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Goldieblox And Rube Goldberg “Princess Machine” ad

This 2013 advertisement is for GoldieBlox, a toy company that makes engineering toys for girls with the mission of getting girls building. The company was founded by Debbie Sterling, a Stanford University trained mechanical engineer who wanted to “disrupt the pink aisle” and provide girls with more options for toys beyond dolls and princesses. The ad shows three girls watching a stereotypically girly and pink television advertisement with unimpressed looks of boredom and inability to relate on their faces. The background music changes as the girls grab tool belts, hardhats, and safety goggles, and are then shown participating in a complex Rube Goldberg “Princess Machine,” where a series of deliberately engineered chain reactions turn objects from the inside and outside of the house into a fun, complex contraption used to ultimately change the channel from the stereotypical tv commercial at the beginning of the ad. The new commercial the girls see shows Goldie the cartoon character from GoldieBlox who is a kid inventor that loves to build, and advertises the company’s engineering toys with the tagline, “toys for future engineers.” The video ends with the three girls in the living room where they started, wearing the tool belt, hardhat, and safety goggles and standing with arms crossed and expectant looks on their faces.


What messages about girls, abilities, and roles are being addressed through this advertisement? How does the ad do this?

What stereotypes are referenced in the initial tv commercial the girls are shown watching with expressions of unimpressed boredom? How are some of the same elements, such as pink objects and play tea sets, shown in the rest of the commercial? Do you think this ad is successful in challenging notions of what kinds of toys and activities girls want to and can do?

How can you tell who a toy is being marketed to? Are there certain colors associated with gender? Certain professions or roles? How are they used in this commercial? Are there gendered stereotypes that are perpetuated in this commercial?

The creator of GoldieBlox toys states that she wanted to “disrupt the pink aisle.” What does this mean? How are toys separated and marketed in stores, commercials, and online spaces? How do these gendered divisions affect what kids are expected to do and be when they become older?

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