BETC Rebuilds The World With Lego and Some Help from Traktor

For the first time since the 1980s, Lego has unveiled its first brand campaign. Produced by the French agency BETC in conjunction with multi-award winning collective Traktor the project titled Rebuild the World features a live-action film and micro-site designed to send a positive political message about the power of creativity to enable change.

BETC met Lego 18 months ago and worked with the brand’s internal agency to develop the concept, Rebuild the World. “We thought about what would be important for Lego to say today,” said BETC founder Rémi Babinet. “They are one of the most loved brands in the world, no one argues with Lego! It’s like Apple in the beginning; innovation and creativity are both brand and philosophy. That’s rare in the commercial world. The problem it has is that while it is known for the educational aspect of Lego, that perception is a problem for all the parents who don’t have an affinity with the brand. They think it’s about following instructions. But it’s more than play or education – it’s about creativity. To be creative today is the way to achieve something, to navigate the new world. Mathematics and rationality used to be the most important skills, but now creativity is the most valuable skill, and Lego can enable that.”

The tagline “Rebuild the World” resonates beyond Lego itself, to chime with the issues of the contemporary world. 

It is a tag line that everyone can relate to when associating it with the Lego brand.

In keeping with the campaign message, the video goes against expectations by not featuring a single Lego brick. Instead, it is a live-action and CGI adventure caper that sees a rabbit chased by a hunter with a bow and arrow, overcoming every challenge thrown at him with increasingly creative solutions. This was inspired by Lego’s ethos for problem-solving. BETC chose to go down the live-action route because, as Rémi states, “When you are in the head of a child, the bricks become the real world, the world they create with Lego is a real story for them.”

Rebuild the World Micro-Site

Every tiny detail of the film has been considered to reflect the Lego universe and its billions of fans. In the town of Valparaíso in Chile, buildings were repainted to match Lego brick colors. Clothes worn by all the characters in the video are 2D printed like Lego characters. If you look at the bad guy, his shirt, tie, jacket, and binoculars are all printed onto one T-shirt. 

The cars and trees match the cars and trees of a Lego kit. The people bend backward at the hip or turn their head around just like Lego people do. Every scene features a builder to reference the iconic Lego figurine. At one point, a line of ducks crosses the road, which references Lego’s first-ever product. Even the props, such as the camera, cups and the bow and arrow, are made to scale, oversized like Lego accessories.

“There were no limits,” Rémi says. “Lego was a cool brand to work with. It was an opportunity to find things you can never do with other brands. So this film is about what your imagination can do with Lego.”

For all the out-of-home imagery and animated vignettes, which will roll out globally on billboards from London to Los Angeles, BETC did use Lego bricks, shot by photographers who are used to working on luxury brand campaigns – “We wanted to capture the incredible beauty of the bricks. These images subvert stereotypes, challenge expectations, and at times send political messages. They are simple ideas, but often at a societal level. Rebuild the world could be just for fun, or it could address issues in the world today. You can transform the world as you want. It’s not a political campaign. You could go far with these messages, we tried lots of things… but this is a balance between meaningful and fun. It’s conscious, but in the end, it’s only about kids.” – Rémi Babinet.

The entire campaign is reinforced with a solid micro-site, social media, print, and outdoor campaigns. As we roll into the holiday season, it’ll be interesting to see the shorter 30-second broadcast versions of the ad plus any additional online vignette videos that are produced to bolster the entire campaign.

!Snap! Amazing LEGO Houses.

When I was a kid, I played with LEGO bricks building all sorts of things, from cars to boats, to buildings. I had hundreds of pieces, and was pretty good at putting things together, but I never could have gotten to the level that the folks at !Snap! are at. This series of abandoned buildings averages 110,000 pieces each and take over 600 man hours to complete each.

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The abandon building series is constructed of black, white, and gray LEGO’s, none of which have been altered in any way. For a cool look at how these were made go to  Mike Doyle’s Snap Blog.

It’s a Lego Christmas at St. Pancras Train Station in London.

Next spring Lego will be opening a new Lego Land at Kansas City’s very own Crown Center shops. What I am hoping for is this time next year, Lego will erect a Lego Christmas tree like the one that was put up at St. Pancras train station in London.

Located in the main arcade of the station, the 38 foot tall Christmas tree used 600,000 Lego bricks, to create 172 branches holding more than 1200 Lego ornaments. One of the ornaments has a QR code that links directly to Bright Bricks the UK’s only certified professional Lego builder.

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Lego Letterpress.

I have been on this Lego kick lately. Maybe it has something to do with Christmas time and I always got Lego as a gift at Christmas as a kid. Who knows, either way this is pretty impressive. Lego Letterpress from Physical Fiction. I love the finished prints, but the set up shots are cool as well. I love how these have a distinct 8-bit feel to them and how they are completely analog at the same time.

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Retro Lego from Service Plan Nails It.

I love this series of ads for Lego by Munich based Serviceplan. They totally nail what Lego is about. Everything from the look of each shot to the wardrobes and sets provided to the models is so spot on. The images are clever, and tell a complete story in a single still image.

Executive Creative Director: Matthias Harbeck
Chief Executive Creative Director: Alex Schill
Creative Director: Oliver Palmer
Art Directors: Sandra Loibl, Julia Koch
Copywriter: Frank Seiler

You Can Build Anything.

It’s Monday morning and I thought I would start things off with a little bit of fun from Studiocanoe. This is a great little advertisement for Lego. I think the thing about it that I really love is how it brought back so many memories from playing with Lego as a kid. You could truly build anything, your only limit was your imagination, and that is demonstrated here perfectly. Shot in and around London, this clip shows objects built with lego held up in real world environments. It plays off of the idea that is present in all children and often forgotten by adults, that your imagination, can make it so real.

Studiocanoe is Temujin Doran, an illustrator and filmmaker based in London. Doran, graduated from Falmouth College of Arts in 2008, and the years he spent by the sea were perhaps the best of his life. His drawing work is stylistically detailed, and often displays a penchant for historical subjects, high-seas adventure and delightful nonsense.

Pereira & O’Dell’s Social Media Campaign LEGO CL!CK.

LEGO is building on a surge in fan enthusiasm for its multi-colored blocks with a social media campaign ” LEGO CL!CK”, that encourages people to share their “eureka” moments online.

The campaign was created by San Francisco-based agency Pereira & O’Dell, that was founded two years ago by ex-AKQA staffers P.J. Pereira and Andrew O’Dell. LEGO CL!CK launched last week with a website, an animated short film, LEGO’s first-ever iPhone app, and a PR/social media push simultaneously on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Similar to  Pereira & O’Dell’s Go Mini-Man Go! campaign last year, this new effort is a mix of original content, sourced content, and user-generated videos and photos. Over the past few years LEGO fans have uploaded thousands of videos to YouTube and photos to Flickr, and to keep that momentum going, the creative team behind LEGO CL!CK are capitalizing on the grass-roots fan base and hoping LEGO CL!CK will become a platform for dialogue between LEGO and young parents.

“Innovation is really broad, so we thought how can you get a parent to really want to push innovation for their children? We thought that connecting parents back to the moment when they first were innovative was a really big idea.” says associate creative director Jaime Robinson.

“This is really is a hub for people of all levels of creativity, innovation, imagination, artists, photographers, cooks and your average-day person, to share what inspires them,” adds Associate Creative Director Jason Apaliski.

Visitors to the blog-style are introduced to the overall theme of the campaign with a three-minute stop-motion animated film about a struggling inventor who seeks out inspiration in a fairytale factory populated by LEGO mini-men.

Directed by MJZ’s Blue Source, the film features several multi-colored LEGO lightbulbs the campaign’s icon which was designed and built by master LEGO builder Peter Donner (what a great job title). The short film ends with the tagline, “Great ideas just click.”

Master Builder, Peter Donner hard at work.

“The symbol of the light bulb is going to take on more meaning as well,” says executive creative director Kash Sree. “Over time, if we read about someone who has a great idea, we’re going to send them a LEGO light bulb as a way of saying hey good idea.”

Visitors to the site can either scroll through the site’s posts or filter out topics by category. Currently featured content already up on the site includes blog posts written by Steve Madewell, “resident eccentric” at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for Invention and Innovation, and LEGO senior designer Keith Malone. In a genius move Pereira & O’Dell have also partnered with bloggers from Boing Boing, Wired and Gizmodo, artists, photographers and filmmakers to create more original content for the site.

There is also a collection of inspiration-themed press clippings, videos, photos and tweets with the campaign (hashtag #legoclick). To make sure all tweets are safe, each is pre-screened before they are added to the site. This way LEGO can flag and delete any potentially offensive material.

As a tie-in, Pereira & O’Dell have also created the new “LEGO Photo” iPhone app that turns any photos into a LEGO mosaic that can be uploaded to the LEGO CL!CK site.

While past attempts at brand-centered social networking have failed to capture the public’s imagination, the creative team behind Cl!CK say this type of platform fits with LEGO because its fans have already established an online fan base, that is based on the idea of sharing photos and videos online.

“LEGO is such a lovable brand, and we just want to harness that love.” says Apaliski.

One thing that I really like about this campaign is the fact that LEGO has realized they don’t have to try to monetize  the online experience or the iPhone application to make money from this. That by using this as a vehicle to build brand awareness, loyalty and buzz, they can convert clicks to dollars by getting people interested in the physical product they make.