Hasbro might be one of the most renowned toy manufacturers in the world, but they have just shown that they (or at least some of their employees) don’t have a bloody clue when it comes to communicating with children.
This epic customer communication fail was brought to our attention by the bitterwallet.com who published an email interchange between a 6-year-old girl and the celebrated toy makers.
Jennifer O’Connell’s 6-year-old daughter was alarmingly disturbed by the fact that her favorite game, Guess Who! had a whole load more male characters than female characters. She wasn’t being gripey for no reason either – apparently (it’s been a long time since I played Guess Who!) the game has only 5 female characters to the 19 male characters! So the young girl, (with some help from her mom) wrote a letter to Hasbro to find out why.
Here is the letter sent by the 6-year-old girl….
My name is R______. I am six years old. I think it’s not fair to only have 5 girls in Guess Who and 19 boys. It is not only boys who are important, girls are important too. If grown ups get into thinking that girls are not important they won’t give little girls much care.
Also if girls want to be a girl in Guess Who they’ll always lose against a boy, and it will be harder for them to win. I am cross about that and if you don’t fix it soon, my mum could throw Guess Who out.
My mum typed this message but I told her what to say.
Hasbro replied to the curious little girl’s letter, with this over-complicated, nonsensical reply…
Thank you for your email. Please find below an explanation which I hope your mummy will be able to explain to you.
Guess Who? is a guessing game based on a numerical equation. If you take a look at the characters in the game, you will notice that there are five of any given characteristics. The idea of the game is, that by process of elimination, you narrow down who it isn’t, thus determining who it is. The game is not weighted in favour of any particular character, male or female. Another aspect of the game is to draw attention away from using gender or ethnicity as the focal point, and to concentrate on those things that we all have in common, rather than focus on our differences.
We hope this information is of help to you.
May we thank you for contacting Hasbro and if we can be of any further assistance, either now or in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us again.
Hasbro UK Ltd
What an epically daft manner in which to reply to a 6-year-old and regardless of the age group to which it was targeted, it basically reads a big pile of shite anyway! After reading this response, the girl’s mother responded to the company with this reply where she took the time to point out the flaws in their response.
Thanks for your prompt reply to R__. She has been anxiously watching the post box and checking with me to see if there has been a response to her email, which – I’m sure you understand – it was a very big deal to her to write.
Unfortunately, she is now no clearer as to why there are only five female characters for her to choose from in her favourite board game, compared to the 19 male characters her brother can pick. (Obviously, she could choose to be a male character, but as you know, that’s not usually how children work).
If anything, your response has left her more confused than before. She is a smart girl, but she is only 6 and still in senior infants at primary school, so she is a long way from being able to grasp concepts like numerical equations and weighting.
As a company that makes toys for children, I would have anticipated you would communicate with your youngest customers in a more direct and child-friendly way.
But I must confess that, despite being 37 years of age and educated to Masters level, I am equally at a loss.
Why is female gender regarded as a “characteristic”, while male gender is not?
Well said Jennifer and as for you lot at Hasbro – me thinks you might have to send this particular employee on a little training course or something. Help him/her to get in touch with their inner child and lose touch with their inner idiot!
Read more at Jennifer O’Connell’s blog.