Lego® with 360 Public Relations LLC
LEGO® enlisted 360 PR to help reestablish the iconic plastic brick as a leading children’s entertainment brand with parents of iPod-toting, overscheduled kids who have little time for unstructured, open-ended play. 360 PR created LEGO Builders of Tomorrow™, a platform from which to talk to parents about the importance of fostering creative play early and often, the benefits of which children would reap immediately and also well into the future, as creative, successful adults – our “Builders of Tomorrow.” Central to the campaign was communicating with parents directly and providing them with tools to help foster creative play. This was accomplished through a variety of online tools that 360 PR recommended and then created, including:
- A website for parents, www.legobuildersoftomorrow.com, to deliver practical play tips and inspirational stories from parents (including celeb dad Matthew Broderick) and educators;
- A podcast series, called LEGO Playtime Podcasts; and
- The blog, www.dadinprogress.com.
The objective was to begin a dialogue with parents about the importance of imaginative play, and to position LEGO as a resource to help parents foster imaginative play at home.
- The new generation of moms – responsible for making most of the toy-buying decisions for the family – grew up with myriad play options and has less of a connection with the LEGO brand, as documented by LEGO Systems research provided to 360 PR. Among these younger, GenY moms, LEGO is not top of mind when shopping the toy aisle. These moms are also increasingly turning to the Internet as a source of parenting news and advice.
- In addition to moms, 360 PR identified an opportunity to talk to dads about playtime. The agency commissioned a survey with its research partner, Silver Stork Research, that found today’s dads are more actively involved on the home front, including playtime, than prior generations. The survey also found that LEGO was dads’ #1 toy when they were growing up. This provided the rationale to launch the blog, www.dadinprogress.com, created by 360 PR and authored by a LEGO dad.
360PR determined there was a need to employ online tactics to reach moms after reviewing research reports on parenting trends, including Silver Stork Research’s U.S. Mom and U.S. Dad Reports, which showed that an increasing number of parents were turning to the Internet for advice on parenting topics, including play, education and balancing busy schedules. In addition, new reports, among them a comprehensive study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (March 2006), found that children were spending more time than ever before with passive, electronic media, leaving less time for open-ended, imaginative play.
360 PR also commissioned original research through Silver Stork to find out more about parents’ attitudes about playtime. The first survey asked parents about their “Holiday Wish Lists” – what did parents want to see under the tree, and have their kids playing with all year? The second study focused on dads and found that the new generation of dads was more involved on the home front than prior generations, especially at playtime. Finally, 360 PR conducted interviews with child development experts, including Mitch Resnick, director of MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group, and talked to “real moms” via the online community, www.momstown.com.
Providing helpful online tools to aid parents in their playtime choices became an integral strategy to the broader LEGO Builders of Tomorrow campaign (which also had several off-line, traditional media components). First, we created the Builders of Tomorrow website as a central place where parents could go for tips and advice on playtime. We assembled a panel of child development experts, educators and real parents to provide compelling, useful content for the site. To keep the site fresh and provide tips for on-the-go parents, we scripted and produced a podcast series called LEGO Playtime Podcasts.
To drive traffic to the site, we publicized the URL in media outreach efforts, included it in press materials and highlighted it in 10,000 brochures 360 PR designed and distribute to parents at LEGO store events in six markets focusing on imaginative play.
360 PR developed the site outline (preliminary map), researched and wrote the site copy, compiled images and directed the design with our creative services partner, Big Blue Dot. Key areas of the site include:
- Stories about “Builders of Tomorrow”: The stories featured high-profile LEGO fans, from the founders of Google, to clothing designer/mom Eileen Fisher and actor/dad Matthew Broderick, and other creative-minded adults who attribute part of their success to having time for imaginative play as children. Celebrity stories were featured on the website and augmented with tips from educators and parents using LEGO bricks in the classroom and at home to bring more creativity to playtime.
- Ways for kids to become a “Builder of Tomorrow”: Details about a LEGO brick donation program LEGO issued to benefit schools in New Orleans. LEGO asked kids across the country to send in one or more of their own LEGO bricks for children affected by Hurricane Katrina. The company matched every donated LEGO brick with a new one for New Orleans schools that are badly in need of creative materials for students. The website had a page featuring mail-in information for people who wanted to get involved.
- A Scholarship Contest: The website features information on how to enter a scholarship contest searching for kids who are making a difference by “building” their communities. Winners’ stories are featured on the website.
- Play Tips for Parents: Tips by age from child development experts; practical play tips from the founders of MomsTown; a checklist for how to start a LEGO after school club from a mom who started one in her community; and information on the FIRST LEGO League, a nationwide competition for kids ages 9-14.
- LEGO Playtime Podcast Series: The series kicked off with a Q&A with MIT Professor Mitch Resnick, who heads MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group. Next in the series was a podcast featuring celebrity dad Matthew Broderick and clothing entrepreneur Eileen Fisher about the importance of creativity in childhood and in their careers. The third podcast shined the spotlight on real moms who are inspiring creativity in their children’s lives in unique ways.
- The www.DadinProgress.com Blog: 360PR targeted parents online by creating and launching a blog by a LEGO dad, with insights and commentary on the need for more creative play time for today’s kids. 360 PR helped launch the blog and spread the word to other bloggers but, to maintain the author’s integrity has not contributed content. The website features a link to DadinProgress.
The Builders of Tomorrow website has been featured in dozens of media outlets, including national parenting, kids and classroom publications (American Baby, Boys’ Life, Big Apple Parent, Learning, Time For Kids and Weekly Reader); newspaper and magazines (Newsday, The New York Post, The Washington Post, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Providence Journal, St. Petersburg Times, Berkshire Eagle, Buffalo News, Salt Lake Tribune and WHERE Philadelphia); and online outlets (About.com, Child.com, Momstown.com and more) as well as in audio releases. The total circulation of media that featured the website is 46,567,247 translating to 92,186,083 impressions with pass along.
Just six months into the website’s life, the site is attracting more than 5,000 unique monthly visitors (based on the most recent month available), with more than 17,000 pages viewed. (A significant campaign event aimed at driving more traffic to the site is planned for November 2006.)
360 PR submitted the Playtime Podcast series to several of the top podcast directories. Currently, the series is listed on iTunes, podcast.net and manicmommies.com.
Just launched in Summer ’06, the DadinProgress.com blog has been featured in a story by The Washington Post (“Dawn of the Dad”) on the growing trend of dad bloggers, on the Internet radio program “Mr. Dad”, and appears on links from popular parenting and technology blogs, including MetroDad, Creative-Types Dad, Abba Daddy, Daddy Types, Baby News, Blogorama, BlogHop, How About Two, L.A. Daddy and Technorati.