The Lego Movie poster
Jonathan Gaiger, Social Media Manager at Spinnaker, looks at the way LEGO engaged its community around the launch of The LEGO Movie earlier this year, and explains what other brands can learn from their activity
Quite often, brands have more than one audience type they want to reach. However, when it comes to social media, building communities to cater to different audiences tends to be ignored. What’s the result? Broad messaging that doesn’t add any value to the brand or the community and is therefore lost within the social white noise. The purpose of this article is to look back and evaluate how The LEGO movie engaged almost every demographic – male and female, young and old – and what other brands can learn from this.
The LEGO movie first started engaging communities two years prior to release, asking fans to design LEGO vehicles that could be used in the film. This collaboration not only ensured that the creativity of the film ran from the very start, but made fans feel they were part of ‘the journey’ and had a reason to follow the news surrounding the film. All without an initial trailer. LEGO have of course had plenty of practice in developing collaborative communities through their crowdsourcing site, CUUSOO.
Once the initial presence was constructed (see what I did there) and underway, LEGO encouraged this creativity and collaboration further by developing a tool that allowed you to create your own mini-figure. This could then be downloaded as a branded movie poster, Facebook cover photo, avatar or desktop wallpaper (my attempt is below). This sort of interactivity was vital given the nature of its storyline, but also capitalised on the ‘LEGO obsession’ amongst not just general fans, but within the wider adult and young audience too. After all, don’t we all have some sort of connection with LEGO itself?
It was this emotional connection that meant LEGO could tell their story without making their audience feel like it was just branded, broadcasted content – and keeping it relevant at the same time. Their execution was just as important in making that happen. For instance, they got stuck in with their UK Twitter account, making sure they shared fan content to offer recognition to their core audience whilst including a ‘fan of the week’ mechanic via all their channels to enhance this even further. They also pumped out entertaining content that was highly localised and fitted the wider audience perfectly. It was also incredibly reactive and went far beyond just broadcasting, whilst grabbing the attention of consumers outside their core fans.
This relevant entertaining content went further than social. Just look at this TV spot celebrating Chinese New Year. It was also not surprising that many other brands wanted a piece of those emotive bricks.
The LEGO Movie created many partnerships – from Google Chrome and McDonald’s to remakes of ads for BT, Confused.com, Premier Inn and the British Heart Foundation during an ITV ad break. Not to mention character appearances from The Simpsons, Batman, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. By syndicating other pieces of content, and then making it relevant to other audiences, The LEGO Movie extended their reach to…well, everyone. You could say the film is essentially a 90 minute advert (which it probably is) but the brand itself is adored by everyone. Let’s not fool ourselves; there are 17 new LEGO sets with 16 new figurines from the movie. Even a few months after release, they are still plugging by giving away these free Facebook messaging stickers and I don’t know about you, but I really want one! LEGO utilises our emotional connection with the brand very well. The movie simply could not exist without the product.
What The LEGO Movie demonstrated was the importance of developing and nurturing that emotional connection in order to really create buzz amongst a large and wide audience base. They simply knew exactly who they were talking to and their content clearly played an integral part in this. Ultimately LEGO built relationships that are not only meaningful, but also have (LEGO) legs to last as part of the brands overarching activities too.