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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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{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Chris August 11, 2020, 10:58 AM

    If they want to win over adults, make a new cypress tree mould.

    • Oldtimer August 11, 2020, 11:58 AM

      Now, this I can relate to!

      • Håkan August 11, 2020, 3:01 PM

        Heh, I have ‘one’ cypress tree from a second hand bulk build, but I could always use more.

        I also have a rare Duplo cypress tree, which is of unclear origin. Possibly for advertising in toy shop windows…


        • Daniel August 11, 2020, 3:29 PM

          Wow, what?!! A Duplo cypress tree?!! That’s incredible! I only have one cypress tree, and it doesn’t even lean too much. It’s my treasured piece.

          • Håkan August 11, 2020, 4:03 PM

            Found in another second hand bulk bag. Most of the other bricks in it were pretty generic or trashy, but I still had to buy it!

            I gave away the surplus Duplo to my nieces, if I recall correctly…

  • yoladiel August 11, 2020, 11:41 AM

    I hope it works out for them. I know a lot of companies struggle right now with the pandemic. They should make an 18+ section of their website though. It’s really hard to find all the products at once targeting adults.

  • Oldtimer August 11, 2020, 11:57 AM

    The marketing language seems awkward to me, but I’m older and can’t relate to younger generations always talking about their feelings. I build with Lego because I like it. That’s it.

  • Henry August 11, 2020, 12:06 PM

    I guess I’m in the target age group, and honestly, I don’t care about the language or the age recommendations, but I do like the sets. I hope they will continue to make more sets for adults, especially trains and mosaics.

  • lifelibertylego August 11, 2020, 12:22 PM

    I feel the language is sort of forced, but honestly, all I care about is the sets. I’m happy that they finally acknowledge that they have an adult fan base.

  • Grim August 11, 2020, 12:31 PM

    My only concern with the adults Lego is targeting is they fall short of the Baby Boomer generation. All the current adult Lego greatly excludes the interests of my generation. Even the Mule train is not relatable to adult fans from the US. The US has always been a fuel based engine pushing steam or turbines. The electric overhead power is a street car thing here. With minor exception our rails were never powered by the electric utility style lines. The comic based stuff too. It’s based on the modern interpretations of what a super hero is. I am skeptical that Lego will be able to satiate the hunger for Lego from my older generation. The entire list at the beginning of your blog post contains sets I will never purchase. Even the piano is scaled poorly and looks more like a baby grand. I really hope Lego gets the hang of this adult market. As for the wall art sets; all I see is arts and crafts bead building of subjects I am not interested in.

  • Legostuff14 August 11, 2020, 12:49 PM

    We are dividing not uniting. That’s been the way for many, many years. We are put into categories. In the beginning it didn’t matter because both adults and young adults and/ or kids have work together and build Lego sets from City to Star Wars to Ninjago and so on. It didn’t matter what age group people where in, because it didn’t matter. In fact Lego said it didn’t matter, all Lego wanted was to get the creativity going in people and their imagination going. In fact, adults and young adults or kids actually work together and bridge the gap between the two. So why put another wedge between it? If anything it just means that adults have found they are creative sense or mind in the Journey of building Lego sets. I think that’s fine but again it goes back to dividing and how we work so hard to unite and work together. You see Fathers and Sons ,mothers and daughters building sets together. They find their common ground. Now if you don’t have kids ,then sure. I guess you can say I’m a bit of a mixed bag on this one.🤔

    • Håkan August 11, 2020, 3:03 PM

      I guess I buy Lego to compensate for my lack of children… @_@

  • brickmaster August 11, 2020, 3:22 PM

    I’m reading this as Lego made the 18+ sets for other adults, not those who are already afols. I suppose that for them the marketing language is okay, but I agree they have to be careful not to make it sound like Lego is replacement for therapy.

  • Martin August 11, 2020, 4:50 PM

    As someone interested in marketing, I find Lego’s marketing attempts interesting. Some of them I can more or less understand, like those for the 18+ sets. Others, like the Rebuild the World video, I didn’t get at all. I’m sure (or at least I hope) they track the success of their ads and campaigns.

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