Lego pulls online marketing over global racism protests

LEGO_PoliceBrickBoxThe Lego Group has pulled all its online marketing for at least a week after pausing activity for dozens of playsets, including Sky Police Air Base, Police Highway Arrest, Police Handcuffs & Badge and Police Pursuit, in response to worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd.

The Danish company, which has also pledged to donate $4m to organisations dedicated to racial equality, last week requested that members of its affiliate marketing programme pause the promotion of the playsets until further notice.

According to an email leaked to trade publication The Toy Book, the company said: “In light of recent events, Lego has requested the below products to be removed from sites and any marketing ASAP.” It went on to name 30 emergency services products, as well as a Lego version of the White House, which it did not want to be promoted. However, all are still available to purchase.

In a statement , Lego stressed that the playsets are not being pulled from sale in stores or online, but confirms that they are part of an ongoing marketing pause.

The statement reads: “There is no place for racism in our society. We stand with the black community against racism and inequality. Our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, and that includes inspiring them to be tolerant, inclusive and kind. There is more to do and as one small step, we are donating US$4 million to organisations in the US dedicated to organisations that support black children and others that educate all children about tolerance and racial equality.

“We would like to clarify that we have not removed any sets from sale. The misunderstanding is the result of an email that was sent on our behalf to members of our affiliate marketing program. The intent of the email was to ask that they pause promoting and marketing a selection of Lego products on their sites. We paused all marketing across our own social channels in response to the tragic events in the US. We regret any misunderstanding and will be clearer about our intentions in the future.”

Now, according to Forbes, this has been extended to activity across its entire brand portfolio. A Lego spokesperson told the website that the company had paused “all digital marketing” of its products “including content that could be perceived insensitive if promoted at this time”, and had asked affiliates to do the same. Lego plans to restart marketing its products next week.

The spokesperson added: “Generations of children have loved playing with our Lego police and firefighter sets, which can often be found in our Lego City line and is a constant in our collection. These were available last week and will always be available to our fans.”

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