Mr Potato Head gender neutral rebrand to promote inclusivity – ‘That’s not Mr Potato Head to you anymore…’

Posted on 1 March 2021
By Pierce King
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Children’s toy icon Mr Potato Head is set to receive a gender-neutral makeover after more than six decades of having his moustache pulled off and placed in any number of imaginative plastic orifices.

The classic character will have his branding ‘re-imagined for the modern consumer’ – according to toy giant Hasbro, who are making the move to promote ‘inclusivity’.

Mr Potato Head was featured as one of the stars of Toy Story, which has become a modern classic, made by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Pictures.

In the three films, Mr Potato Head angrily reminds other toys to use his honorific in some scenes.

“That’s Mr Potato Head to you, you back-stabbing murderer,” the plastic spud said to Woody, the toy cowboy played by American actor Tom Hanks.

The toy line will now simply be named Potato Head on packaging as Hasbro revealed in a statement: “We are making sure all feel welcome in the Potato Head world by officially dropping the Mr from the Mr Potato Head brand name and logo to promote gender equality and inclusion.”

The rebranded toy, which can be assembled with a selection of different body parts and clothes, will be released in autumn this year, Hasbro said.

The company said the toy will allow children “to imagine and create their own Potato Head family”.

But in a later tweet on Thursday, the company said the Mr and Mrs Potato Head characters would still be available to buy, but didn’t provide more details.

Other toy companies have taken similar decisions in recent years, breaking with traditional gender norms.

Frederique Tutt, a toy industry analyst for the NPD Group said: “There is movement around gender neutrality in toys at the moment.

“It’s something that Hasbro has been addressing, along with inclusivity.

“So I guess that’s where Mr Potato Head is going as well, to be more accessible to those who want to be gender-neutral, those who want to choose”.

In an interview with business magazine Fast Company, Hasbro general manager Kimberly Boyd said the Mr and Mrs brand was: “limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure.”

she added: “Culture has evolved.”

Mr Potato Head first went on sale in 1952. On the back of its success, Mrs Potato Head, along with traditional feminised accessories, was launched the following year.

The move follows other updates to classic brands, including Barbie, who was initially known for being tall, white and blonde, but now comes in a range of ethnicities and body shapes.

In 2019, global toy giant Mattel released a line of gender-neutral dolls and more female characters have been added to the Thomas the Tank Engine series.

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