Blogging is like brushing your teeth.  If you forget to do it one day, anxiety creeps in.  It’s certainly more fun and less pressure-filled than actually working, which I used to do back at a famous mobile technology company.

High-pressured marketing people at big companies tend to have two things:

  1. Budgets they’re struggling to exhaust completely and/or accurately
  2. A surplus of personal creativity due to the fact that head office rules and guidance don’t demand it

When you have a decent budget, too much creativity, and communication activities you control and can place directly on or around your website (rather than being vetted before screening on TV or appearing in print), things can get a little crazy.

Misguided Microsoft employee creativity is now legendary in the blogosphere, with three classic examples typically mentioned:

  1. Songsmith
  2. Windows 7 Launch Party
  3. Windows SP1 Launch

I do not, however, want to appear negative or Microsoft-bashing as many bloggers using Macs tend to be in recent times. I’d rather focus on a group of Danish and English designers at Lego who have launched the first employee-created-and-starred marketing that I ever enjoyed.

Screen shot 2009-10-23 at 22.44.43The designers of Lego’s Powerminers franchise have put together movies describing their creations, and the content works for three reasons.  (Sorry I couldn’t embed the videos as they’re on the Lego site).

Reason 1: These are the guys who actually created the models, and came up with the stories and funny situations themselves

Reason 2: They obviously like their jobs and are proud of their creations.

Reason 3: They have a similar imagination and sense of humour to people in their very specific target market (6 to 10 year old boys).

My favourite Power Miners video is this one, where the evil but hapless villains hijack a ThunderDriller and turn it into a fairground, when a Power Miner steps in to save the day.

The moral today is: Avoid letting your marketing people, designers or developers make their own public-facing videos (that’s what your ad agency is usually for), unless they really understand, believe in (and love) the products they’re talking about.  The Lego Power Miners design team does just that, and that’s one of the reasons my son and all his friends love these videos as well as the products.  The result: Lego has made it to the Toy Insider Hotlist for Christmas 2009 without having to rely on the Star Wars or Indiana Jones brands they needed in 2007-2008.

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Organizational Behaviour