Campaign: World's Tallest Lego Christmas Tree at St Pancras
Client: Lego/St Pancras International
PR team: Bright PR for Lego; Place PR for St Pancras International
Timescale: November 2011-January 2012
- To create a strong news story to secure coverage with national and online media in the run-up to Christmas
- To encourage more people to visit St Pancras and to stay longer
- To drive station visitors into retail outlets and boost Christmas sales
- To show the creative potential of Lego.
Strategy and plan
Bright PR came up with the idea to install the tallest Christmas tree made entirely out of Lego in the station. The plan was to create an initial news story and maintain interest and buzz in a high footfall location. The tree was created by the UK's only certified Lego professional, Duncan Titmarsh, adding an extra element of news interest.
The 40ft Christmas tree was assembled on-site during a two-week period. It was made of 600,000 Lego bricks and decorated with 1,200 Lego baubles made by children. The progress of the tree was updated daily on Lego's Facebook page.
Place PR led a social media campaign for St Pancras International. It also displayed posters around the station promoting the switch-on and ran a treasure hunt competition that involved discovering Lego Christmas baubles hidden in shops.
Official photographs and tree statistics were released to secure coverage.
To create theatre at the switch-on, the cast of Jack and the Beanstalk, which was playing at the local Shaw Theatre, and West End Kids performed to entertain station visitors.
Measurement and evaluation
Time Out declared the Lego tree the number one Christmas tree in London. BBC London broadcast the weather by the tree on the night of the switch-on.
Newsround also covered the story and some international broadcast coverage was generated. Radio mentions included BBC 6 Music, Absolute Radio and Heart FM. Press included the London Evening Standard, Metro, The Guardian and The Times, as well as The Sun Online.
In total, the campaign generated 88 pieces of online coverage. Abroad, it was picked up by the Malaysia Star, Washington Post, Sydney Herald, New Philadelphia Times and New York Daily News, among others. A feature on Titmarsh, the owner of custom-built Lego design firm Bright Bricks, who built the tree with the help of local primary schoolchildren and members of the local Explorer Scouts unit, was published in The Mail on Sunday.
In the three weeks leading up to Christmas, St Pancras International saw a 20 per cent increase in retail sales compared with the same period a year earlier.
Hamleys' concession store, which usually only sells own-brand products, agreed to stock Lego during the promotional period.
The store also ran a 'Guess the number of bricks competition' for a chance to win trips to Legoland.
CLAIRE SAWKINS, DIRECTOR, SO PR
Having spent more than 20 years in toy PR, promoting everything from Monopoly to Mickey Mouse, building a huge Lego Christmas tree at St Pancras International may have sounded like a straightforward PR stunt. But to do it and keep it going for an eight-week period with elements of sales promotion, product placement, community, charity, celebrity and social media branching off it, ticked every box.
The visual, well-timed, hard-hitting campaign offered a very clever recipe of top quality PR ingredients to exploit every angle, and the excellent coverage results spoke for themselves. To have gained further mileage, they could have attempted a world record for the biggest build and/or auctioned the tree for charity.
The 20 per cent increase in St Pancras International retail sales was encouraging but did Lego sell more bricks on the back of it? On average, 70 per cent of all toy sales occur in the run-up to Christmas, so it would be difficult to quantify.
However, the construction toy sector, which includes K'Nex and Meccano, is very competitive, so for Lego's brand awareness this campaign was spot on.