Future-proofing the Toy Industry for Future Generations
It’s no secret that the toy industry is still playing catch up to this generation’s more open and accepting society; with toys still being splashed in shades of blues and reds for boys and pinks and purples for girls. But things are changing with notable companies leading the way, such as Mattel, who recently announced their line of gender-neutral Barbie dolls.
You may have also heard about the inspirational teen Greta Thunberg who has been making the headlines with her passionate speeches about the environment and how we need to do more to protect the planet for our future generations. And she’s not alone here either, as Millennials (Gen Y) and even Gen Z are leading battle cries pushing for change and calling for packaging to be more environmentally friendly, among other things.
So it would make sense that the toy industry, one which caters specifically to our future generations, is beginning to take more of a leap in being more aware and conscious of the environment, as well as more accepting, representative, and influential on these young minds to build a much brighter future beyond Gen Y, Z, A, and so on.
Mattel, of course, has been the outlier here, especially with LGBTQ+ representation. They hit the headlines when they introduced Barbie dolls with wheelchairs and prosthetics to represent the differently-abled, following this, dolls with various different body shapes and sizes were introduced. Now, we have the gender-neutral doll which Mattel hopes will be a “doll line designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in,” which is a great step for our future generations to feel represented and feel more comfortable being their true selves.
Other companies have also been doing their bit for future generations. Fast-food chain Burger King has announced that it’ll be removing all plastic toys from its children’s meals to reduce waste, and in terms of the toy industry, MGA Entertainment has partnered with TerraCycle to create a free recycling program for L.O.L. Surprise! packaging, accessories, and products, and LEGO is also pulling out all the stops to create plant-based bricks - though progress has been a little slow due to limitations in tech at the moment.
This is, of course, a big step considering plastics used for toys and their packaging most often ends up in landfills among other difficult to recycle materials contributing to the negative effects of landfill that damage our planet.
It’s exciting to see companies within the industry doing more both socially and ecologically, but they could certainly do more. Unnecessary plastic packaging can be minimized, more eco-friendly alternatives to plastics could be developed, and diversity could be embraced - companies just need to take the leap. It’s something we’re incredibly passionate about at Gallium and we can help advise clients on packing, materials, and product strategies.