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

13

Comments

  • @vynsane I smiled all through your post, I think our daughters would be best friends. The knights from MVR came to the farm the other day and bought flour and eggs from the family so that they could make a cake and have a party together.

    We made sure that our daughter had Target gift cards to buy friends after Christmas and she ended up with Olivia's treehouse and Andrea's stage. Olivia and Andrea immediately became best friends with the girl from MVR, wouldn't let any of the boys (who wanted their treasure) in the treehouse, but let them watch the concerts that are constantly being staged. We then finished Hillside House so that Andrea would have somewhere to live, Olivia really likes the car from that set though we had to take out the steering wheel to fit her in.

    Today she hasn't played with the Friends at all, we built the toy shop instead and she's playing with that. I give it an hour at most until Olivia and Andrea are buying toys and borrowing skis. At our house at least there will not be any trouble integrating Friends with our other Lego, but then her Squinkies have been driving the WV post office truck for a week.

    She's planning to own all the Friends sets, and is saving her allowance right now, but is also really looking forward to opening the AC and PQ sets we bought on sale last week.

    I think Lego may have figured it out this time.
  • I bought 10 of the sets from the line for my gf and she absolutely loves them. She's already looking forward to the summer sets. Definitely a hit in her opinion and she's 29 so its age independent.

    From my view, I'm tempted to steal some of the nice props the sets come with; such as a proper sink faucet in gold, fancy flowers, hedgehog, etc. Along with building components that are new such as the glass window panes used in the Cafe. They would be fantastic in creating MOC modular buildings to give a new fancy look. So a hit for me too, but from a totally different angle of parting out the sets for unique pieces...
  • Wonderful to hear how many girls are enjoying these, and hearing how they play. Thanks @vynsane and @jenni.
    I so nearly bought myself one or two today, but I have to be good!!
  • I picked up a bunch of these sets today, and I haven't built any them yet, but I'm really excited for the colors and accessories.

    I mentioned this in another thread too, but at my local TRU, Olivia's Tree House was selling for $17.99 (RRP is $19.99). Given the lack of sales at TRU right now, that is a good way to use up LEGO bucks, Rewards Certs, or gift cards for anyone so inclined...

    Brent
  • Well, I didn't get to build the Cafe.

    My wife built it with my daughter! My wife has never sat down to build a set from instructions before. So maybe that's a sign that it will be a Hit.
  • I picked up a lab/workshop and the convertible with discounts I needed to use up at TRU (Friends was the only new thing in stock!). Not bad sets, but I don't see any real use for all the new accessories. They don't feel compatible with LEGO to me, and I don't see how I could use them for anything non-girly. The new colored bricks are cool.
  • edited January 2012
    I know there is another thread on whether the Friends theme will be a hit or miss, and I don't know if this will fall into that thread, or not. I want to relay my personal story of how the Friends theme is a big hit.

    I have been a fan of LEGO for my whole life. When I became a teenager, I went through a dark ages, like most do, but I always kept an eye on the brand. I would walk by the LEGO aisle from time to time, pick up a set every now and then, build it, then stash it with my collection. My wife always hassled me about the 3 big bins of LEGO that we would cart around from house to house every time we move. Then, last year, I discovered that there was a LEGO brand retail store in the mall close to me. That really sprung me back into the light. I have made many many many purchases since then. At first, it annoyed my wife, then angered her, we had a couple big fights over it. She threatened to throw it all away at one point. She got to the point where she tolerated it, and then accepted it, but not necessarily supported it. All three of my daughters love to build and play with LEGO, so that may be my saving grace. Until, that is, the Friends theme came along.

    My wife is a chemist, she thought the little CMF mad scientist and hazmat guy were cute, she was a cheerleader in college, so she liked that one, also. When I showed her the friends theme, back in early December, she loved it. My daughters loved it, I loved it. She has done a complete about face. She was encouraging me to go out shopping trying to find them before christmas. She encourages me to build, now. She actually comes into the LEGO room and sits down. Then came January 1, the Friends theme was finally released and I picked up all the sets. We were at her parents house on New Year's day and she practically pushed me out the door to go pick them up. She built Olivia's workshop first thing. Then we went home and she played around with it. Then she said she wanted to build her own lab from work. She spent the next 4 hours building her lab as we were all around the table covered in LEGO. Then the next night, she went back to it, spending another couple hours. Then, the next night! She actually said "Cool!" when I came home with a bright yellow LEGO bag yesterday. That has never happened!

    This theme, alone, has brought my wife from a once AHOL (hater) to a full fledged (almost) AFOL. I never would have imagined it. I can't argue with that kind of success. I think LEGO accomplished exactly what they were going for. Getting someone who has no interest in LEGO to take an interest and discover how wonderful a product it is.

    *On a side note, my daughters won't stop fighting over who gets to be Olivia. WE HAVE FIVE FREAKING OLIVIAS! YOU CAN ALL BE OLIVIA!!" I feel better now. :)

    Any other similar stories with this "controversial" theme?
  • Great story! Thanks for sharing! And of course they all want to be Olivia - she's clearly the cool, clever one! :)
    Can you share pics of her lab? I'm a scientist too and the only moc I've ever really done is a little version of my lab.
  • That's great to hear George. So nice that Lego is now a pastime for your entire family to share. I'm sure there will be many more stories like this over the next few months.
  • Love it! Have converted my children, but my boyfriend just thinks I am nuts. Although, he is a huge LOTR fan so I am hopeful....
  • edited January 2012
    @Savage_Steel - Absolutely! She has been working hard on it, won't really let me do much except a little thing here or there. She will ask for advice or how to do something, or "do you have any of this piece in this color?" I will take some pics and post them up. She may be tinkering with it for the next few days. She said she was going to take it to work the last three days, but kept it home and fiddled with it some more. :) I know the feeling.

    What kind of scientist are you? Her specialty is process chemistry and organic synthesis. I probably butchered that, but I am not a chemist.
  • I'm a geneticist/molecular biology. I have my little lab on my desk at work. Everyone is jealous. I made my boss a little bench with her at a microscope (looking at her eggs) for Christmas. She was chuffed. I'm fully 'out' at work. They were all very sad when I brought the lego advent calendar home from the lab, they were still playing with it over lunch today!
  • My wife has outed me to all her coworkers, she is the only woman. They are all jealous :). She took a minifigure with the Narcissa Malfoy hair to work, (http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=85974pb02) one of her coworkers said "they missed a spot" and took a brown permanent marker out of his pocket and colored in the hair. Totally jealous.
  • Amazing read and really nice to hear how Lego is part of your daily lives everyone. Keep it up :)
  • Just awesome. Thanks so much for sharing.
  • That story really brought a smile to my face. Thanks!!
  • Just love your story! Thanks for sharing! LEGO is so unique that it can touch the lives of so many different people and different age-groups in such unusual ways! This is the best hobby! Ever!...(c:
  • I laughed so loud at your five Olivias comment that I scared my daughter. Glad you've all got Lego in common now, think of all the things you can all build together.
  • edited January 2012
    @Savage_Steel - Here are some pictures of the lab. See if you can identify what each of the features are. I only say this not to be coy, but to see if they are identifiable. My wife was offended I didn't know what everything is. I am not a chemist, and I don't work in a lab, so I don't think I should know what everything is.

    Haha, my wife is pleased that I am sharing her story with all my "LEGO notes" friends. :)
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  • ^Nice lab. And great stories everyone. Really seems that Friends is a hit.
  • @vynsane, I loved that tale! Almost something I do in my family but with my little boy as he loves playing Lego with me as according to him his Dad is the best story teller ever :) And that is the fun part of Lego. Making and creating stories.

    You are really lucky to have a princess of your own @vynsane. God bless her and keep her always in good health.

    @Odindusk, I am sold on the idea to get Friends theme for my own collection, how about you :D
  • @georgebjones - that's fantastic! She'd done a great job, I especially like all the pipes/glasswear and the gas canister chained up. I presume the yellow is a drying board, but I could be wrong. and the fume hood and safety shower are also nice touches. The fumes coming out of the conical flask, also nice! Mine is much more basic.
    No snakes - but a giant spider which seem to love living amongst the drosophila and zebrafish (can't think why!)
    (Mine: Mac computer, centrifuge, bunsen burner, chemicals, chemical cuboard, microscope and petri dish of fish and fireblanket - got to stay safe!)
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  • @Sav - cool! I love all the details, especially the microscope and fire blanket. My office is so boring...
  • Friends is a hit in my house and we only have Emma's splash pool, my little girl who's a very grown up 3 year old loves Emma. She's had her in her brothers police station doing important work then out for a drive in the little red car then today i let her play with my log cabin with girl and boy minifigures and Emma had to come and move in :) I think we shall have to get all these sets, i love the colours. It's been great to hear all the stories :)
  • I won't be buying Friends but I showed a female friend the new line and she may even buy a set. She doesn't own any Lego at all.
  • Seems from the stories that there are more than a few cases of people not into Lego actually buying, building , and enjoying these sets.

    My wife wasn't as against Lego as @georgebjones wife (BTW, if that was her first MOC, very impressive!). She actually really likes Lego, she just thinks we have way too much. What?! But she tolerates it. But when she sat down and built the cafe with my daughter, that was pretty cool, and I feel pretty certain the entire line will make it's way into our house.

    My daughter was at preschool yesterday and they went around the room and told what their favorite Christmas present was. She said, "I told them my Lego (yay!), but I didn't say girl Lego because I didn't want the boys to be jealous that there was girl Lego now." Now this is from a little girl who plays tackle football with her older brothers and just asked how old she had to be to watch Star Wars Episode IV. But hey, she still is excited there is new "girl" Lego.

    If TLG is getting people who were never into Lego to buy these sets, then mission accomplished.
  • edited January 2012
    A miss. I HATE these sets.

    However, I am a male, so I may have different opinions.
  • @padsoftware, can you please elaborate on why you consider this line a "miss"? Is it just because it doesn't appeal to you personally (in which case, it can't possibly be a miss because it's not targeted at you), or do you think it will fail to truly capture the "other 50%" market once the initial fervor subsides (which would be, quantifiably, a true "miss")?

    In light of previous attempts by LEGO to make headway in the "girl toy" market, ranging from "we're gender-neutral because there's a girl in this advertisement" to "Paradisa", which was basically Town: Pink Edition, to "Belleville", which was arguably a flop, it seems that "Friends" is a resounding hit with the target demographic based on the multitudinous reports in this topic.

    All overblown "controversy" aside, I'm happy to have this theme to share with my daughter over the relatively mindless fluff of Disney Princesses and Polly Pockets. I've yet to see either one of them feature a scientist in their line-ups.
  • To me and most all parents/kids I know at my work, a miss. I work in a retail setting, mainly at a store but also warehouse. When news of these sets first came out, I showed all parents that I knew had kids. It's no secret to all I am a huge fan of Lego so with that out in the open, many tell me thier kids stories and such. So all were excted to hear of this line. They passed the news to the children. When news came that the figures were not regular minifigs, all thought bad idea. Then the pictures. I forwarded them all and the feedback I got was disasterous. "Billy and Susie build this and that together and have fun with thier city, how do these sets fit in?'

    So boys and girls were playing together. Many girls LOVE the collectible minifigures. Now you alienate them with these horrendous "figures"? I don't understand. rothers and sisters playing together, now play apart because the sets are so over the top ridiculous?? They did all this "research" that told them girls like this and that. Where??

    The sets have been out here at Walmart and still not one set has sold. Must not have many AFOLs around here to start getting the parts they want so bad.

    But, i read so many people saying how great the parts are for thier own MOCs. Great. Not the target audience. Now we will see all of these pictures popping up of horrendously colored modular uildings that seem to be all the rage.

    But ther "daughters" wanted and built them.
  • ^Man, I hope I don't see any of those modular uildings pop up. ;)

    @Savage_steel - great job on your lab. I recognized the centrifuge and bunsen burner immediately. The yellow cabinet is a flammables cabinet, I suppose for flammable things.

    I guess now that the sets are out, time will tell. If we see Friends in 2013 and 2014 I will be happy. :)
  • ^^ The Mini-dolls were mainly designed to appeal to girls that don't already play with LEGO. There's nothing that says you can't swap out standard Minifigures for the Minidolls if you already have them - they sets are built to Minifig scale. That's what I'd be telling anyone who asked me "how do these fit in with our CITY sets?" - they fit in the way any other LEGO set fits in - by using your imagination and combining them!
  • @romdam - I would argue that if the sisters are already playing with LEGO with their brothers, they are not the target customer of this line.

    I think this line appeals directly to girls who play with Barbie, Polly Pocket, Littlest Pet Shop, etc. and NOT with LEGO.

    These are girls who know LEGO only as a "boys' toy," and wouldn't play with it given the option.

    Brent
  • "Belleville", which was arguably a flop
    Belville lasted 18 years! That's not a flop. The line never catched on much Stateside, but was a hit in Europe.

  • I would argue that if the sisters are already playing with LEGO with their brothers, they are not the target customer of this line.

    And that is still my biggest gripe. I have girls that already play with Legos, but they want sets with female minifigs and details.

    It is nice they are making a line that "appeals directly to girls who play with Barbie, Polly Pocket, Pet Shop", but it would be nice if they bothered to make more lines like HP (or continued the HP line) that appealed to both boys/girls, and that included more than the token girl minifig. I've known a number of girls and boys that have HP sets.
    The winter series is one of the few others lines I've seen that has several females within it.

    The problem is that from a revenue perspective, there is a MUCH larger market of girls currently not playing with Legos than girls that are, so their focus is on the girls that aren't. The girls that already liked Legos, they are still without many options, and most Lego sets still have the token girls.

    This is partly why minifig series are so popular in our house. We have a chance to actually get some girl minifigs that can be used/mixed/matched. My kids have used the parts to make a number of additional HP characters.

    Tammy
  • These sets are a definite hit. My almost 4 year old daughter has grown to love LEGO because her big 6 year old brother loves LEGO (and so does daddy of course). It's always been tough to find themes that appeal to her. First it was the Farm, but that disappeared. Then we bought some of the Creator sets like the Log Cabin. She also took an interest in Kingdoms ("That's the Princess's Castle") and the City Marina this year.

    When the Friends came out on Sunday, I had to leave at half time during the Packers/Lions game to run her to TRU to pick up some sets with our Rewards R Us dollars. We started with the Vet Clinic and Olivia's Workshop, but we've already added the Design Studio as well.

    What's interesting to me is that not only has my daughter been playing with them, but my son as well.

    At first I thought LEGO was foolish for going with the mini-doll vs. the minifig, but I understand why they did it and the great thing is that since they are close enough in scale, the sets can be used together.

    Also, for those who say that girls who like Friends won't have anything else in the LEGO aisle to interest them, obviously you don't have a daughter. There are always sets that appeal to girls, they've just been harder to find before Friends (as I point out above).

    I also think LEGO has a good idea to put these in the girls aisle. For my son's birthday, his friend Addie's mom decided to buy him Squinkies. Since the only Squinkies she bought prior to that were for her daughter, she had no idea that there is a boys Squinikies section and a girls Squinkies section. So I think that many parents of girls would never look in the LEGO aisle thinking it is for boys, but will find these if they are next to Polly Pocket (or the girls Squinkies!).

    Overall, I say well done LEGO, and you've proved me wrong because I thought going with the minidolls was a horrible idea. Now you've convinced me because these sets are minifig compatible (as are the accessories), and the prices are competitive (unlike Belville).
  • Tammy -
    Do you live reasonably close to a LEGO store? If so, you can easily and cheaply over time add to your female minifigure collection through the Minifigure building bar. 3 for $10 is not a bad deal real. Plus CMFs of course. You can re-populate the whole Heartlake village pretty easily, and add more girls to your other City and licensed sets.

    I have two girls myself, and this is what we've done, without really going out of our way to make a big deal out of it either.
  • Another way to add females is buy a bunch of girl heads and hair direct from lego either from PAB (all the female heads had disappeared last time I looked), but there were lots of hair. Or call replacement bricks. I just ordered 80 heads in 4 designs and some hair. I'm about to list them on bricklink as they're scarce on their in quantity (and build my roller derby team with them, which is why I wanted them originally, but noticed bricklink needed more).
  • Also, for those who say that girls who like Friends won't have anything else in the LEGO aisle to interest them, obviously you don't have a daughter. There are always sets that appeal to girls, they've just been harder to find before Friends (as I point out above).

    I have an 9 and almost 8 year old girl.

    We have a Lego store within a 15 minute drive. Believe me, I've been taking my girls to the Lego store since they opened it. I am talking about themes, and not individual sets. My girls have had no interest in the themes. Atlantis, Pharoah's Quest, Star Wars, Alien Conquest, Sponge Bob, Toy Story, technic, Ninjago, dinosaurs, Pirates, racers. They STRONGLY dislike City.

    We are not talking about very girly girls either. We are talking about kids who's dolls were escaping from volcanoes erupting, from sharks attacking. Girls that LOVED Peter Pan.

    The issue is that most Lego themes ARE very specifically geared to boys. Many themes are attack/fight themes, and have zero or minimal females. They have often picked up a set they had a mild interest in, and put it back when they have seen 0-1 girl minifigs. Yes, we can supplement, but they want sets that have girls in them.


    Why should it be that much harder to find a set to appeal to them? That is my issue.

    It isn't even necessarily the themes per say, but how they market/design them. We bought almost all of the playmobil Egyptian line. ALL of my kids loved it. We had several girls characters, and kids. There was the attack element, but there was also the tomb raider set that the girls used as an Egyptian house. The pyramid was fun.

    Look at the Lego pyramid line. If I am looking at this correctly, there is ONE set with one female minifig.

    They are BOTH Egyptian themes, and yet one set my girls LOVED and the other set my girls had negative interest in.

    I think that is really what bothers me the most.
    Lego could have created the Egyptian theme to appeal more to both genders, instead of yet again creating the entire attack/war theme. I know several girls that loved that Egpytian playmobil line, and girls that have enjoyed the Kane Chronicle book series.


    Harry Potter was an amazing line for them. The winter sets with the details and female minifigs have been an amazing line. Beyond that
    Medieval Village
    MVR
    Whitecap bay (Two mermaids)

    have been the only other sets they have cared for.

    I already have all the HP sets except the forbidden forest.
    We have all the Winter sets.
    I have Medieval Village and MVR stashed.

    Right now, there is nothing else within the Lego store that has appeal to them.

    Tammy
  • Tammy -
    Do you live reasonably close to a LEGO store? If so, you can easily and cheaply over time add to your female minifigure collection through the Minifigure building bar. 3 for $10 is not a bad deal real. Plus CMFs of course. You can re-populate the whole Heartlake village pretty easily, and add more girls to your other City and licensed sets.

    I have two girls myself, and this is what we've done, without really going out of our way to make a big deal out of it either.
    Our lego store is within 15 minutes. The minifig building bar is the first place my girls go. Always. They really do like this part of Lego. The issue we have had time and again, though, is so few options of hair, clothing, etc. Often it takes forever to find girl hair to make even three females.

    What we have found that has been working reasonably well is picking up multiple of the girls in the minfig series. We started with series 2. This has really given them far more variation in hair than we have seen in the minifig building bar.

    I think I mentioned this somewhere, but they have created multiple HP characters via this method. The graduation minifig made a very nice 'uniform'. The werewolf made a nice werewolf. Etc.


    Now, I had not considered hair for replacement parts. Thanks. I might look via that angle, but the minifig series have been working fairly well to date. :-)

    Tammy

  • OK - here's a stat for you. Seven out of the top ten best selling LEGO sets on Amazon.com right now are Friends sets. Wow. "Hit", I'd say.........
  • There was lots of interest in the Friends sets in John Lewis dept store today (from me too!) And I was doing my own little sales pitch to people too. I should be on commission...
  • My daughter bought the big house today using all of her Target gift cards from Christmas. She loves this line as much as she does her Ninjago. I say "hit"!
  • We had a three year old boy over yesterday, he loved the Friends sets and demanded to know why we didn't have all five of the girls, he played with them much longer than the lego train.
  • In case anyone is interested, this is what the Friends stuff looks like on the shelves at TRU. They didn't seem to have the treehouse set though. Very prominently displayed too:

    http://brickupdate.com/lego-friends-arrives-at-toys-r-us/
  • edited January 2012
    @drdavewatford - What are you doing putting facts up here? I would much rather know if a line is successful by anecdote and conjecture!

    Besides, I like 9 of the top 12 better. :)
  • ^ Apologies - I'll stick to rumour, hearsay, gossip and general nonsense in future.

    :-)
  • ^^ Wow, it was only 5 out of the top 10 this morning. Amazon sent me an email to "introduce" me to Friends.

    I wonder if their numbers are that high because Friends are hard to find in the stores. On Thursday I went to two Walmarts (one with the Friends poster at the entrance) and two Targets with no Friends to be seen. I had to find the DPCI number on the forum in order to get the City Park Cafe from Target. I understand why they might not have got them out on Sunday but nothing by Thursday?
  • I think some stores are still focused on getting rid of stock. Once clearance sales are done, I am sure stores that do not have them out yet will. My target had a display set up of the Large house. It is on a turn table. That definitely caused interest with my one daughter who saw it.
  • Amazon has such random pricing. At least two of those $10 Friends sets are currently marked down to $7.50. Not bad for a scorching hot new product line, eh?
  • Almost every Walmart I've been in the past week has had a large Friends display front and center, either an end cap, or a center isle display.

    The funny thing is, my local store assistant manager grumbled a bit that she was getting yet another shipment of Friends in. I said "why, aren't you selling them?" Yes she said, but they were shipping her twice as many as were selling and they were starting to pile up, so the store was being crammed with Friends.

    On the plus side, that means they'll have stock to sell as the TV ads hit, which is good because nothing is worse than spending $40M on TV ads only to run out of product in the stores to sell.
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