Toys in marketing/advertising




Toys as:

performance                         exploitation/profit

possession                           power

consumption                         marketing

capitalism                             mass production

economics                            idealisation 




The toy creates power for the owner of the toy. New toys create ideology in the form of systems for certain views, concepts and ideas expressed by various social groups.


Most frequently used play ideologies:

- adopt a role or position

- newness/confusion


Toys give power to the person in possession of them: power of newness and power of possession - because the toy creates ideology.

The toy market with its superabundance of toys and toy advertising gets the child accustomed to his future life within consumer society.

This paradox can be expressed as follows:

“Both toys in the toy stores and children within the family have become more and more expensive to “acquire” and “maintain” and, at the same time, they have become less and less useful.”

Zelizzer (1985) tackles the problems inherent in the children’s situation thus:

Firstly, parents’ historical ideals concerning the family, philosophy and the dream of community and intimacy between parents and children and the efforts they make to maintain them.

Secondly, parents’ stark realistic recognition of the fact that the everyday career race, separation and consumerism have developed into a parody of family life, costing enormous human sacrifice which hits the children first.

In this deterministic hypothesis, toys become the “moral economic hostages” of childhood, which, on the basis of a philosophy of “fulfilling individual dreams”, are particularly suitable as a means by which to turn children into willing consumers.

Zelizzer’s argument is part of the horror scenario in both the American and European middle class’ attitudes to the future. Discussion of this scenario over the last few years has become part of the socialist and environmental political parties’ manifestos and in particular taken up by socially-engaged groups within the population.



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