Our Favorite Cartoon Characters In Adorable, Minimalist Lego

Suddenly, the silliest cartoons from the last 30 years seem remarkably important.

Maybe I’m just anticipating the return of Mad Men too much, but sometimes advertising really is special. While the intent is obviously to sell us stuff, every once in a while, a campaign takes the long way around to do so. They don’t start at catchphrases or demographics. They just boil down why something matters to us.


Imagine” is a new Lego campaign by Hamburg advertising agency Jung von Matt. (The name alone sets high expectations, but if anyone can invoke the word “imagine” beyond the late John Lennon, it would be a beloved Danish toy company built upon imagination.)

South Park

It’s a series of minimalist Lego designs based upon some of our most beloved cartoon characters. From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to The Smurfs, to The Simpsons, to the kids from South Park.

Through the simplest of visual cues, the ads find the perfect balance of implying so the viewer can infer. The effect is like getting a joke a satisfying second late. But rather than laugh, I just smile. The ads simply make me happy and, as a child of the ’80s, ever-so nostalgic. (Maybe that response is genuine because, as Copyranter points out, the ads may have been inspired by a fan tribute.)

In fact, without saying a word, Lego has tied themselves to the very framework of invention by cleverly usurping a series of creative characters that they had no part in creating. When you think about it, the methodology isn’t so different from Apple’s famous Crazy Ones spot. Apple was no more responsible for Albert Einstein’s insights into relativity than Lego was for Eric Cartman’s antics with a J Lo sock.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

With “Think Different,” Apple boiled down that it’s always the unique forces in the world who change it. With “Imagine,” Lego boiled down that having fun always starts with creativity. Sometimes it’s remarkably satisfying to be reminded of a simple truth in an advertising campaign, you know, other than the more obvious facts that A) we should all sneak out of work early to go play with Legos and B) that Donatello was the best Ninja Turtle.

[Hat tip: Ignant]


About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach