This news item would have gone past me completely unnoticed if it wasn't for the Yahoo article “Sexist” new Lego range targets girls, a slightly snarky review of the critics. However, if you really want to read a worth while article about the new Legos, start off with the Bloomberg article which gives a full history and explanation of the business strategy. Read on for highlighted insanity.
This pinnacle of the controversy can be found at change.org. There you can find an online petition to send a message to Lego to stop making this product. It is a directionless description of what Lego is doing and about stereotypes in child development. There is no guiding statement. They do, however, have five demands :
- Bring back your “beautiful” campaign;
- Include girls in your advertising for all LEGOs sets;
- Include more girl characters in your regular LEGO sets;
- Market regular LEGOs in the "so-called" girl aisles of toy stores.
- Release a public statement committing to the above actions and to practices that won’t sell girls out.
Let us go through these points one at a time.
Bring back your “beautiful” campaign
The "beautiful" campaign was an 80's campaign that attempted to sell Legos to boys and girls. If you read the Bloomberg article you will find out that :
Over the years, Lego has had five strategic initiatives aimed at girls. Some failed because they misapprehended gender differences in how kids play. Others, while modestly profitable, didn’t integrate properly with Lego’s core products.
Hmmmm. Should a company resurrect a campaign that didn't work?
Include girls in your advertising for all LEGOs sets
Chances are that since they just designed a line of Legos for girls they will use girls in the commercial, duh!
Oh wait. My mistake. Have girls in commercials for ALL Legos.
However, if you want Lego to get rid of this new line of Legos and use girls in the commercials instead, refer back to the "beautiful" campaign.
Include more girl characters in your regular LEGO sets
Are you kidding me? A petition against a product line that introduces 20 new sets geared for girls that includes 5 new female characters is petitioning them to introduce more girl characters while they petition against the new female characters!
Oh, wait. My mistake again. Only introduce the female characters into existing sets. That will fix the problem.
Market regular LEGOs in the "so-called" girl aisles of toy stores
Lego would probably like to do this. Lego would probably do it if they could. Once again, read the Bloomberg article.
This new line of Lego for girls has been released AFTER Christmas and not BEFORE Christmas. Sounds like a pretty stupid thing to do, right? Why would they do this?
In Lego’s larger markets, like the U.S., Lego determined it was better to introduce the new line after the holidays, when Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), for example, would give the line dedicated shelf space it wouldn’t during the holiday sales rush. The company’s confidence is evident in the launch—a full line of 23 different products backed by a $40 million global marketing push. “This is the most significant strategic launch we’ve done in a decade,” says Lego Group Chief Executive Officer Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. “We want to reach the other 50 percent of the world’s children.”
It sort of sounds like stores make decisions on the display. Maybe this item in the petition is barking up the wrong tree.
Release a public statement committing to the above actions and to practices that won’t sell girls out.
Really? Commit to four points that don't work? Designing products for girls actually "sell girls out?"
The problem is adults that want to see more genderless products and advertising. They don't want to see girly-girl stuff targeted towards girls. The insane thing though is that girls go through a phase called the "princess phase."
Some adults want to deny this even happens. They want genderless preschools, gender liberation, and gender-neutral locker rooms. What could go wrong with that?
"Jezebel" did not write a flattering review of the product but started off the final paragraph with an obvious and intelligent sentence : "Though there is educational value to playing with Lego, it's just a toy company that needs to make money."
BINGO! This is a company that wants to make money. Lego wants girls to want their product! Currently, girls do not want Legos.
So this petition urges Lego to push forward policies that have not worked in the past in favor of gender role neutrality. But do you know what the insane thing is? The very first paragraph of the petition.
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 beach, brushing their hair in front of a vanity mirror, 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.”The petition states Lego did research! Lego did not make a sexist conclusion out of thin air. Little girls told Lego what they wanted and the adults do not like it. Little girls want toys that look like little girl toys.
Some people are just determined that girls should be raised to be a Chaz Bono.
NOTE : Go to blogs about this subject and read the comments that people leave. There is a wild swing in sensibility and insanity.