Marketing media sophomore co-designs LEGO’s new BTS set

By Gabriela Ciurcu

Joshua Bretz, a TMU marketing media student, is one of the fan designers of the new BTS Dynamite LEGO set displayed in stores worldwide. 

Knowing he wanted to collaborate with LEGO Ideas for a set, Bretz looked for inspiration at the mall. After seeing that BTS collaborated with UNO cards and McDonald’s, Bretz knew the band was open for marketing collaborations. 

“I’d heard their song, Dynamite. I liked that happy and positive vibe. Especially in the height of COVID, when the song was released, it was a nice break from reality,” Bretz said.

Knowing that BTS was getting more popular and could bring fans to LEGO, Bretz contacted his friend, Joshua Twerski, a lover of K-pop music.

“We started making the project, and he told me what the best thing was to include and which outfits of the characters I should try to design. We submitted our idea within two days of talking, Bretz said. “I used an app on my phone to draw the clothing on the mini figures and to put some sticker decals on the renders.”

After submitting their idea to LEGO and needing to get 10,000 votes for it to go into the reviewed stage, a Twitter account was created to target BTS fans. With not much response from the fans, Bretz decided to create a TikTok video to explain their vision. 

“It blew up a little bit in the BTS world, and we got the 10,000 votes in under three days,” he said. 

In January of 2022, Bretz received an email from LEGO wanting more information about it. A video call with the higher-ups, design leads, and the director of LEGO Ideas made the set official as it was selected for the final stage before getting the license from BTS, allowing them to move forward with the project. 

“The part of the perks of being a fan designer is you get to go on video calls with the designers in Denmark and they get to show you their sketch models,” Bretz said.

Considering their input, LEGO designed new hair pieces for two specific band members. 

“In my original submission, I tried to capture three main buildings, the donut shop, the disco, and the music store. I did not have the ice cream truck or the sign, but it captures the bright colors and fun. This is a colorful set based, especially contrasting on the black background of what they do with their new adult-themed sets,” Bretz said.

Working alongside LEGO for a couple of months, and after calls about the finished products, the set was approved by the band and went into manufacturing. Released on March 1, the set sold out in Singapore. 

“Lego sent us – Jacob and I – copies of the set for free to enjoy. It was as thank you as well,” Bretz said.

Not only did LEGO send them copies of the set, they also made sure to incorporate their significant roles in the set. 

“In the official set, the license plate for the ice cream truck has the name JB two K J 99. The JB is Josh Bretz, and the 2K is 2000 the year I was born. The second J is Jacob, the other fan designer, and 99 was the year he was born. Therefore, Josh Bretz 2000 and Jacob 99,” Bretz said. 

Having a display case customized by a company in the UK from LEGO, Bretz is waiting to build and free display his new set. 

Bretz’s relationship with LEGO started even before the collaboration. He visited their factory and met with the designers in Denmark, but his love for the company started at a young age. 

“LEGO was always my favorite toy, and never grew out of it. I kept asking for it for Christmas, and once I got my job, I was able to buy myself the LEGO I wanted,” Bretz said.

Getting recognized by one of the designers Bretz worked with during the project and looks up to, he dreams to be a designer for LEGO himself, and having other possible collaborations with the company. 

Bretz also has a YouTube channel where he talks more in-depth about LEGO. 

The BTS set can be purchased online or at any LEGO store in the United States. 

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