Greenpeace ad calls for end to Lego Shell partnership

Environmental charity Greenpeace has launched a scathing new ad calling for Lego to end its partnership with Shell, which uses the brand’s toys to demonstrate the potentially devastating consequences of an oil spill.

Environmental charity Greenpeace has launched a scathing new ad calling for Lego to end its partnership with Shell, using the brand’s toys to demonstrate the potentially devastating consequences of an oil spill.

Lego sold Shell branded toys from the 1960s until the 1990s and in 2012, signed a two-year deal to sell Shell Lego toys at petrol stations in 26 countries.

Greenpeace says Shell’s previous attempts to drill for oil in the arctic make it an unsuitable sponsor for children’s toys, and has launched a campaign urging Lego to end its affiliation with the company. Last week, it launched protests at the Legoland theme park in Windsor, where activists used Lego figures to stage mini protests.

Directed by Unit 9’s Martin Stirling, the two-minute spot from agency Don’t Panic begins with an idyllic arctic scene, complete with huskies, polar bears and tiny ice hockey players, set to a slowed-down version of the Lego Movie theme tune Everything Is Awesome.

Things quickly take a darker turn, however, as the sea and coast are flooded with thick black oil, engulfing puppies, children, teddy bears and even Santa Claus. The ad ends with the message: “Shell is polluting our kids imaginations. Tell Lego to end its partnership with Shell,” and a link to the campaign’s website, legoblockshell.org.

 

Greenpeace has adopted increasingly creative tactics to get its message across in recent years – in 2012, it launched an anime campaign urging fashion companies to reduce toxic pollution and last year, marched a three tonne mechanical polar bear through central London to highlight its Save the Arctic campaign.

 

 

The latest ad is an impressive production and is beautifully shot, from close ups of drowning figures with terrified expressions, to scenes of a pinstripe suited mini villain smoking a cigar by a Shell-branded lorry.

 

 

Targeting the world’s most popular toy brand is a bold move but it’s a clever campaign, and one that’s bound to place pressure on Lego to end the partnership, which Greenpeace claims was valued at $116 million by Shell’s PR company.

Brand advertising in games is a lucrative industry, but as an educational toy aimed at young children, Lego has a greater responsibility than most to pick suitable sponsors. Greenpeace’s ad is unlikely to impact Lego’s global popularity, but it does raise some serious questions over whether such a partnership is appropriate, particularly when the brand recently announced plans to substantially reduce its CO2 emissions.

 

Credits

Director: Martin Stirling
Producer:
Pietro Matteucci
DOP:
Matthew Day
Art director:
Andy Gent
Everything is Awesome cover by Alex Baranowski and Sophie Blackburn

 

  • Seriously, who doesn’t love Lego?

    do Greenpeace actually understand how Lego and ABS plastic in general is made?

    also, after all the recent negative publicity, going after such a well loved brand seems somewhat foolhardy

  • Leon

    I don’t think this has much to do at all with Lego’s manufacturing processes, it’s targeting the marketing and distribution partnership between the two companies and highlighting the moral issue of branding children’s toys with the logo of a company drilling for oil in places as risky and symbolic of global warming as the Arctic.

  • A

    you are right Green Peace needed to lay low for a while. I don’t think this will get them many supporters.

  • Matthew Day

    As far as I was aware Lego don’t sell Shell branded products in the UK, instead they have their own made up brand Octan.

    It’s a nicely crafted advert but kids buying lego isn’t really the cause of Shell’s environmental pollution. Surely there must be more effective targets?

  • Mark

    Greenpeace need to be careful with these campaigns – they’re starting to move from noble to a bit dickish and petty.

  • http://Www.timsinclair.co.uk Tim Sinclair

    Oils well that ends well … Etc

  • http://www.joanorganics.nl Joan

    I think Greenpeace has a point but should not play it to hard. Agree that there are more efficient ways to make their point than to attack Lego for their collaboration with Shell.

  • El Ford

    The surprising confusion as to who’s assailing whom (or who has the right to) in this campaign highlights other issues that Greenpeace as a brand need to resolve.

    If the message – Shell is brainwashing the next generation into becoming subconscious acceptors of their fossil fuel burning multi-billion dollar ways…in much the same way as smokers were brain-numbed throughout the last century – is NOT what you get from this commercial, Green peace’s OWN image is clouding the issue. Perhaps there is a perception that Greenpeace have walked grey moral areas themselves and are not best positioned to make such worthy requests of us. I don’t know.

    Either way, Greenpeace should give this some thought, they still hold a unique impact space in the forethoughts of many. The old caveat still holds though; your brand is not what you think it is but what everyone else thinks it is.

  • Alex

    The execution is just beautiful, lucky that the eerie’ness’ comes across too because the oil looks stunning!
    I’m not sure I would agree that Greenpeace should play it safe or ‘lay low’, that’s not really what they’re about is it?!

  • Eloise

    I’m a Lego collector and I would strongly urge Lego to disassociate itself from any oil company whether it be Shell or Exxon or BP. Lego just launched an Arctic Explorer series and it seems incongruous if they support companies that potentially could destroy the Arctic environment and add to global warming. I have a Lego VIP card and would considered cutting it up if Lego didn’t act to disassociate. Green Peace is right, oil companies have no viable plans to contain or clean a spill in the harsh environment of the Arctic.

  • Seriously, who doesn’t love Lego?

    it’s impossible for Lego to disassociate itself from any oil company.
    Being manufactured from petroleum based ABS plastic means no oil; no Lego

    going after them on account of their very very occasional use of Shell branding seems somewhat odd

  • Lone Fundby

    Brand advertising in games is a lucrative industry, but as an educational toy aimed at young children, Lego has a greater responsibility than most to pick suitable sponsors. Greenpeace’s ad is unlikely to impact Lego’s global popularity, but it does raise some serious questions over whether such a partnership is appropriate, particularly when the brand recently announced plans to substantially reduce its CO2 emissions.

  • Sharon Smith

    Hmm since when did Green Peace play it safe??
    They have been putting their reputation as well as their LIVES on the line since the beginning!!!
    It’s what they do to get the point across….and it requires bravery

  • El Ford

    Agreed.

    Seems these days we almost have too much information available and, rather than assist clarity in our thoughts/opinions, it greys everything. Where does that leave us or organisations that, on the whole, are here for our good?

    This discussion board is a fine example…

  • http://nils@nilsindstrom.com Nils Lindstrom

    In the so-called interest of reducing CO2 emissions, Green Peace targets Lego today. Tomorrow they target me for breathing. Let go of my Lego!

  • Natalie

    Fantastic debate. Have to agree with the comment that Greenpeace should not lay low or be careful as that is not who they are or what they stand for. Is it a risk to highlight Lego? Of course. Will it be worth it? Time will tell ….

  • El Ford

    Agreed.

    Seems these days we almost have too much information available and, rather than assist clarity in our thoughts/opinions, it greys everything. Where does that leave us or organisations that, on the whole, are here for our good?

    This discussion board is a fine example…

  • Jason

    Just because something is branded doesn’t mean we eventually grow up using said brand. As a child, I wished my parents would get me the Shell station set. Not because of the shell branding but the colours were great and gave me the chance to just play in a real-world environment.

    Now that I’m an adult, I there are many different reasons I would pick one brand over the other and a Lego partnership certainly doesn’t influence my decisions.

    Greenpeace is really killing their mission with petty little campaigns like this.

  • Ben Dickson

    Lego lost credibility as a children’s toy when they started making Star Wars toys. The Harry Potter toys further devolved things. Now, it’s just junk. Horrible figures with guns and none of the charm of the original toy. This is the end of Lego and deservedly so. It’s very sad, but that’s what happens when you put money ahead of caring about children’s minds.

  • Simone

    Greenpeace need to grow up and start tackling the actual problem….howabout giving parents a pamphlet if they must, uging them to use the oppotunity as they are playing with their kiddies, and they see the shell logo, to explain during calm time so it sinks in, just how naughty shell ahve been when they go up to the arctic to get petrol so young timmy can be dropped off at school in the family car each day. Sure, they can get our oil, young Timmy, but they must pay the enviroment its from rather than make a big mess and kill the fluffy animals. Sooo young Timmy…..what shall we do about it?? Shall we write a l letter to shell and ask what can be done so everyones happy??……What greenpeace are actually saying is YOU..the PARENT are far too stupid to see a good thing unless it danced in front of your tv, and they think your kids are that thick they will end up brainwashed at the sight of a shell logo….If they really stopped smoking pot for a bit they might see that placards dont work anymore….but raising our kids with compassion, knowledge and great communication skills, those fluffy animals in the arctic just might be around longer than us…Greenpeace….shame on you for calling my house asking for funding last night while in the same breath telling me my kids will end up brainwashed retards if we let shell continue with lego, money is no good without the brains and plans to make it work….now go and get your toyless children, fill your car up with petrol, go to the boat, fill it with deisil and go chase some dolphins, if you listen close enough, i bet they got a better plan than you lot.