The Story Behind the Viral 1980’s Girl’s Lego Ad

1980's Girl's Lego Ad

IMG: via Lego

It’s no secret that boys and girls toys today and very different. While it is true that a lot of girls like pink and sparkles – that doesn’t mean every girl does. For girls they only make “Lego Friends,” instead of the normal legos that you could find in the boy’s toy section. Do all toys have to all be changed to be “gender specific?”

Recently Reddit and Tumblr blew up over a 1981 Lego print ad. It shows a girl in normal clothes, playing with normal legos – nothing “girly” is involved.

The “What is Beautiful” ad was created Judy Lotas, who was the creative director at SSC&B, a now-defunct ad agency. While there are still not that many female Advertising Creative Directors – it was even worse in 1981.

Lotas had two young daughters as the time, and was passionate about gender equality. “This was the time of the ERA,” Lotas said, referring to the Equal Rights Amendment, a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would guarantee equal rights for women.

She said that at the time the ad was very well received, and was high on the Starch Test, which was a tool used to measure readers memory of ads.

“My daughters were of Lego age,” she told Mashable. “I felt strongly that it wasn’t just for girls. It was kind of a personal bias I had.”

Several years later, Lotas left SSC&B and started Lotas Minard Patton McIver, which is run by 4 females.

The ad resurfacing has brought into question how toys are advertised today.  The Huffington Post even pointed out that Lego’s current marketing creates very gender-specific toys.



About DevonJ140
I am currently an Accounting Director living in New York City. I love reading and learning more about business, finance, tech, and current events.

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