LEGO Rebuild the World has been unveiled, with an epic video packed with imaginative characters, action and story. To find out what has gone into this marketing project, Brick Fanatics is at the LEGO House for a special presentation from David Hall, Senior Director of Global Brand Development at LEGO Group. He is eager to share the top-secret project that has been a significant amount of work.
“We typically think of LEGO as building sets. There are some people out there who know about LEGO, they like LEGO, but they don’t really appreciate LEGO creativity,” he says. While the audience he is speaking to in Billund, Denmark, are more than aware of how LEGO bricks build creativity, it seems that the LEGO Group’s research says otherwise.
“What we are really trying to do with the brand is to inspire these kids to really fall in love with the LEGO system of play. What we know from some of our research is that the LEGO brand is generally one of the most powerful brands in the world, it is super well respected, but not everybody is buying the products.”
The LEGO Rebuild the World marketing campaign is intended to connect the brand with audiences in a new way. “We have tried to do brand work in the past and sometimes it has been really successful and sometimes it hasn’t been quite so successful. When it has been really successful we have tried to do something where we have been really authentic to the brand so it feels like LEGO, sounds like LEGO, you get that little buzz in your tummy that this is right.
“But it also has to be valuable to the audience. Some of the challenges we have run into in the past is because we are so passionate about LEGO and we are seeing it in a way we see it, we don’t always connect with those audiences that don’t see it in the same way that we do. We also want to build a meaningful brand asset with longevity – what I mean by that is we are trying to create something that goes alongside the logo that can last for a number of years.”
The LEGO Group is keen to inspire the children who will be out in the world in a decade or two, with David and his team seeing the system of play as a way to encourage the creative thinking that they will need in an ever-changing world.
“We see the role of the LEGO brand being to inspire what we are calling ‘optimistic creativity’. The reason we have put the word optimistic in there is because it is very easy to look at the society today and what’s going on out there and say ‘oh, I don’t like, it’s all going a little bit wrong’. Kids don’t see things that way, kids see problems as opportunities, so for LEGO we need to make sure we are always taking an optimistic point of view on creativity in the world.”
Rather than preaching to the converted, Rebuild the World is intended for an audience who do not see these attributes within the LEGO brand. “So this is a quote from some research we have done into ‘what do you think about the LEGO brand’: ‘LEGO is great for kids who just like following instructions, the whole point is to follow along’. And we read that and we think yeah, following the instructions gets you going but we would love for you to go and rebuild stuff and do something a little bit more.
“The parents see that as a bit of a problem. So we have got this whole phenomenon, we have been very successful with lots and lots of products, which you build and you put on the shelf and they look beautiful, but then a lot of parents look back on their own childhood and remember buckets of bricks, we need to capture the creativity of LEGO again for those folks.
“Another priority we have got is this one. So ‘building LEGO wasn’t fun enough, it wasn’t satisfying enough, it wasn’t rewarding enough’. Some kids find building with LEGO a chore, something really difficult, something hard to do, we have to make sure that we are injecting fun, energy and enthusiasm … We have also got to make the brand really cool, credible, because when we are coming up against iPads, against Fortnite, against all of other competition for time, LEGO should stand out as something that parents not only want their kids to play with because it is it is good for them, but because it is cool, it is fun, it is something that when they go into the playground and start talking to their mates about it they feel really proud about it.”
All of this has fed into the development of Rebuild the World. Qualitative research has informed understandings of how the LEGO brand is perceived now and what the brand campaign should convey. “These folks that we are trying to target, they see LEGO as a construction toy. That is good, but what we want them to see LEGO as is a creative play brand.”
This mission – to shape the perception of LEGO as a brand, so that is seen as a creative play brand – has informed the billboards that are now being unveiled as part of Rebuild the World. This first phase of the activity will run from September until the end of December.
Everything will be anchored around the big-budget launch video, that captures the whimsy, the silliness and the creative energy of LEGO while incorporating a few easter eggs and nods to LEGO products for the brand’s biggest fans.
“This is a single video for the launch campaign. I think what is very different about Rebuild the World compared to our normal advertising campaigns is we want this to be three to five years, at least to start off with we will be developing a series of this scenes each year. As you can imagine it is not the cheapest thing to produce something like this.”
The video will be supported by physical outdoor advertising. “This is stuff that you will see on billboards around the world. The idea behind these is another angle on Rebuild the World, which is how can we capture simple things that kids can come up with to solve problems creatively? If you are going to put out a fire, of course you would use an elephant. Or if you are fed up with walking down the street and treading in dog poo, then you would build a dog poop onto the dog so you don’t have to bend down.
“If you were trying to fight against an aggressor or a bully – this is where we can all start to play with Rebuild the World and take a little bit of a twist on what is going on with society,” David says showing an image in which a school of fish are turning on a shark. “Also we need to do something about gender equality,” he says, showing an image in which the word ‘blue’ is built from pink bricks and the work ‘pink’ is built from blue bricks.
In response to a question from Brick Fanatics, David says that Rebuild the World can be about discussing the brand’s values: “Ultimately we believe the platform would allow us to do that … over time we would want this to reflect the values of the brand, it’s the way that a brand signature in communications really really works. It is why right at the beginning we need to have something that is really authentic to the brand, then also resonates with the audience properly.”
But despite teasing the idea that the images he has revealed are relevant to today’s societal problems and affecting gender equality, he quashed any idea that they intend to comment on politics or social discussion: “So the political discussion no. We really try and stay away from politics, there is a risk for us in this, is we do get drawn into making, the risk is people looking at this as LEGO trying to make a statement on the world today and it’s all a bit wrong and it needs to be fixed.
“We are not trying to do that, what we are trying to do is say breaking things can always make something better, if you start with something good you can always make something a bit better, that is the idea of that angle of it. And the reason why we stay away from politics and things like is it is core to the LEGO values … kids can’t take it, what is the right for us to impose it?”
LEGO Rebuild the World will combine content from influencers, television advertising, billboard advertising, all centred around the big, quirky piece of video content on which the LEGO Group seems to have spared no expense. “We really think we have got something quite powerful here and our testing has validated that.”