Thursday, December 15, 2011

A-Z | Olympic Mascots

As we look forward to London hosting the 2012 Olympics we thought we would take a brief look at the history of the Olympic Mascot. Since the first mascot, Waldi, made its appearance at the 1972 Munich games, the mascot has played an important marketing role as well as trying  to reflect the personally and culture of the host city and country. 

Earlier this year London announced Wenlock, the Olympic mascot and Mandeville, the Paralympic mascot, to the world. These two digital-age characters were created from the last two drops of British steel which was used in the construction of the Olympic Stadium. The Wenlock & Mandeville merchandising has been growing and though there has been some negative press towards these little characters, ultimately they will service the purpose to promote the games.

If some people were baffled by Wenlock and Mandeville, remember the 1996 Atlanta mascot  Izzy, which no one seemed to know what exactly Izzy was! Though to be fair Los Angeles had already used Sam the Eagle in 1984.

Traditionally the mascot as been based on some loveable little creature native to the host city as with Canada in 1976 with Amik, the beaver, who symbolised hard work. Moscow was represented by Misha the bear in 1980 and Hodori the tiger leaped into life for Seoul in 1988. 

One of the most loved mascots was Cobi from the 1992 games in Barcelona. The simple line drawn little dog character was created by Valencian artist Javier Mariscal and has stood the test of time. It is worth noting when first launched Cobi was met with derision by some before winning the public over.

Multiple characters started to appear by Sydney 2000 with three animal characters, Olly, Syd and Millie representing earth, air and water. Then Athena and Phevos, based on thousand year old dolls, held hands of Greece. While eight years later Beijing went mascot crazy with five Fuwa "good-luck" dolls to promote their games. 

Loved them or hate them by next  summer we will all be wearing, eating and drinking Wenlock and Mandeville branded products while enjoying the games.

1 comment:

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