Hats off to the bosses at Lego for how they have successfully grown their brand into the 21st Century. Go back a few years and the toy-manufacturing giant were under pressure. With the growth of video games, it seemed that kids were moving away from the traditional past-time of making houses, space-stations and trucks from small plastic bricks and switching to entertainment that was less hands-on.
With this move came the very real possibility that the ubiquitous smile that graced their yellow-headed Lego figures would turn to a frown as, for the first time in decades, children didn’t want to spend hours putting their popular toys together. Sure, they had tried to expand their age-range with technical Lego at one end of the range, and larger blocks at the other end for pre-school children, but it still looked like their core audience was going to leave them high and dry in favor of new technology.
S, what did the heads at Lego do? Did they ignore the signs and try to continue as they always had, like so many other toy manufacturers? No, they saw that the writing was on the wall, and they adapted.
In a genius move, the people at Lego decided to embrace rather than shun the move to video-gaming. With the release of their ‘Star Wars’ franchise Lego video-game, they not only entered the video-game market themselves, but also offered a boost to their physical toy line. Who could resist the joining of legendary Star Wars characters with the unique style of Lego? The video games caught on like wild-fire as children and adults alike were drawn to the combination of classic movie and Lego. Indeed, it could easily be argued that it was twenty and thirty-something parents who helped push Lego back to their core market. After the computer games took off, Lego were able to release associated toy-ranges. It was a case of ‘you’ve seen the movie; you’ve played the video-game, now buy the Lego toys.’
Of course, movies and toys have gone hand-in-hand for decades – including the original Star Wars trilogy and figures – but Lego smartly integrated themselves into the game by re-imagining the movies in their own style for gamers.
From this early exploration, the Lego / movie / video-game combination has flown; with Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, and now, The Lord of The Rings all enjoying the Lego make-over. In fact, it seems that the combinations will just keep rolling, much to the delight of fans, young and old.
There can be no doubt that Lego have to be applauded for their ability to see and exploit a gap in the market, just when it looked like things could turn bleak for them. Indeed, as I said at the top of this piece – (Lego) hats off to them!
Hats off to the bosses at Lego for how they have successfully grown their brand into the 21st Century. Go back a few years and the toy-manufacturing giant were under pressure. With the growth of video games, it seemed that kids were moving away from the traditional past-time of making houses, space-stations and trucks from small plastic bricks and