When you think of LEGOs, you probably think of childhood days spent building the greatest creations you can imagine out of LEGO bricks. However, you may not know that the LEGO Group does much more for children than provide entertainment. The LEGO Foundation, a part of the LEGO Group, has been committed to serving children through charitable acts since 1986 with the mission of helping children learn through play. The brand believes play is important for kids’ development and is dedicated to bringing that opportunity to as many kids as possible. A recent public relations campaign by the LEGO Foundation shows one way the organization is accomplishing that mission.
In 2015, LEGO employee Erik Ullerlund Staehr began work on his passion project with Odense University Hospital in Denmark to create mini MRI models for children in hospitals. You might be thinking, “Why MRI scanners? Wouldn’t these kids rather play with something else?” While that’s probably true, Staehr knew that MRI scans can be frightening for kids. These machines are huge and loud, and the children’s lack of understanding makes the procedure all the more daunting. Not only does this fear negatively affect the children, but it can affect the results of the scan, as children often struggle to remain still. The idea was to use a familiar activity to teach children about something unfamiliar.
In February 2022, the LEGO Foundation turned Staehr’s dream into reality when it announced that it would donate 600 LEGO MRI Scanner kits to hospitals worldwide. The LEGO MRI model helps medical staff prepare kids for what they’ll encounter during the scan. Through the use of a Lego-built MRI scanner, and mini-figures, children are able to investigate freely as hospital staff explain the procedure. LEGO also developed educational videos to show medical staff how to best use the MRI model with children. Hospitals’ radiology departments simply had to apply to receive everything necessary to execute LEGO’s vision.
The MRI campaign was a massive success. Just two days after applications opened, all 600 MRI models had been given away. LEGO’s creative use of its product continues to help kids feel safe and have fun in what can be a stressful, frightening environment. The LEGO MRI models work to alleviate anxiety from children in hospitals all over the world and let them just be kids.
This campaign demonstrates the brand’s commitment to serving the children its products are made for, not just making a profit. The LEGO Foundation serves as a great example of a brand stepping up to its corporate social responsibility. This campaign perfectly aligned with the company’s mission of inspiring and developing the builders of tomorrow and is an all-too-rare case of a brand truly practicing what they preach.
As we enter the professional world, this campaign should inspire us to always look for new, creative ways to serve our publics.
By Mallory Cook