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The story of the LEGO minifigure – Part 4

In the past few weeks, we have been looking through the various assets the LEGO Group collected and sent out to LEGO fan sites in celebration of 40th anniversary of the minifigure this year. So far, we have looked at LEGO minifigure variations and prototypes (see: The Story of the LEGO Minifigure – Part 1), moulds used for making LEGO minifigures (see: The Story of the LEGO Minifigure – Part 2, and some sketches by LEGO minifig designers (see: The Story of the LEGO Minifigure – Part 3). 🙂

Besides information on the history and making of LEGO minifigures, LEGO also sent images of old catalogs, posters, and advertisements. Most of us are familiar with the “What it is is beautiful.” LEGO ad from 1981, which was extensively circulated around social media, when the LEGO Friends line was first released in 2012. People felt that by introducing LEGO Friends, LEGO strayed from their original position of making gender-neutral construction toys (a topic that has been discussed extensively since then). The picture above shows Rachel Giordano, the little girl in the original ad, and her adult self in 2014. You can read more about Rachel in this article. The text of the original ad reads:

What it is is beautiful. Have you ever seen anything like it? Not just what she’s made, but how proud it’s made her. It’s a look you’ll see whenever children build something all by themselves. No mater what they’ve created. Younger children build for fun. LEGO Universal Building Sets for children ages 3 to 7 have colorful bricks, wheels, and friendly LEGO people for lots and lots of fun. Older children build for realism. LEGO Universal Building Sets for children 7-12 have more detailed pieces, like gears, rotors, and treaded tires for more realistic building. One set even has a motor. LEGO Universal Building Sets will help your children discover something very, very special: themselves.

Besides the famous “What it is is beautiful.” ad, there were other ads in the late ’70s early ’80s that had a very similar style and message; a child proudly holding their awesome LEGO creation built with basic LEGO bricks in a rainbow of colors. The ad below appeared in the December 1977 issues of Good Housekeeping, Parents’, and McCall’s, and in 1978 issues of Good Housekeeping, Parents’, McCall’s, Family Circle, and Redbook.

Look what I built with LEGO! And look at that look on her face. That’s pride smiling! The feeling of accomplishment children get from building with LEGO Brand Building Sets is something no child should miss. And something no parent should miss sharing. LEGO Bricks and pieces are beautifully crafted. They snap together to build anything a child can imagine. Snap apart to start all over again. There are wheels to make things go, doors and shutters to open and close, LEGO people to grin right back at your child. LEGO is truly unique. It’s a toy they never tire of, an toy that stimulates creativity and imagination for years. What more could you ask for?

The following ad appeared in the September through December 1977 issues of Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Parents’, and McCall’s.

The most beautiful thing your child can make is make-believe. You know the imagination your child has. It’s endless. Boundless. Beautiful. LEGO Brand Building Sets give imagination the tools it needs to build what it sees. No other toy lets a child express his or her creativity in so many ways, so satisfyingly. With LEGO Building Bricks, the child’s the boss. He can build exactly what he wishes. Tear it apart if he wants to. Play games he invents. LEGO is a playmate for the mind, a pal for the imagination. Watch your child build. Watch him experiment, problem-solve, triumph! See his creativity in action. You may see your child as you never have before.

This ad appeared in the December 1977 issues of Good Housekeeping, Parents’, and McCall’s, and in 1978 issues of Good Housekeeping, Parents’, McCall’s Family Circle, and Redbook.

The age of discovery. He was born curious. First he discovered his fingers and toes. Now he’s exploring the world around him. It’s natural curiosity that gives birth to creativity and imagination. And to keep that curiosity busy, there are LEGO Brand PreSchool Building Sets. The big, colorful blocks snap together easily. The wheels roll, the friendly figures smile. Whether he’s making a house or a who-knows-what, it’s always fun Always satisfying. Always enriching. Discover LEGO Pre-School. And help grow a great imagination.

The following two ads are from 1978 and 1979 respectively. Notice that the first ad emphasizes the compatibility of standard LEGO and LEGO DUPLO bricks to help younger children transition from larger bricks to smaller ones. Also, interesting use of those large buildable figures on the second picture!

He’s as proud of that truck as you are of him. His vivid imagination. His spirit of invention. They’re qualities you love to see in him, and nobody knows better than you how important it is to chose a toy that will bring out his best. That’s why we talk to parents as well as children. LEGO Brand Building Sets are made of sturdy, brightly colored bricks and pieces that snap together to build practically anything your child can imagine. There are wheels and tires and lots of movable parts. The larger sets include lovable LEGO people and many special pieces – roof bricks, clear bricks, trees and gates.

With a LEGO set there’s never ever “nothin’ to do”. She has boundless energy and an endless imagination. Now she has a building set that will challenge them both. Her LEGO Universal Set will build anything she can dream up. There are brightly colored bricks for building. Special pieces and movable parts for added fun. And LEGO people are always ready to play any game she chooses. With LEGO Brand Building Sets the fun never stops. For the next few years, you’re going to have one very busy little girl.

Whoever wrote these ads for the LEGO Group, clearly knew how to appeal to parents who wanted to keep their children learning, experimenting, having fun, and keeping busy. What do you think? How do you like these early LEGO ads? And how do you think they compare to marketing and advertisement today? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • FrenchToast September 25, 2018, 11:45 AM

    Ahh… these pictures are adorable! Lego should make ads like this again!

  • Tony September 25, 2018, 11:52 AM

    Cool that someone tracked down one of the girls. I wonder if anyone attempted to find the other children too. It would make an interesting story.

    • admin September 25, 2018, 12:48 PM

      Hm… it would take quite a bit of detective work to track them down. But yeah, it could be a cool story. See if they are still building with LEGO. 🙂

  • DavidH September 25, 2018, 12:05 PM

    These old ads are so pure and innocent. Simplicity always wins.

    • DavidH September 25, 2018, 12:06 PM

      I think there were some other ads int he series too. I can’t remember where I saw them, but I remember some other kids featured.

      • admin September 25, 2018, 12:50 PM

        Yes, I saw some other ones too. But these were the only ones in the series that were included with the package LEGO sent out.

  • Martin September 25, 2018, 12:38 PM

    Does it say interlego at the bottom of the ads? Just curious what that is.

  • Legostuff14 September 25, 2018, 1:00 PM

    Wow! That is so beautiful to see and at the same time, to see how things have changed over the years. I Wonder , with things that move forward do we lose something from the past. Like the saying goes” beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. The imagination of a kid or of a kid at heart is always beautiful.

  • Legostuff14 September 25, 2018, 1:13 PM

    …..let me go a little deeper on the question I asked. Yes, we do lose things as we get older. I meant to say how much of our innocence do we lose and how much can we keep with us as we get older.

    • brickmaster September 25, 2018, 3:27 PM

      Sadly, the world will mistreat those who remain innocent and childlike into their adulthood. It is a rare person who can keep their innocence, and balance it with the keen sharpness needed to deal with the adult world.

      This is why many artists, musicians, etc. end up struggling to provide for themselves. If they are lucky, they will get a job with a company like Lego, or work with animals, or children. The world is a harsh place dominated by the survival of the fittest, not by who has the most beautiful soul.

  • Legostuff14 September 25, 2018, 5:16 PM

    You are absolutely right brickmaster . It maybe be our job as adults to keep encouraging young people to let there imagination grow and tell them that they don’t have to change Who they Are because somebody doesn’t understands them. I don’t like it when adults tell the youth to “grow up” because I noticed that some adults can’t even do that. Particularly in this day in age. It’s interesting that Lego makes it that we can be kids and adults at the same time. Thank you lego.

    • LEGOJeff September 25, 2018, 5:56 PM

      The thing is, we do have to grow up. It’s natural. Baby animals are also cute and innocent, but if they don’t mature, they die. If a human wants to succeed in the word, they also have to mature to survive. It’s okay to have hobbies and interests. They can stimulate creativity and problem-solving like arts, music, and crafts. Or they can be relaxing and rejuvenating like sports, yoga, spending time in nature, etc. But we don’t want to remain like children. There is a reason we have to take care of kids. They are not fully developed mentally, physically and emotionally. Yes, they are cute and innocent, but they are not mature enough to survive.

      • Peter September 25, 2018, 6:04 PM

        Have you guys seen or read Lord of the Flies? Kids are not as innocent as we sometimes think. If you ever worked in a childcare center or something like that, you know they can be brutal. They are little uncivilized animals. We see them as cute, but that’s just nature’s arrangement so we don’t murder them before they grow up. LOL.

  • Legostuff14 September 25, 2018, 7:15 PM

    Yes, Peter I have read lord of the flies, very disturbing. Then again, being around a class room full of preschoolers can be scary too. ( they to can eat you alive ).Lol! We don’t have to grow up completely, or else how can we explain are joy in building Lego sets. It’s funny how we have to justify our interest in our collecting . For instance, their are many levels of building types from junior to expert and yet it is still technically a build toy. It’s fun to be a kid no matter how old we are.

    • admin September 25, 2018, 7:59 PM

      You guys are getting very philosophical today. Carry on… 🙂

  • Hayato September 25, 2018, 7:45 PM

    Cute ads! And those are some crazy contraptions! Whatever they are, they are beautiful! 😀

  • Laura Lego September 26, 2018, 5:03 PM

    I love these old school lego ads. Why can’t ads be like this any more simple but yet cute! Maybe LEGO’s should re-create these but with a modern twist.

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