As young children, we all played with many toys growing up. One toy that surely we’ve all come across is Lego. Lego has been around for decades and has brought joy to many kids all across the world. The company has created thousands of characters from kids to adults, contract workers to doctors, and pirates to superheroes. Unfortunately, Lego has neglected one figure since its start, until now.
This past Thursday, Lego revealed its newest character to its enormous collection of minifigures. This new member of the Lego family is the company’s first ever disabled figure. The figure is depicted as a boy wearing a hat, in a grey wheelchair. It took the Danish Toy Company almost 84 years to introduce its first ever disabled figure.
Consequently, the company has now received a lot of praise from disabled rights groups for its efforts to meet desires of online campaigns such as #Toylikeme, which promote the use of figures that are more realistic and show disabled children. This campaign addressed their issue with Lego’s failure to produce any Disabled figures. They commented that “ ‘150 million children with disabilities worldwide. Yet these kids are arriving into a world where, even before they’ve left their mums’ laps, they’re excluded or misrepresented by the very industry that exists to create their entertainment, the objects that fuel their development, the starting blocks of life: Toys!’” (Papenfuss, 2016). Lego has received major criticism from campaigns such as this one, due to their unwillingness to make such a Toy until now. Initially, Lego had produced a tiny wheelchair as part of a previous set, but still received criticism because they depicted the wheelchair belonging to an elderly man, which sent the wrong message to kids about disabilities.
With so much criticism from consumers, Lego has made a smart move in adding its brand new figure to the Lego collection. Not only is the company receiving positive media in their efforts of creating a figure that will touch the hearts of millions of children worldwide, but Lego’s competitors such as Mattel, Inc. and Hasbro will also be motivated to create toys that represent disabled characters as well.
This article relates to what we discuss in class because Lego is responding to the criticism with corporate social responsibility by creating a toy that relates enormously with so many children around the world. Lego’s new figure also enhances stakeholder engagement because the company is improving a relationship with stakeholders by creating a figure that solves the problem of the lack of disabled characters within children’s toys.