Hi everybody! My name is Dennis and I am introducing a weekly article on Brickset highlighting a particular CUUSOO project.
I will soon introduce myself better and explain what this is all about. For now I am rushing into this, because something big is happening right now. To be honest, this Pick-of-the-Week is not representative of what will likely be spotlighted in the future. But this is certainly not your typical CUUSOO project. I am talking about Purdue Pete.
"Who? What?" you ask. Who is Purdue Pete and why is he so popular all of a sudden? Well, this little guy is Purdue University's mascot. The scale model was designed and built by the associate dean for engagement in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Sandra San Miguel. Earlier this week the University heavily promoted the project in the school newspaper, on their own website, and on Facebook. They called for a record number of votes, hoping to garner all 10,000 in a 36 hour period starting October 24th. According to comments from people who claim to be involved, mass emails were sent out and they had multiple iPads set up at various, high-traffic locations around campus as voting kiosks.
It's quite obvious they have been successful with their campaign. Supporters have been pouring in and you can see them for yourself every few seconds on CUUSOO's Discover page. At the time of this writing, there have been 8,350 votes cast over the last 24 hours. It looks like they are well on their way of reaching their goal.
Now, as an AFOL myself who also happens to have my own CUUSOO project, I completely understand why this project is disappointing to many in our community. Although it is unfortunate that the majority of these people are likely only voting for this specific project and are not voting for any other idea, I believe this can still be considered a positive thing. The way I see it: many people have been exposed to CUUSOO whom were previously unaware of the program. Surely many of these students had LEGO growing up, so this may very well encourage those who have "outgrown" LEGO to rediscover the hobby as an AFOL. As young people who are more likely to use social media, I think sharing this project on Facebook, Twitter, etc. will have a positive effect for CUUSOO and the LEGO fan community in general.
With all that said, do I think TLG will approve this project? I think it's pretty clear to us that it is not a good model fit for production. I'm sure, since this is Brickset, I do not have to go into the reasons for this. However, it does bring up some interesting thoughts. American sports fans are very passionate, whether it's at their school or professionally. Imagine a LEGO model for every major school's mascot. That's a huge potential market full of young people who have generally "outgrown toys". An official model for their school, created by one of their own, could easily rekindle their interest in LEGO as an AFOL. Taking that into consideration, I think Purdue Pete is not such a bad idea after all. Although it is an IP idea, it is original and something that hasn't been done before. It may actually have potential.
Update: As of 7:39 PM (GMT), the Purdue Pete project stands at 8,846 supporters, which makes it officially the top supported submission. Voting has slowed significantly, so it will be interesting to see whether or not the 36-hour goal will be achieved. Either way, the campaign has been very successful and I am sure it will reach 10,000 supporters soon.
Update: As of 12:15 AM (GMT), the Purdue Pete project has achieved their goal of 10,000 supporters. It's my understanding that the 36-hour period ended at 9:00 PM (EST), so they reached 10k with 45 minutes to spare. Very impressive, I must say I did not think it would happen. Congratulations to Sandra, the creator, and Purdue University for their success. I look forward to TLG's comments.