Complaint Department – Lego Super Heroes Part Two: Comic-Con Exclusive Figures

Welcome to part two of this Complaint Department regarding the Lego Super Heroes line. This time we’re taking a look at Lego’s exclusive figures. Or let’s just narrow it down to those given out at San Diego Comic-Con. They’ve been doing this for years and most don’t understand why. For many reasons this is giving Lego a lot of negative press. All part of the plan to get people talking or do they just like making people who give them money mad?

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In the last post, I talked about the constant usage of the standard Spider-Man figure in all of his Lego sets. Many have wondered where his other suits are? Oh, that’s right. They gave out the Symbiote Spider-Man to a limited few at San Diego Comic-Con. I suppose there’s some law that forbids Lego from using those designs in retail sets then? No, really. Is there? It’s so iconic that I really question this decision. I mean it takes no effort for Lego to make a black suit Spider-Man. Take the Venom body they already have. Print the standard Spider-Man eyes on a black head. Boom! Symbiote Spider-Man!

I’ve never heard Lego’s reasoning for doing these Comic-Con giveaways. Honestly, do they even have an answer that their customers would agree with? They can obviously stay silent, but all this does is infuriate the majority of people who actually support the brand and give Lego money year-round. The figure is completely free (if you’re willing to stand in line for hours AND be lucky enough to win one) so Lego sees no money from this. The biggest slap in the face is that many of these figures are main characters that haven’t seen the light of day in sets. Some I wonder if they’d even be considered for retail sets either due to minor obscurity, Lego being dumb, or someone else being dumb. You may have heard of these guys: Symbiote Spider-Man, Phoenix (when we don’t even have Jean Grey), Green Arrow (based on the live-action show), Hal Jordan Green Lantern (based on the Ryan Reynolds film), Spider-Woman, Shazam/Captain Marvel, and Bizarro. You know, some of these would’ve gotten you a lot of money if you just stuck them into sets instead. You can’t go and stupidly release such well-known characters like this and expect people to stay silent. Now I haven’t heard of anyone boycotting and a great many people will still buy Lego things. It has gotten Lego a lot of bad press but perhaps they just wanted people to talk about their brand. If that’s the case and they were willing to waste money and manpower to make these unique figures, they succeeded. It got slightly better this year where besides The Collector (who turned out to not be a major player in Guardians of the Galaxy) the figures weren’t exactly in the “must-have” category to most fans. Even so, this should be done away with. I don’t even know who they’re doing this for because as I’ll explain later not all of these figures are ending up in the hands of actual fans.

Let me go over some solution concepts that Lego could incorporate to make this less stupid. I doubt I’d be the first to come up with any of these but unlike Lego I want to be fair to people who actually support the company. These ideas really require no thought whatsoever but since they’re not being implemented, perhaps they make too much sense.

– This one’s a throwaway because Comic-Con has become too massive for its own good. It’d increase the length of an already long process, but give a quiz? Ask a question(s) about their Super Heroes theme and if they answer right, give them the figure. At least Lego would know which attendees know their brand. Yes, once the question(s) are asked people can cheat for the answers but it’ll weed out some scalpers. In the case of kids, I would just give them the figure. Their parent(s) may snatch it up to sell but Lego should be putting kids first. If they’re going to be in line for hours, they deserve it. As it is Lego has no way to know if the people they’re giving these figures to will actually appreciate and keep it or are simply resellers who throw it on Ebay. Granted, it’s fair game and even the scalpers had to stand in line for a chance to win. It’d be nice if these figures made it into the hands of real fans instead of sellers. During these giveaways there are people who wait around the area throwing out lowball offers to winners walking by. I’d wager most of them just want them to sell. Security should shoo them away.

– Just sell the figures online (for a reasonable price) after the convention. Lego gets money and everybody gets a shot at these figures. Does everybody not win here? I suppose those who won one may complain because everyone has it and theirs is less special. Well, this ain’t about you. Or they could have some of these figures get a retail set release so others have access to them, perhaps with tweaked designs. This year the process for winning a figure requires touching an ipad that tells you if you won or not. If not enough people win by the time they stop, there will be leftovers. And from what I heard there were a lot left over. Where are those going? Why didn’t you just give the rest out to the people in line after a certain time? You’re not selling them, so… what?

– Give out the figures if you purchase a certain amount from the Lego booth. They already do such promotions at Lego Stores every month. Lego will get some money they otherwise wouldn’t have and customers get something nice for supporting the brand. This may not be the best idea because once exclusives of any kind are added to the equation, there will be extreme huddling at the Lego booth. Not sure how they’d handle that but at the core it’s a simple solution. Of course scalpers still have a good chance here but so do regular fans who get to go as well. Definitely not my favorite idea but if Lego did it this way I can’t fault them as much because I could at least see what’s in it for them.

– If you HAVE to do these giveaways, use random/obscure designs that aren’t crucial to people’s collections. The black suit Superman is a perfect example of this. While some would recognize it and want it, it’s not a “must-have”. An even better example is the Unikitty given out this year. It’s a standard Unikitty but it comes with two facial expressions. I can already get a Unikitty at retail so I’m not missing out and those who do end up with this one, there’s something special about it they can appreciate. Don’t do black suit Spider-Man… that’s just really stupid.

At this point, it seems these exclusives are here to stay and there’s no signs of damage control or “reprints” from Lego. The problem is that Lego doesn’t seem to care about anything the fans have brought up about this. It’s a shame because while I understand corporations aren’t out to please everybody, they easily could in this case. They just choose not to and miss out on profit just as fans miss out on these figures.

That’ll do it for part two. Next time will cover the semi-solution to what’s been brought up in this post and the last.

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