Think the LeapPad and Air Swimmers were the most anticipated toys of 2011? Think again! On Jan. 1 (or Dec. 26 in the UK) Lego is introducing Lego Friends — its first significant entry into the world of girls play, with a $40 million global marketing plan to support 23 different products — including six new colors (think pastels) and 29 minidolls that look more lifelike than the current minifigs.
After years of anthropological studies, Lego learned the differences in how boys and girls play. Among their findings are:
- "Whereas boys tend to be 'linear' — building rapidly, even against the clock, to finish a kit so it looks just like what’s on the box—girls prefer 'stops along the way' and to begin storytelling and rearranging."
- "The key difference between girls and the ladyfig and boys and the minifig was that many more girls projected themselves onto the ladyfig — she became an avatar. Boys tend to play with minifigs in the third person."
- "The greatest concern for girls really was beauty." Girls want their toys to demonstrate beauty, just as boys wanted theirs to demonstrate mastery.
The result is a line of toys that includes five main characters, each with a backstory and a "set" that she can play in, including a salon, a horse academy, and a veterinary clinic. Major retailers plan to give the new sets plenty of shelf space after the holidays, so expect to see the pastel colors everywhere.
Do you think the new Lego Friends will attract more girls to build and play? Click through the images that follow for a sneak peek at the sets and share your thoughts in the comments below!