LEGO is for All of Us!
After 4 years of marketing research, LEGO has come to the conclusion that girls want LadyFigs, a pink Barbielicious product line for girls, so 5 year-olds can imagine themselves at the café, lounging at the pool with drinks, brushing their hair in front of a vanity mirror, singing in a club, or shopping with their girlfriends. As LEGO CEO Jorgan Vig Knudstorp puts it, “We want to reach the other 50% of the world’s population.”
As representatives of that 50%, we aren't buying it! Marketers, ad execs, Hollywood and just about everyone else in the media are busy these days insisting that girls are not interested in their products unless they’re pink, cute, or romantic. They’ve come to this conclusion even though they’ve refused to market their products to the girls they are so certain will not like them. Who populates commercials for LEGO? Boys! Where in the toy store can you find original, creative, construction-focused LEGO? The boy aisle! So it’s no wonder LEGO’s market research showed girls want pink, already-assembled toys that don’t do anything. It’s the environment and the message marketers have bombarded girls with for over a decade because, of course, stereotypes make marketing products so much easier. But we remember playing with and loving LEGO when we were little girls.
As members of SPARK Movement to end the sexualization of girls, and partners of Powered By Girl, we are spreading the word that you, LEGO, are selling out girls. And thousands are listening and responding!
As Stephanie wrote in her SPARKmovement.org blog, “I can speak from personal experience and assure you, LEGO, that girls do like minifigs. They also like Star Wars and Harry Potter, and they like being creative and making up stories that involve adventures and good and evil and things blowing up. But if you keep on excluding them from your marketing vision, soon they will start to believe that they would rather have hot tubs and little plastic boobs.”
“Narrow stereotypes associated with pink and blue simply box kids in from an early age. But, raising healthy girls and boys is all about creating a wide range of possibilities and options for our children. This is why LEGO’s latest marketing campaign has parents so angry. The rainbow of colors and a range of options for young children to create the scenes they are most interested in is much better for them than feeding them a narrow set of stereotypes,” says SPARK and Powered by Girl co-founder and developmental psychologist Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown. And as young marketing expert Riley, 4, says, “Why do all the girls have to buy princesses? Some girls like superheroes. Some girls like princesses.” With over 3 million hits on her original YouTube video, we think Riley has hit a nerve. Last week, she recorded a video for SPARK telling us that her favorite thing about LEGO is, “You can build whatever you want.”
In the 1950's LEGO burst on the American scene with TV commercials inviting girls and boys to build and create. In 1981, LEGO’s ad, “What it is, is beautiful,” invited girls to play with LEGO in a way that didn’t appeal to this lowest common denominator version of girlhood, but gave us credit for being creative, smart, and imaginative. This has always been LEGO’s strength. It’s why they have been parents’ go-to toy. They’ve never sold kids out—until now.
On December 20, we began our effort to pressure you to change your marketing strategy. We blogged, Facebooked, and tweeted our concerns, and then we launched a petition with Powered By Girl and SPARK. More than 3,000 people already have signed on to our petition campaign and our actions have been covered in the NY Daily News, Wall Street Journal, News 12 in Brooklyn, Huffington Post and New York Times, among many others. As girls, big sisters, aunts, and friends of girls we want the LEGO we know and trust back. Don’t sell girls out, LEGO. Give us dreams that take us beyond shopping malls, beauty salons and hot tubs!
LEGO, we are asking you to:
Go back to advertising and offering all LEGO to boys and girls!
We are inviting girls and boys of all ages to send us videos or statements sharing how much we loved playing with LEGO when we were little and how important these creative blocks were to our growth, friendships, and development.
Hundreds of parents and girls have already weighed in on the LEGO Facebook Page. On behalf of all the creative, smart and imaginative girls around the world, we’re asking LEGO to recognize that the toys our children play with today help shape them into the leaders we want them to be tomorrow. Give us a reason to believe!
- Bailey Shoemaker Richards, 22, and Stephanie Cole, 22, SPARK Movement