The Internet went gaga last week for a creative commercial advertising the acclaimed, young toy startup GoldieBlox, set to a parody version of the Beastie Boys song “Girls.” Unfortunately, the hip-hop group has a well-known policy of not allowing their music to be used in advertisements.
Beastie Boys members Mike D and Ad-Rock, who survive the late Adam “MCA” Yauch, have issued the following open letter addressed to GoldieBlox:
Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial “GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys,” we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad. We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.
As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads. When we tried to simply ask how and why our song “Girls” had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.
The last sentence of Mike D and Ad-Rock’s statement refers to a preemptive lawsuit GoldieBlox filed last week against the Beastie Boys, its record label, and producer, effectively asking the California federal court to classify the commercial spot as an example of fair use.
GoldieBlox, which designs toys to inspire future female engineers, is basically arguing its commercial be classified as a parody video, rather than an advertisement, because it features completely rewritten lyrics the company argues were meant to make fun of the Beastie Boys’ original 1987 song while simultaneously promoting its mission to break down gender stereotypes.
We have reached out to GoldieBlox for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
Update, 2:32 p.m. ET GoldieBlox declined to comment for this story.
Update, Dec. 2: GoldieBlox has since made its original video private, but you can still watch a version of it here: