Squid Game robot doll replica appears in shopping mall

What better way to promote a new TV show than scaring unsuspecting passers-by?

In a marketing stunt for the Korean thriller “Squid Game,” which went viral worldwide, Netflix installed a replica of the giant animatronic doll that appears in Episode 1 at the Robinsons Galleria Mall in Quezon City, in the Phillippines.

On the show, hundreds of indebted contestants are mysteriously gathered to participate in children’s games for a huge cash prize – but with literally life and death consequences. The first game is “red light, green light”, supervised by the robotic doll, which explains that any competitor whose movement is detected after the light turns red will be “eliminated”. As is quickly revealed, this means that they will immediately be slaughtered and killed.

The replica of the Manila Area Mall doll watches a crosswalk to catch walkers, chanting the show’s eerie song “Red Light, Green Light, 1-2-3”.

If a pedestrian tries to cross against the “don’t walk” red light, she rotates her head and flashes red LED eyes to identify the culprit. Ouch.

Here is a video tweet from Netflix Philippines showing the creepy 10ft doll in action:

Since its premiere on September 17, the violent K-drama has taken the world by storm. “Squid Game” has consistently ranked number one in series titles in countries around the world, according to Netflix. This week, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the show has a very good chance of becoming the streamer’s biggest show (and will certainly be the most popular non-English original series).

“We didn’t see that coming, in terms of global popularity,” Sarandos told Vox Media’s Code conference Monday. To date, the most viewed Netflix original TV show in its first 28 days of release is “Bridgerton”.

The show’s mania seems particularly acute in South Korea, where broadband provider SK Broadband sued Netflix on Friday – seeking to recoup higher network costs – for a 24-fold increase in traffic from May 2018 to September. 2021, citing in part the success of “Squid Game,” Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, the real doll created for “Squid Game” was spotted – with a missing hand – at the Jincheon Carriage Museum Adventure Village in North Chungcheong Province, South Korea. But the museum has since stored the doll.

Series creator and director Hwang Dong-hyuk said Variety he first conceived the idea for “Squid Game” in 2008 as a movie. But Korean studios moved on because of his ultraviolet themes, and he went on to create several blockbuster films before he could revisit the project about 10 years later.

“When I started [writing ‘Squid Game’]I was in dire financial straits myself and spent a lot of time in cafes reading comics, including “Battle Royale” and “Liar Game,” Hwang said. “I came to wonder how I would feel if I participated in the games myself. But I found the games to be too complex, and for my own work I instead focused on using children’s games.

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Peggy P. Gilmore