Greenpeace continues to build its case against Arctic drilling, its latest high-profile protest piecing together a pair of blockbuster companies: Shell and Lego.
The environmental watchdog has launched a new offensive against the toy manufacturer aimed at dismantling its commercial relationship with the Anglo-Dutch supermajor.
Greenpeace claims that, since 2012, 16 million Shell-branded Lego toys have been sold or given away at petrol stations in 26 countries. A commercial deal between the two companies was reportedly worth $116 million, with another deal set to start this year, it added.
Protesters in six countries around the globe are targeting the Danish player, concerned that the product’s association with the oil industry - and in particular Shell – is damaging children’s perceptions of the Arctic.
Activists descended on Legoland outside London to deface Lego scenes of the likes of the UK Houses of Parliament and a World Cup football match with erroneous characters and anti-Arctic drilling messages.
One picture shows a polar bear and cub drifting down a river through an idyllic country setting on a tiny ice floe, while another shows two figurines holding a ‘Save the Arctic’ sign near a toy terminal and tanker.
“Imagine you’re eight years old and picture the Arctic. There are no oil rigs, no industrial shipping and no politicians fighting over it,” Greenpeace said as it opened its latest campaign against Arctic drilling.
“Sadly Lego is only telling kids half the story. What it’s not telling them is how it’s also helping Shell to threaten this beautiful and fragile place,” the group claimed.
“Lego, the biggest toy company in the world, has built its brand on its continued promise of leaving a better world for children. And by teaming up with Shell it’s letting kids down.”
Greenpeace quoted Susan Linn, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, as saying: “We need to protect children’s imaginative play from branding for many reasons, including the important need for them to explore their own ideas and develop their own world view.”
It remains to be seen it Shell and Lego come together to block Greenpeace’s designs.