More Correspondence Between Kids and Lego

*the formatting on the blog is acting up today, please just ignore and enjoy the content!*

Lily and Noah’s mom emailed the following correspondence to me. The kids had asked her if she was going to write a letter to Lego regarding the new Friends line that their family was unhappy with. She suggested they do it. And so they did.

?To Lego,
  
I’m writing about the Friends sets. Can you add powerful girls? I would like you to make the girls go in outer space and meet aliens, or be fire fighters, or architects.  I also think you should have a set where girls make cars.  Please make real mini-figs and not all girly clothes.  I like to wear a Duke t-shirt and my brother’s old sweatpants. Also, could there be more real building in the Friends sets?
  
Here’s what I’ve made recently out of Legos: a robot, a deserted island, and a log cabin.
I think the inventor’s lab and treehouse look cool.
  
From,
Lily H.
7 Year Old Lego Builder and Powerful Girl
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
?Dear LEGO Fan,
  
Thanks for your interest in our products.
  

I think your More Powerful Friends Themes idea would make a brilliant LEGO® set, but for legal reasons we can’t use it! We have a team of experts in Denmark whose job it is to dream up new LEGO sets, themes and toys. They tell me it actually takes years to plan everything. They need to test all the new ideas, talk to the factory about how to make them, work out what sort of box is needed and then deliver the new sets to all the shops in 130 countries! This means that there’s a good chance they’re already working on something similar to your idea.
?
We are working on lots of other themes for the Friends line. I think that you will be very please where this story goes and what happens to the friends.  We are very aware that girls are very powerful and need to be represented as such.
?
We’re really sorry but since you’re under 13 years of age we’re going to have to delete your email address and comments from our LEGO database after we’ve sent you this email.
We’re not being mean, there’s a law called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and it’s been set up to keep you safe when you’re on the Internet. One of COPPA’s rules is that it’s against the law for us to save your emails.
Remember you can still find out all about our cool events and new LEGO products at www.LEGO.com

 

Thank you again for contacting us.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to call one of our friendly Customer Care Advisors at 1-800-835-4386 (from within the US or Canada) or 1-860-749-0706 (from outside the US or Canada). We are available Monday through Friday from 8AM – 10PM EST and Saturday through Sunday from 10AM to 6PM EST.

Cheryl
LEGO Direct Consumer Services
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

And then the letter from Lily’s big brother, Noah.
 Dear Lego,
I am writing to you about the new Friends sets. Let’s have some REAL mini-figs. And all the girls should be more POWERFUL. Not all, ‘Mom, I’m going to get a makeover. Dad, I’m going to the mall.’  NO WAY. I know a lot of girls who would think of that as TORTURE. My friend, Grace, plays music and loves history. My friend, Kate, is great at basketball. My sister, Lily, is really creative and is the best tree climber in the neighborhood.

 I would like the girls going to the moon and making friends with aliens, or crawling through creepy underground tunnels, or exploring ancient Mayan temples, or traveling the world.

 Thanks,

Noah H.  (Brother of Lily H.)

9 Year Old Lego Builder

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear,

Thanks for your interest in our products.

We’re really sorry to hear that you’re disappointed with your new LEGO Friends line. We try really hard to give LEGO fans what they want an we are glad you let us know when you feel we are not getting it right.

We have a team of experts in Denmark whose job it is to invent and test new LEGO sets, themes and toys. They tell me it takes years to check everything. They need to test all the new ideas, talk to the factory about how to make them, work out what sort of box it needs to go in and then deliver the new sets to all the shops in 130 countries!

As you can see, a lot of thought goes into your toys and although LEGO toys aren’t the cheapest in the shop, I hope you understand we invent and make LEGO sets to last a lifetime, or even longer!

We’re really sorry but since you’re under 13 years of age we’re going to have to delete your email address and comments from our LEGO database after we’ve sent you this email.

We’re not being mean, there’s a law called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and it’s been set up to keep you safe when you’re on the Internet. One of COPPA’s rules is that it’s against the law for us to save your emails.

Remember you can still find out all about our cool events and new LEGO products at www.LEGO.com

Thank you again for contacting us.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to reply to this email or call one of our friendly Customer Care Advisors at 1-800-835-4386 (from within the US or Canada) or 1-860-749-0706 (from outside the US or Canada). We are available Monday through Friday from 8AM – 10PM EST and Saturday through Sunday from 10AM to 6PM EST.  Please have your reference number handy if you need to get in touch with us: 030232427A

Shawn
LEGO Direct Consumer Services

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 I am again left with several questions for Lego:

1) Why do you not address the specific concerns expressed by children and consumers when they take the time to communicate with your company?
2) Is it too much to ask that you address children by their name when you reply to them? Respect their personhood.
3) It took a team in Denmark years to dream up a beauty shop and outdoor cupcake bakery and a puppy washing station? Why does the team in Denmark have such a stereotyped image of American girls? Why is the sexist Friends line not sold to Danish girls?
4) If you are “very aware girls are very powerful and need to be represented as such”….why does the Friends line, completely dedicated to girls, show none of the five new characters doing anything powerful? With the exception of Olivia’s invention lab, why is the majority of the line and marketing focused on aesthetic appel and chilling with friends and not positions of power? You don’t seem to have a problem representing power for the boys.
5) May I suggest you come up with a couple different versions of canned form letters with which you respond to your customers? That way, when you send a nearly identical email to members of the same household, you don’t make the childen feel like they’ve been brushed off.
 

Interestingly enough, Noah has had some practice corresponding with a company when he didn’t like something. Noah’s mom told me this story: “Noah wrote a letter to the publisher Usborne a few years ago about a mistake/oversimplification he found in a book about Egypt. It turned out to be a really wonderful letter exchange involving a publisher and one of their Egyptologists.  The whole thing was very gratifying experience and we are to this day big Usborne supporters and encourage all of our friends to check them out.  Lego seems very shortsighted in their responses to these kids.”

 

I’d now like to ask for ten minutes of your time to watch this incredible break down of Lego, the Friends line, and the marketing around it. The video is kid-friendly and from our friend Anita and Feminist Frequency.