Empowering Ads for Girls: LEGO

As far as empowering ads for girls, LEGO was ahead of its time.  In an age when little girls and boys are treated as though they are two entirely different species by toy marketers, this 1981 ad for LEGO issues an important reminder.   One that LEGO is going back to in its newest ad.

This little girl is holding a LEGO set. The LEGOs are not pink or "made for girls." She isn't even wearing pink. The copy is about "younger children" who "build for fun." Not just "girls" who build. ALL KIDS.

This little girl is holding a LEGO set. The LEGOs are not pink or "made for girls." She isn't even wearing pink. The copy is about "younger children" who "build for fun." Not just "girls" who build. ALL KIDS.

LEGO is returning to this idea because in 2011 they created the LEGO Friends series, building block sets for girls. Leaving many bellowing, albeit virtual, "Why?"

One in particular was a 4 year old named Riley Maida.  In her 1 minute and 11 second rant she reminds Marketers that "girls don't just like pink!" 

“Some girls like superheroes, some girls like princesses, some boys like superheroes, some boys like princesses. So why do all the girls have to buy pink stuff and all the boys have to buy different color stuff?”
— 4-year-old Riley Maida; http://youtu.be/-CU040Hqbas

The LEGO Group said that the LEGO Friends line was designed based on four years of research into the ways in which boys and girls play.  Lego research has long indicated that boys tend to build in a "linear" fashion, replicating what's on the box, while girls prefer a more personal approach—creating their own story-filled environments and even imagining themselves living inside them.  Now I could argue this, because anyone who has seen the LEGO movie or really plays with LEGOS does more than whats just on the box. 

In my personal opinion,  after taking a look at this LEGO Friends lines, I have to say it looks boring.  I will never buy them. Though this ad at least makes them look interesting.  If you want a pink toy they're are plenty out there.  LEGO is about imagination. Which it seems they finally are remembering in the 60-second spot below from Union Made Creative and director Brigg Bloomquist. The adfocuses on independence that both inspires and is reinforced by imaginative play.

Do you know why? I want to figure it out on my own. Even when it doesn’t turn out the way I want, I know it’s not wrong. Because you taught me how to think. And how to dream. I’m about to make something that I know will make you proud.

My only criticism of this ad is that they only feature the girl playing with the LEGO Friends line.  The girl featured does not play with other lines from LEGO.