Zarkface and Zollandman in Limited Editions

Bastien Rochard, a 25-year-old entrepreneur from Lille, is marketing collectible figurines of France’s two main presidential contenders ahead of the May 5 runoff. The drawcard — and a possibly unintended comment on politics in general — is that they are limited editions.

Zolla versus Zarko — limited shelf life for both?

If it catches on, this limited-edition-politician idea – numbered, rare and destined for the vide grenier—  could turn into a runaway success. For there are few signs that taxpayer anger in crisis- ridden European Union member states is abating (see Merkozy Legacy: an EU on Edge of Implosion). Indeed the outcome of politically inept responses to the sovereign debt meltdown, exploding unemployment and low- or no-growth austerity economies is seen in street protest, online activism, and increasingly visible hard-line nationalistic politics in France as well as countries such as Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Netherlands.

For whatever the result of the French presidential election, the domestic agenda is now being set by Marine le Pen’s Front National (soon to be renamed Alliance pour un rassemblement national ?) however uncomfortable that is to all the other political parties. She, as no other, has tapped voter discontent, the protest vote, people’s concerns and nostalgia for the mythical ‘safer’ France of yesteryear, to the detriment of  ‘progressive elites’ that have captured European centres of power. The phenomenon is well described in this reportage: Why is the rural idyll I call home voting for Marine Le Pen?

A report on the figurines in La Voix du Nord says: “Bastien Rochard a business school graduate has just launched a company — Popilz— to market the initial production run — 1000 numbered figurines of the two French politicians — as a way of testing a planned range of “Z” trademark caricatures. These are set to include Zohny, twin brother of rocker Johnny Hallyday and others not yet disclosed.

The entrepreneur has baptised the incumbent president Zarkface, a reference to the 1983 Holllywood film Scarface starring Al Pacino as Tony Montana the Cuban refugee and main protagonist.

In his launch figurines Bastien Rochard lampoons the well-publicised foibles of  both contenders. His Zarkface miniature depicts the bling-bling accessories for which the president is widely lambasted: Rolex, Ray-Bans, platform heels, and for added rhetorical emphasis, he has stuffed his pockets with banknotes.

Socialist Superman's Red Rose Symbol

The chief challenger François Hollande becomes Zollandman, draped in a Superman cape, bearing a large pink party rose on his shoulders and unkindly depicted in his rotund and overweight former Monsieur Flanby persona (the caramel pudding reminiscent of his flaccid politics) and the one his image makers sweated so hard to change with a dramatic and largely successful dieting and exercise regime.

Both candidate-figurines come equipped with an election placard bearing examples of some of their more infamous soundbites: “CaZe toi povcon ” for Zarkface and ” 75 dans teZ dents ” for  Zollandman.  The ‘Z’ mark is PopilZ’s brand which, ambitiously, aims to become as ubiquitous as the Lacoste crocodile. Ironically given the context of much of the anti- globalisation debate during the first round of the election, Rochard’s figurines are made in China and were reportedly delivered late!

However Rochard insists: “They are not crude caricatures, but are aimed at the collectors market with a limited edition of a 1,000 copies for each character.” Rochard has turned primarily to social networks (like Facebook and Twitter) to promote his 24.90 euro product which he sells exclusively through the Internet.

The two "Zeds" lineup waiting for buyers

The cheeky chappy who has seized a rare presidential lampooning market opportunity to achieve notoriety, does not intend to stop there however and says the Popilz family will grow.  In June he plans to launch a series of eight different figures “none of whom will be politicians “.

The video clip above shows POPILZ’s special 2012 election edition of Zarkface and Zollandman, the first two figurines in what the company hopes will become a large collection. Buy them on the website.

Story: Ken Pottinger


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4 Responses to Zarkface and Zollandman in Limited Editions

  1. S T Vaughan May 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    President Sarkozy was one of the first world leaders to take positive action against Colonel Gaddafi so isn’t it ironic that the people who Sarkozy helped get rid of a tyrant are the first to hand over documents linking him to a £40 million election bung? You have to wonder who else has had financial aid from the (dead) mad Colonel and if the the new transitional council is setting the record straight or just trying to pull in a few favours. It does look like Sarko has some very embarrassing questions to answer and I wonder who might be next?
    S T Vaughan
    Birmingham b14 4ea

  2. Harry Million May 7, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Well done. The French have done the best thing since 1945 get the Germans out they are only looking after themselves why support a country that is only looking after themselves. France can spend what they like and the Euro will back them up like Spain Portugal and Ireland. If you cannot remain in the Euro leave with NO cost leave Germany to pay for every Country leaving the Euro. Another Thank You from England
    Harry Birmingham B45 8DP

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