This, I think, is a thing of beauty: Others, not so much.


And the object in question is this Lego ad, which to me almost represents the exact opposite sentiment to the "talking science" avenue raised in Ben's previous post.

Why do I think this is a thing of beauty. Maybe, it's because I'm in the know. Maybe, because the tag-line ("Make Anything") is something clever enough to make my heart sing. Maybe, because there's no even the slightest mention of ubiquitination here. Or maybe, because I think Lego is just freakin' cool anyway.

What's especially interesting, is you go to the referring post at ADVERTISING/DESIGN GOODNESS, there is a discussion about its effectiveness, especially from the point of its recognition value. i.e. not everyone knows what a periodical table of elements looks like. For instance, comments start off:

What is this unrecognizable LEGO pattern trying to express?

...and the like. And then it's revealed:

It's obviously the table of chemical elements but I find the look much too constructed and the idea much too obscure. I just happen to remember my chemistry lessons.

Just what does chemistry have to do with a child's imagination or even level of knowledge? which point, criticism appears to be the order of the day:

A periodic table, eh? Wow, glad you told us, I wouldn't have gotten it. So how many Lego-loving kids are familiar with the periodic table? Seems like something aimed at winning awards rather than upping business...


I am in advertising/marketing and unfortunately have to agree with [you] on this. So many companies use an ad to attempt to win the next big award and forget the most important element of advertising - Reach the consumer and sell product. How are you going to do that when the target audience is 5-16 children and 30-40 year old males?

Awards are nice and they do bring in more clients but eventually the clients will smarten up and turn to marketers that base advertising on the tracking metrics behind the scenes and not the shiny plaque on the wall.

and a bit of:

This is so abstract and ridiculous.

* * *

But looky here: this is actually an interesting look at this whole scientific literacy thing again. In that presumably, I like it, because I happened to be "trained" to appreciate this kind of thing. However, what I wonder is whether part of the appeal is not only that I do "get it," but that I know most folks won't. From a marketing perspective, this is obviously trying to take advantage of a sense of community (geek community that is), but hey, isn't is also taking advantage of the very real problem of poor scientific literacy in the general public?

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What kids buy Lego themselves? Seems to be targeting the rather sizeable market of "parents who desperately want their kids to have a good education while growing up", which is a pretty smart choice IMO: make your product seem educational while also being fun and creative, and you'll take that market pretty quickly.

I am stunned and horrified at the negative responses. That is one of the more beautiful ads EVER.

There are many ads with cultural references that i certainly don't get, and i don't accuse their inceptors of being "abstract and ridiculous". I understand that different target audiences require different marketing.

Do you think they'll sell posters of this? I love it! Now I just have to figure out where my mom stored all my legos...

By Fjord Penguin (not verified) on 22 Jan 2007 #permalink

I like it - It shows imagination, and expands the range of posibilities that can arise from Legos. This beats the hell out of what Dembski would call the " Logos of John".

It's frightening to find you're naive when you thought you were cynical.

Pedantic Man Rides Again!

The plural of "Lego" is "Lego". NO 's' should ever appear, unless in the form of the possessive (describing something belonging to the corporation 'Lego').

[Pedantic Man Rides His High Horse Back To The Barn]

I like this ad, and I think a large fraction of the general population would recognize it. My experience of people who claim ignorance and stupidity among children is that they are primarily expressing themselves.

Also, if 1/2 their target consumer base is "30-40 year old males"... how many in that group would recognize the periodic table, and happily link it with the slogan "build anything"?

I found the negative responses to be... sad. They sound like the parody of clueless advertising and/or execs that can't think beyond their own noses and therefore pump out crap. Which is especially sad, because they seem to understand the point of usability, but vastly underestimate their audience's recognition capability.

Although I did not immediately recognize it as the periodic table (I should have but I'm not a chemist, you know), the analogy is brilliant. This ad might not be the best selling agent for Legos, but sometimes it's nice to work on a higher plane.