At Smyths Toys princesses and Queens are for girls AND boys. The latest TV ad from Smyths Toys Superstores sees a boy dreaming of being a series of toys – including dressing as a Queen.
Beyonce’s 2008 song ‘If I Were a Boy’ saw her musing on life as a man – and coming to the conclusion that she would probably make a better one than the ex-lover she is singing about.
Smyths Toys have reworked the song for their latest TV ad, which sees a boy imagining life ‘If I Were a Toy’, while browsing around one of Smyths Toys superstores. The ad finds him zipping from one amazing adventure after another – from flying in space to dancing so much his batteries run out.
Rather aptly, seeing as it’s based on a song about gender swapping, the ad neatly subverts traditional notions of boys and girls toys. While the usual suspects of Star Wars and LEGO are represented in the boys fantasy journey, we also see his immersion include the likes of Barbie, Frozen, and at one point he sings of being ‘Queen of the land’ – wearing a dress and a tiara.
(If you can’t see the above video, try the Facebook version instead)
The toy industry still has a way to go – but it has definitely improved in its approach to toys for boys and girls.
Anyone who spends time with young kids on a regular basis will have seen this – at playgroup while there will be girls with the train set on the floor, you’ll also find boys pushing buggies and running around in princess dresses. A gender neutral approach to toys isn’t about pushing a hidden social engineering agenda, as critics like to claim. If anything, it’s the opposite (undoing one) and simply reflecting the reality of how kids play.
A lot of the buzz around gender neutral categories in toys has been around girls not being excluded from playing with action figures and construction sets. But it’s easy to forget there are lots of boys who enjoy princesses and ponies. Encouraging them to feel confident in engaging in this is just as important.
So in its own small way, this TV ad is playing a part in subverting stereotypes of what it means to be a boy. And while it sees him imagining life as a toy, perhaps the toy industry is reimagining what a boy wants to play with.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Smyths Toys Superstores