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Friends vs Lord of the Rings


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#1 SheepEater

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 12:41 AM

Friends vs Lord of the Rings, two 2012 lines...

Which theme will be the most lucrative?
Which theme will last the longest?

Let the speculation begin!

I for one think LOTR will bring in the most money for the next few years, it being popular among adult Tolkien fanatics, teens, and little boys will be attracted to the cool looking castle/fantasy action, and will be interested even more after the Hobbit movies come out very shortly.

But I think Friends has a chance to last longer, not being tied around a particular movie or license. With that said, it will shortly face HEAVY competition from the announced Megabloks/Mattel alliance (Barbie Megabloks? Polly Pocket Megabloks?), and Lego's girly themes have never been all that successful in the past.

Edited by SheepEater, 26 June 2012 - 03:52 PM.


#2 Legocrazy81

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 12:55 AM

Well, of course LotR will bring in more money, it costs more than Friends.

I'm sure that LotR will also be more popular, especially among young boys. It already had a fan base when TLG announced it. I don't think this is a very fair fight.
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#3 Blondie-Wan

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 01:45 AM

View PostLegocrazy81, on 26 June 2012 - 12:55 AM, said:

Well, of course LotR will bring in more money, it costs more than Friends.

I'm sure that LotR will also be more popular, especially among young boys. It already had a fan base when TLG announced it. I don't think this is a very fair fight.

Well, there are lots of ways to look at it. The Lord of the Rings is a hugely popular, well-established franchise, to be sure - but then, Friends isn't targeting fans of any particular franchise, but rather an entire sex (more or less, in a manner of speaking). And yes, LotR has the most expensive sets right now, and Friends the least expensive - but Friends also has a lot more sets (and the ranges of prices for both themes mostly overlap anyway).

You might be entirely right about LotR being bigger, but I think it's really too early to call.

#4 ACWWgal2011

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 02:25 AM

I think LOTR will have WAY more lasting power. Friends is nothing more then lego's sad attempt at getting the girl side when the way they did it is a major insult to some people. LOTR sets look way cooler, have way better parts, and i can see this line lasting for many years. Friends? If i'd have to take a guess will be on the discountinued rack by the time christmas ends.

#5 Darkdragon

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 02:45 AM

I'm not sure how you can even start to compare these two themes.  Friends is meant for girls who are not yet "into" lego, and for introducing cute new animals and other fun things, special colors, etc.  Lord of the Rings is a license based on a move for teens and adults and consists of mostly tans and grays, and most of the characters are male or monstrous.

I think that without even comparing the two for benefits or shortcomings, Friends will last longer because it is created to last longer and not tied to any fad or license.

#6 SirBlake

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 02:57 AM

My 6 year old daughter and I spend more time playing with the LOTR stuff than her one friends set.

That said, I'd like to think there's plenty of room for both. I'd like to see both do well and last a long time.

#7 SheepEater

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 03:21 AM

View Postdarkdragon, on 26 June 2012 - 02:45 AM, said:

Friends will last longer because it is created to last longer and not tied to any fad or license.

I hope you aren't referring to LoTR as a 'fad'. The books have been around longer than most of our parents have been alive!

#8 Hawkman

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 03:23 AM

Realistically, LOTR is finite. Since, Lego only has the license for the movies and there's only three of those, they could technically get to a point where they run out of sets and ideas to work with. Meanwhile, Friends is so generic that it could continue by merely intigrating any and all girl related trends in fashion, style, etc for years to come.

With that said, some people (like myself) have waited years for a LOTR Lego line. Back when I was a kid collecting the Castle line in the early '90s I thought about how cool it would be to have Elves, Orcs, and Hobbits. And then later considering how much money I spent on LOTR products when the movies were out, I certainly would have jumped onto a Lego line back then. Meanwhile, I don't think anyone (including girls) were ever really hoping for a girl related Lego product. I doubt that was ever really on anyone's "what if" list.

I guess my simple answer is that Friends could have the longevity, but certainly LOTR has the stronger popularity.
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#9 Faefrost

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 05:42 AM

View PostHawkman, on 26 June 2012 - 03:23 AM, said:

Realistically, LOTR is finite. Since, Lego only has the license for the movies and there's only three of those, they could technically get to a point where they run out of sets and ideas to work with.

You would think. But Star Wars is technically only 6 movies, and they are on their second 10 year licensing deal with them, and it's still their best selling line. While I don't think LotR will do quite hat well, I think it will have some legs to it. Also it is three movies now, but 5 total. They also have the license for he two Hobbit ones.

I think LotR will do better I the mid term. I think Friends will outsell it in the short term, and if worked well as a line, has the potential to be a stronger long term seller ( 10+ years). In the 5 year range LotR will outsell it, but will be more subject to peaks and valleys subject to movie releases etc.

Now if New Line figures out how to turn the Silmarilion into a comprehensible trilogy of movies, all bets are off.
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#10 Hawkman

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 06:52 AM

View PostFaefrost, on 26 June 2012 - 05:42 AM, said:

You would think. But Star Wars is technically only 6 movies, and they are on their second 10 year licensing deal with them, and it's still their best selling line. While I don't think LotR will do quite hat well, I think it will have some legs to it. Also it is three movies now, but 5 total. They also have the license for he two Hobbit ones.

Granted, I see your point to some degree, but I think Star Wars is just more expansive than LOTR and it's hard to compare the two. Star Wars has seven movies (I know I don't count the Clone Wars movie as being a real Star Wars movie but it is there) and the current cartoon. With that said, Star Wars has encompassed alot of repetitive Lego sets over the years that have perpetuated it's continued longevity. Jedi Starfighters, X-Wings, TIE Fighters are just a few of the sets that have all seen revisions over the years.

Meanwhile, LOTR is just three movie - we can add The Hobbit, but then we should just call the line Tolkien Works and call it done. Mostly, I see these sets as being "one and done". For example, there's no real way to improve on the current Weathertop set - it's done and it's great. The same will hold true for most of the other LOTR sets that were just released. Fact is, Lego can't just re-color Balin's Tomb and call it a new set, but they can re-color a Jedi Starfighter and call it new.

I agree that LOTR has legs, but just not the same legs as Star Wars. Which is a shame, because I like LOTR a bit more than Star Wars.
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#11 Blondie-Wan

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 10:52 AM

View PostHawkman, on 26 June 2012 - 06:52 AM, said:

Granted, I see your point to some degree, but I think Star Wars is just more expansive than LOTR and it's hard to compare the two. Star Wars has seven movies (I know I don't count the Clone Wars movie as being a real Star Wars movie but it is there) and the current cartoon. With that said, Star Wars has encompassed alot of repetitive Lego sets over the years that have perpetuated it's continued longevity. Jedi Starfighters, X-Wings, TIE Fighters are just a few of the sets that have all seen revisions over the years.

Sure, and who's to say the Middle-earth line can't have set revisions if it lasts long enough?

Moreover, we're still talking about Lord of the Rings "versus" Friends, not Star Wars. The Star Wars comparison was brought up simply to show a licensed theme can in fact be more than just a quick "fad"-like theme. I don't think even the poster who mentioned it actually expects LEGO LotR to have quite the same success and longevity of LEGO SW, but merely to illustrate that LEGO LotR doesn't have to be over and done in a scant two years or so.

View PostHawkman, on 26 June 2012 - 06:52 AM, said:

Meanwhile, LOTR is just three movie - we can add The Hobbit, but then we should just call the line Tolkien Works and call it done.

I think "Middle-earth" is the better name for the collective Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit line, but never mind. LotR may be just three movies now, but they're huge, long movies - the running time of the extended editions in particular is comparable to six other movies of average length. With the two Hobbit movies (from which LEGO will also be making sets, we already know), the total running time of the film series will be comparable to and likely greater than that of all seven theatrically-released Star Wars movies combined - and all five of them will still have been relatively recent, with the oldest having come out just twelve or thirteen years ago (by comparison, the earliest Star Wars movie was released twenty-two years before LEGO's first Star Wars sets).

View PostHawkman, on 26 June 2012 - 06:52 AM, said:

Mostly, I see these sets as being "one and done". For example, there's no real way to improve on the current Weathertop set - it's done and it's great. The same will hold true for most of the other LOTR sets that were just released. Fact is, Lego can't just re-color Balin's Tomb and call it a new set, but they can re-color a Jedi Starfighter and call it new.

Oh, you must not know much about LEGO if you think that!  :tongue:  There's always another way of doing something, and they certainly could revisit Weathertop or Balin's Tomb if the line were to last many years, just as they've revisited lots of Star Wars things over the years.

View PostHawkman, on 26 June 2012 - 06:52 AM, said:

I agree that LOTR has legs, but just not the same legs as Star Wars. Which is a shame, because I like LOTR a bit more than Star Wars.

Now, I do agree LotR doesn't have the same legs when it comes to licensed merchandise (such as LEGO sets), but that doesn't mean it can't still be a big theme - Harry Potter isn't as big as Star Wars either, yet it's been another huge LEGO theme, with more than half a hundred sets released over the years since it began just over a decade ago, and is only now winding up.

Look at it this way - do you expect LotR to be at least as big as Indiana Jones? It certainly ought to be - by the time it's done, it'll have five movies to Indy's four, and they're more popular and more acclaimed on average, and the first three LotR are all considerably more recent than the first three Indy movies. Indy was still a successful theme - a solid four waves in two years, including one whole year (two waves) of sets released the year after the wave released alongside the newest movie. That's for a theme with fewer movies than LotR, with the first three movies substantially older than any of the LotR movies, and with a smaller fanbase than LotR. (I am of course well aware of the Young Indiana Jones TV show, but it probably doesn't count for the purposes of this discussion since TLG never made any sets from it and relatively few people in TLG's customer base have seen it). I love and adore Indy, but for all these reasons I'd expect LotR to be even more successful, which should mean three years with five or six waves at a bare minimum, and given the popularity of the theme could go a bit beyond that.

But anyway, we're talking about LotR and Friends. The two are more different and it's really hard to call. And really, why bother? Many of us love both, and they're not in direct competition with one another. Surely there will even be fans of either franchise who will also pick up a few sets from the other, to supplement their parts inventories, just as with any other pair of themes.

Edited by Blondie-Wan, 26 June 2012 - 10:54 AM.


#12 Hawkman

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 02:46 PM

View PostBlondie-Wan, on 26 June 2012 - 10:52 AM, said:

Moreover, we're still talking about Lord of the Rings "versus" Friends, not Star Wars.

Are you sure? Because you definitely had alot to say about Star Wars...  *huh*

Try to be less condescending next time. Just because I've only been logged here for a month doesn't mean I know nothing about Lego. These are opinions. In the end, LOTR is one of my favorite hobbies, but even I'm smart enough to know it's limitations.
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#13 Darkdragon

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 02:49 PM

View PostSheepEater, on 26 June 2012 - 03:21 AM, said:

I hope you aren't referring to LoTR as a 'fad'. The books have been around longer than most of our parents have been alive!
Yes, the movies/toys are a fad. Of course the books are classics but people don't make toys or buy toys based off books (generally speaking).

#14 Blondie-Wan

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 03:08 PM

View PostHawkman, on 26 June 2012 - 02:46 PM, said:

Are you sure? Because you definitely had alot to say about Star Wars...  *huh*

Try to be less condescending next time. Just because I've only been logged here for a month doesn't mean I know nothing about Lego. These are opinions. In the end, LOTR is one of my favorite hobbies, but even I'm smart enough to know it's limitations.

I had a lot to say about Star Wars because the conversation was diverted that way; I spent a lot of what I had to say trying to get it back to the original topic. I also wasn't trying to be condescending, and I'm sorry you perceived it that way. I certainly don't see anywhere in my post where I suggested you didn't know anything about LEGO, but if it reads that way to you, my regrets.

I, too, have opinions, and was simply trying to express them - specifically, my opinions that a) Friends has the potential to be a long-running, successful theme; b) Lord of the Rings has comparable potential to be a long-running, successful theme; and c) it's really too early to tell which, if either, will be more successful in the long run. My posts were written to support those ideas, not to belittle or insult others here, and I'm really sorry you read it otherwise.

View Postdarkdragon, on 26 June 2012 - 02:49 PM, said:

Yes, the movies/toys are a fad. Of course the books are classics but people don't make toys or buy toys based off books (generally speaking).

While the movies are relatively new compared to the original Star Wars movies (as I pointed out myself), I don't know that movies released a decade ago and toys based on them are exactly a "fad."

Edited by Blondie-Wan, 26 June 2012 - 03:09 PM.


#15 TheLegoDr

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 04:31 PM

It's tough to compare both of those themes since they have such different markets. And with previous popularity vs brand new concept can make it harder to guess which one will prevail.

I would hope both last a long time to continue new molds/colors for building purposes.

My daughter is only 2, but she loves the Friends sets. She likes the colors and the cute little animals. But she also loves Shelob for some reason.

All the stores around me have very little in the way of Friends sets, but they haven't received any LOTR sets yet, so it's tough to say how well those will be selling. I would imagine both will sell well for quite some time.
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#16 Eilif

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 05:43 PM

An Intersting question.

I have no doubt at all that LOTR will outsell Friends by a wide margin.  It's just too iconic, anticipated and comes with such a large built-in consumer base not to be wildly successfull for at least a while.

That should not be a dig on Friends though.  I spoke to a LEGO retail worker and they told me they can hardly keep Friends in stock as it is selling so fast!  

I have no idea which will have more longevity.  I could see LoTR being as fickle as PoTC or as long lasting as SW.  Licensed themes are entirely dependent on who has control of the license, how much control they have (sometimes more than one party on each side has to agree) and whether both sides see value in continuing.

Friends is different enough from -and so far more successfull than- previous attempts like Belelville and Paradisia that I think there really is no benchmark from which to judge how successful it will be

I wish both lines lots of luck.
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#17 Jedi master Brick

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 05:48 PM

I can't tell because both themes are amazing

Edited by Jedi master Brick, 26 June 2012 - 05:48 PM.

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#18 vexorian

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 06:08 PM

I hope they both die a shameful death.

LEGO needs to redo friends with real minifigs. And we need less licensed themes not more. Plus horses not compatible with old headgear is terrible.

Villain out, peace.

PS: Mattel+Megabloks is a match made in heaven. Megabloks would be the Krap-o to Mattel's Hasbro. Let awful toy companies continuing joining together.

Edited by vexorian, 26 June 2012 - 06:11 PM.


#19 sharky

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 06:16 PM

I'd have to go with LOTR simply because I feel LOTR will have more girls interested in it than boys will be to Friends.  As far as lasting power, that probably has more to do with what kind of licensing agreement Lego has to keep making LOTR sets.

#20 BrickPicker

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 06:21 PM

Friends...The LOTR theme is nothing special as of yet.  I hope to see some larger and detailed sets in the future.
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#21 Aanchir

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 06:22 PM

I think overall, as a theme, The Lord of the Rings has more potential for lasting success than LEGO Friends. There are a number of reasons for this, including that LEGO Friends is still to some extent an experiment in how building toys can be marketed to girls, and as such there aren't years of precedent pointing to its potential to success-- unlike The Lord of the Rings, which in some ways combines the proven potential of many years of LEGO Castle sets and the long-term relevance of the franchise itself.'

But there's another important factor to keep in mind. The success of The Lord of the Rings is based almost entirely on the IP it's based on. This means that as long as the franchise remains relevant and popular, the theme has that same potential. The merits of LEGO Friends are based more strictly on its fundamental nature as a building toy. And since these merits are hardly exclusive to the LEGO Friends theme, it would be easy if things turned sour for TLG to replace it with a similar brand with a different name. Who knows? With the success LEGO Friends has seen, it's possible that more fantasy- or sci-fi oriented girl-oriented themes could emerge over time. So what's to stop one of these themes from outshining and eventually replacing the theme that inspired them?

What I'm getting at is that if both LEGO Friends and The Lord of the Rings remain successful, then LEGO Friends would be the easier theme to "replace". After all, TLG built its success from the ground up, and could easily do so again with a new theme, just as seems likely to happen in the case of Ninjago, which has been wildly successful but which isn't planned to continue beyond 2013. On the other hand, if The Lord of the Rings shows any sort of staying power, then it would be a much bigger risk to replace it. It came to TLG with a certain amount of pre-established potential, and as precedent shows, licensed themes like that don't come along all that often.

If either theme fails to show staying power, then all bets are off. Middle-Earth sets might very easily fail to outlive The Hobbit film franchise, if no other plans emerge to promote Tolkien's story universe in such a prominent medium. LEGO Friends could start suffering as competitors begin to follow in TLG's footsteps and introduce their own girl-oriented building toy brands. But since both themes seem to have proven popular so far I've got more confidence in the established IP that is The Lord of the Rings.

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#22 AndyC

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 06:43 PM

The difficulty for Lord of The Rings will be whether stores are keen to stock it once the Hobbit movies are done and dusted. By and large toy stores are less keen to push licensed product that doesn't have an ongoing advertising push from it's licensor in the form of movies etc (notable exceptions being SW, which is and always has been a license to print money for toy manufacturers and, oddly, Cars, perhaps because toy cars have always been a quintessential part of childhood). If it turns out to be a massive money spinner that may not be an issue, but otherwise stores may prefer to let it slide before it reaches the point it's clogging their shelves.

In contrast, Friends isn't similarly tied and thus TLG is free to change it as and when it wants. Given that it at least seems to have been a success so far, I can't imagine they'll be in a hurry to completely redo all the development work behind the line. And when you look at how long Belville sets were around, despite being considered largely a failure, it certainly would suggest that Friends could be around for some time to come.

Personally I think they're both going to be around for some time yet, so best to just enjoy them both while you can.  :classic:
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#23 LegoMyMamma

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 07:29 PM

View PostHawkman, on 26 June 2012 - 03:23 AM, said:

Meanwhile, I don't think anyone (including girls) were ever really hoping for a girl related Lego product. I doubt that was ever really on anyone's "what if" list.

  Actually, girls have been asking for more girl-related LEGO products for years!

  So, yes, it was very much on TLG's, female Ambassador's, LEGO retail store manager's, other toy retailer's, parent's, and fan's "what if" lists!  That is why TLG launched a comprehensive 4-year global interactive anthropological research project.  The MiniDolls are a result of girls who imagined themselves "shrinking down" to play inside of their creations -- and most simply didn't relate to MiniFigs.  That's why Friends brick sets have "Friends" and has never been about replacing MiniFigs, nor competing with them.  As has been stated, Friends core purpose is to be a bridge to building with LEGO bricks for those girls who are new to the toy/hobby.  It's those girls who didn't consider LEGO before Friends -- who are now gaining the same spatial, problem-solving, math & engineering skills as all LEGO fans!

  LEGO retail stores have had customers asking for years exactly what Friends theme represents: girl-oriented, some softer colors, new designs, sets which include role-play aspects during the building process, and a buildable figure.  That this has been accomplished along with progressive modular designs, some new elements, new colors, new interactive games, new characters, new & expandable storylines, LEGO events & displays for girls to build with other girls, accompanying products (clothing, bags, accessories, etc.) -- all the while gaining loads of *new* LEGO fans is quite a "success" by any definition!  Stores are sold out.  Some sets were sold out of some sets within weeks of the New Year's Day launch!

  As for this topic of *vs* is concerned, EB is always a wonderful place for discussions, however this seems a bit like comparing apples to oranges.  Of course LoTR is iconic and has generations of fans.  Friends is a brand new slate -- it has zero limitations of canon, characters, licensing, or middle earth settings.

  What we should really be asking here is: who is building an awesome Friends-LoTR MOC for the Summer of Friends challenge!  :laugh:  


#24 Faefrost

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 07:52 PM

View PostAanchir, on 26 June 2012 - 06:22 PM, said:

I think overall, as a theme, The Lord of the Rings has more potential for lasting success than LEGO Friends. There are a number of reasons for this, including that LEGO Friends is still to some extent an experiment in how building toys can be marketed to girls, and as such there aren't years of precedent pointing to its potential to success-- unlike The Lord of the Rings, which in some ways combines the proven potential of many years of LEGO Castle sets and the long-term relevance of the franchise itself.'



Agreed for the most part. Here is what I see as the pro/cons with each

LotR's
Pro's -
Backed by well known IP with multi generational fanbase
Spawns off of a well established and popular Castle line
2 more movies coming

Con's-
It is fully tied to the IP, if the IP goes down so goes the line
It will be a sales surge type line. When movies release it will sell well. Initial releases will sell well. But it also isn't that eye grabbing. It's mainly dark greys and earth tones. Grey castle walls in all the scenes. Not a lot that pops. In this regard the old Castle line has an advantage.
When the IP does dip it is easy enough to change the line back to Castle.
LotR is sort of heavier material that has an age expectation at the upper ends of Lego's normal target groups. You don't see a lot of 6 or 7 year old LotR fans.

Friends
Pro's-
It seems to finally be a good desired building product for girls.
It's flying off the shelves at a steady rate. Not surges.
It seems to even be attracting AFOL's in large part because of the interesting pices and colors
If they can keep a steady momentum it stands to fall into a similar niche to their City line or Duplo, which are their steadiest earners long term.

Con's -
The Dolls. Those grotesque little things.
Girl Toys can be a fickle market
They've tried this several times (Belvue anyone? Paradisa?)

Honestly it all depends on if they can get Friends to click as a lasting fixture in the marketplace. Can they leverage their position as the big dog in the toy business to carve out a more permanent bit of shelf space over in the land of pink Barbie dolls. If Friends makes it to 4 waves I think they will have done it, and long term Friends will be the better profit point. The best expectations for LoTR will probably put it in a similar place to Harry Potter. A good strong multi year license. Peaks and valleys of sales but all profitable. And a definitive end point. (and let's be honest with ourselves. Yeah we all know that LotR is supposedly replacing Castle for now. But really it is the on shelf replacement for the Harry Potter line. That is the target niche of customers they are really working with with it.)
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#25 Pingles

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 08:49 PM

I think some folks underestimate the playability of the Friends sets.

My daughter is 3. Her favorite Lego to play with used to be the Star Wars mini ships from the Advent calendar. In other words, not a real "dolly" type of girl.  

Some cousins bought her a few Friends sets and now it is all she plays with.  We give the animals baths, we use the bazillions of accessories those sets include (one set has a syringe!) and even the vehicles get more use than any of her (my) other sets.

She still finds wonderful ways of tying in my other sets to the Friends but those Friends and their pets are the constant.
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