The startup that won itself a Super Bowl ad

GoldieBlox, a company that makes toys to teach girls about engineering, wins an Intuit competition and gets a spot during the big game.

Will GoldieBlox have enough inventory after the Super Bowl? Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

So you're a little startup.

You employ 15 people and you think you've got a great idea. Oh, and then someone has the bright idea to run an ad during the Super Bowl.

Are they insane? Not at all. All you have to do is enter a competition against 15,000 other small businesses, sponsored by Intuit.

But then GoldieBlox wins, and it feels like the three bears might eat its lunch.

GoldieBlox is a company that makes engineering toys for girls. The company became something of a love object for Kickstarter donors in 2012 and now looks forward to a bright and intelligent future.

But with online voting having propelled it into the largest and harshest commercial light possible, can its 15 employees cope?

Goldiblox founder Debbie Sterling -- oh, of course she went to Stanford; it's compulsory for startup CEOs -- promises that her company is ready.

She told the San Francisco Chronicle: "As soon as we found out, we started ramping up production. We added a second factory in China to produce enough toys to meet demand."

Such is her confidence that her employees will be at a Super Bowl party in New York on Sunday. Meanwhile, with hours left before the game and the commercials get under way, the Goldieblox site has limited itself to this message, in a jumbo font size: "Big Game = Big Traffic!" It continues on to say that "GoldieBlox engineers are hard at work" and points Web surfers to its presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Though teaser ads have been released, it's not yet been revealed what the actual 30-second spot will entail.

I venture that it won't feature the music of the Beastie Boys. In its earlier days, GoldieBlox used a parody of the not exactly girl-powerish Beastie song "Girls" to accompany a YouTube video.

The video was popular, but when GoldieBlox realized that the Beasties didn't like their songs to be used in ads, it changed the music. However, it also tried to make the legal claim that its own parody was fair use.

Now the Beasties have turned, in some eyes, slightly beastly by countersuing.

As Variety reports, the counterclaim uses some very pointed language: "Unfortunately, rather than developing an original advertising campaign to inspire its customers to create and innovate, GoldieBlox has instead developed an advertising campaign that condones and encourages stealing from others."

Sterling seems bemused that it has all come to this. She told the Chronicle: "The reason we did it in the first place was to create a powerful anthem for girls. That's what we stand for and are all about."

Sometimes, disruption can cause ruptures instead of rapture.

In any case, it wouldn't be proper startup without some exciting legal issues.

 

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