Bad Lego

You want to love Lego – harmless, constructive fun. But I am sorry to say that Lego as a company really bend over backwards to discourage you.

Lego have done their own survey, suggesting that construction sets appear on 45% of children’s wish lists for Christmas. So what does Lego do? They set up their website for children so they can compile their own wish lists from the Lego store to email to their grandparents, relatives and friends to urge them to get Lego products for them for Christmas.

Encouraging children to incite adults to buy things for them just happens to be one of the things expressly banned by marketing codes in the UK. The CAP Code Section 47.7 c) states that: “marketing communications addressed to children should … neither directly urge children to buy or persuade others to buy … the advertised item,” while the BCAP Code Section 7.3.1 states that: “advertisements must not directly advise or ask children to buy or to ask their parents or others to make enquiries or purchases.”

Lego have in fact done so well this Xmas, that sellers are jacking up prices up to three times the list price – a classic rip off. The Daily Mail, and the Telegraph, quote me on Lego this week. (The Daily Mail dubs Co-operatives UK as the ‘network of ethical businesses’).

You want to love it, but they really make it difficult.

Bad Lego.

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2 thoughts on “Bad Lego

  1. I have fond memories of Lego, so it’s difficult to see the company behind it as a wolf in sheep’s clothing! I don’t think compilin the list is any different than a child sitting there with a well known catalogue, cutting the wanted toys out to compile the list for Santa. My biggest annoyance with Lego is that by sellin kits to make a particular model stifles a child’s imagination. what happened to buyin a mixed brick kit and makin the flat roofed house, only to find out that you haven’t left any space for the door!

  2. It’s not just the advertising codes that prohibit the urging of children to persude others to buy for them. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (which implement the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive) expressly prohibit “[i]ncluding in an advertisement a direct exhortation to children to buy advertised products or persuade their parents or other adults to buy advertised products for them.” (para 28 of schedule one).

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