Lego, the iconic toy giant that built its brand name on plastic building bricks for children, launched 350 new products in 2015 and unveiled a partnership with the latest ‘Star Wars’ Disney movie as it propelled itself to what the company calls its ‘best ever year’. Indicating how the Swedish-based brand has managed to reinvigorate its product offering and connect with children globally, its annual results released this month show that global sales grew by 19%, profits rose by 31% and there was double-digit growth in all the markets where Lego is active. “We had 25 different product themes and a few climbed to the top – including Lego City, Lego Duplo, Star Wars and Lego Friends,” said Chief Marketing Officer Julia Goldin. “We apply a consumer-centric model, where interactions have to be seamless, toys are easy for kids to use, and engage them in an exciting and fun way.” For 2016, the company is now working on a range of new products and themes in an effort to ensure it remains ‘as relevant as possible’ to children. It is also intent on creating more virtual experiences along the lines of Lego Dimensions, a science fantasy video game launched in 2015. “In today’s world, children expect to meet Lego in the virtual space as well as in the physical world. We need to provide seamless experiences between the two,” said Goldin. “Lego Dimensions can engage children in a digital game and in the real world. We see a lot of opportunities [using digital] to continue to connect with them in future and enhance the experiences kids have.” Commenting on the strong set of business results, CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp noted: “it shouldn’t be possible to have this kind of progress, but it is”.
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Toy giant Lego has teamed up with the creators of Angry Birds, one of the world’s most popular mobile gaming series and the highest-selling paid mobile app, to promote the release of ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ scheduled to take place in the Northern Hemisphere spring of 2016.

Lego, the iconic maker of plastic brick toys, will develop a series of themed construction sets that will tie in with the Angry Birds game and the movie plot, which has yet to be publicly revealed.

Angry Birds is owned by Finnish company Rovio Entertainment, a company that has enjoyed enormous success with the pig-bashing touch-screen sensation. However, its popularity has now begun to wane and Rovio is hoping that a blockbuster film will help to revive the game’s fortunes by boosting sales of Angry Birds branded merchandise such as clothing, toys and playground items. 

It is an important project for Rovio, which has struggled to develop other hit games and was forced to lay off staff as its earnings dropped by 73% in 2014. Pekka Rantala, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, said in a media statement: “The Lego brand has an unparalleled ability to connect with people through products that spark creativity and imagination. We’re really excited to build experiences together with this amazing best-in-class partner.”

For its part, Lego said it was excited to bring Angry Birds to life in Lego form, given the popularity of the game and its characters with fans of all ages. This would only be amplified by the forthcoming film. “We seek partnership with globally relevant properties that offer a unique and rewarding play experience to our fans, and our designers are having fun developing building sets that leverage the engaging play and deconstruction found in the Angry Birds game,” noted Jill Wilfert, Vice President of Licensing and Entertainment at Lego.

The Danish-based toy company knows a thing or two about successful branded movies and the contribution that they can make to the bottom line. A key element in the brand’s success in 2014-15 was the Hollywood-produced ‘The Lego Movie’, which was hugely popular and took nearly US$500-million at the box office.

Speaking at the time of the film’s premier in February last year, Lego Marketing Director David Buxbaum said it was another step towards creating a lifestyle brand for children, adding that it would be used to deepen engagement with consumers through a range of new products such as T-shirts and computer games. “We [have] become more of a lifestyle brand and I think that’s why the movie will be such a success, because kids just want more ways to engage with us and I think if we get the story right this will be fantastic for us,” he said, perhaps prophetically.

Lego was the world’s most powerful brand in 2015 in the annual study published by Brand Finance, a prominent brand valuation consultancy. On the ‘brand strength index’ it scored highly on a range of metrics – among them familiarity, loyalty, promotion and corporate reputation.

Brand Finance’s researchers noted: The movie perfectly captured this cross-generational appeal. It was a critical and commercial success [and] has helped to propel Lego from a well-loved, strong brand to the world’s most powerful brand.”

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Lego, the plastic brick toy with a global following, is the world’s most powerful brand in 2015, according to the annual study published by Brand Finance, a prominent brand valuation consultancy. On the ‘brand strength index’ it scored highly on a range of metrics – among them familiarity, loyalty, promotion and corporate reputation.

“Lego is a uniquely creative and immersive toy; children love the ability to construct their own worlds that it provides,” the researchers say in the study published last week. “In a tech-saturated world, parents approve of the back-to-basics creativity it encourages and have a lingering nostalgia for the brand long after their own childhoods.”

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Company executives need to be aware of three critical factors when it comes how consumer boycotts may play out, says new international research on the subject.

Writing for the Canadian-based Network for Business Sustainability, an organisation of global academic experts and business leaders aiming to improve the sustainability of business, Professor N. Craig Smith of Insead Business School notes that one of the key lessons from the research is that “any boycott, no matter how illogically conceived or badly executed, can wreak long-term havoc on a company’s reputation – even if it does not hit short-term sales”.

Smith says the following are the key factors company executives must be aware of when facing consumer boycotts.

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A four-month public campaign headed by environmental group Greenpeace has led to Lego, the international toy brand, ending a lucrative deal with the Shell oil company.

The two organisations have business ties dating back to the 1960s and, in 2011, signed an agreement whereby co-branded Lego toys are sold at filling stations in 26 countries. The deal is reported by Britain’s ‘The Guardian’ newspaper to be worth around $US109-million.

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