Through New Year's, we will be counting down our picks for 2021's 30 best ads and creative marketing ideas.
At No. 11: It's no secret that Lego is a toy for all ages, but in a brilliant move, the brand further cemented its commitment to its older demographic by creating its first campaign addressing them directly, showcasing how building with bricks can help to alleviate the frustrations tied to being an adult out in the real world with serious responsibilities.
Lego is targeting frustrated grown-ups in its first global campaign specifically aimed at an adult audience, with humorous ads that focus on the benefits of brick-building. The "Adults Welcome" campaign encourages people to turn to Lego building to help them find a moment of mindfulness in their hectic lives (much as, perhaps, adults have turned to coloring books over the past few years as therapy).
See the full list of 2021's Best Ads.
It was created following global research from the Lego Group that found that 91% of adults say they experience stress at least once annually, with 77% checking emails when they aren’t at work, and 64% worrying about work even when they aren’t there.
The new spots feature the tagline "Find your flow." According to Lego, the idea centers on the "power of the rhythmic, repetitive motions of Lego building which help adults create a zen-like state of focused relaxation." The company offers over 90 products aimed at adults in its portfolio.
The campaign, which was created by Lego's internal creative agency, includes three humorous films in which adult characters end up using Lego to relax after grappling with the frustrations of daily life. We see them struggling with annoyances such as hitting your head on a cupboard, finding a flat tire, failing to put on fitted sheets or squeezing lemon in your eye. The scenarios are offset by a deadpan 1950s-style narrator, informing us in stilted fashion how focused and organized the protagonists' lives are. Kai Kurve of production company Hobby helmed the ads, which feature a bright color palette and mix the retro and the modern in a highly stylized world.
The films are supported by profiles of real-life adults around the world who have integrated Lego building into their busy lives. Anna, a photographer and mum from Spain, uses mini-figures in her photography so she doesn’t have to carry around larger props; Donny, a piano teacher from Australia, turns to the bricks to teach his students about the workings of the piano; and Inez, a lawyer from the Philippines, relaxes with Lego after a stressful day at work.
The integrated campaign will run across a variety of channels including TV, digital, out-of-home, e-commerce channels and in Lego stores. It will air globally in multiple markets including the U.S., U.K., France and Canada, with TV buys in Russia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Turkey and the Czech Republic.
While Lego has run product-specific ads aimed at adults before, this is the first global cross-product campaign aimed at a mature audience. It comes as more adults than ever before are becoming brick builders, fueled by the pandemic and also by branded entertainment properties such as "Lego Masters."
"Children are at the center of everything we do, but we are delighted that the love of Lego building transcends age," said Julia Goldin, chief product and marketing officer at the Lego Group, in a statement. "We know from our passionate community of adult fans and the number of families that build together, that it’s enjoyed by adults as well as children; many use our products to switch off after a long day. With our research showing that adults often find it hard to relax, this new campaign hopes to show the valuable role Lego building can have in the lives of those looking for new ways to unwind and encourages them to try the calming building experience for themselves.”
While Lego would not share sales figures for products aimed at over-18s, a company spokeswoman told Ad Age: "During the recent lockdowns we’ve seen more and more families building together and saw many people building with Lego bricks for the first time."
Overall, however, sales have soared for Lego throughout the pandemic; the Danish company (one of Ad Age’s Marketers of the Year for 2020) reported that net income rose 19% to 9.9 billion kroner ($1.6 billion) in its full-year results reported in March. In September this year, it reported stellar half-year results, with revenue increasing by 46% year-on-year.