Lego as a brand and identity is very interesting to look at an example of development and stability, it is a brand we all know and love but it also has a rich history beyond the colourful plastic blocks. For those reasons, Lego is the company I have chosen to write a case study on.
The Lego Group we all adored as a child (and lets be honest still love as an adult) began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen who was a carpenter from Billund, Denmark. The brick were originally made from wood in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called “Lego”, derived from the Danish phrase’Leg godt’ meaning “play well”. In 1947, Lego expanded to begin producing plastic toys. In 1949 Lego began producing, among other new products, an early version of the now familiar interlocking bricks, calling them “Automatic Binding Bricks”.
As the company has developed and expanded over the news, so has the logo. It has transformed drastically to the one we love and recognise today. It is in my opinion, one of the logos you can physically see changed over time due to ageing but more importantly due to money. Thousands of logos change over time but they stick to their colours or the shape of the emblems stays like Coca Cola or Shell. Lego is one of those logos that was really effected by war and poverty. When the brand emerged Hitler was in power and the resources you could get your hands on were scarce resulting in Lego’s first logo being set simply in monotone with no graphics set around it. It is not what you would expect the logo of a kids toy manufacturers to look like.
As a company after the second World War until today, Lego has remained very playful and clever with their branding. The language they use is friendly and aimed towards children meaning children will be drawn to it and get their parents to buy it for them. Although I am not massively fond of their logo, Lego have some of the most innovative and beautifully designed posters and advertisements. Perhaps this is because I was a lego kid. It is said that if you identify with a brand when you are young, you will still identify with it as you grow up weather you still like the brand or not. It is simply a recognition from your brain that you remember the personal memories that are attached to the brand.
Their visual language is bright, colourful and innovative, much like the lego bricks themselves. It is such a widely exposed product in the sense that every child has built something with Lego before (even the adults you see walking around today) that essentially it doesn’t need much in terms of branding and advertising. As a company they are very clever in the way they use big bright bold colours to draw in the attention of young children. They use these colours accompanied with few words so children understand what they are looking at. It should also be noted that red and yellow are the first two colours that our eyes recognise especially the keen eyes of little kids. They are also clever to add the Lego logo fairly big at the bottom so the parents take it on board for the next birthday or christmas.
These adverts above were used in the past few years on small billboards and bus stops and they are so effective. The entire product is based on having fun and using your imagination to build whatever you want. It is a big reason the product has always sold so well. By not actually ‘building’ the toy, you are essentially not basing the toy at anyone in particular. Instead you are selling imagination and creativity, you are selling a product that will allow you to make whatever you want even if it doesn’t exist. In a way it is in the same line as play dough but easier, less messy and can be for any age. Lego sell innovation.
We all know that if the product you are selling is for kids, then your marketing is going to be based on that demographic, although the younger the child, the more your advertising needs to also speak to the parents. Something like Lego doesn’t really have an age so appealing to adults is always a good idea. There isn’t much parents like more than their children apart from knowing what they are doing for them is good. So if you think you are giving your children ‘Brainfood’ and teaching them to learn, build and be creative at the same time it would be the product in the shop you would take to the tills wouldn’t it? This is a very clever advertisement aimed directly at the parents that Lego know will ensure more sales.