The success of many merchandised properties is based as much upon the endearing nature of their characters and personification as on the skill with which their commercial potential is identified and exploited. So when a character appears to "change", this perception may have profound ramifications. Perhaps it is for this reason that Michael Bond - creator of the popular Paddington Bear - has been reported in the BBC as having reacted to criticism over a decision to use the marmalade-loving bear in a TV advertisement for the love-it-or-loathe-it yeast-based Marmite spread.
Right: Paddington in experimental mode - the "P.B." on his case stands for "peanut butter" ...
So why, then, did Paddington and Co, the company that owns the rights to the bear's image, license his use in a Marmite ad? Said a company official:
"Unilever wanted to encourage people to try Marmite in their sandwiches, and they were looking for a character famous for eating sandwiches. The point of the advert is that Paddington always has marmalade in his sandwiches. He simply tries Marmite".The IPKat is reluctant to swallow this, since he is thinking of the damage that can be inflicted on Paddington's image in the eyes of kids who have been forced to eat Marmite by their parents and deeply detest it.
Left: here's something for Paddybear to try once he's finished with the regular Marmite.
Merpel notes the implication of the above quote: if Paddybear (i) always has marmalade and (ii) tries Marmite, he must have eaten a marmalade-and-Marmite sandwich.
Paddington Bear recipes here
Make your own Paddington Bear Mobile here
Meanwhile, definitely real but stranger than fiction character Paris Hilton is hitting the IP headlines again, according to this item which Tom Cowling (Swan Turton) slipped into the path of the oncoming IPKat. The fashion celebrity has just filed a lawsuit against greetings card manufacturers Hallmark, alleging that the company used an unauthorised image of her signature phrase "That's hot" on a series of its cards. The card on the right depicts "Paris' first day as a waitress": Hilton's face is superimposed on a cartoon body. This apparition hands a plate to a customer and warns: "Don't touch that, it's hot". The customer asks, "What's hot?" to which Hilton-as-waitress replies, "That's hot". The IPKat can't see what's funny about this. Neither, it seems, could Paris because she's asking for half a million dollars in damages plus injunctive relief. The IPKat awaits further development with unabated indifference.