Why there will never be a Lego BTTF
I emailed Lego asking them why we could not give proudct ideas, and why BTTF would not be a good choice for Lego. They didn't really answer the second question but oh well. Here was their reply to my email
Dear Mr. Burninator,
Thank you for contacting us on 07/04/11 and for your interest in LEGOŽ brand products.
As you know, versatility is the foundation of LEGO toys, and, since LEGO enthusiasts and their families are so creative, we receive many new product ideas from parents and children. We sincerely appreciate your generous intent-it is quite a compliment when a consumer voluntarily takes their valuable time to share their thoughts with us.
Each year, hundreds of new LEGO sets are introduced and our assortment now includes exciting new items such as games and puzzles. Within the LEGO Group, there are several research and development areas, whose sole purpose is to formulate new product ideas, compatible elements, instructions booklets, etc. From start to finish, a new item will require in-depth research and design work long before it appears at your local store.
To avoid confusion about the origin of products during that development process, we have a company policy that prohibits reviewing third-party ideas and suggestions, or even discussing any ideas for new products that enthusiasts would like to make and sell under the LEGO logo through a licensing agreement. Although this position may be difficult to understand, it has been carefully considered by the LEGO Group. The policy is in place because we have invested considerable resources in our own product development departments, which utilize the efforts of professional designers as well as other creative personnel. Those professionals work hard to independently develop our existing product lines and develop ideas for new products within our particular business areas.
Thank you again for contacting us. We wish your family many happy hours of creative building with LEGO brand toys in the years to come.
LEGO Direct Consumer Services
There you have it. And if you think I spent a bunch of my time writing that confusing reply, I didn't. It was an actual reply. Go ahead and email them if you don't believe me.
Keeps them lawsuit free is what that means.
For many years now, former football player (that's soccer to you Americans) Gary Linekar has represented crisp (chip) manufacturer Walkers. Once upon a time they renamed Salt and Vinegar flavour "Salt and Linekar" in his honour.
Then Michael Owen, another footballer, became popular, and a little boy wrote to Walkers suggesting they rename Cheese & Onion "Cheese and Owen". They had to turn him down, because they pay marketing people lots of money to come up with.... well, actually, a few months later, precisely this exact idea.
Nobody's tried renaming Honey Roast Ham flavour crisps as Honey West Ham, though.
Yeah, it's typical company policy to send out a "we can't look at your idea" email in response to suggestions. Definitely doesn't mean they won't do a BTTF thing eventually, it just means that that idea has to come from somebody within LEGO (or possibly somebody from Universal).
Every licensed LEGO set that I can think of, though, has been tied directly to the marketing of a current movie or TV show, so BTTF is a pretty unlikely choice. The only exception I can think of off the top of my head is Batman, and even that started around the time when Batman Begins was still a big deal. BTTF is a classic, but it's a quiet classic, so unless Universal does a massive marketing blitz for the 30th anniversary (way bigger than what happened this year for the 25th), I don't see it happening.
Lego fans might be interested in knowing that Minimates has made some BTTF merchandise
Yeah, my neighbor sent a letter to Hasbro a few years back with suggestions for their Star Wars toy line and they sent him a similar letter. It is a legal thing. Companies can't take unsolicited ideas for products from consumers. If they do, and they use that idea or something similar to it and make money from it, then the person who sent them the idea could potentially sue them. And if that person can successfully prove that they had the idea first, they might win.
It gets even trickier when dealing with a licensed product like Back to the Future. NBC Universal holds the copyright to Back To The Future and all derivative products, such as the film's score, the novelizations of the films, the animated series, and any and all video games produced in the franchise. Therefore, legally only people who have been given express written permission from NBC Universal can create anything Back To The Future related. Thus it's better all around if a company like Lego, which potentially could license the Back to the Future franchise, does not do so just because a fan writes and tells them they should.
Because if they do, that fan could try to sue them again, but this time there is no way the fan could win because the fan does not hold the copyright to Back to the Future, and therefore could potentially open himself up to a countersuit from NBC Universal for copyright violations. And no one, even NBC Universal, wants that.
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