UK

Dad Steve Grout Who Campaigned Against Page 3 Claims Victory As Lego Announce End Of Partnership With The Sun

06/03/2013 17:17 GMT | Updated 22/04/2013 15:51 BST

A father-of-two, who took Lego to task over its toy promotions in the Sun is claiming victory in his anti-Page 3 campaign, as the toymaker announced it has ended its promotional partnership with the newspaper.

But Lego told The Guardian on Wednesday that the partnership was "a natural end" and denied it was linked to the campaign.

page 3 lego

One of the images used to promote the campaign

Steve Grout, from Hertforshire, attracted more than 12,000 signatures for his Change.org petition to get Lego to drop its Sun partnership.

His sons, aged seven and nine, asked their father to buy the Sun in order to get the free Lego.

Grout says he will still be boycotting the product. He told HuffPost UK: "Lego have behaved horribly, if you ask me.

"They have not responded to the emails I've sent their executives. I would not buy it for my children ever again. They have shown a total lack of concern, for some time now. I am building them a Hornby train set. That is directly connected to how Lego seem to have lost the plot in the UK. They have just ignored me.

Grout said he would apply the same tactic to any toy company that advertised with the paper: "I don't think the Sun should promote anything for children, I don't think it should encourage children to seek it out.

"My nine-year-old wanted me to buy it, and I had to discuss with my wife what we would say if he asked us why there are naked ladies in a newspaper. And we failed to come up with a reason. And hence the campaign.

"My kids know Newsround doesn't have breasts on it, so why should a national newspaper? Lego have not looked at this from a child's perspective."

One of the Lego promotions ran next to a double-page spread featuring of 12 bare-breasted Hollywood actresses, including Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie and Naomi Watts, in reference to Seth McFarlane's controversial Oscars' song "We Saw Your Boobs".

The clue appears to be in the word "final" used by one Lego executive and its UK spokesperson on Wednesday. Previously, campaigners had been told the company had a two-year-contract with the Sun and the partnership would come to a "natural end" but did not rule out future collaboration.

The Guardian reported that Fiona Wright, Lego's vice president and general manager in the UK and Ireland, told one anti-Page 3 supporter: "The recent promotion in the Sun was part of a two-year agreement which started in 2011 as part of our marketing strategy. This is our final promotion with the Sun."

"I would like to emphasise, though, that we listen carefully every time a consumer shares a concern and thank you for bringing to our attention that this partnership has been something a lot of people were concerned about."

A spokeswoman for Lego confirmed on Wednesday that the current campaign was its "final promotion".

"I hope this makes them think twice and I do claim this victory. Lego is loved by everyone, and I think they've just failed totally by crisis PR," Grout said.

"They've said there's been 'no more planned' for some time. But this is the first time they've said 'It's the final one'. I would like them to contact me, even now."