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How LEGO Encourages Kids to ‘Brick the Rules’


Grey Dubai and Grey Singapore’s ECDs, Pablo Maldonado and Aaron Phua, on the borderless campaign created across Brazil and South Africa, writes LBB’s Nisna Mahtani

How LEGO Encourages Kids to ‘Brick the Rules’

Continuing to pioneer a ‘no rules’ attitude, children’s building toy brand LEGO, with the support of agency Grey, has created ‘Brick the Rules’. Launching in the Middle Eastern and African markets, the newest campaign celebrates the power of borderless creativity while encouraging children to put their imagination first, as they build, break and rebuild their creations. 

The campaign begins with a stern parent telling the children they aren’t allowed to play in the living room and from the moment he leaves, it becomes LEGO filled playtime. Showcasing the range of LEGO City, LEGO Speed Champions, LEGO TECHNIC, LEGO Creator, LEGO Friends and LEGO DUPLO products, ‘fun’ is at the forefront of the campaign. Shot across Brazil and South Africa, and created by the agency’s offices in both Dubai and Singapore, the spot has an international appeal that makes it applicable to global audiences.

Pablo Maldonado, executive creative director at Grey Dubai, and Aaron Phua, executive creative director at Grey Singapore, speak to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about ‘bricking’ the rules. 

LBB> Tell us about the initial brief. Where did you begin?

Pablo> I would say it all started many, many years ago when we were the kids in the images. Back then, imagination was not about watching videos on a tablet but about creating our own stories using our imagination without limiting ourselves. But going to the brief itself, LEGO invited us to participate in a LEGO cars project, aiming to relaunch their diverse and rich cars series (LEGO and Grey share a long history of collaboration in the UAE, KSA and South Africa). For them, it was important to distinguish between LEGO Cars kids can interact with and build vs other toy cars that are pre-designed and simply 'ready to drive'. This was a strong requirement, and it needed to be emphasised in the idea, which was perfect to start creating a story about freedom.

LBB> How did you come up with 'Brick the Rules', and what does it embody?

Aaron> We came across the notion that kids today are increasingly grounded by all sorts of rules handed out by the adults. From the need to go to bed by 8 pm, brushing teeth at least twice a day, to not doubling up on dessert, to doing your homework right after school. It's not easy being a kid! And that's just the internal home rules. LEGO is all about imagination, unlike many other toys that are what they are off the shelf. If you think about it, every LEGO box contains half of the actual toy because the other half is in the kid's mind, that is what creates real value beyond what one is paying for. We created 'Brick the Rules' to champion the immense value of messing about with how you want your toys to be and how to play with them and not be restricted by how they're already made out of the box. 

LBB> The production for this piece spanned across Dubai and Singapore, can you tell us more about how the team coordinated to create the campaign?

Pablo> Grey prides itself on our borderless collaborations among different offices. So, beyond the time zone difference that led to sleepy conversations at night or super early pre-coffee calls, it was a lot of fun to have both teams adding to the idea and building it on the go, just like a LEGO set! It felt like two groups of distant cousins conspiring via toy walkie talkies, to make the best work possible, whilst having fun at the same time. We never ceased to connect, despite not being in the same room.

LBB> The campaign is running across the UAE, KSA and South Africa. How did you ensure it appealed to all three markets?

Pablo> This was a major challenge as the markets are very different in culture and behaviour. Casting the talent itself was a challenge too! However, we tried to tap into universal insights and common children/parents dynamics that are similar no matter where one is from in the world, as well as the spontaneity and imagination of kids no matter where they live. Just like LEGO, certain things are universal.

LBB> How long did it take, from start to finish, to create the campaign?

Aaron> It took more than five mins for sure! We spent several weeks speaking to various production companies to identify which production team we felt was the most eager to invoke the child in them. We were lucky to have found the amazing teams at Asteroide, Bogotá and Vox Haus playing with us!

LBB> Were there any challenges when it came to the editing process? Can you tell us about it?

Pablo> The main one was the amount of good material we had, and we didn't want to leave anything out, but unfortunately, we had only one rule: the duration. As with most filmmaking, especially one that's created with a lot of excitement, the challenges we had were mostly about which amazing scenes should end up on the cutting-room floor. In the end, we found the best flow for the story, and even when we mixed different types of visual elements, a harmony was established that was neither boring nor exhausting for the viewer, yet touches upon several aspects of the imagination.

LBB> How has the campaign been received so far? Have you seen or heard of any memorable reactions?

Aaron> We witnessed kids stopping in their tracks admiring the spot's protagonists, dreaming of becoming like them - to 'brick the rules' without being destructive. And besides that, also invoking the child in the parents, they realise the value of letting kids be kids and allowing them to fill their imagination as part of their development. This is all good as it's what LEGO ultimately represents. 

LBB> Would you like to share anything else with us?

Aaron> We hope this is just the beginning of what we can do with the 'Brick the Rules' premise. We have plenty more ideas and scenarios for more 'Brick the Rules' projects - we loved working on this! 

Pablo> Yeah, get ready for part two! We can brick the 'don't drive dad's classic car' rule. It's a joke... or is it?

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Grey Dubai/MENA, Wed, 08 Jun 2022 16:12:00 GMT