Marks & Spencer is to make its toy packaging gender neutral next year, following customer complaints that it promotes gender stereotypes.
Some customers had objected to Marks & Spencer’s range of toys called ‘Boys Stuff’, which includes dinosaurs, planes, cars, cat toys and a marble run.
Its ‘Little Miss Arty’ range features fairies, princesses and a handbag decoration kit.
M&S’s marketing copy was also objected to. A joke book in the ‘Boy’s Stuff’ range read: “Boys know the best jokes and here are 500 crackers to keep you ahead of the girls.” And packaging on a fire station said: “This pop-up fire station is perfect for little firemen everywhere.”
M&S said it has been planning on updating the range for months. It said both the ranges will be replaced by spring 2014 with the ‘Boy’s Stuff’ rebranded with a minimal graphic logo and the ‘Little Miss Arty’ range will be replaced by character-based branding.
But the retailer was pushed into making the decision earlier because Labour MP Stella Creasy openly criticised the branding on Twitter after a mother said she wanted to buy the marble run for her daughter.
The store replied: “Hi Stella, we’ve listened to customer feedback and by spring next year all of our toys will be gender neutral. Thanks.”
Campaign group Let Toys be Toys revealed this month that the number of toy stores separating products by gender has decreased 60% after pressure from shoppers and campaigners.