Not a Sheep – but Flat Eric!

February 11, 2008 at 12:19 am | Posted in Funny Stuff | Leave a comment
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I’ve just had an epiphany, so may I correct myself: Flocke doesn’t look like a sheep, she looks like Flat Eric!

Flocke and Flat Eric


Polarbear Flocke Is a Brand!

February 10, 2008 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Marketing | Leave a comment
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They’re just doing what was obvious! Nuremberg Zoo has just released the logo and style guide for the newly registered brand and trademark “Eisbär Flocke” (English: “Icebear Polarbear Flake”). Flocke is the next hand-raised polar bear cub in Germany, born on 11 December 2007 in Nuremberg, about a year after Cute Knut, the first Cub of Hearts, was born in Berlin.

Flocke Style Guide

Knut was rejected by his mother – Flocke wasn’t but it was anticipated that her mother Vera might kill her as she began acting strangely after another polar bear in the Zoo, Vilma, had just eaten her twin cubs. Another happy-sad little story – and enough to earn both Knut and Flocke their own Wikipedia page in English, complete with a bit of romantic speculation:

There is speculation that Flocke may in years hence become the mate of Knut, another polar bear cub taken from its mother, in 2007.

Knut was already dubbed Knut the business bear, in recognition of the amount of Knut-themed merchandise spawned by the Knut craze. Nuremberg Zoo probably just thought that they might as well reap the benefits if they couldn’t avoid the Flocke frenzy anyway – and they have gone to great lengths…

To begin with, Flocke has her own bilingual website and URL: for German, and for English audiences – and she was already covered by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton himself. The zoo didn’t go as far as to give the page a blog appeal, but they have some chronology going, in the news section and also in the impressive video section – 58 videos to date, often several a day! In comparison to Knut, Flocke looks a bit like a sheep and she also seems to cry more (but maybe it’s only the mass of videos and hence the sheer amount of cub wailing that leads me to this idea).

Yet what impresses me most is the 13-pages style guide which can be downloaded as a PDF (currently only available in German). Of course they have to have one if they want to take their merchandise approach seriously (and registering a brand sounds pretty serious) – flipping through the style guide nonetheless has a bit of an aftertaste. Nuremberg is also the homebase of the German toy fair Spielwarenmesse, and the zoo got their logo and licensing model ready just days before it started (7.-12. February). According to a press release prior to the revelation of the logo, the city of Nuremberg is intending to sell licenses to manufacturers of:

* Pendants, key rings, pins
* Bags, rucksacks, umbrellas
* Cups, mugs, drinking bottles
* Bed linen
* Photographic competition, cultural events, further education
* CDs, DVDs
* Pens, postcards, posters, pictures, calendars, stickers, books
* Clothing (T-shirts, sweat-shirts, shirts etc.), peaked caps, scarves, rain capes, children’s bibs
* Soft toys, snow globes, glove puppets, toys (wood, rubber), jigsaw puzzles, board games, hopper balls, inflatable toys
* Sweets

But lets also say something nice about the project. Companies applying for a license need to meet three criteria – products must be sustainable, of good quality and be environmentally friendly. The returns will go entirely to the Zoo, and the city council has announced to take strict measures against product piracy. About 400 license applications have already been submitted. Some of the first licensees are Steiff plush toys, Laken drinking bottles and Ministeck – a nerdy game that allows you to make pixelesque pictures from plastic pieces. Makes sense – kids who play Ministick certainly have a better carbon footprint than those WiiPS2XBOX low attention span hyperactives:-)

More polar bears

April 22, 2007 at 9:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Impressed by Cute Knut’s international success, Chicago’s Brookfield zoo has introduced their own polar bear cub to the public and announced that it was “cuter than Knut”. It’s a bit scruffier than Knut, because it isn’t reared by a human and therefore not bathed and brushed every day. The little one doesn’t have a name yet, but apparently zoo visitors can take part in a naming contest.

It’s the fifth litter of 22-year old mother Arki, which makes you wonder once more what the fuzz (ha ha!) with Knut in the Berlin Zoo is all about. Polar bear cubs being born in zoos don’t seem so rare after all. So it must be the fact of being rejected by his mother, having lost his twin and, of course, the overwhelming cuteness of a white fluffy bear on the lap of a scruffy human:-) It’s this constellation, not the bear.

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