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Bricks for All: Lego, Not Just a Kid’s Game

I was recently walking around Rockefeller Center, admiring the holiday-dressed stores when one in particular caught my attention: Louis Vuitton. It looked so bright and colorful but, wait – is that Lego brick soil? I took a few steps closer and realized that the display was mostly made of Lego bricks! They even had a Lego Christmas tree. Louis Vuitton collaborated with certified Lego master builders to create the displays for different stores across the world. This campaign coincides with Lego’s 90th anniversary and all bricks used will be reused in special projects for local schools, with the goal to teach kids to build and inspire them through play. This campaign represents how much Lego, a combination of the words “leg” and “godt,” which means “play well” in Danish, has gained presence in the adult world recently.

(Credit: gottalovenewyork.com)

I guess the recent nostalgia trend is picking up in multiple sectors! Last year, Lego estimated that 20% of their sales go to adults who buy for themselves, those customers identify as “AFOLs” which stands for “adult fan of Lego,” versus around 5% five years ago. The Lego Group has been paying attention to that trend: one example of this new focus on adults is the reality show Lego Masters, which features adults competing in teams with incredibly creative and sophisticated builds. Maybe less sophisticated, but still impressive, the sets formerly branded as “Creator Expert” have been renamed and now feature a 18+ label.

The 18+ series cater to different interests, from sports cars to engineering marvels and nostalgic replicas, such as the Atari 2600. Pop culture inspired builds inspired by the famous sets of Seinfeld, Friends and The Office, TV shows that went off the air years ago, are also featured in the adult-targeted products. The brand’s top performing brands in 2021 include the 18+ line (formerly Creator Expert), Harry Potter and Star Wars – collections that are known to be popular among AFOLs.

During the pandemic, many adults (myself included), decided to resort to a nostalgic reality diversion, definitely helping Lego sales jump 21% in 2020. The price tag of these sophisticated sets also makes this a quite expensive hobby. However, Lego has a very good resale value, which serves as a bit of comfort to fellow AFOLs. In fact, BrickEconomy was created to document current and projected values of different sets.  

The group does a very good job translating the fun vibes to their corporate LinkedIn page. In tune with the corporate meme trends, The Lego Group will often post funny content like this:

(Colosseum: 9036 pieces, $549.99; Titanic: 9090 pieces, $679.99 – Source: Lego)

Lego has come a long way since creating its first plastic brick in 1949 and committed to manufacturing its bricks from sustainable sources by 2030. In sync with the theme, the Botanical Collection and Lego Ideas Tree House already feature some of these plant-based components (If you have a history of murdering house plants or are allergic to so many flowers you stopped trying, I highly recommend something like the Orchid or the adorable Succulents.)

Source: The Lego Group

They have also set a goal to make all packaging sustainable, by replacing single-use plastic bags in their boxes with recyclable paper bags and making their packaging 100% sustainable by 2025. Decarbonization is also part of their sustainability goals, backed up by a nonprofit called Science Based Targets, which evaluates companies’ efforts are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in terms of how attainable and *actually* backed by scientific evidence they are.

What started as a carpenter’s side hustle to make ends meet in 1932 became the largest toy company in the world in terms of market share and revenue (7.6%)  The Lego Group recognizes that the kids who grew up building with their colorful bricks not only passed the tradition to their own children, but also continued to purchase for themselves. The company continues to innovate for kids as it expands its product line to target older demographics, keeping LEGO relevant to all ages.  

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