The inside story of Anyone: Hong Kong’s favourite weird blue mascot
- The fire service worker who came up with the recent sensation says his creation was an accidental hit, and reveals some of the reasons behind his team’s design
The mastermind behind the Hong Kong government’s mascot sensation “Anyone” has admitted his creation was an accidental hit.
Officers also said the weird blue man had done its job – by sparking a dramatic increase in attendance at the Fire Service Department’s first aid courses.
Superintendent Chou Wing-yin, who came up with the concept of Anyone, gave a behind-the-scenes look into the campaign on Friday.
Launched in early November, the outlandish blue man quickly won the support of Hongkongers on social media, and was praised as a departure from official formality.
In a video featuring local actress Law Lan, Anyone performed a song and dance meant to teach CPR, which since has since got more than 211,000 views.
Chou, an experienced ambulance officer who is also a film enthusiast, said Anyone was an accidental creation by the department’s Community Emergency Preparedness team.
“We wanted to create a cute cartoon character, but our skills were limited,” Chou said.
The team considered having a more traditional fluffy costume for Anyone. But that would have meant “Anyone cannot perform CPR, as it will have no fingers”, Chou said.
Eventually the team went with a blue body suit and produced three videos.
Chou said they picked blue because it contrasted with the department’s red logo.
While he declined to disclose the project’s budget, Chou said the production had been “very cost-effective”.
And the father of two was equally coy when asked if he’d ever been the man inside the suit. “Let’s leave some room for imagination,” he said.
He said he hoped the campaign could inspire members of the public to be brave and give aid to those in need.
“Anyone can save lives,” Chou said.
He said the team was initially worried that they might be crossing the line with the character’s light-hearted tone, but the project was soon approved by higher-ups.
Suki Ng Yuen-yan, also a superintendent, said the popularity of Anyone had boosted demand for the department’s first aid courses for the public dramatically.
Though she did not have the figures, Ng said the department was getting daily calls about the courses, and had introduced a waiting list.
In the future, Anyone could appear in videos promoting emergency response tips for hikers and commuters, she said.
Despite Anyone’s breakout popularity, reports surfaced soon after his debut that higher-ups in the department had wanted to ban the mascot from appearing in public.
After an online outcry against the rumoured ban, officials confirmed that Anyone was here to stay.
He has since appeared alongside other internet-friendly government mascots, including the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s Ah Tak, a green dinosaur that promotes cleanliness, and the Environment Bureau’s Big Waster, and anti-food-waste character.