The Fire Services Department has said that its popular mascot will still make appearances and will be played by actors, despite rumours that the real-life version may be axed.
The blue mannequin mascot – named “Anyone” – has been appearing in the department’s videos about life-saving techniques since August. The mascot promotes the idea that anyone can save lives in emergency situations.
It became a viral hit after “Anyone” showed up at the department’s press conference on Monday wielding a fire extinguisher and demonstrating cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Some, however, compared the character with a Japanese porn character who also wears skintight white costumes.
But on Tuesday, RTHK TV programme This Week cited sources from the fire department saying that the live version of “Anyone” was “against the heroic image” of the service, and thus will only appear again as a cartoon character.
The rumour sparked hundreds of comments on the department’s Facebook page, as fans urged them to keep the mascot.
On a Commercial Radio programme on Wednesday, Acting Senior Division Officer (Community Emergency Preparedness) Wade Wong Wang-leong reassured the public that the live version will still appear.
Wong thanked the public for supporting “Anyone” so that life-saving information could reach different communities.
“We are very happy that this sets a successful example – I hope the public will continue following ‘Anyone’ in the future,” he said.
Asked if top management were unhappy with “Anyone,” Wong said the team was granted “quite a lot of creative space.”
“Our final goal is that our idea will reach the hearts of the public,” he said.
Wong said it was intentional that “Anyone” was slightly overweight: “We want to let everyone know that you and I can learn how to save lives.”
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He said he would not rule out “Anyone” appearing in public for future promotions.
Parade of parodies
There have been many parodies of the mascot appearing across social media. Environmental group Green Sense changed a photo of “Anyone” into a green mannequin and said: “Anyone can reduce waste.”
只要有心，拎住部相機。唔理你係好人、路人、型人、屋企人……總之任何人都可以影到靚相！小編係乜人？請叫我Sony仁，英文名叫Sonnion。你同我都準備做個Sonnion! 可能影自己家人，身邊人，或者風景。你準備好未？加入即按： https://goo.gl/f2DF8k#各路Sony仁都要準備好影靚相#擊活人心#Sony仁#敢就影到靚相
In another example, Sony poked fun at the character saying that “Anyone” can take a good photo with heart, and a camera.