When checking my emails during the week I was delighted to find that Lego, the well-known and beloved toy company, will not be renewing their contract with Shell, one of the largest oil companies in the world.
Shell and Lego have had a relationship for years, so much so that I probably still have Lego blocks with Shell logos on them, strewn across my parents’ attic. The reason this relationship was so sharply severed is probably because of Greenpeace’s huge and very lengthy campaign.
Greenpeace have long been opposed to oil drilling as climate change affects our Arctic and now with Arctic ice cover at an all time low it seems more important than ever to protect it. With Shell wishing to start drilling in Alaska next year, well it seems that low may yet be lower.
Now I don’t wish to discuss the actual drilling or the protection of the Arctic here. More the media side is what I want to focus on, as a media rep myself. Does Shell’s partnership with Lego make them look good? This is a question I’ve been asking myself since I discovered the six million strong campaign. Does a relationship like this really make a certain company look better in the eyes of the public? My answer may not be definitive but it is simply this; it doesn’t make them look bad.
Lego doesn’t create oil spill scenes with Shell logos but other things like race cars with Shell sponsorship stickers or petrol station scenes etc. Many think that these brand pairings make the company look like a fantastic collection of policy and people but in my eyes at least, I am not so sure if it actually has this affect. Children are the people playing with these toys. I don’t think they read too much into the company behind the logo. Most of the time they’re not too bothered of how straight they attach the sticker, never mind who it belongs to or what they’re up to.
Then there’s the parents to think about. Do they examine the ethical connotations behind every toy they buy for their children? To use my own as an example, definitely not. You might find some but their focus is probably more about gender orientated toys, which cause other issues all the time now. I don’t think Shell’s partnership with Lego has much to do with it.
Even myself, I don’t think I had ever thought about this until I noticed the Greenpeace petition through social media. Do not get me wrong, I supported the petition because I do not support Shell. I support research and investment being put into renewable sources of energy and oil simply isn’t one of them. And I have enjoyed Greenpeace’s campaign; I think it has been very eye-catching and successful as campaigns go, from music video remakes to Lego figure protest pictures. However, I do not think this broken relationship between Shell and Lego will change their goal to drill in Alaska.
Greenpeace has a long way to go, and they have brought to the fore what oil drilling can do to the environment but while this battle may be won the war is only just beginning.