- Mattel this week launched a customizable, gender-inclusive doll line called Creatable World, according to a company press release. It invites children to create their own characters with different hair lengths and a skirt or pants, or both.
- The line has six different doll kits, available with a variety of skin tones. In each kit, there is one doll, two hairstyle options and a variety of styling possibilities. Mattel says one kit offers a blank canvas that can become over a hundred different looks. The $30 kits are available at Amazon, Target, Walmart and other major retailers.
- "Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels," Kim Culmone, senior vice president of Mattel fashion doll design, said in the press release. "Through research, we heard that kids don't want their toys dictated by gender norms."
Coming from a toy brand that's best known for Barbie, this new Creatable World is a major statement on the importance of inclusion and diversity for brands. The goal of the new line — created with a team that included parents, physicians and kids — is to allow children to express themselves through play in ways that reflect today's society.
This is not Mattel's first effort that tackled gender expression. Last spring, the marketer teamed up with Mercedes-Benz USA to combat gender stereotypes by giving away thousands of toy cars to show girls they can be anything — including a race car driver. The toy car was a replica of the real one driven by pioneering female driver Ewy Rosqvist.
Mattel is not alone in the inclusivity space for kids. Earlier this month, Hasbro unveiled Ms. Monopoly, a revision of its classic Monopoly board game that focused on "women trailblazers" and offered a gender-reversal way for female players to make more in-game money than men.
Other brands are joining the inclusivity bandwagon, as studies from business intelligence platform PSFK and marketing consultancy Barkley, among others, show that younger consumers favor products, ads and brands that value diversity and open-mindedness. Just this week, for example, boxing brand Everlast launched a new iteration of its "Be First" campaign by spotlighting unique athletes, including the world's first professional male boxer who is transgender.