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Want Your Daughter to Be An Engineer? Show Her This Rube Goldbergian Awesomeness Set to a Beastie Boys Song

By Dustin Rowles | Videos | November 20, 2013 | Comments ()


Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 9.54.25 AM.png

Commercials designed to sell you things don’t always have to be cynical marketing ploys. Sometimes, they can be fun, or neat, or bad-ass, or inspiring, and sometimes they can be all of the above, as this ad is, for a toy company called GoldieBlox.

Just wow.

I don’t even care that it is marketed to girls. I’m going to buy every kid in my family — boy or girl —one of these sets. That is one fantastic piece of marketing.

(via Slate)



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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • The Mama

    This commercial made the rounds at work today, sent out by the father of girls. One of the responses was, "Oh wow, so they're marketing engineering toys to girls? Seems like a slim market. I wish them luck."

    I couldn't tell if he was just trying to get a rise out of me or he really felt that way, so I asked him that, flat out. His response? Both. And he's a father. To girls.

    In other words, we have a long way to go.

    That said, I love this company, for many reasons, but most especially because they've done the research and they're trying to figure out how to get girls involved in something other than the all-princess-all-the-time crapola.

  • e jerry powell

    Alas, both my nieces fall to either side of the suggested age range.

    :(

    ETA: however, even though my eldest niece is ten, she is also a Girl Scout, and the local Girl Scouts council sells Goldie Blox directly, so she already has Spinning Machine, and I just bought her Parade Float and an Expansion Pack.

    My nieces will never need tech support for anything.

  • casagomezgirl

    As a girl engineer, I totally approve of this commercial!

  • luckypete

    best commercial ever, for so many reasons.

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    I'll buy this for my nieces. I already have one who dressed as Nosferatu ina pink tutu for Halloween. She builds lego houses for her barbies and they drive Lego trucks. She's also a big fan of Galileo. Basically she's awesome.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    In a weird way, it's still kind of patronizing. My daughter loves LEGO. She likes the Star Wars sets, and all the sets that build trucks or planes. They aren't "tools to help girls build", they are just LEGOs.

    Her gender had no influence either way.

    That said, I think it's a good thing to push back on the "pink" identity crap. My daughter hates pink, wants everything green.

  • Patty O'Green

    I see your point, and I don't disagree. What I'd like to point out is the research that went into the toy's design. As Genevieve said, they discovered through research that girls tended to be more drawn to story-based play. Goldie Blox is a book that tells a story, and you use the included blocks, cogs, gears and whatnot to resolve the conflict of the story. Rather than "here, have some blocks, do whatever you want", there is a plot and a specific goal.

    I doubt anyone on this creative team would suggest that girls don't like traditional building blocks; they're merely using the language of today's sociological culture to encourage more girls to think scientifically through play.

    Now, you COULD go down the road of "boys are handed blocks and told to create something of their own thinking, girls are given instructions and expected to follow directions". While it is a cynical road, it bears a few ounces of weight. My counter would be that, once the child in question decided she loved this type of play, I'd give her an erector set or a box of legos and tell her to "write her own story".

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    I think you make my counterpoint better than I could have - the Goldie Blox work pre-defines the boundaries of the story, much like choose your own ending books do.

    It's not all evil, but it definitely continues the concept that women appreciate clear boundaries more than men.

    TO go a bit further, I'm always bothered to see how much more willing boys are to tear things apart merely to see how they work. In computer interface design, it's become clear that women are more likely to stop after an initial screen creates a barrier, where the boys are more likely to try new angles.

    In interviews, women express greater concern that their actions might "break it", man tend to be willing to break it, but sometimes strive to break just to see what will happen.

  • Uriah_Creep

    Absolutely, and the GoldieBlox web site does a great job of explaining the company's philosophy, usually in the words of their Stanford-educated engineer founder Debbie Sterling. If you have young kids of either gender, it's well worth visiting.

  • dizzylucy

    Great commercial. Their advertising is spot on, and I love the message and products they're putting out there.

    They have 2 products that are number 1 sellers in Amazon's toy building sets categories. Clearly there is a market for this.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I smiled right until the end. The fucking box is still pink(ish).

  • Patty O'Green

    But they're not saying "DEATH TO PINK", they're saying, "No one things defines you. You can like pink and dance class and tutus and building toys and explosions and snakes and dirt and baking and make-up and WHATEVER YOU WANT!" The idea is to break the mold, not condemn a characteristic or style choice.

  • Jiffylush

    I saw this as a kind of girl empowerment thing on Facebook this morning, and I have a daughter so I appreciate a need for non "girly" toys, but...

    Am I the only one that actually remembers the lyrics from Girls by the Beastie Boys?

    So I broke North with no delay
    I heard she moved real far away
    That was two years ago this May
    I seen her just the other day
    Jockin' Mike D, to my dismay

    Girls, to do the dishes
    Girls, to clean up my room
    Girls, to do the laundry
    Girls, and in the bathroom

    Girls, that's all I really want is girls
    Two at a time, I want girls
    With new wave hairdos, I want girls
    I ought to whip out my girls, girls, girls, girls
    Girls, girls, girls, girls, girls, girls, girls, girls, girls, girls

  • L.O.V.E.

    Yah, the history of the band explains where that song came from.

    The initial lineup consisted of singer Mike D, bassist MCA, and a female drummer, Kate Schellenbach (later of Luscious Jackson fame).

    Rick Rubin came in and pushed Kate out and the guys were young and impressionable. They said his influence was really hard to deal with. They've said that everyone in their early crew was very open and not sexist at all, but Rick was this piggish guy who was really sexist and
    homophobic, and they were all getting into his persona because they
    thought he was cool. And they were also getting into what they thought a hip-hop group was supposed to act like, grabbing their dicks and talking about girls.

    They said it was very disappointing and alienating, so they broke away from him and did a completely different type of album with Paul's Boutique. The very first track from that album was "To All The Girls".

  • Jifaner

    Yep. My daughter won't let me listen to that song. She hates it. That's why I love that they used it and turned it on its head.

  • JJ

    Yes, and that's what great about using it. Turning that song on its head just like they're trying to do with the concept of non-girl toys.

  • BWeaves

    My favorite toys as a girl were old school Lego blocks and Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs. While I appreciate the vibe of this commercial, the actual toys are still a bit too pink and girly for my taste.

  • competitivenonfiction

    When I was a kid, I begged for lego of my very own (my brothers had tonnes, but I wanted to have some to contribute to the giant lego bucket). My parents got me a beach house set, and while I appreciated it, I was a bit disappointed. However, there are girls who would have loved a lego beach house set. For these girls, these are the gateway toys to the really cool stuff that is, by nature, gender neutral.

  • JJ

    You mean the actual toys that they sell?

  • BWeaves

    Yes. There are pink dolphins in tutus with a single ballet slipper on its toe/fin to stick into the top of whatever thing you built. The toys themselves are geared (if you pardon the pun) towards a particular thing that you set up, with slight variations. It's a start. But I thought the whole point of the commercial's song was about how you won't buy anything for a girl unless it's pink. I hate pink.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    My understanding is that that's less for the girls themselves and more for the kinds of people who won't buy a toy for a girl unless it's pink. The people who didn't buy any legos or lincoln logs because "They didn't have any for girls" despite them being completely gender neutral. Also, the creator of the toys talked about doing research into how girls play and finding out that girls preferred narrative or story-based play and designing the toys around that concept.

  • Jifaner

    That was one of the biggest differences that struck me between my oldest son and daughter when they were little. He loved concept books that taught letters, numbers, opposites, different animals, etc. She wanted actual stories and only actual stories. She had no interest in alphabet or concept books.

  • HEY EVERYBODY! Vote for them to win an ad slot during the Superbowl! You can vote once every day!

    https://www.smallbusinessbigga...

  • I'm so glad you posted this - I was going to! :)

  • JenVegas

    I've seen only one criticism of this spot and it was that Adam Yauch never wanted any of the Beastie's music used in commercials. But I have already decided that MCA was an awesome dad to a daughter and would, as such, be 100% behind this product and the song's use. So that commenter on whatever site that was can suck it.

  • luckypete

    Plus, the original version of Girls isn't too kind to the female gender, so I think it would make him (and the rest of the Boys) happy to see it put to use in this context.

  • JenVegas

    Annnnnnd apparently I was wrong. http://jezebel.com/beastie-boy... Damnit, Beastie Boys, you're making me sad on a Monday.

  • luckypete

    I told someone else the same thing. After learning the Beastie's decision, Ilikened it to Metallica going aginst file sharing/ Napster. Yes, they are technically and legally right, but they come off as dicks while doing it.

  • lowercase_ryan

    This is freaking wonderful.

  • Ian Fay

    I'm a 37 year old man and I want those toys. They look awesome.

  • BendinIntheWind

    I freaking LOVE everything about this, especially in contrast to the commercials I've seen recently for the Nerf "Rebelle" line. YOU DON'T HAVE TO MAKE NERF GUNS PINK FOR GIRLS TO LIKE THEM, IT'S ALREADY FUN TO SHOOT SHIT! And "Rebelle" is just an awful, awful name for a product line.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Jesus this drove me crazy. Does this mean I was using the wrong nerf gun all these years? Are you fucking kidding me with this shit?

    Also the Bic for women pens...fuck you, I can write with a pen that isn't pink.

  • dizzylucy

    Those Bic for women pens are ridiculous. But at least they led to some great amazon reviews.

  • sanity fair

    Exactly! I had Nerf stuff when I was growing up as a little girl in the 80's and it didn't have to be pink! In fact, I HATED pink when I wanted the Nerf stuff, so I would have been one pissed off little girl!

    And I totally agree with the Bic for women pens. Why the FUCK do I need different pens just because I happen to have ladybits? I've been using regular pens for years without issue!

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I was another girl that hated pink. So I spent a lot of time in the boys section of Toys R Us...maybe we're not really girls? I mean we don't like pink, and that seems to be pretty much the only criteria.

  • sanity fair

    I don't know about you, but at this point, it would be pretty hard to mistake me for a boy, pink or no pink!

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    A pair of scissors, an ace bandage and a little less mascara and I could totally pass for a drag queen - because no one will ever get me to take off my sparkly hooker shoes...

  • sanity fair

    And shouldn't it REALLY be all about the sparkly hooker heels?

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Always. Just not PINK sparkly hooker heels...

  • Very cute.

    If I ever have a daughter, she'll get both the pink and princess-y and the geeky engineer/scientist/archeologist-y gifts. My hope is she'll want to be Indy Jones in a princess outfit.

  • To be fair, almost anything set to Beastie Boys will be a barrel of awesome.
    ...But yeah this is puh-retty, pretty good.

  • Modernlove

    I kept seeing this be posted on various social networking sites and figured it was just another overblown thing...nope. This just made my morning and got me a little teary eyed. Marketing, you're doing it right.

  • Pants-are-a-must

    I live for their faces in that screencap.

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