Ikea toy wolf Lufsig gets new name after its claim to fame
There's bad news and good news for Lufsig, the cuddly toy wolf who has become a hit with protesters since he was thrown at Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Saturday.
Ikea, which sold out of Lufsigs in Hong Kong, said it was changing the rude-sounding Chinese name, which helped make the toy - depicting the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood ready to devour grandma - an anti-government icon.
But on a brighter note, Lufsig has an unlikely new admirer: the chief executive himself. Lufsig was used to mock Leung's reputation as a cunning "wolf", but the chief executive showed there were no hard feelings by posting a picture of himself with the toy on his official blog.
Earlier, a spokesman at Ikea's headquarters in Sweden confirmed that it planned to change the translation of Lufsig used in mainland Chinese stores and said the company "regretted" lumbering the toy with an "unfortunate" name that sounded like a crude Cantonese phrase associated with female genitalia. The name was not translated in Hong Kong stores. A slightly altered Chinese name for Lufsig - - was revealed on Ikea's website last night.
Lufsig became a hit after protesters threw the toy at Leung at a forum last week. The Ikea spokesman added: "Our intention is that product names should not reflect politics or religion."
Not that Leung seemed to mind. He posted a picture of himself with a Lufsig toy. He said the toy was a present for his daughter and a gesture of support for the UN children's agency Unicef, which receives a donation for every Lufsig sold. His tongue-in-cheek message made no reference to the toy's name.
"Today I am with a wolf on the desk," Leung wrote. "I realise that this toy has been very popular recently with heated offline sales and speculation online. This shows that Hongkongers' creativity is boundless."
And those creative minds didn't take long to spot an amusing detail from the picture: the report Leung is holding refers to a sex scandal involving Auckland mayor Len Brown, whose career is under threat due to a two-year affair with a Hong Kong woman.
Ikea stores in Hong Kong and many mainland and Taiwanese cities have sold out of the toy, which has been featured by international media including the BBC and the Huffington Post.