Sunday, February 10, 2013

Marketing the Mannekin Pis

You gotta love the Belgians. They are like some crazy, fun loving uncle who is always joking around. As opposed to the French who are often arrogant and snobbish, the Belgians don’t take themselves too seriously. So, it came as no surprise to learn they have decided to use their most famous landmark, the Mannekin Pis, in a gigantic marketing campaign. So what? You might ask. A lot of cities use their most famous landmarks in marketing campaigns. Well, this landmark is a bit unusual. It is of a naked little boy pissing. Not quite la Tour Eiffel, eh? The Manneken Pis has been a required tourist stop in Brussels for centuries but other than a few postcards and key chains, his image really hadn’t been used much due to political correctness. However, times have apparently changed and the Belgian government has decided to promote the lad like never before. Replicas of him now appear everywhere, in snow globes, as colorful chocolate, and lollipops, emblazoned on T-shirts, mugs and coasters. Even Coca-Cola has gotten into the act decorating their vending machines with an image of the boy standing atop their bottle. When most Americans see this statue for the first time they are horrified by it (even though anyone who has raised boys know that this IS what they do whether anyone is looking or not) so it’s hard to imagine something like this catching on back home. Although, I double dare Macy’s to put this giant balloon in their next Thanksgiving Day parade.

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