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False advertising by LEGO?

Every time my 4-year-old son peruses the latest LEGO catalog or Club magazine, all the imagery of LEGO sets depict the minifigs in very articulated poses that are impossible to do with minifigs in real life (i.e. arms and legs with "knee, hip, elbow and shoulder" joints). Then he'll ask me how come his minifigs can't execute those poses.

For AFOLs, this need not be explained, but to a young boy (the target audience for these catalogs and magazines) this is misleading. I've even had an older adult (a senior who obviously has had no experience with LEGO) wondering the same thing when she saw the catalog and compared it to the actual toys.

They articulate minifigures in the cartoons, but that is understood.

I do notice they don't do that in actual product packaging.

Poetic licensing? Perhaps, but highly doubtful a child would understand.

Comments

  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    I never noticed this, but I'm not generally looking. I'll admit to being a fan of a well posed photo of the set in all it's glory. no photoshopping, no adding in effects or fancy graphics. Sure, throw in a backdrop or something, but let the LEGO speak for itself.

    But I admit to being old school I suppose.
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    I've noticed that too and while I don't think it's a very big issue, I can see where it can come off as misleading. A toy catalog should display the toys as the customer would receive them, kind of a what you see is what you get thing.
    Cam_n_Stu
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,727
    Only yesterday I was thinking it was wrong whilst scanning through the kid's Club Magazines. The minifigs have a sort of 'cool' pose helped by their legs being slightly spread and the curved shape of their torsos. The figs look a lot better in print than they do in life.
  • zippityzoomzippityzoom Member Posts: 86
    It's not something I'm up in arms about (I think LEGO does a fantastic job with their minifigs) but when you show what looks much like actual product in such a stylized way and target it towards kids, it's a bit wrong.

    It's all good when done in cartoon or comic strip form.

  • devilheaddevilhead Member Posts: 280
    The LEGO catalogue sitting in front of me shows LEGO products as they are; not one impossible articulated pose in sight. This is how I recall all previous catalogues as well. There is some doctoring of photos to imply motion, lasers, explosions, etc... but there is nothing as you describe. The only place where there are computer rendered minifigures in poses that cannot be done is the customer service section where any other catalogue would have pictures of real people. They may be pushing it, but I wouldn't call the catalogue false advertising. Can' speak for the Club magazine, though.
  • zippityzoomzippityzoom Member Posts: 86
    Haven't seen a catalog in a while but we have some older ones he likes to look at from 2011 and they definitely showed realistic figures photoshopped with "jointed" limbs. That might be different now.

    The Club magazines definitely have them articulated.
  • truktruk Member Posts: 46
    Bitter old man mode

    If kids today feel betrayed by Lego's minifig portrayal, then they should take a moment and be thankful that they didn't grow up with 80's/90's toys. Transformers were especially bad for showing the most awesome-est robot ever on the box, then you tear it open to find a car with arms that pop out and swivel up about 30 degrees. And maybe the legs extend down or tiny feet pop out of the front bumper so it can stand.

    /Bitter old man mode
    thenos
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,544
    ^ this exactly! The robot on the box was almost nothing like the one you got - there were always extra bits sticking out, or the legs barely moved, or something else.
  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,734
    I think this is the kind of thing the OP is referring to, and I have to say I agree. This was used at one point on [email protected] (IIRC) to signpost to the Harry Potter category.
    New Lego Harry Potter
  • Amsden317Amsden317 Member Posts: 2
    Matthew's picture is actually a CGI picture or something like that.
    So, no, yo can't do that stuff
  • Amsden317Amsden317 Member Posts: 2
    *you
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,727
    @Matthew's image is what I was describing ie. spread legs and curved torso. I can understand why some might have a problem.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    devilhead said:

    The only place where there are computer rendered minifigures in poses that cannot be done is the customer service section where any other catalogue would have pictures of real people. They may be pushing it, but I wouldn't call the catalogue false advertising. Can' speak for the Club magazine, though.

    The problem isn't so much in their catalogs as it is on their website where computer-generated images abound. That said, the Collectible Mini-Figures and the calendars are the worst offenders and use this imagery in place of the actual product on both the package and in nearly all commercial advertisements.


  • PhoneboothPhonebooth USMember Posts: 1,430
    Uh oh. Sounds like kids will be disappointed and ultimately have to rely on their imagination!
  • FatMattFatMatt USMember Posts: 502
    I agree with the OP. I have often wondered as to the legalities of advertising such photos.
  • LegoMom1LegoMom1 Member Posts: 652
    edited September 2013
    Oh no. You mean my Harry Potter minifig doesn't really have magical powers? :(
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    Actually, given the greater potential for posing Kre-O figures, it's not unreasonable for children to get a false impression of a similar capability from Lego mini-figures based on such depictions.
  • LegoManiaccLegoManiacc Member Posts: 116
    edited September 2013
    Funny you mention this. Just last week, referring to the backgrounds, my kid said, "I wish they didn't put all these other things in the pictures and just showed the sets."

    I had to sit her down and say, "Well honey, LEGO does their best. I PERSONALLY WISH YOU WOULD STOP YOUR WHINING ABOUT THE SUBJECT BUT THERE'S NO MAGIC WISH GENIE HERE GRANTING ALL OUR WISHES, IS THERE?!? LIFE ISN'T FAIR, IT ISN'T JUST RAINBOWS AND BUTTERFLIES AND IT'S ABOUT TIME YOU LEARNED THIS. Now eat your dinner and get to bed, you've got to be rested up for your first day of kindergarten tomorrow."
    thenos
  • gifinimgifinim UKMember Posts: 174
    ^ you forgot the talking ponies.

  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950

    Funny you mention this. Just last week, referring to the backgrounds, my kid said, "I wish they didn't put all these other things in the pictures and just showed the sets."

    I had to sit her down and say, "Well honey, LEGO does their best. I PERSONALLY WISH YOU WOULD STOP YOUR WHINING ABOUT THE SUBJECT BUT THERE'S NO MAGIC WISH GENIE HERE GRANTING ALL OUR WISHES, IS THERE?!? LIFE ISN'T FAIR, IT ISN'T JUST RAINBOWS AND BUTTERFLIES AND IT'S ABOUT TIME YOU LEARNED THIS. Now eat your dinner and get to bed, you've got to be rested up for your first day of kindergarten tomorrow."

    Wait, there isn't? It isn't? When did this happen?!?
  • zippityzoomzippityzoom Member Posts: 86
    Someone had mentioned Kreo. My son had some as a gift from someone else and despite their minifigs' greater articulation, he rejected them in favor of LEGO minifigs (It was quite the proud moment for me).
    lucian
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    I'm glad life isn't rainbows and butterflies... they creep the hell out of me, with their totally random flapping about

    "...help! I can't control this thing, I used to laze about eating leaves all day, then I fall asleep and WHAM, i've got bloody wings! Where are my LEGS? I had loads of em! What's going OOOOOON. AaaAaAgH, MayDay, MayDay, I'm outta controooool, going dowwwn, aaagh, I'm gonna crash into this guy's face, and he's not helping waving his arms and making eddies in the wind!"

    Bloody butterflies, all up in your face...

    "hey man, look at my iridescent colours, man, you ain't got no pretty colours! think these are my eyes? BAM! They're wing patterns man. For scaring you. Fool".

    Don't get me started on rainbows...

    :oD
    carlqLegobutterflyJosephBumblepants
  • LegobutterflyLegobutterfly Member Posts: 488
    edited September 2013
    ^Wow! You paint quite the picture there @legomatt if only the author of the hungry caterpillar had thought to pad out his story like that and tag on your bit at the end, instead of being a beloved childrens book it could have been giving kids nightmares and phobias for years!
    I have to say I am really fond of butterflies but man, I cannot stand rainbows! All colourful and bright and cheeful once the rain has passed. And what is with that pot of gold at the end? It's obviously counterfeit or profits from a dropshipping scam, I mean it has to be right?! If I see me a rainbow I play it safe and run in the opposite direction ;)
    vitreolumlegomatt
  • LouiseLouise Member Posts: 5
    If you want 100% accurate advertising, then TLG should show minifigs (and sets) as only piles of separated parts, because that's how they come in the box. How many kids were disappointed to find they had to actually ASSEMBLE their figs/sets? Yet they are clearly shown as an assembled item on the box! Frankly, it's shocking.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    Louise said:

    If you want 100% accurate advertising, then TLG should show minifigs (and sets) as only piles of separated parts, because that's how they come in the box. How many kids were disappointed to find they had to actually ASSEMBLE their figs/sets? Yet they are clearly shown as an assembled item on the box! Frankly, it's shocking.

    Except that what's on the cover art of the box is possible with assembly. No amount of assembly will add additional joint articulation to mini-figures.

  • mressinmressin Lego City... erm LondonMember Posts: 843
    ^^ Yeah, where is that prominent "Some assembly may be required" over the box? Also, infom the kids that "the airplane does not fly", "the shark does not swim", and "houes can only burn once".
    vitreolum91stlegotrooper
  • 91stlegotrooper91stlegotrooper Member Posts: 92
    ^Unless you are me. I made the house burn twice :)
  • LegoMom1LegoMom1 Member Posts: 652
    edited September 2013
    @zippityzoom said: Every time my 4-year-old son peruses the latest LEGO catalog or Club magazine, all the imagery of LEGO sets depict the minifigs in very articulated poses that are impossible to do with minifigs in real life (i.e. arms and legs with "knee, hip, elbow and shoulder" joints). Then he'll ask me how come his minifigs can't execute those poses.

    Just tell him that those are the broken and defective ones and due to strict Lego rules, they can't be sold. :)
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    @legobutterfly

    Of course, I may have exaggerated my aversion just a little, for comedic effect. haha. :o)

    ---

    On actual topic - yep, it happens ;oP - I do think/agree that product box-art and/or photo's related to showing an actual product should always be accurate depictions of the content/pieces being sold/bought, and not be stylized 'graphic' representations.

    I do like the colourful backdrops and artwork, but I draw a line at altering the content.
    One example: I found it a tad misleading (and therefore unnecessarily annoying - unnecessary because I wouldn't have been bothered otherwise) when they depicted Wonder Woman with blue eye-shadow, when the actual fig has no such decoration on the face. Grrrrrrr!

    But if the context is for anything non-product related, such as comic-adventures, magazine strips, stories, books, web/game animations, or general brand promotion, I've got no issue with stylized depictions of figs doing 'impossible for the plastic' things... cos' that's just a bit of fun, and not selling anything.

    Legobutterfly
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,939
    Even when I was between the ages of 8-12, I used to get annoyed by all the background lasers and explosions on the Star Wars box-art/advertising material, and lets face it, 8-12 year olds are who the SW toys are aimed at, if that says anything about how helpful it is.

    Even more recently, though, there was a clone trooper battle pack that had so flippin many random lasers and explosions that if you looked closely, one of the clones was getting mown down by friendly fire. I still don't know whether that was an inside joke/easter egg, or whether it was just over-enthusiasm on the part of the box artist.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    Well, clone troopers and stormtroopers were never known for their intelligence or their aim. ;-)
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,939
    ^Now that you've put it that way, I'm convinced it was on purpose. XD
    Just look at the effort Star Wars' licensees go to to convey that aspect of clones/stormtroopers. The programmers who make make Lucasarts video games like Battlefront must have put hours into making awful AIs for stormtroopers! (<-sarcasm)
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,939
    Though, back on topic, (vaguely) when I used to check MOCpages a while back, there was a fad of trying to pose minifigs in normally impossible ways, ie, getting them to actually look like they can use a bow-and-arrow, or hold a sword two-handed. I think this usually involved putting rubber bands inside the torso so that the arms (if dislocated at the shoulder) could be rotated side to side as well as round and round.
  • zippityzoomzippityzoom Member Posts: 86
    Just curious, how would everyone here feel if LEGO added more articulation to its beloved minifigs?

    Me personally, I find them endearing as-is. But the short figs with the regular arms do bother me a little.
  • truktruk Member Posts: 46
    ^ While I'd actually love to see some addtional articulation, I think adding anything would take away from the look of what makes the Lego Minifig unique in the first place.

    To me, it's a very good case of "less is more". While there are a lot of poses a minifig cannot pull off, there is just enough there to imagine what could be. Looking at a Kreo figure (Kreon...?), all of the additional posability comes at the expense of the figure looking more robotic - boxy arm joints, square torso that hangs out in front and back of the legs with any rotation, and legs that come off as more stumpy because of the additional hip joint (but no knees).
  • truktruk Member Posts: 46
    ^ I do agree with the short legs thing though. In certain cases (LOTR dwarves, Yoda) they work fine, but for children or shorter human adults, they look rather goofy. I'd be fine with a new child torso/arm assembly.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,548
    I like the figs just how they are. I love the simplicity of them, and it's what makes them uniquely Lego figs. If they changed them, it would be BAD... total protonic reversal.

  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    legomatt said:

    I like the figs just how they are. I love the simplicity of them, and it's what makes them uniquely Lego figs. If they changed them, it would be BAD... total protonic reversal.

    Not if Gozer was coming!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,311
    truk said:

    ^ I do agree with the short legs thing though. In certain cases (LOTR dwarves, Yoda) they work fine, but for children or shorter human adults, they look rather goofy. I'd be fine with a new child torso/arm assembly.

    Then you should probably have less wide torsos as well as shorter arms, which means torsos cannot be changed between adult and kid minifigs.

    Minifigs are out of proportion anyway, I don't see the point of amending them. They are fine as they are. If you want a more realistic proportioned and articulated figure, then there are many brands available. In many cases, they are compatible with lego, you just build to the scale you want. I grew up before minifigs were that common and well before licensed figures. I had many homemaker style figs (they were OK at the time), and some of the fix leg and arm minifigs (I hated them). Yet my Kenner figures worked perfectly with my lego. I remember having hours/day/weeks/months of fun building for them.
  • pd66pd66 UKMember Posts: 168
    ^ Same here - I used to build bases/vehicles etc for my Star Wars, Action Force, Black Hole, Buck Rogers etc 3 3/4" action figures with my childhood LEGO....

    And I too hated the fixed leg/arm minifigs - what was the point of them?! We still have them and the handful of homemaker figures (which I never really liked either) we had in my son's big buckets.

    Back on topic - the only change I would like to see structurally to the minifig is short legs that move like the longer versions can. Any other changes may stop them being fundamentally the LEGO minifigs we know and love?

    But maybe some of us would have said the same thing when the first non-standard face was introduced or the intro of fleshies etc if similar forums were around back then - I wouldn't be one of them though.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,311
    ^ Brick Fortress make custom short legs that move like that. But to me they look weird when bent to sit down like longer legs.

    image

  • icey117icey117 DenmarkMember Posts: 506
    I for one was very very disappointed when I bought my third LEGO GAMES set and found out that the large flexible minifigures portraited on the front of the boxes was NOT supposed to be included in the purchase.
  • zippityzoomzippityzoom Member Posts: 86
    All those lawsuits must be the reason LEGO is discontinuing the line.
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