Music News

Companies cash in on Knut the German polar bear

BERLIN, March 28 (Reuters Life!) - The euphoria around Berlin Zoos celebrity polar bear cub showed no sign of abating on Wednesday as a music label released a single called “Knut is Cute.”

Polar bear cub Knut plays during during its first presentation in Berlin zoo, March 23, 2007. The euphoria around Berlin Zoo´s celebrity polar bear cub showed no sign of abating on Wednesday as a music label released a single called "Knut is Cute". REUTERS/REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Pool Music has already sold 3,000 CDs priced at just under 6 euros ($8.01) each but faces tough competition from up to twelve competitors who have been circulating bear-related songs on the Internet.

“I know the number of other songs is growing but we were first,” said a spokesman for Pool Music who said demand had far outstripped expectations and that the label had received orders from as far afield as the United States and Japan.

“Our song is different because it is sung by the polar bear himself, whereas the other songs are only about him,” said the spokesman who declined to divulge the identity of the artist referred to as “Polar Bear.”

The company has paid an agreed sum to Berlin Zoo, which registered the celebrity cub as an official brand this week.

But the zoo says Knut should not be seen in financial terms.

“The zoo isn’t a commercial enterprise but a cultural and scientific institution,” said a Berlin Zoo spokesman.

“What is most important is the correct raising of the bear” a zoo spokesman said, adding it had ruled out selling Knut despite a deluge of offers from across the globe.

However, companies are keen to cash in on the cuddly character who has such a wide appeal.

Since his first public appearance last Friday which drew media from around the world, fans have snapped up over 2,400 fluffy white Knut soft toys.

Confectioner Haribo will launch a raspberry-flavored “Cuddly Knut” sweet in April and has promised Berlin Zoo 5,000 euros for his upbringing plus 10 cents for every tub sold.

Knut even features on the cover of this week’s German-language version of Vanity Fair magazine.

“Last week we had (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel on the cover of our magazine, this week its Knut,” said a spokeswoman.