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Marketing Toys without Playing Around.pdf
Young Consumers (2012)
  • Meryl Gardner, University of Delaware
  • Roberta M Golinkof, University of Delaware
  • Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Temple University
  • Daniel Heiney-Gonzalez, University of Delaware
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to gain insight into how both characteristics of toys and
marketer-provided cues influence parents’ perceptions of advertised toys and their ideas of what life
skills are important for their children’s future well-being and success.
Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected with a 2 (toy encourages structured play vs toy
encourages unstructured play) £ 2 (ad mentions ‘‘brain development’’ vs ad mentions ‘‘child
development’’) experimental design involving four advertisements for a hypothetical toy.
Findings – Parents recognized that the toy encouraging unstructured play has many benefits. Relative
to parents who saw an ad with a ‘‘child development’’ appeal, those who saw an ad with a ‘‘brain
development’’ appeal rated social and intellectual development as less important for their children.
Practical implications – Findings support the idea that manufacturers can and should continue to
develop toys, which encourage relatively unstructured play; such toys are both appreciated by parents
and valued by experts. They also support eliminating ‘‘brain talk’’ from advertising; such messages do
not enhance parents’ evaluations of toys and detract from parents’ maintaining the value they place on
social and intellectual development.
Social implications – By designing toys which encourage play which is most beneficial to children and
promoting them with advertisements without ‘‘brain’’ language, marketers can support children’s
development and parents’ values.
Originality/value – This paper provides insights into the effects of toy and ad characteristics on
parents’ perceptions of toys and what is important for their children.
Keywords Toys, Marketing, Values, Children (age groups), Parents, Advertising, Play,
Transformative research, Social responsibility, Behaviour
Paper type Research paper
Keywords
  • Toys,
  • Marketing,
  • Values,
  • Children (age groups),
  • Parents,
  • Advertising,
  • Play,
  • Transformative research,
  • Social responsibility,
  • Behaviour
Disciplines
Publication Date
2012
DOI
10.1108/17473611211282626
Citation Information
Meryl Gardner, Roberta M Golinkof, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Daniel Heiney-Gonzalez. "Marketing Toys without Playing Around.pdf" Young Consumers Vol. 13 Iss. 4 (2012) p. 381 - 391 ISSN: 1747-3616
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/meryl-gardner/16/