In view of all the Hoo-Haa from certain areas of Lego-fandom and also in the mainstream press, Lego has put out a press release to explain/defend their new Lego Friends theme, aimed squarely at girls.
While I don’t feel the explanation was entirely necessary it’s nice to know that Lego is seeing and caring about what is out there. I do appreciate that they are taking an active interest in how their products are received – but I guess they always do that anyway.
January 12, 2012
LEGO Group commentary on attracting more girls to construction play
Commentary by Mads Nipper, Executive Vice President, Marketing, the LEGO Group:
We know that constructive LEGO play fosters positive, lifelong skills that are valuable to any child. More boys than ever before, and many girls, are engaged with the play experience we offer, however our active household studies indicate that we have not been as successful in drawing the interest of more girls with what we currently offer. For example, of the current active LEGO households in the U.S., only 9% of them report that the primary user of the product in that household is a girl. The totals in other countries reflect a similar opportunity to appeal to more girls. We embarked on four years worth of comprehensive, global research with 3,500 girls and their moms to understand what would make LEGO play more interesting for more girls, because we want to increase the number of girls who currently try and engage with the positive benefits of the construction play pattern.
The LEGO Group is globally known for its co-creation philosophy to ensure that we deliver the best possible products and experiences. We have achieved this distinction because we have a long history of listening very carefully to the opinions and requests of our consumers, just as we are listening to the conversation that is currently taking place about LEGO Friends. We heard very clear requests from moms and girls for more details and interior building, a brighter color palette, a more realistic figure, role play opportunities and a story line that they would find interesting. The result–LEGO Friends–was made with the goal of inspiring more girls than we currently serve to try their hand at building and experience the pride of accomplishment that LEGO play fosters.
We are compelled to clarify the incorrect information circulating about what we have developed:
• Children who find the LEGO Friends theme interesting will enjoy the exact same building experience and developmental benefits as children who choose any other LEGO theme.
• LEGO Friends products do require assembly. The collection delivers the same level, scale and detail of iconic LEGO building as any other LEGO theme and products.
• Like any other set, LEGO Friends leverages the tried and true method of packing LEGO elements in bags and the exact same building instructions for which we are known.
• Pink bricks and elements have been included in LEGO sets for decades. The new colors introduced to create the LEGO Friends collection are two blues, two purples and two greens, based on global research that indicated a wish for a bolder, more vibrant color palette to create the most interesting models.
• Our marketing program for LEGO Friends mirrors the model we apply to any LEGO theme.
We want to correct any misinterpretation that LEGO Friends is our only offering for girls. This is by no means the case. We know that many girls love to build and play with the wide variety of LEGO products already available. LEGO Friends joins this global collection of products as yet another theme option from which parents may choose the best building experience for their child’s skill and interest.
We listen very carefully to the opinions and input that people share. We will continue to do so as we develop the LEGO brand to deliver the best experiences with the strongest appeal, and we will review our communications to ensure that we represent LEGO play for all children. We are proud to have developed a collection that is receiving positive feedback and reviews from parents and children who are now trying it at home, and we hope that we will engage even more girls in the skill-developing experience of LEGO play.”
My Personal View On Friends
It took some convincing but overall I like the line, more so than I have liked Lego’s previous attempts at making sets especially directed at girls. My daughter is right in the demographic of their research (8 years) and she loves the figures and the sets.
The figures are not too large that they can’t interact with other figures depending on the context and the colors and accessories with the varied Friends sets are nicely non-pink.
My daughter will not grow up to think she has to look like a Lego Friend figure in order to be happy and successful. She won’t think her only options in life are to own a cool convertible and visit the beauty salon.
Interestingly enough she can relate to a number of the sets; the treehouse, the bakery and most importantly the designer/entrepreneur who sells stuff on the internet (just like her mum!).
Give our girls some credit! They are super-smart and amazingly multi-faceted. They play sports with boys, climb trees to look at birds, read books late into the night like Hermione and also like to dress up and do their hair.
Lego Friends – The Beauty Of Building? That’s OK by me.