Legoland’s New Campaign Is ‘Built for Kids’—Just Ask Its Pint-Size CEO

New work from VML New York

Family summer vacations are in full swing, and if you're headed to Orlando, Fla., chances are that Walt Disney World or Universal Studios are the top destinations you think of. So, Legoland Florida created a hotel and theme park built for kids to stand out.

This week, Legoland and VML New York are launching a new spot starring Tommy Parker—the brand's kid CEO as part of Legoland's ongoing "Built for Kids" campaign. The new ads show off all of the cool features of the hotel—like a moat made out of legos and kid-friendly restaurant menus with macaroni and cheese.

"The secret to the strategy is not … trying to compete head-to-head against [our competitors], but actually carving out our own unique space and owning that space unlike any other theme park could," said Rex Jackson, marketing and sales director of Legoland.

"I kind of like to think of him as this child of Ferris Bueller and Wes Anderson [with] an imaginative view on the world and he lives in this amazing park—this would be a dream job for any child anywhere," said Mike Wente, VML's managing director and executive creative director. "There's something that's aspirational and beautiful about that but also the way that he thinks and that he borrows some adult language but put through a kid's lens."

The 60-second spot is running on regional TV in Florida and includes a big social and digital push. Jackson declined to say how much the campaign costs but said that 50 to 75 percent of the brand's paid social dollars for the rest of the year will go towards the Tommy Parker campaign.

In addition to Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, Parker will get his own LinkedIn account later this year.

"I view Tommy Parker as a potential multi-year campaign—my hope is that this not a temporary, one-off campaign," Jackson said.

The campaign is part of a broader effort for the brand dubbed "Five Gazillion Star Hotel" that imagines how a child would rate a hotel.

Wente added that VML's work with the theme park and hotel is "not just in the advertising, but also in the products that they're selling or the way that they're communicating."

For example, to play up that idea that the hotel is built for children, Legoland Florida also put together a mock newspaper that's delivered under guests' doors in the morning, similar to how copies of USA Today or The New York Times are delivered for adults in other hotels. Four to five editions are published every year, and the hotel has also partnered with publications like the Tampa Bay Times to distribute the paper.

Legoland also created its own currency for kids that can be used within the park and worked with Travelex to get it listed on foreign exchange boards to promote tourism.

"It's not just a marketing campaign—it's our brand positioning," Jackson said.