Databank games and toys: Bionicle Web chronicle

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Action figures that inhabit a futuristic island nation helped catapult Lego ahead of all other toy retailers who purchased online advertising in June. Supporting its e-commerce site, online games and new Bionicle action products with 40.8 million impressions, Lego was well ahead of, whose 18.1 million impressions ranked second, according to research by analysis firm Jupiter Media Metrix.

All of the ads ran in June on the new kids area of MSN's The Zone gaming site. The media buy expanded Lego's strategic partnership with Microsoft Corp., which includes content and ads provided by Lego on the MSN kids channels. Some Lego online games are available at MSN, while the latest ads also lead users to games on

One of the ads features a satellite-type image of the fictional island Mata Nui, where "Bionicles" created out of Legos have landed from the sky to fight evil. The action figures debuted in the United States in June and have been a success in Europe since they launched there earlier this year, said Brad Justus, senior VP of Lego Direct and the company's global management team. A game featuring the characters has become the most heavily-trafficked area of, he said, and the ongoing Bionicle story, which Lego updates monthly, also has spawned viral marketing through discussion areas on other Web sites.

While they had the least amount of impressions-116,000-among the Lego banners, the Bionicle ads also are supported by buys in several magazines, including Boys Life, DC Comics, Nickelodeon and Sports Illustrated for Kids, as well as television spots on the Cartoon Network, Fox Kids, the WB, Fox Family and Nickelodeon. Bionicle movie trailers also are showing before screenings of "The Mummy Returns," "Shrek" and "Planet of the Apes."

"Bionicle will be one of our big sellers for the year," Mr. Justus said. "It certainly is our biggest effort in terms of integrated marketing support."

The overall Web campaign, aimed at kids between 5 and 12, as well as adult collectors, also features ads promoting Lego's Racers car racing game and shopping at

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