And so to Lego; to some, the building bricks of life, to others overpriced lumps of plastic that not only cause pain in the wallet but are also agonising under foot. Yet few would argue that the Danish company, first launched in 1932, is one of the enduring success stories of the toy market.
Not that it has always been particularly inclusive, in fact it took a 2014 letter from America – from seven-year-old Charlotte Benjamin to be precise – for the company to change its ways after she complained that “all the [Lego] girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs, but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people… even swam with sharks”.
So here is a new campaign, designed to reinforce its recently found commitment to gender equality, which jumps aboard this week’s United Nations’ International Day of the Girl.
‘Let’s get the world ready for girls’ calls on parents and children to champion inclusive play for all and features “inspiring and entrepreneurial girls” who are already rebuilding the world through creativity.
They include Fatima, who is the UAE’s youngest inventor; her sister Shaika, who loves space and wants to be the first woman on the moon; and Chelsea, who is the founder of a charity that gives away free art supplies to children in need.
To support the activity, the Lego Group has commissioned new research, in partnership with the Geena Davies Institute on Gender in Media. Founded in 2004 by the Hollywood star, it is claimed to be the only research-based organisation working collaboratively within the entertainment industry to create gender balance, foster inclusion and reduce negative stereotyping in family entertainment media.
It reveals that girls today feel increasingly confident to engage in all types of creative activities, but remain held back by society’s ingrained gender stereotypes as they grow older.
Lego Group chief marketing officer Julia Goldin said: “The benefits of creative play such as building confidence, creativity and communication skills are felt by all children and yet we still experience age-old stereotypes that label activities as only being suitable for one specific gender.
“At the Lego Group we know we have a role to play in putting this right, and this campaign is one of several initiatives we are putting in place to raise awareness of the issue and ensure we make Lego play as inclusive as possible. All children should be able to reach their true creative potential.”
Even Gina has chipped in: “As a Mom of three children, I have long admired the Lego Group and I’m heartened by their global commitment to this study to inform how we can dramatically inspire creativity in girls through play and storytelling.
“We also know that showing girls unique and unstereotyped activities can lead to an expanded viewpoint of possibilities and opportunities.”
So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?
Well, here come the girls, and what an impressive bunch they are. Let’s face it, most boys just build Lego space ships or superhero sets and battle it out in the front room. This lot seem much more thoughtful and truly inspiring – then again, we guess they wouldn’t be in the ad if they weren’t…
It’s just a shame parents need to shell out a small fortune for Lego sets and the opportunity to follow these kids down the Lego brick road.
Decision Marketing Adometer: A ‘that’s girls sorted, what about the environment?’ 9 out of 10