Excellence in PR, Lego-styley

>> Monday, 23 May 2011

Dear Lego,

may I congratulate you on one of the best scams I've been suckered by since arriving in Moscow. And no, I'm not talking about the vastly inflated prices charged here for some of your 'hot' items, such as $60 on your US website for Emporer Palpatine's Shuttle vs $130 in your Russian catalogue. Masterful... Or the Droid Tri-Fighter for sale at $50 here vs $25 in the US? Awesome... (And yes, I do know that you also charge higher prices in the UK than the US, but that's a subject for a whole other post - and Lego is 'still' only 50% more expensive to buy in the UK market, rather than 100% more expensive, as in Russia).

No, I'm writing to congratulate you on the PR masterpiece that is Lego World in downtown Moscow. 300R (£6.50) for a single adult or child to gain entry to a large room filled with boxes of Lego which - amazingly - they then get to play with? Wow. That must have been some brainstorm. And the master-stroke of having the room staffed by young adults who, whilst perfectly pleasant, are not actually assisting the kids and for the most part are totally over the whole Lego thing (apart from those busy with their own creations, obviously)? Spot on. Oh, and I must give you a special commendation for the extra touch of having that guy walking around with a mic who never stopped talking, adding to the generally frenzied air of "Quick! Quick! Must play with Lego before my time runs out and I have to go home, where I only have Lego to play with!". Yep. He was great.

Of course, I really shouldn't forget the placement of a large product fixture directly by the exit to the show. What parent could leave without wanting to buy their little darling more of what they have just been playing with, so they can take the whole experience home with them and add it to the boxes of the stuff their children already have? (Well, I can think of one or two, but...)

So yes, Lego, I have no doubt that your Russian pr department are currently patting themselves on the back for a job well done. You can be sure that this event will stick in my mind, at least, for some time to come.

Best wishes

Potty Mummy

Note: in Lego's defence, I must say that both my sons - and plenty of the other kids there - loved it. Boy #1 in particular loved the opportunity to watch other children playing Lego games on the PSP, (without being allowed to participate himself, obviously). My issue is not about the experience per se, so much as the amount of money we were charged so that they could spend an hour, 1 and a half hour's drive from home, doing exactly what they do at in their own bedroom...


Nicola 23 May 2011 at 10:43  

Ha! I think I took the boys to something similar in Chicago just before we left. It was held in a massive exhibition hall - and the boys just loved it. I think it cost us $15 each for entry. However there were two areas I was most impressed with. The first was a huge outline of America, which was being filled in by the children's contributions of lego buildings. We could specify what city we wanted them to go in. Such a simple idea but totally captivated the boys (and if I had been any better at geography, could have even been an educational experience...). The other was a massive mural made up of lego tiles. The kids were given tiles, added the colour coded lego pieces and then placed the tile into the mural in it's designated spot. There were hundreds of thousands of these tiles. The mural was the skyline of Chicago and was stunning. To have lego turned into such artistry was impressive.

And to be honest - it was a day where all the lego play was confined to an area where Someone Else Got To Clean It All Up. The lego in our own house was untouched for 24 hours, which is pretty much how I like it, because I am mean and just can't abide the general scattering of all those teensy weensy pieces that I am subjected to EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!!!


Potty Mummy 23 May 2011 at 10:50  

Sounds great - and better than our experience!

Potty Mummy 23 May 2011 at 10:50  

(Oh - sorry - that one was for you, Nicola!)

MsCaroline 23 May 2011 at 15:48  

Sounds to me like the Russians have cottoned to Kid Truth 5.327 (Any toy is more fun if it is not yours) and its corollary, KT5.327A (said toy is proportionately even more fun if money has to be paid to play with it.) This explains why my children loved to play for hours at the water table at the Childrens' Museum, but given the same opportunity in the kitchen sink or tub at home- and with much better equipment, I might add - would only last 20-30 minutes at most. (You could probably extend this concept to some adults, exchanging the word 'toy' for 'partner' but I guess that wasn't the original topic...sorry.)

Lego City 24 May 2011 at 05:07  

Ah cultural differences at work (and play).
Lego are pretty clued in to what works with kids (and therefore adults) and how to sell things children find irresistible.
Having said all that they have a great product so its better than them selling Zhu Zhu pets or whatever the latest trash (if it isn't already, give it a few weeks and it will be) is.
MsCaroline-LOL :0)

I'm So Fancy 24 May 2011 at 15:42  

Ooh, the expat pain. I hear you. The only difference for the Fancy Family is that it's H who's running around screaming with delight and me who is instructed to bring the credit card, quick. Lest the world run out of Legos...sigh. x

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