Update, October 9, 2014: Today, LEGO announced it will not renew its partnership with Shell. It’s a fantastic victory for anyone who cares about children . . . and the wellbeing of our planet. Please click here if you would like to thank LEGO for their decision.
For the past two years, Shell and LEGO have partnered on a global advertising campaign that includes co-branded toys, billboards, celebrity endorsements, videos, and a full-size LEGO Formula One car. More than 16 million Shell-branded LEGO sets have already been sold at gas stations in 26 countries, including Brazil, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Australia. Advocates have privately urged LEGO to stop these promotions—to no avail. LEGO confirms that this egregious partnership will continue.
It’s time to take a public stand. Please tell LEGO to stop exploiting children by building brand loyalty to Shell.
Using toys to advertise any kind of product to kids is wrong. But it’s particularly harmful to sell children on Shell, a company whose environmental record and plans to drill in the Arctic are rightfully incurring an international barrage of criticism and challenges. That’s why we’re partnering with Greenpeace USA to call for an end to this harmful partnership. As Greenpeace notes:
“Shell is responsible for a significant amount of global carbon emissions. And Shell is now hunting for more oil in one of the world’s last remaining pristine regions: the Arctic. Sea ice in the far north is melting, but rather than see this as a warning sign, Shell sees it as an opportunity to drill for more of the oil that caused the melt in the first place.”
Companies like Shell know all too well that fostering powerful emotional attachments to their brand in childhood is the first step to a lifetime of unquestioning loyalty. That’s one big reason why this partnership is so valuable to Shell. Brand loyal customers are less likely to think critically about a company’s practices and ethics. LEGO shouldn’t aid and abet Shell in its mission to brand children.