I keep passing billboard ads for a company that have appropriated the Mr Men for their latest campaign, in whcih ‘Mr First’ has been created in order to sell the virtues of low-commission currency transfers.
I know that this isn’t the first time that childhood favourites have been put to use in flogging goods and services to people, but there’s something about using the Mr Men that just seems plain wrong. They represent innocence and that golden time before we succumb to the grasping avarice of the world. To use them for a money transfer company feels out-of-place.
These used to be the books that got kids into reading. They are short, colourful, simply illustrated and with just enough text to encourage rudimentary reading skills. And, as an adult, I still have to admit getting a giggle out of reading the exploits of Mr Tickle. They don’t need to sully themselves with selling financial services.
The whole thing has, ironically, turned me into the character that they should have created for the campaign: Mr Cynical.