Lego builds business through 'Wired'

Placement: Cover story in February 2006 edition of Wired magazine

Placement: Cover story in February 2006 edition of Wired magazine

What were your client's media goals?
Christopher Downing:
Our client is Lego, which was preparing to launch the new generation of its robotic tool set, Mindstorms NXT, at the January Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It wanted to reach outlets aimed not just at kids 9 and up,
but also adults who are into robotics and have become big Mindstorms fans.

What made Wired such a great target, and how did you pitch it?
Downing: Wired has a reputation for covering the coolest, cutting-edge consumer tech products. It also has a tremendous global reach. Editor-in-chief Chris Anderson had talked with us in September about doing a story on Lego's active consumer community for his blog, The Long Tail. We went back to him in November offering an exclusive on Mindstorms NXT, which would include access to Lego's top-secret global innovation and marketing facility. Anderson loved the idea and assigned it to reporter Brendan Koerner, who flew to Denmark to do the story.

The story ended up including both Lego executives and fans of Mindstorms. Did you media-train either group?
Lego's US PR contact traveled to Denmark to prepare the executives. We worked with the four fans, who were all members of the Mindstorms users panel, primarily advising them on what details they could reveal about the new product.

What was the impact of the hit?
Wired broke the story online January 4, the day of Lego's announcement, and made it the cover story of its February print issue. Lego told us that it is the first time it had seen such a direct link between PR and business activity. Retail buyers referenced the online story at Lego's CES booth, and many toy retailers showed up at Toy Fair the following month carrying the magazine.

Name: Christopher Downing, principal, Flashpoint PR (San Francisco)

Placement: Cover story in February 2006 edition of Wired magazine

Pitch timeline: Approximately four months

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