Christmas came early for New Jersey eighth grader McKenna Pope, who successfully petitioned Hasbro to manufacture gender neutral-colored Easy-Bake ovens so as not to alienate boys interested in cooking. We should all celebrate her achievement, as she got a major business to take swift action and prove they're willing to listen to young people.
A few weeks ago, the 13-year-old East Coast native started a Change.org petition to get the company to market to young boys, as her little brother expressed an interest in baking but believed he couldn't have an Easy-Bake oven of his own because "only girls play with it" and the only models on sale were pink and purple.
The new product will be in silver, black, and blue, and Hasbro presented Pope and her family with the prototype during their meeting at its Pawtucket, R.I., headquarters. Hasbro aims to fulfill all her petition requests, including featuring boys in its ads and commercials. The teenager, who said Hasbro's chief marketing officer John Frascotti is "awesome," told the Associated Press she feels the company legitimately addressed her concerns, "I think that they really met most or even all of what I wanted them to do, and they really amazed me."
While it's great that she walked out of the sit-down feeling accomplished and hopeful for the future, it must be said that Hasbro has been working on the gender-neutral scheme for more than a year and a half and given the product almost a dozen different hues since its creation in 1963. Clearly, Pope wasn't the only person of the belief that Easy-Bake ovens needed a makeover, but she may very well have been the impetus for putting the new idea out in the open for once and for all: the new model won't be on toy store shelves by Christmas, but is expected to debut at the Industry's Toy Fair in two months and go on sale in the summer. Though Pope received a complimentary Easy-Bake oven from "Inside Edition" this year, she'll be able to get her brother a gender-neutral one by Christmas 2013 or earlier. Still, that's not a bad accomplishment at all for someone who isn't even in high school yet.