Letter to John Lewis

We’re pleased to see toy departments in John Lewis that offer toys to girls and boys without signposts that tell them which they are supposed to like, so we’re surprised that online shoppers are directed to very different options for boys and girls.

Let John Lewis know what you think:

or contact John Lewis customer services.

Our letter

Mark Lewis
Online Director
John Lewis
171 Victoria Street

15 September 2013

Dear Mr Lewis,
Let Toys Be Toys is a parent-led campaign which believes that marketing toys by gender is confusing for the customer and damaging to the child.
During our visits to your stores we were really pleased to see that you don’t signpost boys and girls to separate toys. We see this as a positive move and would be grateful if you could confirm that this layout applies across all your stores.

We were surprised, however, to see that you include ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ categories in the online toy section. Our many supporters tell us they find these categories unhelpful and confusing to navigate and we are now asking you to reconsider this decision.

JohnLewis_screenshot_300We believe that the most effective way to help customers use your website would be to optimise your descriptive labels (such as ‘Building and Construction’ or ‘Dolls and Doll Houses’) and to remove all reference to gender. This would help people find the toy they’re looking for as quickly as possible. For example, a customer who believes that an appropriate present for a boy is a car or a construction toy would still be able to find the product they’re looking for quickly, as well as not offending those who find gender labels for toys problematic.

In 2013, retailers are moving away from marketing toys separately to boys and girls, and we believe there is significant reputational risk in continuing this practice as it becomes increasingly outdated. As a result of our campaign we have seen a commitment to marketing toys equally to boys and girls from Toys R Us, The Entertainer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Boots and TK Maxx. We hope you will be the next to make this (relatively minor) change and we will happily promote this decision to our thousands of supporters if this is the case.

We are happy to discuss any of this further and welcome contact via the e-mail address above.
Yours sincerely
Let Toys Be Toys

1 Comment

  1. Mrs. Anne Collinson

    Having had a girl who from a very young age, although given dolls and ‘girlie’ things to play with, eschewed them and preferred ‘boy’s toys, I think this campaign is quite right.

    Anne Collinson

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