2019 was a big year for space travel, with a significant anniversary of the Apollo mission being celebrated globally. But it was also a big year for space at LEGO too, with the brand releasing a strong portfolio of inspired-by-NASA space-related products spread across multiple product lines.
We wanted to do something ambitious and loud that generated global attention towards the portfolio, while leveraging our relationship with NASA. But we also wanted to make clear that LEGO is more than a toy manufacturer - we’re committed to the space race in a big way, too.
Rather than creating a product campaign, we took a step back and decided the right idea was to create a brand-level campaign - something that could speak from the heart of LEGO, to the heart of our audience - kids and parents around the world.
We started by assessing the current climate for space, importantly, starting with kids. In the background, we initiated the Kids Futures Survey, across three countries, the United States, United Kingdom and China, where we asked kids around the world how passionate they were about space travel, and in pursuing a career related to space. It turned out, kids were far less interested in space than we expected, with many kids preferring to become YouTube Stars, Bloggers or Musicians than astronauts. As a brand, we found this to be deeply concerning - after all, LEGO is all about inspiring kids to aim higher and pursue the biggest, baddest and most insane dreams.
We developed a campaign that would serve as a rally call to kids, parents and adults around the world. Focussing on the next big achievement for the current generation - the mission to Mars - LEGO came out and announced, Let’s Go.
A true 360 campaign, Let’s Go needed to comprise of video ad units, outdoor advertising, press releases, a wrap of the New York Times, a Washington DC metro-station takeover, giant LEGO builds in public spaces, and most importantly, we sent real kids to a real space-camp, to give them the opportunity to train to take the next great step to Mars.
Print and outdoor advertising
To announce Let’s Go, we wanted to go big. We brought our campaign message to life with a global media buy across newspapers, magazines, and outdoor large format. We also took over a metro-station in Washington, and wrapped the New York Times on the date of the Apollo landing anniversary.
Awareness Ads (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Amazon)
We launched our campaign with a month of consideration messaging. Our primary video asset (a one minute manifesto video) was designed to create a relationship between LEGO and space exploration, showing our dedication to the Mars mission, while highlighting that we are a serious player in this space.
Our video was created in multiple formats for social, online video and across marketplaces (i.e. Amazon). It was a teaser to warm-up our audiences for what was to follow.
PR Announcement: The Kids Futures Survey & LEGO Space Camp
Fresh with the information gathered in our global survey, LEGO began reaching out to global and local publishers with the big news - Kids have lost interest in space travel. Instead, they’d rather than YouTubers, bloggers and musicians. To do something about it - LEGO announced that they would be partnering with Scholastic and sending disadvantaged kids from across the United States to a real space camp.
The story was huge, with hundreds of global mentions appearing in just a matter of days. Top hits included CNBC, USA Today and Unilad, but also specialty space publications and kids’ career forums. Our survey and commitment to the cause became a global talking point asking society to raise the question - ‘if kids don’t want to be astronauts, who will help us to take that next giant leap?’
A six-foot tall astronaut made of LEGO
To inspire creativity and show kids what was possible using LEGO bricks, we built a life-size astronaut and showed it off online, and in numerous space events around the world.
Crafted from 30,000 LEGO bricks in 10 different colours, it took almost 300 hours to complete the designing and building process.
Our astronaut achieved enormous PR coverage and content relating to its elaborate build quickly went viral online.
The ‘Zero Gravity’ LEGO Unboxing
LEGO is no stranger to product unboxing, but rather than open a box on a table in an ordinary setting, we wanted to do something extraordinary. To really get the world talking, we reached out to former NASA and celebrity astronaut Mike Massimino, and asked him if he’d like to be the first man to open a LEGO product in zero gravity. Naturally, he said yes.
Utilising a zero-gravity aircraft that simulates the outer-space experience, we took Mike back into zero-gravity and filmed him unboxing our LEGO space products. The result - the internet went nuts, and our content became the topic of conversation for kids all around the world.
Our campaign had already achieved its objective to re-energise kids around the world about space travel, but this was the cherry on top.
We reached for the moon, and made it to Mars.
The Let’s Go campaign was a masterstroke, and an overwhelming success for the space portfolio, and the LEGO brand.
Led by PR, the Let’s Go campaign reached millions of kids, adults and parents around the world. Global media picked up our story and ran it in multiple languages, across multiple continents over a period of three months. The brand saw a critical spike in sales across the space portfolio.
But most importantly, in 2019, when kids thought about space, they thought about LEGO, too.