The Lego Group is making a big marketing push this holiday season with its first-ever Christmas campaign. Last week, the Danish toymaker debuted on social channels a 60-second spot that positions Lego as a conduit for a child's imagination; the video will air in 36 TV markets beginning on Monday. The spot was created by the Lego Agency, the brand's recently renamed in-house agency.
The new work "is a celebration of the endless creative opportunities that the LEGO System in Play provides," says Remi Marcelli, VP of the Lego Agency. "We hope it will engage and excite fans across the world, reminding us all of the importance of play."
While Lego has had its own internal advertising department for over half a century under different names and setups, the in-house group, which includes 500 global employees, was streamlined and dubbed the Lego Agency last year. Before this year's global effort it had only produced local-level campaigns.
"The agency setup is essential to ensure we develop a global plan for our global portfolio, with a one brand approach," says Marcelli.
Set to Strauss' Blue Danube Waltz, the spot begins by explaining that a Lego piece "is not a brick"—rather, it's a police car ready for a high-speed chase, a speeding jet or a racing quad.
Connecting an analog toy with the unlimited potential of a child's imagination is a common theme many toy brands are tapping into. Mattel has run similar campaigns for its Hot Wheels and Barbie brands in recent years, for example. It's a familiar refrain at a time when legacy toy brands—Lego was founded in 1932—are struggling to remain relevant in a digital world where kids might prefer a tablet or iPhone to a doll or building set.
Following a drop in revenue last year, Lego laid off about 1,400 employees, or 8 percent, of its workforce. For the first half of 2018, revenue was 14.3 billion Danish krone (around $2.2 billion), a 5 percent decline over the same period a year earlier, while net profit declined 10 percent.
Lego also plans to open nine of its own stores across the U.S. this holiday season, hoping to increase sales after the loss of Toys R Us earlier this year.