The Smurfs saved Juzcar. The tiny village on Spain’s southern sierra had been largely bought out by Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi, who planned to develop the area into golf-courts and resorts. The Arab Spring deep-sixed that possibility, so the townsfolk changed up their business strategy.
Last year, Sony Pictures swooped in and wanted to promote their new film, The Smurfs. They convinced the locals to paint all the white-washed buildings blue. When the time came to paint the buildings back, residents dressed as smurfs stormed a referendum and voted 141 in favour and 33 against to remain the world’s only Smurf village.
The mayor instigated “smurf” theme in every aspect of their tourism marketing. The plan worked, and they now receive thousands of visitors a week.
The Global Mail reports: “Thriving Juzcar is a quirky model of globalisation, squeezing everything it can from a Belgian cartoon phenomenon described as ‘kiddie cocaine’ and launched into commercial overdrive by a Japanese entertainment giant out of Hollywood.”