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There is a new digital experience developed by LEGO Lab, called, LEGO Freebuild Chronicles. This immersive brick play experience enables LEGO fans to play online missions using bricks they own. You can be the hero of your own story by building your way out of trouble and saving the day.

So far, the only environment you can play is Galaxy Rift, where you’re an astronaut with five missions to complete. However, before you do that, you will have to design and build your character as well as your spaceship using real LEGO pieces. Once you’re done, it’s time for some space adventure!  Building with real bricks will continue throughout completing the missions, and you will receive badges to show your progress.

Interacting with the game, then building something based on the story prompts, then interacting with the game again is fun. I could see kids really enjoying the experience, and even as an adult, I had a good time. I didn’t do this part, but kids are also encouraged to take pictures of their creations and share them through the LEGO Life App.

Overall, I feel that LEGO Freebuild Chronicles mixes digital experiences and interactions with building and play really well. And I especially like that it encourages imagination and freebuilding. On the negative side, I found that the intro pages don’t load as well on my phone, resulting in jumbled images, but once the story gets going, the visuals clear up (you might want to bookmark Galaxy Rift directly, so you don’t have to go through the intro pages again). And of course, the other negative is that so far there is only one environment and five missions to participate in. There is a survey link on every page of the game, so you can give feedback. Personally, I’m looking forward to other missions, and even full new environments added to the platform. If you want to give it a try, visit the LEGO Freebuild Chronicles.

What do you think? Have you tried LEGO Freebuild Chronicles? How did you like the experience of mixing the online story development and physical building? What other missions and environments would you like to see? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below!

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Adult Campaign Communication Survey Results

As you probably noticed, the LEGO Group started to specifically address adults with new products and communication. This is evidenced by the significant number of adult-oriented sets they have been releasing this year, including the #10272 LEGO Creator Old Trafford – Manchester United Stadium, the #71374 LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System, the #21323 LEGO Ideas Grand Piano, the #10277 LEGO Creator Expert Crocodile Locomotive, and the LEGO Art Mosaics featuring Iron Man, Star Wars Sith Lords, The Beatles, and Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe.

LEGO’s aim with these sets goes beyond catering to those who are already adult LEGO fans. They want to reach those adults who aren’t yet in the fold. In other words, they want to attract adults who either never played with LEGO, or haven’t touched LEGO since they were children.

To better understand how to communicate with this new target market, LEGO ran various surveys, including surveying seasoned adult LEGO fans via the LEGO Ambassador Forum. Adult LEGO fans, especially those who are members of LEGO User Groups, often interact with the public via various LEGO events, conventions, displays, and other public projects, and they can provide valuable insights.

The survey was conducted back in February, so I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember commenting that it was a good survey with relevant questions. And the top findings from the research were shared recently, which I have added below.

  • Regarding the interpretation of the message, “Click your stress away”, more than 80% had a response that was in line with the intent of the message. 17% of the answers stated that click was not a word that was associated with building with LEGO, or that is was more of a web/mouse/online terminology, or that LEGO should be careful when using the word stress.
  • Half of respondents answered that the message, “Click your stress away”, is relevant and when explaining why/why not, the explanations were also split 50/50 between those who used LEGO building as a way to relax or reduce stress levels and those who did not.
  • Regarding the message, “Adults welcome” more than 65% stated that the message was very inclusive/inclusive of them as AFOL. More than 29% answered neutral, and less than 6% felt it was excluding/very excluding of them as AFOLs.

The results of the survey were also shared with members of the product group that is responsible for marketing adult-oriented sets. They were asked what did they learn from the survey and how they will use the information going forward.

Federico Begher, VP of Marketing – Adults, Pre-School and Create said: “Its super important for us and relevant to know what our AFOLs feel about the LEGO potential messaging.  Even though adults have always been (more than) welcomed to the brand, it is great to know that this is a message that overall you are happy to see become more explicit and inviting.”

Genevieve Cruz, Audience Marketing Strategist – Adults, Pre-School and Create said: “This validate that we are on the right track with bringing the LEGO experience to more adults.  I also learned 3 things that could help us do this in a more effective way:

  1. The research helped confirm that the idea behind ‘Click my stress away’ is grounded on real-life insights – many fans of LEGO build because it is a relaxing, calming, energizing activity.  However, we need to be careful in communicating these benefits, that we do not imply that it is a substitute for professional treatment people who have real medical issues.
  2. Another key learning is that the call-to-action ‘Adults Welcome’ run the risk of sounding ‘gratuitous’ or redundant to some of our long-term AFOL friends.  But the truth is that the wider population of adults do not know that LEGO is also for them, and that we have a wide portfolio of products that cater to a variety of interests or passion points from cars to travel, music, sports, gaming, history & archeology.  This is the bigger underlying message behind ‘Adults Welcome’—inclusion of more adults through a diversified portfolio.
  3. Our AFOLS have always been, and will continue to be a source of inspiration for us, because they represent the pinnacle of brand experience.  We will continue to learn from them, this time sharing the benefits they experience from LEGO so that more adults can enjoy it.”

If you pay attention to the marketing materials of the new 18+ sets (press-releases, set-descriptions, etc.), you can see how the marketing department is using specific strategies to ignite the imagination of adults. They use buzz phrases like “relive stress”, “trigger nostalgic memories”, “set your creative side free”, “immerse yourself in a fun and creative DIY project to leave you feeling revitalized”, “relish a creative escape from everyday life”, “bring to life your passions with advanced LEGO sets”, and “take some time out and click your stress away with a rewarding challenge that will leave you feeling revitalized”.

Several of these may feel over the top and even corny, but they do address adult concerns, and it will likely take some time until the marketing department gets the message just right. Good LEGO sets basically sell themselves, but it still takes effort to attract new customers. It will be interesting to watch how the message changes and what ends up working the best. After all, LEGO is the largest toy manufacturer, and they spend significant resources and serious effort on researching new market opportunities. Those who work in marketing might find this journey interesting and can get some pointers for their own area.

What do you think? How do you like the new adult-oriented LEGO sets? And what do you think of the marketing materials that accompany the sets? Do they speak to you, or do you find them awkward? Do you read them or ignore them? What message do you think would work best to attract new adult fans to the hobby? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below!

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