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  • MJ Lego campaign.


    Ed Mack

    Okay so back in the 80's I used to work for a top advertising agency in the UK. This agency did very controversial adverts, one of which was the Carling Black label campaign's That always ended with the phrase "I bet he drinks Carling Black label!"
    We were asked by Lego to do an advertising campaign for them. This campaign was to run in all the national newspapers and also on tube stations billboards etc.
    After much deliberation with the creative and design departments of the agency, It was decided to focus the campaign on Michael Jackson (R.I.P) who of course was at his prime at the time. The idea was to create a life-size model of Michael made of Lego, and as advertising agencies do, add a few catchy phrases for the campaign.
    Eight months in the making the model was made, shot and put together by the agency, and of course was given the go-ahead by the clients Lego. The campaign lead with the line "amazing what you can make out of plastic these days" At the time Michael Jackson denied ever having plastic surgery, and clearly this was taking the Mick out of that. The Jackson camp must've got wind of the campaign because two weeks before the campaign was due to be released, I received a hand written letter on Neverland's headed paper from the main man himself threatening legal action for defamation of character should we proceed with the campaign. Michael requested that the model was destroyed and the campaign was abandoned.

    Although the campaign never pacifically mentioned Michael, after you see the advert clearly there is no doubt who it refers to. The head cheeses of the agency backed down and decided to totally abandon the campaign fearing a hefty lawsuit from Michael Jackson. The account manager for the agency ordered the model to be destroyed, but decided to keep the head for himself which he kept on his desk for a number of years before moving on and passing it down to me :-)

    I was such a big fan of Michael Jackson, that I kept the original letter (as it has his signature on it) and the only copy of the advert, along with the lego head the account manager had given me. My plan was to write to him personally and maybe, just maybe I would get the opportunity to go over to Neverland and meet my idol. Alas this never happened :-(

    The small print under the advert read:
    "it's not our first facelift, of course. Year after year we bring out string of new hits. All of which help to keep us in the spotlight. And what about our long-term sales record? You just can't beat it. Twenty five consecutive annual sales increases, receiving no end of gold discs along the way. It always pays to remember just who's number one. And in the toy market there's certainly no bigger thriller. Lego the worlds most popular toy."



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