Perhaps given the furore surrounding the ill fated launch of the London 2012 logo, it was unsurprising to see that the mascots (two of them!) for the London Olympic Games were launched in a fairly low key way. I did find it a little bit weird to see the covers whipped off them on The One Show by Christine Bleakley, but on balance the tone of it was about right: populist and accessible.
But what about the mascots themselves?
As you would expect, there has been a lot of column inches expended on the shiny new characters and from what I can see, most of it is fairly positive. LOCOG (the people in charge of this aspect of the Games) have played it safe and who can blame them. I’ve been in meetings with them long after the dust had settled on the logo debacle and they still bear the emotional scars from it.
I remember seeing the ‘invitation to tender’ for the mascot (yes, that’s how these things work unfortunately) and I turned it down as I thought it would be a poisoned chalice for whoever gets the work. London agency Iris must have been around the block a few times before they came up with the chrome-clad duo and I bet they can tell a tale or two about it.
I was searching for a blistering personal opinion on the mascots and to be honest, I couldn’t find one. Which is good and bad. Good in that LOCOG haven’t dropped the ball and the launch of the mascots has gone relatively well and they have avoided another media catastrophe, bad in the sense that the mascots are a little bit dull I’m afraid.
Of course, they’re of their time and I quite liked the back story to the characters (although it’s a little bit overcooked) and I’m sure that the target audience for the mascot will certainly not be someone of my age. I think the digitally created mascots look up to the minute and modern and the animations look particularly good but the live action suited characters definitely look this side of iffy (but don’t they all).
In the pantheon of Olympic mascots, they’re certainly up near the top of a pretty dire and forgettable list. With still two years to go before the actual Games themselves, the mascots have got some time to get ‘bedded in’. Who knows, by the time the flame is lit and we’re all delirious with nationalistic pride, Wenlock and Mandeville might be as close to our collective British hearts as Cheryl Cole and Gazza.