Lego paused all advertising due to the protests, not just for police-related toys
Following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests around racial injustice in the U.S., brands have been concerned about whether to continue with their normal marketing.
Lego has chosen to pause all digital and social media marketing, a Lego spokesperson confirmed to Ad Age on Thursday. Lego’s marketing has been on pause since Monday and the company plans to resume activity in a few days.
That news has developed after false reports began circulating online that Lego had asked affiliates to remove police-related sets from online stores, spreading misinformation that Lego was only pausing marketing on police-related sets—and the company is still working to put the record straight.
The confusion began on Twitter on Wednesday when copies of emails sent to affiliate marketers by Rakuten LinkShare (on behalf of the Lego Group) were being shared online. The emails requested that products and features for more than 30 Lego sets and accessories featuring police officers, firefighters, emergency vehicles and stations be removed from affiliate sites. The story was first reported by toy industry trade publication ToyBook on Wednesday.
A Lego spokesperson clarified to the publication and to Ad Age that the reports were incorrect and the Lego police and firefighter sets—part of Lego’s City line—have never been taken down and continue to be available for purchase. The brand was only requesting that marketing for the sets be held.
“Our intention was to temporarily pause digital advertising in response to events in the U.S. We hope this clears things up,” the Lego spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Given the tragic events in the U.S. over the past 10 days, we paused digital marketing of content that could be perceived insensitive if promoted at this time.”
Despite the clarification, confusion continued with other publications taking Lego's remarks out of context. “Lego pulls advertising for police-related toys,” read Vulture’s headline. And “Lego pulls some advertising for White House and police building sets in wake of George Floyd protests,” read CNBC’s headline.
In actuality, all marketing has been held, not only for police-related toys, according to the Lego spokesperson.
Lego took to Twitter on Thursday to further clarify its efforts.
At the same time as reports began circulating on Twitter, the brand began trending on the platform for a statement the brand released regarding its actions in light of the protests. Lego announced a $4 million commitment to support black children and educate all children on racial equality, showing how a brand can support a social justice cause at the same time as being true to its brand.
The tweet received nearly 54,000 retweets and more than 215,000 likes. “I buy too many Lego for my kids, but dammit…I’m going to buy a lot more now. Thank you for being awesome,” reads one comment.