All ‘LEGO’ posts:
A new year has started and if 2012 was hard to predict, 2013 may be even harder.
One of the major shifts happening right now is the movement from social media to social business. I think there are at least two good reasons why this is happening. The major players in the social media space have been focused on building their platforms and adding users (Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook etc.). Now they’re all looking for ways to make money. Secondly, brands are looking for ways to use the channels as more than just media, but as platforms for direct or indirect revenue streams.
It’s a natural maturing, but it’s also a consequence of the way many brands think. I have met many CMOs who have grown tired of being presented with yet another social media activity, just because it’s something everybody else is doing. Instead, they’re looking for social ideas that tie in with the company’s business goals.
Personally I’m a bit reluctant to only think about how social channels can add to the bottom line. My gut feeling tells me that if there’s too much business and not enough value for people, it can reduce the attractiveness of the platforms, which will obviously backfire on both the platform owners and the brands using them – a social suicide. Not to say that the brands shouldn’t think business, just that they should make sure that what they do makes sense for their brand and offers value to consumers/fans and potential customers. And by value I mean things like entertainment and utility as well as attractive offers.
I still think social media has a lot to offer in terms of branding. As social creatures, we love those stories about truly caring brands (and employees) reacting to complaints or making up for the misfortune of a loyal customer. One of my favourites right now came from one of our clients, LEGO. To me ,that shows the potential of social and also supports the strong belief we have at Advance that a company’s people are the key to building stronger relationships with customers. Employees are the brand.
I’m also hoping to see more relevant CSR in 2013. Since it’s something a lot of companies have already experimented with, it’s much harder to have an impact from CSR – basically because people are sceptical thanks to the “green washing” that has taken place. Fortunately, there are still examples of brands getting the credit they deserve simply because it’s in their heritage to do the right thing, or because of the passion of the owners.
It’s my hope that the right CSR initiatives will keep having an impact, not because they are marketed, but because they spread. Advance supports cancer initiatives and has done so for many years because our founder and several great employees have died from the disease. We have never really marketed our support because that’s not why we do it and never will be. But maybe it will spread and tell a story about the agency. And if it doesn’t, well I still think we’re doing the right thing.
Whatever 2013 will bring, you’ll be able to follow our progress on different channels. So give us a like on Facebook, follow us on LinkedIn, have a look at some of our work on YouTube or, better yet, drop by and meet us in person. We reckon we have the best agency coffee in town.
LEGO came out with some great results last week, driven in part by the huge success of its Friends theme, sales of which are double what was expected. Here’s a selection of the best news coverage here in Denmark:
BureauBiz highlights our role in the success of LEGO Friends
Berlingske pinpoints Friends as key to LEGO’s recent growth.
DR picks up on LEGO’s plans to increase hiring, again partly a result of Friends’ success.
A while back we invited some of LEGO’s top designers to the agency for a two-day workshop. The goal was simple – generate ideas for the future of Hero Factory and push each other’s creative boundaries.
The feedback from the session was hugely positive and more are planned.
Last week might as well have been the most important week of the year for LEGO fans in and around Copenhagen. From Thursday until Sunday, 16 truckloads of bricks were spread in Bella Centre, Scandinavia’s biggest exhibition and conference centre. Both the LEGO company and their fan builders were present to show their most spectacular creations. Pirates, space ships, knights… you name it.
Like last year, there was no way we were going to miss out on that. Jef took some pictures for your enjoyment.
The evergreen Christian Faber was the subject of a lovely profile in Politiken’s Careers section earlier this week. It’s a must-read for Bionicle fans but it doesn’t seem to exist online so I can’t link to it alas.
Here’s CEO Jens Krog with a quick review of the year just gone.
2011 was a tough year for the economy and a tougher one for the industry but I’m proud to say that we’ve come out the other side a wiser and even a bigger agency. As I write, most forecasts indicate another challenging year ahead and we’re focused on making sure we continue to evolve our offering.
Clients need agency partners to work faster, smarter and cheaper. These pressures are not new but have been accelerating in recent years to the point that the industry is barely recognisable from just ten years ago.
The digital transformation is the most obvious change but while we’re retooling to ensure we up our online skills, we’re just as interested in the way the contract between advertisers and consumers is being transformed. We’ve always said the best communication is a great product or service and this simple saying is truer today than it’s ever been.
We’re intrigued to see how the relationship between brands and people continues to evolve in the months and years ahead. We hope and believe the transparency of the Internet will continue to push companies towards more responsible practices and we think more of our time will be spent helping clients stay on top of societal changes, as well as those affecting the way brands communicate.
Anyway, here’s a quick look back at some of our 2011 highlights as an agency, and here’s to a great 2012.
We’re launching an exciting new Hero Factory project soon that will have some social media elements built into it. Yesterday was spent preparing, building and experimenting… (more news soon.)
A while back we stumbled across an archive of VHS tapes that had been locked up in a cupboard and forgotten about. We had them digitized and, to our delight, they turned out to hold many of the old LEGO commercials we’ve made over the years.
We got in touch with the Brothers Brick – one of the best LEGO fan sites around – and they agreed to serialise the commercials on the blog together with the exclusive backstories of how they were made. For many of these old commercials, it’s their online debut! So if you’re a fan of vintage LEGO, keep an eye on the Brothers Brick over the next few months.
To give people a chance to see all the videos in one place, we’re also gradually posting them in a special Blast from the past playlist on our YouTube channel.
A shot from the archives… Claus and Christian (second and third from left) in the States for a LEGO shoot back in 1995.
Friday was a special day at the agency as we celebrated Christian Faber’s 25th and Birgitte Røn’s 20th agency anniversaries. We set up the screen in the canteen with a Twitterfall and circulated the #faber25 and #birgitte20 hashtags to give people a way to send their congratulations to Christian and Birgitte throughout the day.
In the afternoon, we had wine, tapas and speeches and LEGO presented Christian with some special gifts – a Bionicle mask made by an avid fan from the US and a custom-built Bionicle figure with Christian’s face! They’d also gathered in tributes from Bionicle fans and employees who’d worked on a franchise that Christian has played such a key role in building over the years. Here’s some pics from what was a lovely afternoon:
Børsen ran a lovely piece to mark the achievement:
Click the image to read the story (in Danish).
Mads and Jef were two of the 41,000 people who paid a visit to LEGO World here in Copenhagen last week. Here are a few pictures of some of the more amazing creations:
Last week we said a proper farewell to two people who’ve been mainstays of the agency for more than a quarter of a century. Husband and wife Alex and Sys have helped shape Advance in so many ways. In that sense, our story is their story and the agency won’t be the same without them.
The customised minifig models of Alex and Sys and their new travel van were LEGO’s way of saying thanks… the canoe was ours!
Here’s one of our latest promo trailers for LEGO Universe. This one’s running in cinemas around the world. It shows the entire backstory to the game, telling how the maelstrom came into being, and the start of the quest to save imagination!
Many of us have had the last two or three weeks off but we’re back now, recharged and ready to go. The months leading up to the summer break were hectic to say the least. As well as the successful pitch for BR & Toys’R'Us, we also acquired the dialogue agency byHabit (henceforth to be known as Advance Relations).
Our clients have been keeping us busy too. In LEGO, we’ve been running a number of big projects, including Hero Factory and LEGO Universe, but we still found the time to partner with the company to win a grant from the Danish Advanced Technology Foundation to co-develop modular playware.
Our other ongoing work includes two product launches for Coloplast, 2011 campaigns for Compeed’s blister, corn and cold sore products, an image campaign for ITD and an awareness campaign for HK. All big projects and all developing well.
Meanwhile Advance Spirit continues to grow impressively. Recent newbizz wins include Choice Hotels and DSV, while big projects are continuing with ITD and Q8.
Last but not least, partner and Senior AD Gavin (above) celebrated his 50th birthday shortly before we broke up for the holidays. He treated himself to a motorbike so we gave him a cheque and strict instructions to buy himself a helmet.
Advance is proud to announce our role in a special project being conducted in partnership with LEGO and the Centre for Playware at the Danish National Technical University (DTU).
Together, we’ve successfully applied for a significant grant from the Danish Advanced Technology Foundation to research and develop modular playware – intelligent hardware and software that uses AI and robot technology to create new play products.
A large part of the project’s brief is finding new ways to support child development through playand playful experiences and this is where Advance will play a key role, lending our insights from over 30 years of helping LEGO build its brand.
The project will run over the next three years and we’ll be reporting back here with regular progress updates.
We sent a four-man delegation to the E3 Expo in LA earlier this month. As well as our ongoing work on LEGO Universe, we’re working more and more in the gaming world and E3 is the place to be to get the lowdown on the latest industry developments.
Kim, pictured above, had the following to say:
“The big trend is the interface. All three major platforms have motion capture now and there is a big industry making controllers in all shapes and forms to suit particular game expirences and game types.
“More MMOGs are coming, in all sorts of directions. Social gaming, command and conquer and single player type shoot-em-up style. We also saw 3D screens on handheld platforms – Nintendo’s new 3DS has a 3D screen that don’t requires spectacles.
“That’s just some of it. The future’s gonna be exciting.”
Have a look at our more comprehensive report from the Expo:
Here’s a little film we made, capturing the Rock Monsters doing what they do best:
Hero Factory, the new buildable action figure playtheme created by Advance and LEGO, will soon be ready to open and we’ve been busy finalising the last details.
The teaser website was launched recently and features a call out to the 1-888-4-HEROFACTORY emergency hotline where kids can hear messages from the heroes, review latest missions and villain updates and record their own unique villain or monster emergencies.
Our first work for LEGOLAND Billund aired last week, a TVC promoting the attraction’s latest ride – The Temple. The production was a bit of a juggling act, combining live footage and animation as well as various tactical messages but we’re really pleased with the end result.
Here’s our trailer for LEGO’s upcoming Hero Factory, a brand new epic universe. LEGO Hero Factory will launch in the summer with Advance handling the communication package: