A fox with turquoise fur to match the logo of Swiss Bank Corporation – that’s how Topsy’s story began 30 years ago. Anyone who opened an account for a child from 1989 onwards received a cuddly toy and a money box. 10,000 cuddly foxes were produced and distributed. Children’s eyes lit up all the more when they were able to meet and hug Topsy in human size at events.
The Union Bank of Switzerland was also represented by an animal mascot who helped children save money, which is still considered a Swiss design icon today: Esmeralda the owl and her son Sebastian in the shape of a wooden money box.
The red Topsy emerges
After the merger between the two banks, it became clear that the children’s program should continue. Daniela Capaul-Zoppi was part of the project team in 1998 and remembers: “Market research showed that both animals were perceived as very likable. That’s why we rejected the idea of designing a new mascot. However, the children interviewed found the idea of making the two animals become friends to be a strange suggestion. That’s when we realized that one of the animals had to win the race. And Topsy came out just on top.”
Topsy got a new fur coat: from now on he was bright red – to match the UBS logo. In addition to coloring pages and gadgets, even the money boxes regularly featured a brand new design. Sometimes Topsy was made of wood, and sometimes he had a treasure chest instead of a money bag.
Topsy’s world was always growing: in 2012 he moved into his own 3D world with his friends Sophie Squirrel, Barry Badger and Willie Woodpecker, who joined him shortly after the merger.
Thanks to lovingly created computer animations, the animals now seemed even more alive. The friends enjoy a variety of new adventures in short films, coloring pages, audio stories and games. Topsy also regularly inspires children with his handicrafts.
Making children happy for 30 years
And even today, little ones can still meet their beloved Topsy in person, as fox costumes have now also been made in red. UBS employees still put on Topsy costumes at events such as the UBS Kids Cup.
Sabrina Tautscher, client advisor and team leader, is in contact with Topsy fans on a daily basis. At the counter of the UBS Bellevue branch in Zurich, she repeatedly encounters children who have come to pay in their savings and receive a gift from Topsy’s world in return. “I remember a boy who cried bitterly,” Sabrina Tautscher recalls. “He had paid in his savings and was really looking forward to receiving one of the Topsy disc sleds we were offering all our little clients at the time. Unfortunately, all the sleds had already gone due to the high demand. Fortunately we were able to cheer him up again with a Topsy umbrella, and we gave him a disc sled later, as soon as the next order arrived. Then all was right with the world again!”
Topsy has been making clients of all ages happy for 30 years. Countless children have learned a great deal about how to handle money from him – and discovered the wonders of the world with him by their side.
We wish you a very happy birthday, Topsy! And look forward to many more adventures!