Remember when Lego were just bricks? The Lego Group now transcends entertainment to movies, TV shows and theme parks, making it the biggest toy company in the world, surpassing Mattel in 2015. But how did they get there? In this article, we dive into the brand and how Lego re-built themselves to be more than just a toy.
A tough time to be a toy
In the early 2000s, Lego was in a bad place, reporting year-on-year tumbling sales for the first time and the company was in debt. Was the plastic brick being left behind by kids in the wake of the rise in video games? Maybe, but something had to change.
Check out our toy timeline for a look back in history, including when Ole Christiansen formed the very first Lego brick in 1949.
Lego looked to Mattel for diversification, which owns toy lines including Fisher-Price, Barbie and Hot Wheels. At first, they tried expanding outside of toys to jewellery, clothes and even theme parks, but something wasn’t clicking; whilst Legoland remains open all over the world, it was partly sold off following struggling success.
Legoland | Source
Putting the building blocks together
If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. And that’s exactly what Lego did, but now they were listening to the kids. They conducted huge consumer research all over the world which showed boys (who made up the majority of their audience at the time) preferred ninjas the most out of any type of hero character - more than superheroes! Lego then scrapped unpopular lines and soon hit toys followed with the launch of the Lego Ninjago line in 2011, which went on to become the company’s biggest product line.
Lego Ninjago | Source
Their next big foray was into the movie business, and unlike when they first attempted their own video game all by themselves. This time they worked with experts in the entertainment industry to create the critically acclaimed ‘The Lego Movie’ that went on to become the fourth-highest grossing film globally in 2014. This was the final push that saw them become the biggest toy company in the world by 2015.
“The Apple of toys”
Lego rebuilt themselves brick by brick to become “the Apple of toys” as more movies ensued with ‘The Lego Ninjago Movie’ & ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ in 2017 and then ‘The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part’ in 2019, each as daft and as fun as its predecessor.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part | Source
Fast forward to today and you may have recently seen the latest US version of Lego Masters on your screens with Lego having a cult adult following - tag us in your creations, we’d love to see them!
More than just a toy? We think so.
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