Lego Breaks The Rules

Lego, the snap together bricks that have been the architectural province of young boys for years, is breaking out with a new product and a new direction in advertising.

The company launched Clickits*, at the recent New York Toy Fair, which is a product that allows girls to make snap together jewelry. It is Lego’s first reach out for the girl’s marketplace. According to Starcom associate director Kathryn Thomas, the ad and promotional campaign for the product represents a big departure from the tried-and-true kids marketing programs of the past.

“From a media perspective, we had to tell Lego that they needed to make a clear departure from traditional advertising,” Thomas said. “Our consumer insights told us that girls from 6 to 11 were a good target for the product. It also told us they were very opinionated about many things for their age. And they were very opinionated about music. Music needed to play a big role.”

So a band named “Play” was selected to play a major role in the campaign, which kicks off in earnest in mid-March. The Swedish-pop youth group had a hit debut album last year . Its interpretation of the Motown classic "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," was one of Nickelodeon’s “Hit Picks” and was also included on Disney’s Lizzie McGuire” soundtrack. Play will be featured in advertising wearing Clikits as well as at select promotional appearances throughout the year. Play will be promoted through www.CLIKITS.com, where visitors will be able to view the girls' favorite Clikits designs and, beginning in mid-March 2003, listen to music clips from the group's new album, Replay, which is scheduled for release on April 29. Other promotional vehicles are in development.

With the music tie-in completed, the Clikits team next formed a marketing partnership with girls retailer Limited Too. Clikits will be the "preferred fashion design system" of Limited Too, and provides access to Limited Too's consumer contact points, including its monthly "catazine," a combination catalog and magazine with a base of 4 million readers.

Other traditional aspects are in place, according to Thomas. A TV campaign was necessary to support retail placements. Some prints ads will also run. But the various pieces of the non-traditional elements will change as the year goes on.

“Our partnership with Limited Too may be more aggressive as the year goes on,” Thomas said. “The concert tour with Play will be sponsored by Lego as well , but some of the details will allow us to have flexibility.”