Saturday, December 29

Hasbro plans gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven

Hasbro plans gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven


McKenna Pope prepares to enter Hasbro headquarters holding a box containing some of the 44,000 electronically signed petitions.

By Ben Popken, TODAY contributor
Hasbro plans to unveil a new black-and-silver Easy-Bake Oven in February, following an online petition urging the toy company to market the product in a way that appeals to both boys and girls.

Hasbro, which said it already had the new color scheme in the works, on Monday invited 13-year-old McKenna Pope of Garfield, N.J., and her family to check out the new design at the company's Pawtucket, R.I., headquarters. Pope's petition, asking Hasbro to make an Easy-Bake Oven in colors other than the "gender-role specific" pink and purple and to feature boys on the packaging and in its marketing materials, garnered 44,000-plus signatures, including celebrity chefs. She started the petition after noticing her 4-year-old brother Gavyn Boscio's interest in cooking. When she went to shop for an Easy-Bake Oven for him, she was bothered that the design and box seemed to focus solely on girls.

"I feel that this sends a clear message: women cook, men work," Pope wrote in her petition description.

McKenna Pope, right, with her mother, Erica Boscio, and (from left) brothers Gavyn and Matthew at Hasbro headquarters in Pawtucket, R.I.

"We value input from our consumers and given the widespread interest in McKenna Pope’s story, we extended an invitation to McKenna and her family to visit Hasbro and meet with our EASY-BAKE team," Hasbro's vice president of global brands and publicity, Julie Duffy, told TODAY. During the visit, Duffy said Hasbro showed Pope and her family the new black-and-silver Easy-Bake Oven design the company has had in development for the past 18 months. The design is set to be revealed for the first time at the New York Toy Fair in February 2013.

When asked whether Hasbro would feature boys in the marketing for the toy, Duffy told TODAY that all of the 2013 marketing plans for all its brands are still in development.

Pope told the Associated Press that her younger brother pronounced the new design "awesome." She could not be reached directly for comment, as she in school.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Teenager McKenna Pope's YouTube video in which she and her little brother ask Hasbro to make a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven.

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