LEGO Gets Pissy About Brand Name

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Growing up, our house was always full of LEGOS. Boxes and boxes of LEGOS. There were elaborate trucks made out of LEGOS; strange flying machines; entire cities constructed out of LEGOS. Friends would come over and spend hours playing with LEGOS. Grandparents, aunts ans uncles would marvel at the creations. It was fun. It kept us out of Mom's hair. As entertaining as this was, we never knew that every time we uttered the word LEGOS, we were pissing off a member of the LEGO brand management police. That's right. LEGO has no 'S.' It's just plain LEGO. Though, since time began, it seems kids the world over have been abusing the LEGO brand by calling them LEGOS. We know of no one who "plays with LEGO." Everyone "plays with LEGOS," of course.

While there's nothing wrong with a company protecting its brand name, LEGO is chastising customers who refer to the company as LEGOS (with an S) when visiting the incorrect URL, LEGOS.com, and asking that their product be referred to as LEGO bricks or LEGO toys. Visit LEGOS.com and you will see what we mean. Rather than simply, and blindly, redirecting people to LEGO.com, LEGO inserts a ten second wrist slap to those visiting LEGOS.com before auto-progressing to them to LEGO.com. We can't fault LEGO for protecting its brand but in our entire life, we, and everyone else in our life, have never known the brand as LEGO but, rather, as LEGOS. Of course that's an entirely unscientific and, therefore, worthless statement but, even so, we marvel at the irony of spending our entire career, to date, in advertising and screwing up a brand name as popular as LEGO since birth. We apologize profusely LEGOS, uh, LEGO.

UPDATE: As many of our non-U.S. readers have helpfully pointed out, this seems to be an Americanism. Our propensity to slap an 'S' on the end of anything to make it plural is not the usual practice in other English speaking countries around the world. It's Sport in Britain. Sports in America. Etc.

by Steve Hall    Sep- 5-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Brands, Opinion   

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Comments



Comments

i totally used to play with LEGOS

Posted by: Justin on September 5, 2005 8:48 PM

"Hey kids, remember to pick up all the LEGO™®© brand bricks and toys from the carpet!"

That's utterly ridiculous. Is it our fault that the LEGO brand was perpetuated without any designated way to refer to multiple LEGO bricks? When I see multiple BMWs I don't say "look at the 3 BMW cars over there" instead of "look at the three BMWs in a row" because that's just stupid.

Posted by: Mike on September 5, 2005 8:49 PM

Hate to say it - but I think "LEGOS" is an entirely US term. Growing up in Europe; UK and Australia it was always just LEGO. (You don't add 's' to sheep to talk about plural vs singular sheep do you?)

I always assumed it was the same bug that caused the US to leave the s off Maths and refer to it as Math...

Posted by: Lindsay Beaton on September 5, 2005 9:50 PM

BRAND STEWARDSHIP !
Hey brands, no one gives a shit !
If your products are good we'll buy them. It they suck we won't, regardless of the vigilance with which you protect the brand.
Legos, Lego, who cares?
Certainly not the consumers nor the share holders.

Posted by: KRank on September 5, 2005 10:15 PM

Personally who cares if you call it Lego or Legos. The disturbing part, as Steve points out, is the wrist slap and even waste of space to note that this mispronunciation causes brand damage. They shouldn't care if people add the S.

Screw Lego, go Lincoln Logs.

Posted by: Bucky da ANIMAL on September 5, 2005 10:32 PM

I have to say that the scandinavian LEGO brand management people are acting a little like "legosoldater". (Not that I want to annoy anyone with a word play in another language, but I just couldn't help myself...;))

Posted by: Kurre on September 6, 2005 3:43 AM

I'm with Lindsay - down here in Australia it's always been referred to as just plain Lego.

And if you went into the supermarket down here and saw Legos you would be looking at a bottle of Pasta sauce afaik.

Posted by: Stuart on September 6, 2005 6:19 AM

I just sent the following to Lego via their contact page:

Apparently, you don't have a lot of experience dealing with children. I have enough trouble getting my newphew to put away his "LEGOS" without having to correct him by referring to them as "LEGO bricks" or "LEGO toys". If you were selling a product targeted at adults and were worried about trademark issues (like Jeep, Kleenex, or Xerox), I could understand your concern. But any kid who accidentally types in legos.com is now apparently going to be told, "Sorry, but you're not quite smart enough to use our product within the confines dictated by our legal staff; please wait while we direct you to our legally correct website."

I'll be interested to see if/how they respond.

Posted by: Adam on September 6, 2005 9:02 AM

I'm with Lindsay - LEGOS is a US term (and annoys me everytime I hear it!)

Posted by: floyd on September 6, 2005 12:15 PM

Just a note in defense of the company: it really doesn't care that much if you put an "s" on "Lego" or not -- what it cares about is preserving the word "Lego" as a brand (trademark), rather than the generic noun used for the type of product, which is stacking plastic bricks/toys. If the company doesn't protect its brand and the word is freely used as a generic term with the company's blessing, then any manufacturer could use the word "Lego." Words can lose trademark status. E.g., the word "escalator" was once a brand name for a moving staircase made by a particular company, but it isn't one now, due to use as a generic noun, instead of a brand. Xerox puts out ads in business publications asking that people not use the word Xerox as a verb or a noun, and reminding them that it's a brand name, not a synonym for a photocopier. I think the Lego company should rewrite the text to make the point clearer, but I don't think it is unjustified, generally, in what it is doing.

Posted by: LA on September 6, 2005 1:14 PM

It is a moot point whether LEGOS are used with / without the plural in various countries. The point is that NO brand stands to win by nagging its customers about pronunciation. So "S" isn't a plural marker in Danish? So what?
LEGO-with-or-without-an-S-who-cares should be glad to have such high name recognition as they have. In fact, this is so un-marketing-savvy that maybe it's a corporate thing, like a new person in their legal department who felt the need to make him/herself noticed.

Posted by: ralph/ralf on September 6, 2005 1:14 PM

typical US cultural imperialism...you just assume because you refer to it as legos, that the rest of the world follows suit...it's always been lego elsewhere, so perhaps you guys should, for once, think about falling in step with the rest of the world (pace Dubya)

Posted by: lindsay on September 6, 2005 2:34 PM

typical US cultural imperialism...you just assume because you refer to it as legos, that the rest of the world follows suit...it's always been lego elsewhere, so perhaps you guys should, for once, think about falling in step with the rest of the world (pace Dubya)

Posted by: lindsay on September 6, 2005 2:34 PM

Noted Lidsay but Adrants is, afterall, a US publication. We didn't grow up in the rest of the world. We grew up in America. We already noted this is an "Americanism" in the story.

Posted by: Steve Hall on September 6, 2005 3:13 PM

A few months back, the Official XBox Magazine did a review on the "LEGO Star Wars" video game. The next month they published a letter it got from one of their "readers."

The letter scolded the magazine on multiple issues. Being as I'm at the office right now, I don't remember them all, but one was that the review used the plural word "legos" instead of LEGO. Another issue was that, LEGO should always be written in capital letters. Who knew? (My guess is that Lidsay didn't.)

The point of my post is that in the past two months, I have heard of this "non" issue multiple times. Which makes me think Ralf might have a point about a new person in Legal.

P.S. The editor of OXM is English - and he didn't know about the plural either.

Posted by: John D on September 6, 2005 3:15 PM

15 comments about LEGO!!!

So many dork here.

Posted by: anon on September 6, 2005 3:19 PM

LEGO is singular - it's a game - and it always has been. Who plays with MECHANOS, BARRBIES, PLAYSTATIONS or MONOPOLIES. When was the last time you went for RIDES to the park for a game of CATCHES? Who jumped ropes when they were a kid or brushes their hairs, studied maths - oh wait... that actually makes sense since it's an abbreviation of MATHEMATICS!

Posted by: Lara on September 6, 2005 11:23 PM

So is it "Americans" or "American people" or "American Peoples" who mis-use the s?

Just wondering because as a kid, I never played with one, singular, solo LEGO toy. I played with many LEGO toys. Did I call them LEGO toys? Of course not, I was 5! But I knew that by adding an 's' to a noun, it pluralizes it. So to the people who say this is an American quirk of idiomatic speech, I can comfortably lean back and say kick our collective arses! (note the addition of the 's')

Posted by: USA on September 6, 2005 11:25 PM

Trademarks are dandy BUT annoying your customers is just DUMB. It matters not where they are or what they call the product. Adapt to what has become the term or terms used by the customer base in that area. Makes them all warm and fuzzy.

Posted by: T C on September 6, 2005 11:27 PM

In Australia it's lego, no need to add an unnecessary 's' or capitalise the name, it's just lego, Lindsay's right. No offence intend but did you Americans ever stop to think that the language is English, not American, for a reason? You've adopted your spelling mistakes in lieu of correct spelling... and you think it's ONLY annoying lego?

Posted by: Dave Quick on September 7, 2005 5:16 AM

I have to agree with a few ppl here, I'm from australia... and i have never heard anyone ever refer to lego as 'legos'... i have a heap of little cousins, and i use to work in a child care centre, and no one calls it legos! it's just LEGO! it's like saying "fishs" or "mouses"... Legos just kinda sounds like something a kid with a speach problem would say to be honest.

Posted by: Jez on September 7, 2005 8:07 AM

With all due respect to non-Americans here, I'll offer a collective apology from all Americans for our bastardizing the English language. We have. There's no doubt about that. However, there's no going back. Languages do change over time. I'm told the English spoken in times like 500 AD would be unintelligible to an person currently speaking any version of English today. That's not an excuse. Just an observation.

Clearly LEGO is well within its rights to protect its name. That's not what's at issue. The issue was how they chose to do it.

Posted by: Steve Hall on September 7, 2005 9:39 AM

I don't see what the big deal is with American kids using the word Legos. Kids play with trucks, kids play with Barbies, kids play with sticks and stones.

It's not like it's completely outside the realm of possibility that a kid might use the word Legos.

Posted by: Justin on September 7, 2005 10:34 AM

I Love LEGOS

Posted by: Cory on September 7, 2005 12:29 PM

well we used to call it lego, but thats britain for you

Posted by: georgie thomas on September 7, 2005 3:14 PM

Languages grow and develop through "bastardizations". English is a bastardization of Germanic and French languages back in the day. It's just evolution. There are also different dialects within a language. That's why American English is different from British English in different words, like tin instead of can.
And why is everyone getting so upset on whether it's LEGO, LEGOS, lego, etc? It's a very popular toy that is obviously one to stick with the culture for a very long time to where it becomes a generic name. They're obviously special enough to where their brand name becomes a generic noun. They should be happy with that. It means they've become such a part of our culture that they've made their niche in the language.

Posted by: Jikuu on September 7, 2005 4:10 PM

Who the hell cares? "Legos" has just become a part of American slang. No need to bash us for it. There are bigger issues to deal with.

Posted by: Sara on September 7, 2005 4:11 PM

I grew up in Canada playing with LEGO... Never once did I call it "LEGOS," nor did my brothers... It's always been LEGO!

Posted by: roxy on September 7, 2005 5:10 PM

Legally, Lego is smart for its action, though perhpas too late. By using Lego Bricks, the company is trying to maintain its trademark. Once the term "lego" or "legos" becomes generic to describe all playing bricks similar to Lego Bricks in the minds of the general public, Lego will no longer have an enforceable trademark and then other companies can manufacture identical toys/bricks as those of Lego and even call them Lego (see the Thermos case). So by insisting and trying to teach the public to use Lego Bricks (as opposed to just Legos) Lego is trying to reinforce that the product is bricks or playing bricks and the brand is "lego" so as to not lose their trademark.

Posted by: bmmurphy on September 7, 2005 5:13 PM

I'll strangle whoever uses the word "legos" in my town again. And I grew up and still play with LEGO in Canada.

Posted by: bigspankums on September 7, 2005 5:32 PM

bigpspankums I totally agree. I'm Canadian and I've always refered to it as Lego, whether I'm talking about the brand, one brick, or several. I thought it might be just generally north american, but it looks like its just from the US of A.

And LA is right:

"what it cares about is preserving the word "Lego" as a brand (trademark), rather than the generic noun used for the type of product, which is stacking plastic bricks/toys."

This is important. Whenever ever watch someone on TV say "Hey, let's play with your Legos" it alwasy sort of irks me. It's like saying "deers". Although I have to admit, Lego's being a bit petty. But they have their reasons.

Posted by: Spud on September 7, 2005 5:51 PM

i play with the itilian plural of it. ."Legi"

Posted by: m on September 7, 2005 6:04 PM

it's not just in english that a S is added. I grew up in Belgium speaking Flemmish and my mother always said "rapte ke je logos up" or please pick up your legos.in dutch they say lego blokken or lego bloks

Posted by: meme on September 7, 2005 7:09 PM

Nobody likes to have their spelling corrected. Lego surely gets the same love and gratitude you directed at your 4th grade spelling teacher. Probably the kids who didn't say Legos were the ones who lovingly saved the boxes and catalogs which always said LEGO. In the 80s the inserts even pointed out that it was LEGO, not Legos.

I side with Lego on this one because I have to frequently correct the spelling of my own name.

Posted by: Erik on September 7, 2005 8:11 PM

On one hand, the corporate sermonizing is undeniably annoying. On the other hand, it *is* their correct name and they have every right to try to point out the correct usage. It's no different from a person's name: it you're named "Tony", you'll go out of your way to correct people calling you "Toby". As far as I can see, it's a very polite, inoffensive, carefully worded correction. It seems odd to me that there are a lot of people who very adamant to protect their right to use the wrong word.

Posted by: Chdz on September 7, 2005 11:02 PM

bloody americans, its called "lego" so thats it.....stop talkin crap

Posted by: chris on September 7, 2005 11:31 PM

old news.
http://news.lugnet.com/dear-lego/?n=5208
http://news.lugnet.com/mediawatch/?n=1443
http://news.lugnet.com/mediawatch/?n=1378
It's not just the company that gets uppity about it.

And this page has been on the site forever. http://www.lego.com/eng/info/?page=fairplay

For me it ranks in importance slightly below excavating my belly button fluff, and I'm one of those nutty lugnet members.

Posted by: Al on September 8, 2005 12:11 AM

Fine. We Americans are are simple dolts that don't understand how to spell a particular brand correctly to the satisfaction of their corporate office. I wonder, however, how many American dollars over the years have fattened LEGO executives' pockets versus other countries...

I can call them 'Magical Bricks of Satanic Happiness' and who gives a crap? Consumers don't need to be chastised by retailers - there's enough of that when you shop at a mall and get "served" by a 16-year-old with an attitude for having disturbed their cell phone conversation. Besides - I don't recall receiving the memo of LEGO's corporate branding requirements and acceptable usage policies. As soon as I do receive a copy (and a paycheck from LEGO) maybe I'll offer their request due consideration.

By the way - go to the LEGO website and do a search for "legos" ... if it truly pissed them off so much, why would they return over 8,000 results?

They seriously need to get over themselves.

Posted by: Texorama on September 8, 2005 12:12 AM

So, is the correction a slap on the wrist? Or are they just trying to say "Did you know?" A consumer (child, or parent) would never know better if no one ever said anything.

English has no common-language noun for "interlocking building blocks". The LEGO Company has their hands full trying to prevent "lego" from becoming that noun. It would cause their invention to become a commodity, and they would no longer have any way to uniquely identify themselves. They would, in turn, lose business to knock-offs. (Toys made by companies like MegaBlocks are already perceived by many as products of the LEGO company! )

The argument above (referring to several BMW cars as BMWs) is the best I have seen here, but it does not take into account that nouns already exist to refer to BMW's products ("cars", "automobiles", etc). BMW is not in danger of losing their company name in reference to the greater auto industry.

All you have done is to immaturely rant "legos legos legos", claiming they have no choice but to accept their fate; but something can be done. The Otis Elevator company never protected their "Escalator" product the way Kimberly-Clark protects the term "Kleenex". As a result, escalator is a noun, and Kleenex is a trademark that refers to "facial tissue". Xerox also faced this problem, and without the preexisting noun "photocopies", everyone would've be forced to use "Xeroxes". (Many still do, and Xerox has fought equally diligently to prevent this.)

A common problem in language is that nouns are rarely developed for new inventions; noun-phrases are often used, and commonly shortened to acronyms (eg, VCR, RADIO) or shortened verbally (eg, facial tissues are commonly called tissues). In the LEGO company's case, the "LEGO automatic binding brick" was shortened to "LEGO"... not "brick". LEGO is simply arguing that the term "brick" or "block" can refer to a toy as commonly as it does to a stone. Can you blame them?

Posted by: likes_the_toy on September 8, 2005 1:28 PM

Interesting comments. Since I posted early, I'll add a few followups:
1. Yes, we Americans have bastardized the Queen's English. Kids here do play with Barbies.
2. You can't change the fact that we have bastardized it.
3. All the comments here have, I believe, been written by adults (e.g., 18 and over, been to school, etc), and that gets back to one of my key points--who's going to go around correcting a bunch of six-year-olds to make sure they put away their LEGO bricks instead of their LEGOS? That kind of distinction makes sense if you're a reasonably literate adult, but not if you're a kid just learning to read.

Posted by: Adam on September 8, 2005 4:02 PM

The LEGO website answers the question:

http://www.lego.com/eng/factory/help/?category=DesignFaq

Question: What is the plural form of "LEGO"? Is it LEGO? Or LEGOs?

Answer: LEGO is a trademark name and not a noun. So, the correct plural would be "LEGO bricks".

It's a trademark name, so you're not supposed to pluralize it... but tough, people have... you step on a LEGO in bare feet, but you clean a pile of LEGOs up off the floor. Who has a pile of LEGO?

I'm now really interested in this difference of when you add an "s" to things thou. I understand that sheep and deer are special, as well as mouse and mice. I actually have played "Barbies" when there was more than one Barbie... which the Barbie ppl probably aren't thrilled with either.

But if I discovered a new animal, and named one of them Kipabicu, what would everyone assume the plural is? Would those from England and Austrailia not add an "s" to the end?

Posted by: kathaclysm on September 8, 2005 4:42 PM

likes_the_toy made a very persuasive argument - the LEGO trademark name is in danger of becoming a generic noun. When that happens, a new factory will open up in China or somewhere and start shipping "MegaKonstruktor(tm) legos" instead of "MegaKonstruktor(tm) building bricks" and 90% of consumers won't be able to distinguish these from real LEGO bricks. LEGO won't be able to sue becauase their brand has become a generic term and LEGO will be left upstream of a waterfall without a paddle.

Posted by: Chdz on September 8, 2005 11:57 PM

I've been playing with LEGO for 30 years and it wasn't until I saw it used on the Internet that I knew anyone would ever call it Legos. It just sounds dumb. Sorry. Its not worth getting bent out of shape about, its just another way in which americans get everything wrong

Posted by: James on September 9, 2005 8:29 AM

I wrote the following letter to the friendly folks at OCDs R US (aka Lego). I took the idea of XEROX in another direction. I don't think it's such a bad thing for the name to be synonomous with the product. After all every time someone says "I'm going to the Xerox Room," Xerox gets a free plug. Here's my letter:

I just logged on to "Legos.com." I have never been admonished by the internet before. I just wanted to let you know what fun it was to imagine myself as an eight-year-old logging in to Legos.com only to be told what a MORON I was for getting the name of my favorite toy wrong. I have used the word Legos to describe "Lego Bricks" or "Lego Toys" all of my life. What exactly makes that wrong?

I understand the company name is "Lego." You people have the market cornered. You people are like Xerox to copiers. (As in, "Let me 'Xerox' that page) When I was young I got many "Lego Toys" for Christmas. Some of them were "Tyco building blocks." Do you think I ever separated them into "Lego bricks" and "Tyco blocks?" NO! They were all collectively known as "My Legos."

What difference does the one letter make?! Let me put my question another way: If I had three cars from the manufacturer GM, which do you think would be more likely, saying "I have three Chevy's" or "I have three Chevrolet cars?" I ask you this only because I'll bet my week's paycheck if you were to ask the folks at General Motors what they thought, they wouldn't give a leap. Lego makes Lego Bricks. Legos are what a certain segment of your consumer group calls them. Lego is the company. Legos are the toys. I'm not calling them Lego Bricks; I'm not calling them Lego Toys.

I guess my main issue is the admonishment. Why waste your time and bandwidth with such a petty thing? It's not like the "S" takes anything away from the product, or insults it in any way.

I have so many of your products I couldn't begin to name them all. The first set I had that left a mark on me was the Exxon Gas Station. I must've changed that station around so many times it wasn't recognizable as the same set. When back to the future came out I BUILT a Delorian-- complete with a flux capacitor, time circuits and
the lights on the bottom of the car (for hover mode) Imagine my dismay to learn that my FAVORITE toy to this day is made by a toy company that cares more about SYMANTICS than amusing people. I think maybe I will check out Tyco Building Blocks.

I can be reached at anytime through my email JKennedyGFI@aol.com. I really would like a response. Help me to understand what the big deal
is. Help me to understand why you felt it necessary to "yell" at the people that added an "S" to your product.

Thank you for your attention and time

I got the following reply after all that ranting and raving:


Dear Mr Kennedy

Thank you for your email from 09/06/05 regarding our web site.

As you can imagine, any web site is a work in progress! Each day, our web site developers are making many changes to our site so that it better suits the needs of our consumers.

Thank you again for contacting us. We wish your family many happy hours of creative building with LEGO brand toys in the years to come.

Barbara
LEGO Direct Consumer Services

No answers, no emotion, no soul... I give up. Maybe I AM going to check Tyco's Blocks.

Posted by: JKennedy on September 9, 2005 1:52 PM

I HATE it when people say Legos! Drives me nucking futs! I have been correcting people who say legos from the age of seven! Thank you lego, for cracking down on this!

Posted by: Hi on September 9, 2005 6:54 PM

"typical US cultural imperialism...you just assume because you refer to it as legos, that the rest of the world follows suit...it's always been lego elsewhere, so perhaps you guys should, for once, think about falling in step with the rest of the world (pace Dubya)"

When u stop saying "Hoover the Floor" Well stop saying Legos.

"I HATE it when people say Legos! Drives me nucking futs! I have been correcting people who say legos from the age of seven! Thank you lego, for cracking down on this!"

If you werent so anal you would probably have a much more stress free life you douche.

Posted by: Civilizationist on September 10, 2005 1:37 PM

The bigger story? LEGO sued an art gallery owner for calling her gallery "Galleri Lego"... but, her last name is "Lego", so it made sense to her.

It went to trial, and yesterday she won.

I've written about it on my blog, where there are links to the Danish papers.

Posted by: Allan Jenkins on September 14, 2005 4:58 AM

It's not like you British are right and we're wrong. Or am I to believe that you've been calling them "LEGO bricks" all these years? Whether it's plural or not, if you're using their trademark as a noun then you're diminishing its marketplace powers.

If you've ever said you wanted to play with a bit of LEGO, congratulations, you're a lawbreaking moron just like me.

Posted by: Chris VandenHeuvel on September 15, 2005 4:20 PM

Nothing like slapping a customer in the face. A customer talking about your product is good. Chastising them for it in return is bad. I think LEGO should not look a gift horse in the mouth. Referring to the product as LEGO or LEGOS makes no difference because they should be happy that at least their product is such a staple that people are using the name at all. This would be like Coca-Cola getting mad and asking all southerners to not refer to all soft drinks as “Coke” because it was hurting their image. “Coke” thrives in the south and no one will able to change “Coke” to mean just one thing because they love it so much. LEGO would have benefited the same way from the LEGOS term because it is endearing, not disrespectful.

Posted by: ashley on September 19, 2005 12:06 AM

Yeah, try searching for LEGOS in the
search box on the LEGO.com website...
It will give you back 8866 search results
combined from 3 different departments!!!!

Posted by: seas2day on September 26, 2005 2:13 PM

doing a search for "site:lego.com lego" returns "about 94,600" hits. Compare this to "site:lego.com legos" measly 993 results. Going throught the first few pages, "legos" does not appear in most of them. The message boards that anyone can post to. If you those strip out[1], you get 82 results. These are pages that say "don't call them LEGOS," contain interviews with fans, or are linked to using "legos" (and don't contain the term).

If you use the built-in search[2], it uses applies a stemming algorithm; "lego" and "legos" returns the exact same set of results.

I'm curious about what engine was used by seas2day.

[1] "site:lego.com legos -site:boards.lego.com -site:club.lego.com -site:mindstorms.lego.com/eng/inventions/ -site:mindstorms.lego.com/inventions/"
[2] http://search2.lego.com/exec/?q=lego

Posted by: Nikolas Coukouma on October 6, 2005 2:36 PM

You guys have got to be the MOST pathetic bunch I've ever seen on the internet.

Bashing people for saying LEGOS and arguing about it?

Grow the hell up, you idiots.

Posted by: omg on October 16, 2005 1:53 AM

^^^
I was going to argue, but then I realised that your email is "lovinlegolas9@yahoo.com", and that reason would probably be wasted on you.

Posted by: Flashman on October 17, 2005 12:10 AM

Perhaps because they ("LEGO") have a monopoly in the states people have just come to know anything that resembles "building blocks" is just called "Legos." That's all people know 'em as.

Posted by: Swati on November 18, 2005 1:18 AM

1) it IS Lego. Derived from Latin (Lege - to play) and obviously from Danish "Leg Godt" to play well. It is typically American to destroy words in the name of convenience alone. Remember we are talking about the 'culture' that is so fat and lazy, they have drive thru ATM's. I mean - get out of your car. ALso notice how you abbreviate THROUGH to THRU because you are so lazy and poorly educated.

2) Before us Europeans get too on our high horse, we have been calling Nike [nike like trike] as opposed to [Nikey] as it should be pronouced. Same kind of thing with Porsche. But we don't just add letters.

3) You have to remember that companies with registered trademarks have a DUTY and OBLIGATION to ensure the marks are used correctly. If they allow LEGOS to be used interchangably. If they accept that LEGOS is a common term that describes all makes of building block - then guess what - some chinese factory will start copying their innovations and their US partner will name them LEGOS and put the case that the mark LEGO should be revoked because it has become generic. this is presumably why you got a bland response from Lego. The last thing they want is for there to be public comment from them on this topic. Think Band-Aid, Aspirin - soon eBay - that is in ten years newcomers to the net will say i am going to ebay it and then place an and on Amazon Marketplace. That is when they will face a revocation challenge.

Posted by: Toby Boon on December 1, 2005 6:29 AM

Every single country takes words, names and products from other countries and languages and changes them to what suits them best. An American invented the potato chip, yet the English bastardized it into "crisps".

Hell, is it so hard for Australians to say "Good Day!"? I mean, is it really that difficult? Was it so necessary to shorten it to "G'day"? Give me a break.

If we want to play with our LEGOs, we'll play with our LEGOs. And you better believe we don't give a crap what they play with in South England (aka Australia) or Northern Montana (aka Canada). It's not that important.

So if you would, please pass me some potato chips and then a Kleenex. I don't want to get grease on the Polaroid I have of some LEGOs sitting on a Frisbee. I have to Xerox it today...before I get on the escalator.

Posted by: flowmaster [TypeKey Profile Page] on December 20, 2005 9:26 PM

Oh, for crying out loud!

Posted by: Rose on December 25, 2005 8:12 PM

EVERYONE USES THE WORD LEGO!I have never heard LEGOS before now and right from the started of your letter i annoyed me.

Posted by: ORLA on January 13, 2006 4:04 PM

read the name

Posted by: get off the net on January 25, 2006 4:38 PM

The Lego Corporation wants you to call its products lego bricks, not lego. So your version is better, but still wrong. Stop ranting about the filthy Americans not saying the name correctly. You're not either.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe 'Hoover' is a registered trademark. Stop ranting about the filthy Americans turning brandnamed into generic nouns. You do too.

I'm not sure I follow your logic, Toby. Americans are fat and lazy and have no culture, so they add 's' to the end of words? Hmmm, yeah. Maybe we should do something more useful with our time, like sit on a chatboard having heated arguments over the proper name of a children's toy.

Posted by: Marie A on February 9, 2006 12:14 PM

A lot of the previous posters seem to make a big deal about the redirection from legos.com to lego.com . Unless it's been changed, it's only letting the redirectee that the website they were looking for was at a different web address.

I don't see how one could see it as super-offensive; maybe that's just the reaction from people that aren't good enough to be Americans. Yeah I said it, now stick that in your pipe and smoke it. :P

Posted by: John on June 25, 2006 12:07 AM

----------------
I am an American kid. I, my best friend and my brother have been playing with Lego toys since 1974. We never called them Legos. We always called them Lego. Legos sounds wrong to me.

To us, Lego was always the company name. It would be like calling a bunch of Barbies, "Matels" or calling Matchbox cars "Matchboxes".

Lego is a company which makes Lego bricks or Lego pieces. They didn't always make plastic bricks, they started by making wooden toys.

Maybe I'm a weirdo atypical kid in the U.S., but we never uttered the word 'legos' during our childhood.

Posted by: Mark Decker on July 18, 2006 12:27 PM

It's always been Lego in Canada. Legos sounds bizarre to me. Like "Can I have a glass of waters."

Posted by: Shamus on November 26, 2006 11:53 AM

Armchair psychology analysis of this bafflingly intense discussion: anger about post-9/11 U.S. foreign policy is being displaced onto U.S. misuse of the word LEGO.

And as long as we're being blisteringly correct here, U.S. citizens shouldn't be called Americans, as both Canada and South America are also in the Americas

Posted by: elyse on November 29, 2006 2:47 PM

Well, in the southern U.S. we simply prefer Lego blocks and know we don't care for the impostor Megablocks.
I am sure those who have been arguing about correct pronunciation would collectively say we pronounce everything wrong, but as some have proclaimed--we speak our dialect of English here and it helps identify who we are!

Posted by: Candace on December 20, 2006 1:14 AM

I'm going to chime in from New Zealand.
It's LEGO. NOT LEGOS.
Even Microsoft Word identifies Lego as correct and Legos as misspelt. Like this guy Mark Decker above says, saying Legos is not an Americanism, it's a retardism.

Posted by: Rob on September 1, 2007 9:28 AM

I am the current record holder for the Guinness Book of World Records.

LEGO(r) is trying to take that away from me since I am not allowed to hold a LEGO(r) world record.

Protecting their brand name is one thing, crushing a persons dream is another!!!

and yes, I am a persons..see adding an S to it!

Posted by: Dan Brown on March 8, 2008 3:06 AM

Damn you Americans. You've never been able to take criticism and you never will be able to. Just admit it; you pronounce it wrong! Sheep are sheep not sheeps, fish are fish not fishes and lego is lego not legos! You change the spelling of English words like colour etc because you're all to stupid to study and get the proper spelling right. Your academic levels are shot to shit. Quit your bitching. It's so typical for you all to log on and say, "who cares" and write your letters, etc. Well, Lego obviously does. Perhaps they just wanted you to realise that, to the rest of the world, you look stupid in yet another area! Adam, clearly Lego has plenty of experience; they've been making toys since before I was a kid. Maybe you should just say it right and your kid might catch on!

Posted by: sim on July 3, 2008 4:49 AM

To: SIM, mostly
I am a citizen of the USA. I will not be damned for pronouncing things similarly to other citizens of the USA and differently from citizens of other English-speaking countries merely because someone believes I should be. I am not stupid, nor do I lack study-skills. I understand my education system is somewhat less than that of many countries. I spell 'tire,' not 'tyre,' 'center,' not 'centre,' etc. because this is the English we are taught in the USA.
I understand that LEGO A/S, a corporation incorporated under the laws of Denmark, wish to remind us that theirs are LEGO bricks, and not a generic set of bricks called legos. I never refer to Megablocks (or any other non-LEGO bricks) as LEGOs, as they are not worthy of the title, yet I will continue to refer to my LEGOs as such. This may seem lazy to those not of the USA, and I don't believe that this should be the case. I believe you should accept that we are different from you and move on, rather to spend energy on negative feelings toward us for our differences.
As a final thought, SIM, the company is not Lego and the product is not Lego. The company is LEGO A/S and the product are LEGO and not lego.

Posted by: BloodyYank on July 14, 2008 4:11 AM

I think it would sound weird to say "lets play with some LEGO!"... at least at first, but the idea is starting to grow on me... It makes it easier in my head if I think of it as a word from a different language.

They should be happy that their name is so famous that a lot of people use it as a generic term for plastic interlocking building blocks.

... and to "SIM"... Everybody speaks the way they were taught while growing up. We do study, we are taught to spell from an American spelling book. The students do not pick the book, or the words, but are forced to learn it anyways. It is not the average Americans fault that we say things differently than other countries, that is the way that we were tought.

I don't think anybody (in any country) would be too happy about changing the way they say something when they have been saying it one way for a few decades... especially if everybody around them says it the same way and they never heard of it being different until it was engraved in their brain.... that's why accents are difficult to get rid of permanently.

If you come to America and say the word "naughty" when you mean "misbehaving", we will laugh at you because that word is usually used in a sexual way.
We were not taught to use the word "naughty" in everyday speech. The only place we learn that word is in movies and pornography (both referring to a person behaving in a sexually promiscuous manner).

Posted by: Narcojloleptic on November 4, 2008 2:39 PM

A child doesn't want to say "LEGO building blocks", it's pretty obvious that they will shorten it... and since it is a child, duh!!!... they are going to add an "s". I don't know about other countries, but American schools don't teach children how to calculate singular and plural versons of name brands.

I think it would sound weird to say "lets play with some LEGO!"... at least at first, but the idea is starting to grow on me... It makes it easier in my head if I think of it as a word from a different language.

They should be happy that their name is so famous that a lot of people use it as a generic term for plastic interlocking building blocks.

... and to "SIM"... Everybody speaks the way they were taught while growing up. We do study, we are taught to spell from an American spelling book. The students do not pick the book, or the words, but are forced to learn it anyways. It is not the average Americans fault that we say things differently than other countries, that is the way that we were tought.

I don't think anybody (in any country) would be too happy about changing the way they say something when they have been saying it one way for a few decades... especially if everybody around them says it the same way and they never heard of it being different until it was engraved in their brain.... that's why accents are difficult to get rid of permanently.

If you come to America and say the word "naughty" when you mean "misbehaving", we will laugh at you because that word is usually used in a sexual way.
We were not taught to use the word "naughty" in everyday speech. The only place we learn that word is in movies and pornography (both referring to a person behaving in a sexually promiscuous manner).

Posted by: Narcojloleptic on November 4, 2008 2:48 PM

A child doesn't want to say "LEGO building blocks", it's pretty obvious that they will shorten it... and since it is a child, duh!!!... they are going to add an "s". I don't know about other countries, but American schools don't teach children how to calculate singular and plural versons of name brands.

I think it would sound weird to say "lets play with some LEGO!"... at least at first, but the idea is starting to grow on me... It makes it easier in my head if I think of it as a word from a different language.

They should be happy that their name is so famous that a lot of people use it as a generic term for plastic interlocking building blocks.

... and to "SIM"... Everybody speaks the way they were taught while growing up. We do study, we are taught to spell from an American spelling book. The students do not pick the book, or the words, but are forced to learn it anyways. It is not the average Americans fault that we say things differently than other countries, that is the way that we were tought.

I don't think anybody (in any country) would be too happy about changing the way they say something when they have been saying it one way for a few decades... especially if everybody around them says it the same way and they never heard of it being different until it was engraved in their brain.... that's why accents are difficult to get rid of permanently.

If you come to America and say the word "naughty" when you mean "misbehaving", we will laugh at you because that word is usually used in a sexual way.
We were not taught to use the word "naughty" in everyday speech. The only place we learn that word is in movies and pornography (both referring to a person behaving in a sexually promiscuous manner).

Posted by: Narcojloleptic on November 4, 2008 2:48 PM

gab echuod uoy kcuf, mom ru degnab i, retteb si sogel

Posted by: juan on February 9, 2009 6:37 PM

I'm just fascinated by the American-bashing on here. It's just fine to say you disagree with the sound and have always referred to it as "playing with LEGO". But to accuse Americans of being lazy and foolish and fat and poor spellers, and saying you HATE people who say LEGOs is more childish than any mispronunciation. To bring up the sheep/sheeps or deer/deers debate is pointless as it is clearly stated numerous times that this is a brand name rather than a noun. A more appropriate argument is to say "Would you call it Kleenexes?" And yes, we do. As we do say "Let's play with Barbies!" Sometimes we get wild and say Barbie dolls, but no child ever refers to multiples of the brand name in the singular sense. It's not two iPod, but two iPods. Not three Xbox, but three Xboxes. Yes, it's incorrect. Yes, it could sound silly if you are very proper with your proper nouns. But, no, it does not brand us as incompetent morons. And since the "bastardization" probably began with young children, you aren't insulting the 20-40 year-olds responding to this post, but the 4-6 year-olds who first began referring to it collectively. That seems like bullying to me.

Posted by: Nicole on March 13, 2009 2:36 PM

As an consumer, I have often been guilty of refering to generic terms as brand names. I played with Barbies as opposed to Barbie Dolls, I use Kleenex, Q-Tips vs Cotton Swabs, and Most importantly I too played with Legos. Now I do understand why they are concerned with trademark dilution bu come on people. You are sitting here chastising Americans for us using the letter (s)to signify that something is plural. The same way it is out of your normal way of refering to things, it is out of ours not too. It is apart of American English so get over it.

I particularly loved how someone stated we will stop using Legos when you stop using Hoover. Or how about when you go into a restaurant and ask where are the toilets instead of the restroom (or bathroom). This is just part of the way different people speak, so there is no need to talk about American imperialism, when you say tin instead of can, a heap of cousins instead of many. Sorry that we do not speak like everyone else, but last time i checked no one does. That's why their are different languages, and trust me the way we speak now is nothing on how our individual languages intended. So all anti-american play with your LEGO, while we play with our Legos.

Posted by: Sherris on April 5, 2009 1:40 AM





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