The Lego Group Awards Initiative With Global Media Duties After Competitive Review

The U.S. account had been with Starcom since 2000

The company looks to boost sales and capitalize on major movie tie-ins. Sources: Getty Images
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The Lego Group has handed its global media duties to Initiative, an IPG Mediabrands agency, after a competitive review.

Since 2000, Publicis Groupe’s Starcom had controlled the Danish toy company’s advertising planning and buying duties in the U.S. According to Adweek sources, Lego placed its global media business in review this summer after seeing disappointing sales in 2016 and amid a decade-long turnaround effort.

Initiative said in a press release that it “reinvented its product offering and positioning” earlier this year to help find solutions for clients struggling to adapt to “advertising avoidance and radical shifts in consumer behavior.”

“We are excited about working with the Initiative team to connect with parents and kids in new, innovative ways,” said Lego CMO Julia Goldin. “After an extensive global review, we believe that Initiative’s digital-first approach, international reach and strong local insights will support our long-term ambition to bring Lego play to more children around the world.”

Initiative will work collaboratively with fellow IPG shop R/GA.

“The Lego brands and iconic products have a special place in the lives of children and parents, and we’re honored they’ve entrusted us with such a big responsibility,” Initiative Global CEO Mat Baxter wrote in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be part of their team.”

A recent Kantar Media report shows that Lego spent approximately $85 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, compared to a total of just $49 million in 2015.

According to people close to the situation, most of the major holding groups participated in the pitch process (except OMD, due to a reported conflict of interest with Hasbro). The toy maker had consolidated the majority of its global media business with the Omnicom network in late 2013.

Initiative has been on a notable winning streak lately; most recently, Amazon awarded the agency with its media account totaling to over $950 million. The tech and e-commerce conglomerate put its global media planning and buying duties in review this summer.

People with direct knowledge of the matter also told Adweek’s Agency Spy that this summer, Lego placed its U.S. digital creative business in review around the same time it launched the pitch for its global media business.

@kitten_mouse Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.