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Everything is NOT awesome: A study on the campaign that ended LEGO’s partnership with Shell
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Alt er IKKE helt utrolig : Et studie av kampanjen som endte LEGO’s partnerskap med Shell (Norwegian)
Abstract [en]

There is an on-going discussion in public relation scholarship surrounding the implication of critical theory on the study of activists’ utilization of public relations tools. One side believes that the mainstream theoretical models are sufficient for explaining the situation in which conflicts and negotiations between activists and corporations are happening, the other believes that critical theory needs to be applied. The purpose of this thesis is to provide an example that sheds light on this type of situation. It will study the 2014 conflict between Greenpeace and LEGO to see if orthodox theories are applicable, or if not, how and why critical theory should get more attention from public relations scholars.


The aim of the thesis is to solve the conflict through studying a case. To solve the dispute two research questions are aiming to scrutinize the negotiation situation between LEGO and Greenpeace. The questions are asking what images of the Greenpeace campaign was most frequently used by the media, and how these frame LEGO. A method triangulation was applied to answer these questions. First, a quantitative study identified what images that were most frequently used by the media to cover the story. Later a qualitative text analysis in the form of semiotics was used to analyse how these images framed LEGO. The result shows that almost 90% of the images used by mass media was directly illustrating Greenpeace’s campaign. The messages in these images framed LEGO on one hand, as a passive player that would stand by and watch as their business partner polluted both the earth and kids’ imaginations.  On the other hand the company was portrayed as an almighty institution that would not take stakeholders wishes and opinions into consideration.


The study serves as an example on the negotiation situation between activists and corporations. The conclusion relates the thesis back to the problem definition. The public relation communication utilized by Greenpeace, and studied in this thesis, is evidence that the scholarship needs broaden the intellectual domain by incorporating activism and critical theory into the academic field.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 91 p.
Keyword [en]
Critical theory, public relations, Non-Governmental organisation, power, activism
National Category
Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38231OAI: diva2:862522
Subject / course
Media and Communication Studies
Educational program
Media and Communication: Communication and Global Media (180 ECTS credits)
Available from: 2015-10-26 Created: 2015-10-22 Last updated: 2015-10-26Bibliographically approved

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Kirchoff, Ingrid Synnøve
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