Save the Whales? A Public Relations Crisis at Lego
Paul E. Olsen
January 1, 2015
Ethics & Social Justice
crisis management, public relations, marketing, ethics
Journal of Critical Incidents
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.