The literature which has been the source of inspiration for this book includes theories concerned with the social oriented and concept-oriented dimensions of family communication. Examples include Løgstrup (1972), Gottfried (Ed) (1984) and sources to which they refer but also Bonfadelli’s (1991) German bibliography “Familie und Medien” (Barlhelmes & Sander (1990)) and Varming (1988).

There are naturally differences in the families’ basic values and views in this book’s consumer description.

There are a number of general perspectives as to the study of values per se. These will be utilised in a number of systematic ways in the development of both sociological and market analytic methods.

There are vast material differences, differences in the structure of everyday life, in how people experience the time and space available to them, etc. and great differences in the role children play as active parties in society.

These differences are apparent especially in the following four areas:

How do we view reality?

What do we believe about people and our own human possibilities?

What values are we most interested in promoting?

What norms and circumstances must be established in order ensure the feasibility of certain opportunities?

There will be some very brief explanations for these in this part of the book, partly because these four fields together define the context of choosing toys and partly because different authors describe them in very different ways.

Model description (complete model)



The complete model

Model for understanding the consumer (Introduction)

First and foremost, it is relevant to introduce philosophically the existential position of the individual and the values within the spectrum insight-ignorance (liberation-alienation) in relation to environment and to being a consumer. This was covered in the early pages of this introduction.

Consumer representative (Chapter 13)

Information and data from a Danish panel of 400 families (Steenhold, 1993,d).

Information about the modern Danish consumer, his circumstances and position will be covered here. The source for all table references is Steenhold 1993,d.

Then there are three areas of the consumer’s immediate circumstances, i.e. of the kind which can form the basis for his toy selection relative to the toy’s positioning. These three areas are:

1. Different Lifestyles - “The Social Aspect” (Chapter 14)

which includes the differences between social circumstances and lifestyles. The differences are outlined in theories relating to ways of life and environment.

2. Different Experiences - “The Situation Aspect” (Chapter 15)

including the differences between experiences of situations. The differences are outlined in theories about consumer situations and modern childhood 1990-2000.

3. Personal Differences - “The Individual Aspect” (Chapter 16)

includes individual differences. These are outlined in descriptions of a so-called “happy childhood” and includes the variable perspectives of this and the reasons behind the various attitudes to children within the families.


The Description of the model continues in PART V:

Consumers have ideal requirements which are described as various demands and needs in relation to toys. These are outlined in a brief section concerning the very heart of the matter:

4. Different consumer ideologies/requirements/needsin relation to toys (Chapter 17)

concerning ideal requirements.

Toys, play and games contain many different qualities which the consumers describe in different ways as the advantages of acquiring them. These are covered in:

5. Ideological advantages of purchase (Chapter 17)

concerning a variety of requirements and needs.

The next section looks at characteristics the consumers attribute to toys, depending on where and how they are to be used. The section is called:

6. Personal advantages of purchase (Chapter 17)

concerned with areas in which the advantages are sought demonstrated. The consumers seek visible evidence of the various personal benefits/advantages of purchase and acquisition of toys in five primary areas. These are described in this section.


Consumers maximise the perceived fulfilment of their needs by adapting the acquisition of a toy according to:

  • the budget and priceof the goods acquired
  • their perception and mental images of the valuesconnected to the experience and status acquired.

This maximising is explained by the set of attributes which are associated to the product. These are outlined in:

7.Consumer utility maximisation of toys (Chapter 18)

8.The product’s/toy’s social psychological significance (Chapter 18)

9. Utility maximisation of the individual appeal of the product (Chapter 18)

Chapter 19 describes the extent of the consumers’ toy collections, their favourite toys and how their attitudes to the future also influence their choice of toys and play.


Boxes 10, 11, and 12 in the model outline how loyal and casual users respectively relate to the values and utility of certain types of toys. The weight of emphasis is on the loyal consumer who can be registered more easily (Chapter 20).

Boxes 13, 14 and 15 illustrate in the form of an index, the consumers’ qualitative comprehension of what kind of social, situation and individual values can be associated to certain types of toys (Chapter 20).



Table of Contents