Everything is awesome

Steen Videbeck
Insights Newsletter
26 March, 2021

Did you hear that LEGO released a minifigure of our PM. It’s big news. Little old New Zealand has finally made it! LEGO, the most trusted brand in the world, and the coolest, has given a ringing endorsement of our PM and our COVID response. Take that Scott Morrison. No minifigure for you.

The TVNZ article about it got thousands of reactions. A New Zealand Ambassador even tweeted the exciting news. Of course, the detractors moaned that another big company has jumped on a political bandwagon.

But I don’t care. Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you’re part of a team (of 5 million).

There is only one problem. Just a small one. LEGO hasn’t released a minifigure of our PM.

LEGO has a strict policy against doing anything related to politics as it doesn’t fit their brand values. And a search of ‘Jacinda Ardern’ on  LEGO’s official website returns a Flower Garden and a Stormtrooper.

I’m confused too, I read it on stuff.co.nz, so it must be true. The headline read “Jacinda Ardern made into figurine for International Women’s Day” and they wrote, “Lego’s Custom Minifigs website says Ardern is a “truly inspirational leader.”” Plus, I also saw a photo of the minifigure. She was holding a COVID sign. What is going on? Can you have minifigure deepfakes?

It turns out a better headline for the articles would be “Small UK company that has no association with the LEGO company releases a Jacinda minifigure.” That’s right. The Minifigs company isn’t part of LEGO. Not even close. It’s just a site for fans to buy custom LEGO before they get dressed up and go to the Comic-con Convention. You can even build yourself. I know, I did. Just so that everyone feels included I also built one for Marama, James, Debbie, Rawiri, Judith and David.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s cool idea from Minifigs to highlight inspirational women and they look to have done well for themselves – shipments of the Ardern minifigure are delayed due to unprecedented demand.

The real problem is that unless a news article explicitly states that LEGO didn’t release the minifigures most readers will assume it did. Sadly, few readers took the mere hours it would take to investigate LEGO’s corporate structure and subsidiary companies. Disappointing, but that is life.

Now tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people think LEGO has done something it hasn’t. And that’s not awesome.

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