6 Marks of Effective Content: ‘The Lego Movie’ Edition

6 Marks of Effective Content: ‘The Lego Movie’ Edition

Reader Comments (19)

  1. Ah. I’m gonna be “that guy” aren’t I….

    Huge amount of flaws in this article. I think most of them are stemming from the fact you are taking the concepts of content marketing in online articles, and trying to apply that to a film. A film.

    Your 6 questions are wrong for a film. These could apply to clikbait articles and content marketing a la buzzfeed, but this is a film. It does not follow the same rules. It would be like taking the rules for neighbourhood watch and applying them to the Navy Seals.

    But Ok, let’s take those 6 questions… otherwise i’m just an idiot ranting:

    – Headline “The Lego Movie”. No one has ever done this headline. No one. Immediately, you know what it is, how important it is (THE, the only one). A headline does not need to be “26 reasons…” for it to work for the product. I think the sole factor of whether this headline works would be, maybe, sales of tickets?

    – An opening that hooks the audience: Did we watch the same film? Did you miss the entire first 10 minutes with the song everything is awesome ? It has 45Million non paid views on youtube as a result of the film. And that’s not counting the thousands of pieces of UGC created with that music. It was a building block of the film, on which people built some more. It did more than hook, it engaged and stimulated the audience to participate in the brand story.

    – Education / Information Persuasive story: No one expected this from the film, but it delivered. So I concur that this was covered brilliantly.
    I think I would roll up your point about moral in the above.

    – A well crafted call to action. I think you missed the point, because you were focused on the structure of an article. The entire movie is a call to action for Lego. The title, the animation, the story, the moral, the music.

    Just do a Google trends to see the impact the film had on search for “Buy Lego” and “Lego Shop”. Both of these were stagnating until 2014. Then their next xmas peak was roughly 20% above. So the call to action was incredibly strong, and worked really well for Lego.

    Writing the above, I thought that maybe your 6 rules could apply, but for a trailer for the film. Not the film itself.
    Sorry if I came across inconsiderate, I didn’t mean it, I am French.

  2. I’m digging these rules Demian.

    I agree that the movie drops the ball (as content marketing) due to a lack of CTA. If you were in charge of correcting that problem, what kind of call to action do you think we be effective…without detracting from the entertainment value of the movie?

    In other words, how would you sell Lego’s without the CTA just seeming tacked on to the end of the story?

    *Also, I think we’re all special in different ways. That doesn’t necessarily make us all average. ?

    • Anthony, you’ll always be above average in my book. And I wouldn’t sell Legos. I’d send them online to play “The Lego Movie” game. There I’d sell them hard to buy more bricks. 😀

  3. Hi Demian,
    that was a very interesting take on it! I love these 6 marks and will definitely use them in the future.

    As you explained, it looks like Lego successfully passed 5 out of 6 marks. And regarding the last one… Well, it depends on how you define ‘successful’ content marketing.

    On the one hand, yes, you should finish with a strong, clear call-to-action. On the other hand, if you take Gary Vaynerchuk’s approach to content marketing (jab, jab, jab, right hook), this movie was probably the greatest and strongest jab that Lego has ever made.

    It doesn’t explicitly ask the audience to go and buy lego, but the ending (father’s dialogue/reconciliation with his child) had a very strong subconscious message – Lego helps parents bond with their children.

    And so if we look at the core audience of the movie, which was primarily dominated by children and their parents, I think the ending is spot on. I am sure there were many adults that left the movie and thought about buying some Lego, just so that they could spend more fun time with their little ones.

    Which is why I’d give the 6 mark a solid “A” as well. 🙂


  4. Love your writing, your points are valid, and I deeply respect your knowledge.

    However, I disagree with you here on one key point.

    It seems the analysis is mistaking the trees for the forest. The real formula of content marketing is traffic times conversion equals profit. Everything else mentioned is a detail on how to obtain that result.

    So the only relevant question is whether or not the movie attracted traffic (A+) and converted that traffic into consumers (dunno the hard data, but my daughter did).

    • I would argue that The Lego Movie doesn’t even belong in the same conversation as the content marketing we are creating rules for.

      Content marketing, as we see it, needs a call to action because it is free-to-consume, and serves another purpose. This type of content marketing functions like a TV commercial would have. Hooking the consumer, and driving them to make another, separate action.

      In this case, The Lego movie was not free-to-consume. It was paid content, similar to a novel. There doesn’t need to be a call to action because the action of simply viewing the movie creates value for Lego.

      If anything, this is product placement, or native advertising: a branding play. Placing your product within paid content of another kind in order to solidify brand loyalty with the audience of the film.

      In this scenario, I would argue that The Lego Movie is the best piece of Native Advertising that I’ve ever seen.

  5. As a person who spent $100 on “Benny’s Spaceship Spaceship Spaceship” I think their call to action was subtle and persuasive.

  6. Demian,

    I think these points are very strong and worthy of anyone’s time.

    I would argue, however, that there’s no single way to do content marketing. It depends on your goals and on the context, on what it is you want to achieve and the channels through which you plan to do it.

    I have my own checklist for creating content that includes the following:

    Human Connection: Does it resonate, connect on a human level?

    Inspiration: Does it inspire action? Unlock some potential in the reader? Lift them up? Empower them?

    Business relevance: Does the content help my reader’s business? Does it help my own? What is the strategy?

    Information: What does the reader take away? Does that create value for her? What can she doe after reading that she couldn’t do before?

    Actually the checklist is much longer than these points but I think the point is that it depends on what you want to achieve and how you want to do it.

    I think a move would necessarily work from a different set of requirements than what either of us has outlined.

    Great insights as ever and good discussion, too.

  7. It’s funny to take advice from someone who makes grammar/lexical mistakes:
    4. A persuasive story: A
    Use can also use metaphors, case studies, examples, and other techniques to engage your audience and illustrate a point.

    Lesson: Proofread!

    Nevertheless, having not seen the film I think that probably the title misses something too.
    I would probably add a subtitle to say that (from the description) it seems to be an adventure film.
    Like the author wrote, the title should catch attention of the prospective viewer.
    Moreover, the categories whether a film is of good value should not depend on delivering a moral.
    I like the conclusion about the message:
    “While the message wasn’t necessarily direct, it certainly was clear: You are special. Believe in yourself.

    That’s certainly a moral, but I think it’s a lame one because when everyone is special, aren’t we all really just average then? ?”

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