The Art Of Advertising Without Advertising

A video hit my Facebook newsfeed this morning. It was from the POV of a Go Pro strapped to a Lego train that ran on Lego rails through a person’s house. Some guy had spent weeks laying tracks from inside his house into the garden, around, then back inside. He’d dug trenches, built bridges. This wasn’t your average train set arrangement, hidden away in the basement, out of site from your kids’ friends.

This network of miniature plastic rail engineering was more part of the furniture, making it all the more joyous to watch. Absolute eye glue. I’ve put the link to the video at the end, for you.

Interestingly, it’s probably one of the best ads for Lego. And it’s not even an ad. Well it is. But it isn’t.

If not an ad, why does it work so well as one?

Because it’s not selling.

No logos, prices, disclaimers, star bursts, positioning lines. It just…is.

And therein lies the beauty.

Videos like these are flukes. Chance meetings of brands and people with ideas, but no marketing agendas. You can’t strategise this shit. You rarely script it. All aboard the viral train!

Guess it could have been any kind of train set brand. But in this case the planets aligned for Lego. Lucky Lego.

Creatives in agencies try to recreate and manufacture this feeling of fluke, daily. Sometimes it kind of works. Most times it falls flat. Ain’t easy.

Enter Bruce Lee in Enter The Dragon. There’s a famous scene in this movie classic where Bruce Lee’s character is challenged to a fight, but he avoids needing to kick and punch through being smarter, outwitting, and not fighting at all. In his words, ‘It’s the art of fighting, without fighting’.

And like old Bruce, not fighting in ad-land means thinking more different than different. Which is harder. But it’s well worth it in the end when you can say you kicked your opponent’s arse without even kicking.

Here's a link the the Lego video: