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Lego Replies: 7979 Castle Advent Calendar

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Lego Replies: 7979 Castle Advent Calendar

Postby Metatron » Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:18 pm

Query:

I have heard that the 7979 Castle Advent Calendar
will not be available to the North American market and I would very
much like for Lego to reconsider that poor marketing decision.

I would buy several copies of that set if given the opportunity.

-----

Answer:

Dear XXXXX

Thank you for contacting us and for your interest in LEGO® brand products.

The Advent Calendar you referred to is not available in our current product selection and is not expected to be available for sale in the United States at this time. We currently have the LEGO City Advent Calendar for sale, item number 7724. To confirm an availability date at a later time or to answer any questions, call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-835-4386. Customer Service hours are 8:00am to 10:00pm EST Monday-Friday and 10:00am to 6:00pm EST Saturday and Sunday. Please call also if you wish to request a catalog which will list our current line of LEGO toys as well as the suggested retail price or check our website at www.LEGOshop.com.

Thank you again for contacting us. We wish your family many happy hours of creative building with LEGO brand toys in the years to come.

Kathy
LEGO Direct Consumer Services

-----

Well, that sucks! Yeah, I'm gonna call. But what's the point?

One step forward, two steps back - the Lego Marketing Idiots folk dance.

Thanks for nuthin'...

:evil:
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Postby Metatron » Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:39 pm

Yup. Phone call was useless. They know. Whatever...
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Postby Dunechaser » Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:34 am

Metatron wrote:Yup. Phone call was useless. They know. Whatever...

LEGO's final decision is likely to be based on the volume of customer data they have to support releasing the set in North America. Just because Metatron got this answer -- and we're all likely to get this answer in the short term -- doesn't mean that those of who haven't e-mailed or called yet should not do so.

Don't necessarily take one customer service representative's word as the final word.
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Postby rogue27 » Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:10 pm

I wonder if the set won't come out in NA due to the design of the barmaid and the way our culture handles such things.

Regardless of the reason, every posted response from LEGO has been a generic reply. They know we want the set, but it's not happening.
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Postby Munchy » Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:42 pm

rogue27 wrote:I wonder if the set won't come out in NA due to the design of the barmaid and the way our culture handles such things.


No I don't believe that was the reason. I'm inclined to believe they just couldn't produce the set in a quantity to satisfy the NA demand for it so they made it a European exclusive.
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Postby JoshWedin » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:12 pm

I think the reason that The Advent Calendar wasn't released here is much more basic than most people realize. Advent Calendars, in general, are not a major tradition in the US. They are very big in Europe. Lego's versions of the Advent Calendars are never been very popular here, in the past. In fact, how many people are interested in this set as an Advent Calendar? A few maybe. Not the vast majority of us though.

In the eyes of Lego Marketing, why would this Advent Calendar be any different? Of course we disagree, but Lego Marketing isn't really in touch with their fan base at all. Not at all like the design department.

Josh
Last edited by JoshWedin on Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Munchy » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:23 pm

JoshWedin wrote:In fact, how many people are interested in this set as an Advent Calendar. A few maybe. Not the vast majority of us though.


Your assessment may be correct. However, my family has had an advent calendar every Christmas since I can remember. I continued the tradition in my house. If your assessment is correct then why sell any advent calendar in the US?

Again, your position is as plausible as any other and I'm not knocking it. LEGO could have decided having two calendars in NA wouldn't be in their best interest and thought the City would sell better here.
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Postby Metatron » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:41 pm

Dunechaser wrote:Just because Metatron got this answer -- and we're all likely to get this answer in the short term -- doesn't mean that those of who haven't e-mailed or called yet should not do so.


Yeah, that's actually why I included the content of the reply email. Given the phone number to call, I figured others could at least make that call and register their discontent with a customer service rep.

I think writing to them is good too. Maybe even better if people have the time and inclination. That's something that can be well documented and sent up the ladder internally at the Lego company.

Castle, Pirates, and a little bit of the Space line were always my areas of interest with Lego. Now that it's all back I intend to support those lines as well as I can. But Lego needs to recognize that they diminish enthusiasm with these kinds of lunkheaded marketing moves. A lot of people are going away from this with a bad taste in their mouths because they aren't going to pay a premium for something just because Lego insists on doing things in the dumbest way possible.

During the four years those Disney Pirate films were being made did Lego manage to put out anything of use to support a toy pirate market? No, only now for 2009 have they managed to get it together. And that when they could have released a series of old sets in the Legends line any time after the success of the first movie in 2003.

It's as if much of what was achieved with Lego Direct has already been lost.

I don't know what explains it...

Responding to the idea that advent calendars aren't a big hit with the North American market doesn't really explain anything to me. If an item is considered to have limited appeal then that's exactly why to market it via the Lego stores and S@H - everybody wins. But when the company refuses to even provide an avenue of easy acquisition it's basically a big "screw you" to the brick enthusiast.

As someone whose significant other has a budding interest in brick building I can assert that the Creator and Belville lines are an enormous boon. Paradisa would be even better becauser then you'd have pink minifigures to go with that Cafe Corner your SO built. More pink, more girlie, and more fantasy based is what I think draws the ladies into the hobby. Lifestyle junk like an advent calendar is exactly in line with that in my view.

And if you want to make TRU and Walmart scream about how they want access to those thinsg too, you start by selling them as exclusives at S@H.

Just sayin'...
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Postby Tower of Iron Will » Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:31 pm

JoshWedin wrote:I think the reason that The Advent Calendar wasn't released here is much more basic than most people realize. Advent Calendars, in general, are not a major tradition in the US. They are very big in Europe. Lego's versions of the Advent Calendars are never been very popular here, in the past. In fact, how many people are interested in this set as an Advent Calendar. A few maybe. Not the vast majority of us though.

In the eyes of Lego Marketing, why would this Advent Calendar be any different? Of course we disagree, but Lego Marketing isn't really in touch with their fan base at all. Not at all like the design department.

Josh


Good point Josh. I would like to hope that a "Castle" advent calendar would sell better than a "City" one but am not sure as this is the first Castle one.

Your point about LEGO Marketing is dead-on. Any company that has a marketing dept that doesn't understand it's biggest market will suffer if not fail eventually. Any business student will tell you that. I just wish LEGO would stop the specuation as to why not by telling us. It's only going to make us madder by making us wait.
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Postby Munchy » Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:01 pm

Tower of Iron Will wrote:Good point Josh. I would like to hope that a "Castle" advent calendar would sell better than a "City" one but am not sure as this is the first Castle one.

Your point about LEGO Marketing is dead-on. Any company that has a marketing dept that doesn't understand it's biggest market will suffer if not fail eventually. Any business student will tell you that. I just wish LEGO would stop the specuation as to why not by telling us. It's only going to make us madder by making us wait.
-Tower


I don't know. We have no access to LEGO's internal numbers so we can only speculate as to their decision. Sure, we here at CC are overwhelmingly against this decision but that constitutes 100 individuals(?) roughly. Not exactly a majority in any market. LEGO may have some pretty convincing numbers that point them in another direction.

You are right that some better explanation should be given than "we just don't want to sell it there". I sure would like one.
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Postby Gumby » Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:08 pm

Here's the message I sent to LEGO and their reply:

I was wondering if the 7979 Castle Advent Calendar
will be available in Canada. I have never been interested in the
Advent Calendar sets before, but after seeing the Castle-themed
version, I really want one (or four).

---------------------

Dear Mr Wong
Thank you for contacting us on 09/11/08 and for your interest in LEGO® brand products.

The item you referred to is not available in our current product selection. Although it may become available in the coming months, company policy prohibits the release of new product information prior to its launch date. To confirm an availability date at a later time or to answer any questions, call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-835-4386. Customer Service hours are 8:00am to 10:00pm EST Monday-Friday and 10:00am to 6:00pm EST Saturday and Sunday. Please call also if you wish to request a catalog which will list our current line of LEGO toys as well as the suggested retail price or check our website at www.LEGOshop.com.

Thank you again for contacting us. We wish your family many happy hours of creative building with LEGO brand toys in the years to come.

Danielle
LEGO Direct Consumer Services

-----------------

Anyhow, I'll be surprised if LEGO ever makes it public as to why they decided not to sell the Castle Advent Calendar in the North American market.

This set has 2 major things going for it:

1) It's an Advent calendar
2) The pieces are castle-themed

I know that a few of you want this set because you will actually make use of it as an Advent calendar, but I think a majority of us want it just for the parts. It's possible LEGO thinks Advent calendars don't sell that well in NA, and they completely overlooked item #2. I think LEGO doesn't realize how many people buy sets JUST for the parts...
-Bryan
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Postby plums_deify » Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:25 pm

Keep in mind, too, that last couple of Advent Calendars (while excellent and full of good parts) didn't really sell out until they were discounted to pennies on the dollar.

Why introduce a new one if the current market can only support one? On the other hand, if this one does better this year, we may also see it next year. The CITY Calendar came out at the same time as the generic Calendar, and did better. So now we have CITY.
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Postby Dunechaser » Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:52 pm

Gumby wrote:Anyhow, I'll be surprised if LEGO ever makes it public as to why they decided not to sell the Castle Advent Calendar in the North American market.

Not entirely true. According to LEGO Community Team members, the big retailers failed to pick up the set. We've all been blaming LEGO marketing (and we should still ask why it's not available as a S@H exclusive), but this set's unavailability is largely due to lack of interest from Target, Wal-Mart, and Toys R Us.
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Postby Dan » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:08 am

Why don't we just ask LEGO to make us a Castle minifig pack with all the good parts from the advent calendar. All they have to do is slap them in a polybag with a sticker that says "WARNING: Small Parts. Not for Children Under 3 Years" This is probably something we could get LEGO Direct to consider and boo hoo to the marketing geniuses.
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Postby architect » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:12 am

Dunechaser wrote:Not entirely true. According to LEGO Community Team members, the big retailers failed to pick up the set. We've all been blaming LEGO marketing (and we should still ask why it's not available as a S@H exclusive), but this set's unavailability is largely due to lack of interest from Target, Wal-Mart, and Toys R Us.


Or is its lack of unavailability due to the qualifier by TLG that they wanted a large retailer to pick up this set in North America? I think that most fans expected this set to be available on Shop at Home but would be pleased if it was in stores. Most seasonal sets have been SAH exclusives in the past. Is this set available in European retail stores other than LEGO Brand Stores, Amazon, and Shop at Home?

Many seasonal sets could be loss leaders for TLG. They look great in the SAH catalog and online, become parts of larger Lego orders, and are enjoyed by many fans and children each year. These sets produce many happy holiday memories which can lead to lifelong fans of Lego.

This set had a huge amount of buzz from the online community which some people inside TLG were aware of. I hope that improved communication, or at least better monitoring of the community, by those who make these decisions will occur the future. Basing decisions solely on the big three toy retailers in North America has led to an unhappy group of customers in this case.

It would be nice to know why the retailers chose not to pick up this set but that type of information usually is not released. Perhaps they are wary of ordering large quantities of seasonal products. Certain aspects of the set (ie: the witch and skeletons on the box cover) might not have sold well in some areas of the USA.

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