LEGO halts digital advertising for police and White House building sets amidst US protests

LEGO Group has ordered digital advertising to be paused for building sets and products including the White House, city police vests, and police stations. According to tweets circulating online, an email by the LEGO affiliate team sent out to online companies selling LEGO sets, requested for the marketing of the relevant products to be halted.

The email said: "In light of recent events, LEGO has requested the below products to be removed from sites and any marketing as soon as possible." and they include sky police air base, police pursuit, police bike, downtown fire brigade, and police helicopter transport. 

Subsequently, LEGO clarified inaccurate reports about some LEGO sets being removed from sale. It explained in a tweet that its intention was to "temporarily pause digital advertising in response to events in the US". In a statement to Marketing, LEGO's spokesperson said there is no place for racism in society and that it stands with the black community against racism and inequality.

"We’ve seen incorrect reports saying we’ve removed some LEGO sets from sale. To be clear, that is not the case and reports otherwise are false. Our intention was to temporarily pause digital advertising in response to events in the US," the spokesperson said.

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Meanwhile, it also told CNBC that it has not removed any sets from sale and the misunderstanding was the result of an email sent on behalf to members of its affiliate marketing programme.

It explained that the email's intent was to request for them to halt promoting and marketing a group of LEGO products on their websites. CNBC also quoted LEGO saying that the company has paused all marketing across its social channels earlier this week in response to the events in the US.

Netizens were split about LEGO's decision, with some thanking the company for the move while others criticised LEGO for not showing appreciation to first responders. Some said the first responders comprise heroes that children aspire to be when they grow up, adding that this particular group is getting hate for something they did not do. Some netizens have also threatened to boycott the brand should LEGO pull these respective sets from shelves.

LEGO recently expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement and pledged US$4 million to organisations dedicated to supporting black children and educating all children about racial equality. "We stand with the Black community against racism and inequality. There is much to do," it said in a tweet. LEGO is among the brands that have shown solidarity to the movement, after protests broke out across the US at the end of May sparked by the death of George Floyd. The other brands include Nike, Spotify, Netflix, Ben & Jerry's, Sony, Google, and Microsoft.

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