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LEGO City is marketed at boys


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#1 fallentomato

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:07 PM

It's been a while since we talked about the implications of the Friends line. One thing that came up in that conversation was the idea that marketing one town-like theme at girls (Friends) implies that the other town offering (City) is aimed at boys. Some contend LEGO City is a gender-neutral product offering.

Here's some proof that LEGO city is marketed specifically at boys. TLG put out a pitch for a new commercial for LEGO City here.
Highlights:
  • LEGO believes that every young boy has the potential to become a hero
  • A call for heroes! – A strong call for action talks directly to the boys and adds a sense of urgency and excitement
  • Target Audience: Boys 5-11; sweet spot is 5-7 boys.

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#2 lightningtiger

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:17 PM

Okay, why have you thrown petrol on an open fire.....it doesn't say 'boys' but 'LEGO believes that every young person has the potential to become a hero.'....direct quote from that page. :hmpf_bad:
Why does hero instantly mean boys....there are a few female firefighters, even more police and haven't you ever watched 'Ice Road Truckers'....yep, there is a woman trucker driving over ice cover ocean. :grin:
There is a large proportional of City fans who are girls between the ages of 5 and 12, as to boys the same age bracket.....this is not made up but witnessed first hand over the past four years of being an AFOL.
I agree that some of the sets are aimed towards boys, but some girls don't care....they are happy buying a tow truck or petrol tanker just as much as a boy does....again see with my own eyes.
Lets just have the children decide what toys they want to play with.....now what did Lego mean.....oh, yeah...Play Well.

#3 MetroiD

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:52 PM

Fallentomato, I really don't mean to sound rude but... what's the purpose of all this anyway? :hmpf_bad: It just doesn't sound like a very sensible discussion to begin with, and you're not laying the foundations of an actual conversation here; looks to me as though you're merely making an obversation. Which is good and all, but is also a bit pointless. Are you suggesting that LEGO City should focus on girls instead? Or is there perhaps an androgynous approach you believe TLG should follow in terms of their marketing? You say that some contend City is not gender specific and then make your case supporting its for-boys targeting. Well, so be it then, City is aimed at boys. Or at girls. Or at cats and dogs. Leg Godt and have fun while doing it, as lt suggester earlier -- and as long as TLC is making a profit allowing it to keep the City line running, who cares about their gender-specific marketing for 5-year olds anyway.
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#4 lightningtiger

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:01 AM

Digging deeper I found what you are talking about....oh, boy....okay, it's the cartoon to be aimed towards boys.....like Ben10 or Generator Rex are considered boy's cartoons as well, but do contain female characters in them.
Reading the discussions page women have asked the same thing, boys only implied.....but I'll quote from it....
"we understand where you're coming from, which is why we changed how the details read to make sure that no one feels left out whatsoever or that girls can't be heroes. No one ever, ever would think such a thing. sorry for any confusion."

From what I can read sounds like Lego has run out of ideas for advertising....no, I don't think so. :wink:
Though 25K sounds interesting. :wink:

#5 fallentomato

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 04:29 AM

View PostMetroiD, on 03 April 2012 - 10:52 PM, said:

Fallentomato, I really don't mean to sound rude but... what's the purpose of all this anyway? :hmpf_bad: It just doesn't sound like a very sensible discussion to begin with, and you're not laying the foundations of an actual conversation here; looks to me as though you're merely making an obversation. Which is good and all, but is also a bit pointless. Are you suggesting that LEGO City should focus on girls instead? Or is there perhaps an androgynous approach you believe TLG should follow in terms of their marketing?

Since there was such a lively discussion here about the gendered marketing of the Friends line, I thought people might be interested to see this. I was trying to keep my opinions out of it, but obviously the very act of posting it means I think it's worthy of discussion. I don't think TLG should be marketing products along gender lines, that will only increase the existing imbalances of boys and girls playing with their products. If you're really interested in my thoughts, you can read the long article I wrote when Friends came out.

View Postlightningtiger, on 04 April 2012 - 12:01 AM, said:

Digging deeper I found what you are talking about

Yeah, they changed the initial instance of "boys" to "young people" after some people pointed it out in the comments. It's good to know that they recognized that as a mistake when it was pointed out.
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#6 Legocrazy81

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:28 AM

I don't get what the big deal is...it's not a secret that LEGO is primarily bought by little boys. I mean, look at the members of this site, the majority are fellas.
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#7 purpleparadox

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:50 PM

View PostLegocrazy81, on 04 April 2012 - 06:28 AM, said:

I don't get what the big deal is...it's not a secret that LEGO is primarily bought by little boys. I mean, look at the members of this site, the majority are fellas.
I do agree with you, but with such a, (for lack of a better term), "generic" theme as City, couldn't they make it more gender-neutral?

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#8 Aanchir

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:02 PM

LEGO City is already more gender-neutral in its marketing than some themes, but obviously it's going to be marketed largely towards boys because boys are a more reliable consumer base for TLG than girls have been historically. Examples of ways in which LEGO City is marketed toward boys include the gender ratios (which are thankfully becoming more balanced this year), the number of vehicle-oriented sets and subthemes, and the emphasis on action in advertising the theme.

So overall, I don't see how this pitch tells us anything about LEGO City's target audience that we didn't already know. :sceptic:

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#9 horizon

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:45 PM

City is neutral, and even that it is up to the kid themselves. My daughter (7) likes Ninjago & Creator houses but does not want anything from Friends.

#10 Sinner

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 02:06 PM

Who's to say there isn't going to be one next time targeting girls? I've seen loads of ads for McDonalds targeting kids; does that mean that they don't care about the adults? This is just a small promotional probably run by one person in marketing...

In either case Town is bought more by boys. That's a fact. You can't blame LEGO for going for where the money is.





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#11 Joebot

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:45 PM

I don't have any issues with TLC using gender-coding to market their products. Presumably they have access to market research and analytics that we here on Eurobricks don't. Presumably they know who their customers are, and how best to reach them.

I think the more troubling issue is whether that gender-based marketing promotes harmful or negative stereotypes. It's like that old Simpsons episode where Lisa gets a new talking Malibu Stacy doll that says "Math is hard!" and "Don't ask me, I'm just a girl!"

I don't think TLC has crossed into Malibu Stacy territory with the Friends theme. Yeah, they've got sets that feature make-up, shopping, and cooking. BUT ... you also have veterinarians, a tree-house, and a science lab.

#12 fallentomato

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:35 PM

View PostAanchir, on 04 April 2012 - 01:02 PM, said:

I don't see how this pitch tells us anything about LEGO City's target audience that we didn't already know. :sceptic:
You're right that there's nothing here we couldn't have inferred, it's more of confirmation that TLG sees the market for town products split on gender lines.
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#13 lightningtiger

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:25 PM

I think only us male adults that see Lego City split down gender lines.....children do not as they do with other toys, boys don't play with Barbie and girls don't play with Transformers (well, that one's just a guess).
But Lego is different, it's a universal toy, a learning tool and an imagination launch pad for ideas.......of course, the products seem to be aimed at boys, but girls don't care if the boxes are blue or pink. They don't care if the promotions are aimed at boys.....trust me, I'm married and my wife like most females are head strong.....we usually have to listen and obey...well, I do :blush:  (sometimes). :laugh:
I guess as the argument goes on about Friend's being too girly, can the same be said for City....the number of female minifigs is on the raise and this year they are taking non-stereotypical roles in sets, paramedic, fire fighter, garbage collector, and police chief (another female ordering males around....know how that feels :laugh: ).
One thing always sticks in my mind when topics of this nature pop up......a quote from Obi-Wan speaking to Luke " Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."
Since we all think differently, there will some that agree that city is too boyish and some who will disagree saying it's not...all from how we see it.

#14 Legocrazy81

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 05:27 AM

Ok. I read the link and I have no clue why this thread was made with that link? :sceptic: It never once mentions boys or girls. The only picture I saw was a flashing City minifig from the new mining sub theme. I must have missed something...all ireadwastheyre having some sort of stop motion competition...

Edited by Legocrazy81, 05 April 2012 - 05:28 AM.

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#15 lightningtiger

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:25 AM

View PostLegocrazy81, on 05 April 2012 - 05:27 AM, said:

Ok. I read the link and I have no clue why this thread was made with that link? :sceptic: It never once mentions boys or girls. The only picture I saw was a flashing City minifig from the new mining sub theme. I must have missed something...all ireadwastheyre having some sort of stop motion competition...
Well, if you read the "Objectives" at the bottom of the page....you then see what the issue is.

#16 rriggs

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:29 AM

I'm not sure that it is a case of the City products being aimed at boys but more that the kind of City models which are likely to sell better are those which are more interesting/exciting.  This means fire, police, trucks, cars, aircraft, etc which are always likely to sell more to boys than to girls.

There have been more girl-orientated City sets over the years (car & caravan, some of the houses, etc) but the type of set that is likely to sell in higher numbers is that which has more play factor and more excitement for kids and this will always tend to gravitate towards action sets which will appeal more to boys.  Over the years, the development of City sets and parts with this in mind has meant that a lot of specific City components are designed for making this kind of set (eg Lots of car parts, tools, etc)

LEGO know this and (apart from the odd set as mentioned above) have taken action through the creation of the Friends line to utilise City type parts in a way which is more appealing to girls.  

So, back to the orginal question, do LEGO market City towards boys?  Yes, they probably do but that's not necessairly wrong.  Car manufacturers do the same marketing cars towards males or females or the young or families.  

While a utopian manufacturer would like to sell their products to 100% of the population there are very few products that can do this.  This means that marketing is most often targeted at those who are most likely to buy a product and only sometimes is it targeted to try and extend a customer base outside of the typical demographic as it's both expensive and potentially risky to do so.

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#17 Ash

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:29 AM

View Postfallentomato, on 04 April 2012 - 04:29 AM, said:

Since there was such a lively discussion here about the gendered marketing of the Friends line, I thought people might be interested to see this. I was trying to keep my opinions out of it, but obviously the very act of posting it means I think it's worthy of discussion. I don't think TLG should be marketing products along gender lines, that will only increase the existing imbalances of boys and girls playing with their products. If you're really interested in my thoughts, you can read the long article I wrote when Friends came out.

That's a great article and I agree with almost everything you say.

I have some different issues with the Friends line... well not the line itself, I think it's great, but the implications of it. But I'm not going to get into them here (I might add a comment to your blog). Thanks for sharing though.

Edited by Ash, 05 April 2012 - 09:49 AM.

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#18 purpleparadox

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:58 PM

View PostAsh, on 05 April 2012 - 09:29 AM, said:

That's a great article and I agree with almost everything you say.

I have some different issues with the Friends line... well not the line itself, I think it's great, but the implications of it. But I'm not going to get into them here (I might add a comment to your blog). Thanks for sharing though.
I agree it's a great article. :thumbup: I first read it quite a while back, just a couple days after it was posted. I'm anxiously awaiting the next article!

Edited by purpleparadox, 05 April 2012 - 12:58 PM.

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#19 Legocrazy81

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:25 AM

View Postlightningtiger, on 05 April 2012 - 08:25 AM, said:

Well, if you read the "Objectives" at the bottom of the page....you then see what the issue is.
Bah, I see. I still don't think it's much of a surprise, is it? Of course the target audience is going to be young boys. Ask 5-11 year olds what they want to be when they grow up. I'd bet 90% will say fireman or policeman. Then there's cars, which, surprise! boys like to play with cars. I don't think it was wise to put that in the objectives. It may very well turn some girls away from entering.

I think, for the most part, people are really overreacting to LEGOs marketing strategy. All those groups making that stink about Friends. :hmpf: Of course they're going to market to boys because I'm sure their research has shown that boys buy LEGO compared to girls.
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#20 LiamM32

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:31 PM

I think that Lego City can be gender-neutral, but mostly for boys. My younger sister got more excited about the 3182 Airport than my younger brother, as that's a gender-neutral set.

I don't like it that in the smaller sets, with only one minifigure, that they're afraid to use female minifigs. In the past, there were rarely professional women. That's why I aim for the female's in collectible Minifigures. It may be getting better, as there's some females at work, such as a police officer, gargagewoman, firewomen, and others. Now they just need a female train driver or engineer.

In the past, there were mostly firefighting and police, as the young boys want action. My favourite set that I have is 8404 Public Transport Station, as public transit is a better representation of everyday city life. My idea for a new subtheme is called "Commercial", which would have stores, restaurants, coffee shops, plazas, and other things.

Now I question how Lego should design and market their town-related products, as it's something that appeals to both genders and a wide age-range. They have City; mostly for young boys, Friends; only for young girls, Exclusives; for adult targeted trains and modular buildings, and Creator; which has a small selection of architectural sets for those older children and teens that want something less expensive than Modular buildings, but better than city. It just seems that there aren't enough sets between City and modular buildings, to make a town. The creator houses are good for what they have, but it's not enough to build a town. But enough of that last paragraph, that's for a different topic.
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#21 lightningtiger

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:55 PM

Here's an element we haven't considered yet, the Licensed element. My son was into city, but now it's Star Wars, Harry Potter, POTC and a little bit of Super Heroes with some Cars2. And like I have said before I've seen girls buy city....in fact more than boys. Boys seem to lean towards Ninjago and the licensed themes over city, though there are the true believers with some boys....so I could say it's 50-50.
Just remember Hot Wheels advertising has only boys in it, so Lego's advertising people might think along the same marketing plans.

#22 Hrw-Amen

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:13 AM

Well all I can say is that wife always wants to make up any City vehicles that I buy, (Which can get annoying if I am looking forwards to them.) and she especially likes the fire and police sets.

#23 purpleparadox

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:48 AM

View Postlightningtiger, on 06 April 2012 - 10:55 PM, said:

Just remember Hot Wheels advertising has only boys in it, so Lego's advertising people might think along the same marketing plans.
Maybe, but imagine how much more money Lego could make if they could sell City to girls just as much as boys.

A few ideas for that are:
-Selling more impulse-$15 range sets with females.
-Including more females in sets with multiple minifigs. I'm aware that they already do this somewhat, but they could do it more.

I'm sure there are flaws in those ideas, but they should do things like that a bit more with City.

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#24 Legocrazy81

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:45 AM

There's a part of that disagrees with the whole 'marketing to boys' shtick. I gave seen plenty of LEGO commercials, and I don't even see kids in them. Not even in the Friends commercials. Sure, they said boys in the 'target audience' part of the objectives, but that's not a lie. So, saying they market(which is after all advertising) is towards boys, I'd say that's false.
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#25 purpleparadox

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:51 AM

I have a semi-relevant question. I've seen posts saying that Lego has done research proving that it's products mostly appeal to boys. Can anyone tell me WHEN (what year) that research was done?

If they did the studies anytime recently, of COURSE Lego appeals mostly to boys, because most of the products for QUITE a while have been directed at boys.

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