Potato Head Drops 'Mr' title to promote inclusivity


By AGENCY

The new Potato Head world. — Hasbro via AP

Mr Potato Head will drop its courtesy title to ensure gender inclusivity and neutrality, Hasbro announced.

The toy, which has been on store shelves for seven decades, will be rebranded to include a new logo, colour palette and product.

Launching this fall, the Create Your Potato Head Family will allow children to imagine and create their own Potato Head family with two potato bodies, one small potato body, and 42 accessories. Each set can have up to two parents and a baby.

The change in the spud's name is to ensure toddlers can form same-sex partnerships and single-parent families.

Hasbro launched Mr Potato Head in 1952 for US$0.98, the equivalent of US$10 (RM40.50) today.

At the time, families had to supply a real potato, which kids could then turn into people, thanks to plastic pieces in the box, such as hands, feet, eyes and accessories, such as a pipe, and felt pieces for mustaches.

The following year, Mrs Potato Head launched with feminine accessories, such as hair bows and red high heels.

The Potato Heads were the first toys to be marketed directly to children, selling more than one million kits in the inaugural year.

In this file photo taken on July 26, 2013, Mr and Mrs Potato Head attend Variety's Power of Youth presented by Hasbro, Inc. and generationOn at Universal Studios Backlot in Universal City, California. — AFP/Getty Images North America/Rich PolkIn this file photo taken on July 26, 2013, Mr and Mrs Potato Head attend Variety's Power of Youth presented by Hasbro, Inc. and generationOn at Universal Studios Backlot in Universal City, California. — AFP/Getty Images North America/Rich Polk

Over the years, toy companies, such as Mattel's Barbie, have worked to create more ethnically diverse and size-inclusive characters, but few have pushed the bounds on gender identity and sexuality.

In 2012, Hasbro celebrated the 60th wedding anniversary of Mr and Mrs Potato Head with a boxed set featuring the couple.

But now, the company wants to move beyond the traditional family structure.

"Culture has evolved," said Kimberly Boyd, global brands senior vice president and general manager at Hasbro in an interview with Fast Company.

"Kids want to be able to represent their own experiences. The way the brand currently exists – with the 'Mr' and 'Mrs' – is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure."

In a tweet posted later on Thursday, Hasbro said that while the Potato Head brand name and logo is dropping "Mr" from its title, its toys Mr and Mrs Potato Head will not be discontinued or altered. – Reuters/Natalie Oganesyan



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