The Taipei City Government should not charge local businesses licensing fees for using the city mascot, Bravo the Bear, in their advertising, a Taipei city councilor said yesterday.
The bear is an asset that belongs to all Taipei residents, Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) said, adding that it would raise the mascot’s profile if all businesses could use the mascot free of charge — at least until it has gained popularity and firms make a profit from campaigns including the bear.
Hsu cited Kumamon, the mascot that represents Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture as an example.
Photo: Tsai Ya-hua, Taipei Times
The prefecture licensed the image rights of Kumamon to private companies free of charge, she said, adding that it the mascot is to be seen everywhere in Japan.
Municipal funds allocated for the brand management of Bravo the Bear are NT$8.5 million (US$ 287,931) annually and cover the costs of event participation, management of the mascot’s Facebook page, licensing, and the establishment and operations of the Bravo Office, a mascot brand store, the Taipei Department of Information and Tourism said.
The store, located at Taipei City Hall, opened on Aug. 19 and features products, pictures and stories related to the mascot brand.
Department Director-General Hung Mei-yun (洪梅雲) yesterday said that the mascot in 2018 generated NT$1.67 million in licensing fees.
As its revenue dropped to about NT$400,000 last year, the department outsourced its licensing affairs to improve the mascot’s marketing, Hung said.
More and better promotional activities and products are coordinated by an external company, Hung added.
In response to Hsu mentioning Kumamon, Hung said that the Japanese prefecture had marketed the mascot for several years before it rose to prominence.
This year’s operations have been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, even though the Bravo Office has performed well, earning nearly NT$100,000 in revenue on its opening day, she said.
The department expects the office to generate an annual income of NT$1 million, she said, adding that the ultimate goal is making Bravo the Bear a self-sufficient business within the city government.
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