The US media and entertainment company Mass Appeal is looking to play a role in diversifying the toy box and evolving the state of play of the current pre-school space, turning its attention to developing toys with a hip-hop twist.
Since the brand’s formation in 1996, Mass Appeal has made it its mission to ‘represent and progress’ urban culture on a global scale. Earlier this month, it shifted that focus onto the children’s play space with the launch of Mass Appeal Junior.
In an interview with Fast Company, Mass Appeal,’s CEO Peter Bittenbender said that the focus arrived after the birth of his daughter and the realisation that the toy space was ‘suffering from a lack of diversity.’
“Until I had my first experience with toys as a parent, I didn’t think about kids’ products,” said Bittenbender. “But the minute you have kids, you’re spending a lot of time trying to give them the best things, give them the best opportunities. I was just baffled by the lack of diversity in the space.”
Under the brand Mass Appeal Junior, the company is readying to launch a new pre-school building block range called Boomblox, building blocks that form into an old-school boombox. The children’s brand will also feature hip-hop inspired baby clothing and the launch of a children’s book titled I Know I Can, written by the US rapper and Mass Appeal co-owner Nas. The book series is based on his own song, I Can.
“Hip-hop has constantly reinvented itself for the past 45 years, and evert space it touches gets reinvented with it,” continued Bittenbender. “There are so many places where hip-hop has had a massive influence, but it hasn’t in this space.
“When we see doors that haven’t been opened, we feel a responsibility to open them. This space and this world of educating and inspiring the next generation of leaders hasn’t ever really been instilled with the diversity that, as adults, you see.
“I think doing things like this will continually progress how people look at this culture and this world.”