Striving to become the leading global brand among families with children in the next three years, Danish toy titan Lego has announced a consolidation of its marketing communications efforts into a worldwide programme.

Unveiling the scheme Friday, the group revealed it is to hire its first global ad agency and worldwide media planning network, shift the majority of its top global marketing executives to London and appoint the FutureBrand consultancy to assess its brand architecture. One thing it is not changing, however, is its red logo.

Reports in December suggested Lego had appointed WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam to handle global advertising. Announcing the new global set-up, Lego fleshed out the stories, revealing that London’s Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R will coordinate the $50 million-plus business, with help from shops such as The Gepetto Group in New York and Tokyo’s Dentsu Young & Rubicam.

In addition, other WPP agencies will handle accounts for Lego, including Y&R’s sister network TME360, which picks up global media planning.

The new system replaces a country-by-country approach, with 35 different agencies previously handling creative around the world. “To grow the company we need to strengthen the image of the brand,” declared executive vp and chief operating officer Poul Plougmann, who said Lego’s message would centre on “learning through creative play”. Media buying, however, will continue to be arranged on a national basis.

Explaining the shift of brand communications to an HQ in the British capital, Plougmann commented: “There are a lot of good reasons for moving to London. Most important is that the London area holds by far the largest concentration of communications skills. It's not closely approached by any other city in Europe.”

Another aspect of the new set-up echoes Unilever’s ‘power brands’ in that marketing spend will be concentrated on relatively few products. The inspiration for this move came from the US roll-out of Lego’s Bionicles figures in 2000, which cost $15m. The brand now accounts for 10%–12% of global income.

The next product in line for a spending spree, said Plougmann, is a pre-school “child development system” to be relaunched in June.

News source: AdAge Global