The last couple of weeks have shown me the darker side of having over 85 active LUGs (LEGO User Groups) in my territory: the paperwork. After announcing the new LUG and Event Support programs earlier this month, I was greeted with hundreds of emails from the groups turning in applications for support or asking questions and looking for further clarification. Nevertheless, I am glad that the community seems to be very excited and grateful for these new programs we have developed. I hope these initiatives show that the company has taken another step forward to better celebrate and show appreciation for the impact and influence the fan community has on the LEGO Brand.
This week my priority was to secure the shipping information and quantity requests from the LUGs in my region to send them their VIP card stickers. We were able to develop and implement a new program for LEGO Stores to show their appreciation to the LUG community, and these stickers are required to properly identify one’s self as a member of an active LUG in North America. I dropped off the pile of envelopes at the front desk this morning so the stickers will be making their ways to the mailboxes of the LUGs soon. It only took me two weeks to gather the info, and six hours to address all the envelopes and count out stickers.
Now that I have that out of the way, I will now be focusing my efforts on processing the event support applications received. I have currently received 23 applications, so I am expecting many more to come as we move further into 2013.
Tuesday I was asked to give a brief introduction and presentation to the LEGO licensing team about the fan community. These are the folks who develop the various licensed products you see in the wild such as the Moleskin notebooks, watches, t-shirts, and key chains. The presentation was well received and we hope to work more closely with the team more in the future! My only other item of interest was the nice surprise waiting at my desk yesterday: A volume sample of the next exclusive model that will be unveiled to the world. The next unveiling will not be taking place in North America, however we still receive a sample to build and familiarize ourselves with it for any questions received after it’s publicly unveiled. Looks like it’s time to build! Sorry, no hints from me on what it is…
LUG UPDATE: We officially welcomed a new LUG this week into the region! NMLUG, The New Mexico LEGO User Group has established contact and is claiming the Land of Enchantment. They have just under a dozen members and are currently working on a website. But if you can’t wait, you can visit their Flickr group. North America currently has 86 active LUGs.
The members of the CEE (Community Engagement & Events) team are always on the lookout for unique and interesting opportunities to support the fan community. Working closely with the North American LEGO Castle marketing team we are happy to announce a yearlong competition celebrating the anniversary and return of LEGO Castle in 2013! We have partnered with the 9 large fan conventions taking place in North America in 2013 (BrickFair: Alabama, Bricks Cascade, BrickFair: New England, Brickworld: Chicago, Brick Fiesta, Brickfête, BrickFair: Virginia, Bricks by the Bay and BrickCon) as well as with our colleagues on ReBrick to offer up an opportunity to win an entire collection of the new 2013 Castle product line.
As each convention already offers up a castle themed section for MOCs, as well as some form of “best of” category at the event, we have agreed that the winner chosen at each event will become a semi-finalist in our competition. This individual will be rewarded with an entire collection of the 2013 Castle product line once available, as well as enter into a final round amongst the winners chosen at each of the other conventions to compete for a secret grand prize. We understand that not everyone is able to attend these events; as such, we have opened up the competition online as well with our colleagues at ReBrick. The competition details have already been posted and can be seen here so anyone, anywhere, has a chance to enter!
We have found our first semi-finalist! Max Morvant, from Metuire, Louisana came out and showcased his fabulous castle at BrickFair: Alabama. His MOC was selected as the “Best of Castle” at the event and as such he will be receiving an entire collection of the 2013 LEGO Castle product line! His MOC will now move forward and compete with the 8 other North American fan conventions as well as the online winner selected on ReBrick! Congrats Max!
This great group of 10 AFOLs from 9 different countries participated over the last 1 1/2 days in a workshop here in Billund.
Has been great fun and a very good workshop.
Thanks to the AFOLs for participating and to my colleagues for involving them!
Well, this week hasn’t been the most exciting, but it’s been very productive! After the announcement of several new community support programs and initiatives- I’ve been buried in emails and excel spreadsheets. We have finally been able to offer more support to the LEGO User Group (LUG) community through our new LUG Support and Event Support programs. I was also very excited to announce a new program we were able to develop with our colleagues in LEGO Brand Retail to show appreciation to the LUG community. These efforts were forged from several months of hard work, discussion and development. However, representing a region with over 80 active LUGs is no easy task, so when the emails come in… They come in. As this week I’ve been collecting, reviewing and documenting important information received from the LUG community to move forward with these new programs, I didn’t have any interesting tidbits to share. So, I’ve been hanging onto a post for a rainy day or “boring week” in this case. I’ve been asked a few times while traveling where someone can find what LUGs are currently active and where they are in North America. The answer has typically been to send me an email upon which I can search my records and get them into contact with the local group, if one exists.
In order to properly do my job, one of my first tasks in office (Can I use that term if not a politician?) was to research the LUG community in my region and build a comprehensive list of every active group. I immediately started by using the outdated LUGNET map as a starting point (http://www.lugnet.com/map/us/). This was great to get a point to build upon but I quickly learned that this resource was only the tip of the iceberg. After several weeks of research, bouncing emails, phone calls and determination I was able to properly present a comprehensive listing of every LUG in North America. Of course, this can change at any time as new groups pop up. I make it a point to keep the list as up to date as possible by keeping my ears open when new groups join the ranks and reach out to establish contact. I’ve been told that I should share the list and I thought- why not? So, I present, what I believe to be, the most comprehensive list and geographic map of the LUG community in North America.
1st STATE LUG – Delaware LEGO® User’s Group
AFOL OKC – AFOL Oklahoma City (temporary name)
ARKLUG – Arkansas LEGO® Users Group
BayLUG/LTC – The San Francisco Bay Area LEGO® Users’ Group / LEGO® Train Club
BlockoLUG – Blockoland LEGO® Users Group
CactusBrick – Arizona LEGO® Users Group
ChiLUG – Chicago LEGO® Users Group
ColonialLUG – Pennsylvania LEGO® Users Group (II)
COLTC – Central Ohio LEGO® Train Club
CoWLUG – Colorado & Wyoming LEGO® User Group
DelVaLUG – Delaware Valley LEGO® Users Group
DENLUG – Denver LEGO® Users Group
DixieLUG – Dixie LEGO® User Group
GBLT&C – Great Basin LEGO® Train Club
GFLUG/LTC – Greater Florida LEGO® User Group / LEGO® Train Club
GLUG – The Garage LEGO® Users Group
GMLTC – Greater Midwest LEGO® Train Club
GPLR – Greater Portland LEGO® Railroaders
GtwLUG – Gateway LEGO® Users Group
HARDLUG – Hampton Roads LEGO® User Group
I LUG NY – New York Tri-State LEGO® User Group
IndyLUG – Indiana LEGO® Users Group
IowaLUG – Iowa’s LEGO® Fan Club
KC Brick Lab – Kansas City Brick Lab LEGO® User Group
KLUG – Kenosha LEGO® User Group
LBAFOL – Long Beach Adult Fans of LEGO®
LEAHI – LEGO® Enthusiasts Association of Hawaii
LUCNY – LEGO® Users of Central New York*
LUGOCT – LEGO® Users Group of Connecticut
LUGOLA – LEGO® Users Group of Los Angeles
McLUG – Maine Coast LEGO® Users Group
MCLUG – Magic City LEGO® Users Group
MichLUG – Michigan LEGO® Users Group
NCLTC – North Carolina LEGO® Train Club
NCLUG – North Carolina LEGO® Users Group
NELUG – New England LEGO® Users Group
NEOLUG – North Eastern Ohio LEGO® Users Group
NGLTC – North Georgia LEGO® Train Club
NILTC – Northern Illinois LEGO® Train Club
NJGardenSLUG – New Jersey Garden State LEGO® User Group
NMLUG – New Mexico LEGO® User Group
NOLUG – New Orleans LEGO® User Group
NORDlug – North Dakota LEGO® User Group
OKILUG – Ohio Kentucky Indiana LEGO® User’s Group
OPLUG – Oakland Presbyterian LEGO® Users Group
PCHLUG – Pacific Coast Highway LEGO® User Group
PennLUG – Pennsylvania LEGO® Users Group
PortLUG – Portland LEGO® Users Group
PSLTC – Puget Sound LEGO® Train Club
RichLUG – Richmond LEGO® Users Group
SandLUG – San Diego LEGO® Users Group
SacBB – Sacramento Area Brick Builders
SCLTC – Southern California LEGO® Train Club
SEALUG – Seattle LEGO® Users Group
Steel City LUG – Pittsburgh Area’s LEGO® Users Group
TBRR – The Texas Brick Railroad
TCLTC – Twin Cities LEGO® Train Club
TCLUG – Twin Cities LEGO® Users Group (I)
TexLUG – Texas LEGO® Users Group
TexLUG: San Antonio – Texas LEGO® Users Group: San Antonio
TNVLC – Tennessee Valley LEGO® Club
TwinLUG – Twin Cities LEGO® Users Group (II)
ULUG – Utah LEGO® Users Group
WamaLTC – Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area LEGO® Train Club
WamaLUG – Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area LEGO® Users Group
WisLUG – Wisconsin LEGO® Users Group
WMLTC – Western Michigan LEGO® Train Club
AbbyLUG – Abbotsford LEGO® Users Group
ALA – Adult LEGO® Alliance
CLTC – Calgary LEGO® Train Club
MBLUG – Manitoba LEGO® Users Group
NALUG – Northern Alberta LEGO® Users Group
NovaLUG – Nova Scotia LEGO® User’s Group
OBB – Ontario Brick Builders
ParLUGment – LEGO® User’s Group of Ottawa
QuéLUG – Québec LEGO® Users Group
rtlToronto – Rec.Toys.Lego Toronoto
SALUG – Southern Alberta LEGO® Users Group
SLUG – Saskatchewan LEGO® Users Group
ToroLUG – Toronto LEGO® Users Group
VicLUG – Victoria LEGO® Users Group
VLC – Vancouver LEGO® Club
WHaCKoLuG – Waterloo-Hamilton-Cambridge-Kitchener-Orangeville, London, Guelph areas LEGO® User Group
It’s Friday and time to share some more of the office fun we have. Last year we started a lunch and build program in Enfield to encourage a more collective attitude within the group based in Enfield. The first one went really well so I was looking forward to the January get together.
Kevin Hinkle, Sara Moore, and Allyson Brown joined me for a delightful lunch at Red Robin – an American burger standard. We each built our respective sets and brought them to discuss.
Allyson built #70704 – Vermin Vaporizer
Kevin built #7292 – Propeller Adventures
Sara built #6230 Stormer XL
I built #70003 – Eris’ Eagle Interceptor
I won’t quote anything that we said, but we are honest about what we like and don’t like about the sets. We offer insights into what we hear from the community regarding products as well as consumer services. We’ve found this to be a good method to stay connected to the products that the company sells/promotes.
Check out this cool designer video with Astrid about the new Expert builder set Palace Cinema.
Pretty cool set, very nice video. I like it a lot.
So today I found out that the software does not allow more than one Flickr account in the widget section (right border of the page).
And since Kevin requested that I put his there along with mine, I decided to convert them into two fine links for your viewing pleasure.
All pictures coming from me and Kevin will most likely be put in our Flickr accounts as well along with all the pics that don’t make it to the blogposts.
Kevin just uploaded 150+ pics from his visit to BrickFair, so it’s definetly worth a look.
Also just to find out more about what you guys (and gals) like to read about, I’ve set up a “Most liked blog posts”-picture grid.
So whenever you read something you like, please press “like” and we can learn more about what you’d prefer us to write about here.
Now, back to work
Last weekend I hopped on a plane and headed back down to the heart of Dixie: Birmingham, Alabama, for the second consecutive year of the LEGO fan convention: BrickFair: Alabama 2013 (http://www.brickfair.com/AL) Although the weather wasn’t any better than what I left behind in Hartford, Connecticut- the event was another fantastic success and has extinguished any doubt in my mind of its continued growth into the future.
After checking in at the event, I headed out to dinner Thursday evening with Todd, the event coordinator and mastermind behind BrickFair. We had a few other volunteers with us and spoke a bit about predictions of the event weekend: public estimates, advertising effectiveness, as well as a few conversations around the changes to convention support.
Friday was only open to the registered attendees of BrickFair. A lot of great MOCs where set-up and finessed throughout the day. A few of my personal favorites are below including a minifigure scaled U-Haul truck (something of which I am very acquainted with, believe me) A very nice replica of The Alabama Theatre, a wonderfully detailed Q*bert arcade game and a few pixilated videogame characters. I held my session: The AFOL Community vs. The LEGO Group, with about 30 fans in attendance. We spoke about the changes in support structure both for the LUG community as well as towards the LEGO fan conventions. Attendants of this seminar were also surprised with a few minifigure business cards I brought with me, which thereafter could be found dancing on top of people’s brick badges and MOCs for the remainder of the event. Apparently, I even made the news: http://photos.al.com/birmingham-news/2013/01/all_things_lego_at_brickfair_2_13.html Before the LEGO Q&A Session I was given the honor to officially announce the new 10232 Palace Cinema (http://shop.lego.com/en-US/Palace-Cinema-10232) Although the designer video was a tad too quiet to hear, the video as well as model was well received and on display for the duration of the weekend for those to get a closer look. That night I was invited to attend the BrickFair organizers dinner where we enjoyed a lovely meal with all the volunteers who help run BrickFair from theme coordinators to cashiers. We shared stories and they had an opportunity to ask me questions as they are the ones who are typically committed to something else during the official LEGO Q&A session.
Saturday the doors were opened to the public and the convention floor was flooded with excited and wide-eyed families. There was clearly an apparent increase in traffic this year in comparison to last, which will likely continue in the years to come. The line itself for entrance spanned well outside the lobby and into the neighboring sidewalk/walkway. I spent the day mostly walking the convention floor documenting the event with photographs and speaking with fans about engaging the public. I spent a few minutes speaking with a few colleagues from the local LEGO Store, whom also happen to be fans, about my history at The LEGO Group and where they want to be within the company. They tried to teach me a rather in-depth castle themed game with dice and note cards but sadly even after 20 minutes I was no better in-the-know then I had been when we started. I finished my evening and attendance at BrickFair by single handedly defeating the entire BZPower (http://www.bzpower.com/) community over a quick game of Minotarus. Well, the entire BZPower community at BrickFair: Alabama that is.
The event ran incredibly smooth, and I was happy for the opportunity to visit with the fans in the region once again. I was able to follow-up with a few of the contacts that I have been emailing over the last several months and establish a few new contacts. My next trip is scheduled in March, where I will be attending the LEGO fan convention Bricks Cascade (http://www.brickscascade.com/).
My full set of photos can be found in my Flickr photo stream here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinhink/sets/72157632585299039/
Tis the season for Toy Fairs! The first of the big three starts tomorrow in London, England. Next week is the Nuremburg Toyfair in Germany. I’ve got a lucky ticket so I’ll be attending – expect pics to be posted here! This is my first time attending Nuremburg so I’m rather excited. Following that is the New York Toyfair at which the US PR team hosts a collector party which brings a lot of the fan sites. This gives them an opportunity to get first hand pictures of the new products. If you plan on coming, send me a ping if you want to chat.
Exploring the net, I found this interesting article regarding the price of LEGO products - http://therealityprose.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/what_happened_with_lego/
It has an interesting analysis of price of LEGO bricks and sets over the years.
I had a great day today – we had a meeting (the first official person meeting of AFOLs in Latvia) in the LEGO office and had good presentations and discussions about future steps and cooperation.
Check out this fantastic view from the LEGO office to the river Daugava!
Afterwards we visited a LEGO Monobrand store and a Chima event for kids. Was pretty cool too.
Thanks to Lauris, Rolands and Elina for taking very good care of me.
Leaving Latvia now – but I will be back!