Primary File

Save the Whales? A Public Relations Crisis at Lego

Paul E. Olsen
January 1, 2015
North America
Ethics & Social Justice, Marketing & Sales, Strategy & General Management
4 pages
crisis management, Public Relations, marketing, ethics, PR
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.67)
Average rating: 

This critical incident describes Greenpeace’s social media and direct-action campaign targeting Lego for its business relationship with Shell Oil. Greenpeace was opposed to Shell’s plan to drill in the Arctic and was concerned that Shell used Lego to greenwash its image in the eyes of children and the public. Greenpeace created a satirical video using Lego that showed the Arctic being polluted by oil. The video went viral and was viewed more than 5 million times on YouTube. Greenpeace also engaged in a number of direct action activities targeting Lego’s relationship with Shell that caught the attention of the media. Greenpeace’s social media campaign and Lego’s response to the public relations crisis are central to the critical incident.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Describe how advocacy groups use public relations, social media, and direct action when protesting corporations.
  2. Analyze a public relations crisis from the perspective of multiple stakeholders.
  3. Evaluate how socially responsible firms respond to public relations problems.
  4. Judge the effectiveness of ways firms manage a public relations crisis.



Greenpeace used LEGO's to strike an emotional response from parents and their children. This shows that our enviornment and future children are at stake if oil companies continue to disrupt environmental habitats. This case did a great job in sparking an emotional trigger to get attract atention to the issue.


Greenpeace should not have dragged Lego into their situation with Shell because they are separate companies. Yes, it might help get their message out to more people, but I don't think it is right how they are going about it. That's just the world we live in today.


I was not a fan of how the case was written. But, I did understand both sides of how Greenpeace was tryng to saving the environment. - I also understood what Shell was trying to do but I did not agree on how they went by doing it by putting Legos in a bad situation.  


Personally I feel as if this case should have been written slightly better. The information given was not enough to make a true defenitive descision has to what should happen. It is a time appropiate piece, but more information about Lego's decision should've been given.


This case emphasizes how the people you associate with, whether as an individual or a corporation, can influence how people percieve you. From Greenpeace's perspective, they are just doing their job by creating awareness and exposing global environmental crimes. By doing so, it makes companiese think twice before doing something hazardous to society or even working with someone who does.