For most of my life, I've been considered a child in the eyes of the law. But, even though my ID now claims I'm older than I appear, there's no denying that the holiday season ignites the spark that brings my inner child back to life. Retailers can put every TV, tablet, and smartphone in the entire store on sale and I will still gravitate toward the toy aisle.Holiday magic belongs to the children. Adults scramble for deals, whiles kids revel in the wonder of the season. They still believe in Santa Claus and they still gasp in excitement when they unwrap the item at the top of their wish list. But, when it comes to tapping into these tiny consumers, most companies neglect to spice up their marketing approach.
Take a stroll down the toy aisle and you'll see distinct separations. The "girl" aisles are overrun with baby dolls, Barbies, and princesses. Hope over to the "boy" aisles, and you'll find nothing but action figures, Nerf guns, and superheroes. Despite our desire to dissolve these gender roles, marketers continue to perpetuate these 1950s stereotypes at their own cost.
But, in a pleasantly shocking turn of events, Sweden's Toys 'R' Us catalogue broke with tradition by blurring the definition of "gender appropriate" toys. Boys playing with baby dolls, girls shooting laser guns, a boy styling the hair of his little lady friend--sights that would be deemed "emasculating" or "unladylike" by our antiquated standards thus encouraged and normalized in the public's eye. Many may says it's a publicity stunt, or a social statement, but no matter the true underlying intention, this catalogue presents a worthwhile lesson for marketers everywhere.
By blending gender roles, marketers double their target market. Just by promoting peaceful coexistence, young boys and girls will begin begging for toys they never would've considered in the first place, for they are not born with these stereotypes instilled, they are learned. If you want to increase demand, cater to both genders because, you see, parents may be the ones who make the purchase, but the kids are the ones driving sales.