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Saturday, March 20, 1999 Published at 08:20 GMT


Flat Eric's cruise to the top

Flat Eric: The first yellow glove puppet to make it to number one?

Flat Eric, the cult yellow puppet who has been a big success with TV viewers in the latest Levi's commercials, is set to take the pop charts by storm.

The dance track Flat Beat, which the mute fluffy creature is seen nodding along to in the surreal ads, is being released on Monday by Quentin Dupieux - alias Mr Oizo.

The thumping single is virtually guaranteed to crash into the charts at number one after huge orders from record stores.

Speaking to the British music press, the 24-year-old Frenchman said: "It's strange. I am a bit surprised but, you know, something happened, and I think the puppet is what everybody likes."

[ image: Hero of the clubbing generation]
Hero of the clubbing generation
And if the cool yellow critter looks ever so slightly reminiscent of Kermit the Frog, that's because he was made by Jim Henson's Creatureshop - the home of the Muppets.

Dupiex addded: "When you like the puppet, you obviously like the music - because the puppet is really part of the music and the music is part of the puppet. If you know what I mean."

But if Flat Eric looks like the latest in a long line of characters from Roland Rat to the Smurfs, to have made it in the pop world, chart expert Jason Legg sees this fluffy yellow creature is something of an exception.

"Most of the previous characters which have enjoyed chart hits have appealed to a very young audience and are children's television characters.

"Flat Eric is really aimed at an entirely different age group - the clubbing generation."

Quentin Dupieux was discovered by international techno DJ Laurent Garnier, when he bought a car from Dupiex's father.

Garnier promptly signed up Dupieux to produce the video for his 1997 single Crispy Bacon.

Marketing manager's dream

The multi-talented music-maker/director is also a master of the short film, scooping two awards last week from the British Television Academy, the advertising industry's Oscars.

It certainly looks like Flat Eric is a marketing manager's dream.

Simon Winter of the HMV retail chain said: "We've been inundated with enquiries from people all over the country saying they are desperate to get hold of merchandise, T-shirts or anything.

"It's the biggest merchandising opportunity since South Park, which was our biggest seller last year."

Despite being released on the same day as teen sensation Billie's new tune Honey To The B, it seems a safe bet to expect the yellow puppet to be nestling into the number one spot first thing next week.

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