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LEGOs Sold in US Built Differently Than Europe

77ncaachamps77ncaachamps Aspiring Time Traveler Stuck in the West (US)Member Posts: 2,442

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Legos are popular with kids and parents across the world, but the toy company is now revealing there are some differences between products sold in the U.S. and Europe.

Lego researchers tell Business Insider that American parents generally don't like toys where they have to step in and help their kids play with them. So Legos sold in the U.S. are easier to set up.

European parents apparently like to sit on the floor and spend more time with the kids.

Lego researchers say the difference could be because American parents want their children to be more independent.


  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    I'm pretty sure this article is the result of something akin to the worst game of telephone in the universe. Seriously, it looks like someone just lifted a section from this article and then made up an extra narrative to go along with it.

    This section from the FC article stands out in particular:
    "There’s a clear distinction between American and European parents that keeps popping up everywhere," Flemmert-Jensen says. "American parents don’t like play experiences where they have to step in and help their kids a lot. They want their kids to be able to play by themselves. We see among European parents, it’s okay to sit on the floor and spend time with the kids." (Asked if it’s possible that American parents just want their kids to be independent, she responds, somewhat dubiously, "That’s one of many possible interpretations.")
    Actually, telephone is just the wrong descriptor. Pretty sure it's just flat out shoddy plagiarism.

  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,733
    edited January 2015
    ^ I think you're spot on - they've basically misinterpreted the original Fast Company article and printed a bunch of nonsense. Fools.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,357
    edited January 2015
    Well well well, what a diplomatic way to put it.... American parents want their kids to be more independent... ;-)

    More likely dad's watching the game on TV, and don't want to be interrupted.... while mom is on Facebook playing Farmville..... hehehe.... I'm "half" kidding.

    But for some odd reason LEGO in Europe has in the earliers years been geared to both parents and children alike... while not so much in the USA.

    Here's the earliest known LEGO commercial (from my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide chapter on LEGO TV commercials. All the family was involved in building the different basic sets of the 1957 era (700/0 (largest) thru 700/6 (smallest)... in conjunction with the 1956-62 Masonite 50s Town Plan board.

    Seeing parents involved with LEGO building was always common in Europe in the early years, such as this image from the 1960-65 Building Idea Book Nr.1 (238)/....


    Or in this 1963-65 Architectural Building set brochure....


    Even LEGO boxes of the early 1960s had adults playing along with LEGO with their children....


    Ironically one of the new chapter coming out in my next edition of my computer desktop collectors guide, gives an in depth look at the phenomenon of parents playing with LEGO with their children.

    This chapter (all future updates will be free to current owners)... is still a work in progress... but so far it shows how much TLG was marketing LEGO to European parents and their kids....

  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    edited January 2015
    Marketing is a far different animal than what this article describes. The claim made here seems to imply that there are completely different sets for the American and EU markets, since that would be the only way to have "easier to set up" products.

    Is there any difference between the instructions included in US and EU sets? That's partly rhetorical, but I have to admit I don't know for sure. I know the EU sets don't include part count on the front of the box, but I thought that was the biggest difference.
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    Found the original Business Insider article, instead of this cobbled together summary on the TV news site. Stupid content sweatshops churn out this garbage for subscribers, just so news sites can beef up their hit counts, often breaking them down a little too much and leaving out key info.

    The author still gets it wrong and shows an obvious lack of effort to understand how LEGO sells sets. Outside of some small promos, I can think of very few sets in recent memory that were available in one market and not to other. She "almost" gets it, but fails to connect that the discussion is about marketing, not product distribution.
  • 77ncaachamps77ncaachamps Aspiring Time Traveler Stuck in the West (US)Member Posts: 2,442
    Sorry for a post that referenced an already posted article.

    When I saw the article, I initially thought that there were specially targeted sets in EU that aren't available in the US.
  • blarghiflarghblarghiflargh Member Posts: 99
    I work at a local tv station(smaller market than the one linked) and the web producer usually just writes articles like that for busy work in-between the locally-generated news.

    It's clearly based on the Business Insider article but that doesn't necessarily make it plagiarism btw. Business Insider seems to be an Associated Press member, so the tv station is legally entitled to take the story and rewrite it. Most national or international stories in a local newscast originate with the AP or the network.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,257
    ...but it's simply 'LEGO', never plural!
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,986
    While the articles is snippets are fairly useless and were useless when I read them in the original article, the marketing photos shown here are actually quite fascinating. Yes, I could see a marketing difference. Toys here are not normally focused towards the entire family. I think of how Lego is done here with my youngest... The build itself is not typically a family activity.

    The exception we have seen is with the holiday sets. We do use those as family builds. the Haunted House was also a family build where everyone was involved in different aspects of created our holiday displays.

    I have found the time my kids have wanted family to engage with Lego is after the build. At that point my son at younger ages would then want us or siblings to engage in pretend play with the characters of the new set.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,809
    iccarus said:

    The author still gets it wrong and shows an obvious lack of effort to understand how LEGO sells sets. Outside of some small promos, I can think of very few sets in recent memory that were available in one market and not to other. She "almost" gets it, but fails to connect that the discussion is about marketing, not product distribution.

    Here's a database query for sets that were available at UK [email protected] but not at US [email protected] Ignoring the recent sets that are a result of staggered releases for different markets, there's a pretty common theme of sets available in Europe but not in the US. Going back to 2009, here are some examples:

    #10681 Creative Building Cube
    #10663 Creative Chest
    #10664 Creative Tower
    #4630 Build & Play Box
    #5749 Creative Building Kit
    #6053 My First LEGO Town
    #6131 LEGO Build and Play
    #5512 LEGO XXL Box
    #5529 Basic Bricks
    #5623 Basic Bricks Large
    #5589 LEGO Giant Box

    I think the availability differences between Europe and the US support the author's claim fairly well.

    That said, the derivative article is horrible. It's worded in a way that implies the same sets are different between markets, the US versions being somehow easier to build than the European versions.
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    edited January 2015
    @binaryeye - Thanks for the info. It seems like a lot of those are boxes of mixed brick products, which would match up with what I usually don't see on store shelves in the US. The funny thing is, TLG should actually put more of those out here. One of the most common complaints I hear from non-AFOL parents is they have a hard time finding just basic brick packs.

    @blarghiflargh‌ - You're right. Plagiarism is technically not accurate, since they probably have access to copy/rewrite content. Maybe not to butcher it though :)
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
    I do not know how people play in the USA, but I can say a bit about the Netherlands.

    1) When I was a child, we played with LEGO that was older than we were. My father had LEGO bricks before he had children. He liked to build houses. (He might have had a pipe also, so I guess he matched those set images pretty well.)

    2) Last week I was laying on the floor playing with my 4 year old nephew. We were not playing with LEGO, but it could have been. In this case it was a completely different plastic construction toy. Following the instructions for our build was difficult, an often he found it difficult to see how to start something, but the child actually built most of the model by himself. I had a lot of fun helping him to build something that I could have made within 5 minutes.
  • ChrisHallbeckChrisHallbeck Member Posts: 11
    I'm in the USA and bought #10664 Creative Tower at Walmart.
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,956
    Has anyone brought up Dino 2010 vs Dino Hunters yet? That was a series with a massive difference between America and here.
  • jedijason1138jedijason1138 Member Posts: 187
    My sons are fraternal twins and are different in more ways than their appearance. One boy likes to build his own thing and doesn't want help. He doesn't follow the directions because he wants it to be his own creation. The other boy surprised me because he followed the directions from the
    and built everything from the set (we had two, one for each boy). Those junior sets are really great for 4 year-olds and I love crawling around on the floor trying to help find pieces.
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