Despite a promise last year to change their toy signage Morrisons came out of our pre-Christmas survey as the worst culprit for using gender to sell toys.
We’ve written to Morrisons, asking them to reconsider their toy signs.
Morrison’s told us in June via Twitter that they would be taking down their ‘Boys Toys’ and ‘Girls Toys’ signs, saying “We’re really sorry about this. Please be assured that all the old signage is being updated.”
However, they came out as the worst offender for gendered marketing in our 2013 toyshop survey, with the old signs still in widespread use, or replaced by identical pink and blue signs with the words ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ removed – not much of a step forward as they still tell children there are two kinds of toys, pink ones and blue ones…
We sent them a copy of the report and asked for their response – see our letter below. We haven’t yet had a reply.
Email Morrisons using their online customer services form.
Our letter to Morrisons
Customer Service Department
Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC
08 January 2014
Dear Sir / Madam,
Let Toys Be Toys is a grassroots campaign who are asking retailers and manufacturers to stop promoting some toys as only for girls and others as only for boys.
Along with thousands of supporters, we know that boys and girls have interests in common. We believe that deliberately narrowing a child’s toy choices is confusing for children and can be detrimental to their development.
You may be aware that we had a conversation with you on Twitter in April about the way you use in-store signs to separate toys for girls and boys. You responded “We’re really sorry about this! Please be assured all of the old signage is currently being updated”.
We are very pleased to see that Morrisons are taking this issue seriously but are disappointed that many “girls” and “boys” signs remain in stores. Additionally, in the stores that have been updated you continue to group toys separately according to gender and use pink / blue colour coding on your signage to indicate to children that the sections are intended for girls and boys. In our recent survey of UK and Irish retailers we were disappointed to see Morrisons named the most divisive retailer for these reasons. We have included a copy of the report with this letter.
Many major retailers have worked with us this year to ensure their marketing strategy is inclusive to both boys and girls including Toys R Us, The Entertainer, Debenhams, Fenwick, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Next, Boots, Marks and Spencer, TK Maxx and Wilkinson. We would very much like to meet to discuss a way forward and to suggest some innovative marketing ideas of our own.
We can be contacted on the e-mail address above and look forward to hearing from you.
Let Toys Be Toys
Enc ‘Let Toys Be Toys survey and retailers report 2013’
Top image – Morrisons Guiseley, November 2013, supplied by @seany85