This week's Your Nerd Side Show:
LEGO has come a long way since its earliest sets. The block building phenomenon has reached every part of the globe. The LEGO company has even worked with some of the biggest intellectual properties in the world. For a brand to enjoy such longevity, it has had to evolve and change with the times. LEGO has always found a way to meet the demands of the audience, but in recent years, there appears to be a shift in their strategy.
LEGO is now entrenched in the pop culture world. It's not unusual to see collectors of all ages rushing to get the latest Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Disney set. The designs are so intricate, and they have only gotten better. Plus, from Ideas to Icons, LEGO has continued to curate its product lines to offer genuine variety. While the price point of LEGO sets is still something collectors debate, LEGO has clearly readjusted who they make their sets for.
LEGO Had Primarily Focused On Younger Buyers
Traditionally, LEGO sets were created with younger buyers in mind. Although there were certainly sets that adults enjoyed as well, the toy market was being dominated by kids' products. It was a surefire way of making profit and the reduced set complexity made the products easier to manufacture and create. There were some fantastic sets created through these years. These successes helped LEGO build many of their own franchises, like LEGO City or LEGO Agents, that expanded their storytelling opportunities. Today, there might be more of a focus on specific IPs, but LEGO hasn't abandoned its kid-focused concepts. LEGO City is still going strong, Ninjago has truly captured the imagination of younger players, and the new Dreamzzz will surely cement itself in LEGO's legacy. Additionally, the tie-in comics, magazines, and animated shows have all played a significant role in building that brand image. But even within lines like Ninjago, LEGO has challenged themselves to create products appeal to builders of all ages. What's more, there's now an even tighter focus on adult-specific constructions.
LEGO Has Begun Creating Fantastic Adult-Orientated Sets
LEGO quickly realized that there was a lot of interest from adults in their products. There's an obvious nostalgia connected to LEGO sets, considering so many people played with the plastic bricks in their youngers years. The collectability is also a factor. With pop culture fandoms suddenly becoming a lot more mainstream, there was an opportunity to play to that dedicated crowd. LEGO recently came up with a huge Rivendell Lord of the Rings set. It's an impressive and hugely complicated piece that's perfect for display. Thanks to this intersection between the mainstream and geek culture, these LEGO models have become pieces of art that fans can proudly set up in their homes. That in-turn has encouraged the designers to think of LEGO in a new way, no longer having to rely on the playability of the designs. Instead, the creators at LEGO can focus on the sets' aesthetics and the construction process itself. LEGO has recently started dividing its products by age, and pre-existing franchises like Home Alone, Hocus Pocus, or Star Wars have really benefited from that.
There are also health benefits to building LEGO sets. Focusing on a physical project like this can encourage mindfulness and offer builders a pleasant distraction from the stresses of modern life. There's something simple about getting back to basics with a LEGO set, and the company has played into this aspect too. Flower sets or architectural builds are perfect examples, allowing LEGO to think outside of the box and produce products that even non-film fans can appreciate. The ongoing Icons series is a perfect on-ramp into the LEGO world, letting users build anything from the Titanic to a Jazz Club. The modular buildings, in particular, remain especially appealing for their collectability. Creativity for all ages is front and center in this campaign and the Ideas range really tops off the whole initiative. Anyone can design their own set and fellow creators can vote on the products they'd like to see. LEGO chose a Dungeons & Dragons build to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and produced a model of The Office via this initiative. LEGO has boldly embraced its adult community, and it's become all the better for it.
The Future Of LEGO Collectibles Is So Much Brighter
Challenge can usually lead to innovation, and LEGO has pushed its boundaries further than many might have thought possible. The adult lines let designers genuinely unleash their talents, no longer limited by the need to make builds accessible for specific ages. The results have been stellar, from beautiful dioramas depicting key cinematic moments to models of such impressive scale that they're architectural icons unto themselves. LEGO has barely scratched the surface of what they could do with this new initiative. While the natural and most marketable option is to continue producing content for brands like Marvel — such as a recent Spider-Man: No Way Home-inspired set — LEGO shouldn't underestimate the power of its own contributions.
Indeed, Disney fans would love to see the 100 year celebration line expanded to include buildings from the parks themselves and what Lord of the Rings fan wouldn't want to build Gondor. There are adult franchises like Game of Thrones that should have the opportunity to delve into this different space. LEGO could even capture adult builders' attention via more ambitious projects. A LEGO theme park, a cityscape, a full fantasy village, or a detailed western town would prove an exciting challenge. Regardless of the inspiration, it's time for LEGO to think even bigger and take a risk on larger lines focused on adult builders. It's important to reconnect people with their childhoods and allow them to explore their imaginations. No other product in the world does this quite like LEGO.