Each year, the LEGO Group hosts LEGO Fan Media Days at the company’s headquarters in Billund, Denmark. It’s an opportunity for invited media to hear about new products and initiatives, interview designers and take tours – all of these things provide opportunities for features to bring to the Brick Fanatics audience.
This year’s event was planned for May 27 until May 29, but with coronavirus impacting countries around the world and disrupting travel, it seemed unlikely to happen. Thankfully, the LEGO Group opted to put on a virtual event instead, and media were able to attend via webcam.
The event kicked off with a presentation on using affiliate links – those are the links to LEGO.com that can be clicked on here at Brick Fanatics. They cost the user nothing but throw a very small percentage of the sale back to Brick Fanatics and allow the website to keep operating (so thank you for using them!). This was a new session that, while handy, wasn’t exactly going to excite our readers.
Next up was a presentation from LEGO Brand Strategist Genevieve Capa Cruz and LEGO Vice President of Global Marketing Frederico Begher, who discussed the LEGO Group’s new strategy for marketing to adults. For some reason they shared some information that was confidential and media was asked not to report, but there was plenty still to talk about – including how they plan to engage an audience beyond traditional AFOLs.
Presentations continued with LEGO City Anders Marketing Director Hamilton Heidemann and LEGO Friends Marketing Director Costas Syrmos, who explained that there is a new link-up between the LEGO Group and National Geographic. The partnership has gone deeper than ever before on the latest sets, with National Geographic providing input on the key details that are included in the new underwater and jungle releases.
It was time for a big product reveal next, with LEGO MINDSTORMS 51515 Robot Inventor unveiled in a polished presentation. LEGO Senior Vice President Lena Dixen and Senior Design Manager Dan Meehan introduced the next generation of MINDSTORMS, which will launch later this year. “We have been rebooting the brand to make a brand new MINDSTORMS experience that is more exciting and more accessible for more kids and adults than ever before,” Dan declared.
Next up was a look at LEGO Lead User Lab (LUL). The scheme was launched last year and allows anyone to submit a business proposal to the LEGO Group, who will then select a few schemes to collaborate with in case the company can either help them grow or buy the company. Senior Marketing Innovation Manager Bogdan Gherasim gave a presentation about several projects that LUL is currently working on, but as they are all confidential Brick Fanatics has unfortunately been asked not to share any information.
That was not all for the first day though, with Marvin Park, Head of Bricklink and LEGO Vice President, sharing a look at the new Bricklink interface and talking a little about what is coming up for the platform, including the 20th anniversary celebrations. He also fielded questions from the assembled media, with a few tough questions directed at the Bricklink boss. There will be more from this presentation coming to Brick Fanatics soon.
Day two of LEGO Fan Media Days is typically the interview day, which was the case again this year.
Before the interviews began though, there was time for a presentation from Director in Corporate Quality Bjarke Schonwandt about ‘corporate quality status, tracking and quality assurance’. It was an insight into how the LEGO Group receives complaints, communicates them across the company and implement the findings to improve product quality. More from this presentation will be available at Brick Fanatics soon.
It was then time to hop from virtual meeting to virtual meeting as Brick Fanatics interviewed a number of LEGO designers and marketeers about the various product themes. LEGO Star Wars Design Director Jens Kronvold Frederiksen and Designer Manager Michael Lee Stockwell provided an update on the Ultimate Collector Series Republic Gunship and revealed how fan demand led to 75280 501st Legion Clone Troopers being developed.
A few more interviews were conducted too, but readers will have to keep visiting Brick Fanatics to find out who they were with and what was discussed.
To wind up the day, an in-depth look at LEGO Powered Up system revealed how the various components are compatible and what has been done to ensure that there is consistency across the various product themed sing Powered Up. This was also where LEGO Fan Media first heard that Powered Up elements would be launched individually at LEGO.com.
The final day of LEGO Fan Media Days usually includes a tour of some sort – last year was a look at the new LEGO Castle Hotel and behind-the-scenes at LEGOLAND Billund. With this year being a distanced affair, this left Friday as a half day of presentations.
Things started off with excitement as a brand new LEGO product was revealed. This can’t be discussed yet as the information is under embargo, but information will be available soon, right here at Brick Fanatics.
This was followed up by a look at LEGO Technic 42115 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 with Senior Model Designer Aurelien Rouffiange. He gave a guided tour of the new release, picking out some of the interesting details on the model, before fielding questions.
It was a huge relief that the three days went by with no technical hiccups, aside from one minor audio issue – the LEGO team did a great job of keeping things running. Going into the event, there was concern that technology would prove a barrier and things would not run smoothly.
While there is nothing like conducting an interview in person or being presented to face to face, LEGO Fan Media Days 2020 was a success and has allowed Brick Fanatics to gather plenty of material for new features and interviews.
Keep checking back at BrickFanatics.com… there is plenty more to come from LEGO Fan Media Days 2020!
Graham was the BrickFanatics.com Editor up until November 2020. He has plenty of experience working on LEGO related projects. He has contributed to various websites and publications on topics including niche hobbies, the toy industry and education.
Follw Graham on Twitter @grahamh100.