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The Power of Pester Power

Yes, this is a blog about marketing toys. But no, this is not about Pester Power in the conventional sense.

Let me explain myself.

‘Pester Power’ is a term which was coined in the USA to refer to the power 4-6 year olds have on the purchasing decisions of their parents. For example, adverts which appear between children’s programmes can then lead the child to ‘pester’ their parents to buy a certain brand, toy or product. Historically this was specific to just toys, although it now covers a wider range including foods and even insurance (as the child wants to get the toy robot or meerkat).

However, in a recent case, Pester Power has been turned on its head. If you don’t believe me just search Twitter for the phrase #wheresrey

You see, the new Disney Star Wars film has been a phenomenal success. We all know that. And, true to form, its release has been supported worldwide by significant merchandise. However, despite the popularity of these characters, one key trend has emerged…the absence of Rey.

As the female lead in the film, Rey is a pivotal character. And yet, she is conspicuous by her absence in any of the sets of characters, toys and games Hasbro has produced. Or rather, she was.Hasbro letter

You see in this instance, the pestering of people all over the world, of both sexes, and all ages, has finally lead Hasbro to back down and include Rey in their next release of the Monopoly game.

So why was she not there before?

If you believe the official Hasbro response, she was not included as she could have constituted a plot spoiler. But the same could be said of Finn, who was included. And if her inclusion is really so sensitive, why is she in the trailers for the film?

The pressure mounted behind a belief that she had been left out as she was female. That boys do not want to play with action figures who are female, and therefore there was no demand for her. But there certainly is now. Boys and girls alike see her as a strong powerful character – a hero in fact. Isn’t that a message we should be proud to deliver to our young people?

So, pestering does work. And Social media is a tremendous vehicle by which to do it.

It seems the force really is waking.