I heard a story this past week on NPR about a new Lego line- in addition to the addition of the licensed Lego Lord of the Rings line that was just announced. Looks like Lego is trying again to court the little girl market, this time with Friends.
Belville, Scala, and Paradisa, none of which lasted more than a year. This time the Friends sets don't look drastically different from standard Lego sets - all still made from fairly typical Lego blocks, but the Friends minifigs are radically redesigned while still holding to roughly the same scale. The Friends figures are slimmer and slightly taller, looking almost like Polly Pockets or short Playmobil firgures. (I wonder if Playmobil sells well to girls.)
The Friends line is built around five main characters - each of whom has a profession leading to more role playing, something the NPR story mentioned as being a need to sell well to girls. There's the animal lover, the smart girl, the singer, the beautician, and the social girl. It's interesting to see the sets play to the stereotypes for girls - something I'm guessing Lego may get some grief for.
I'll admit to being a little more excited about some of the other licenses.