Girls can be anything they want, says fempowerment toy brand GoldieBlox, whose last commercial jabbed at Hollywood sexism and put female action figures in the starring roles of flicks like Gladiator, Mission: Impossible and Rocky. In its new digital ad, the company doesn't do any gender swapping—it just lets some kids slip into the shoes and accouterments of noteworthy, accomplished women like Misty Copeland, Hillary Clinton, Beyoncé and Amy Schumer. It's not so much a parody as a mini-tribute to badass women of the year.
GoldieBlox has defined its advertising with feminist messages, so it makes sense that the brand would launch its new action figure, Ruby Rails, with an ad that rails against sexism in Hollywood. The 90-second spot, created in-house, reimagines everyone's favorite movie heroes—the Indiana Jones, Rockys and Gladiators who have valiantly grunted across our cinema and television screens—as Ruby Rails and GoldieBlox (who are actual dolls you can buy).
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GoldieBlox is back with a charged ad aimed once again at tackling sexism in children's toys. The spot, which is structured much like Apple's famed "1984" commercial, features young girls decked out in all manners of glitter and pink (you know, "girly" things) lining up to grab perfect Barbie-like dolls while a "Big Sister" drones, over and over: "You are beauty, and beauty is perfection." What is it about Orwellian spots and hammers? Why is smashing things to smithereens so satisfying? Anyway, you can guess the ending.
The latest trend of empowerment marketing has inundated us with positive messages for women. But some brands aren't letting their message end with a campaign spot.
Four months after it began, the legal battle between GoldieBlox and the Beastie Boys appears to be winding down, as the band has agreed to drop its lawsuit against the toy maker over the unauthorized use of the song "Girls" in a commercial—in exchange for an apology and a donation to charity.
Most businesses can only dream of growing big enough one day to advertise in the Super Bowl. So when an 18-month-old startup finds itself running an ad in the game for free, there's no playbook to plan what happens next. Game maker GoldieBlox recently won Intuit's "Small Business Big Game" promotion, which promised a 30-second ad valued at $4 million in this Sunday's Super Bowl. While GoldieBlox proved itself a savvy marketer with a successful Kickstarter campaign and a highly popular video about empowering girls to invent, the business also ran afoul of intellectual property law and took some heat from the public when it used the Beastie Boys track "Girls" without permission. Given the odd path that's led GoldieBlox to the big game, it's hard to predict how its Super Bowl ad, created by longtime Honda agency RPA, will be received and how the company will evolve in the year ahead. So we decided to ask GoldieBlox founder Debbie Sterling about the contest, the controversy and the mission that have all shaped her company's unique fate. AdFreak: In some ways, it seems like you won a $4 million lottery, but it's not like you didn't have to work for it. How did you react to hearing you'd won the Intuit contest? Debbie Sterling: It's almost hard to describe how I feel and how I felt the moment I found out we were the grand prize winner. I felt almost like it wasn't just a win for GoldieBlox; it was a win for girls around the world. One hundred million people are going to see our message about empowering girls. It feels just incredible, incredibly validating that America voted for us and wants us for their daughters. It's not just an ad; it's almost like a revolution.
Two years ago, GoldieBlox didn't exist. This Sunday, the fledgling game company will be a national Super Bowl advertiser, rubbing shoulders with behemoth brands like Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Toyota.