PR Highlight: The GoldieBlox Super Bowl Ad

goldieblox super bowl ad

Disrupting the pink aisle with toys for future innovators!

I recently attended the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Marketing Association’s (AMA) “Super Bowl Smackdown” event which invited local marketing and advertising professionals to come together and critique the effectiveness of the 2014 Super Bowl ads.

Despite the fact that the actual Super Bowl game was a disappointment, I found the event to be very enjoyable and was sure to use the event hashtag #PAMASmackdown to provide play-by-play commentary on Twitter. During the event, the GoldieBlox Super Bowl ad was critiqued and some of the feedback was positive and others felt as though the ad needed “just a few more seconds” to really hit home and highlight the GoldieBlox product, company, and/or the contest that Intuit hosted.

The purpose of this article is to discuss the effectiveness of the GoldieBlox Super Bowl ad that aired on Sunday, February 5, 2014 and allowed a small business to break into the “big leagues” by being the first small business to have a Super Bowl commercial.

The GoldieBlox Story

goldieblox kickstarter campaign 2012In 2012, GoldieBlox CEO Debbie Sterling launched a 30-day Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign seeking $150,000 in funds to help create “an entire series of GoldieBlox building stories where she learns about all kinds of engineering concepts including gears, pulleys, circuits, and even coding.”

According to Forbes, GoldieBlox reached its $150,000 goal in just four days after launching its Kickstarter campaign. Sterling says that the immediate and overwhelming response to GoldieBlox, “Made it clear that what we were doing was not only important to us, but important to anybody who cared about the young girls in their lives—or the young girls they’d been once.”

On the last day of the Kickstarter campaign, Sterling was contacted by Toys ‘R’ Us and those conversations led to a distribution deal for “GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine” in more than 600 Toys ‘R’ Us stores.

In her Intuit Quickbooks Small Business Big Game contest entry, Sterling mentioned the success of her Kickstarter campaign and included pictures of young girls enjoying the new GoldieBlox products as they learn more about belt drives, cranks, and pulleys.

In all of her interviews, GoldieBlox’s founder, Debbie Sterling (who graduated with a degree in engineering from Stanford University in 2005), highlights the fact that this is a toy that she wished she could have had as a child because she was a “princess” type that primped and played dress up. If that sounds familiar, then you may be a female who enjoyed tea parties, fairy princesses, and dolls when you were younger. Now pause! Take a moment to think how a toy like this may have affected your early development. Would you have liked something like this when you were five or eight years old? That is the question that Debbie Sterling presents during every interview.

GoldieBlox’s Target Market

During the PAMA Smackdown, some of the panel suggested that the commercial wasn’t very effective since the theme wasn’t easily understood by the viewer and the viewer wasn’t driven to take immediate action to visit the GoldieBlox website and thus increase sales—the ultimate goal of the marketer. I will approach this concept from a personal point of view, as I feel that it will help strike my point home.

According to AdWeek, “46 percent of the Super Bowl viewing audience is female, and more women watch the game than the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys combined.”

While the toys are designed for young ladies between the ages of 4 and 9, a review of GoldieBlox’s suggested target market would reveal that this Super Bowl ad concept could be a direct hit with college-educated individuals (primarily parents/females) who have daughters in this age group.

I watched the GoldieBlox advertisement and immediately felt empowered, excited, and…relieved. My husband earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and has two daughters who fall in this age group. Every time he shops for toys, I hear him complain about how “everything is pink and purple” for girls. He secretly wishes that someone would make toys for girls in breakout colors like red, green, orange, and blue—colors traditionally owned by young boys. So, as a female consumer with two young girls (ages 3 and 5), I watched the GoldieBlox Super Bowl Ad and immediately jumped on my smartphone to learn more. Wouldn’t you?

One must consider how many other parents, grandparents, and aunts visited the GoldieBlox website on Sunday, February 5 or during the month of February 2014 as a result of this Super Bowl ad. Although my primary interest may not be “the sciences,” I’m sure that many of these women have a degree.

goldieblox women in STEM

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the female to male graduation rate is 140 women for every 100 men.  That being said, there is a clear disconnect between female graduates and the amount of women who currently maintain careers in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) industries.  According to this infographic from the GoldieBlox website (citing information from the National Science Foundation), only 13 percent of all engineers in the world are female.  Could GoldieBlox toys turn this around simply by introducing young minds to the basic elements of engineering through problem-solving puzzles and construction toys that “can show them the way?”

The current trend in higher education would indicate that individuals pursuing STEM careers will have greater opportunities for scholarships, fellowships, and grants when they apply for undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Taking into consideration that College Board recently reported that the average tuition cost for an in-state student at a public four-year institution was $18,391 in 2013, and the current rate of inflation—these STEM scholarships could change the lives of many young scholars (not just female students) and isn’t that what we all want for our children?

GoldieBlox’s Super Bowl Ad

Taking all of this information into consideration, I invite you to watch (or re-watch) the GoldieBlox Super Bowl ad that ran for 30 seconds on Sunday, February 5, 2014 and was seen by a record 111.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

After watching the commercial (which has already been viewed on YouTube more than 408,000 times via Intuit and more than 364,000 times via GoldieBlox) post a comment stating whether or not you think this Super Bowl ad was a success or a failure.

Suggested Reading

  • Forbes | Why Toy Startup GoldieBlox’s Historic $4 Million Super Bowl Ad Win Matters
  • CNBC | From Kickstarter to the Super Bowl: GoldieBlox wins commercial spot
  • International Business Times | Meet GoldieBlox CEO Debbie Sterling, Winner Of Intuit’s Super Bowl Ad Contest

Image via Forbes

Yasheaka Oakley Owens

Yasheaka Oakley Owens is the owner of YOakleyPR, a woman-owned small business that provides public relations, social media, and online marketing support services to small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusStumbleUponRedditDelicious