“The LEGO Movie” is hilarious adventure tale in what could have been a 100-minute long of non-stop product placement. It has breathtaking visuals, surprising story, and sharp sense of humor. Box office is, 469.2 million USD and rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 96% if it says something to you.
The film is entertaining, but it doesn’t transcend the purpose: sell Lego bricks to as many people as possible. Despite, it is not an old-school product placement that you used to see. For me, Product placement is one of film’s most annoying and unavoidable attributes but The LEGO Movie killed it. The title does, after all, include the name of the company spelt out with big, bold letters.
It became milestone in product placement, and I also have to mention the brand narratives. We know how important to create brand narratives, and the importance of storytelling to content marketing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean telling the story of the brand itself. It means weaving the brand cleverly and effectively into a narrative that people will care about, and Lego does it so right. It offers a story that’s relevant both inside and outside the product universe it’s built for itself.
(Warning: Spoilers ahead)
The triumph of the movie is that it captures the essence of the creative silliness of playing with LEGO sets and the incredible thing is everything you see in the movie is a product. Meet a new character? That’s a figure you can buy.
All aside, we know that nobody is going to pay for watch 100-minute long self-promotion. So how did it get so much love from both children and grownups?
The mix of numerous properties works so well because the world of the film is constructed with a sense of child-like imagination where it makes perfect sense for Batman and Dumbledore to team up with Han Solo to fight evil.
In fact, this movie has a twisty end (which I will try not to reveal all). Last minutes of the show Lego business world order is all restored. It turns out that the Lord of Business (bad guy in the movie) is not really an evil. Actually, he doesn’t even exist! He’s actually just a dad who got a little over-controlling due to his own love of Legos. Later on, you will see that; it is not just a movie for children.
It speaks in the plain language of the audience, but with a level of sophistication that winks to the smartest among them. Like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons, The Lego Movie speaks to the kids and the parents equally well.
A conversation late in the movie also debates the status of LEGOs as toys for children or “sophisticated interlocking brick systems” and I think the movie’s ability qualify both answers is one of its greatest strengths.
So you see that The Lego Movie has a very clear idea of who it’s speaking to – or, in harsher terms, its target market – as it bids to increase its standing among kids (the players), parents (the buyers) and other adults (the nostalgists).
And when lights are on, you are sucked into the story, you’ve eaten all your popcorn, you’ve had a good laugh, been dazzled by the effects and enjoyed yourself. You’ve noticed the quality of the production more than the underlying messages. Well, God knows what messages kids have absorbed, but it’s probably nothing much more than “Buy more Legos.” I think it’s just like the trip to Disney, where you drop your bitterness for a while even as you know you are in a massive commercial environment, and enjoy the ride. We all know what happens next: You’ll get dumped off at the gift shop at the end.
By the way, Do I need to say that after the movie their sales increased?
Lego is simply underwriting a project that takes the form of quality entertainment. This ensures the company won’t be hesitated, but instead accepted for its part in simplifying a desirable consumer experience. And that’s something a brand can build on.
From my angle, message of the film is not just to be yourself, but to express yourself. More importantly, to express yourself with LEGO.
Once for all, It’s really a piece of product placement that throws away the instruction manual.
Have you seen this movie? What are your opinions about that? If you haven’t watched this movie yet, I highly recommend it.
(Branding students out there! If you want to learn more about successful product placement I also recommend you to read this article: Siva K. Balasubramanian , Hemant Patwardhan , Deepa Pillai , Kesha K. Coker , (2014) “Modeling attitude constructs in movie product placements”, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 23 Iss: 7, pp.516 – 531 )