Out of the Garden: Toys, TV, and Children's Culture in the Age of Marketing
In this work, Stephen Kline provides a detailed history of marketing to children, revealing the strategies that shape the design of toys and have a ... Show synopsis In this work, Stephen Kline provides a detailed history of marketing to children, revealing the strategies that shape the design of toys and have a powerful impact on the way children play. Stephen Kline looks at the history and development of children's play, culture and toys, from the teddy bear and Lego to the Barbie doll, Care Bears and the globally popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He profiles the rise of children's mass media - books, comics, film and television - and that of the specialty stores such as "Toys "R" Us", revealing how the opportunities to reach large audiences of children through television was a pivotal point in developing new approaches to advertising. Contemporary youngsters, he shows, are catapulted into a fantastic and chaotic time-space continuum of action toys thanks to the toy merchandisers' interest in animated television. In a chapter on advertising design, Kline looks at the imagery and appeal of toy commercials and at how they provide a host of stereotyped archetypal figures around which children can organize their imaginative experience. In a re-examination of the debates about the cultural effects of television, "Out of the Garden" asks whether we should allow our children's play culture to be primarily defined and created by marketing strategies, pointing to the unintended consequences of a situation in which images of real children playing in the normal course of their lives in narratives about and for the young have all but been eliminated.