Hasbro gives its venerable Mr. Potato Head toy a gendered identity by dropping the “Mr.” from its brand name and packaging.
“Hasbro is making sure everyone is welcome in the Potato Head world by officially removing the Mr. from the Mr. Potato Head brand name and logo to promote gender equality and inclusion,” the company said in one first statement on Thursday.
But after making that announcement, the company made a clarifying statement on Twitter that the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head would keep their individual courtesy titles.
“Hold this dead – your main pud, MR. POTATO HEAD is not going anywhere! “The company said. “While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name and logo are dropping the ‘MR’. I am proud to confirm this MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD are not going anywhere and staying MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD. “
In the fall, the company will introduce its new “Potato Family Pack”, which will encourage children to “start their Potato Head family”. The pack comes with two large potato bodies, one small potato body and 42 accessories.
The brand name change is accompanied by “a whimsical color palette and broader news,” the company said.
Rich Ferraro, the main line of communication for Glaad, an LGBT advocacy group, welcomed the change, saying it was part of a “larger movement towards greater diversity and inclusion in toys and media for children”.
Hasbro is the newest toy maker to update or reinvent some of its classic brands to make them more inclusive and diverse.
Last year Mattel launched several new Barbie dolls, dubbed the “Most Diverse Line”, featuring “more skin tones, hair types and body shapes than ever before”.
One doll is bald, another has a denture, and another has her dark hair brushed off her face to show that she has the vitiligo skin condition.
In 2019, Mattel introduced a new line of customizable gender neutral dolls called Creatable World that “children can use to create their characters.” The box contains various wardrobe options, accessories and wigs so that children can style the dolls “with short or long hair, or in a skirt, pants or both”.
In 2016, Mattel announced that the Thomas the Tank Engine company was expanding to include more female train figures and friends from countries like India, Brazil and Mexico. And American Girl, maker of 18-inch dolls, introduced a boy doll in 2017.
Mr. Potato Head has been a Hasbro trademark since its inception in 1952. The company said it was the first toy advertised on television.
The toys that kids can use to swap out different parts like eyes, mustaches, glasses, and hats have long been associated with Rhode Island, where Hasbro is based. Over the years, the toy has been featured in parades, campaigns, and even on state license plates.