SUNDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2015
PLAYMOBIL figurines as social criticism tool

Widely reported, both in Greece and internationally, comes the "plasticobilism"project of Nikos Papadopoulos from Thessaloniki. The interesting part, from a brand perspective, is the use of PLAYMOBIL figurines for a visual social commentary revolving around the Greek financial crisis as well as the pan-European refugee crisis. The possible effects on the PLAYMOBIL brand have not been part of any of the stories, though this blogger thinks this issue would deserve a line or two. This may not be per se a case of artistic use of a brand, but the figurines are obviously recognisable as PLAYMOBIL toys. 

For obvious reasons, including brand strength, PLAYMOBIL toys can be a powerul way to get one's message across. “A Playmobil figure symbolises something pure and innocent,” says Papadopoulos, according to the Guardian. “When I put this innocent object in a cruel human scene, I want to remind people of that feeling we had as children, the feeling we’ve completely lost. My kids haven’t lost it – and I hope that when the time comes for them to understand reality, the reality will be more humane”. 

This blogger understands this to be an example of the evolving relationship between individuals (not just consumers) and brands, as well as a testament of how brands, whether on their own initiative or not, can mark more than consumer choices. Brand perspective aside, he also hopes that the particular project will mature to something more than the visual repetition of rather common-place criticism.   

A different use of PLAYMOBIL custom figurines, this time to visually narrate historical events from the Greek revolutionary war of 1821, reported in the past,  can be seen below. Toy brands can indeed be a source of artistic inspiration, with all consequent implications.  

 

Posted by: Nikos Prentoulis @ 13.08
Tags: brands, freedom of expression, social criticism, Greece, playmobil,
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