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Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventions

Open message to The LEGO Company. We make no guarantee that anyone from LEGO will actually read them, let alone respond!

Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventions

Postby AK_Brickster » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:19 pm

Dear Lego,

We've just found out that you will no longer be supporting Lego fan conventions (suck as BrickCon, BrickWorld, etc.) with an 'official' booth presence nor will you be offering the Lego store discount previously provided to convention attendees.

Up until now, I've viewed the discount as a small token of appreciation for all of the time, effort and money that is invested in making these conventions happen. Conventions that ultimately promote your brand and inspire future generations of Lego builders, from kids to teens to adults.

Without this discount, my ability to purchase new elements for future public displays is severely hampered, and at this point I am planning on not purchasing any products from the Lego store at full price when I can just as easily pick most items up at other retail outlets when they go on sale at various points during the year.

Obviously, the money that I personally spend on your products doesn't matter when it comes to your bottom line, but I would like to think that I matter as an enthusiast, fan, promoter (all of my nieces now play with "Friends" Lego sets and that's all they wanted for Christmas), and finally as a person, to a company who has long held a reputation of great customer service and an appreciation for their fans.

Please don't ignore builders like me. Please restore TLG's involvement in Lego fan conventions.

Thank you,

Jordan
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby Fraslund » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:16 am

I second this as well. Our community is growing rapidly and as you can see on this board, you have a tremendous group of talent that is an amazing showcase for your product.
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby Bluesecrets » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:59 am

The ambassadors have been discussing this for a month now. We are supposed to be getting more information this month. What information I can give you is that LEGO has several divisions. The removal of the discount at the stores during convention weekends, was a decision made by LEGO retail, not the community team. It has been said that the discount does not drive higher sales for the stores. The second part of information I can give you is, that they are attempting to make all community support equal for each event. Please realize that in the last few years the number of conventions has exploded. There used to be 1 or 2 a year in North America. Now there are upwards of 9 to 11. I do know know if this is equal for just North America or equal world wide.

Either Ben or I will get back to you with more information as we have it.
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby Bruce N H » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:42 am

Bluesecrets wrote:... that they are attempting to make all community support equal for each event ...


I really think that's the problem. Back when Brad Justus first started going to BrickFest, that was pretty much it as far as major US fan events. A little searching on the lugnet archives suggests that BrickFest started in 2000, NWBrickCon in 2002, also the short-lived BricksWest in 2002, BrickWorld in 2007, BrickFair in 2008 with things like BrickMagic (2010), BrickFete (2011 and BrickFiesta (2011) more recent. I see a reference to LEGO World in Zwolle at least as early as 2001 and 1000SteineLand in 2003. Not to mention increasing LEGO involvement in other things like the ComicCons, which seem to be more and more prominent, Star Wars Celebrations, their own KidsFest events, etc. They could easily have an events team that just spends their whole year running from event to event.
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby Bluesecrets » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:38 am

They could easily have an events team that just spends their whole year running from event to event.


Add Bricks by the Bay, and the one in June in Portland, the con that popped up in the South this year...I think Alabama? I can't remember. And there are a lot more events in Europe.

Which is another part of the discussion that has not been brought up yet. The community engagement team and their budget, which is not unlimited. It is a very small part of the LEGO Corporation and responsible for not just the AFOL's, but also anyone who calls and requests brick for anything, schools, churches, scholarships, the list goes on and on. The community engagement team works hard to gather enough data...which is all of the surveys we keep getting...to continue to justify their budget and ask for more.

But at the same time, we get AFOL's who complain about something that they were given by the community team, it goes up the chain of command and to a vice president of the company who then makes a decision. For those not in the know, the reason the LEGO booth has been empty except for 1 or 2 sets in the past two years, it is because someone at a convention won one of the sets from the booth, which was missing something. The AFOL complained and as a result, the LEGO booth only contained 1 or 2 sets.

Talk about conflicting information getting to the vice president of a company. And both of those above facts have been well known for a while now.

Please know that I am not arguing against the involvement of the LEGO at cons, just presenting some facts and information.
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby Bruce N H » Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:37 pm

Hey guys,

Over on Lugnet (really) there's a good thread on this topic (which, btw, includes some discussion of why Lugnet is still relevant (really)).*

Bruce

*I loved Lugnet, and for a couple of years there I was high up on the list of most prolific posters. Then CC came along, and my time got divided, then I became a CC admin, and my focus pretty much rested here. That said, I do miss the days when Lugnet was a vibrant forum, but I also was a strong proponent of the specialized forums like CC.
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby AK_Brickster » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:28 pm

On the line of thinking that TLG simply can't dedicate the resources to support all of these new conventions, the solution seems obvious to me. Don't support ALL of the conventions equally! Even my wife, who has practically zero interest in Lego, responded to the withdrawal of support by saying, "Well, why don't they just limit their support to the largest 3 or 4 conventions? Those are the ones that generate the most publicity for the company anyway."

An "all or none" attitude feels way too much like it's being influenced by the "politically correct" notion of making sure that nobody's feelings are hurt, so we'll just pull out completely so that nobody can say we aren't being fair.

Also, I just want to be clear that I'm not boycotting the company or feel like they "owe me" anything. I just am saying that I really appreciated the previous involvement and the benefits it provided to me as an AFOL / hobbyist. Without the attendee discount, I simply can't afford to purchase directly from Lego stores, so I will take the majority of my business to retail outlets that do provide discounts from time to time.
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby RichardAM » Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:50 pm

As someone who has never been to a convention I speak (hopefully) on behalf of many when I say the following:

The official involvement of TLG at conventions and shows should be a privilege and not a right. In this announcements that's something that keeps reappearing, the notion that fans expect something in return for their attendance, be that a retail discount or first-look at an upcoming product. Why should this be the case? What makes these fans more deserving or faux-deserving than all the other fans and builders in the community who are just as dedicated or enthusiastic about the brand? Your presence at a convention shouldn't dictate or guarantee special treatment, nor should it make you a bigger fan or more dedicated enthusiast.

With that in mind, it's both hilarious and disgusting that certain voices in the online community have chosen this stance of right- that Lego has a right to be there, that they have a right to these rewards and so forth. You don't have a right to this. I'm not saying you should or shouldnt think you do, but regardless I think in the last five years particularly there's been a certain arrogant expectancy from fans regarding TLG's involvement with conventions. The outcry following this announcement posted on the four corners of the online community only reinforce this suspicion. I think we should be more appreciative when it happens and not annoyed or upset when it doesn't- something TLG have admittedly been guilty of recently with their show after show, unveils and huge exclusives.

It certainly shouldn't be all or nothing, but in the wake of this, I can understand how this can cause problems of both con and fan elitism. With the finances spent on the cons though I would personally much rather TLG send their resources and attention on all of us as a community rather than the certain attendees and audiences of convention X or Y. Reward every fan. Every builder. Every buyer. Produce a set available to all, have a worldwide store discount or something exclusive, create a new theme etc. Put simply, why should the attendees of a certain convention be rewarded more than all the other fans who can't attend that con (or any) for whatever reason. They are not lesser fans, so why should they be treated as such by omission of 'rewards'?

Recently TLG have a huge push into socia-media be it through their presence on Facebook or from their own initiatives such as Cuusoo or Rebrickable. More so than ever before LEGO has a direct link to the consumers, fans and builders the world over. Press-releases are issued the web over, official shots are uploaded, and building contests like our very own CCC are provided prizes for. Step this up. Make it bigger, and make everyone feel more involved rather than fragmented or isolated. Make us all feel special and thanked for our hardwork and dedication. Daily, TLG is already involved with the biggest LEGO fan convention there is and ever will be, and at a balanced position where everything is fair, at the same time and equal for everyone. All fans are rewarded equally.

This isn't the case when only the attendees to a convention are.

-rushed from my head, but genuinely my honest thoughts about this whole storyline/we don't own them vice versa and maybe the community at large. The LUGNET post is brilliant. We should stay independent from them and they us but at the sametime, I think there should always be that appreciation of one another. Sorry if I got a bit mushty at the end :P
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby AK_Brickster » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:30 pm

Richard,

I definitely can appreciate most of what you said above, and on the points I don't agree with, I at least can appreciate your viewpoint.

However, a big part of the 'outrage' in the online community stems from the fact that TLG has not informed us of any plans to redirect the funds previously dedicated to convention involvement (be it through discounts or visits by TLG employees) to other fan resources or community outreach. I think that if they had come out and said, "Hey, we can't afford to do so many conventions, so in fairness to everyone, we will instead use those funds/resources to support our fans in *manner x,y or z*. No, they've simply said, "Sorry, you are on your own". So we who put on these amazing conventions for the public to enjoy are left with a sour taste in our mouths because we feel like they are now taking us for granted.
Obviously, they don't "owe" us anything, but when a good customer relations is one of the big reasons that you love and appreciate the brand, getting "broken up with" doesn't feel very good.

Also, nobody has implied that builders who don't attend conventions are somehow "lesser fans". Rather those of us who DO participate in conventions invest incredible amounts of time, effort, and finances to pull them off, and the involvement from TLG was considered an appropriate way of saying "thanks" for that investment. After all, fan conventions promote their brand to tens of thousands of prospective customers at no cost to TLG. If they couldn't sustain the current level of support, they could easily reduce the percentage of the discount or cap the amount you could by at a lower dollar level. To just cut everything off cold-turkey feels like a really lame thing to do. I don't think it's arrogant to expect it any more than it is to expect a "thank you" when you hold the door open for someone. It's more of a common courtesy to extend an expression of appreciation.

Lastly, the concept of "rewarding every fan, every builder, every buyer" equally is actually more disturbing to me than the idea of rewarding those who put in extraordinary effort. You might as well tell the Classic-castle admins to get rid of contest prizes and just mail out a couple of bricks to everyone who enters. (I realize that conventions are not contests - I'm just trying to say that I don't think there is anything wrong with a merit-based reward system).

OK - I jumped all over the place writing that, as I'm currently at work and had to keep switching back and forth, but hopefully that wasn't too harsh in it's delivery. I really do appreciate everyone's unique viewpoint on this subject.
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby RichardAM » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:49 pm

1. Oh I can understand and empathise with that completely, but it is mentioned in the LUGnet post (and worth reminding everyone) that TLG is a corporation. A business. Sure they make lots of people happy with lots of colours but a business all the same. Yes it's harsh and abrupt, but at the same time, a business decision. A wrong one? Maybe, that's what we're discussing in this thread. Eitherway, I don't think we have any right to know where they're putting that money, though, yes, it would be interesting.

2. I've seen posts elsewhere that while don't say this directly, do come across as arrogant and disgusting. But this is something that exists elsewhere too anyway where we do have a elitism. That may be because of the community/hobby we're in, i'm not sure. Eitherway, I wasn't attacking the travel and expense needed to attend these conversations but simply, if you cant or grudge making that sacrifice, don't.

3. That came out wrong, but the fact remains, what is this "extraordinary effort"? Who's given the responsibilities of judging what counts/what doesn't and who gets rewarded? Again, probably, a lot of it will depend on business and financial factors.

4. I'm not 'having a go' at anyone, and no harshness is taken. As someone away from the world of Lego cons I can only discuss and relate to so much, so for me it will always be a case of never having personally lost anything. This can understandably be both good and bad, but it may make me come across as a resentful/angry/negative person hater who doesn't travel, when it's not true, honest :wink:

5. I think CC should be home to more discussion in the future.
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby AK_Brickster » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:55 pm

*high five* :wave:

Good discussion :mrgreen:
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby Bluesecrets » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:32 pm

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LEGOfansDec2012

Fan survey where you can give them a little of this information.
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby JoshWedin » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:43 pm

RichardAM wrote:5. I think CC should be home to more discussion in the future.


I agree whole-heartedly.

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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby Lego Stu » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:43 am

I just heard about this today from a LEGO Store employee after I mentioned the tiered discount for conventions. :cry: I understand this as a business decision but it will make me shop at Target and TRU for LEGO deals instead of the LEGO Store exclusively like I do now. I also understand they plan on not running as many clearance sales.
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Re: Dear Lego: Please remain involved with Lego fan conventi

Postby Formendacil » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:50 pm

Crossposting from what I just wrote on Lugnet:

Firstly, as an AFOL who has never lived anywhere near a convention, it's hard to get too disappointed that my inability to attend has been made *slightly* less tragic. Living in Alberta the closest con was/is BrickCon, but while my younger brothers have made the two-days-each-way drive to attend, that was never an option for me in university, and now that I live in Greater Boston, Massachusetts, I find myself hardly any closer; though I suppose I could get to Brickfête in a day--a looooong day.

I still want to attend a convention; as a long-term AFOL nonattendee, the desire does not stem from the deals and discounts TLC offers. In fact, the third-party vendors and people selling long-out-of-stores sets are far more exciting, but those are secondary as well. The point of a con (says this con-virgin) is not acquisition.

However, the other point...

I'm wondering in all of this whether TLC will still have a booth at San Diego ComicCon. I assume so--it's not a LEGO convention and there can be no denying that they've benefited tremendously from the publicity given by their exclusive giveaways.

Here's the thing though... those exclusive giveaways kind of stick in my craw as a LEGO fan. I understand how it helps keep the company profitable (and I want that, seeing how I want to keep buying their products), but these giveaways are desirable to both LEGO fans and Comic Book (or LotR, or Star Wars... etc.) fans and as a general rule the LEGO side of that equation is disadvantaged by limiting these giveaways to SDCC.

Again, I understand why they do it and in and of itself I don't really fault them for it, BUT I did think it addressed the imbalance to do something special for the fans at the LEGO-specific conventions. Yes, a company needs to get publicity (good publicity, for that matter) in the wider world to draw in a new or fickle clientele, but they should not neglect their existing, loyal fanbase. Even if I (or many AFOLs) could never attend a LEGO con, I appreciated LEGO giving the fan community some attention. It was good intra-community publicity, and while I don't think it needed to be done to the same extravagant level of SDCC, I do think it was worth doing.

So, I guess I have two points of indecision: one, I would feel better if LEGO had announced some sort of alternate way of interacting with the AFOL community. A less extensive--or expensive--way is fine, but so far... nothing; two, I would like to know if there has been any scaling back of extra-community convention going. In the meantime, I'm a bit indecisive...
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