Last Thursday, Hasbro created quite a stir when they announced they would be dropping the mister from the brand name “Mr. Potato Head” in an effort for all to feel “welcome in the Potato Head world.”
In addition, they plan on selling a new play-set this fall which will allow kids to create their own type of potato families, including two moms or two dads.
But in a tweet later that same afternoon, Hasbro clarified that while the brand is changing — the characters will still be sold in stores as mister and missus: “While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the ‘MR.’ I yam proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren’t going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD,” the company tweeted.
The tweet came after the brand name change blew up on Twitter, with many users asking if Barbie would have her name changed next.
Hasbro seems to want to expand the brand but also not ‘shelf’ iconic characters, which appeared in the “Toy Story” films.
“They are looking to broaden the franchise,” said Robert Passikoff, founder of marketing consultancy Brand Keys. “You take the focus of what is essentially one character and now allow it to be a platform for many characters.”
A senior vice president at Hasbro, Kimberly Boyd, stated the change was made to be more inclusive.
“It created a lot of excitement,” she began. GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy group, was overjoyed with the shift, saying:
“Hasbro is helping kids to simply see toys as toys, which encourages them to be their authentic selves outside of the pressures of traditional gender norms,” said Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s chief communications officer, in a statement.
Toy companies have been updating their brands over the past few years in an effort to relate to today’s children and showcase modern families.
“It’s a potato,” said editor in chief, Ali Mierzejewski, at toy review site The Toy Insider, regarding the new playset. “But kids like to see themselves in the toys they are playing with.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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