Lego has unveiled its first brand campaign since the 80s, created by French agency BETC. Titled Rebuild the World, the huge project encompasses a live action adventure film directed by multi-award winning collective Traktor and a series of Lego brick vignettes that send positive political messages about the power of creativity to enable change.
BETC met Lego 18 months ago, and worked with the brand’s internal agency to develop the concept, Rebuild the World. “We thought about what would be important for Lego to say today,” BETC founder Rémi Babinet tells It’s Nice That. “They are one of the most loved brands in the world, no one argues with Lego! It’s like Apple in the beginning; innovation and creativity are both brand and philosophy. That’s rare in the commercial world. The problem it has is that while it is known for the educational aspect of Lego, that perception is a problem for all the parents who don’t have an affinity with the brand. They think it’s about following instructions. But it’s more than play or education – it’s about creativity. To be creative today is the way to achieve something, to navigate the new world. Mathematics and rationality used to be the most important skills, but now creativity is the most valuable skill, and Lego can enable that.”
So the tagline “Rebuild the World” resonated beyond Lego itself, to chime with the issues of the contemporary world. “Only Lego can say that line. And everyone can relate to it.”
In keeping with the campaign message, the film goes against expectations by not featuring a single Lego brick. Instead, it is a live-action and CGI adventure caper that sees a rabbit chased by a hunter with a bow and arrow, overcoming every challenge thrown at him with increasingly creative solutions. This was inspired by Lego’s ethos for problem-solving. BETC chose to go down the live-action route because, as Rémi explains, “when you are in the head of a kid, the bricks become the real world, it is a real story for them.”
Every tiny detail of the film has been considered to reflect the Lego universe and its billions of fans. The buildings of Valparaíso in Chile, where it was filmed, were repainted to match Lego brick colours. The clothes worn by every character are 2D-printed like Lego characters – for example, the bad guy’s shirt, tie, jacket and binoculars are all printed onto one T-shirt. The cars and trees match the cars and trees of a Lego kit. The people bend backwards at the hip, just like Lego people do. Every scene features a builder to reference the iconic Lego figurine. At one point, a line of ducks crosses the road, which references Lego’s first-ever product. Even the props, such as the camera, cups and the bow and arrow, are made to scale, oversized like Lego accessories.
“We had no limits,” Rémi says. “Lego was a cool brand to work with. It was an opportunity to find things you can never do with other brands. So this film is about what your imagination can do with Lego.”
For all the out-of-home imagery and animated vignettes, which will roll out globally on billboards from Leicester Square to Times Square, BETC did turn to Lego bricks, shot by photographers who are used to working on luxury brand campaigns – “to capture the incredible beauty of the bricks”. These images subvert stereotypes, challenge expectations, and at times send political messages. “They are simple ideas, but often at a societal level,” Rémi explains. “Rebuild the world could be just for fun, or it could address issues in the world today. You can transform the world as you want. It’s not a political campaign. You could go far with these messages, we tried lots of things… but these are a balance between meaningful and fun. It’s conscious, but in the end, it’s only about kids.”