GoldieBlox went from a Kickstarter campaign to a Super Bowl ad in less than two years. That doesn't happen without hitting a serious cultural nerve.
The company, founded in mid-2012 to create building and engineering toys for young girls, won Intuit's Small Business, Big Game competition. After making it to the final four, Americans voted GoldieBlox worthy of airing a commercial on TV's grandest stage.
The result? A loud, energetic, catchy anthem of an advertisement in which girls rise up, ditching their dollhouses and rocking horses by--fittingly--sending them on a rocket to the moon.
GoldieBlox founder and CEO Debbie Sterling is certain that things are just getting started for the toy company. "We're now on our way to becoming a household name," she says. "There's credibility in the notion of making a history-in-the-making product."
Indeed, GoldieBlox launched its mission to smash the stereotypes of girls' toys at just the right time. The discrepancy between male and female engineers--87 percent to 13 percent worldwide, according to the National Science Foundation--has become a hot button issue. Companies that target these sorts of issues in the social media age have the ability to catch fire, says Los Angeles-based branding expert Matti Lesham.
The Super Bowl competition wasn't the first time GoldieBlox found success on social media. The company initially created buzz on Kickstarter, when it nearly doubled its $150,000 funding goal. (Fellow audacious company Upworthy gave an assist that helped the campaign go viral.)
And the company made headlines last year when it found itself in a legal battle with the Beastie Boys, over its use of the song "Girls" in a video advertisement. The two sides reached a settlement in March; the outcome wasn't necessarily a bad one for GoldieBlox. The company will donate a percentage of revenues to charities that support STEM education for girls. (The band will choose the charities.) But GoldieBlox walked away from the deal with a little more street cred among its fans.
All the exposure seems to be working. At New York City's Toy Fair--the toy industry's biggest trade show--GoldieBlox won awards for "People's Choice" and "Educational Toy of the Year." The winning toy helps girls build their own belt-drive machine. Take that, Barbie.