New around here? When you sign up for a new account, please indicate why you want to join on the registration form so we can determine which applications are genuine and which are from spammers.

Once you've signed up, please wait 12 hours or so for your account to be approved.
You must be 16 or over to participate in the Brickset forum. Please read the announcements and rules before you join.

Lego Friends: will it be a HIT or a MISS?

edited December 2011 in Collecting
Much to my wife's dismay, Lego is coming out with the new "Friends" collection aimed at girls just as my daughter is getting old enough for Lego and before my sons have outgrown (what?!) them (i.e. more bricks everywhere!).

I know we'll end up with most of the collection I'm sure, but I'm curious whether others think this will finally be the product line (or the right time) for Lego to finally crack the girls market.

On the one hand the overall popularity of Lego right now should help it be more successful than past attempts. And you probably have more adult collectors that are salivating over them just for parts/colors. But on the other hand they are once again putting non-standard figures in the sets.

Lego obviously did a focus group/market research at some point in time that told them girls like bigger figures. But I personally think using standard minifigures would make these sets even more successful. Granted they're boys, but my sons look at Belville sets and say "those aren't real Legos." Lego is supposed to be a system where everything is interchangeable, but for some reason with girls sets (not Paradisa I guess, but Belville and Clikits) they seem to veer from this mantra.

What made me curious about this was a separate thread where people were wondering why the Toy Story line didn't do better, and I couldn't help but think it was in part because a lot of the vehicles and some of the figs weren't standard sizes.

Anyway, very interested in everyone's prediction on whether Friends will be a HIT or a MISS.
«134

Comments

  • As a mother of a 7-year-old daughter I've been annoyed at TLG's recent offerings and their move away from appealing to girls. Not just that Belville sucked, but that everything else is way more conflict oriented than when I was a kid (80s space sets were exploration based rather than the conflict based Star Wars, Space Police and Alien Conquest, City is primarily police and fire fighters). Why can't we have another paradisa type theme?
    We own no Belville, but she loves her winter bakery (and will get the toy shop and post office for Christmas), beach house, town house, princess tower rescue (bought on the condition that the princess occasionally rescues the knights) and her father's modulars. Some days the promise of a CMF is all that gets homework done :).
    I think we will do Friends, the minifigures are not so far out of scale to make mixing them ridiculous, the themes are mostly things she'll be interested in (they probably had us with inventor's workshop), the parts seem to be standard lego in a different color palette. At the very least we won't be talking her out of saving up her allowance to buy the sets like we would have with Belville. I also will be more than happy to buy sets as birthday presents for her friends and have already talked to another Mom about them as she considers starting her daughter on Lego (mainly because that's all the kid plays with at our house :) ).
    I don't know about hit, I think that in this lego saturated house mine will still be more interested in CMFs than Friends, but I could be wrong. I think I'll be buying more lego for other people's children though. It's definitely a step in the right direction.
  • I agree that there's too much conflict stuff, hadnt thought about this before. Even atlantis is basically "kill the fish people" and I was disappointed that the new egyptian stuff re-used the 'imperialist graverobbers versus evil mummies theme from before.

    Lego Farm's pretty good though, and I would have thought this would appeal to girls. Maybe harbour? Also largescale eg vw van.

    Still not convinced on the need for different minifigs in the new friends theme. Surely it could have achieved everything it needed to within the minifig format? If it had minifigs it'd have a lot more AFOL fans Im sure.
  • Personally I'm very excited about the Friend's collection. The colors in the sets are really nice (not all pink like in Belville - thankfully!) and can be used in many MOCs. Also, the prices of the sets is not bad at all. But what I'm most excited about is that the Friend's figures hair/headgear pieces are fully interchangeable with regular minifigs. Because I LOVE their hair! Now my regular minifigs will have an even greater choice of hairstyles! (c:
  • I think the different figs are there because this line is designed to compete with other non-construction toys designed to appeal to girls. This makes sense. You like LEGO already? You can keep buying regular sets. You don't like LEGO, but like doll-house-like products to play with? You can now buy this LEGO series that looks like the stuff you're familiar with but is more appealing because it adds the building aspect. Point is, TLG does not want this new series to cannibalize their existing product lines. They want to expand their market into new territory by leveraging the advantages of the LEGO system of play.
  • ^^ I think that is indeed their thinking, but I am wondering if they are repeating earlier mistakes. Belville went with the odd size figs in an attempt to make it more like, as you said, "what you're used to" but it didn't work that time, so why try it again? If my daughter wants Polly Pocket she'll ask for Polly Pocket - not Polly Pocket with a few Lego bricks. I feel Lego isn't trusting in their own product and the uniqueness of their own product by trying to follow the herd here.

    (and as an aside, is it true that the figures legs don't move independently? If so, not only is it not a minifig, it has less playability than a minifig.)
  • having seen it today i have very mixed views on it the sets themselves are really nice the buildings are nicely done as are the auctual figs and accesories. However they have really gone over board on the stereotypes making it very very girly which i think is going to limit its appeal.
  • May I ask where you saw it? I've been hoping these might hit the TRU shelves in the states prior to Christmas.
  • We have it at work but sadly its not allowed to go on sale untill the 26th December so currently just sat in our store room. I work for a department store group called John lewis in the UK
  • Ahhh, thanks. Running into a little problem here - my own fault. I showed my daughter the sets here on Brickset when the pics were first available. Then the other day she says, "I am getting some of the new girls sets for Christmas" (as opposed to the "boys" sets her brothers get). I explained that Lego isn't selling them until next year to which she responded, "oh that doesn't matter, Santa makes his own toys."

    Gulp.
  • edited December 2011
    ^ Haha....

    Just tell her that things have changes a lot in the world since Santa first made toys. Back in the day Santa had a monopoly on toy making. Toys were mostly things like nutcrackers, Jack in the boxes, balls, and such. However, as other companies entered into the toy making business all year round, Santa had to innovate. These days Santa subcontracts toy production to corporations that make toys year round in exchange for shipping and distribution by Santa, leveraging the competitive advantage of magical sleigh and elves. Thus, that line of LEGO toys will not be available until next year because Santa doesn't actually make them (although he does deliver the toys as promised).
  • ^^ I have to ask, what do you do for a living? Based on this response and some others you must have a business/finance background of some sort (as do I). I suppose I could find it in the "what do you do" thread but I'm not sure I could pick you out form the hundreds of comments.

    I may have to try that approach though! Thanks for the advice!
  • edited December 2011


    (and as an aside, is it true that the figures legs don't move independently? If so, not only is it not a minifig, it has less playability than a minifig.)
    Yup, completely immobile, exactly like a Playmobil. I have a set. Emma's cute, though. They all are. My girls, 3 and 5, like to mix her up with their other LEGO figs.

    1) This line, more than any others, will not appeal to us hairy AFOLs, so let's reserve judgment for 1) whom it is targeted to like our daughters and nieces, and 2) when it actually comes out.

  • exactly like a Playmobil
    aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhh!

    Why are they doing this to themselves?!
    To answer the original question, MISS
  • Evening all - this may be heresy rounds these parts, but I've just obtained, via a rather over enthusiastic retailer, 2 of the Lego Friends sets - Olivia's Treehouse and Stephanie's Cool Convertible. As a 'hairy AFOL' (thanks Streeker) I've been monitoring this range for a while as it would appear we've finally found something for our daughter that wasn't B*lvill* , and was surprised to see them on the shelves. They weren't there when I did my second tour of the toy dept. Very interesting comments above re. Playmobil and Polly Pocket, I can add nothing more than saying despite my more traditional LEGO views, I think this will sell like hot cakes - stereotypes or not. The minfigs may be the USP that addresses the conflict/boy themes points raised above.
    Lego_Friends_Treehouse.JPG
    1296 x 968 - 408K
    Lego_Treehouse_back.JPG
    1296 x 968 - 509K
    Lego_Friends_Car.JPG
    1296 x 968 - 464K
    Lego_Car_back.JPG
    1296 x 968 - 406K
  • ..forgot to say - after much discussion with darling daughter this evening, it appears a toy pony and dolls are of far greater appeal this year....rats. The boy child is clearly not interested as it's not SW or City...Don't think I'll be adding Friends to the household archive, so have popped on ebay for now.
  • @avoiceofreason sorry to hear that Santa makes Lego, mine believes he doesn't make it and that's what parents are here for. Which begs the question, what is Santa supposed to bring her for Christmas?

    @Si_Dorking_Surrey_UK I'd like the farm for her, the current favorite is the Christmas train which is carrying 8 CMFs on top of the cars around and around the Christmas tree. I wasn't counting on Friends, I have a closet full of paradisa, various underwater sets (she's planning on being an "ocean scientist"), classic space, a hospital, MMV, MVR, creator buildings. Having just emerged from our dark age it's been an expensive year and we're pretty much covered for the next five years of birthdays and Christmases :).

    I understand about the legs but remembering the market I'm not sure that mine ever moves the legs independently and all her favorite princesses just have wedge block skirts, at least the friends bend at the waist.
  • I'm really torn on this new theme; one the one hand I'm loving all the interesting new parts and new colours, on the other I'm exasperated that LEGO has decided to go with non-standard minifigures. I will eventually take the plunge and get a couple of the sets in order to give them a chance to impress, but until then the jury is well and truly out.....

    I previously posted some thoughts on this subject on my blog at the URL below, and some folks posted a few interesting comments as well :

    http://gimmelego.blogspot.com/2011/11/girls-stuff.html
  • @avoiceofreason sorry to hear that Santa makes Lego, mine believes he doesn't make it and that's what parents are here for. Which begs the question, what is Santa supposed to bring her for Christmas?
    Fortunately she also has other things on her list including Barbie and the like, and she will be getting some Lego as well. She's young enough that I'm hoping she will kind of forget about asking for/seeing it. Though I keep checking here for a post entitled "Lego Friends spotted at TRU!"
    We're pretty much covered for the next five years of birthdays and Christmases :).
    Speaking from experience, I can almost guarantee you won't have enough to last five years. Not because you don't actually have enough, but because you will want to give it to them so they can build/play with it, and because you will inevitably end up buying more with the passage of time.

    I have enough for what also should be five years of Christmas and birthdays. If you saw the packages under our tree, you would understand that that inventory isn't going to make it 12 months! I just can't help it.
  • I'm really torn on this new theme; one the one hand I'm loving all the interesting new parts and new colours, on the other I'm exasperated that LEGO has decided to go with non-standard minifigures.
    This gets back at the original question. Lego must understand that AFOLs represent a good portion of the buyers for kids. If AFOLs are turned off by non-standard figs, as you indicated above, you may be less likely to buy them for your kids.

    Paradisa was before my time, but did it not do well? Judging by the aftermarket, it seems that girl oriented, standard minfig sets, are in demand. Jenni above indicated she has some socked away for gift giving.
  • Bit the bullet and showed my daughter the Friends images. To our great pride, that I can't really share anywhere else :), she chose the inventor's workshop as her favorite.

    I understand the disappointment of AFOLs but I'm really glad (as a mother, girl scout leader, youth worker, and a woman with a degree in applied physics) that Lego is providing toys to encourage girls to want to be inventors, vets and even pastry chefs, and to engage them in developing skills that will help them get there. It sure beats charm school barbie.

    Personally though, I'd have gone with regular minifigures :)

    @avoiceofreason Thanks for shattering my illusion about the five year supply, next you'll tell me that three modulars and five trains won't last that long for my husband either :). No presents under our tree, just a 9V adapted Christmas train and 15 feet of track that was an early Christmas present so I don't know what you're talking about at all :).
  • I agree with many of the points said here, but the target audience is our daughters and their friends. I have shown the same pictures to her and some of her friends and they all could not wait for them to show up. For AFOLs, we get a larger color palette.

    My daughter has all the recent Belville sets, with her favorite being the Sunshine Home. The newer sets will complement all the others sets she likes, including the modulars and CMF.

    I do like the that LEGO is finally creating sets for her than a boys set with a girl minifigure.
  • If they were regular minifigures, I'm sure a lot of people, including myself, would buy them just to get more female minifigs.
  • I think everyone is looking at this from the wrong perspective. This line is going to be a hit. Look at some of the most successful ventures by LEGO. A lot of them were disliked by adults. I remember when Bionicle first came out, adults hated it. Saying it was not LEGO, etc. The same types of comments that are being tossed around to this theme. However, Bionicle was very very successful. Ninjago, most AFOLS hate the theme, but it is selling quite well. Hero Factory, also hated by most AFOLS, but selling very well.

    Also, I think those who are complaining about the figures are missing the point here, too. When we are all paying Fabuland prices for these figures because they are in such high demand, I think there will be a lot of forgetting. These are not like the belville figures. First of all, they are just about the same size as regular minifigs. They can use the same utensils and weapons. They have interchangeable hair. I think they hit the mark. They are trying to market these sets to kids/girls who would never buy LEGO in the first place.

    One other note, the LEGO group does not care one bit if AFOLs like this theme or not. Someone mentioned that AFOLs were a large part of the LEGO buying market for kids. That is patently untrue. All you have to do is spend 10 random minutes in any stores toy aisle, or spend an hour in the LEGO store. Sure, you see a lot of adults, but none of them, except yourself, is an AFOL. I mean, really, do any of you pay attention to what is going on around you?

    Another point for this theme is that all three of my daughters are salivating over these sets. Even my older ones. Also, my wife, who HATES LEGO, and my LEGO hobby (:-() took a look at these sets and loved virtually all of them. She even asked for the inventor lab for her office at work. Read those last two sentences again and again until you understand the impact.

    Here is the sad part of this. All of that makes not a lick of difference unless LEGO forces toy stores/department/chain stores to put these sets somewhere other than the LEGO aisle. Look at this from a different perspective and it will make sense. Ask a little boy if he ever goes down the Barbie aisle in the toy stores. You will get a resounding NO. So if Barbie (Mattel) wants to make a line that appeals to boys, it will fail if they put it with the rest of the Barbies. I fear they will not do it. I fear that the simplest, most effective marketing strategy will be wasted.

    I know, I know, I am a windbag. I haven't even said everything I wanted to, but I think if I haven't gotten my point across at this point, will I ever?

    HIT (if marketed/placed properly.)
    MISS (if placed in the LEGO aisle)
  • I spread the word to coworkers who have daughters and know many that do that love Lego. they all were excited to hear Lego making a girls line and couldnt wiat to have the sets. The biggest responses were of parents that had brother/sister Lego builders. They couldnt wait to get them so each brother/sister had thier own sets that they could combine and yet play seperatly if wanted.

    Then came the picture release. Of all coworkers/friends/family, I could count on one hand the number who had a slight positive reaction.

    The overwelming response was "how is Bobby/Susie suppossed to play together when these are so seperate". The downfall being the figures. These comments were not coming from collects or such but parents who have kids that love Lego.

    Guess we will see but if my sampling of many people were turned off to this idea, is that going to be the general public reaction?

    On Eurobricks, there is massive praise for these sets. Problem is 98% of that praise is because they are collectors who just want parts. So you may read 98 out of 100 love thesets, but why? Not because they are doing it for girls, but because they themselves want them to make thier own 6 story modulure library or make some new 6 wide car.
  • edited December 2011
    Again, until you have the sets in the hands of its intended audience, I think it's premature to pass judgment. My girls mixed up Emma and the other reg figs with no problem. They may be too young, but they didn't notice that Emma was skinner or had no poseable legs, or that's she's not yellow. They had a lot of giggles trying different hairstyles on her. Kids are different and surprising. There is bound to be criticism, the sets are no way perfect (I think they're very girly), but I'm going to let my kids decide if it's a hit or miss.

    Side note: the Friends sets were featured prominently at my store, occupying the sightline on the shelves, meaning they were the first LEGO sets you saw when looking for the LEGO aisle.
  • If anyone was wondering, it appears the hair is interchangeable with 'regular' figs. Making for some rather funky looking characters, but guess that broadens the options for both kids playing with the friends sets, and anyone wanting to give their 'regular' minifigs some big hair styles.

    Pictures and review was found on eurobricks and Flickr.
  • @avoiceofreason Yeah, I didn't post in the occupations thread. I studied Political Science as an undergrad and now work in IT. However, I have interests all over the place and I do enjoy thinking of the business aspect of TLG. Do you have an update on how your kid is handling inconsistencies in the representation of Santa? :p

    @georgebjones I agree with what you're saying. I think the product line has huge potential to be a really big success for TLG, for the reasons you mention. One interesting thing is your insight into product placement on shelves. I think you're spot on, and I think that this has precedent in the past with Spybotics. There's this really cool in-depth article that goes into that which I've linked before, but here is the key quote from a referenced news article:

    "When mass retailers like Wal-Mart placed the Spybotics products with other Lego SKUs, the sell-through was much lower than anticipated. Toys 'R' Us was able to find a place for Spybotics in its 'R' Zone interactive gaming section because shoppers there were already in the mood for products with a tech bent. Ardis says sell-through jumped up about 35% in Toys 'R' Us compared to stores where the Spybotics were merchandised by brand."

    So yeah, shelf placement can have a massive effect on the success of the product.
  • Do you have an update on how your kid is handling inconsistencies in the representation of Santa? :p
    I'm still hoping they will show up on a few shelves in the next 10 days. Someone in another thread said they have been spotted at some U.S. TRUs. Can anyone confirm this?

    On the topic of product placement, I never really thought about this. Now my girl will happily wander through the Lego store or down the Lego aisle of a given retailer, but that's probably because she's been following her Lego obsessed brothers since birth. Other girls, well, maybe they wouldn't even think to go down the Lego aisle. I will now be very interested to see where Lego/Retailers stock these items. Maybe next to the Polly Pockets and Barbies would be a better idea. Hmmm...
  • edited December 2011
    ^ It isn't just the children either. Parents and other adults purchasing products for girls also may walk into the store and go straight to that massively pink "girl" aisle to pick out a gift. If you are a generic adult attempting to purchase a gift for a girl, how likely are you to wander through the construction toy aisle?

    Good luck on your quest to find Friends sets prior to Christmas!
  • Some people have raised some good points about the new figs of these sets, and while I staunchly love the traditional minifig, I can see why TLG has changed them. The new figs look a lot more 'girly' than the minifig, and something that I have noticed is how odd female minifigs look, with their square torso and stumpy legs, and how recently some female figs have curved hips printed onto the sides of their torsos (mainly Castle princess figs, or figs with dresses I've noticed). I'm not implying that toys should all have bodies like Barbie, but there naturally is a big difference in male and female body shapes.

    So I'm guessing these new figs will appeal to girls who want their figs to look like girls, not boys with a female face and long hair.
  • @brickmatic, they were able to put the games in the games aisle, so we know they have the power to affect placement. here's hoping they use that power.
  • edited December 2011
    Good news @georgebones, Target will display Friends in the girl's section. From the Bloomberg article:

    Target’s Stephanie Lucy, vice-president and merchandise manager for toys and sports goods, says the Minneapolis-based department store will introduce Lego Friends on an end-cap (at the end of an aisle), then shelve it with other girl-oriented toys, not with the rest of the Lego—all currently in the boy section. As long as girls find it, Lucy says, “I believe it will do very well.”
  • Awesome. I see success for this line.

    The very fact thar Target will carry it should be seen as a minor success already.

    Brent
  • The article also mentioned that Walmart and TRU will carry Friends, too.
    Funny that it said French toy stores were going 'rogue' by having its official release on the 15th, ahead of 26th for UK and 1/1 for the US.
  • ^Yeah I found the 'rogue' comment as well. Whether it was just a report that some French shops had, or if it was a concerted decision by French shops to release early.

    It also mentioned that they would release 29 'ladyfigs' (that name is hilarious) in 2012, so plenty more sets to come! (Or a few big sets).
  • something that I have noticed is how odd female minifigs look, with their square torso and stumpy legs, and how recently some female figs have curved hips printed onto the sides of their torsos
    I agree, but that will still be a problem. This would have been a good opportunity to introduce a minifig-sized new version of the female minifig across the whole of Lego, rather than doing something completely seperate.

  • @Streeker - saw the article, too. Hooray! I am very glad to see this. Also, not as obvious in the article, but they mentioned Walmart dedicating shelf space to it indicating that it would not be in the LEGO aisle.
  • So maybe this will finally be the time Lego breaks the girls market. They finally are in a position to have the clout to encourage, if not outright tell, the mass marketers what to do.

    And good for the French! I never understood why Lego would sit on a product that is clearly ready (and warehoused at many stores) and miss the Christmas season?!

    I understand it with other lines because they want to move older inventory and not cannibalize sales, but the Friends line is targeting an entirely different market so that wouldn't seem to be an issue in this case. They're just leaving money on the table IMO. Even if they only released a few sets and not the whole line, it would at least whet the appetite of the girls and just increase demand over the coming year.

    (spoken from someone who's little girl wants some for Christmas of course ;)
  • The business week article linked on the main brickset page has a pretty good explanation of why the figures are like they are: to do with girls picking a minifigure that most resembles them, and then actually putting themselves into the lego. My daughter loves lego, and she loves 'stardoll' (website where you build a doll that invariably resembles how you'd like to look yourself): I think she will go nuts for this.


  • And good for the French! I never understood why Lego would sit on a product that is clearly ready (and warehoused at many stores) and miss the Christmas season?!

    I understand it with other lines because they want to move older inventory and not cannibalize sales, but the Friends line is targeting an entirely different market so that wouldn't seem to be an issue in this case. They're just leaving money on the table IMO. Even if they only released a few sets and not the whole line, it would at least whet the appetite of the girls and just increase demand over the coming year.

    (spoken from someone who's little girl wants some for Christmas of course ;)
    @avoiceoreason -

    The BusinessWeek article provides rationale for why LEGO is waiting until after Christmas. Here's a quote:

    " In Lego’s larger markets, like the U.S., Lego determined it was better to introduce the new line after the holidays, when Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), for example, would give the line dedicated shelf space it wouldn’t during the holiday sales rush."

    A couple other highlights from the article: LEGO is planning a $40 million marketing campaign to go along with the Friends line and it seems they are very serious about getting into the girls' market.

    Anyway, it's actually a really cool read. Here's the link: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/lego-is-for-girls-12142011.html?section=highlights

    Brent



  • ^^ Ahh, makes some sense I guess. Now, off to read the article, thanks.
  • Great article, thanks for posting that.
  • I hope and think the line will be a hit. From what I've read in non-LEGO forums the line has been noticed by mothers of girls and they really like it. I saw posts such as "Don't buy Belville for your daughter for Xmas, there's a new theme for girls next year and it's so much better" followed by posts saying how cute the new sets are and that their little girls will surely love it. No complains about the figures.

    Personally I just love it, finally some buildings. I wish it was less pink and had minifigs but I still think it's just great. And these figures are actually very cute. I like my LEGO girly and with cute hedgehogs ;) I hope the line continues because I want a big house for every one of the main 5 characters :)
  • @brickmatic, they were able to put the games in the games aisle, so we know they have the power to affect placement. here's hoping they use that power.
    LEGO also learned from their mistakes, which is good. The Games packaging is actually like packaging for other games, down to the cellophane wrap.

    Great Business Week article! I'm excited for the Friends line being a big success!


  • This dorky, but adorable (in a New Girl kind of way) ad makes me think HIT.

    But for those of us that justify our obsession via our children and only have boys have a tough battle with this one.
  • edited December 2011
    i LOOOOVE her hair
    (feel like I should be saying "girlfriend" at the end of that sentence)


    her hedgehog is pretty amazing too
  • Having just built 3183, it's a HIT for me! The car is a nice little build, there are some interesting pieces and colours, and I love the varied accessories (no idea what I'll use them for but I'll think if something!). I'll be buying most of the sets in this range, I think.
  • I let my gf open one of her sets early and she built the City Park Cafe. She is in love with the details of the ladyfigs and their accessories. She MUST have them all now she said. I think Lego might finally break through the girl market with this line. Polly Pocket watch out now!
  • When visiting a Target today looking for these I finally saw what a Polly Pocket was. They are indeed pretty similar. I had never really ventured into those aisles before. I'd probably buy those Polly Pockets for my kid... if LEGO didn't have the Friends sets coming out. :) Of course if I can't buy the dang things from Target yet then my kid just might get some Polly Pockets and get hooked on them instead. :{
  • @sidersdd - don't give up! My girl likes Polly Pocket, but I'm hoping the Friends line will take her in a new direction. In general I think Lego is pretty expensive, but when you compare them side-by-side to Polly Pocket, it doesn't seem as bad. For what you get, the prices aren't that far off, and the quality of PP is far inferior.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Recent discussions Categories