Lego Friends

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Lego Friends
Lego Friends logo.svg
Availability 2012–present
Total sets 31
Characters Andrea, Emma, Mia, Olivia and Stephanie
Official website

Friends is a product range of the Lego construction toy designed to appeal primarily to girls. Introduced in 2012, the theme includes unique "mini-doll" figures, which are about the same size as the traditional minifigures but are more detailed and realistic. The sets include pieces in pink and purple color schemes and depict scenes from suburban life set in the fictional town of Heartlake City.

The Friends product range replaces Lego's previous female-oriented theme Lego Belville, which had been in production since 1994, and featured dolls that were much larger than both the mini-dolls and minifigures. Other related product ranges have included Homemaker (1971–1982), Paradisa (1991–1997) and Scala (1997–2001).

Background[edit]

Launched January 1,2012 in North America (and December 15, 2011, in France), the line includes 23 sets[1] and features five core characters -- named Andrea, Emma, Mia, Olivia and Stephanie -- in various suburban settings. In the initial wave of sets, the larger sets include bricks that can build a veterinary clinic, a malt-style cafe, a beauty salon and a suburban house; smaller sets included a "cool convertible," a design studio, an inventor's workshop and a swimming pool.[2]

A description from Lego website stated: "The Lego Friends story centers on the everyday lives and personalities of five girls in a fictional hometown called Heartlake City. Each of the friends ... has a distinct personality and interests, such as animals, performing arts, invention and design, that are reflected in the models. Building sets reflect different parts of town where the girls’ adventures take place—downtown, suburbs, beach, camping grounds and mountains."[2]

The launch of Lego Friends came after a $40 million global marketing push, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. “This is the most significant strategic launch we’ve done in a decade,” said Lego Group Chief Executive Officer Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. “We want to reach the other 50 percent of the world’s children.”[1] According to the company boys comprised 90% of Lego's customers in 2011, before the launch of the Friends line.[3]

Main Characters[edit]

  • Olivia (chestnut hair, light brown eyes, mid-tone skin) - Olivia is the primary protagonist of the series. She is an environmentalist, as she enjoys science, nature, and history. She also enjoys inventing, hiking, taking pictures, school and drawing. She is also a caretaker of a newborn foal. Her signature colors are pink, purple, and white. She wears a pink shirt, purple skirt, and pink ballet flats. She is very intelligent and focused, yet at times clumsy.
  • Stephanie (blonde hair, blue eyes, light tone skin) - A confident natural leader, Stephanie is very social, creative and organized. She loves planning events, parties, and soccer. She also enjoys talking to people, writing stories and dancing ballet as well. Her signature colors are white, magenta and light pink, and her favorite food is cupcakes. She wears a white shirt, magenta skirt, and matching sneakers. She is very down-to-earth, yet sometimes bossy.
  • Emma (black hair, green eyes, light tone skin) - The fashionista of the group, Emma is a very stylish and trendy girl who loves style. As shown in the sets she appears in, she enjoys fashion design, making jewelry, interior design, makeovers, English horseback jumping and karate. Her main signature color is purple, but is seen wearing shades of pink as well. She wears a purple shirt, navy blue skirt, and lilac ankle flats. She is very fashionable, yet sometimes forgetful.
  • Mia (red hair, amber eyes, light tone skin, freckles) - The animal lover of the group, Mia is also a vegetarian. She enjoys taking care of and spending time with animals. She also excels at sports, training animals and drumming, and enjoys English horse riding, camping and magic tricks. Her signature colors are light blue, green, and purple. She wears a blue shirt, green cargo pants, and purple sandals. She is very caring and athletic, yet somewhat stubborn.
  • Andrea (dark brown hair, green eyes, dark tone skin) - The musician of the group, Andrea is a talented singer and great at making up her own songs. She loves anything that does with music: singing, playing the piano, dancing, and drama/theater, but is also a great cook, as she works at a café, as well as a loving for bunnies. She typically wears light-colored clothes. She wears a yellow shirt, light blue skirt, and red-violet ankle flats. She is very practical, yet sometimes dramatic.

Other Characters[edit]

  • Andrew (blonde hair, light blue eyes, light tone skin) - One of Mia's friends that comes with the dolphin cruiser. He comes in a light blue shirt and navy blue pants with blue and white shoes.
  • Anna (dark brown hair (red in the webisodes), light blue eyes, light tone skin) - Olivia's mother and wife of Peter. However, in the animated series, neither are related. She wears an indigo shirt with a lilac collar, red long skirt, and red open-toe flats. She is kind and caring and loves Olivia.
  • Chloe (black hair, green eyes, dark tone skin) - one of Mia's friends.
  • Christina (blonde hair, dark green eyes, light tone skin) - a lover of Christmas who seems to be Olivia's friend. Her winter outfit consists of a red turtleneck with a white puffy collar, matching red skirt and leggings, and black boots with white socks.
  • Danielle (long blond hair, dark brown eyes, light tone skin) - Danielle is a customer at Heartlake's Downtown Bakery.
  • Ella (black hair, hazel eyes, dark tone skin) - one of the campers/students of the Summer Riding Camp.
  • Isabella (long blond hair, light green eyes, light tone skin) - Isabella likes ice cream and hanging out at the swimming pool, and she appears to be a friend of Andrea.
  • Joanna (black braided hair, dark tone skin) - Joanna is visiting Heartlake Pet Parlour with her white poodle, where Emma is pampering the dog.
  • Kate - (long black hair, brown eyes, dark tone skin) Kate has a water scooter and when she goes to the dock, she rides it around Heartlake City. She likes exploring the ocean. She is also a friend of Olivia and Mia.
  • Katharina (blonde hair, light blue eyes, light tone skin) - the arch-rival of Mia, as they both seem to like competitive English horseback riding. Her riding uniform is a black riding jacket with a white tee underneath, white breeches, and black English boots.
  • Lily (black hair in pony tail, light brown eyes, light tone skin), Lily is seen celebrating Christmas with Stephanie.
  • Liza (long blond hair, light tone skin) Liza takes care of animals living in the Sunshine Ranch. She enjoys horse riding with her friend Mia.
  • Matthew (long black wavy hair, brown eyes, dark tone skin) - He goes to school at Heartlake High along with Stephanie, he also likes painting. Stephanie appears to be his girlfriend.
  • Marie (blonde hair, hazel eyes, light tone skin) - the owner of the City Park Café and boss and co-worker of Andrea. She is a hard-working and sensible cook and baker. Her worker's uniform consists of a pink shirt with a white collar and a matching skirt, worn with red-violet ankle flats.
  • Maya (black hair, brown eyes, light tone skin) - Captain of the dolphin cruiser and Mia and Andrew's friend. She comes in a white top with flowers on it and a pink sarong around her waist. She also wears navy blue and pink flip flops.
  • Ms Stephens (brown hair, glasses, light tone skin) - She works at Heartlake High.
  • Naya (long wavy blond hair, light tone skin) - Naya is a bar attendant working in the Heartlake Juice Bar.
  • Nicole (black hair, dark green eyes, dark tone skin) - one of Olivia's friends.
  • Peter (brown hair w/ blonde beard, hazel eyes, light tone skin) - Father of Olivia and Anna's husband. He wears a white shirt with a dark red tie, dark blue pants, and tan deck shoes. Like Anna, he is kind and loving to Olivia like she's family.
  • Robert (dark brown wavy hair, dark tone skin) - Robert attends horses preparing for the Heartlake Horse Show.
  • Sarah (dark brown hair, dark green eyes, dark tone skin) - a hairdresser working at the Butterfly Beauty Salon, and also seems to be a proficient saleswoman as well. She wears a white shirt, light aqua skirt, and red-violet ankle flats. She is a very practical girl who knows how to beautify.
  • Sophie (dark brown hair, light blue eyes, light tone skin) - a veterinarian who works at the Animal Center and an aunt to Olivia. Her worker's uniform comprises an aqua shirt with a white collar, pink skirt, and white flats, complete with a pillbox hat. She cares for various types of animals.
  • Theresa (red hair, hazel eyes, light tone skin) - the instructor and teacher of the Summer Riding Camp. Her uniform consists of an aqua shirt with a white collar, white breeches, and black boots.

Controversy[edit]

The launch of LEGO Friends generated controversy upon its launch, with critics claiming the line gives in to gender stereotypes.

A petition on the website Change.org, started by Bailey Shoemaker Richards and Stephanie Cole of the activist group the SPARK Movement to demand an end to the sexualization of women and girls in media, condemned the sets and claimed that LEGO was "selling out girls." "Who populates commercials for LEGO? Boys!" the petition read. "Where in the toy store can you find original, creative, construction-focused LEGO? The 'boy' aisle!" The petition asked LEGO to end gendered marketing practices and begin marketing its other product lines to girls.[4] By the second week of January, more than 36,000 people had signed the petition.[5]

The LEGO group responded to the criticism by issuing a statement indicating that, in its research, there were requests from mothers and girls for more detailed sets, more realistic minifigures, a brighter color palette, role play opportunities and "a story line that they would find interesting." Mads Nipper, executive vice president of marketing, the LEGO Group, further stated: "We want to correct any misinterpretation that LEGO Friends is our only offering for girls. This is by no means the case. We know that many girls love to build and play with the wide variety of LEGO products already available. LEGO Friends joins this global collection of products as yet another theme option from which parents may choose the best building experience for their child’s skill and interest."[6] According to a sell-side analyst, Lego's research found that boys and girls play differently: "When boys build a construction set, they'll build a castle, let's say, and they'll play with the finished product on the outside. When girls build construction sets, they tend to play on the inside."[3]

By February the Change.org petition had gathered over 50,000 signatures, and LEGO accepted SPARK's request for a meeting to discuss their concerns. The meeting took place on April 20, 2012. Bailey Shoemaker Richards said of the event, "We are thrilled that the LEGO representatives expressed such a deep passion for creating healthy play patterns for children, and we hope to see them meet our expectations in the coming years."[7]

Sales[edit]

According to NPR, Lego Friends are "one of the biggest successes in Lego's history ... The line doubled sales expectations in 2012, the year it launched. Sales to girls tripled in just that year." The success has caused other construction-set companies such as Mega Bloks to introduce girl dolls.[3]

Sets[edit]

The first wave was released in January 2012 with 14 sets being released. The largest of the sets was "Olivia’s House" which included 695 pieces and three mini-doll figures. In addition to the first sets six polypag sets have been released as promotions. In February Toys 'R' Us in the United States released an exclusive in-store build set called "Lemonade Stand" and in March Lego brand stores released an exclusive in-store build set called "Ice Cream Stand". Lego has also announced a further nine sets are to be released later in 2012.[8]

Lego has also released accompanying products branded under the Friends theme. These include a picture frame which includes 49 Lego elements which is available from Lego brand stores and a display stand which includes 17 elements that was released as a promotional polybag.[8]

Set No. Set Release Pieces Minifigures Ref.
3061 City Park Cafe 2012 222 2 [9]
3063 Plane 2012 195 1 [10]
3065 Olivia’s Tree House 2012 191 1 [11]
3183 Stephanie’s Cool Convertible 2012 130 1 [12]
3184 Camper 2012 309 2 [13]
3185 Riding Camp 2012 1112 4 [14]
3186 Horse Trailer 2012 218 1 [15]
3187 Butterfly Beauty Shop 2012 221 2 [16]
3188 Heartlake Vet 2012 343 2 [17]
3189 Horse Stable 2012 401 2 [18]
3315 Olivia’s House 2012 695 3 [19]
3316 Advent Calendar Not yet released [20]
3930 Stephanie’s Outdoor Bakery 2012 45 1 [21]
3931 Emma’s Splash Pool 2012 43 1 [22]
3932 Andrea’s Stage 2012 87 1 [23]
3933 Olivia’s Invention Workshop 2012 81 1 [24]
3934 Mia’s Puppy House 2012 64 1 [25]
3935 Stephanie’s Pet Patrol 2012 73 1 [26]
3936 Emma’s Fashion Design Studio 2012 79 1 [27]
3937 Speedboat 2012 65 1 [28]
3938 Bunny House 2012 62 1 [29]
3939 Music 2012 85 1 [30]
3942 Heartlake Dog Show 2012 183 1 [31]
30100 Beach 2012 1 [32]
30101 Skateboarder 2012 1 [33]
30102 Desk 2012 26 1 [34]
30103 Car 2012 32 1 [35]
30105 Mailbox 2012 41 1 [36]
5000245 Stephanie 2012 5 1 [37]
N/A Ice Cream Stand 2012 14 [38]
N/A Lemonade Stand 2012 14 [39]

Adaptations[edit]

In June 2012 two books are set for release based on the Friends theme. Lego Friends: Welcome to Heartlake City and Lego Friends: Perfect Pet Show are set for release on 18 June 2012 by DK Publishing. Both books consist of 48 pages and are being published in paperback.[40][41] DK Publishing have also announced that they will release a Lego Brickmaster book based on the Friends theme on 17 September 2012.[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wieners, Brad (2011-12-14). "Lego Is for Girls". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  2. ^ a b "Friends Home". Lego. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  3. ^ a b c Ulaby, Neda (2013-06-29). "Girls' Legos Are A Hit, But Why Do Girls Need Special Legos?". Weekend Edition, NPR. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Tell LEGO to stop selling out girls! #LiberateLEGOs". Change.org. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  5. ^ Jackson, Emily (2012-01-12). "Lego for girls sparks criticism". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  6. ^ Nipper, Mads (2012-01-12). "LEGO Group commentary on attracting more girls to construction play" (Press release). The LEGO Group. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  7. ^ Shoemaker Richards, Bailey. "The Meeting: When SPARK Met LEGO". 
  8. ^ a b "Friends". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  9. ^ "3061-1: City Park Cafe". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  10. ^ "3063-1: Plane". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  11. ^ "3065-1: Olivia’s Tree House". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  12. ^ "3183-1: Stephanie’s Cool Convertible". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  13. ^ "3184-1: Camper". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  14. ^ "3185-1: Riding Camp". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  15. ^ "3186-1: Horse Trailer". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  16. ^ "3187-1: Butterfly Beauty Shop". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  17. ^ "3188-1: Heartlake Vet". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  18. ^ "3189-1: Horse Stable". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  19. ^ "3315-1: Olivia’s House". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  20. ^ "3316-1: Advent Calendar". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  21. ^ "3930-1: Stephanie’s Outdoor Bakery". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  22. ^ "3931-1: Emma’s Splash Pool". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  23. ^ "3932-1: Andrea’s Stage". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  24. ^ "3933-1: Olivia’s Invention Workshop". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  25. ^ "3934-1: Mia’s Puppy House". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  26. ^ "3935-1: Stephanie’s Pet Patrol". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  27. ^ "3936-1: Emma’s Fashion Design Studio". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  28. ^ "3937-1: Speedboat". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  29. ^ "3938-1: Bunny House". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  30. ^ "3939-1: Music". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  31. ^ "3942-1: Heartlake Dog Show". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  32. ^ "30100-1: Beach". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  33. ^ "30101-1: Skateboarder". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  34. ^ "30102-1: Desk". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  35. ^ "30103-1: Car". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  36. ^ "30105-1: Mailbox". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  37. ^ "5000245-1: Stephanie". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  38. ^ "icecream-1: Ice Cream Stand". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-04-15. 
  39. ^ "TRU02-1: Lemonade Stand". Brickset. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  40. ^ "Lego Friends: Welcome to Heartlake City". The Book Depository. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  41. ^ "Lego Friends: Perfect Pet Show". The Book Depository. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  42. ^ "Lego Friends Brickmaster". The Book Depository. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 

External links[edit]