“Bring back beautiful”

24 12 2011

There has been an interesting development in the world of LEGO. Seriously.

Why do I care? Because LEGO was one of my favourite playthings when I was little, and I consider it “making”.

Controversy has been stirred by the release of a new ‘girly’ range – including figures with sort-of-little-boobies. See this news article for more.

There are quite a number of aspects of the backlash I totally agree with – especially if LEGO was excited about the new colour range (which they have said repeatedly in the defence of the range), then why not just introduce a new colour range in their traditional range of bricks and body shapes …

This old-school advert is being used in the response … it’s just gorgeous!

media image; for original source click on image

I checked out the facebook page mentioned in the news article – an interesting comment that caught my eye was “remember how well the Lego Jewellery line went?“. What? LEGO jewellery? To the interwebs to investigate…

There’s nothing on the official LEGO website. There’s one news story from last year, though no image; one here with an image; oh and another new story with a more extensive image, reproduced below.

media image; click on image for original source

The trouble with searching for LEGO jewellery (as in that made by the company), is that the blocks are so iconic that they are regularly used in jewellery by many others – making pieces for quirk and fun.

Anyway, back to the original point … I realise that companies need to evolve their product lines to make profit and to continually access niche market pockets (I mean this is only one of their huge range, include a whole bunch of movie-related products) …  perhaps the story just made me feel a little nostalgic, especially the image, and the recollection of the joy of spreading out huge box of LEGO pieces on the floor and playing innocently with my brother for hours (until one of us knocked over the other’s construction in ire because they took the block you wanted …. ah memories!).

Update (27th December): an opinion piece has also been written about this here

Update (28th December): I’ve been watching the debate (especially on the Facebook page) and find it interesting to think about. There is an exceptional degree of vitriol and gender-stereotyping accusations being thrown around.

I don’t like the new collection, but so what? I don’t like almost all of the various ‘specialty’ collections that have been released over the years either. I’m more of a classic-bricks kind of girl. The classics are still being produced. The other collections are ‘options’, not replacements; and are there to make the company money. If they keep making money, they’ll keep producing the classics (hopefully!).

Some of the ‘feedback’ to LEGO includes “go back to what works” … but we can’t go back to the 80s! And besides that, this isn’t the only ‘diversion’ from the classics that LEGO has made, they’ve been evolving their collections for years.

The more interesting issue is perhaps not the product but the marketing … and with the wide ‘news’ coverage, LEGO is getting lots of that for free. There seems to be criticism for the recent ‘exclusive’ gender-specific marketing and lack of the ‘inclusive’ gender-specific (as seen in the 80s) … that, I think I can agree with (though it must be said, I’m no expert in the LEGO marketing of the last three decades, so maybe I’ve missed stuff!).

I’m still going to buy the classic brick sets for the children I know, and still not buy the themed sets – nothing’s changed here. On reflection, I’m not sure why people are getting their knickers in a knot – you can choose what you spend your money on; and children may be influenced by marketing, though aren’t parents the most important influence in their development?

[ps. the title of this post is in reference to the catch-cry being used in the media … ]

Update (29th December): okay, last thought on this topic … if this is the first and only time LEGO have changed the body shape (except for aliens in their ranges; it’s true), then I am not happy. I don’t know if it is the first time, if it’s been done before, if there are non-classic boy shapes too; and I’m really not going to start to research that now, it’s not that important to me! But as I said, last thought on the topic.



2 responses

24 12 2011

Ada has been playing with some original 80’s lego jewellery at her nana’s house, from her aunty’s childhood.

24 12 2011

that is awesome – I love it!

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