Stuffed Animals

Kill it, Stuff it, and Put it on Display. The Olympics of Taxidermy.

I’ve always had a bizarre fascination with taxidermy. I think it is one of the strangest things people do, and yet I’m kind of drawn to it. I think the fascination started when I was a kid and I visited the natural history museum where they had all of these insane dioramas featuring dead stuffed animals. It was the antithesis of the zoo, or being at a national park where you would see the animals alive, and out in their natural environment. I just didn’t get the concept of, kill it, stuff it, put it on display frozen in time. (at the time I didn’t realize that taxidermied animals aren’t really stuffed carcasses).

So, the video below is a 20-minute look into the world of taxidermy. More specifically, it is a look into the Olympics of taxidermy, and it’s actually a pretty interesting documentary short. It’s well shot, edited, and the production value is very solid. And the story line is really solid. It draws you in and holds your attention. Well at least it did with me, but then again I do have a morbid attraction to this subject.


A Czech Travel Agencies New Viral Campaign? It Should Be.

European tourism is recovering after the global financial crunch, and travel agencies are really feeling the crunch. In a brilliant marketing move a new travel agency launched what appears to be a new viral campaign developed by a newly formed Czech travel agency, “Toy Travel”.  The website that has already attracted more than 15,000 visitors in the last week, with limited marketing and promotion.

The travel agency is offering trips for your stuffed toys. For a fee of between 90 to 150 Euros, your most loved stuffed toy can be shown the sights of Prague by ‘Toy Traveling – Travel Agency for stuffed animals and cuddly toys’ and have his photo taken in front of its landmarks. The first destination on the list for clients is Prague. But Budapest, Bratislava, Munich, Berlin and other European cities are soon to join in.

The website is the brainchild of a 22-year-old decorator, Marek Hlavka who pitched the idea to a Shark Tank-style TV reality show in the Czech Republic last month.

Two of the Czech TV show judges each gave 5,500 Euro each to make the traveling plush a reality.

One of the judges, businessman Tomio Okamura, said, “As we start, we’re focusing on north American and Japanese markets, where there is a huge amount of people that own stuffed animals.”

The concept was inspired by the 2001 film “Amelie from Montmartre” in which the heroine has pictures of her father’s garden gnome posed in front of various world landmarks sent to him to convince him to fulfil his dream of touring the world.

I just keep thinking If they include hooks to social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and incorporate geo-location services this could become a global phenomenon. Imagine if this campaign took a  picture of your Plush, and then pushed the photo with geo-location data to all of the above mentioned sites, which notify all of your social network contacts. Think of it as a visual version of 4 Square for your stuffed animals. Toy should consider turning this into a contest where the plush with the most travel stops and photos wins a trip to a European city for its owners.