LEGO’s “female oriented products”

See what I mean about can’t stay away too long? Anyway, noticed none of the other major sites have reported this yet…

Guardian’s article on “LEGO bids to build a greater appeal for girls” caught my eye. Some highlights:

  • UK managing director Marko Ilincic said that girls represent “a significant opportunity that is still untapped” for the company, and that “that is something we are working hard to address”.
  • Between the ages of two and five, girls play with Lego as much as boys.
  • Girls only account for a fifth of Lego users aged five and over.
  • Girls like the creative play Lego offers, but are far more interested in role play, pay greater attention to detail, and like collectibles like dolls,” Ilincic said
  • He said Lego’s product designers were working hard to come up with female-oriented products, which will hit the shelves shortly: “We’re looking for the right balance of creativity that appeals to girls and construction. We don’t want to take the construction away altogether, but there are degrees of ‘constructability’, and simply producing a pink version of the boys’ products is not enough. An understanding of how gender patterns differ is key.”

The article even recognises AFOLs…

  • Ilincic suspects that the proliferation of social media sites may also have played its part in Lego’s increasing popularity, particularly among adults: “There are thousands of websites for Lego enthusiasts and my perception is that this is increasing adults’ interest because it enables them to get together and share ideas about the products.”
  • However, while Ilincic is keen to target girls, he has no such plans for adults: they, it seems, must content themselves with the children’s range.

Tho I seriously doubt kids have the budget to buy modular or UCS sets that cost a few hundred dollars each… anyway… yeah. 

As for the girls theme, the stuff about role play, attention to detail and likes collectibles… a medival princess theme?  A doll-house? Hmm… more news anyone?

10 Responses to LEGO’s “female oriented products”

  1. Nice! Look forward to see what they come up with!
    It seems to me that LEGO has been pretty clueless about what gals (young and old) want. I remember as a kid I DISPISED and REFUSED to play with pink LEGO sets. I wanted castles and city sets like my brothers.
    I don’t know where they get this idea that girls want pink! I don’t know any girls who like pink! I mean maybe a little, but not like they want to be inundated with 10 shades of pink!
    Anyhow, see what they come up with this time.
    Marko doesn’t sound like a girl to me though. Maybe they should ask us and put a girl in charge? A profound idea! LOL! :D

  2. rekseah says:

    Maybe we’ll get to see lego with furry texture.

    then can build a puppy or cat or rabbit with it.

  3. Leanne says:

    We I was younger I had the Paradisa Rolling Acres Ranch http://www.brickset.com/detail/?Set=6419-1 which was fab. Loved building it and had a lot of fun playing. Only a hint of pink.

    But I also was very jealous of my brothers castle and pirate ship sets. The only way I could get to play with them at all was to build them for him.

    Part of the reason girls over five are a small group who play with lego must be down to how it is marketed as a boys toy. All the toy stores I’ve been in recently have lego in the boys section with all the interesting looking toys, girls get dolls and stupid hair styling and make up toys. But then I always preferred Action Man to Barbie, maybe it says something about me!

  4. J says:

    As a male, I can hardly offer a female perspective. However, I think Lego would be wise to represent a more balanced male-female ratio with regard to mini-figures. I realize that some of their lines, like Star Wars, don’t offer much potential for female mini-figures but there’s no such excuse with the City, Pharaoh’s Quest, Atlantis and other original themes. I mean, ONE female mini-figure in the entire Pharaoh’s Quest theme? That mini-figure couldn’t even appear in two sets at least?

    If Lego feels like they’re not connecting well with girls, perhaps they should evaluate the fact that they almost completely ignore representing females in their products.

  5. amodularlife says:

    @akunthita: I suppose they should be testing the products on kids before launching? TLG seems to have really gotten their act together in recent years so I do have some faith that the ‘female’ theme will be decent. At least, more female minifigs and new hairstyles? New clothes? Perhaps more daily-life stuff vs police or battles…

    @rekseah: Erm, u r not serious right?

    @Leanne: My 8yo niece (who now regularly asks me for LEGO for bday n christmas presents) only seem to like those city sets that are houses or shops… am hoping some good sets to complement her City House and City Corner. Hope I’m contributing to some good childhood memories for her.

    @J & KT: Yeah… but then again those sets really don’t appeal to girls based on my limited sample of 2 (niece n nephew). E.g. my nephew was instantly drawn to Ninjago while my niece didn’t even give them a 2nd look… perhaps the adults mind more than kids? =P

  6. Sgyreju says:

    I’m a 26-year-old girl (can I still call myself a girl at my age?) and I was already a big LEGO fan as a child. I had pretty much all the City sets of my time and I would have liked Castle and Pirate sets as well but I knew I couldn’t get everything. I never felt that these themes were for boys. I did wish there were more interesting female minifigs though, as J said, as I liked making up stories with my LEGO sets and there were few female minifigs that appealed to me. I had some Paradisa sets, but I didn’t choose them for the pink bricks (I didn’t like pink) but because there were horses in them (I liked horses) or because they looked nice (the restaurant with the swimming-pool appealed to me for that reason). And there were more female minifigs in those.

    I bought and played with Belville sets in my early teens because they were more realistic and offered more storytelling options (and there were horses and dogs!), so in this I agree with the quote from the article. But the pink/pastel colors annoyed me more than they attracted me. I didn’t like that the Belville sets looked so girly, because I was never girly myself. I also would have enjoyed having more stuff to build in those sets, because I liked building as much as I liked playing with the sets (I also had many Technic sets from the time I was 8 or 9 years old).

    So I think it’s stupid and sexist to say that products for girls have to be pink and require less building. To be honest, I don’t really understand why there has to be a product range especially marketed towards girls, with special pink boxes and so on. (Do girls really like that sort of thing? Do they like having toys especially made for girls? I didn’t, but maybe I’m weird.) Why not simply add more sets to existing themes – sets that fit the criteria of increased playability and storytelling options? Why not something like a school in the City line, and something about horses, or maybe even more detailed houses, closer to doll houses, but in the usual minifig scale?

    • KT says:

      “Why not simply add more sets to existing themes – sets that fit the criteria of increased playability and storytelling options? Why not something like a school in the City line, and something about horses, or maybe even more detailed houses, closer to doll houses, but in the usual minifig scale?”

      That’s a great idea, I was thinking along that lines too, like maybe adding more “interior furnishings” or “rooms” and female minfigs to the City line houses or even Castle sets.

  7. J says:

    I did a count of male and female mini-figures by theme in the 2011 releases for which we have visual evidence. The modular house line always tends to be more balanced so there’s still potential there but the City theme is particularly bad this year. Here’s the results (aliens/creatures are excluded except where male-female differentiation exists:

    Alien Abduction: 9 male, 1 female
    Atlantis: 7 male, 1 female
    Castle: 15 male, 1 female
    City: 59 male, 5 female
    Collectible Mini-Figures: 37 male, 10 female (omit 1 alien)
    Creator: 2 male, 0 female
    Dacta: 33 male, 19 female
    Duplo: 16 male, 4 female
    Harry Potter: 20 male, 3 female
    Ninjago: 30 male, 3 female
    Pharaoh’s Quest: 9 male, 1 female
    Pirates of the Caribbean: 32 male, 4 female
    Star Wars: 43 male, 7 female
    Trains: 3 male, 0 female

    TOTAL SYSTEM: 299 male, 55 female
    TOTAL DUPLO: 16 male, 4 female
    TOTAL: 315 male, 59 female

    That’s greater than a 5:1 ratio and if you remove the Dacta and Collectible Mini-figure sets from the equation, you get a pathetic 8:1 ratio (245 male, 30 female). I’ll say it again. If Lego wants girls to take interest in their products, they should make a better effort to include figures through which girls can identify.

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