Very few Super Bowl ads caught my attention but I stopped cold and watched little girls drag their pink toys down the street to the tune of Quiet Riot’s “Come On Feel the Noise.” They appeared to be making a bonfire, but it was actually a girl-made rocket ship that shot off into the space.
The ad was from a new company called GoldieBlox, which was created by 30-year-old Stanford-trained engineer Debbie Sterling. Her mission is to disrupt the pink toy aisle by creating toys that encourage girls to build and problem solve. (Click here to see how this start-up won the prime ad space.)
“We are taught from a very young age that we want to become princesses,” explained Sterling in a 2013 TED talk. At present, 14 per cent of the country’s engineers are women, according to a 2012 congressional report. As she told a rapt TED audience: “Just because this is the way things are doesn’t mean this is how they have to be.”
“Armed with both her engineering degree and a stint in marketing, Sterling set herself a goal of “disrupting the pink aisle” — with the eventual aim of encouraging more girls to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).”
“Fast forward to 2013. After raising far more than her original $150,000 crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter, Sterling and her small team set about getting her toy prototype manufactured.”
“Each GoldieBlox kit combines a construction toy and a book that features Goldie, a smart young girl wearing a tool belt who helps solves problems by building machines. Soon enough, Toys ‘R’ Us came calling; more recently, Target agreed to start carrying GoldieBlox.”
I have to admit I was a little bit cynical when I first saw the ad. We’ve all seen the pink Legos and the pink Nerf sets but after watching Sterling’s video explaining her vision, I truly believe she wants girls to know they can be more than princesses.
Click here to watch Sterling explain how the toys work to encourage building. She combined a book with building implements. A story with friendly characters lead them through building what is essentially an engineering project.
So what do you think of the concept? The ad? The toys themselves? Is this a sincere effort to further STEM education for girls or a marketing ploy? Would you buy these toys for your girls? (I think I would buy for my 6-year-old.)