Even though my kids are in their teens now, they still like Lego. Heck, I still like Lego. My son and daughter each still get a copy of the free Lego magazine in the mail.
Well, the current issues provoked an indignant response from my 14-year-old daughter. Let’s take a look:
On the left, you see a supplement bound into my son’s issue. The subject? Very cool Ninjas!
On the right, you see a supplement bound into my daughter’s issue. The subject? The very not-cool girl-oriented Friends series, now with elves!
My daughter hates the “Friends” series, which was created to pander to a perceived market for girly Legos, presuming that girls don’t like fantasy and adventure but do like ponies and getting their hair done. She thinks the idea of separate Lego for girls is dumb and also, they’re ugly and don’t look like real Lego. (Personally, I think it’s just canny marketing.)
Inside the special supplements, things only got worse.
Boys? What kind of cool Ninja powers would you have?
Girls? Let’s get our hair done pretty for the boys!
Each has a little Mad-Lib at the end of the issue.
Boys? Let’s get cool Ninja gear!
Girls? Let’s choose a flavor of ice cream!
My Marvelsuperwholockian* daughter was not amused.
My wife’s reaction was more measured: “It’s called demographic marketing.”
In the marketing dice toss, the odds are stacked in Lego’s favor that more girls will want Friends than Ninjago, and Lego is interested in selling things. Still, it sent a little message to my fierce daughter, and she was not at all amused at the assumptions behind that message.