I almost bumped into a full-size statue of Paddington Bear in central London last week which had been placed in the middle of the street near the Houses of Parliament.
And if that wasn’t strange enough he was covered head to foot in press cuttings from the Telegraph newspaper. Of course, I then had to Google to find out what was going on.
It turned out that this was one of 50 that are appearing at strategic locations around the capital’s tourist trail over November and December, to coincide with the release of the new Paddington film.
The statues have been ‘adopted’ by a range of celebrities and artists, ranging from David Beckham to Benedict Cumberbatch, and each has been individually styled and themed.
I thought this was a clever and innovative way of promoting what the city has to offer.
The statue that I had seen was dubbed ‘Good News Bear’. The corresponding Paddington website, read: “The Telegraph newspaper has taken our modern day love of social media for sharing news with family, friends and sometimes total strangers and turned it into a bear with lots to say. If you could say something to the world through Paddington, what would you post?”
Paddington Bear is effectively being used in this example as a means to inspire people to communicate. Paddington becomes a channel to divine your very best ideas for communication.
And why not? It certainly worked for its creator.
On 24th December 1956, BBC cameraman Michael Bond bought a small toy bear for his wife Brenda after seeing it left alone on a shelf in Selfridges. This bear was named Paddington after the station close to Michael’s home.
It was this toy bear that inspired him to write eight episodes of Paddington Bear in just over a week.
Since then the Paddington books have sold more than 35 million copies worldwide and have been translated into over 40 languages, including Latin.
Inspiration for communication can be found in the strangest of places.