We have to go back to February to understand the Pumba phenomenon. Pumba is this brown ram rabbit who wanders the alleys of the Truffaut de Montparnasse, in the fourteenth arrondissement of Paris, to the point of being part of the team of the gardening store. This winter, Océane, animal handler at Truffaut, receives a new arrival of rabbits. And the little ball of hair of 3 months immediately stood out. "Even with the other rabbits, he was always looking for human contact, it was obvious to us that he became a member of the team," adds Benoît Jarrot-Tyrode, director of the brand.
"Every time I opened the cubicles, he was the first to go out and ask for hugs. He was not afraid, it's rare, "abounds Oceane. The animal keeper, who has the opportunity to bring her own rabbits to her workplace during her days off, "to allow customers to meet them in real life and to be aware of it", quickly had the idea of mixing the rabbit with the dance. "I thought, why not leave Pumba on the shelves?" First involved with the store team in the offices, he gradually heads into the aisles of the store. Four months later, he made it his domain.
"Everything is designed for his well-being"
"At the opening, he walks around the shelves. Between 12 p.m. and 15 p.m., he returned to our offices because the crowd is stronger, "says Océane, who has become the mascot's referent. "He has a special attachment to me and often makes markings: he rubs on me," she says.
As the director says, "everything is designed for his well-being". Pumba is free to wander around the 1,000 m2 store. He has two cages in air-conditioned offices to rest during the day and sleep at night. "He has a bowl, water and a litter box available. If he doesn't do it, we pick up right away," smiles Benoît Jarrot-Tyrode.
Pumba has two cages in the offices of the Truffaut store to rest. LP/Emma Forton
Like other animals, Pumba is "chipped, vaccinated and sterilized, and all harmful plants have been put up to the top," says the store manager. At the entrance, a sign has been installed to "warn customers" and avoid malicious behavior. The rabbit also wears a harness to "educate it and be worn quickly in case of problems".
The star of Truffaut quickly acclimatized to this environment. "The store is his home, he does what he wants. He understood where the exits were and always turned around. He is looking for me because he needs attention, explains Océane. Just call him and open the door for him to enter the office, "continues the young woman, devoted to this funny colleague "endearing and playful."
"It brings joy"
Positive feedback is pouring in, especially from those who work with him on a daily basis. "It changes the working atmosphere and brings joy," says Raphaella, a Truffaut employee. And the small notoriety that the animal has garnered on social networks also brings in new customers. "I saw it on Twitter," says Salome, who is visiting the store for the first time. "We reserved this moment to see him, he's too cute," continues his friend Angéla.
Cleo looks at Pumba with wonder. "Usually, we see them behind the gates of their cage. It's very positive and it feels good! They take care of it," he enthuses.
I squeak it's too pic.twitter.com/yDyfQ7gy0D
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Beyond the good mood provided, it is "an educational approach to families on what a rabbit is and what a rabbit implies," adds the director. In store, customers are delighted and benevolent. And the small attraction on legs "socializes the youngest," observes Athena, a customer.
On social networks, Internet users are a little more moved by the fate of the rabbit. "A zinzin marketing technique," says one of them. But for the director of Truffaut, Pumba "has never been a marketing object but love at first sight", proof is that he has never communicated about the animal. And since Pumba is a star apart, the store does not intend to replicate the initiative to let other animals frolic on its shelves in the future.