Saturday, July 28, 2007
WHEN AND WHY DID LEGO LOSE THE PLOT?
I remember a few years back, lego was voted best toy ever. The main reason cited was that kids never got bored of it because when they did, they could simply take apart what they had built and build something totally different. That certainly described the big box of lego I had as a child in the 70s. I remembered it so fondly that of course when I had kids one of the top things on Santa's list was a box of lego. I tried most big toy retailers - Toys R Us and the likes only to find that nowadays lego comes in sets, like this box of Vikings Thomas bought Marcel for his birthday. It comes with all the bits to build the canon and the dragon and a 50 page instruction manual explaining how it all fits together but that is it. Once it is built, you can't dismantle it and build something else - you don't have the bits and it is too complex. Now I am not saying this is a bad side line - kids love these models - Marcel was more than happy with this gift but to my mind this should represent about 20% of the lego you find when you explore Toys R Us' shelves rather than the 95% it actually represents. It was so bad when Santa went looking for boring, everyday lego, he ended up having to buy the rival, but 100% compatible megabloks because he actually couldn't find a box of plain lego, only sets :-( I understand that sets is where the money lies as they aren't reusable, so kids want more and more of those, but most little kids also want a big box of boring old-fashioned lego too. I can't see how no longer making this is a good move in the market. Even in legoland in Denmark last month, 95% of the lego on sale was sets. Crazy!