29 Jul 2014

Greenpeace protests against Lego’s Shell tie-up

Over 50 children gather outside Shell’s London headquarters to build three large Lego Arctic animals to protest against the use of the oil giant’s logo on the toymaker’s products.

It comes after a month of campaigning and a video that went viral, where polar bears and icebergs are left to drown in petroluem.

“Lego: Everything is NOT Awesome” is a stark and smart video, but some critics have suggested Greenpeace are piggy-backing on the success of a big global brand to raise the profile of their campaign.

Shell protest

The video, a mock-up of the Lego movie, was temporarily removed from YouTube after to a copyright complaint from Time Warner.

Some workers inside the Shell building on the South Bank in London could be seen peering through the windows, intrigued – if not somewhat bemused – by the polar bear, walrus and snowy owl being built outside their doors.

Lego has remained fairly tight-lipped since the campaign began, referring media to the company’s earlier statement today from Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO of Lego:

“The Greenpeace campaign focuses on how Shell operates in a specific part of the world. We firmly believe that this matter must be handled between Shell and Greenpeace.

“We are saddened when the Lego brand is used as a tool in any dispute between organisations.”


He added: “We expect that Shell lives up to their responsibilities wherever they operate and take appropriate action to any potential claims should this not be the case.”

Some branding experts claim both companies are trying to avoid fanning the flames. Previously, Greenpeace has had some success with directing its campaigns at certain high-profile businesses.

In 2008, they focused on Unilever and its use of palm oil. Greenpeace claimed within 10 days the company agreed a commitment to end the use of palm oil from illegal deforestation in Indonesia.

A spokesman for Shell told Channel 4 News: “We respect the right of individuals and organisations to engage in a free and frank exchange of views about meeting the world’s growing energy needs.

“Recognising the right of individuals to express their point of view, we only ask that they do so in a manner that is lawful and does not place their safety or the safety of others at risk.”

He added: “In 2012, Shell launched the Ferrari Model LEGO Collection promotion in collaboration with the LEGO Group and Ferrari. Since then, the promotion has run at Shell branded retail sites in 33 countries around the world, to the great satisfaction of our customers, and continues to roll out to more countries.”

So far, Lego has no stated plans to cuts its ties with Shell – a relationship the oil giant says is “productive and successful”.