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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Pink knights for all? Perception, categorization and preferences for toys

Published: May 28, 2019


Özlem Teckert, Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences; Thorsten Litfin , Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences


Gender Marketing; Visual Attention; Toys Choice


This paper examines the effects of theme and color of toys, testimonials and the sex of children on visual attention, gender classification and play preferences. As part of an experiment with 74 four- and five-year-old children, an eye-tracking study was combined with a child-friendly interview. Two LEGO® DUPLO® models, which were systematically modified, served as the basis. The study demonstrates that classic design and advertising elements influence visual attention, gender attribution and play preferences. In general, the more a toy matches the biological sex of a child, the stronger the play preferences will be. This applies similarly to visual preferences. From a marketing point of view it is preferable to link products with a gender. From a societal point of view this can reinforce stereotypes. In addition, the study also reveals that even small changes in design and advertising elements give children more flexibility in their decision-making behavior.