LEGO Inspiring Girls To “Keep Building” On Their Imagination In This New Video


Lego has certainly been the quiet achiever over the past few years in terms of challenging gender stereotypes and including girls into the conversation in a big way. In fact right from their inception in 1949 in Denmark, they have set themselves apart from other major toy brands by being gender neutral and not playing into the segregation that happens with many other companies (Barbie, Hot Wheels, G.I Joe, just to name a few).

And this year financial reports claim Lego has now overtaken Mattel (Barbie’s parent company) as the world’s top toymaker! Their sales were up by 11% and Mattel’s were down by 7%. It’s fair to say Barbie had a very tumultuous year surrounded by a lot of bad press. Lego, on the other hand, has a multi-platform stellar year!

They released their first female scientist research kit to much applause from parents and media alike. It seemed to fit in well with not only what their own company has stood for for a long time, but also with the huge push to get more girls interested in STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) careers. With over 100 million un-filled STEM careers in the US alone, these industries (which are the fastest growing sector) are recognizing how valuable women are to the conversation not to just tick the gender boxes, but to show gender actually has nothing to do with ability.

The other platform where Lego was going gangbusters was film. The ‘Lego Movie’ garnered such praise from critics and audiences, especially because the film’s director has promised more of a strong female presence in the sequel.

Back in 1981, Lego released a series of print commercials featuring both boys and girls with slogans promoting the idea that building something form your imagination is exciting for both girls and boys. In fact there was no mention of any specific gender in the ads, but you the representation in the pictures which is the most important thing.


While these images were from 30+ years ago, they certainly have had an impact on a generation of kids. The girl on the far left, Rachel Giordano, was interviewed by Lori Day from Brave Girls Alliance in Feb 2014. Today she is 37, she is a doctor, and she says the way toys are marketed make a huge impact on the future of a child.

“Gender segmenting toys interferes with a child’s own creative expression. I know that how I played as a girl shaped who I am today. It contributed to me becoming a physician and inspired me to want to help others achieve health and wellness. I co-own two medical centers in Seattle. Doctor kits used to be for all children, but now they are on the boys’ aisle. I simply believe that they should be marketed to all children again, and the same with LEGOs and other toys,” she said.

Rachael laments how stereotyped toys have become and how it has taken away from girls and boys being free to imagine and build whatever they desire.

“In 1981 LEGOs were ‘Universal Building Sets’ and that’s exactly what they were…for boys and girls. Toys are supposed to foster creativity. But nowadays, it seems that a lot more toys already have messages built into them before a child even opens the pink or blue package. In 1981, LEGOs were simple and gender-neutral, and the creativity of the child produced the message. In 2014, it’s the reverse: the toy delivers a message to the child, and this message is weirdly about gender.”


Another brand which is trying to reclaim the toy market for gender neutrality is Goldieblox, which had a stellar year beginning with their Superbowl commercial. Creator Debbie Sterling, who is herself an engineer, founded the brand because she was sick of the Disney Princesses and the typical pink toy aisle that every girl was directed to. Her toys, which are for both girls and boys but are heavily marketed to girls to encourage them to build, foster critical thinking, problem solving skills and basic math and engineering skills in kids from a young age.

Sound familiar? That’s exactly what Lego does. Their new video, uploaded to Youtube on November 26 is titled ‘Inspire Imagination and Keep Building’. It features a young girl going through a series of situations such as playing with toys, building a fort in her bedroom, and playing doctor with her dolls. The voiceover sounds as if she is talking to her parents, explaining why they are the catalyst in encouraging girls to think outside the box.

“I don’t always want you to help me. 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. I want to figure it out on my own.”

Ad Week claims that Lego’s success in marketing to both girls and boys has been due to their ability to understand that both genders process problem solving differently, not unequally. Because they saw this difference in the way girls played with their toys, vs boy, their marketing campaigns have been a huge success. This video below shows how serious they are not just to sell to girls, but to include girls in the greater conversation. Inspiring imagination is not gender limited. Well done Lego for staying consistent and being responsible for a generation of girls, like Rachael Giordano, who grow up knowing the possibilities for their futures are endless. If they can dream it, they can build it.


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