Lego David

Are "Big Bang Themes" a Bad Strategy?

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10 hours ago, Lego David said:

The competition with Ninjago always limits the success of the other BB themes.

I don't think it's a good idea to blame this all on Ninjago. I'm not in the mood, but I could recount millions of very abstract and rational reasons why one or the other series may have failed. It's really not that difficult to analyze this down to the last micron, but the simple fact remains that even if you knew what went wrong and fixed it in a second round, that still doesn't imply that any of these series could be successful in whatever sense. And that is also a truth here: Something radical like Ninjago isn't going to happen again simply because there is no external pressure to change anything. LEGO's business is stable enough as it is and the company has fallen in that typical pattern of playing for keeps like any other such company. It's all about trusting endless market research more than gutsy intuitive decisions and risking as little as possible just to keep revenues stable...

Mylenium

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20 minutes ago, Mylenium said:

I don't think it's a good idea to blame this all on Ninjago.

True. And of course any big bang theme is also competing with all of the other LEGO themes - not only other current big bang themes - plus all of the other toys on the shelves from other manufacturers.

The other thing to consider is that if only themes that have three year plans and get a heavy marketing push and get a TV theme are compared, then those themes must have some element of continuity to ensure at least modest success. Even a company like LEGO are not going to invest huge sums of money over many years into something completely unique to see if it works. Much smaller themes can be used to test ideas, or even alternative routes to test out novel ideas. For example, FORMA being used to test out ideas for selling sets to adults by highlighting creativity and stress-relief, which has now been used in the mosaics and piano.

So the similarities in that Ninjago and Chima and Nexo Knights are all good vs bad faction based action themes is not that surprising. LEGO knows that works well enough even when it doesn't work very well. 

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On 7/22/2020 at 1:11 AM, Peppermint_M said:

It is a lot cheaper too, to use one banner to cover a lot of different "themes". Want to have a modern and grounded Arctic Survey style theme? City Arctic covers you without having to faff about with launching a new internal brand. 

Sweet, then let's get some Space and Castle sets going under the Creator theme! We already got a pirate ship. The Space Winneba- er, I mean "Rover Explorer" was kinda Space-ish I guess but it was 90% NASA and only 10% Sci-Fi so I'm not counting it.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, danth said:

Sweet, then let's get some Space and Castle sets going under the Creator theme! We already got a pirate ship. The Space Winneba- er, I mean "Rover Explorer" was kinda Space-ish I guess but it was 90% NASA and only 10% Sci-Fi so I'm not counting it.

I'd love to see more Castles, Pirates and Space under creator , especially now that LEGO is somewhat in focus about their jets and helicopters.

Hidden Side is likely retiring as well so that Castle won't be on official shelves for long.

Edited by TeriXeri

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No. "Big Bang" themes are not necessarily designed to last forever. They're designed to make a big impact at launch, coast on that for a couple years, and once their popularity wanes, be replaced with something new. Ninjago's massive success is the exception, not the norm. Keep in mind that it was originally going to end and be replaced after two and a half years worth of sets—perhaps not coincidentally, the exact same lifespan that Chima and Nexo Knights ended up getting.

Also, on a personal level... I've enjoyed pretty much every "big bang" theme Lego has done (though obviously I've loved some like Elves more than others like Chima). So I see no reason why they should stop using a strategy that has worked so well and resulted in so many amazing themes over the past decade.

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16 hours ago, MAB said:

The other thing to consider is that if only themes that have three year plans and get a heavy marketing push and get a TV theme are compared, then those themes must have some element of continuity to ensure at least modest success.

Do they have to, though? I doubt the viewer ratings for the Ninjago TV series are actually that high. At least here in Germany it runs at obscure times buried on third-rate private TV channels. That's not going to have much of an impact on kids' desire for Ninjago and wouldn't do much if the products wouldn't stand for themselves... And to be honest, as someone who has worked in that field: Those cheaply produced filler series these days likely barely make an impression. It's literally run-off-the-mill stuff with stories, characters and settings being utterly interchangeable. Five minutes after watching you may already have forgotten what it was about.

Mylenium

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25 minutes ago, Mylenium said:

Do they have to, though? I doubt the viewer ratings for the Ninjago TV series are actually that high. At least here in Germany it runs at obscure times buried on third-rate private TV channels. That's not going to have much of an impact on kids' desire for Ninjago and wouldn't do much if the products wouldn't stand for themselves... And to be honest, as someone who has worked in that field: Those cheaply produced filler series these days likely barely make an impression. It's literally run-off-the-mill stuff with stories, characters and settings being utterly interchangeable. Five minutes after watching you may already have forgotten what it was about.

Mylenium

I don't think them being completely forgettable or formulaic matters to kids. If you compare them to Scooby Doo or Tom and Jerry or He-Man, they also have very similar storylines in every episode. The same stuff, again and again. What matters is that the multimedia is essentially advertising and the kids can play with what they see on screen (whether TV or youtube or other videos online). So long as they enjoy what they see, they will want to recreate it. 

The placement on TV is similar here. I don't think my kids ever see them on live TV. But then live TV is not that important these days. They are all over youtube and also in other kids (that do see the TV series) impressions of sets / theme on youtube. Plus the multimedia goes much further - not just TV, but online videos, content in LEGO club magazines and also specific magazines (Ninjago, Chima, Elves, NK all had their own magazines here), sticker collections (topps/panini style), even lunchboxes and backpacks, etc .

The characters do have to stand for themselves though, whether that is in the sets (without the media) or in the media (without the sets). It wouldn't surprise me if they took the builds or the storyline or both for Chima and stuck some Ninjago figures in it, they would be more popular.

 

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8 hours ago, MAB said:

If you compare them to Scooby Doo or Tom and Jerry or He-Man,

Yeah, sure. Structurally they are all pretty much the same and of course kids are a bit OCD about their favorite stuff, which is something you still can exploit and marketers do so successfully...

Mylenium

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On 7/21/2020 at 3:24 PM, LOTR34 said:

One thing is certain that after the success of Ninjago Lego became creatively bankrupt.On one hand Ninjago keeps cannibalizing potential new themes and on the other every new BB theme is a Ninjago clone.Honestly ever since 2013 untill now the only original themes that we got were Ultra Agents and Hidden Side. 

So personally I would rather have them ditch the BB formula and go back to more frequent original themes. 

We had Chima, Nexo Knights, and Elves as well, which all ran for multiple years. We have Monkie Kid this year. 

On 7/22/2020 at 8:25 AM, Mylenium said:

It wasn't. There have long been rumors that the series was planned at least three years in advance before even being announced and that the content created for it could last at least five years. Apparently LEGO were hoping for a lot more, but totally underestimated how much people were teed off by that AR nonsense and the lack of genuine world building.

Mylenium

Which is a shame. I have 6 sets so far & I haven’t done a thing with the app, I couldn’t care less. The sets don’t lose a thing from not using it. Nitpicking, those color wheels were only slightly annoying, but that’s an easy enough change. 

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12 hours ago, Vindicare said:

Which is a shame. I have 6 sets so far & I haven’t done a thing with the app, I couldn’t care less. The sets don’t lose a thing from not using it. Nitpicking, those color wheels were only slightly annoying, but that’s an easy enough change. 

Same here. I have bought multiple sets and never used the app. I also like the graphical fidelity of the comics and what they hint at was planned like the much touted Newbury Zoo with the ghostly animals (https://myleniumsbrickcorner.wordpress.com/2020/07/14/july-jack/). A pity to see it all go to waste...

Mylenium 

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Hard to imagine Ninjago (9 years running) going away anytime soon. It got quickly established and the marketing (tv series, etc) has been non-stop. Never cared for the theme, but kids seem to love it. Monkey Kid is way too similar, a Ninjago clone. Speaking of clones... TLG sure loves their licensed themes. As a result, I doubt if we ever get a true (non-city) space theme again. Hard to compete with SW and both super-hero lines. This is unfortunate. The ideas Exo Suit set 6 years ago could have paved the way for a re-birth of the Classic space theme. It was there for the taking. Sadly the only follow up will be an orange classic spaceman in an upcoming book. (you could also probably count Benny’s Space Squad set from TLM2) Maybe LEGO could do Classic Space as a “Big Bang” theme? Run it for only 3 years. I would even settle for 2 years, if it was done well. Thoughts? 

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7 hours ago, BitByBrick said:

Maybe LEGO could do Classic Space as a “Big Bang” theme? Run it for only 3 years. I would even settle for 2 years, if it was done well. Thoughts? 

Best possible thing they could do, except Disney would 100% smack that down. They don't want anything competing with Star Wars, and Lego is not going to bite the hand that feeds them.

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Lego space themes are damned because Disney has another SW trilogy on the works

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18 hours ago, BitByBrick said:

Maybe LEGO could do Classic Space as a “Big Bang” theme? Run it for only 3 years. I would even settle for 2 years, if it was done well. Thoughts? 

"Done well" would mean they would likely have to invest so much design effort like Star Wars itself, which is the critical point and the reason I don't think it's going to happen. People are spoiled by every movie, TV series and video game being elaborately designed to a T and unless you are willing to invest those same hundreds of millions, you'd end up with something that would possibly not sell that well other than for nostalgia's sake. Disney and Star Wars licensing may figure in somewhere, though I think they wouldn't even care. It's just that there are serious creative/ technical hurdles that would make establishing yet another sci-fi space theme extremely difficult.

Mylenium

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7 hours ago, Robert8 said:

Lego space themes are damned because Disney has another SW trilogy on the works

The release date for this new trilogy just got pushed back to 2023 (originally it was supposed to come in 2022) so if they wanted to, they could release a new in-house Space Theme in the meantime, just like they did during the gap between the prequel and sequel trilogies. 

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3 hours ago, Lego David said:

The release date for this new trilogy just got pushed back to 2023 (originally it was supposed to come in 2022) so if they wanted to, they could release a new in-house Space Theme in the meantime, just like they did during the gap between the prequel and sequel trilogies. 

But there are the Disney+ shows in the meantime

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43 minutes ago, Robert8 said:

But there are the Disney+ shows in the meantime

LEGO doesn't do full waves based on the Disney+ shows, because currently they've still got a bit of a limited release. Disney+ hasn't even been released in most countries yet. They do a few sets based on them, no doubt about that, but not an entire wave of sets. The Mandalorian, despite being so popular, only got a few sets based off it, and Clone Wars Season 7 only got two sets based on it. 

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Posted (edited)

LEGO did make their (Fantasy) space sets in 2019 via LEGO movie 2.

Sure, that's also a (in-house) license, and a movie, but I do count it as an in-house space theme, even if it were 1 short-lived wave, it existed in-between Star Wars 8 and 9.

And I don't rule out more Creator type Space sets either.

2019 City brought some nice space figures as well via the people pack + the alien head again.

 

I can see Creator 3-in-1 being used for more "Classic" themed sets, and maybe 18+ for larger sets, at least that's 2 ways to get some sets out on the market without entire wave of sets.

Pirates just got their big coverage via IDEAS, and still LEGO also made their largest ever 3-in-1 set Pirate Themed on top of that, so I'm not ruling it out at this point to see some more classic sets.

 

By the time the IDEAS Medieval Blacksmith comes out, maybe LEGO will see a chance to release some Castle related sets on the side of it.

Edited by TeriXeri

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3 hours ago, Robert8 said:

But there are the Disney+ shows in the meantime

...which at this point only 3% of the world's population get to see. Unless they expand their viewer base by allowing their series on other services and traditional TV stations, this will be insignificant, at least outside the US. Disney+ launched in February here in Germany but I don't know anyone who has subscribed beyond the first three months you get free on some cable and Internet providers, so the user base is probably laughably low. Based on that LEGO could fire out all sorts of sets for those exclusive Star Wars series, but at the end of the day it would be another Freemaker disaster waiting to happen because quite literally nobody ever got to see the materials that put the models into context.

Mylenium

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Mylenium said:

"Done well" would mean they would likely have to invest so much design effort like Star Wars itself, which is the critical point and the reason I don't think it's going to happen. People are spoiled by every movie, TV series and video game being elaborately designed to a T and unless you are willing to invest those same hundreds of millions, you'd end up with something that would possibly not sell that well other than for nostalgia's sake. Disney and Star Wars licensing may figure in somewhere, though I think they wouldn't even care. It's just that there are serious creative/ technical hurdles that would make establishing yet another sci-fi space theme extremely difficult.

As a lifetime fan of Star Wars and space ships, I think Star Wars is creatively bankrupt in spaceship design at this point and isn't spoiling anyone.

Star Wars designs are either 40 years old (OG trilogy), 20 years old (prequels), or derivatives or mash ups of 40 year old designs (sequels). Or otherwise boring and derivative, like the Mandalorian ship, which is a fairly basic/generic dropship. The original designs were great for their time but I think people are pretty tired of them.

I don't think LEGO would have any trouble cranking out amazing space ship designs. The designers at LEGO are pretty genius, and LEGO Spaceship history is full of great, original, and unique designs. Like Starfleet Voyager or Stardefender 200.

6929-1.jpg

6932-1.jpg

With modern pieces and techniques of course the above designs would be even more amazing. But even with the limits of the time, the above still look way cooler to me than this SW set from over a decade later:

7151-1.jpg?200709280632

Edited by danth

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Posted (edited)

I'd just love to see some spaceships (that aren't Star Wars) again that use a lot of angled pieces.

Sith TIE Fighter™ (75272) was 2020 set using a lot of triangle plates, even while that set seems like it was made years ago, but I'd love to see those angled plates utilized in some in-house set, possible in the color white or grey.

So far 6295295.jpg has only been seen in black or red.

Anyhow, as far as Big Bang themes go, I hope it'll be either Historic, or Spaceship focused, and not so much wheeled vehicles or mechs.

 

 

 

Edited by TeriXeri

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, TeriXeri said:

So far 6295295.jpg has only been seen in black or red.

Not that you aren't correct that it would be amazing to see that part in more colors (along with the similarly angled 6x4 left and right wedge plates), but isn't it also available in Medium Azure? From one of the Speed Champions sets?

Edited by Lyichir

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Posted (edited)

 

28 minutes ago, Lyichir said:

Not that you aren't correct that it would be amazing to see that part in more colors (along with the similarly angled 6x4 left and right wedge plates), but isn't it also available in Medium Azure? From one of the Speed Champions sets?

Oh you're right, normally I look parts up at bricklink, this time I used brickset  and they only show sets of that particular color if you click on that item instead of further clicking to the design number :thumbup: 

Red in 1 set, Black in 5 sets, Medium Azur in 1 set.

 

Edited by TeriXeri

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Also, no need for tons of new ideas... Imagine (if you will) LEGO redesigns of their classic spaceships. An updated Galaxy Commander, Starfleet Voyager, or better yet an updated version the Blacktron Renegade. With the plethora of new pieces since the originals were made, as well as more interesting building techniques, just how amazing would those classic spaceships be? My son is a HUGE Star Wars fan, but he also loves playing with the classic Blacktron sets. This shouldn’t be a choice of either / or. Why can’t LEGO do both? If they could only think outside the SW/Disney box! 

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, BitByBrick said:

 This shouldn’t be a choice of either / or. Why can’t LEGO do both? If they could only think outside the SW/Disney box! 

They can do both, Star Wars never stopped in 2007-2013.

Most sets during that time were Clone Wars related,  I don't see why they wouldn't be able to make sets on their shows again, while also making in-house Space themes, at least when there are no new movies yet.

But maybe the change to Disney lowered the chance of Space themes as it's just been LEGO Movie 1+2 as space themes since 2014.

Edited by TeriXeri

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