If you were paying close attention to the big game this Sunday (though we couldn’t fault you for dozing off) you may have noticed a 30-second ad that stood out against the crowd of the usual beer and car commercials. GoldieBlox, a start-up that produces engineering and construction toys geared towards young girls, snuck in a groundbreaking spot set to the tune of Quiet Riot’s “Come on Feel the Noise,” cleverly changing the lyrics to “Come on Ditch Your Toys/Girls Make Some Noise.”
This yet another example of how the tides are changing and stereotypical, No Girls Allowed Super Bowl commercials are going by the wayside – as was the noted absence of bikini clad women in the infamous GoDaddy Commercials. But more than that, it’s an inspirational story for startups and small businesses alike depicting how technology can take you from the pee wee league to the big game!
Founder and CEO Debbie Sterling studied Mechanical Engineering/Product Design at Stanford and was struck by just how few women were in her program. She herself admits that she didn’t even know what engineering was until high school, when her math teacher recognized her talent and suggested that she pursue engineering in college. Thus, she made it her mission to “introduce girls to the joy of engineering at a young age.”
She sought out to create a toy that would appeal to girls and get them excited about engineering. After studying how girls play, she learned that girls enjoy storytelling and reading while boys tend to build for the sake of building. Thus, she combined reading and building in a unique way, creating a book series that follows the adventures of Goldie, paired with construction sets that allow children to build along with her.
After refining the concept and prototype and testing them with over a hundred girls, she launched a campaign on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, reaching her first goal in just five days back in October of 2012. Despite a few hiccups along the way, the toys have grown in popularity, landing them in major retail stores like Toys R Us and Target. Last fall, Sterling entered Intuit’s Small Business Big Game contest, which granted one small business a professionally produced commercial run during the Super Bowl. In order to make it through round one, they had to raise support on social media with votes and shares. After Intuit employees narrowed the contest down to four semi-finalists, the general public voted and GoldieBlox was named the winner, making them the first small business to ever air a Super Bowl ad nationally.
GoldieBlox is the perfect example of how ingenuity, technology and passion can take small businesses to the next level. By capitalizing on the tech tools available to them, GoldieBlox was able to take apply their passion and take it to new heights. The lesson we can all learn from GoldieBlox: Think Big. Had Sterling thought, like so many small business owners and entrepreneurs often do, limited her company, she likely would not have even created a Kickstarter campaign, much less gotten to the Big Game. By thinking outside the box, or blox in this case, Sterling was able to identify new opportunities for her company. By sharing her passion and ingenuity, she was able to make capture them. Take a page from her book; don’t let your small business setting keep you from thinking big!