I recently took my kids to watch The LEGO Batman Movie. The film, centered around DC Comic’s renowned Batman character, is a spin-off from The LEGO Movie, released in 2014. Both of them are directed by Chris McKay and produced by Warner Bros. Pictures and Danish toymaker LEGO.
The film is, in my opinion, an exercise of overflowing imagination, destined to fascinate adults, adolescents and young children alike; we thoroughly enjoyed it.
By my aim with this post is not to become a movie critic. Rather, to note that perhaps both The LEGO Batman and The LEGO Movie are the greatest exercises of branded content ever made. Because both films are basically two long LEGO ads. Instead of placing a product "accidentally" in the scenes of a film, as so many brands do, in these films LEGO directly chooses to take the product placement to a new dimension by becoming the undisputed protagonist of them.
I would specially highlight how revolutionary was The LEGO Movie, which, under its catchy “Everything is awesome” message, hid a really ambitious and fresh approach to the movie.
Instead of making a conventional product, aimed at its target audience, children, with a simple and politically correct story about universally shared values and which highlights how good LEGO toys are, the toymaker embarks on a very clever and really risky script, because it embraces revolutionary and counter-cultural concepts, and even attacks the capitalist economy.
No, I'm not exaggerating. Conservative news outlets harshly criticized the movie for its biased leftist and anti-business messages (in fact the bad guy is called President Business).
-‘So, wait a second, are you saying that a film by a multinational company with a clearly marketing objective is spreading one of the most radical allegations against the current political and economic system?’
Well yes, and it does not seem to be giving them a bad result. Both movies have been absolute hits at the box office around the world, and the company has become in the past couple years the biggest toy maker in the world. Not bad for a company that 10 years ago was on the brink of disappearance. It comes as no surprise to me that LEGO recently replaced Ferrari as Brand Finance’s “world’s most powerful brand”
"Story comes first"
Perhaps part of the success lies in the fact that people at the helm at LEGO commissioned not an advertisement product, but a real movie, the best they were able to do, without any hindrance of any type, with the goal of connecting with the emotions and feelings of millions of children (and their parents) around the world. Further proof that good content is king.
The origin of the name LEGO comes from the first two letters of each word of the expression in Danish leg godt, which means "play well".
Based on recent perfomance, that seems like an understatement. LEGO is playing awesome the marketing game.