Grey Worldwide Dubai’s ‘Broken Lego’ ad advertising karate for kids

Here’s a print ad that recently won a Dubai Lynx Gold Winner in Print….

Seibukan Broken Lego Ad by Grey Worldwide

It’s for Seibukan‘s karate classes for children and done by Grey Worldwide in Dubai.

What’s good about it that even a child can understand it, in any part of the world. I’m curious to know if there is a series. What would you say another ad in this series would show? A stack of little books could be interesting.

Liked what you read? Share your views and comments below:


  1. Dear Sameena,

    I was dying to learn karate when I was a kid. I wasn’t the kind of a kid who’d be traumatised by seeing a broken lego piece. But then, there are kids who are afraid of the dark. Differents chops for different folks I guess…


  2. Hey Raj,

    I like your point of view. It makes the ad even funnier :-)


  3. sameena samad says:

    Dear farrukh,

    Hope you can recall me because it was a great pleasure talking to you.
    i agree this ad is very cute because the idea is totally out of the box. But every kid has a sence of emotional belonging with his toys therfore this ad can emotionally stir up a childs feelings and since kids are the influencers here and parents are the decesion makers the ad as a message may not work.

    Do you agree with my views, if not please share why?


    Dear Farrukh,
    It will surprise you to have a follow up comment after almost 2.25 yrs on same ad.

    All the confusion has happened as I saw two blocks fighting with each other in karate pose rather thasn seeing a broken block.

    I take back my comments. May be the art was upto the mark ( which made see it different tan it actually should have .

  5. Hi Aor,

    Go for Google!


  6. I am student in University. I would like to do my report about how to advertising in Dubai but i don’t know how to find the information. Could you guys advice me, please.

  7. If you do visit Dubai, Trina – the coffee’s on me :-)


  8. I’d love to, Farrukh! Who knows…maybe there are some training or executive coaching opportunities there for me!

  9. Welcome Trina – 15 years in Grey. You must have really liked it.
    Why not visit Dubai sometime?

  10. Hi Farrukh,

    as someone who worked for Grey in Germany for almost 15 years it was great to see what the former colleagues in Dubai are up to. Thanks for giving me the chance to see this refreshingly simple and incredibly effective ad!

  11. Welcome Dimo,

    Interesting response :-)


  12. Dimo Valev says:

    Great idea!
    It’s very rare to see something so creative around here! Congratulations to Grey!

    To the people who don’t like it/get it: if all the clients were like you the World would have been a veeeeeery boring place to live…

  13. Welcome Ignatius,

    It’s always tricky, taking communication too literally.


  14. Ignatius says:

    Dear Farruk,

    I have read the comments above and i would say 2 things.

    1.[answer to mr. raj kumars comments] Sir,If it was an ad with a little older child (say 6-8yrs) in a karate uniform…that would send a indirect message about the age group limit to join these classes and parents wouldnt find karate safe for their small children and thus create a presumption that karate is for older kids (say 8yrs+), but in this ad the use of that particular play toy shows that there is no age limit to learn karate…

    2. Advertisers always look out for the ‘Max reach in Min cost’, having won the GOLD award in print section …this is now a WIN -WIN situation for the advertiser and also the agency ( i am sure the reach and response was great ….hence the award deserved.)


  15. Welcome Tamer,
    Thanks for your valuable inputs. You got the hint perfectly.
    Advertisers often use the ‘pester power’ of kids to influence parent’s buying decisions. So, many ads target kids who in turn persuade their parents.
    In some cases, ads try to get in the product consideration set of parents, say in the case of a summer camp, a school, or even a karate centre.
    In the Seibukan ad, I’d like to think kids will get it. They watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons 😉

  16. tamer m says:

    i totaly agree with mr Raj. and about ur point mr Farrukh.. the target would be both.. the parents and the kids.. see usualy kids don’t do stuff by themselves.. they ask for permission, so it’s not totaly maturity but in a way it is.. but i at the end i really like it. good work

  17. Welcome Raj Kumar,

    Thanks for your feedback.

    If you had to sell karate classes for kids, who would be the target audience?


  18. Raj Kumar Bihani says:

    Dear Farukkh
    It looks good. BUT there is a BIG point of concern though.
    If the Target are kids. which i m sure they are.Then In my personal opinion(everyone had subject opinion) The Ad would fail as they have not reached the maturity level to dicipher the meaning of such ad. What do you think.

  19. Welcome Cathy. Good designers are having a great time here. No issues about being male of female – it’s the portfolio that matters.

    Good to see a guest from the Caribbean, among other global visitors to this blog :-)


  20. love this ad! wish we could say so much with so little here in the caribbean. Are there really good opportunities for designers in Dubai now? Even female ones?


  21. Welcome Stephen,

    Yes, we have a very mixed demographic structure even within the country – and then the ad could easily go global.


  22. Great print idea. Really creative way to cut through multiple demographics.

  23. Welcome back Sabizak,

    Nice to know how different people perceive things differently.

    You’ve shared with us what you feel is wrong with the above ad. Now, if this ‘Karate Classes for Kids’ brief came to you, what would you use as a headline and visual?


    PS: I do post copywriting opportunities on this blog often – keep visiting.

  24. Hi Farrukh,

    Thanks for the response. You are quite right there that martial arts is not really viewed as anything violent but what i was focusing upon was just the immediate impact of the image. From that it is difficult to tell why the Lego brick got broken. The first impression I got without reading the small print announcing the Karate class was that the Lego brick, which to me is a symbol of building and construction, has been broken into half, thereby implying the breakdown of something. Perhaps the print announcing the Karate class message should have placed in such a way that it attracted immediate attention.

    Well Farrukh as for your question, no I don’t really find it cute I am afraid basically because (I think) my son plays with his Lego bricks so much and the idea of a broken one instead of one being used as a means for construction saddens me a little. I know it would my son.

  25. Hi Xavi,

    The call for action is right on top of the ad. And reading that, you’ll notice that the ad isn’t trying to do everything at once – which is a good thing.

    Having lived in the Middle East for almost half my life now, I can confidently say that your assessment of local attitudes towards karate or other cultures is not accurate at all. Youth from the UAE have been competing in and winning martial arts championships for quite some time now.

    Also, changing consumer behaviour is expecting too much from a single ad – I don’t think that was the client brief for this ad. For addressing consumer perceptions, as you know, long term advocacy campaigns are launched, and use advertising, PR, events, etc.


  26. Thanks farrukh for yur reply.

    Few more quries as you being responsive.

    Whats the call for action in this ad?
    Is it able to change the consumer behaviour?
    Since the decision maker are parents not the kid…how you can convey the parents to enrol their kid for something which is not appreciated in the middle east. ( adapting to other cultural activity).
    Please correct me if i m wrong.


  27. Welcome Sabizak,

    That’s an interesting perspective. Karate is more about self defence though, rather than violence. You don’t find this ad cute, then?


  28. Welcome Xavi,

    The beauty of this ad, in my opinion, is that it does not need long-winded explanations. The message ‘Karate Classes For Kids’ is quite efficently conveyed.

    It is most likely a one-off ad (if that’s what you are calling tactical) rather than a corporate ad for the brand but even tactical ads are created on strategy. I would have liked to see more such ads if it was a campaign.

    Of course, the people who have created this ad would be best able to explain the thinking behind this ad and how it came into being.


  29. Hi farrukh,

    Can you explain the strategic thinking behind this ad. Is it tactical or strategic.

  30. i don’t know why I don’t think much of it. Basically because to me the broken Lego brick (and even more so a stack of books) seems to represent something violent. This one (if I hadn’t read your explanation) could just as well have meant the breakdown of creativity to me. And subsequently you can imagine what a broken stack of books would mean.

  31. Hey Fubiz,

    Glad you liked it.


  32. Excelent creation !

  33. Welcome to the blog, Parola.

    Yes. it’s cute, isn’t it.


  34. oh wow!
    very funny!!!

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