Following a few very non-Lego offerings that LEGO misfired in their attempts to reach girls in the past (branded items that weren't really building sets), LEGO Friends are the result of four years of Global testing that included thousands of young girls and their mothers, and are said to deliver ''on a girl's desire for realistic role-play, creativity, and a highly-detailed, character-based world with the core values of LEGO building.''
"We felt it was time to test assumptions that girls aren't interested in building and to breathe fresh air into a toy category filled mostly with pre-fabricated play experiences for girls," said Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO, LEGO Group.
"We focused on creating a play experience centered on the joy of creation, while heeding the way girls naturally build and play. We are incredibly proud of the solution we deliver with LEGO Friends, and are resolved to build this platform for years to come."
Personally, I think these look more akin to the DUPLO figures than the standard mini-figures, in that there's a lot of "personality" built into their faces.
"LEGO Friends is one of the most researched LEGO projects ever and is a culmination of years of anthropological research with girls around the world to understand what they expect from a construction toy," said Nanna Ulrich Gudum, senior creative director, LEGO Group. "In talking with girls and their moms, we understand that girls really want a LEGO offering that mirrors what the boys experience, but in a way that fulfills their unique desire for remodeling and redesign, combined with realistic themes in community and friendship."
"Unlike previous LEGO toys for girls, LEGO Friends, at its core, does not apologize for being a construction toy and delivers, for the first time, a building experience in the same scale as our classic offerings," Nanna Ulrich Gudum continued. "What LEGO Friends does differently is deliver the beauty, details, accessories, real world themes and need for strong interior play that the research revealed would make all the difference for girls ages 5 and up."
14 LEGO Friends sets arrived at retail yesterday, with a total of 23 set to arrive by the end of 2012. Within the sets, 29 of the new "Lego Mini-Doll Figures" will be introduced. From the official press release: Designed to the same scale of the classic LEGO minifigure, the mini-doll figure stands roughly 5 millimeters taller than its minifigure sibling, yet features similar constructability, shares the iconic “claw” hand to hold the same accessories, can wear the same hair and headpieces, and is compatible with all LEGO building sets.
I'm anxious to see what the reaction is when kids start playing with these. I'm kinda digging Andrea's Stagemyself... nice to see some Rock represented in the LEGO Friends world of "Heartlake City," but overall this first batch strikes a lot of the "pink stereotypes" in my mind. Cafe, Pet Show, Beauty Shop, etc. What do all of YOU think?
LEGO Friends can be purchased direct from the official LEGO store.