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Greenpeace Attacks LEGO and Shell Partnership

Sep 26, 2014 07:25 PM EDT
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Greenpeace recently launched a new campaign against Royal Dutch Shell that even includes a video ad urging consumers to ask LEGO to cut their ties with the oil industry giant.

The ad in question is an unsettling two minute clip that depicts LEGO replicas of the Arctic, featuring plastic polar bears, smiling Eskimos, hockey players, and yes, even an oil rig - complete with transparent plastic flames and a smarmy cigar-chomping CEO minifigure (smoking right next to a "no smoking sign," might I add.)

As an eerie and rather depressing rendition of the LEGO Movie's "Everything is Awesome" (original preformed by Teegan and Sara in collaboration with The Lonely Island) builds, black sludge begins to seep out of the oil rig, flooding the mini Arctic paradise until nothing is left but a Shell flag floating over the disaster. Even a miniature John Snow and Ygritte from popular HBO Series "Game of Thrones" are not spared from the encroaching black flood. (Scroll to read on...)


[Credit: GreenPeace/Save the Arctic]

And while the entire video pre-sludge certainly showcases some amazing stuff you can do with a LEGO brick, the famous building-block toy company is not pleased to be dragged into the ongoing war between environmental advocacy groups and Shell.

"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 organisations," Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, President and Chief Executive Officer of the LEGO Group said in an official statement.

"A co-promotion contract like the one with Shell is one of many ways we are able to bring LEGO bricks into the hands of more children," he added.

And he's not lying. LEGO and Shell frequently pumped out sets together, with the Royal Dutch Shell logo even being featured on key town and racecar sets before LEGO introduced the fictional gasoline company "Octan" in 1992. Even after this key change, Lego and Shell still occasionally got together to make exclusive Ferrari promotional sets that feature the Shell logo. (Scroll to read on...)

(Photo : Flickr: Vernon Chan) Shell LEGO Ferrari 10 promotional model from 2012.

But while Ferrari was not targeted in the new Greenpeace video, LEGO was.

"Shell has launched an invasion of children's playrooms in order to prop up its public image, while threatening the Arctic with a deadly oil spill," Greenpeace says in its new campaign

"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," the environmental group adds.

However, it's important to note that despite what is shown in the video, none of the new 2014 LEGO products picturing a Shell logo have anything to do with drilling for oil in the Arctic. Instead, the logo can be found in only three of the five separate sets featuring Ferrari racing cars and pit crew.

It should also be noted that Shell has a long standing technical partnership with Ferrari, with its yellow and red logo slapped on the side of every car the Italian company races.

So while Greenpeace says that Shell is trying to brainwash the world's youth into thinking it's ok to spill oil in the Arctic, it could be just as likely that LEGO is just doing the same thing it has been doing for the past several years - making buildable mini-models of Ferrari race cars, obligatory Shell logo included.

Still, if you do believe that LEGO has no buisness making our children see the Shell brand on a tiny Ferrari, you can tell them for yourself here. Greenpeace says that more than one million people have singed their petition so far.

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