Launched in 2020, LEGO® DOTS was developed to offer a new pattern of play for girls to express themselves in the Arts & Design space.
The LEGO® DOTS range was experiencing two vital challenges. Firstly, the awareness of the range among the target audience of girls aged 9-12 was low. Although a creative brand, The LEGO Group is not traditionally associated with Arts & Design and girls of this age are particularly hard to engage with and gain the badge of ‘cool’. Secondly, there was little understanding of what and who the LEGO® DOTS range was intended for. In contrast to traditional bricks LEGO® DOTS tiles required better explanation. However, as the product was launched just as social distancing and contact restrictions were becoming commonplace, the usual hands-on approach to showcasing the tiles was not an option.
These obstacles directed clear objectives for the eventual campaign.
Drive the awareness of LEGO® DOTS as a mode of creativity and self expression, exemplifying the tagline “You DOT You.”
Develop understanding of the multifarious design opportunities with the LEGO® DOTS range.
Gain recognition for DOTS as relevant and cool for girls aged 9-12.
Winning positive sentiment among a tween girl demographic is notoriously difficult. So, the brand required a strategic partner that would help to develop ‘cool’ experiences that would help associate LEGO® DOTS with self-expression. Above all else, the activation had to be kid-safe.
So, to find the right partner, it was vital to understand how the target generation thought about expression and identity. Initiative Junior firstly uncovered the insight that the target audience considered online expression to be just as important as in the real-world. Online representation through avatars and profiles are synonymous to the owner's own creative expression offline. And, just like LEGO® DOTS, within online virtual environments, self-expression is only limited by your own imagination.
It was also understood that girls were more likely to express themselves through the decoration of the spaces around them which has seamlessly translated into the customisation of their virtual environments.
In short, finding a partner that was inherently kid-safe, with an expressive, sandbox environment was the perfect strategy to propel the LEGO® DOTS brand forward. Similarly, a digital partner with wide online reach across the target audience with demonstrable kid-safe standards would be focal to the awareness piece.
So, with Venatus’ large digital reach through exclusive access to kids gaming and entertainment communities, they proved to be an ideal partner for the digital awareness campaign. Initiative Junior, working with Venatus, helped to identify The Sims as the ideal partner for a global in-game activation. As a brand, The Sims holds similar values of kid safety, creativity and self-expression. Research showed that one in seven kids played The Sims each week and girls are 2x more likely to play The Sims than boys (Ofcom - Online Nation Report 2021).
The activation allowed “Simmers” to explore LEGO® DOTS from the Jun ‘21 update of The Sims Free Play, a free-to-play mobile game that is hugely popular among the target demographic around the world.
Players could accessorize their Sims with LEGO® DOTS creations like bracelets and clothing patches and decorate their rooms however their imagination desired. Players openly expressed themselves in multiple, creative and personal ways with LEGO® DOTS in The Sims virtual realm.
This partnership uncovered a new world of fun and released new in-game items with a limited time ‘LEGO® DOTS x The Sims’ Live Event and a free ‘LEGO® DOTS’ pack. This live event allowed players to complete a variety of expressive activities, crafting at in-game Arts and Crafts stations, gathering LEGO® DOTS resources over the course of one week.
Once the players had collected enough resources, they were able to unlock up to 10 exclusive LEGO® DOTS items to showcase in their virtual Sim’s home. Vitally, these items were key, real-world products available in LEGO Stores like the rainbow bracelet, ice-cream picture frame, banana pencil and many more.
The activation was promoted extensively across all Sims digital platforms, including in-game billboards, their influencer network and their social channels. Skinned video ads promoting LEGO® DOTS ran across the Venatus publisher network.