The Lego Group is making the construction category collectible, one piece at a time. For starters, the toyco is expanding its brand with Lego BrickHeadz, a new line of collectible figures.
The BrickHeadz line features classic Lego bricks and the instruction manual fans know and love, but instead of a traditional open-ended construction set, the consumer is left with a collectible figure. The line’s first series launched in March, with additional figures added in April, and plans to further expand the line moving forward.
Brickheadz features characters from Marvel (Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Black Widow), DC (Batman, Robin, Batgirl, The Joker) and Disney (Belle, The Beast, Captain Jack Sparrow).
“It’s a completely new way to build and collect within the Lego universe,” says Michael McNally, senior director of brand relations for Lego. “It’s a different style from what kids are used to seeing in the Lego context. We’re always trying to figure out new ways to reinvent what kids know and love about the brand.”
Collectibles were a huge category in 2016, but Lego isn’t just jumping on the bandwagon.
BrickHeadz is designed for kids who love the Lego brand but don’t have time to spend two hours on a build. Each collectible figure takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to create.
“This sort of one-size-fits-all approach is not as appealing as it used to be,” McNally says. “The onus then is really on brands to diversify their offerings so that there is something for everyone. We’ll always have free-form, open-ended building opportunities, but we’re always looking for surgical ways we can manipulate the Lego system in a way that might grab the attention of a completely different kid who needs a different solution.”
In an effort to provide as many solutions as possible, The Lego Group has also launched its free app-focused social network Lego Life. The network—which prevents kids from sharing personal information or images—gives kids under 13 a safe online platform to bridge their physical and digital play experiences.
“Since we launched Lego Life we’ve been blown away by the number of kids that are participating in and engaging with the app. And what’s probably more important is how many kids are actually sharing their own content within the environment,” McNally says. “User-generated content far surpasses the amount of company content that we’ve published. It seems to be where kids are getting most excited about their engagement.”
Each day, thousands of posts featuring user-generated content are posted to the platform. This user-generated content is key, he says, because it means the platform is being used as a vehicle for driving physical play as kids build their own Lego creations and share them through the app.
“We don’t ever want the Lego play experience to be completely digital,” McNally says. “We look for ways of leveraging digital play experiences as
a way of reinforcing a reason to pick up the bricks. Lego Life is working really well that way.”
Lego Life is available for iOS and Android devices in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland. Additional markets will launch through 2019.