I am disheartened and frustrated that BUST, a magazine that I trust and love and share with my daughter would hop on the bandwagon of misinformed consumers. This month, you included one long paragraph about the new LEGO Friends line of toy. Like a majority of activists, you have latched on to the negative components of their poor marketing strategy without actually playing with the toy, or asking a child to play with the toy. Case in point, your brief notes included the statement, “According to my back-of-an-envelope calculations using data from Lego’s website…” Since when is raising strong girls a simple story of number crunching?
Raising strong girls, and consequently, strong boys, is about qualitative interactions, reasoning, and dialogue. My daughter is 5 and like many girls who walk down toy aisles, she veered away from LEGOs. No matter how many times her father and I tried to introduce her to the awesome that is LEGO, she just kept walking by. This is a LEGO MARKETING FAIL, not about the toy itself. Their website includes ditsy looking figures and the only game is about getting dressed. The commercials make it look like the toys are full of diamonds the size of your head. But, did you take the time to open up a box and play with a child? I doubt it.
Like everyone else, you have used poor marketing to judge a quality toy. Ask them to change their marketing, but don’t smack the toy with one-sided evidence. I have a daughter, as I said, she’s five. And she doesn’t want fantasy play, which is what a majority of LEGOS are. She doesn’t want to play with figures that are boys. She wants figures that are girls. And the LEGOS friends set, gives her that. It also gives her a play that expands on her everyday world, which is what she likes. No other LEGO set offers that. LEGO Friends has opened up the world of LEGOs, it has become her gateway drug to an awesome toy that supports mathematical concepts through following complicated directions, problem-solving, and creative building as well as supporting the development of making-sense of the world through dramatic play. Now that she has girls to mix in who have puppies, and really cool cars, and vets offices, and science labs, and swimming pools,
she yearns for Lord of The Rings and Police Officers too, not to mention the circa 1985 space kits that my brother saved and she diligently built. Don’t compare toys based on the number of pieces and assume they have been dumbed-down. Sit down with a little girl, open up a box, and build it together. Then you can decide if it’s a quality toy. Then, you can support a petition that says to LEGO, change your marketing to tell the truth, include photos of girls on all the boxes, and start adding more girl figures to the rest of your sets.
Because, you know what? If I were a little boy, I would want the new figures in LEGO friends. They are far cooler than their tiny boxy counterparts.
Next time you tell us about an activist movement that is meant to change the world, please take the time to gather all your evidence rather than blindly following the crowd, because blindly following is exactly what marketers want you to do.
My original post about LEGO Friends is here.