When copywriting goes wrong! Lego’s ‘window-licker’ toy

Turg the, urm, 'window-licker'
Turg the, urm, ‘window-licker’

As a copywriter, one of my main jobs is writing product descriptions for retailers and suppliers. These descriptions usually end up on websites or in catalogues and are the little blurbs that sit alongside an image of the product, the price and any relevant specs.

Generally I follow 4 rules when I write product copy:

  1. Make it succinct and relevant
  2. Talk about the benefits of the product
  3. Use interesting, flowery language (but don’t overdo it)
  4. Encourage the reader to buy

Construction toy giant Lego probably follows the same or similar rules, but proved earlier this year that perhaps there needs to be a 5th one:

5. Try not to be offensive!

Yes, somehow a disastrous piece of copywriting managed to make it past Lego’s quality controls in June this year and Lego ended up all over the news for the wrong reasons. Basically they released a toy called ‘Turg’ based on the Mixels cartoon franchise and whoever writes the product copy for Lego described it on the website as follows:

“Turg looks like an experiment that’s gone very, very wrong! Part frog, part chicken, part back-of-the-bus window-licker, this Mixel has the longest tongue of them all.”

‘Window-licker’ is considered a highly offensive derogatory term for a disabled person, similar to but probably worse than ‘retard’. How this copywriter thought it would be okay to use it is quite baffling!

In any case, plenty of people, particularly mental health groups, were quite expectedly up in arms. Lego swiftly apologised and altered the description.

I suspect they fired the copywriter as well.

If you’d like me to write some product descriptions for your company that are persuasive, attention-grabbing (and not offensive!), then take a look at my Services page or contact me on 07411 331721 or cr_berry@outlook.com.

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