In December, LEGO launched a new product line called LEGO Friends which directly aimed to get more girl players on board.
You thought LEGOs were as gender-neutral as toys could be, right? Apparently, though, “in 2011, 90 percent of Lego's consumers were boys,” reports NPR.
The petition goes on:
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 percent of the world’s population.”
Apparently, the way to reach that other 50 percent (females), is via the excessive use of pink, among other notoriously-girly characteristics. Garrick Johnson, a toy analyst for BMO Capitol Markets, says LEGO looked deep into the differences between how girls versus the way that boys play. "When boys build a construction set, they'll build a castle,” for example, he says, “they'll play with the finished product on the outside. When girls build construction sets, they tend to play on the inside."
According to NPR, LEGO’s new strategy worked, and the LEGO Friends is one of the biggest sucesses for the company to date. “The line doubled sales expectations in 2012, the year it launched. Sales to girls tripled in just that year,” NPR writes.
Though the marketing has seemed to work on paper, there are obviously girls everywhere that agree quite strongly with Shoemaker Richards and Cole. Check out 4-year-old Riley Maida’s take on gender-based marketing:
Cole continues, via the petition, to express her own fear that the way girls behave in society will soon be shaped by toy companies:
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.