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LEGO/Fortnite Islands and Branded UGC

By Krista Hiner · Tue, Apr 2, 2024 1:31 PM

At GDC 2024, LEGO and Epic announced that the Fortnite Island Creator Program would allow its Creators (a.k.a. UGC developers) to build family-friendly Islands featuring certain LEGO elements and brand assets on the user generated content (UGC) platform. LEGO, beloved for fostering creativity and imagination in kids, is smart to partner with one of the leading facilitators of creativity and imagination in games.

But this isn’t uncharted territory. LEGO is just one of many brands innovating and expanding its reach through UGC content (for just a handful of other examples of UGC campaigns, see: Dawn's #DawnSavesWildlife Minecraft Challenge, Nike’s Airphoria in Fortnite, Stranger Things' Starcourt Mall experience).

Games UGC continues to increase in popularity as a viable marketing strategy in part because of the level of engagement it generates (when done right). The advertisement audience isn’t just passively observing an advertisement, like they do with a television commercial, they’re actively engaging with it. And in some circumstances, such as the Dawn Saves Wildlife challenge that prompted Minecraft users to build wildlife environments, or the LEGO/Fortnite Island campaign which prompts Fortnite Creators to build LEGO content that other users will then engage with, brands are leveraging existing UGC platform users to voluntarily build content that promotes the brand. No matter who creates the best content, LEGO wins.

This is an incredibly innovative way to create promotional content in a cost effective way, and far cheaper than hiring developers directly to create bespoke interactive media. We have to acknowledge that LEGO isn’t the only party benefiting here. The LEGO/Fortnite Island campaign truly is a win-win-win: Epic receives promotional value from its brand deal from LEGO (and any compensation that may have been agreed to); LEGO gets a significant amount of new promotional content built for them by existing Fortnite Island Creators; and Fortnite Island Creators generate revenue in accordance with the Fortnite Island Creator Program.

UGC developers creating branded content, however, should be thoughtful about their role. In a direct collaboration between any brand and UGC developer building an experience on an applicable platform for the brand, there are a fairly standard set of legal issues for the parties to navigate which should be detailed in a contract: what brand assets can be used; how much creative control does each party get; how will the experience satisfy any ad disclosure requirements; whether the developer is obligated to tie-in real world rewards (like those in Hilton’s Silvingland campaign, for example, where users engaged with the experience to unlock real-world Hilton Honors Points) how do the parties navigate privacy law issues when doing so; what live ops support is required; and more.

But what happens if the UGC developer is not doing a deal directly with the brand? Yes, even these UGC developers must proceed with caution on legal issues, such as: appropriate ad disclosures when promoting their Island; complying with any terms and conditions required by the Fortnite Island Creator Program such as ensuring the applicable Island will satisfy any applicable ESRB/PEGI ratings required by the platform; caution surrounding which brand intellectual property can be used; inclusion of third party intellectual property; understanding who owns the UGC; and more.

Any UGC developers looking for guidance are encouraged to reach out to our team at and we would be happy to discuss.

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