Aurora Magazine

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Building the future

Updated Nov 26, 2019 03:54pm
Lego's first global campaign in 30 years aims to push boundaries.

Lego – the iconic children’s toy makers – have been an integral part of childhood for generations around the world. The company has grown incrementally from a small workshop established in 192 making wooden toys in the Danish town of Billund (where they are still headquartered), into a global powerhouse, manufacturing not only their signature brick system-based building sets but a wide range of products, movies and theme parks.

However, even as the product offerings have grown massively (from advanced programmable built-kits, to super detailed technic precision engineered sets and franchised series of video games and movies), Lego at heart remains a toy-maker committed to inspiring children to use their imagination and creativity to shape their playscape and have fun. Even the name “Lego” has its roots in the Danish word ‘Leg Godt’ or ‘play well’.

It was with this central theme that Lego launched their first global campaign after 30 years in September 2019. Although Lego advertise their products in different markets (they even employ an in-house advertising agency with hundreds of employees), this was the first time the brand launched a corporate campaign which wasn’t product-centric.

The campaign, titled 'Rebuild the World' was launched in a dozen markets simultaneously and included major cities Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris, Mexico City, New York and San Francisco. The campaign ran concurrently with others promoting their branded content such as the recent blockbuster Lego 2 movie and franchised video game content. In fact, the campaign was one of the biggest concurrent campaign launches in history.

The campaign was developed as a multi-party effort by the in-house Lego agency (Paris-based BETC, which have handles award winning brands like Evian and a creative collective called Traktor, which have numerous Super-Bowl commercials to their credit). The entire campaign took around 18 months to produce end-to-end from briefing to broadcast.

The campaign includes a one-minute and 45-second long TV commercial, which primarily revolves around a Bugs Bunny versus Elmer Fudd-esque chase between a determined rabbit and an errant hunter through various landscapes replete with Lego props. However, rather than create a total Lego landscape as was done in the Lego movie, the company shot the commercial IRL (In Real Life). The entire chase sequence happens with real life Lego props with various people using life size, outsized Lego accessories such as cameras, stop signs, bow and arrows etc.


The idea is to demonstrate that Lego is more than just a series of toys; it is a way of play that engenders the values of rebuilding, tearing apart and rebuilding as essential elements of childhood. It is a statement that Lego gives children the confident to try something new every time, to experiment, take risks, fail safely and then try again to build something better and which is only limited by what they can imagine.


The sequence shows how the world around the running hare and the chasing hunter keeps changing between IRL elements and new Lego props as if fortuitously to help the rabbit escape the clutches of his nemesis. There are several tips of the hat for iconic Lego products of the past such as the first wooden duck toy Lego created long before their brick system came along.

The idea behind the commercial according to Lego was to make a statement that the company was more than about toys and represented greater values including critical thinking, creativity, resilience and pushing the boundaries. As far as pushing boundaries are concerned, the commercial does address some social issues such as gender, climate change and social justice. On the sidelines of this high-speed comical chase, there is a transgender cheerleader with a pom-pom and a full beard, as well as a wedding at a church with the bride carrying the groom across the threshold, among others.

The idea is to demonstrate that Lego is more than just a series of toys; it is a way of play that engenders the values of rebuilding, tearing apart and rebuilding as essential elements of childhood. It is a statement that Lego gives children the confident to try something new every time, to experiment, take risks, fail safely and then try again to build something better and which is only limited by what they can imagine.

Nothing drives home this point of building and rebuilding a better world than the payoff at the end, which ultimately sees the hunter cornering the rabbit only to realise that they have interchangeable Lego parts and the entire sequence is revealed to be a Lego brick fantasy with the campaign tagline (Rebuild the World) superimposed.

Lego says the ultimate aim of the campaign is to show an optimistic side of the world, a world with endless possibilities, something that the company hopes that the kids playing with Lego today will go on to create in the years ahead.

Tariq Ziadh Khan is a US-based marketer and a former member of Aurora’s editorial team. tzk999@yahoo.com