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Lego’s system goes down in history

The American landscape is liberally dotted with structures that have been protected from urban development by historic preservation societies, but have you ever heard of the same privilege being afforded to a toy?
August 1, 2005

The American landscape is liberally dotted with structures that have been protected from urban development by historic preservation societies, but have you ever heard of the same privilege being afforded to a toy?

As Lego prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the play principles behind its original building bricks, they’re being promoted by The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) in the U.S. Lego mapped out its ’10 commandments’ of toy creation way back in the ’50s, including striving to turn out products that develop imagination and creativity, and that have unlimited potential and year-round play value. These core goals inspired the original series of open-ended bricks the company developed in 1955 for its Town Plan toys, and NTHP thinks its worth recognizing the effort by deeming Lego’s bygone product line an important part of American history.

Supported by the U.S. Congress, the non-profit body also plans to co-sponsor a ‘Brick to The Future 2055′ contest that charges U.S. kids ages five to 14 with creating a futuristic urban plan out of Lego bricks. The challenge will culminate with a November build-off at San Diego’s Legoland on Veteran’s Day weekend.

Lego’s consumer products partners are getting in on the anniversary action as well, particularly in the grocery aisle. A full 12.5 million boxes of Quaker’s Life Cereal, Cinnamon Life and Honey Graham Life will be redesigned with Lego sculptures of kids enjoying breakfast. And consumers who collect three box tops can send in for a free Lego or Duplo set worth about US$3.

Quaker’s Instant Oatmeal will jump on-board from October to December with four million packages of its nine SKUs promoting Lego’s US$5 rebate and running a sweepstakes for a family trip to Lego’s head office in Denmark.

Another lucky family could win a Legoland vacation on offer by Hostess’ Cupcakes and Twinkies, packages of which will contain in-box coupons for US$10 off Legoland park admission for up to six people. Lego plans to help promote the initiative with 18,000 freestanding displays and shelf-talkers in stores.

And finally, Lego will mark its anniversary with four different retail offerings. The company is creating gold-colored pieces to place inside 1.2 million SKUs of two gold-lidded buckets and two tubs of bulk bricks. The buyer will also be treated to one free kids admission to Legoland (worth US$38) and an additional US$10 off for up to six people.

Lego’s senior brand relations manager, Mike McNally, says the anniversary will be celebrated in North America only, but hints that the company is looking at launching a similar promotion next year to mark its 50th year of selling toys in Germany.

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