'Anyone' can fight fires: Hong Kong fire department's new mascot becomes social media darling

When it comes to fighting fires and saving lives, anyone can do it - literally.

The Hong Kong Fire Services Department drove home this message to much success earlier this week when it revealed its new life-sized, faceless, bright blue mascot "Anyone" at a media briefing on Monday (Nov 5), reported local media.

In front of a group of surprised and amused journalists, the fire department welcomed the man clad in a blue body-hugging suit, who then demonstrated basic fire safety skills, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of a fire extinguisher.

"Anyone" has been the face of the fire department's online campaign to urge the public to step forward in the event of emergencies.

A Facebook page for the campaign was launched on Monday.

Previously, the mascot has only appeared in its animated form in promotional videos.

The popular new mascot of the Hong Kong Fire Services hasn't been banned, even though some say it looks like a character from a porn film.

Posted by South China Morning Post on Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Its real-life appearance had quickly grabbed the attention of social media users, who later rallied in support of the mascot when it looked to be under threat.

Hong Kong television channel RTHK TV31 had reported on Tuesday that fire department was thinking of axing the live version of "Anyone" as they were uncertain about the attention it was receiving.

The department had supposedly said that "Anyone" would appear only in animations.

However, later that day, acting senior division officer Wade Wong Wang-leong refuted this and told Hong Kong Free Press that the man in blue will continue to make its public appearances.

He said that the mascot was played by a staff member in his division, and officers had chosen him as he had a slight belly to prove that people of various sizes can all chip in.

"Anyone is not a mascot or spokesperson, you and I are Anyone, who can help out in the community during emergencies," he added.

【真· 羅蘭 x 擊活の人心 - 靈異篇】 收嘢喇!外賣到喇! 農曆七月,送個外賣又話有靈體,又話要護身符,有冇咁邪先? 點知真係出事,好彩有羅蘭姐專業教路,連「新手」任何仁都可以輕易駕御,用 CPR 同 AED 救翻外賣仔一命。...

Posted by 香港消防處 Hong Kong Fire Services Department on Saturday, November 3, 2018

Social media users rejoiced at the news, with businesses and organisations also capitalising on the mascot in its publicity efforts.

Sony Hong Kong, for instance, posted a photo of the blue man with a camera in the outdoors.

The caption said: "As long as you have the heart, hold the camera. Anyone can take good pictures!"

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.