How LEGO turned an Academy snub into the marketing moment of the 2015

Here is an interesting piece of info I was reading in a magazine while communiting to work this morning about this years Oscars I didn’t know about. We all know The LEGO Movie, a fan favorite and $468 million blockbuster, did not get a single nomination in the animated feature category, the company it seems didn’t need one. During the two-and-a-half-minute rendition of “Everything Is Awesome,” dancers fanned out through the audience to hand yellow Oscar statuettes (remember that?) to the likes of Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood and, most memorably, Oprah Winfrey, whose look of surprise and delight reached 35 million viewers.

In fact, according to data crunched by Amobee Brand Intelligence, LEGO dominated the night with close to 47,000 social mentions and 44 percent of the real-time discussion. That little Oscar trick handed the toy brand some $7.5 million of free advertising. Not a bad night for a loser!!!!

Speaking on this awesome bit of free advertising Lego senior director, brand relations Michael McNally said Nobody really knew what would happen, It was organic, and a testament to how people feel about the brand.

Consider The LEGO Movie. While LEGO could have bought a 90-minute commercial (as Moynihan puts it: “Here’s the line of toys, now make a movie around it“), it instead focused on story and character development, reasoning that when good content leads, customers will follow. The same holds true for Ninjago, Lego’s hit series on Cartoon Network, and its impressive array of online videos (both on its site and its YouTube channel), which don’t just showcase product but also give fans a behind-the-scenes look at how the toys are made and tips on how to play with them. “We do research among kids on what kind of content they’re looking for and gear our content around those needs,” Moynihan says.

The brand that nearly disappeared a decade ago posted 18 percent revenue growth in the first half of this year—fueled in part by the movie and that memorable night at the Oscars. Speaking of which, those LEGO statu-ettes (by artist Nathan Sawaya) came out of LEGO in-house model shop, which also built props for the show’s musical number. And while social media exploded with images of movie stars cherishing their ersatz Oscars, McNally points out that the stars themselves were actually secondary. “It doesn’t matter that there are celebrities,” he says. “It matters that the brand resonates with them. They get a statuette made of bricks and they’re losing their minds? It was a pure genius moment.

This story first appeared in the Oct. 19 issue of Adweek magazine.

LEGO SYSTEM A/S

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