Once upon a time, LEGO was all the rage among children and even some young adults. In some cases, it still is! The plastic blocks have inspired films, influenced the gaming industry and have been used  to recreate many figures of historical significance.

It’s pretty clear that Lego, the world’s biggest toy company, has built a good reputation and lasting memory with many people all over the world.

But recently, Lego has decided to partner with the oil and gas giant Shell, in their bid to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic region of the North Pole.


 As part of a lucrative co-promotion, LEGO has branded Shell’s logo on a special set of its toys. By placing its logo in the hands of millions of children, Shell is attempting to build brand loyalty with the next generation of consumers. Shell has “launched an invasion of children’s playrooms” in order to prop up its public image, while threatening the Arctic with a deadly oil spill.

Now, Greenpeace has launched a campaign to try and convince LEGO to cut ties with Shell.

“Climate change is an enormous threat facing all children around the world, but Shell is trying to hijack the magic of LEGO to hide its role.”

“It is using LEGO to clean up its image and divert attention from its dangerous plans to raid the pristine Arctic for oil. And it’s exploiting kids’ love of their toys to build life-long loyalty it doesn’t deserve.”

“It’s time for LEGO to finally pull the plug on this deal. We’re calling on LEGO to stand up for Arctic protection, and for children, by ditching Shell for good.”

– Ian Duff, Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace.


What is the big deal?

The Arctic is home to many different animals unique to the area such as the Caribou, Arctic fox and Arctic wolf, seals, Walruses, Narwhals, Orcas, Beluga whales and the Polar bear.

Many of the species that inhabit this area are becoming increasingly under threat by the constant cloud of climate change. Widely known as the ‘ground zero’ of global warming, the Arctic can been seen as the very last place on the planet where humans should continue to burn fossil fuels and risk devastating oil spills.

Shell’s Arctic program has faced fierce criticism since 2012. In that same period 16 million Shell-branded LEGO sets were sold or given away at petrol stations in 26 countries.

The problem with this partnership is that children are been targeted very early on to see the destructive practices of Shell in a less severe way. Their aim is to instill in the minds of millions of children that Shell are the good guys – hoping that their practices will garner support, or at least apathy, in a new generation.

Whether the company will succeed in doing so or not is a very important thing to consider. Susan Linn, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood, puts it this way:

“Children form strong emotional attachments in childhood that last a lifetime, and companies know that all too well.”

“Adverts aimed at children are bad enough, but branding their favorite playthings gain companies like Shell many hours and even days of their dedicated time, energy and love. We need to protect children’s imaginative play from branding for many reasons, including the important need for them to explore their own ideas and develop their own world view.”

Watch the powerful Greenpeace campaign video below:

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Have you bought your child a Shell-branded LEGO set? How do you feel about all of this as a parent?

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