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ICONIC BRANDS

Lego: the legendary toy brand that celebrates its own ‘international day’ today

By our News Team | 2022

It was on this day in 1958 that the famous Lego plastic brick system was patented – and the brand was on its way to becoming world renowned.

As a marketer, you know your brand has truly become iconic when it can lay claim to having its own ‘international day’. Such is the case with toy company Lego, which today (Friday, 28 January), celebrates International Lego Day.

Brand enthusiasts (who often refer to themselves as ‘brick nerds’), chat groups, social media platforms and specialist toy websites have all been marking the occasion, which celebrates the day in 1958 when the modern plastic toy brick was first patented.

Prior to that, Lego had existed as a moderately successful Danish children’s toy brand founded in 1932 at the small carpentry workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen. The name in Danish stands for ‘Leg Godt’ which means ‘play well’.

But it was only when the modern plastic brick design was perfected and patented, that the brand began achieving great international success. In 1978, for example, minifigures became an integral part of most Lego sets.

Iconic Brands

Photo courtesy of Brick Nerd

In May 2011, the brand achieved ‘great heights’ when the space shuttle Endeavor carried 13 Lego sets to the International Space Station, where astronauts built models together to see how the bricks would react in a micro-gravity environment. 

In May 2013, a massive Lego model was assembled and displayed in New York. Made from more than 5-million bricks, it was a a 1:1 scale model of an X-wing fighter. 

In February 2015, Lego replaced Ferrari as the most powerful brand in the world.   

The Lego brand hit tough and troubled times

But is hasn’t all been plain sailing. By the early 2000s, the business was in deep trouble. Sales were down 30% year-on-year and debt was huge. By its own admission, Lego hadn’t added anything of value to its product portfolio in 10 years.

Children, its core customer base, didn’t like the brand much anymore.

After extensive soul-searching, management embarked on a major rebranding strategy. They added digital channels to engage kids and their parents and succeeded in re-establishing Lego as vibey and relevant once again. 

The company added Lego-themed Hollywood blockbuster movies and Lego-themed entertainment venues. The approaches that had worked well before – such as linking products to popular big-name movies – were retained. The rest got the boot.

Suddenly, Lego was hip and fun. From 2008 to 2010 its profits quadrupled, outstripping that of Apple’s. By 2015 it had ousted Ferrari as to become the world’s most powerful brand.

Enjoy your International Lego Day!

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.