A unique detail in new advertising material distributed by Kmart has attracted attention from shoppers who say it’s “so important” for the younger generation.
As part of the retailer’s July Family Moments campaign on Facebook, it employed boy and girl models to play with traditional toys popular with kids.
However, the images challenged the idea that boys and girls have very different preferences for toys.
The boy model was shown playing with a Barbie doll while wearing a unisex “awesome” jumper.
The girl model was seen playing with two dinosaur figurines taken from a Jurassic World box.
Kmart’s deliberate move, launched ahead of the school holidays, has not gone unnoticed, with hundreds of shoppers expressing their support for its momentous step towards better inclusion.
Many parents have shared touching online stories about how their children were positively affected by the change.
“It’s good to see this kind of advert. My son plays Barbies alongside his sister, and my daughter is a car enthusiast with her brother. It really shouldn’t matter as all they’re doing is being a kid,” one mum wrote.
“My son loves unicorns and he saw a poster of a little boy playing with a unicorn and he told me ‘boys can play with them too’. I said ‘yep, they sure can’. He’s also getting a doll house play house for his birthday,” another said.
“Love it. My daughter doesn’t like Barbies but loves dinosaurs,” someone else wrote, while another added: “I love stuff like this. Little things like this are so important”.
Kmart’s head of marketing Rennie Freer told news.com.au the retailer was “really proud” of its gender neutral advertising.
“At Kmart, we strive to foster an inclusive environment, so that all of our customers and team members feel represented and celebrated when visiting us. We do this by offering a variety of great quality products, at our famously low prices that everyone can enjoy,” Mrs Freer said.
“We’re really proud to reflect this in our latest July Family Moments campaign, as we know, our young customers like to play with a range of different products and share diverse interest regardless of gender.
“We will continue to take this into consideration across all of our customer touch-points, such as marketing, advertising and our product packaging, now and into the future.”
The retail giant has been praised for its inclusive toys, including Guide Dogs Australia dolls and Down syndrome dolls.
“We know one in five people in Australia have a disability and we want our product ranges to reflect that,” Kmart’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Marcelle Harrison, previously told news.com.au.
“To truly represent the communities we operate in. Part of that means creating dolls that reflect the people who shop in our stores; the people who are part of everyday Australia.”
John Gualtieri, Kmart CEO, said that inclusive dolls are not only for children with disabilities but also for their families.
“It can help form positive self-image, it can teach acceptance, and it can help children learn more about people different from themselves,” Mr Gualtieri said.
“But we know there is always work to be done in this space. We are committed to constantly evolving and expanding our range of diversity in store.”