Cannes Lions

The LEGO Brick Café

BOYS + GIRLS, Dublin / LEGO / 2023

Case Film
Demo Film
MP3 Original Language






Over 70% of today’s adults experience stress, which can lead to serious mental and physical health problems. But as Dr Jeffrey Glennon, a neuroscientist from University College Dublin’s School of Medicine told us, there is a relatively simple, if unusual, clinically proven way to reduce this risk.

PLAY. But play is not part of ‘culturally approved’ adult behaviour.

We used the power of the biggest toy brand in the world, LEGO, to help solve one of the biggest societal issues of our day – stress; knowing that to win with stressed adults we must make adults think about, interact with and ultimately buy LEGO in a completely different way.

The Objectives:

1. SHOW UP WHERE ADULTS DO in an adult appropriate way, giving adults permission to play.

2. DEMONSTRATE the mental health benefits of LEGO play

3. REFRAME adult perception of LEGO


Our idea was to change Lego’s Business model, opening an adult-only LEGO play café that gave adults the freedom and permission to play with LEGO.

The café was designed to disrupt three firmly held views 1) LEGO is a toy for kids 2) LEGO is not present where adults are, and 3) adults see no benefit in playing with LEGO.

Working with neuroscientists, mindfulness experts, and LEGO master builders we designed a fun, playful space where adults could rediscover the joys of play while also experiencing the power of play to help one’s mental health.


For the past 90-years, LEGO has been making toys and experiences almost

exclusively for children. LEGO’s recent Adult Strategy has seen the brand try

and broaden its appeal to capture an adult audience that has been largely out

of reach.

To win with Adults it is key that they THINK about LEGO, INTERACT with LEGO and ultimately BUY LEGO in a different way.

We focused our attention on professional urban based adults, working in stressful jobs, living busy, pressured lives, constantly juggling lots of balls in the air. Who view LEGO as a toy from their own childhood, or a toy for their children.

To disrupt 90 years of perceptions, we had to take LEGO out of its own comfort zone and put it directly into the ‘adult lives’ of those stressed individuals who had unknowingly packed away the solution to their stress, when they packed away their own childhood.


Attendees booked their place via a managed booking system on the café’s website. As we planned to conduct quantitative research, priority was given to people in high stress jobs who don’t personally play with toys like LEGO by themselves.

Every detail of the experience was considered. The café exuded all the playfulness and charm one would expect of the LEGO brand. Customers were greeted on arrival by brand ambassadors and shown to their play table where they could order coffee, pastries, and LEGO from specialised menus.

They were encouraged to put their phones away and immerse themselves in a world of play. Ireland’s leading mindfulness expert, designed mindfulness guides for each play table (in the style of a LEGO instruction leaflet) and also led immersive LEGO Mindfulness Workshops throughout the day.


By encouraging adults to perceive LEGO in a different way, they engaged with the unique and novel LEGO Brick Café experience and changed how they felt in themselves and how they felt about LEGO

· Post play: stress levels -33%

· Post play: feeling of calm +850%

· A toy for (adult) me +80%

· Likelihood of buying Lego for yourself/other adults +55%

The LEGO Brick Café and the effect of LEGO play on stress captured the attention and imagination of international media.

The café experience sold out and the LEGO Brick Café reached an audience of over 260million people worldwide – adults who were now talking about LEGO as a brand for grown-ups, and not children.

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