PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Hasbro says it will begin selling gender-neutral Easy-Bake ovens after meeting with a 13-year-old New Jersey girl who had campaigned for them.
McKenna Pope, of Garfield, N.J., got more than 40,000 signatures on her online petition at Change.org. She also got the support of celebrity chefs, including Bobby Flay, who backed her call for Hasbro (HAS) to include boys in Easy-Bake oven ads and make them in gender-neutral colors.
She began her campaign after finding only pink or purple Easy-Bake ovens. She wanted to buy ovens in other colors as a Christmas gift for her four-year-old brother, Gavyn Boscio.
Hasbro invited McKenna and her family to a meeting at its Pawtucket, R.I., headquarters. During the meeting, Monday, Hasbro executives revealed a prototype of their newest Easy-Bake in black, silver or blue.
Hasbro has been working on the new color scheme and design for about 18 months and decided to show McKenna to see whether she had any thoughts, said John Frascotti, Hasbro's chief marketing officer.
McKenna said Hasbro is doing everything she wanted, including featuring boys in ads for the toy.
"They really met most or even all of what I wanted them to do, and they really amazed me," she said, adding that her brother Gavyn thought the new design was "awesome."
Hasbro's Frascotti says the classic toy has had about a dozen different color schemes since its 1963 launch, from yellow to green to teal to silver. The most recent version, introduced in 2011, is mostly purple with pink accents.
He said solid sales since then prompted the company to consider updating it and broaden the consumer base by manufacturing it in different colors.
"It's actually a product that's played with by both boys and girls," Frascotti said. "We will continue to offer the existing (color scheme), too, because it's so popular."
Hasbro plans to unveil the color scheme at the industry's Toy Fair in New York in February. Frascotti said. And it'll be on store shelves next summer.
McKenna says the celebrity entertainment TV show "Inside Edition" gave the family an Easy-Bake oven after learning of her campaign. So McKenna plans to buy her brother some cake mixes for Christmas, she said.