Source: Yahoo, Dec 2015
Lego set up a research team to understand what had gone wrong, observing as girls tried to assemble firetrucks, cocktail bars, spaceships and discothèques.
The company found that—unlike what it had long thought—girls enjoy building as much as boys. The nuance is that they enjoy building different things, Ms. Costa said. Lego also tried gender-neutral packaging but found that girls, as well as parents, would more often pick sets for girls when they came in pink or purple.
After five years of work, Ms. Costa’s team was enthusiastic about launching Lego Friends. The new sets, however, immediately unleashed a torrent of criticism from feminist groups. A U.S. activist organization, the Spark Movement, gathered 50,000 signatures with an online petition in 2012 and requested a meeting with Lego executives. Another group, Feminist Frequency, also complained.
“We were so disappointed,” said Dana Edell, executive director of the Spark Movement. “Lego was sending a message that girls get to play with hair dryers while boys get to build airplanes and skyscrapers.”
Lego officials said they met with the Spark Movement and decided to adjust some marketing material. At the same time, Lego Friends proved a bigger hit than the company had anticipated.
Aside from slightly different mini-figures, Lego Friends is built using the same palette of some 2,000 bricks as regular Lego bricks. The bricks are more pink and purple, as is the packaging, and construction projects include cupcake cafes, pop star houses, and a supermarket.
“We just had to wait for the controversy to die out,” said Ms. Schinkel Stamp, the senior design manager.