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March 04, 2003

Nova Usagi Sending the Wrong Message?

Love it or hate it, it's hard to ignore the "Nova Usagi" and its catchy jingle. The animated pink bunny that has been the central character in a series of TV commercials for the Japan's biggest eikaiwa school chain is enjoying a huge popularity boom. Nova claim to have sold some 260 million yen's worth of stuffed toys and other merchandise over the last three months. But for some the rabbit's welfare has been a cause for concern. The Japan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were not impressed when the second ad in the series showed the bunny having its ears lopped off by a passer-by on a (Shane English School?) double decker bus. "That commercial could only be perceived as mistakenly telling children it was fine for them to pull a rabbit's ears," said a JSPCA spokespeson. They filed a complaint in mid-January and a couple of weeks later Usagi-chan was transformed into a club DJ. Nova claim the ad was due to change anyway.

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