COMMENTARY: What We Talk About When We Talk About Why Boys Don’t Play with Dolls on TV

NBWQDQUTdfblBOa-580x326-noPadIn a perfect world, toys would be toys and there would be no grand toy judge to pound his or her gavel and declare which ones are for boys and which are for girls–okay, that doesn’t actually happen, but rarely do kids get to decide which toys they want to play with before it’s already been preconceived as a boy or girl toy.

There have been many strides made towards creating toys that intend to promote gender equality—just check out this commentary, New Toys Inspire Girls to Cross Sterotypical Boundaries, from Alexi Velasquez, or, Dolls for Boys Are a Sign of the Times, from our own Phil Guie. Yet it seems that toy companies continually miss the mark.

Pinkifying “boy” toys doesn’t close a gender gap, and marketing toys that have previously been deemed “boyish” in a way that will appeal to girls may be smart for sales, but it’s important that we look beyond the toys themselves, and at the advertising campaigns that drive them. That’s where we really see the effect that it has on the way kids play. [Read more...]

GoldieBlox Takes Down “Big Sister,” Introduces New Action Figure, in Mold-Breaking Ad

GoldieGoldieBlox, a company set out to get girls building by giving them a role model in the STEM fields, introduced a brand new commercial for its newest product: a Goldie action figure. The commercial shows the company’s alternative to the fashion doll industry. Set to Metric’s “Help, I’m Alive,” the slightly creepy, but very empowering GoldieBlox ad encourages girls to break the mold.

As AdWeek points out, the commercial has the same idea as Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl commercial that introduced the Macintosh computer. Girls all dolled up like—well—dolls line up to grab perfect dolls off an assembly line that are dressed just like them. Meanwhile, Big Sister robotically drones repeatedly, “You are beauty and beauty is perfection,” until one Goldie-inspired little girl in overalls and red Chucks steps out of line and smashes the machine with a hammer.

The result? A brand new Goldie action figure for girls.

GoldieBlox’s past commercials have garnered a lot of attention, including one that earned a spot during last year’s Super Bowl.

GoldieBlox Joins the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

GoldieBlox FloatGoldieBlox will bring its design and engineering toys to life at the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The toymaker’s new float, titled The Girl-Powered Spinning Machine, will transform GoldieBlox toys into larger-than-life form in an elaborate, creative, and brightly colored machine.

“The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an iconic celebration and we’re thrilled to join the line-up this November with the first-ever float that is specifically designed to showcase the principles of engineering,” said Debbie Sterling, the founder and CEO of the company. “Macy’s Parade floats are the ultimate engineering spectacle, and relatable to kids everywhere. We can’t wait!”

The engineers and craftspeople at Macy’s Parade Studio worked closely with the GoldieBlox team to design and build the float as three distinct stages. It will use kid power to spin, pull, and rotate a myriad of elements from giant pinwheels and parachutes to jogging wheels.

COMMENTARY: New Toys Inspire Girls to Cross Stereotypical Boundaries

Some girls like to play with dolls, while others might enjoy more crafty activities. But some girls also want to take charge at an early age and are interested in subjects that are stereotypically dominated by men. Recently, there has been an emergence of toys that help young girls develop an early interest in areas such as business, math, and science, as toy companies follow the trend of encouraging young girls to follow their dreams to the career path of their choice.

Alexi.July24Fashion Angels will be launching a line of products this fall called It’s My Biz, designed to encourage tween girls to consider careers in business. Barbie launched Entrepreneur Barbie this year, drawing inspiration from female entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses, such as Rent the Runway, Girls Who Code, and Genuine Insights. Finally, Debbie Sterling, the creator of Goldieblox, created her product with the mindset of “disrupting the pink aisle” and building girls’ confidence in their spatial abilities to develop an early interest in math and science, areas usually dominated by men. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Let Kids Play With What They Want!

Every so often, I babysit my cousin’s two kids, one boy age 5 and one girl age 6. During one particular instance, we ended up saving a city on the brink of destruction while playing with a police construction set accompanied by a fire truck and superhero action figures. That’s when Alex asked his sister why she wanted to play with us when we were playing with “boy” toys.

“Because it’s fun,” she casually replied in a heartbeat, adding a quick shrug. And it was as simple as that. But what would make Alex question why his sister wanted to play with him even though there were no female characters involved in the story?

Maddie.March7While some toys in the industry are truly gender neutral, others are “reverse gendered.” Gender neutral toys, such as certain board games and Play-Doh, do not intentionally appeal to the divide between girls and boys. Reverse gendered toys don’t exactly have the opposite purpose, but the companies attempt to reach a broader audience. A manufacturer will make changes to a previously gender-specific toy to make the opposite gender drawn towards it. The most common way this is done is having the exact same product produced in two different color palettes. [Read more...]

WIT Honors Outstanding Business Leaders with 10th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards

At a February 18 dinner attended by more than 400 executives, Women in Toys (WIT) celebrated 10 visionary women business leaders with the 2014 Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Awards. The award recipients are: Kiyomi Haverly of Mattel, Global Brands; Naz Cuevas of Rovio Entertainment Inc. and Donna Tobin of Hasbro Inc.; Rita Raiffe, design director at Gund; Stefanie Barone of M.Z. Berger & Co.; Susie Lecker of Fisher Price; Michele Litzky of Litzky Public Relations; Joan Packard Luks of The Seranata Group; Christina Jansa of Target; and Debra Sterling of GoldieBlox.

With support from major sponsors including Nickelodeon and Bandai, WIT also granted six scholarships to future toy industry leaders at toy design programs in universities worldwide.

The Year’s Most Outstanding Toys and Games Honored at TOTY Awards

Rainbow LoomOn February 15, the eve of American International Toy Fair, hundreds of toy executives and industry guests gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City for the 14th Annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Rainbow Loom, from Choon’s Design LLC, won Toy of the Year as well as prizes in three additional categories, while GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, from GoldieBlox Inc., took home the People’s Choice award by pulling in the most online votes from consumers.

The event also featured five inductions into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Jill Barad, former chairman and CEO, Mattel; Horst Brandstätter, president and owner, Playmobil/geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG; Jack Friedman, former chairman, CEO, and co-founder, Jakks Pacific; and Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr, co-founders of Wham-O Toy. [Read more...]

GoldieBlox Wins Super Bowl Ad from Intuit’s Small Business Big Game

Jan31.DebbieSterling.GoldieBloxThis Sunday, an all expenses-paid commercial for GoldieBlox—an innovative toy company inspiring girls to push limits and think outside the box through storytelling and basic engineering concepts—will air during the third quarter of the championship game.

This first-ever small business commercial is courtesy of Small Business Big Game, a six-month competition sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks. It kicked off July 31, the top four finalists were announced in November, and the public was invited to vote for their favorite to win the prize.

All four finalists receive free, lifetime use of Intuit small business solutions, including Intuit QuickBooks, payroll, payments, and Demandforce; professionally produced advertising for their business; a meeting and business advice from entrepreneur and reality star Bill Rancic; and an all-expense paid trip to New York for a big game viewing party held in their honor.

GoldieBlox Announced as Finalist in Intuit’s Small Business Big Game Competition

GoldieBloxGoldieBlox, an Oakland, Calif. toy company that produces construction sets aimed at girls, has secured a spot as a finalist in Intuit’s Small Business Big Game competition, created to celebrate the success of small businesses. The top four have been narrowed down from almost 15,000 entries.

The competition was created to reward one small business with the prize of a professionally produced television commercial to air during the Super Bowl on February 2. The lucky company will also receive an all-expenses paid trip to New York for the Big Game viewing party with a few surprise guests, a meeting with entrepreneur and reality TV star of Giuliana and Bill, Bill Rancic, and free lifetime use of Intuit QuickBooks and other Intuit resources and business solutions.

Now through December 1, votes can be cast by anyone at www.SmallBusinessBigGame.com.

GoldieBlox Introduces GoldieBlox and the Parade Float

GoldieBlox.ParadeFloatThere’s a new addition to the GoldieBlox toy collection: GoldieBlox and the Parade Float, available now for pre-order at GoldieBlox.com for delivery by December 1, and rolling into Toys “R” Us stores nationwide this holiday season. Encouraging the growth of a female presence in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, founder Debbie Sterling and GoldieBlox aim to introduce girls to the fun of building combined with the age-old pastime of storytelling, by offering an engineering role model who is smart, curious, and accessible.

The new main set, GoldieBlox and the Parade Float, features nine design ideas as well as a do-it-yourself project, and is compatible with all other Goldie Blox toys. Meanwhile, the new Blox + Bits Expansion Pack includes rods, blocks, and other extra pieces that fit both the original GoldieBlox and The Spinning Machine and GoldieBlox and The Parade Float sets, and allow kids to create even larger projects.

In addition, GoldieBlox has launched an online play gallery with stop-motion how-to videos starring little girl inventors. Fans can submit their own videos to be featured on GoldieBlox.com and the GoldieBlox YouTube channel.