Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Heroes Are Coming...

Yesterday the Lego blogosphere exploded with excitement (I would almost go so far as to say delighted pandemonium!) at Lego’s announcement that it had signed a deal with both DC Comics and Marvel. 

Details are sketchy but at this time it is known that Lego has received rights to pretty much all of the most well known characters from the comic book world (Batman, Superman, X-Men, Etc.).  For parents and others who want to be savvy buyers here is a little insight into this decision by Lego. 

Star Wars was the first and, to date, far and away the most successful of Lego’s franchises (followed by Harry Potter and then the rest of the pack: Toy Story, Indiana Jones, Prince of Persia etc.).  The reason for this is simple; the Star Wars universe is enormous.  When compared to say Toy Story which has only three movies to draw from Star Wars has a huge advantage: 6 movies, a TV series and an expansive library of video games, books and other media on which to base sets.  Harry Potter has been the second most successful for the same reason: a large pool of material to draw from.  With this license Lego has opened up a world that just might rival Star Wars in size. 

Unbeknownst to me my timing yesterday in writing about how to take advantage of the minifigure craze could not have been more perfect.  Even more than Star Wars you can rest assured that these sets, whatever they end up looking like. are going to be drive by the exclusive minifigures they contain.  This makes perfect sense; Lego is being very savvy here in reading its market.  My guess is that the collectable minifigures which have been released in several waves over the last 2 years were intended to test the market and see just how deeply the willingness to pay top dollar for figures ran.  Based on the success of those figures and this announcement I would say that Lego is satisfied that the market is ready.  And I would have to agree.  These sets are the perfect next step in the path that Lego has been taking its product line in the last several years as they focus on figures as much as the rest of the set.

With the final Harry Potter movie in theatres and no new Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Toy Story or Prince of Persia films on the horizon Lego needed a new movie franchise to follow.  There are a swath of new Super Hero movies coming out in the next few years (more X-Men and another Batman movie, not to mention Thor and Green Lantern currently playing) so all these characters are both coming back to the minds of previous fans and being introduced to a whole new generation of potential fans.  Lego has had incredible success in taking advantage of movie franchises and has wisely moved to get a piece of that new action.   

The final reason is probably the least prominent in Lego’s mind, but there is no doubt that it is true and will result in huge sales for them.  The Adult Fan of Lego (AFOL) community is made up of every kind of person.  However, a lot of us are geeks or nerds (depending on how you define each of those terms).  Although I myself have never been into comic books a lot of AFOLs were as kids and many still are.  Although we make up a small percentage of Lego’s sales (less than 10%) we are still diehard fans and this series is assured to contain sets that will make both a large percentage of AFOLs and Legos primary audience (kids) delighted.

Well done Lego, brilliant move!

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