Unbeknownst to most sports fans was a completely different Super Bowl competition being played out on the sidelines. Sponsored by Intuit, maker of QuickBooks, TurboTax, Intuit and Quicken software, the contest drew 15,000 small business contenders who vied for the chance to win a free 30-second spot during the big game last weekend.
And the Intuit winner was GoldieBlox, a startup that offers construction toys strictly for little girls. A Kickstarter-funded project, GoldieBlox was founded by Debbie Sterling, a Stanford-graduate engineer who was disturbed to learn that 89% of all engineers in America were men. Taking a walk through a toy store, Sterling noted that the “blue aisle” was lined with construction toys and chemistry sets, while the “pink aisle” had lots of princesses and dolls. Sterling vowed to redecorate the “pink aisle” with construction toys to send little girls the message that they could pursue a career in science, engineering, technology ad math too. San Francisco-based Sterling developed an interactive storybook series with a companion construction kit. The book’s heroine is a girl named Goldie who likes to invent mechanical things and seeks the assistance of the young reader to build them using pieces from the project kit.
GoldieBlox has received considerable media attention since it was launched a few years ago, but an ad on the Super Bowl broadcast is a platform that only brand giants can afford. Winning Intuit’s “Small Business, Big Game” competition is a dream come true for a small business like GoldieBlox. Intuit brought in its ad agency RPA to produce the ad and footed the $4 million airtime for the 30-second spot, which was seen by more than 100 million viewers. An engineering toy commercial for little girls is undoubtedly a first for the Super Bowl. A refreshing change from the usual beer, chips and shaving cream commercials.