Cartoon pig KOs action stars to win tourism role

Cartoon pig KOs action stars to win tourism role

The much-loved McDull beat superstars Andy Lau and Jacky Chan to become Hong Kong summertime ambassador

A cartoon pig has beaten Jacky Chan and many other local superstars to promote "Hong Kong Summer Spectacular," a city-wide summer program that is running until August 31. 

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is "hiring" McDull, a much-loved cartoon pig, to be Hong Kong's summertime ambassador for the second year running.

McDull (麥兜) was created in 1988 by local artists Alice Mak and Brian Tse. The adorable and rather slow-witted porker  is said to represent the psyche of Hong Kong people in a light-hearted way.

McDull, with a birthmark over his right eye, is like the ugly duckling compared to his fair-faced cousin, McMug. But McDull stole the spotlight despite his imperfections. He went on to star in a series of animated movies, which included “My Life as McDull”, “McDull, Prince de la Bun”, “McDull, The Alumni” and “McDull, Kung Fu Kindergarten.”

Unlike more glamorous celebrities, McDull stirs no scandals and always projects a positive image. So he is an ideal candidate. Yet, most important of all, he attracts the "big bosses" -- the kids from mainland China and Taiwan to come to Hong Kong, according to Becky Ip, the director of HKTB for greater China.

It is estimated that the McDull summer promotion will bring in 10 millions tourists to Hong Kong, with around 80 percent of arrivals from mainland China and Taiwan.

HKTB publishes a "Family Fun Guide" with McDull-themed advertisements, online games and souvenirs (which can be downloaded here) and also a promotional video in Mandarin in which McDull discusses what is good about Hong Kong.

Visitors can share a table with McDull and his mom at Madame Tussauds.In a separate move, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is launching McDull and Madame Mak (his mom) wax figures. This is the first time wax figures have been created based on local characters. "At the McDull and Madame Mak wax figures exhibition area, guests will be able to sit down at a Hong Kong style café and enjoy delectable afternoon tea, such as McDull’s favorite pineapple bun with butter and  milk tea," said Kelly Mak, general manager of Madame Tussauds Hong Kong.

It is also hoped that the guests "will be able to share his positive attitude toward life" by hugging McDull, said Mak. It took more than three months, over 500 precise measurements of the subject's head and body and 21 sculptors to complete the wax figures and bring these 2D characters to live. The figures will be unveiled on July 20.


See how it is made:




Madame Tussauds, Shop P101, The Peak Tower, 128 Peak Road, The Peak, Hong Kong. Tickets: $160 for adult, $90 for visitors under 12 and over 65 (visit their website for more ticket options). Opens daily 9:45 a.m.-10p.m. (last admission: 9:45 p.m.)

Hiufu Wong is CNN Travel's staff writer.

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