ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at Creators.co
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Say what you like about LEGO, but they really do seem to be the good guys. Aside from bringing joy to millions around the world with their toys, they managed to make a movie based on their own product - and have it warn everyone about the dangers of big businesses just like them. The end result? A company everyone can actually like, guilt-free.

That is, until now.

A recently released ad for Greenpeace - and the corporations involved's response - has thrown everything we previously thought about LEGO up in the air. The video highlights the company's close links with major oil corporation Shell in the greatest way possible - a pop-culture filled, alternative version of Everything is Awesome-soundtracked miniature LEGO movie. Those links raise some serious questions about LEGO themselves.

Before we get onto that, though, you can check out the video below:

Which is pretty awesome...

What's less awesome, though, at least as far as Greenpeace are concerned, is the way LEGO and Shell are teaming up to to give out toys like this:

Which are more ad than toy at this point...
Which are more ad than toy at this point...

Whatever your feelings about oil companies, giving kids heavily branded toys is a pretty difficult thing to get on board with.

What's more, the two companies have been partners for a really long time.

And in 33 different countries...
And in 33 different countries...

From the 1960's until the 1990's, LEGO used to sell several Shell branded toy sets - before eventually changing to the fictional Octan.

Which, of course, was the company owned by the villainous President Business in The LEGO Movie.

The glue that kept the whole thing together...
The glue that kept the whole thing together...

That being said, there are a lot of sides to the debate over whether the two companies relationship is a good thing - and LEGO has at least been very much up front about their relationship with Shell.

Which is all well and good - until things start getting censored.

Presumably by this guy...
Presumably by this guy...

After the video was posted on YouTube, it didn't take long at all for Warner Bros. to step up and try to have it banned.

It was promptly pulled from the site.

Meanwhile, LEGO's response? They released a statement re-affirming their relationship with Shell:

"A co-promotion contract like the one with Shell is one of many ways we are able to bring LEGO® bricks into the hands of more children...We expect that Shell lives up to their responsibilities wherever they operate and take appropriate action to any potential claims should this not be the case. I would like to clarify that we intend to live up to the long term contract with Shell, which we entered into in 2011."

With Shell having recently been banned from drilling in the Arctic because - as then US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar put it - they "screwed up", this seems like a pretty big commitment from LEGO.

And bad news for huskies...
And bad news for huskies...

In fact, it seems a lot like they're very much picking sides - and the side their picking is definitely not the same one as the environment's - despite their claims to be fundamentally committed to environmental concerns.

Giving away Shell branded toys is one thing, but being best buddies with an organization the US government doesn't trust to drill oil is something else entirely...

Especially when it means trying to ban something that features as many awesome cameos as Greenpeace's ad:

Including:

Jon Snow, Ygritte and Ghost from Game of Thrones...

Halo's Master Chief - who's apparently a big fan of Hockey...

Emmet and Wyldstyle from The LEGO Movie itself...

And, of course, Father Christmas.

The good news? Those cameos are now back on YouTube, after Warner Bros. reportedly dropped their complaint.

Meanwhile, Shell are maintaining that their relationship with LEGO is "successful and productive", which is pretty much completely missing the point everyone else is trying to make.

And LEGO? They aren't saying all that much at all...

The biggest question, though? What do you guys think?

[The LEGO Movie](movie:376368) is available on DVD now - which might just explain why Warner Bros. were so eager to ban that video in the first place...

Poll

So - What do you guys reckon? Who's really in the wrong here?

via The Guardian

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