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Korean girls, mothers assist development of Lego Friends

2012/04/15 | 7069 views |  | Permalink | Source

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"Legos for girls only"

Lego Friends, a new line of the popular toy for girls, was launched in January with pastel-colored bricks and girly dolls and the background of a virtual city of Heartlake.

The product has sold like wildfire in Korea and the world, being sold out within three months in Korea and now shipped via air, not sea.

Lego Friends is different from other products made by the company in that Korean girls and their mothers were involved in the development stage.

"We included 70 Korean girls and mothers in the focus group interview as testers in development", said Rosario Costa, design director of the Lego Group, at company headquarters in Billund, Denmark.

Lego studies 800 potential customers for three years before launching a new product. The period was extended to four years for Lego Friends and involved 1,000 people. The company used Korea as a test market because of the huge impact of Korean customers in the Asian market.

"The interview results are alike across the world. American, European and Asian girls including those in Korea value their relationships with friends and want colorful toys with much detail. But Korean mothers are particularly concerned if their young daughters will ever build with bricks. Of course, they were ready to do so", Costa said.

Lego Design Team used the daily lives of girls for the Lego Friends theme after learning of the common playing culture across the world in the course of development. It added unique personalities to characters such as Olivia, Emma, Stephanie, Andrea and Mia. For example, Olivia likes science and Mia has a pretty puppy house because she loves animals.

Unlike previous Lego bricks, the new figures are flexible and can be assembled to the body parts. Dress and hairstyle can also be changed.

A Portugal-born designer, Costa studied design in Copenhagen and has worked for Lego for 15 years. "The ideas for Legos come from endless observation and marketing surveys", she said, adding, "We make a prototype after observing the daily lives of children across the world and get another idea watching them play with it".

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