Monday, June 7, 2010
Cilla: London 2012 mascots
Wenlock and Mandeville the official 2012 London Olympics mascots are not cuddly or cute, but steely, strapping and genderless. The Mascots have cameras for eyes, taxi headlights, and Wenlock has friendship bracelets in the colour of Olympic rings whereas Mandeville has a pink stopwatch which symbolises that you can always do better.
Do I like these mascots? No not really, what I see is some weird science-fiction creature made of metal and decorated in techicolour. Personally I don't feel that they do not represent the United Kingdom or the Olympics, I know that we are from a technological era however the olympics is all about the human race. The olympians are all expected to complete their chosen sport using physical an mental strength, not technology we use that to measure and document it.
While researching the mascots I stumbled onto the London 2012 website and watched the short 4 minute film that has been created to explain the mascot. Wenlock and Mandeville are animations depicting two drops of steel from a steelworks in Bolton. They are named after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock, which held a forerunner of the current Olympic Games, and Stoke Mandeville, a village in Buckinghamshire where the Paralympic Games were first held.
Although they have a well thought out story it hasn't really changed my mind, it has softened and I have a better understanding of their characters however, if I had never seen the video I would not have worked this out myself. I think Trafalgar the pigeon (an entry in the guardian: London 2012 Olympics: your mascot designs) makes a better mascot than Wenlock and Mandeville, but thats my opinion.
The designers have advised that they took their cue from the children (target market 5-15 years) they interviewed during their 18-month creative process. Children, they said, are more comfortable than many adults with inanimate, virtual characters serving as vehicles for telling a tale, real or imagined. “The one thing that came out of our research with children is they weren’t looking for a cuddly toy or something human, but for something rooted in a very good story,” Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the organizing committee, said in a phone interview.
My personal favorite Olympic mascots were the Fuwa from the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Carrying a message of friendship & peace and good wishes from China to children all over the world. They were designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, and also embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals, the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow and the Olympic Flame.
Each of Fuwa has a rhyming two syllable name, a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow. When you put their names together "Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni" they say "Welcome to Beijing," offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of Fuwa as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.
Fuwa also embody both the landscape and the dreams and aspirations of people from every part of the vast country of China. In their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky all stylistically rendered in ways that represent the deep traditional influences of Chinese folk art and ornamentation.
They get my vote, they look like their from Beijing and tell a better story.