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By Danielle Long, Acting APAC Editor

April 21, 2023 | 4 min read

Hasbro Australia has been praised for its stereotype-smashing depiction of children playing in a new campaign promoting its Nerf Junior Blasters.

The ‘Proudly Made for Juniors’ campaign, which was created by Rasic and Partners and directed by Lester Jones, has drawn positive support for showcasing a young girl as the hero character in an ad for a toy that would usually be marketed to boys.

The ad was showcased as an example of a campaign that is breaking the stereotype of passive little girls by advertising equality movement shEqual.

“Too often, girls are shown in ads in passive play, sitting, cooperating with others, and playing with toys that have an emphasis on appearance and nurturing, like dolls, household items and make-up. Boys are often shown in ads that show them running and being physical.

“We know that stereotypes in ads have an impact on children as young as three years old and can impact how women participate in sports and physical activity later in life. It’s ads like this, which show girls and boys playing equally, physically together, that can start to rewrite this narrative that children start to internalize gender stereotypes that can have a significant impact on their later lives,“ commented shEqual.

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The ad features a mum relaxing to a favorite record while a group of kids play together with the Nerf products, which are specifically designed for younger children to enable them to join in with older kids' play.

Dejan Rasic, creative partner at Rasic and Partners, says: “At Rasic and Partners, we always strive for diversity, equality and inclusion in our work, and we cast the lead girl in the film because she was perfect for the role. We love the way she confidently joins in to play with all the other kids, even older ones."

The ad is running across cinema, POS, digital and social channels.

ShEqual, which was created by Women’s Health Victoria (WHV) in 2020, aims to connect the ad industry, consumers, regulators and government to demand better representations of women. The movement, which regularly calls out sexist advertising, is pushing for legislation to drive greater gender equality in advertising.

A report by shEqual on the impact of sexist advertising on women's health and well-being found the continued use of gender stereotypes in advertising, plus the industry's reliance on images that sexualize and objectify women undermines the efforts to promote gender equality in Australia.

“Gender-stereotyped portrayals limit the aspirations, expectations, interests and participation of women and men in our society. These portrayals are associated with a range of negative health and well-being outcomes and are highly problematic for the prevention of family violence and other forms of violence against women.“

The ad comes just one week after Dove released the latest campaign for its Self Esteem project, which among other things, aims to help young women overcome the damaging stereotypes and depictions of women in the media - particularly social media and advertising.

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