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Angry Birds park enrages Swedish parents

Published måndag 13 januari 2014 kl 15.30
"I still don't see it as product placement"
2:19 min
Agnetha Johansson of the Uddevalla municipality does not see the new park as product placement. Photo: Jörgen Winkler/Swedish Radio P4 Väst

Parents are fuming over an Angry Birds-themed communal park in western Sweden. The park's layout is based on the popular Finnish game and local parents called it "product placement", arguing that the irate cartoon birds do not belong in a kid's playground.

As of 2012, Angry Birds had been downloaded over 1 billion times on to mobile phones and tablets around the world, but not everyone has heard of the game.

Agnetha Johansson of the Uddevalla municipality's parks department told Swedish Radio's local P4 Väst station that she was unaware that the cartoon birds are actually characters from a commercial game. Her department was responsible for renovating the park that now has large versions of the colourful birds dotted around it.

"Kids are being bombarded with product-placement. It's on clothes, shoes, backpacks. Enough is enough," Agnetha Johansson told Swedish Radio.

In the Uddevalla park, swings, benches and a rubbish bin have been fitted with blue and red irate birds. The municipality paid SEK 51,000 for the new recreational equipment, according to local newspaper Bohusläningen. One parent compared it to decorating a park with the McDonald's clown Ronald McDonald.

Now that the park is up and running, however, Johansson of the parks department does not think the Angry-Birds layout is a big problem.

"I still don't see it as product placement," said Johansson. "Could this be something us adults are projecting on to our children? I've brought my grandkids to the park and they didn't react at all. They just thought it was fun."

Indeed, kids that the Bohusläningen newspaper spoke to also thought the park was good fun. But other politicians have sided with the enraged parents.

"I think this is very unfortunate even if it wasn't intentional," Zeidi Ström, a local Moderate Party politician, told Swedish Radio. "It would have been good if the supplier had informed the municipality what kind of characters it was buying in."

Asked whether the birds will be taken down, Ström said: "Things went wrong from the outset. We'll have to think about this and see how to resolve the situation."

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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