Are We Branding Our Children?
About a month ago, my daycare provider notified me that we were dangerously low on diapers. After six months of reluctantly buying pull-ups – hoping that Lucia will finally get on the potty-training bandwagon – I threw my hands up in the air and bought two more boxes of Dora the Explorer pink floral pull-ups. I secretly hoped that these overpriced girly potty catchers would inspire her to put on her “big girl” panties and start using the toilet.
It was two days after the restock that Lucia decided (on her own) that this was the day that she will forever wear panties. And not just on weekends, or at daycare –even at night! Goodbye Dora pull-ups, hello washable, affordable cloth panties. And was it Dora that inspired her to become a big girl and jump on the potty train? No, it was the school bus that we saw everyday as I dropped her off at daycare. She wanted to be a big girl and ride that big yellow bus, which made this Momma especially proud.
And while my little girl still loves dressing up in princess play clothes, it makes me a little bit excited that she’s not yet influenced by the gender specific themes and colors. Or maybe she’s too young to even notice
As marketing professionals, we ourselves are pressured to use gender-specific colors appropriately. After raising a little girl for the past two-and-a-half years, I’m generally sick of seeing everything related to girls in pink. From pink Legos to pink dollhouses, it’s everywhere. And don’t even get me started on the array of pink Barbie products.
I encourage Creatives in our field to take it a step further the next time they design packaging or brand a website targeting children. Because if not, what we find ourselves doing is branding our kids. Which is only the first step in telling them “what they should be.” And before we know it, our girls will be wearing pink high heels and puking in the basement toilet in hopes to aspire to anything close to society’s ideal beauty of a Barbie doll.
“Pay attention, 2014 Mad Men: This little girl is holding a LEGO set. The LEGOs are not pink or “made for girls.” She isn’t even wearing pink. The copy is about “younger children” who “build for fun.” Not just “girls” who build. ALL KIDS.”
– The Huffington Post by Jessica Samakow
Maybe I’m being a bit too dramatic. Believe me when I say I’ve been guilty of falling into this girl brand trap more than once. Maybe deep down I just want to see an array of colors as I walk down the Target toy aisle – the colors we’ve brushed to the side in our kid-branding madness. Give me some shades of yellow, green and purple for a change. Let’s open our color palette! Designers, consumers – who’s with me?
Some of you are aware that my husband and I are expecting another little one this July. Well, this time, surprise – it’s a boy! And before anyone starts sending gifts of blue and camouflage – which we will happily accept – just understand that someday he will certainly be sporting Lucia’s leftover Dora the Explorer pink floral pull-ups. Because what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Written By: Jodie Pundsack, Creative Strategist