’s the parents of a young child, or an executive in a specific industry – and we’re delighted to see organisations targeting by interest, rather than gender. If you are interested in copywriting to promote your products or services, please get in touch.


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