Seriously Consider Pitching a Gender-Balanced Cartoon…Because Reasons

The times are a-changin’! Pink isn’t just for girls and blue isn’t just for boys. This post-Millenial generation (Gen Z/Plurals) refuses to be pigeon-holed. And while they’re older than the typical Kids 6-11 audience, they’re still an audience you as a content creator should keep in mind. As you brainstorm ideas for your pitch, ask yourself:

Does this cartoon resonate with boys and girls?

According to a recent Kidscreen.com  article, shows and franchises that appeal to both girls and boys are extremely successful. LEGO, Scooby-Doo, Minecraft, Minions, et al are dominating in the children’s entertainment industry. Not just in brand awareness, but in merchandise sales!

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“Having central male and female characters, tapping gender-neutral play patterns, leveraging humor that resonates with boys and girls, and using gender-neutral colors like yellow and green are key to success in 2016 and beyond.”

 

Network execs either read articles like this, or get data from their Research department, and immediately change their content strategy.

That brilliant pitch they liked a month ago? Tossed. No longer interested–unless it undergoes further development.

 

While this can be incredibly frustrating to creators who were hoping to preserve their initial idea, this happens quite often.

 

That’s not to say that your idea must be gender-inclusive to be optioned by executives. There are some very successful exceptions. After all, heavily boy-skewing brands—the WWE for example, continue to thrive. So does the girl-skewing doll maker, American Girl. But they’ve even started making dolls of boys (for boys?)

 

From a parental point of view, gender-inclusive properties like Minions is far more likely to get screen time on the family road trip than shows featuring the Transformers or Hello Kitty. Girls and boys are more likely to agree on such characters or shows.

One recent example of a show that’s aimed towards both girls and boys, is Bitz & Bob from Fremantle Media. The show is tilled with STEAM-based principles, and stars a young engineer, Bitz, and her little brother, Bob. She invents all sorts of contraptions that come to life and lead them on magical adventures. One could say that this show is engineered to be watched by girls and boys! (Pun intended.)

Until next time, gotta fly!

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Could your cartoon idea benefit from some gender balancing?