An unexpected turn

Lego is making a bold move into board games with a new range incorporating a new ?Build, Play, Change? concept. But Lego? Games? It is one of the firm?s boldest ever moves and Kirstin Bates, commercial manager of Lego UK explained to ToyNews how it?s all going to work?.
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Firstly, and rather obviously, why the move into games?

This has come out of a strategic company objective ­– to actively look for platforms to proactively grow the business. The platform needed to adhere to the mantra of ‘obviously Lego, but never seen before.’ Following an 18-month process of concept screening over 80 different ideas, games was identified as the first of these platforms to be developed. Through concept research, it transpired that games is a hugely popular category with parents and the values of sociability, creativity and traditional gameplay fitted the Lego values perfectly. 

Consumers, however, were disillusioned with the category, seeing it as massively re-worked, devalued and lacking newness and innovation. That was our challenge.

Will people really understand the notion of Lego as a board game?

This will be the challenge for our communication, both above the line as well as in-store and on packaging. This will be our biggest new launch of the year, and for some years, and we will ensure consumers are signposted to the games section of stores, so it will be easier for them to understand the concept.

The product is very simple to understand and consumers inherently get the concept ­– Build-Play-Change. You first build the game (it is Lego, and there will be a set of building instructions as there is with any other Lego set), then you play the game (there is a simple set of rules included in each game) and then you can change the game (either by changing the layout, the rules or how you use the unique Lego buildable dice). 

Kids will be able to log onto www.games.lego.com to share their change ideas or their ‘house rules’ with other kids. Children can also include pieces from their other Lego sets to embellish or develop their games, should they so desire.

How will the range be sold, alongside existing ranges or next to other board games?

They will be in games. It was clear from our consumer research that games are bought on a category basis and mums especially go to the games section of a store to look for inspiration and make their selection. This will also minimise any confusion that this is a game.

Who is it aimed at?

Our core target is kids seven to ten years-old and their families. In home tests it was clear that the games break down barriers between younger and older kids as well as boys and girls. Mums love them because they feel like this is a safe entry for them into Lego play. From a communications point of view, we cannot ignore parents and gifters due to how these products are selected and purchased. The importance of kids is still paramount due to their influence through wish-lists.

Can you expand a little more on what the range consists of?

There are eight games, offering a range of different play types – luck, logic or strategy. They are all constructible games and once built, can be safely stored back in their boxes so they can be played with over and over again. The games offer a range of gameplay lengths from quick 10-15 minute games through to 30-40 minute play. Individual games can also be tailored to make them longer or shorter, using the flexible change rules.

How are you getting across the message about the range, that this is something different from Lego?

The packaging is completely different to the traditional Lego packaging – white, robust boxes with lids to be used as permanent storage and each product is shrink wrapped.

The range will also have a very clear and distinctive logo – the unique Lego buildable dice. We will be working hard to differentiate our communication style as well as our media and PR. Position in-store will also make a clear distinction from other Lego products.

What’s the pricing strategy?

There are products from £7.99 to £19.99. Research strongly pointed towards the lower sub £9.99 price-points being key for birthday party gifting and use when travelling, the upper end being more considered purchases for birthday gifts, Christmas gifts for kids or families.

What constitutes success for the games range?

To enter the children's games category, securing a solid market share position with national distribution for Lego games in all major outlets. We are in this for the long haul and year one is about establishing our position with a view to bring continued novelty and innovation to this much-loved but tired category.

And what about marketing support, what does that entail?

Our communication will clearly sign-post the consumer. We will be up-weighing above the line exposure, particularly with housewife with kids TV and using a tailored and phased approach to the communication to ensure we secure kids’ wish-lists as well as communicating to mums where to buy the product. 

The TV campaign will be supported with radio, video, on-demand, online and a huge PR campaign targeting both kids and parents with media promotions, competitions and editorial content. We will also be using our own media such as the massive Lego Club Magazine and www.games.lego.com to recruit ambassadors for Lego games and continue to spread the word. Huge in-store campaigns will ensure there is significant impact and stand-out at launch.

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