Lego targets girls with block and awe campaign

27/12/2011 7:07

What’s Danish for gender stereo-typing?  I think it’s Illbebuggeredif I’dbuythiscråp, possibly an æ or a ø in there somewhere. A pink top with hearts, a pretty skirt and a yellow bow, how thoroughly new age.

“LEGO is launching a bid to win a slice of the lucrative girls’ toy market, branching out from its traditionally boy-focused construction blocks. How can a coloured plastic block be sexually   orientated ?

The Danish company developed its new range, the Lego Friends collection, after four years of development, including interviews with several thousand girls and mothers worldwide. Lego said its research found girls wanted more realistic details, characters they could relate to, accessories, interior building and role-play opportunities. Oh really the girls said that all by themselves?

While Lego has made some attempts to attract the girls’ market with the pastel-hued Clikits range (very unfortunate name), this will be the first time the company has released a range aimed at girls which uses Lego’s core theme of construction.

The senior creative director for the Lego Group, Nanna Ulrich Gudum, said girls wanted Lego that mirrored the boys’ experience, but also appealed to their interest in remodelling and redesign ???? whose constructions are they remodelling and redesigning?, and themes like community and friendship. Males don’t like community and friendship? 

“What Lego Friends does differently is deliver the beauty, details, accessories, real world themes and need for strong interior play that the research revealed would make all the difference for girls aged five and up,”  And that research substantiated that boys do not need these elements for their cognitive, fine motor, psych-social and language skills. Are you saying the current “boys” range does not address these concepts?  

Lego Friends centres on five girls in a fictional town called Heartlake City. Each of the friends – Olivia, Mia, Andrea, Stephanie and Emma – has a distinct personality (and with one exception a name ending in “A”) and interests such as animals, performing arts, invention and design. Of my schoolhood GIRL friends one was interested in cricket, another in football, another in car engines and one was an avid carpenter. 

Lego’s brand manager for Australia and New Zealand, Karen Owen, said the range, which will be in stores by March, reflected feedback from parents. ”Lego is all about construction and we do know that girls like to build. Parents have been asking us to come up with an offering for their daughters for a long time. ”Parents value [Lego] because it’s not a pre-fabricated toy, a one-trick wonder that rolls out of the box already done.”   Wow that’s it, it wasn’t Lego who was gender stereo-typing girls it was the parents. Lego is just responding to a “thoroughly researched” ingrained prejudice and attempting to cash in on that “need”.  All’s well then.

Tess Michaels