What it is… is 40 years old.

Start talking about about the gender divide in the way that LEGO targets its marketing, and before long, people will refer you to ‘Back in the day’ – when there was relatively little gender specific marketing: LEGO sets were marketed to children – boys and girls. Not boys OR girls.

Eventually, someone will typically refer to print ad above, from 1981. Showing a young girl who has built a model with her LEGO Bricks. The model looks chaotic to our concrete adult minds. But the look on her face is undeniably one of excitement, joy and pride. Somewhere along the way, LEGO Sets became more of a boy focussed product, with variable effectiveness in reengaging girls in LEGO play. And then we got LEGO friends. It might be disappointing that it was necessary to release a line of sets targeted at girls of a certain age, but I think the parts palette and the set design has benefitted as a result.

This advertisment is now 40 years old. and to celebrate, the LEGO Group are taking a trip back in time, to recreate this iconic advertisement, with the young builders of today. this coincides with the message tha the LEGO Group has signed up to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, to help guide how it can “better empower women and girls, accelerate gender equality, and encourage more young girls to believe they can achieve anything they set their hearts on.”

The LEGO Group is calling on families to help celebrate the skills, interests and creative potential of the next generation of female leaders by recreating its iconic 1981 LEGO® advert: submit a copy of a photo of your child, holding a LEGO creation they have made, and a poster will be emailed back!

Read on for More

Continue reading

Minifigure 40: LEGOLAND® Space [Advertising Archive]

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year, LEGO® Space is one of the great evergreen themes of the Minifigure era. One of the terrific aspects of the theme was the way that the overall design would periodically evolve, introducing new colour schemes and minifigure designs.

Ad 1979_64The theme arrived as we saw a resurgence in science fiction and space fantasy entertainment on the screen: led by films such as Star Wars, and on the smaller screen by Doctor Who, Blakes Seven and Battlestar Galactica, our imaginations were primed for journeys beyond the stars. The Space Shuttle Enterprise had been undergoing test flights from the back of a 747 Jet, and a we were excited for a new era of space exploration commencing, with the Space Shuttle Columbia ultimately launching in 1981.

These early series focussed on exploration, mining and the perils of space travel itself. It took 8 years before an enemy faction arrived, providing an outlet for dramatic conflict within the stories that were told.

Join us, as we set about exploring the print advertisements for LEGOLAND Space, and continue through the classic space era. Most of these advertisements are from Europe in a variety of languages.  I have endeavoured to provide translations of these.

In the Beginning

Continue reading

Minifigure40: Trains [Advertisement Archive]

Ad 1980_105-2As part of the recent Minifigure40 campaign, LEGO have sent out a collection of old print advertisements for a number of themes, from the 1970’s through to the early 2000’s.  These advertisements come from a variety of sources, including comic books and magazines from the period.  Not all of these were presented in English.

Today I thought we might check out some of the advertisements from the 1980 to 1997.  During this time, we have some 4.5V and 12V trains, and ultimately see the introduction of the enduring (and endearing) 9V train system.

Introducing the New 12 Volt Train System

In 1980, we saw the introduction of the new 12 Volt train system: offering electrified central rails, batteries were unnecessary.  The system also introduced a system of switches that would allow remote control of points/switches as well as boom gates and trains.

Continue reading