Tag Archives: children

Gender-neutral Dolls for Creating Your Own World

Barbie dolls have been around for 60 years and have mirrored many of the changes in culture and society. Barbie has been a politician, actress, musician, doctor, nurse, astronaut, and more. But there is a point where no matter how many changes Barbie goes through, she will always be seen as the iconic Barbie doll, and that doll does not reflect how many children view themselves and their world.

Today’s society increasingly is rejecting labels and embracing diversity. Mattel’s new line of dolls – the Creatable World doll – is still high-fashion, but the dolls reject labels and invite everyone to play. The dolls are designed as gender-neutral and can therefore be dressed and accessorized to adopt to many types of children – male, female, transgender, gender-fluid, and non-binary. In other words, the Creatable World dolls can be turned into virtually every different child’s gender and appearance.

The dolls look like a 7-year old child and have makeup-free, polished faces. There are various wigs, accessories, and clothing wardrobes. Dolls come with versatile pieces of clothing that give kids the freedom to make the characters whoever they want them to be. The dolls give kids a blank canvas with which they can create their own characters. Mattel uses the hashtag #AllWelcome to encourage a world where everyone is invited to play.

What are you waiting for? Let’s play!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into groups. Have each group 10 of their all-time favorite toys.
  2. Build the list of toys on the board and challenge students to examine the list.
  3. Are these toys gender-neutral, or are they directed at boys or girls only?
  4. Discuss with students how toys can reflect society and cultures.
  5. Show the video: https://youtu.be/-hGu4hPSNXI
  6. View the dolls at Mattel: https://www.mattel.com/en-us/creatable-world
  7. What other toys could use this approach?
  8. How should Mattel market the new dolls?

Sources: Lee, C. S. (26 September 2019). Mattel releases line of gender-neutral Creatable World Dolls. Advertising Age.

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Back-to-school Shopping includes Bulletproof Backpacks

By now most students have returned to school and many have new school supplies. You know the drill – it’s time to stock up on supplies such as pencils, laptops, notebooks, folders, and bulletproof backpacks. Wait – what? Bulletproof backpacks? Is that even a thing?

Unfortunately, yes, bulletproof backpacks have become a school accessory that helps to counter fears of school shootings. It’s not just parents who worry about mass shootings, students worry as well. According to Pew Research, nearly 60% of U.S. teenagers between 13 and 17 said they were “very” or “somewhat” worried that a shooting could happen on their campus. And when we have a fear, we also have a need to counteract that fear however we can. Thus, bulletproof backpacks whose sales have risen more than 200% after the latest school shooting.

These backpacks are not even a rarely-sold novelty, nor are they cheap. According to some companies that manufacture the $180 – $205 backpacks (along with inserts and other gear), many retailers have sold out over the year. The packs are of course sold at some specialty stores, but it may surprise you to find out that even Office Depot and OfficeMax have sold the product.

What are you using to carry school supplies?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students as to what would be on back-to-school shopping lists.
  2. Show a video to explain the products: https://youtu.be/C5gsk-3hiIE
  3. Show product examples:
    1. https://premierbodyarmor.com/collections/school-safety?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI75n8mpSh5AIVj8DACh06bQBMEAAYAiAAEgLKNPD_BwE
    2. https://www.bulletblocker.com/bullet-proof-backpack-shield.html
  4. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  5. For this product, what is the target market?
  6. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for bulletproof backpacks. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.

Source: Smith, D. (8 August 2019). Bulletproof backpacks? Deadly shootings have parents adding to back-to-school list. Sacramento Bee.

 

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Mascots Help Bring a Brand to Life

Brand mascots have been around for decades. The fictitious and colorful characters are used by companies to bring brands to life and create personalities that engage consumers. Mascots can be human appearing, animals, cartoons, or even an object. Quick – name five brand mascots right now…. Chances are that you could actually name many more than five, and that you have positive feelings about each of the mascots!

Mascots do more than garner positive feelings. According to research from System1, brands increase the effectiveness of advertising when using mascots. Campaigns that included a mascot were 37% more likely to increase market share than campaigns without a mascot. Plus, mascots are 27% more likely to increase customer gains, and 30% more likely to grow profit gains. So, why is it that in the U.S., a study found that only 4% of ads used mascots in 2018?

Mascots also play an important role in recognition and retention. Consumers are more likely to remember an image than they are to recall a phrase. Not all mascots last the test of time though. A mascot has to be the right character for the brand, and it has to have personality that resonates with consumers. Plus, it has translate into visual campaigns and last for years.

What is your favorite brand mascot?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into teams. Have each team list as many brand mascots for consumer goods as they can in the next few minutes. (You might want them to have a separate category for sports teams.)
  2. List the mascots on the white board and count the top vote-getters.
  3. How do companies use these mascots in advertising?
  4. Show the chart with brand mascot recognition by generation: https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/infographic-how-brand-mascot-recognition-has-changed-over-time/?utm_content=position_4&utm_source=postup&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MorningDigest_Newsletter_190827054610&lyt_id=194931
  5. For an interactive class, show the following quiz and see how many mascots the students recognize: https://www.thequiz.com/product-brand-mascot-quiz/
  6. Why are different mascots at various levels of recognition by age cohorts?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a product that does NOT have a brand mascot. Develop a mascot for that product.
  8. Each team should present their idea to the class.

Source: Smiley, M. (23 August 2019). Research says brand mascots really do move the needle. Ad Week.

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