This photo of a note to parents, purportedly printed on a pamphlet included in a LEGO set from the 1970s, has been making laps around the Internet. The legitimacy of the note, which is noteworthy for its egalitarian tone, has been called into question – but we can now confirm its authenticity.
UPDATE: LEGO has responded to our request for comment, and the note is authentic. See below for details.
A photo of the note was posted to imgur yesterday by redditor fryd_, where it's received a lot of attention. It's also gained purchase on Twitter. As of this posting, this tweet by @henrywarren has been retweeted over three-thousand times:
Pretty great, right? We think so, too. So do a lot of other people. But the legitimacy of the note has been called into question. "Not because the message is bad, but I'd be skeptical about the authenticity of this," reads one of the top comments from the original post. On Twitter, others have flagged the note's typesetting and LEGO logo as anachronistic. At Boing Boing, Rob Beschizza wonders aloud how likely it is "that Lego would have used a proportional Times-esque typeface—with such sloppy layout—in the early 1970s."
There's also the lack of evidence from the original photographer, who writes:
I had no idea this would blow up so much, so didn't take more photos but this was at my partner's Grandma's house, on the back page of a pamphlet that came with a set from 73 she still has. There was a blonde girl on the front with a white Lego house. Sorry I don't have more info...
So – is it a fake?
Probably not! Update: Most definitely not! It took LEGO a little while to get back to us, but Roar Rude Trangbæk of LEGO corporate communications has confirmed to io9 that the document is real:
Is the text authentic?
Yes, the text is from 1974 and was a part of a pamphlet showing a variety of LEGO doll house products targeted girls aged 4 and up from the 1970’s The catalogue was included with select sets in the doll house series in 1974. The text remains relevant to this day – our focus has always been, and remains to bring creative play experiences to all children in the world, based on the LEGO brick and the LEGO system – ultimately enabling children to build and create whatever they can imagine. This is visible today across the entire product range from the LEGO Group – every LEGO product is based on the LEGO system and this creative building experience.
I've also included the evidence we originally presented in the leadup to LEGO's official response:
The logo in the note is the one you would expect to find in a LEGO pamphlet from the seventies, and is subtly but noticeably different from the more modern LEGO logo, which was updated in 1998:
As for the doubts raised regarding the note's font and layout, there's plenty of evidence that LEGO used Times-like font and sloppy typesetting in the 1970s.
Here's Google's translation of the analogous excerpt, which begins at the end of the first paragraph:
Whether boy or girl, LEGO sets no limits to the imagination.
A girl builds a spaceship. A boy plays with the doll's house; because a dollhouse is human. Playing with a spaceship, however, is more interesting and exciting.
But the important thing is that you get the right match material in the hands. Only then you can feel free to create and play.
It's worth pointing out that this is not the only example of LEGO's egalitarian marketing techniques from this time period. Consider the now-famous ad pictured below, which originally ran in 1981:
LEGO's shift toward more gender-targeted marketing strategies – beginning in the late seventies, and ramping up in the mid-eighties – has also been well-documented by Anita Sarkeesian in her two part series on LEGO and Gender: