(Associated Press) Mr. Potato Head is no longer a mister.
Hasbro, the company that’s made the potato-shaped plastic toy for nearly 70 years, is giving the spud a gender neutral new name: Potato Head. The change will appear on boxes this year.
Many toymakers have been updating their classic brands in recent years, hoping to relate to today’s kids and reflect more modern families.
“It’s a potato,” said Ali Mierzejewski, editor in chief at toy review site The Toy Insider. “But kids like to see themselves in the toys they are playing with.”
Barbie, for example, has tried to shed its blonde image and now comes in multiple skin tones and body shapes. The Thomas the Tank Engine toy line added more girl characters. And American Girl is now selling a boy doll.
As part of the rebranding, Hasbro will release a new Potato Head playset this fall that will let kids create their own type of families, including two moms or two dads.
The Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters will live on in some form, Hasbro said, but didn’t provide details. Both have appeared in the “Toy Story” movies.
Dropping the “Mr.” from its name could encourage other companies to stop assigning genders to its toys, a trend that has already been happening, said Mierzejewski. Barbie maker Mattel released a gender-neutral doll line in 2019. But Mr. Potato Head is one of the biggest brands to do so.
“It’s setting this new standard,” Mierzejewski said.
GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy group, applauded the genderless toy potato.
“Hasbro is helping kids to simply see toys as toys, which encourages them to be their authentic selves outside of the pressures of traditional gender norms,” said Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s chief communications officer, in a statement.
Mr. Potato Head first hit the toy scene in 1952, when it didn’t even come with a plastic potato — kids had to supply their own vegetable to poke eyes, a nose or mustache into. Hasbro, which also makes Monopoly and My Little Pony, bought the brand and eventually added a plastic spud.
(Fast Company) This fall, you’re cordially invited to Mr. Potato Head’s wedding. He’s marrying his partner of many years, another Mr. Potato Head. And I promise it’s going to be the party of the year, with—you guessed it—plenty of spuds on the menu.
The toy giant Hasbro is rebranding its iconic Mr. Potato Head toy by dropping the “Mr.” from the name. On the surface, it may seem like a subtle shift, but it is designed to break away from traditional gender norms, particularly when it comes to creating Potato Head families—how toddlers frequently play with the toy, according to Hasbro’s research…
The enduring success of Potato Head comes down to its sheer silliness, says Kimberly Boyd, an SVP and GM at Hasbro who works on the Potato Head brand.
In 2012, Hasbro celebrated the 60th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head with a boxed set featuring the couple. But eight years later, the brand wants to stop leaning so heavily into this traditional family structure.
“Culture has evolved,” she says. “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.”