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Is gender-neutral marketing for children the way of the future?

by AirTalk®

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Michelle Paolino, vice president of global girls marketing for Hasbro explains the differences in the company's newest version of their "Easy Bake Oven" in Pawtucket, RI on Sept. 8, 2011. Wayne Blatchley vice president of Fuzion Design, a company which worked in conjunction with Hasbro on the Easy Bake Oven's new design looks on. Stephan Savoia/AP

An online petition from a New Jersey teen has sparked new discussion about the use of gender in marketing for children. The petition, which now has over 18,000 signatures, is accompanied by a video featuring the 8th grader’s 4-year-old brother, who wants an Easy Bake oven for Christmas, but is deterred by the marketing, geared towards young boys.

Easy Bake is hardly the only children’s company to be criticized for gendering its product. Lego recently released a line of pink toys geared towards girls as a response to demand for inclusion.

Should marketing geared towards children continue on a gender-specific path, or should products strive for more inclusive, gender-neutral advertising? Parents, do you buy toys with gender in mind, or do you buck the trend? Do you resent products with marketing geared only towards one gender?


Andrew Rohm, Associate Professor of Marketing at Loyola Marymount University. He teaches a specialist class in social media marketing

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