The reputation of Lego, the huge company that creates small bricks, was enough to bring an event encompassing large Lego structures more than 30,000 visitors.
The event, first held in Melbourne this year around Easter and in Sydney in July, was called the Brick Man Experience, where structural Lego genius Ryan McNaught created massive Lego buildings for display. The experience was not a direct Lego sponsored event.
B&T caught up with Ant Hampel, CEO of events company Alive, the agency behind the experience to find out what worked, what didn’t and the biggest takeaways.
Lego’s Rep Helped
Lego is a nostalgic brand, it’s one the majority of the population knows and has probably played with.
People’s fascination with Lego is one of the main reasons the public came flocking to the event, said Hampel.
“It’s had a great resurgence obviously from the Lego movies, but it’s never really gone away,” he said.
“I think whether you’re a young or older mum or dad or a kid aged anything from four years upwards, there’s a fascination with Lego. And if you’re a bit older, I think it’s really nostalgic.”
Don’t Assume Your Audience
When the event was first coming to light, Hampel and the team were keen to target the hard core Lego fans, ‘brickies’ as they’re known. These guys, be they young or old, clog up the Lego expos around the country so it seemed a natural target group to go for.
“The first campaign in Melbourne we made some assumptions and we targeted very strongly just for the brickies primarily,” said Hampel.
The campaign got a heap of media coverage, which was great, however the ticket price was too high for brickies. Usually at the expos which showcase anyone’s work, said Hampel, the ticket price point is much lower, and while Alive kept the prices similar to going to the movies, the brickies “weren’t really prepared to pay that kind of money to go a Lego exhibit and we were getting a little bit of resistance”.
“When we came to Sydney we decided to shift our marketing and focus purely on parents looking to do something with the kids in the school holidays,” explained Hampel.
“That was more targeting to people who are more used to taking kids to attractions and to exhibits or shows.
“That’s when we really realised who our target was and that’s where we saw significant jump in the ticket sales.”
Don’t Panic Too Much If Ticket Sales Are Crap At The Start
There’s only so much marketing one can do. One of the most nerve-wracking things for Hampel during the experience was sitting and watching the ticket sales trickle in, “the ticket sales were negligible”.
While sitting there biting his fingers to the quick, Hampel said it wasn’t until about a week out the numbers started to skyrocket.
“We nervously sat and waited and watched the box office sales and then about 10 days out it started to increase incrementally, until the opening day and it went through the roof from there. The word-of-mouth kicked in from the ad campaign.
“That’s certainly the way to look at it going forward. There’s not a lot of engagement with our target audience prior to about 10 days before the holidays start.”
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