Wednesday, November 27

GoldieBlox and the Beastie Boys

This story is a little sad ... sad because a great brand seems to apparently have made a not so great decision.

GoldieBlox:  "a toy company on a mission to inspire the next generation of female engineers."  The brand seeks to "level the playing field" in terms of the number of women who pursue careers in science, technology, and engineering, by getting them young via constructive playtime.  This video asset is amongst the most innovative and entertaining I've ever seen in the toy space:

As a marketer and father, I'm inspired.

As I teach my students at NYU all the time, marketing is all about making good decisions.  This is a great concept!  So sure, you have to define who you are as a brand and align your brand with an interested target market.  Check.

You also have to stick with who you are as a brand, and make consistently good decisions along the way.  At every step along the brand's journey.

Now I don't know the ins and outs of the alleged controversy over the use of the Beastie Boys song in this video, but I do know it "feels" wrong.  To parody someone else's work without compensation is against code in our industry, if in fact that's what they did.

This is not a non-profit company by any means.  It also looks like the brand allegedly went into attack mode upon the Beastie Boys first inquiry.  I'm not sure that's right either ... as professionals we should work things out.

It's a shame, because I love the concept behind the brand and what it's teaching young kids and their parents.  But I don't like how it's all going down.  I'm not a fan of "any publicity is good publicity" ... I worry that without this controversy we wouldn't be talking about this brand right now.  I'm worried that the real message is getting lost in how the brand chose to execute it, and the resulting side effects of that decision.  Marketing is all about making good decisions and I'm not sure that this was a good one.  I worry that we have to uphold the standards of our craft.

Makes me sad to see a good concept take a wrong course.  It's a shame because the kids intended to hear this message may hear something else entirely.

What's your experience?  Jim.


  1. My 3 year old daughter will be opening one of these toys this Christmas. We bought the toy last year on Kickstarter. We made the purchase because we thought she would like it and because we thought the message it sent was worth supporting. However, as a father of a daughter and a marketing professor I have to say I share your concerns about the bigger message that is being sent by the company. Thanks for such a well written piece - I'm going to share with my classes. @brendanpferrara

  2. Thank you fellow professor! Happy Holidays to you! JIM.

  3. Feedback that blogs work....I just bought two of your books on Amazon ( Experience Effect for Small Business and Personal Experience Effect) We've been incorporating more and more content related to personal brand development and look forward to the reads over the holiday.

  4. You're the best! Hope you find them useful! Jim.