Back then: When Vince Rubino marketing programs project manager appeared with Michael Boland senior brand manager and Paul Schou vp-brand marketing event marketing was at an all-time high for this kid-focused brand. The Bionicle Unleashed van was about to roll (one of five mobile tours that summer) along with sports leagues partnerships retailtainment theme parks and its own retail stores as part of an integrated targeted event strategy.
Now: Does this brand still excite kids with its products and experiences? Vince Rubino fills us in as Michael Boland has become director-licensing and Paul Schou has returned to Lego headquarters in Denmark as head of global marketing:
What’s changed since August 2003?
Lego went through a serious financial crisis not long after the article came out. We got away from our core which is quality kids’ construction toys and tried too many things that didn’t work such as video game production a TV program and toys that were less about construction. Budgets were cut and it adversely impacted our event marketing for several years. The good news is we have come back strong by refocusing on who we are as a company and what we do well. Our owner (we are privately held) gave us the time to do what we needed to do to turn the business around and we are now back on track.
And your biggest achievement since the story?
Getting our business financially healthy; we have a singular focus on our core consumer boys 6-12 and producing strong construction toys. That same focus carries to event marketing as well by putting ourselves in the shoes of the consumers looking at them first and putting them at the forefront at events such as Comic-Con in San Diego a mecca for pop culture and Creation Nation an adult event promoting creativity among children in Washington D.C.
At the top of the list for ‘08?
From a company standpoint to continue to produce strong construction toys that appeal to our core consumer and we’re off to a good start with our classic Lego products city-themed products and a strong portfolio of IP products with Star Wars; we come out with Indiana Jones next year Batman and SpongeBob. From an event-marketing standpoint the challenge is ROI ROI ROI. That’s the mantra in the industry. I need to continually prove that event marketing is effective. Everyone believes it in their gut and knows what it is and can be. The challenge is the number of individuals that you interact with still can’t easily compare to a TV commercial and the wide spread. I need to continually convince management of quality versus quantity and that is what event marketing provides.