We've been talking a lot about Lego Friends, the new Legos for girls that, while remarkably boring, happen to be selling very well. It's frustrating to see advertisers and toy manufacturers decide what should interest girls and what should interest boys, but it's also interesting to see how they do it.
There's a Lego Advertising Mixer, a website that allows you to swap the audio and the visuals from the Lego commercials marketed towards boys and the commercials marketed toward girls. The results are interesting, not just because of they give a different look at advertising sexism, but also in that they show how lazy the marketing has become. Looking at it from a directorial stand point, the commercials are almost identical (allowing the audio to match up particularly well) — a vehicle passes, structures are built, and camera cuts occur at exactly the same moments.
Could the similarities in the structures commercials be any indication that it's not necessarily the stereotypically feminine and masculine qualities of the toys that make kids want them, but perhaps the gender neutral advertising manipulations instead? Maybe it's not the color pink or the number of swords that children are reacting to, but the way the commercial is inherently structured. As a child, I was obsessed with Barbies, but I also wanted a Nerf guns. Perhaps it was less that Barbies appealed to my girlie sensibilities and more that I responded to fast cut, brightly colored commercials, no matter what the product. And if that's the case with children, what's the point in qualifying what is for boys and what is for girls at all?