Giant Lego Man, Ego Leonard, Florida

Giant Lego Man: Marketing Scheme?

Here’s something you don’t hear all that often: a giant Lego man washed up on a Florida beach a couple weeks ago. That in itself is pretty odd, but this is actually the third such sculpture to be discovered since 2007.

The first giant Lego man found in 2007 washed up around Zandvoort, in the Netherlands. This mysterious giant figure had the equally mysterious phrase “No Real Than You Are” printed across its chest, leaving people baffled as to what it could mean, as well as the name “Ego Leonard” written on its back. The next year, in 2008, a second figure, sporting the same cryptic logo and name, was found in Brighton, United Kingdom.

The discoveries stopped for a few years following the events, but just two weeks ago, a third giant Lego man was found on Siesta Beach in Florida, with, once again, the bizarre statement of “No Real Than You Are” and the same name, “Ego Leonard” printed on its body.

People were once again mystified, but a few made a connection about this one: Lego’s amusement park, Legoland, had just opened a branch in Florida not long before this third wash-up. Not only that, 2008 just happened to Giant Lego Manbe the 30th anniversary of the Lego man figure.

Nobody is exactly sure who Ego Leonard really is, but with the timing of these wash-ups, could there be a connection to Lego itself? It’s possible, and if they are, then this is a kind of marketing strategy very rarely seen.

Juliet Straker, public relations and marketing for marketingworx, says she agrees that this is probably a marketing strategy and publicity stunt by Lego.

Lego is denying any involvement in any of these giant Lego man appearances, but Straker isn’t quite believing them.

“I would say that Lego is working with the artists on this, but their strong denial leads me to believe that the clever artist behind Ego Leonard, who is believed to be a Dutch artist by the name of Leon Keer, has elevated his own name and works on to the international stage.”

If Lego is behind these incidents, are they helping sales at all? Straker thinks so, but she thinks the frequency of these wash-ups is lessening their impact on sales. She says that “sales for Lego are up by about 10 percent in 2011, but the stunts are not that frequent, so I would attribute the increase in sales more to the new products the company has introduced and the fact that, as toys go, they provide big appeal to both children and parents. They are affordable, entertain for hours and get children thinking creatively.”

So what kind of marketing strategy is this? According to Straker, Lego may — or may not — be using one.

“I’m not sure that you can call it a strategy, as Lego is not really carrying it through in their marketing in any way,” she says. “It is just good old-fashioned publicity that is getting news outlets from Los Angeles to London covering the story.”

Her thoughts on “No Real Than You Are”?

“The phrase makes you stop and think,” Straker says. “Think of the absurdity of a giant Lego man showing up on beaches around the world. The idea of it alone is humorous and surreal. The phrase appears to almost pose the question, ‘what is real?’ ”

While we don’t know for a fact who Ego Leonard is or if Lego really has anything to do with the trio of events, this campaign, publicity stunt, or whatever you want to call it is original and memorable. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box.


What do you think: Is the giant Lego man a marketing tool or not? Let us know in the comments section.

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