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Lego goes large – and digital

Crowdsourcing ideas and adding a virtual layer to play are just two of the strategies that have revived Lego, the legendary company’s CEO tells ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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Since the first Lego certified stores opened in South Africa in 2018, the brand has flourished here, according to Kristian Imhof, country manager for the Lego Group in South Africa.

“The reception of Lego certified stores in South Africa was overwhelmingly positive both at the time of opening and in the aftermath,” he said this week. “There is a massive and dedicated base of Lego fans in the country, and the store openings presented an opportunity for both loyal Lego fans – of all ages – and first-time users to enjoy authentic Lego Play experiences in official Lego store environments.”

While the South African Lego experience is no different to anywhere else in the world, there are subtle differences in preferences.

“Children from around the world, no matter which nation they were born in, are naturally creative and generally fall in love with the endless possibilities of Lego Play. However, some toy trends are more represented in the country than others, such as a love for certain iconic properties like Spiderman or a high affinity to car toys. 

“Any launch of a super car in South Africa tends to be met with an overwhelmingly positive response from the market, like the recent Lego Technic Land Rover Defender or Lego Speed Champions Ferrari or Porsche launches. While the Lego brand’s portfolio is global, there are certain Lego products that are preferred and more easily recognised by South African children, such as the recently-launched Lego City Safari Off-Roader.”

The Lego certified stores in South Africa are operated by Great Yellow Brick Ltd, which has struck an exclusive deal with the Lego Group and has made a multimillion-rand investment in store roll-outs.

“Some of the Lego products were introduced for the first time to South Africa through Lego stores, such as Lego Ideas Central Perk,” said Imhof. “They had a great reception from the broad fan community.”

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