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Something to think about

03 Jan 2014 09:35 #34951 by Woodclaw
Something to think about was created by Woodclaw
For all of us who still harbour some kind of illusion about TV execs not being short-sighted, here we have another gem straight from an interview between Kevin Smith and Paul Dini (I hope I don't have to explain you who they are).

To sumarize, Dini was specificallt asked by Cartoon Network execs (already guilty in my eyes of cancelling many interesting animated series over the past two years) to make female characters "one step behind the boys, not as smart as the boys, not as interesting as the boys". :huh: Keep in mind that Dini was one of the mind behind the DC Animated Universe in the 90s/early 2000, as such he can be credited with inventing Harley Quinn, Renee Montoya, reinventing Poison Ivy and, in general, bringing a lot of kickass ladies to the TV screen.

Gender equality consideration aside, I really hope that this kind of mentality had stopped with the '90s, but apparently I was very wrong.

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03 Jan 2014 15:54 #34954 by castor
Replied by castor on topic Something to think about
Read a book once that touched on this topic-"Toy Wars".

In the late 70s Star Wars came out-and something that the market didn't quite anticipate happened-it was a huge hit. That may be the popularity of star wars, but also the canny marketing-the toys where very small, and cheep-but they sold lots of speeders, x wings falcons that where more expensive.

But one of the things they noticed was that the female figures sold less-in this case meaning princess leia. Who was pretty much the only female character in star wears. Actually the human characters in general sold less-the biggest selling character was of course Chewbacca.

but well it was becuse she was a girl. Everyone said so.

It started the trend. In most childrens oriented properties of the time, the trick was to have one male hero with a female sidekick and a few male sidekicks. Except in rare circumstances all of the sidekicks didn't sell as well as the hero and the villian. That was a given. In such a circumstance that made sence.

There where a lot of focus tests at the time when they asked boys if they wanted to play with girl figurines. They said "No no". However its been pointed out that they actually did use them as much as others. And of course they didn't invite any girls to the tests. Despite the fact that even then it was estimated that it was something like 30% of there action figure market.

So what does this have to do with TV?

Mattel realzing that beyond the toys they needed a market for them-so they invested and produced "He-man" for there next action property. Litterally produced-they ponyed up the money to make the show in the hopes it would be a hit. It was, though it was basically a 22 minute add for the toy line.

It changed Childrens TV program-inspiring shows like Transformers and GI Joe.

It followed the same model though in sales. Teela wasn't a very intresting character-but she sold actualy not the worst but in the lower 25-but boys don't play with girls toys.

they also came up with a principal at the time. Toy lines last about 18 months. So they only did 2 seasons despite the fact that the show was a hit. They moved instead into She-Ra, princess of power-which at last had a female hero.

It didn't do as well. Of course hasbro was under the assumption that 18th month rule was still in effect so they didn't make as many toys. The show wasn't as on as many stations. And the toys themselves where a lot more influenced by barbie-still it wasn't a failure of a line-just not a massive sucess.

So boys don't like playing with girls toys.

GI-Joe had a couple of women members-but by this time it was just common knoweldge. They didn't sell as well as the male figures-which of course helped by the fact that they actually made very few physical figurines. But well why bother.

Now all of this is the 1980s- but to a degree the logic just continues.

This is despite the fact that

A. the sales of female and male designed toys are not far apart.
B. On the collectors market(which is a big part of the toy market) the demand for female figurines is much higher.
C. On childrens TV shows aimed at kids about 10(which most action shows are, and the example you gave) the demos suggest about equal number of boys and girls watch them.

And to make a final point- one of the facets of Toy marketing is that not a lot of tv shows these days actually get toy lines. There expensive to devolop and take a long time to produce-longer then TV. So tower prep didn't acutally have to worry about selling toys.

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