How this powerful video forced Lego to end its contract with Shell

Lego will not renew a long-standing contract with Shell, after a creative intervention by Greenpeace drew attention to Shell’s plans for Arctic oil exploration.

Lego, the world’s biggest toy manufacturer, has had links with Shell since the 1960s and distributes toys at Shell petrol stations in 26 countries in a deal worth £68m.

Following Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, Greenpeace targeted Lego’s partnership with the oil giant by creating a video of a perfect Lego world flooded with black oil.

The video, entitled Lego: Everything is not Awesome, was uploaded to YouTube in July and has been viewed 5.9 million times.

At the end, the Lego world is covered in oil, while a Shell flag hangs above the devastation.


According to the Guardian, Lego initially fought the campaign, saying Greenpeace should target Shell directly, but the toy manufacturer has now backed down, and says it will not renew the current contract which was signed in 2011.

In a statement on the company’s website, Lego chief executive Jørgen Vig Knudstorp said: “The long-term co-promotion contract we entered with Shell in 2011 delivers on the objective of bringing LEGO bricks into the hands of many children, and we will honour it – as we would with any contract we enter. 

“We continuously consider many different ways of how to deliver on our promise of bringing creative play to more children. We want to clarify that as things currently stand we will not renew the co-promotion contract with Shell when the present contract ends.”

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, speaking to the Guardian about the success of the campaign and the video said: “It did touch a bit of a raw nerve about the partnership between the two companies that people thought was completely inappropriate – for a toy company like Lego to partner with an oil corporation – which is a sign of changes that are happening.”

Shell’s Arctic drilling plans were put on hold in July, though the company is now seeking to drill there next year.  

A spokesman for the oil giant said: “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 they do so in a manner that is lawful and does not place their safety or the safety of others at risk.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • A powerful piece of propaganda, as practised by Goebbels and those of a similar nature. Greenpeace specialises in terrifying politicians and the public. The lights will shortly be going out all over Europe as a result of their obsession with green energy, most of which is hopelessly costly and inefficient, and climate change which has always and will always happen resulting from the sun's emissions, not our feeble little human efforts.

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