17 Feb 2014
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The Lego Movie hits cinemas worldwide

The Lego Movie. There's no avoiding it, it’s in the title. The Danish toy company has made a movie, starring its iconic product alongside the likes of Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett. Is this branded entertainment gone mad, a very, very long ad or a stroke of genius? 

The Lego Movie is directed by Chris Miller and Phil Lord, whose previous projects include Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs as well as 21 Jump Street, and for all intents and purposes they have created an animated movie for viewers, it just happens to feature a product. 

The film follows Emmet, a normal Lego figure who is mistakenly identified as the 'most extraordinary person' and is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant and save the (Lego) world. 

The Lego Movie is fully animated with everything constructed from Lego and it is attracting rave reviews and strong record takings in its opening weeks. 

Mark Kermode wrote in The Guardian: "The Lego Movie does nothing to undermine the Danish dynamo's ongoing reputation as a purveyor of fine entertainment for kids of all ages. While younger viewers will delight at the whiz-band animation action and hugely likeable familiar figures, adults will laugh themselves silly at the consumer satire gags and goggle in wonder at the undulating Legoland vistas.”  

  • REVIEW
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Is this the greatest marketing coup of all time? Most likely yes, however the makers believe that the key to its success is that it is not a really long advert. 

As the directors told Fast Company: "Right from the start we were sceptical about doing it because people could see it as a giant commercial an that wasn't something we were interested in doing. Luckily, the people at Lego felt the same way. They didn’t need a movie to boost sales. If anything, making a movie had much more downside. So they had the same philosophy as us, which was to use Lego as a medium rather than a product to sell." 

In fact it is exactly this mentality that taps into why the product is so loved in the first place. 

Homemade Lego movies - mostly re-enactments of films, TV shows and events - have been appearing online for years (my all time favourite is the Lego film of Eddie Izzard’s Deathstar Canteen)  

The practice became so popular it even has its own name LEGOmation or brickfilms and a dedicated Wikipedia page and Mashable ranked the top ten back in 2010.

So it was only a matter of time before the Lego brand decided to build on this insatiable appetite for Lego movies with their own official version. That time is now. 

The film was made for $60 million, which is well below the usual Hollywood blockbuster and given the film reportedly made $69 million in the US in its opening weekend, it's safe to say the project will prove lucrative for the brand financially. That's not to say that Lego was struggling, the brand saw US sales increase 26% in 2013, it has posted double-digit sales growth in the US for eight consecutive years.

In fact Lego, which currently the third-largest toy company in the world, was reported to be on track to hit $4 billion in sales globally "putting it within striking distance of supplanting Hasbro as the second-largest global toy maker", according to The Wall Street Journal.  

The key to the brand's success has been its ability to court audiences both young and old and it is this ability to appeal to kids, teens and adults alike is part of the secret to the brand's ongoing success. It makes sense then that the filmmakers had to create a film that could appeal to kids but also provide plenty of entertainment to older audiences. Many reviewers have noted the success would be in how many adults went to see the film without children. 

By trading on the brands huge appeal to kids, as well as the bags of nostalgic adults and by throwing in the geek factor, there’s a sort of guarantee that this film was always going to perform. 

Like all successful branded entertainment projects, Lego hired expert writers and directors and assembled Hollywood’s finest to ensure it would appeal to audiences. Make no mistake there’s no advertising agency involved here. 

There were involved though in the marketing of the film, which has seen brilliant trailers, 'Behind the Brick' making-of movies, and a content distribution plan to rival any major blockbuster. In the UK the brand worked with PHD to create a brilliant piece of marketing, which saw the brand takeover an entire ad break and remake adverts for BT, Confused.com and Premier Inn in Lego. People actually tuned in just to watch the ad break. 

The strategy for Lego in all this is bolstering its brand credentials and its brand awareness – as if it needed to. Most significantly this film is not at all about selling product – although it most definitely will bolster sales internationally as audiences are reminded of how great the products are. 

The strategy here is to showcase the product and position it as the medium – a truly brilliant strategy. The film helps to reposition Lego from the 'toy' that kids play with, to being an entertainment vehicle - it is the source of your entertainment. It is the medium for you and hundreds of thousands of other people to tell their own stories and create their own films. 

The Lego Movie helps to reinforce this idea by positioning Lego both as an entertainment brand and the medium, so that we might forget that it is actually a product. In fact the films success relies on us forgetting that it is something we would buy like a barbie doll or a monster truck. 

Sure, Lego isn't the first to try this the Transformers brand has been pumping out blockbusters for a while now, but these have centered around the story and not the product, whereas The Lego Movie cannot avoid the product, after all it is the product and the product is the film. 

The magic for Lego is that the brand is tapping into our childhood games, our imaginations, this is a brand people love. To refer to Lego as a toy will never quite do the brand justice. This is a brand that has enabled creation and it has fuelled creativity both in the young and the old. For generations those simple yellow bricks have symbolised possibility and endless avenues of fun and adventures. 

To say the film as a major product demonstration is completely accurate, make no bones about it, that is exactly what the film is, but it is also an entertaining film for all ages. No wonder it looks set to break all sorts of records. 

In a move that will surprise no one, there are already plans to create a film franchise, which is sure to continue to reap benefits for the brand. 

The Lego Movie is a prime example of the magic that happens when you get something right. 

The question is: Is this the most brilliant example of branded entertainment ever or is this an entertaining new film made out of one of the most iconic toys ever made? I think the correct answer is Both. 

  • VERDICT
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The Lego Movie raises the bar for branded entertainment to a ridiculously high level. This is a brilliant achievement and a sign of where the industry is going. 

5 stars. 


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Comments

Cristiam

3 Mar 2016

I agree with the others and their opniions on Legoland. I would pick one and it would be Disneyland. If you stay in San Diego and get up early, drive to Disneyland and spend the day there you can possibly drive back to SD late that night or you can spend the night near Disney and spend part of the next day at Disney too. You should have no problems finding a place to stay for under $200 near Disney. We have stayed at the Hilton, Holiday Inn and Disney's Paradise Pier hotel, and honestly there wasn't much difference between the three for the amount of time you spend in your room. Two days at Disneyland is enough. It is nowhere near as big as Disney World. I live in SD and have only been to Legoland one time during an off peak time. I was not impressed. They have rides that have really long lines. (and I was there during a slow time of the year) Maybe my expectations were too high. Your kids would probably enjoy a day at the Wild Animal park of the San Diego zoo better.
Vinicius

3 Mar 2016

Its not a bad idea at all to want to fit as much into the trip as possible but I think if you rlaely want to relax and have a great vacation I would say just go to disneyland with the kids and save the trip to lego land later because your going to be saving money by going to one place the kids won't mind because either one rocks and they're just going to be excited to be there. I would say Disney is the best place to go for your first trip its awesome and the Disney hotel always has awesome family stay packages.. If you even want to shave off more cash you can pack sandwiches and snacks for the kids and you can picnic out at Disney thats what me and my friends used to do when we went. I used to live in San Diego and while Lego Land is a fun time its not something you want to base your vacation around I say go to Disney and have a blast.One more reason you should stay in one spot I take it your not from the SD area and traffic is ugly in so cal your going to be way to frazzled trying to beat the traffic and pack in some fun.. I kid you not you'll waste most of your trip on the 8 then having fun..and vacations are about relaxing not trying to rush around.. http://eyklkcyuwk.com [url=http://nzkegfuoww.com]nzkegfuoww[/url] [link=http://pzmesrsdszr.com]pzmesrsdszr[/link]
Moussa

3 Mar 2016

It is really atmibious to see Disneyland and Legoland in just 3 days. It takes a whole day to get through Disney and Legoland alone. Between the traveling and amusement parks, it might not seem like much of a vacation for you and with 3 kids, I'm sure you deserve/need one. If you love the beach, just come to San Diego and take them to Legoland one day. I don't even think they will miss Disneyland if you haven't built it up too much. I don't know how old the kids are but Mission Beach in San Diego has a roller coaster and different games to keep them amused while you relax on the sand.As far as hotels, check the internet for deals. There are so many discounts on hotels right now with the economy being so bad, you can get a great deal on something right on the beach. Most hotels offer advance purchase rates that are cheaper than regular rates. The only catch is that they are non-refundable if you want to cancel.The Beach Cottages in Pacific Beach are great for kids. They are right on the boardwalk that runs along the beach and they have kitchens so you can save money on eating out. We fit 4 comfortably (2 kids/ 2 adults). They are walking distance to a grocery store and a lot of restaurants/shops if you want to go out one night. Legoland is only about a half hour away so the drive wouldn't be bad at all.Coronado is beautiful to visit for the day but the kids might get bored since it is kind of upscale. If you go, take them to Moo Time for ice cream!
Samanta

18 Feb 2016

new entry into Cake of the Week last week. Amy joined us from Cooking,Cakes and Children with this fabluous lego cake. I'm desperate to do a funky lego cake but try as I might my girls seem to want other

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