Saturday, 21 April 2012

Exclusive Minifigures from LEGO Shop at Home in May

It’s time for what now seems to be an annual event at LEGO stores, the May 4th (be with you) Star Wars event. But that’s not all that’s going on in May, with the new Marvel Super Heroes sets just having launched there will also be store activity relating to that. So let’s see what’s happening in LEGO stores this May...

Last year the May 4th Star Wars promotion was heavily pushed in advance. Postcards were sent out to registered LEGO customers, a teaser website was set up and banners were added to different websites. The promotion was that a free Shadow ARF Trooper mini-figure would be sent out with all orders over £50/$75, a free exclusive poster and special offers on selected LEGO Star Wars sets.
Once the promotion started, it turned out that the special offers were only 10% or 20% off a few sets. That’s clearly a bonus if you planned on buying the sets anyway, but perhaps not an incentive worth the hype. What was more frustrating, however, was that by Saturday LEGO were letting customers know that there were no LEGO Shadow ARF Troopers left to give away! Instead they were offering a Boba Fett key ring as an alternative – not a terribly appealing alternative. It seemed a little remiss at the time to promote an offer so much, and then be too under stocked to meet demand. To rub salt in the wound, LEGO then ‘found’ extra Shadow ARF Trooper mini-figures to run mini promotions with later in the year. Despite collectors who purchased items on May 4th were told they couldn’t have one because they were all gone.

The reason I have recounted what happened last year is to encourage everyone to get on the website or down to your LEGO shop first thing on May 4th, to make sure you get this year’s exclusive mini-figure. A chrome TC-14 is much more exciting than a Shadow ARF Trooper anyway, and LEGO Star Wars is even more popular this year than last. Hopefully LEGO will have learned the lessons of last year (like pushing it less in advance) and ensured there is enough stock to meet demand, but don’t count on that and be prepared.
TC-14 does seem like a logical choice this year. Offering a chrome mini-figure makes it that bit extra special, and with all of The Phantom Menace activity this year it had to be a character from that film. And what set – aside from a Trade Federation Battleship – would we ever get TC-14 included in?
The 4th/5th will also be the official launch date for the new Ultimate Collector Series R2-D2 (10225), a brilliantly LEGO-istic looking take on everyone’s favourite Astromech. Are fans ready for sculpture style sets again? We’ll find out when we see how well this set sells.

But it’s not just about Star Wars in May, as The Avengers (or the awfully amended Avengers Assemble in the UK) is released. To tie in with this there will be an exclusive Hulk mini-figure available when customers spend £50 or more. With this offer it doesn’t even mention a limit to Super Heroes sets, plus it is advertised for the last fortnight of May. Clearly LEGO Super Heroes hasn’t got the huge following of LEGO Star Wars yet, so at least everyone has plenty of time to get hold of their Hulk. The mini-figure is another good choice as only the large version of Hulk is included in any of the sets, whereas this is a regular sized (but still green version) of the hero with anger issues.
In the last month of May there will also be life sized Super Hero cut-outs for fans to have their photo taken with. Why not?

So May is set to be a month to do a little purchasing directly from LEGO. It is said that in order not to upset other LEGO stockists, the stores and online are shop are not permitted to heavily discount sets. This explains that although some of the special offers are a little underwhelming at times, LEGO shops are fighting with one hand tied behind their back. At least this leaves us, however, with the chance to get special unique mini-figures that otherwise we would probably never see.

Click here to check out the May store calendar in full. 

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