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Minifigure marketing; package redesign and other ideas


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#1 raiderone

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 06:37 AM

I hope this has not been already covered but all I could find was a thread soliciting "what minifigures are missing."  Firstly some background:  Given that Lego did away with the unique barcoding schema after the 1st and 2nd series, they presumably do not want you to know what figure you are buying.  Or do they?  There are now "bump codes", on the bottom of the packages, but I'll be darned if I can consistently identify where the bumps actually are.  Also, there is the squish the package for a particular part unique to the figure you are looking for.  Recently, I've come across some pretty "felt-up" packages that discouraged me from buying any.  I did have two figures where the face/body printing was scratched probably due to some overzealous feeling; perhaps the base was squeezed against the printed part and scratched it.  Also, based on some of the minifigure threads there are some pretty astute "feelers" out there that can cherry pick boxes out of the more popular figures.

What to do?

Should Lego change the packaging to prevent identification of the figures?  And or to prevent damage to the figures?  I suppose they could keep the packaging the same but put them into boxes, but that might add to the cost.  

Should Lego put a little clear window on the package so that with a little bit of research you can identify the figure (or back to the barcoding)?  Now I must confess that there is a certain thrill/surprise factor not knowing what figure you are getting.  But that can instantly disappear when you get a figure you don't want or another duplicate figure that you don't want.

Finally, should Lego put in a secret limited figure.  Make it challenging but not impossible, say one per case.  The figure could simply be one of the sixteen figures with different print colors.  Or should Lego go all out and drop in a really unique figure.  I recall "Kubrick" figures a while back used to show the  unique figure along with the odds of finding it, ie. 1 out of 96, 1 out of 16, etc.

#2 Hey Joe

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 07:12 AM

I would stop collecting them if there were one very rare and hard-to-find (expensive) one. The present packaging seems logical to me, just like baseball cards when I was a kid. Remember, it's a kids toy and it creates a buzz and gives them something to do (barter). The CMFs are the number one selling pocket money toy. We collectors can always get exactly what we want in the usual places. I buy them in complete sets online anyway, have no time or interest in feeling packages or bartering.
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#3 Legogal

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:24 PM

View Postbjtpro, on 07 September 2012 - 07:12 AM, said:

I would stop collecting them if there were one very rare and hard-to-find (expensive) one. The present packaging seems logical to me, just like baseball cards when I was a kid. Remember, it's a kids toy and it creates a buzz and gives them something to do (barter). The CMFs are the number one selling pocket money toy. We collectors can always get exactly what we want in the usual places. I buy them in complete sets online anyway, have no time or interest in feeling packages or bartering.
Yup, many of us feel that the uncertainty of what is in the package is attractive to kids of all ages. To avoid damaged  mini figs, I try to buy from newly opened boxes, which can be difficult to find.
Have you found any good LEGO stores in Beijing? My son is living there now and still builds  in his twenties.
May you have many fun times building with your son as that is how many adults got into LEGO.

#4 Hey Joe

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 02:16 PM

View PostLegogal, on 07 September 2012 - 12:24 PM, said:

Yup, many of us feel that the uncertainty of what is in the package is attractive to kids of all ages. To avoid damaged  mini figs, I try to buy from newly opened boxes, which can be difficult to find.
Have you found any good LEGO stores in Beijing? My son is living there now and still builds  in his twenties.
May you have many fun times building with your son as that is how many adults got into LEGO.
Hi Legogal, thanks, yeah there are lots of shops to get Lego at here but its double US prices so I never buy at those places (nice to take my young son though to browse and play in the Lego pits). The original Beijing Lego store is in the China World Hotel Mall.  The one I usually go to is at a mall called Solana.

The best place to buy is TaoBao: http://www.taobao.com/ which is basically China's eBay.  It's in Chinese but if your son can't read it then I hear there are agents who will help you for a small fee. Chinese friends can be a big help too, of course.

Sometimes I get the locally made stuff, most of it is pretty bad and not worth having but there are a few decents sets.  I normally go to a place called 'Bai Rong' on the South Third Ring to browse and then buy on TaoBao.  This is a link that explains 'Bai Rong'.

Ok, hope that helps! Joe

Edited by bjtpro, 07 September 2012 - 02:26 PM.

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#5 natelite

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 02:44 PM

i think having a differently colored rare figure is a good idea. how they will implement this is the million dollar question.

though i would suspect this could lead to more opened bags in the retail stores.

#6 Greedo24

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 12:13 AM

I don't really like the idea of one super-rare figure. :hmpf_bad: But what I do like is selling them in packiging simular to the old one but with alist of figs saying how often of a chance you will get one,simular to Topps cards. :cry_happy: Then it wouldn't be like the time I ended up with THREE,count it THREE series two vampires! :hmpf: (I am actually happy because they have useful parts!)But on the other topic an example would be:Santa 25% chance per case I think LEGO would think of a good form of that.NOW they would sell more because collectors like that type of stuff. :wink:
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#7 TheWarden

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 01:36 AM

Hmmm... beats me. I guess I'm the anomaly. I hate "blind packaging" enough that it prevents be from buying the original product. I have played a TCG (Magic: the Gathering) for about 15 years, but like 6 years ago I found out I was tired of randomness and haven't bought a pack since, preferring to buy singles and duel decks and things where I know exactly what I am getting.

The same for me applies to the minifig packs. I haven't bought a single one I think, but the new "theme packs" like the band, the beach, and the monster set are quite appealing to me and I might buy them!
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#8 fred67

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 01:44 AM

I'm not a big fan of the blind packaging, and usually want at least two complete sets+ (one for posterity, one for display, and figures for MOCs... then my kids want some, so I'm usually still buying more of the popular ones), so I'm at the point where I just order a box.  If they threw a rare figure in each box, then, it wouldn't really bother me - especially if, in doing so, they gave us four of the one of the lamer figures instead of five.

But that's me - it's only because I am at the point where I'm buying the box.  If I weren't, I'd be really annoyed if TLG were to pull something like that.

So... ultimately, I think happier customers are better than unhappy ones.  The ones buying figures are happy... why make a few of them even happier if you're going to make most of them annoyed?  So no, I don't think they should do that.  I also don't want completely blind packaging (the "feel" method works well - I'm 100% when taking my time)... I have (so far) seven complete, sealed series that I'm planning on leaving my kids or something... don't want to screw that up now if they moved to little boxes and you just couldn't tell.

If people are opening the figures in the store and destroying the packets trying to do the "feel" method, I think that's a vendor problem, not a supplier one... they should leave them closer to the registers, perhaps.

#9 AncientDayz

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 02:26 AM

I don't think Lego would ever get rid of the blind packaging unless sales dropped horribly (then, they would probably just drop the line altogether). The blind packaging bit works (look at baseball cards, etc.). It's just a few bucks out of pocket for the kids, maybe once in a while at the store. The kid gets a "surprise," but any "disappointment" leads parents to buy another pack until you get that complete set (or the figure the kid wanted).

Personally, I haven't had any problems in my area with figures being damaged or over-felt. I could just be lucky. As a collector, I would love to get rid of the blind-packaging to save money, but I think it would definitely hurt Lego's sales. As to a box packaging, that'll just increase price and drive a few more of those extra pocket dollars out of Lego's cashregisters. I don't think there's an answer for collectors that is price/profit-feasible for Lego. This is as good as it will probably be (they probably invested a ton of research into these ideas before the Series 1 release, too).

#10 fred67

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 02:33 AM

Agree with AncientDayz; boxes won't just increase price, they'll take up more display space.

#11 TheLegoDr

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 04:12 PM

I am OK with the feel method. I'm not a huge fan of blind packaging. It can make things difficult when you are in a hurry, especially with a toddler in tow. I've considered just buying a box, but then I'd end up with multiples I don't care about and I don't want to go to the trouble of selling them on-line, even if I could make money. With that said, if they went to boxes which would eliminate any feel method linked damage, I would quit buying them and only buy them from after-market resellers which equals less money for TLG.

I would say they knew what they were getting into when they created this series, otherwise they would have changed it already or they would have started it with something else.

A super rare figure would be upsetting for a lot of "gotta have them all" collectors and if it happened to be one of the figures I actually wanted, then it'd be upsetting for me as well. So I would prefer if they never did anything like that, and I don't suspect them to. If they were, it would be included in one of those newer minifigure collections that you see/know what you are getting to begin with.
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