Lego's deal with Shell drilled by well-oiled Greenpeace campaign

Averse to Lego's partnership with Shell, the environmental group posts a slick flick online that will make children's stomachs feel queasy.

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Oh, no. Santa's going to die. GreenpeaceVideo/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

In LegoWorld, everything is happy. People are colorful and jolly. So are buildings.

It's all, in the American vernacular, awesome.

Some, though, aren't so sure. Greenpeace, for one. It's not enamored of Lego's partnership with that cute red and yellow brand known as Shell.

The folks at Shell are, allegedly, polluting the world -- especially the Arctic -- with their drilling. They're even polluting children's minds with their cute little colors.

So Greenpeace released a cute little film this week, featuring "Everything Is Awesome," a truly awesome song from "The Lego Movie."

Just in case the film somehow disappears into an unknown hole, let me tell you the simple premise.

A plaintive voice sings the ditty. We see cheery Lego characters, including some "Game of Thrones" beings (wait, aren't they dead already?), being slowly submerged by a nasty, dark oil slick.

Santa dies. So does an elf. This Shell slick is truly an elf hazard.

"Shell is polluting our kids' imaginations," says the endline. Honestly, all adults are.

In an accompanying statement and petition, Greenpeace explained: "Shell's global advertising deal with Lego is part of a carefully thought-out strategy by Shell to buy Friends who can make its controversial arctic drilling plans look acceptable and misleadingly associate it with positive values. Lego is one of the most beloved and admired toy companies in the world, and Shell knows that this deal will not only increase profits, but also improve the reputation of a company known for recklessly threatening the fragile arctic ecosystem."

For its part, Lego sent some people to Greenpeace's offices, poured oil through the windows, and set it all on fire.

No, no. I have that slightly awry. Instead, the company took to its blog and offered a cool assessment from Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, the company's president and CEO.

He explained that Lego exists to insert positive bricks into society's great edifice. He said everyone should have high expectations of Lego.

He added: "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 organizations."

Oh, but when you're a tool of marketing, it's inevitable that you'll be found useful in other areas.

Still, Knudstorp, despite being sad, isn't backing down: "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. I would like to clarify that we intend to live up to the long term contract with Shell, which we entered into in 2011."

Those of child-like, equalizing spirit might hope that Lego would do a little more to persuade its partners to be upstanding.

How about signing contracts with Exxon and Chevron too and seeing which one the children vote as the nicest oil company of all?

 

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