Category: Lego For Girls

Lego Friends

Lego Responds To Critics Of Their Friends Theme

Lego Friends OMG Those are like Calculations!
Lego Friends - OMG! Those are like...Calculations?!

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.”

Lego Friends Inculcating Etsy To Girls
Lego Friends Inculcating Etsy To Girls

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.

Video Courtesy LDMartinet on Youtube

Lego Friends – Why I Am Trying To Like the New “Girls” Theme

Lego FriendsLego Friends have caused quite the controversy in the Lego world – both from fans of the traditional Lego minifigure and from female fans who argue that the unique figures for girls are not necessary.

While I can understand all arguments and was quite prepared to boycot the theme based on first impressions, as I look more and more into the figures and sets I find myself interested, if not completely impressed.

Lego Friends minifigures

Lego Friends MinifiuresIt is the minifigures that cause the major heat amongst fans. There are very powerful and convincing arguments to the effect that girls do not need different styles of minifigures and that deviating from the traditional figure size and style is sexist and damaging for girls’ identity and also the Lego brand.

To some, the larger figures, unique to the Friends theme, will mean that girls will not continue with Lego as they get older. It restricts their ability to play with “the boys” who play with normal sized figures and will limit their choices if they wish to expand into other themes.

There is also the argument that girls don’t need the different, more “feminine” figures and to suggest otherwise is to demean girls.

Those arguments have a point – I have often wondered why Lego chose to persist with a larger figure size for girls, rather than just focussing on making more of their sets “gender-neutral”.

While I continue to hope that Lego will make their sets/marketing/business model more inclusive, I think Friends is a small step forward for the brand, certainly an improvement from the very “pink and fluffy” Bellville which was Lego’s previous attempt to “market to girls”.

Hermione Lego

As a mother I have often felt felt restricted in the selection of Lego sets I could buy for my daughter. As a card-carrying “pink-ophile”, the Belville theme made both myself and my daughter raise our collective fists at the misogynistic segregation of male/female toys…or maybe that was just me. My daughter just said “Ooh yuk!” and went off to play with Calico Critters.

While she likes to play Ninjago, Star Wars, etc with her brother it is really only the Harry Potter theme that attracts her enough to play happily by herself.

I am sure I am not alone when I say that the character of Hermione is a big drawcard for my daughter and her friends-something Lego could probably learn from?

There has been an opening for a new Lego theme, one more appealing to girls for some time and when Lego announced the Friends theme I was secretly hopeful. But as the first images came through of the larger figures I became despondent.

“Not again!” I heard myself saying. “Do we really need this separation/segregation?”

I was completely prepared to buy every other Lego set on the shelf except Friends – my way of protesting 🙂 But then I looked more and read more, about why Lego designed these sets the way they did. I found myself slowly, grudgingly converting, and I wasn’t the only one.

Contrary to my original resistance, my daughter seems to like the larger figures. She likes the fact that she can role play and interact with them. The larger figures and more emotive faces allow girls to play more intimately with the characters – interacting with them and using them to enact stories, something my daughter loves to do. The sets and the boxes aren’t raging pink and she is drawn to the vet, the workshop and the designer studio while the beauty salon leaves her cold.

My son has already requested a large proportion of the individual pieces in the fancy new colors and he thinks they would make wonderful highlights for his dioramas (good luck with that kiddo!). He likes some of the sets and can see that his figures wouldn’t be out of place in the new environments.

As for me, I really like the style and color of the sets as a whole. I’m not interested in the beauty salon or the “cool car” but the treehouse looks awesome, as does the vet.

And the figures aren’t as bad as I thought – though I can see they may still be sidelined for regular figures over time.

Take a look at a size comparison chart released by Lego. The accessories distributed with Friends sets can be used by the traditional Lego minifigure and really the two are of a similar size that they can co-exist in peace.

Lego Friends Minifigure

So I will be buying some of the the Lego Friends theme for myself and my daughter and I’m sure my son can’t wait to share them with us. Still, I do hope for a return to the 1970’s and 80’s era of Lego play where there were girls and boys featured in regular Lego set advertisements – sharing the joy of their own Lego creations.

This is my favorite Lego advertisement – It says so much about what we have lost for our girls, our kids and our society as a whole, but also shows what we can claim back if we are strong as parents.

Lego What It Is Is Beautiful

You can find out more at our Lego Friends Guide or at the official Lego Friends site.