Pluggie The Fireplug
The idea of using cartoon characters to teach kids about safety is not a new one, and the list is long and hallowed: Louie The Lightning Bug taught me to stay away from power lines. Timer (from “Time for Timer”) kept me from snacking on too much junk food while singing the praises of homemade orange juice popsicles (it was an orange juice ice cube with a toothpick stuck in it – hey this was the 70’s). The latest addition to this safety-minded menagerie is “Pluggie”, a robotic fireplug designed to win the hearts of children while espousing his fire prevention philosophies.
Television keeps telling me kids today are more sophisticated, and to that end Pluggie holds the tiny tots rapt with a fully articulated face, built-in MP3 player and two-way voice system. Although judging by the expression on Pluggie’s face in the picture it looks as though someone has just stuck a finger somewhere that Pluggie wasn’t expecting. I certainly hope a competent operator could articulate away that look of uncomfortable surprise.
Do safety mascots even work on kids? I remember Louie The Lightning Bug successfully kept me away from power lines for nearly 18 years until one fateful snowy night. My dad was in bed and I was perusing the cable channel guide and I saw that “Naughty Nurses #9” was about to start but on a channel that was blocked. In those days a channel filter was a physical device that screwed in to the end of the cable where it joined the main system. I happened to know our cable plugged into the main system from a terminal on a power line pole in a corner of the backyard. Out into the snow I trudged, the pale luminescence of midnight casting an eerie light all around. Louie The Lightning Bug was nowhere to be found as I ascended the icy pole and attempted to remove the filter. It was so cold the cable just snapped right in my hands, cutting off not only my chances to gauge just how naughty nurses could be but also any other television I might have seen that night.
Pluggie comes with a variety of supplemental materials and add-ons including the mysteriously named “Pluggie Litterbags”. Is Pluggie not housebroken? Maybe if he comes to a school near you and doesn’t have any “accidents” he could have a shot at getting his own Saturday morning cartoon and that would surely secure him a spot in the safety mascot pantheon.
Pluggie’s Home Page