Hasbro Gets Pro-Active With Toy Lines For Girls -- And Laughs All The Way To The Bank

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thanks in part to heroines like Katniss in “The Hunger Games,” a new trend for girls has emerged — the “tough girl” toy.

Move over Barbie. There’s a new gal on the shelves.

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“I love Katniss’ flare, and how she’s always been kind of the, not the one to mess with,” 12-year-old Jill Calderon told CBS2’s Alice Gainer on Friday, the day the third film in the popular Hunger Games franchise hit the big screen.

Calderon and her friends even have a Hunger Games club where they act out battle scenes.

Toy companies like Hasbro have capitalized on the rise in the popularity of the female warrior. After two years of research that included the help of 1,200 girls, Hasbro launched their Nerf Rebelle line of pink and purple bows and blasters last fall.

“When you look at the typical toy aisle for boys you see a lot of variety options from action figures to construction. No one seemed to be offering this opportunity for girls to play actively,” Hasbro’s chief marketing officer, John Frascotti, told Gainer.

Sales of the company’s girl-geared toys grew by 26 percent — and reached $1 billion in revenue for the first time in Hasbro’s history.

Shannon Eis is a toy and play expert.

“We’re seeing a fundamental, cultural shift in the way girls want to be perceived and how they’re going to act that out through play. They’re ready to be the hero,” Eis said.

And these days you can find plenty of toy stores that don’t separate between girls and boys aisles anymore, Gainer reported.

“They’re buying games and we even direct them to science kits for girls because that’s really important,” West Side Kids owner Jennifer Bergman said.

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At West Side Kids, Gainer found two little girls playing with blocks.

“A lot of construction toys – Legos, blocks, tiles … anything they can build,” mother Samara Minkin said.

Minkin said the new trend in girls’ toys is great.

“I love all that. We just bought them an archery set for the holidays,” she said.

That’s not to say the store doesn’t also sell dolls, too.

“I actually have brought Barbie in for the first time in a really long time, but more of the working mom Barbie as opposed to the little sexier Barbie,” Bergman said.

Whatever your little girl prefers, there’s more options than ever before.

Despite this new trend, many critics say girls get mixed messages, because stores still market the toys in the so-called “pink aisles,” Gainer reported.

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