Lego Hoops It Up Online

Web promo poised to amp up sports offerings

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The Lego Company, long a mainstay in children's toys, is tapping into the power of online gaming to roll out its line of sports-oriented games. %%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%%

The Danish company, renowned for its construction toys, or "bricks," is working with New York-based WDDG to launch a free, Web-based game called "Three-point Challenge" in a few weeks that will mimic the actual Lego basketball game that was introduced at retail in December. %%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%%

The online game integrates the Lego name and will be available on the Lego site. The company is also mulling the possibility of offering a stripped-down version to partner sites or even putting out CD-ROMs into low-Internet-penetration areas. The game is working in concert with a TV and print ad campaign.

"The reason why we went with this concept beyond creating the experience is that the e-mail functionality [of the online game] will get kids talking about this when they normally wouldn’t come to us for sports games," said Peter Jensen, creative director of New York-based Lego Direct, a division of Lego.

Jensen added that the company recently underwent a process to hone the brand strategy on certain values, including fun, by imbuing it with a more contemporary sheen.

"We felt we could bring something to the sports-toy market that was a unique combo of our traditional play material but also add some fun and gaming value to kids," Jensen said.

Lego is also launching a hockey game to go along with the basketball one, leveraging its current licensing agreements with the NBA and NHL. A soccer game was launched previously.

According to Dan Ravine, WDDG managing director, the company has worked with Lego on projects from Star Wars to Harry Potter promotions.

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