Last week, some of the top people in media and toys gathered together at the Mattel Presentation Theatre to discuss the relationship between girls, media and toys. The “Girls, Media & Toys & Conference” was part of the Building Our Future series of conferences produced by Richard Gottlieb & Associates. Victoria Cushey, Vice President of Dynamic Designworks (DDW)and McHale Design headed up the effort for this West Coast event by bringing together an “Invitation Only” group of thought leaders.
Sponsored by JAKKS and DDW (Gold level sponsors), as well as The Marketing Store, Nickelodeon, MoonScoop, Kabillion, Women In Toys, Funrise and the Spielwarenmesse (Silver level sponsors) and led by Richard Gottlieb, CEO of USA Toy Experts, the conference was the center of active discussions on questions like:
- Does the old, binary classification of Girls Toys and Boys Toys still make sense in a 21st Century world where females have so many more options?
- Does the toy industry’s approach to gender, at least in part, account for age compression, particularly among girls?
- Does the old gender classification system stifle creativity and limit sales?
- When it comes to gender, do toys influence media or does media influence toys?
In addition, the conference included a panel of questions posed to a select group of high school girls from the highly respected Marlborough School in Los Angeles. The girls provided a fresh look at how contemporary girls see toys and media. Attendees were also given the opportunity to view a powerful series of videos presenting a look at how Marlborough’s students see their relationship with their dolls.
David Kleeman, President of the American Center for Children and Media, led attendees on a consideration of the head spinning topic: “What if SpongeBob was SpongeBarb and what if Hannah Montana was Hank Montana?” Participants were asked to consider how the shows, toys, as well as the packaging and promotion would change if the genders were reversed.
Attendees for the conference came from all aspects of play and media. Those companies and organizations sending representatives included:
Triple Fun Entertainment
In a later blog, I will write about the results of the conference
If you would like to be part of an upcoming Building Our Future event, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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