Flanked by life-sized statues of Japanese cartoon character Doraemon, and the infamous one-eyed yellow minions made popular by the animated American movie Despicable Me, China’s Prince Real Estate was far from alone at the official launch of their showroom (opposite the National Assembly), and the opening ceremony of its latest development Prince Central Plaza, a HOPSCA—Hotel, Offices, Parks, Shopping Mall, Convention Centre, and Apartments—last Tuesday.
While the launch aimed to spice up the humdrum of a typical property launch, Pol Lyta, a property consultant for Prince Central Plaza, explained the deeper meaning behind the unusual marketing strategy, saying, “Doraemon is a robot cat that comes from the future [22nd century], and can go back into the past, and he is also able to fly all over the world.”
With the ability Doraemon possesses, it seems to refer to Prince Central Plaza’s outlook on the future of Phnom Penh in making the development the integrated business and lifestyle nucleus of the Kingdom, while retaining an avant-garde take on traditional Khmer architectural design.
As countless Doraemons had flown in to Phnom Penh to station themselves at the opening ceremony, Despicable Me’s yellow minions had also come along for the ride, possibly to inject some humour and entertainment to a typical lacklustre affair.
Being an entertainment-centralised hub, Lyta elaborated that “the minions from Despicable Me represent the fun and entertaining side of what Prince Central Plaza’s various amenities and facilities can offer.”
To emphasise its point, guests at the launch were also given freebies in the form of the one-eyed yellow minion soft toy plushies.
However random it may seem, such cute and fun twists are not uncommon here. In 2012, an Angry Birds Foreign Language School had sprung up in Banteay Meanchey province, riding on the wings of the insane global phenomenon that the Angry Birds game had prompted.
Nonetheless, the opening ceremony of Prince Central Plaza was not all fun and games. Having sold an approximate 200 out of its 1,786 residential units just at the launch itself, it has also sold an estimated 40 per cent of its homes thus far. Prices range from an average of $58,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, to $100,000 for a two-bedroom apartment. Almost all of its snazzy penthouses, which cost from $250,000 to $600,000, have been snapped up as of the launch day.
As with the case of the Angry Birds school, whose owner was nonchalant in using the fowls’ infamousness without consulting their copyright holders, it is unclear whether these future robot cats and one-eyed yellow minions were lawfully licensed as mascots for Prince Central Plaza’s opening ceremony.
What is definitely clear, however, is the completion of the impressive Prince Central Plaza slated for May 2018, located at the pulse of Phnom Penh’s heart south of Norodom Boulevard, wherein its residents may just be lavishly greeted with another surprise appearance by the unofficial mascots.