GoldieBlox went from hero to zero in one short week, putting our ad-loving hearts through a roller coaster of emotions. Now, it's belatedly making amends by removing its parody of the Beastie Boys' "Girls" from its mega-popular "Princess Machine" ad—and posting its own "open letter" to the band (and the world) telling its side of the story.
To recap: GoldieBlox last week released an empowering spot using a rewritten version "Girls" as the soundtrack to breaking gender roles in the toy space. (Sample lyrics: "It's time to change/We deserve to see a range/'Cause all our toys look just the same/And we would like to use our brains.") The ad was clever and cool, and everyone loved it—except they failed to ask the Beastie Boys for permission to use the song. The band objected, and GoldieBlox sued to have its soundtrack declared fair use. That precipitated a PR nightmare (especially after the Beasties' posted a frankly damning open letter in response). So now, GoldieBlox has surrendered—deleting the video, posting a new one with a more generic soundtrack and releasing its own lengthy statement about the affair.
"We don't want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans," GoldieBlox founder Debra Sterling writes. She goes on to defend her intentions but says "our hearts sank last week when your lawyers called us with threats." Sterling says she had no idea the late Adam Yauch was opposed to using his music in ads (not every "huge fan" of Yauch's knows this, apparently, even one who is looking into doing just that), and adds: "We don't want to spend our time fighting legal battles. We want to inspire the next generation. We want to be good role models. And we want to be your friends."
It's basically a passive-aggressive non-apology, casting the Beastie Boys as bullies and GoldieBlox as the victim—and also, irritatingly, the bigger person. The company suddenly doesn't want to fight a legal battle, even though it started one. And it wants to be friends, even though it's spent a week trying to be enemies.
Perhaps this bitterness is understandable. The company had a huge hit on its hands—deleting it must be tough to swallow. And the new spot (posted below), without the Beastie Boys song, definitely has less energy—although maybe it just seems that way because most of us are sort of over it.