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London 2012 mascots - an update

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Roger Mosey | 15:42 UK time, Thursday, 20 May 2010

When I started this blog getting on for a year ago I thought it wouldn't get really busy in terms of visits to the page and comments until we got close to 2012. I obviously didn't factor in mascots and their launch live on the BBC yesterday. So many thanks to everyone who's taken part in the discussions, and I thought it might be best to post a quick update here to avoid it being buried in the deluge.

Obvious statement of fact: views are polarised. Somebody emailed me direct to say that the number of comments reflects unhappiness with the mascots, and I don't think that necessarily follows. So, a bit pretentiously I admit, I emailed him back to say it might reflect Oscar Wilde: "the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."

He promptly replied:

"Wilde also said 'I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.' He wouldn't have been satisfied with Mandeville and Wenlock."

mascot_afp595.jpgLondon 2012 mascots Wenlock and Mandeville

So for people like him, and for the other critics, I asked our colleagues over at LOCOG for a response to the people who haven't warmed to the mascots, and they say:

"Over time, as the story of Wenlock and Mandeville develops and people have the chance to personalise and play with them, we are confident that they will become popular faces of our Games and, most importantly, encourage young people the world over to choose Olympic and Paralympic sports."

And I think there are interesting points there. First, young people seem to have different views to older people about the mascots - as many of you have said and as you can see in some of the responses over on CBBC. Second, this is a long game - and, as the organisers were saying at the launch last night, the overall success of London 2012 will be judged when the Games are over and not now.

The other thing that struck me about reading your comments is that there are different levels of seriousness of reaction. To some people, they're just mascots and a bit of fun.

To others, they represent something deeper about national identity and the way the United Kingdom is representing itself to the world - and there's no real way of reconciling that.

My own view is that humour is one of the things that distinguishes Britain as a nation, which is why I enjoyed the humorous points some people made - and broadcast items like Steve Smith's witty film on Newsnight.

But there's no doubt that Olympic mascots are a global phenomenon, and it's been fascinating looking at the world reaction too - with a particularly tart response from Canada, still smarting from British criticism of Vancouver. You can read some of the comments, in addition to the people on this blog who've declared themselves as Canadians here, here and here.

Clearly now, the debate about Wenlock and Mandeville will continue as they set out on their journey from Bolton to London. It's also apparent from the stir already that the London Olympics will be the most-discussed event on the planet - a phenomenon of the digital age we live in with all the opportunities to comment, discuss and interact.

It's a privilege for us at the BBC to host much of that debate, and we're looking forward to plenty more vigorous exchanges between now and the closing ceremony in 2012.


  • Comment number 1.

    I think the criticisms are misplaced. Basically the visual style inherent in these two characters is entirely in keeping with what a new generation of kids expects to see. Do any of the critics really think that (to pick an example) any of the world cup mascots of the past have stood the test of time particularly well? It's a transient thing that reflects the time and is forgotten next year. No-one is suggesting that these things are the establishment of a new Mickey Mouse or something. On the other hand, I suppose you can always find someone who'd like a higher profile by criticising them and thus demonstrating how superior his/her own skills and tastes are.

  • Comment number 2.

    Is it just me? Do other people think Wenlock looks angry?

  • Comment number 3.

    Look, I think the names of the mascots are great. They sound very odd and make you ask what on earth they refer to and then you go look it up, and you actually learn something. (At least, that was my experience.)

    I also have no objection to them not being cuddly - though I find it hard to believe that kids (or kids at heart) have suddenly lost their taste for cuddliness. And why can't a cuddly mascot have a backstory? Has anyone done a study of money made from mascots? How did Ciao (Italia 90's rather angular mascot) do?

    For the record, I think these two critters could be made into reasonable plushies. But... good lord, did they have to look like a one-eyed snake? Did no-one at the organizing committee even think of the whole - um - better not say anything that could get this comment banned - trousers allusion? How many people were in the focus groups on which these mascots were (hopefully) tested? Were all the focus groups made of innocent kids who don't watch Animal Planet?

    Also, the organizers may have shot themselves in the foot by not giving the mascots a mouth and thus rendering them mute. (The Hello Kitty makers lost millions in talking-media revenue because she didn't have a mouth.)

    At some level, I do feel sorry for the organizers - they spend millions on the logo and get slammed. They spend a few thousand on the mascots and get slammed. Still, I aint *that* sorry - they seem to be listening too much to 'experts' (the kinds of experts who award Turner prizes) and not trusting their own common sense.

  • Comment number 4.

    Wow, finally. A worse set of Olympic mascots than Izzy in '96! And this is coming from an Atlanta native.

  • Comment number 5.

    Gosh a British sense of humour is going to be a requirement for every citizen of the world if our Olympic organisers continue to embrace this kind of patronising, cretinous infantilism!

    First we witness lumbering 'hands in pockets' Boris and 'football on top of a bus' Beckham kicking off in Beijing, the 'London Bus' and 'umbrella' handing over ceremony! Amateur dramatics gone crazy with the fake grass and cheap costumes. Then we had the Nazi insignia in the Logo - but with a twist of pink! Now we got the mascots from a child's nightmare! One eyed?? No faces?? How odd and strange - I'm not sure this constitutes or reflects British humour! I am not laughing and I am sure the rest of the world is not either! Oh dear - After 2012 will the British living abroad by denying their nationality out of total embarrassment?

  • Comment number 6.

    Wenlock and Mandeville are ok! - And a gentle way of reminding us of the origins of the Games. I think they are amusing and will appeal to kids - especially the gogo and Ben 10 generation - and will lend themselves to some quite original, sleek, stylish and durable metallic versions, as well as the usual soft toys. There is one way I regret the story misses a trick: why are Grandpa George's grandchildren both BOYS? - this is a pity, but I suppose Mr Morpurgo had to have author's licence.....
    PS - Let's see how they grow: There was so much criticism of the logos when they were launched, and I didn't like them much either, but now I instantly recognise them and what they stand for wherever they appear.

  • Comment number 7.

    The mascots are made to appeal to the young, if they are drawn to the mascots (which I think they will be as they are quirky and different) then they will be drawn to the Olympics and so on. A cuddly lion or bulldog would have just been another animal. Would you expect to see a middle aged man/woman walking down the street with a t-shirt of the mascot on? Probably not. A child? Yes.

    These have a bit of story behind them and thus I think they are quite innovative and will be a success for the short lifespan that a mascot has. Couldn't remember the Athens or Beijing ones. People are right - the mascots are supposed to be a bit of fun and Wenlock and Mandeville are exactly that.

  • Comment number 8.

    I think Wenlock looks like a bottle opener. I don't mind them, I have seen worse.

  • Comment number 9.

    Mascots have a long tradition in Olympics: The first mascot has been th dachshund "Waldi" at the Munich 1972 Summer Olympics in bright colours - I like this on better than the two spacy London figures for the following reasons:
    The crucial task about a mascot is to build up an emotional bridge - this doesn´t work here because the most important piece, the face, looks like a white screen with a lost point on it - somehow "empty", whereas the rest of the body looks - in contrast to this - overdesigned by a glitchy and (too?) sparkling surface with to much graphic and varoius elements on it - for example the "edgy" logo.
    Their general look is very artificial and I would prefer a more natural look.
    Ok - the mascots fall into the category "abstract" - like the mascot form the Italian world football championships in 1990 that looked like a very cool design object.
    The other thing is the splitting up in a couple - I would prefer the single solution because it can easier be recognised.
    Therefore I reject the mascots.

  • Comment number 10.

    The only thing I hate about them is the eyes. They look angry. The designers should have given them two eyes, so that they show emotion better.

  • Comment number 11.

    In response to the comment above by gabadab - the two grandchildren are not both boys, one is very clearly a girl - I don't know any boys with wiast length pigtails!!!

    My two daughters (9 and 11) think they are great. They commented that they were really cute and looked just like Gogos and the 9 year old wants one for christmas!

    I also think they look great - sleek and modern. I like the names too. The kids tell me the single eye is supposed to represent the camera lens.

  • Comment number 12.

    The problem with these mascots is not how they look. Yes, they look like they would vibrate if you added batteries. And yes, the unblinking cyclops is about as charming as a surveillance camera. What I see as the problem is that their imagery suggests that they are expressionless and utterly devoid of personality, yet they are supposed to have online personas (Twitter, Facebook) where they can truly express themselves. Wenlock and Mandeville are going to be mercilessly tormented online by the very kids that they are out to charm. Wonder how many phallic jokes these poor mascots will have to hear in one day.

  • Comment number 13.

    I kind of like them but I Think maybe they should have done something a bit more British apart from saying they're made from Bolton Steel.

    Maybe bring World Cup Willie back?

  • Comment number 14.

    I would prefer to focus on the Canadian reaction. It's interesting how they feel they can turn against the entire British/English nation because of some pathetic mascots. They appear to think we were all taking the michael out of their Olympics; personally I'd loved the Olympics, but it's sad that many in the country can't fail to see past their blind patriotism and listen to the analysis. And I thought Canada was different from the United States...

    And on the mascots, they're a disgrace. They may be aimed at children, but children make up such a small percentage of the world population, and Olympic viewers, that it shouldn't matter whether it appeals to them or not. What's the harm with having an Olympic lion or something similar? As long as its an animal, and in some cuddly, many children are going to be swayed, and we can be saved the humiliation aimed at us from around the world.

  • Comment number 15.

    As someone who detests the awful logo, I have to say that I don't actually mind the mascots. I'm not going to say that I've fallen head over heels in love with them, but the sense of disgust and embarrassment that I felt when the logo was unveiled is definitely absent this time around. I can see the point in these mascots and they do seem to represent a shiny and futuristic vision. So yes. I'm in favour of the mascots, but not the logo that they're sporting.

  • Comment number 16.

    If you ask me, these characters are pretty cool. We all seem to forget that it doesnt even matter what the adults think. Its not up to us, they are for children, and as for those comparing the mascots to Monsters Inc., I would like to point out that the film just happens to be one of the most popular films of the decade.

    Just because we as adults do not like it, it doesnt mean kids will not. And when I say kids, I mean kids. Children up to the age of 10. After that, you dont care anymore for such thing so much, as puberty developes. MASCOTS ARE NEVER AIMED AT ANYONE ELSE. Don't start speaking for your child, or telling them it looks bad, because this denies them their freedom to enjoy it, and ultimately as a nation WE are bringing down the entire feel of the Olympics. Its about time we stopped complaining about things and back our nation. Its not the mascots making it a laughing stock, its us.

  • Comment number 17.

    Mduchezeau in #14: the UK-Canada thing is a fascinating example of the news cycle in the digital age. What happened was pretty simple: some UK journalists wrote opinion pieces about the Vancouver Games during the early days when there were glitches - as they were perfectly entitled to do. These were then picked up by the Canadian media in a kind-of "Britain attacks Canada" way. Some Canadian domestic media then piled in also criticising the organisation of Vancouver - before in the end columnists the world over, including Britain, agreed it had all worked out pretty well and they were very good Winter Olympics. But that will clearly still be an undercurrent for London 2012. (Though we should note that Seb Coe and LOCOG went out of their way to say Vancouver had been a major success.)

    On the mascots and their eyes: purpleali in #11 is right that they're supposed to represent a camera lens. My understanding is that the focus groups did in some cases ask whether there could be two eyes per mascot, but when they were shown a re-design they liked the original.

    Nice to hear from KCRWreck from Atlanta in #4. Personally I prefer Izzy to the Greek mascots in 2004.

    Elsquirrel in #2 and Josh in #10: maybe Wenlock's just angry because he's heard what some people are saying about him?

    And mukmuk in #12: one of your lines made me laugh out loud, but probably shouldn't have...

  • Comment number 18.

    Surprised how negative the comments on here have been.

    Personally, I LOVE them.

    There seems to have been a good amount of thought to the back story (children are enjoying the cartoon by all accounts) and I think the design is great: new and interesting and different.

    Would have hated the bog-standard Lion or whatever these things normally are. Whoever wears the suits has a big job in bringing out some personality at the Games though - have a look at Berlingo on how to do that.

  • Comment number 19.

    Frankly, I can't believe the fuss, I really don't care about them. I don't remember any of the previous mascots of the games so I'm sure these two will fade into obsurity along with the rest. I watch the games for the sport not the accompanying circus act.

  • Comment number 20.

    @ no 3: I liked Ciao :-(

  • Comment number 21.

    I was slightly disappointed at first, but when I saw the cartoon story and realised what the thought was, they began to grow on me, and I think they are perfectly acceptable.

    There were lots of comments demanding lions or bulldogs but these are modern and original.

    The fact is - it is 2 years to the Olympics, most mascots you only see for the month or two around the event, these have the opportunity to grow and evolve into part of the olymics - they aren't supposed to be the focus, the athletes are, but they will provoke interest from kids etc who wouldn't normally be that bothered about the olympics.

  • Comment number 22.

    Are the characters based on Jack Woodlock? I say this due to the uncanny eye resemblance!

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm an oldie and I think the mascots are simply brilliant. They are real, meaningful, relevant and will set the standards for mascots of the future. They will have the ability to pull the ideals of the olympics for all the copmeting nations not just the host country. (Are you listening Canada?) A small example of the well researched and inspired thining is using the olympic rings as friendship bracelets. Simple and effective

    Well done LOCOG

  • Comment number 24.

    I personally love the mascots (42). The logo annoyed me, but to be honest I've got used to it and anything furry and animalesque (lion, bulldog) would have seemed a retraction of the interactive idea of the logo.

    My son, aged 9, loves them already and instantly said ... I want one, they look like GoGos! He will be 11 at the time of the London Olympics and will be therefore prime TV audience for the exciting stuff, like the 100m, hurdles, rowing, even football.

    I love the fact that I've been able to explain to him what the names Wenlock and Mandeville meant to the Olympic moevment. Which led me to tell him who Baron Pierre DeCoubertin was and what they do at Stoke Mandeville. All good knowledge for him. Would a bulldog/lion have given us the same discussion? I think not!

  • Comment number 25.

    They look pretty good, but as toys they'll lose sales to all the unofficial bears, lions and dogs that will be out there (I worked on the merchandise for Manchester Commonwealth Games so I know this from experience). So everyone except the actual organisers will be raking it in. I guess that's the British way!

  • Comment number 26.

    I am a dual UK/US citizen and so i know that the only person who thinks you Brits are funny is the Brits themselves. These mascots represent nothing of what makes Britain as it is, unless you count the complete stupidity of their design reminding the rest of the world how Britain is fading fast as any kind of powerhouse. England teams wear three lions on their shirts, just think how great it would have been to have a lion as a mascot, showing courage, passion, and a desire to win, not be laughed at.

  • Comment number 27.

    A waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere instead of to a Ad Agency and a cynical attempt to make more

  • Comment number 28.

    The basic parts of these character designs involve a BASIC psychological reasoning and effects to the viewers. SMALL iris in the eye is a common knowledge that the character is ANGRY, RESTLESS, STRESSED, AGITATED as well as under the influence of an illegal substance. Hence, cartoon characters always have these big eyes and big iris to make it more friendly, approachable and pleasant to be around with. Trust me, I'm an illustrator.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    I think the mascots look quite funky, I can see my 4 year old nephew loving them, particually if they star on tv or something like that. And I even quite like the actual logo itself

  • Comment number 31.

    I quite like them, actually. Using characters based on blobs of steel from a factory is entirely representative of the industrial heritage that is a major contributor of forging the Britain we live in today, much more so than a lion, which is a) a primarily English symbol and b) has nothing to do with Britain seeing as there are no lions here (except in zoos, and they don't really count).

  • Comment number 32.

    My buddy Sauron approves of the mascots.

  • Comment number 33.

    While the mascots are a joke, I think the logo's alright.

    But what I like best of all the things the Olympic designers have come up with are the red-blue motifs for the various sporting disciplines. Those do evoke 'flow' quite nicely.

  • Comment number 34.

    Why could they not keep it simple?

    I've heard these mascots have got to make back a lot of money in merchandising, so why did they not get four lions who represent, Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland and call them the Pride of The United Kingdom, it works on the double meaning of pride.

    Then kids are whoever can collect all 4 to have a complete set.

    A lot of the Olympic events happen to have 4 member teams and the animation could be quite amusing with the interplay of the 4 lions.

    Even certain fast food outlets could give away free lion related gifts for people to collect complete sets.

    If it really is a case of maximising merchandise then completing sets of things get people spending money, it works for films and books, where people will go and watch, buy, collect successful franchises, I just can't believe we're stuck with these two.

    Some of the little details such as the olympic rings as friendship bracelets are nice, but these could have been incorporated on the Lions.

    I work in marketing and our who department thinks these things are terrible

  • Comment number 35.

    Very poor mascots - without personality. Almost all living creatures have two eyes and it is always through the eyes that we can tell someone's emotions, character and attitude. These mascots are blank. I find it hard to imagine that we will ever relate to these. I think a big (and costly) mistake

  • Comment number 36.

    I like the names, as they will remind others that Much Wenlock revived the olympics and the good work that mandeville does. However shouldn't they be male and female? and if one is meant to represent the paralympics why do they both look able bodied?

    They will probably fair better as cartoons in a virtual world than any attempt to make 3D images of them in the real world. Unless of course they are cast in metal / chrome as a car mascot or badge?

    And why the fixation with children?, the olympics are for ALL of us.

    While the mascots may be transitory, as a nation we do have a right to expect something of this magnitude that represents ALL of US on a global scale, to be well though out and not just based on a bunch of arty egotists views on what might potentially appeal to kids.

  • Comment number 37.

    these look like a rip-off of the current playground craze - go-gos

  • Comment number 38.

    I think the best mascot for any major world competition for me is Footix, the french mascot for the world cup in 1998. I think these mascots will stand the test of time and will appeal to the next generation of kids. For those reasons, I think they will be a success. I'd be interested to see what people actually expected, and what the general public would prefer to see?

  • Comment number 39.

    what exactly do people want these mascots to look like. a bloody bulldog wearing a trillby, or a lion wearing a snappy waistcoast with a monocle both sitting down to enjoy a cup of tea and a crumpet. get a grip. they are meant to represent MODERN britain. yes some people don't like them but they are missing the point. they are not there to be liked by adults. they are there to interest children in the olympics. so i don't think it is fair to label them as a disaster just yet, however from what i have read on hear about people with young relatives, they seem to like them, and personally i think they look quite good, so i think that they are on course to be a big hit with the younger audience

  • Comment number 40.

    I think these mascots are a bit of a joke, aliens?? Seriously? One eye and no mouth to do some cheering?? I think the designers need their heads read.

    Just look at how popular and how amazingly well Berlino the Bear did. He was simple, so effective and adored by millions.

    We should have something like LORD RON the LION! Simple, patriotic as such etc etc. Come on people!

  • Comment number 41.

    Everytime i mention the revealing of a one eyed monster, people tend to run away. ;)

  • Comment number 42.

    Have just looked at the Canadian reaction to the mascots - absolutely hilarious! I was in stitches, but only because I'd rather laugh than cry about them.

    I get the fact that they're meant to be different from the norm, and that they're meant to be fully interactive so as to keep up with the times, etc. but surely there's a limit? To make a mascot and a logo is to create a symbolic image before the games have started, which people do actually judge, so to have made the shambolic logo and a set of pretty awful mascots, both of which could be better had a kid had a pad and a set of crayons, is not really the right message we want to send acrosss. The games have become a laughing stock years before they've even begun!

    Why not just stick to the formula for a change? The formula works!

  • Comment number 43.

    When the children I teach had a look at the characters it took them 5 minutes to compose themselves ready for the lesson. They thought the angry-looking one (Wenlock, I believe) particularly unappealing. They wanted something cuter - this from a class of 12- to 13-year-old boys.

  • Comment number 44.

    Here's a point I've only just thought of.
    Kids are loving Sci-Fi right now, especially with Doctor Who's popularity.
    People are describing the mascots as "monsters", well perhaps that will be popular with the kids.

    Either way, I still like these mascots, different, in a good way.

  • Comment number 45.

    They are not very original are they? The images are a degraded version of the Unioc's in Schlock Mercenary by Howard Tayler.

  • Comment number 46.

    Most of the criticism I reckon is coming from people who aren't offering any sort of thought apart from seeing two abstract messes. I reckon the mascot design is an absolute winner, cut from the same sort of appeal as a character like Wall-E.

    Rather these two than a tried and tested effort.

  • Comment number 47.

    I suspect that many of the anti-mascot views are from people with either a negative or pessimistic view of the 2012 Olympics in general.
    It's a shame that people need to criticise so freely without giving any better suggestions. I mean seriously, fluffy lions and the such would fade into obscurity within minutes of the closing ceremony and are a pathetic reference to an out-dated and unrepresentative national identity.
    I'm certainly not a design expert but I think they look new, interesting and dynamic. These are qualities I think the London Olympics should strive to emulate, particularly in comparison with the opulent, but rather stayed, grandeur of the Beijing games.
    I work in a secondary school and believe these mascots are more stimulating than anything I've seen before. I still think some readers just want some guy in a suit to go and hug Usain Bolt for breaking the world record again. A mascot could be so much more than that.
    The games were sold on their promise to engage all members of our global society, especially children. At least these mascots seem to embrace change and development, instead of being resistant to it.

  • Comment number 48.

    They remind me of Worms from the game of the same name

  • Comment number 49.

    I quite like the designs but can't help but think a sort of flexible 3D pound sign in Red , White and Blue might have worked better

  • Comment number 50.

    I think the mascots are fantastic! Stephen Bayley's criticism is in itself an endorsement - he is right, it is for the iPhone generation, not patronising design critics who think their interpretation of art is the only right kind of interpretation. My kids (11 and 8) and their friends had loads of fun collecting and playing with Gogo's crazy bones - the occasion of the Olympics Games should also be an ambassador of sport to the younger generations and these mascots will do a great deal of that. Frankly, if you are an adult and a sports fan, the mascots are not really for you.

  • Comment number 51.

    Given the significant number of phallic allusions that have been made about these characters, I am guessing sponsors will be avoiding Wenlock and Mandeville shaped water bottles.

  • Comment number 52.

    I think they are ugly. They look like alien crabs. whats with the one eye?

  • Comment number 53.

    We're thrilled to have seen so much reaction to the 2012 Olympic mascots! I was part of the team at Crystal CG International that created the animation of the story behind the characters, working with some of the best talent in the animation and production industries.
    This is the first of many Olympic-related animations you'll see in the run up to 2012. We hope you'll learn to love Wenlock and Mandeville and that they'll become an integral part of the excitement around the games.

  • Comment number 54.

    Roger - a bit off topic but I think more important than the masscots debate, have you read the conclusion of the recent report commissioned by the Medical Research Council and carried out by the Social and Public Health Sciences Unit on effects of major sporting events on the health of the host city's population. Without wanting to put a downer on the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it confirms what I have believed for a long time. It does make it much more difficult to justify the spend on these Games in terms of health benefit for the nation.

  • Comment number 55.

    They are horrible and ridiculous. Created with only the newest of generations in mind. Poor decision making on the part of the company that created them and the people that bought into the idea on the Olympic committee. Mascots of such a GLOBAL event should have qualities that the general populous can relate to. I am 41 years old, I hate em. My sons are 13 and 16, and guess what..they hate em. My wife saw them and went: "Uhg".

  • Comment number 56.

    Sorry Roger but you can not simply dismiss vicious and defamatory reporting from British journalist as “opinion pieces – as they were perfectly entitled to do” without expecting retaliation. Canadians were hurt then angry at the British media. I have read countless pieces of the Vancouver Olympics the world over and no other nation was as cruel as the British.

    Read for yourself how the rest of world is reacting to your mascots. It is not just the Canadians who are having a laugh.

  • Comment number 57.

    After spending time reading through the comments posted in the last couple of days, I felt compelled to add my opinon. Firstly, I am very much looking forward to the London 2012 Olympics, having registered for a volunteer and followed the progress of the Big Build avidly.

    On the mascots, I think they are fantastic. I would urge everyone to watch the accompanying animation, which I thought was splendidly told, well done to LOCOG for getting Michael Morpurgo on board. I think that in itself tells us who LOCOG are aiming the mascots at: children. And as Roger says, comments from the CBBC board have been largely positive.

    I can understand that they may not be everyone's cup of tea, but there's nothing that can be done, they're not going to be changing. As with the logo, these are now the symbols of our Olympic Games. And I for one simply can't wait.

  • Comment number 58.

    Commissioner in #56: I stand by what I said in #17. And if you look at a piece from the Vancouver Sun at the time, it refers to "criticism by international and local media" of the Winter Games:
    So it wasn't only some Brits who were negative, and it was actually Seb Coe who ended by saying Vancouver had been a "great inspiration" to London 2012:

    RobRae_crystal in #53: thanks for dropping by. I hope comments like the ones from EnglandBadger in #57, bergkamp71 in #47 and others right back to RoaringRam25 in #18 leave a warm glow.

    Meanwhile, hunterlevi in #26: "the only person who thinks you Brits are funny is the Brits themselves". I sense a bit of a provocation there, but comedy and humour in 2012 are themes we'll return to when the time is right...

  • Comment number 59.

    I am from Canada and our opinion here are just as varied as you there in Brittain. As far as the metalic colored mascot on video and above, they are quite brilliant. However, the real mascot looks so dull and so spermlike.

  • Comment number 60.

    My apologies Roger for implying that ALL British media are rotten to the core. BBC's coverage of the Vancouver Olympics was outstanding. All class. But that is what people expect of the BBC. People want to be informed with facts, not hyperbole.

    I especially liked reading Ollie's blog. His enthusiasm was contagious.

    You have to admit 'some' British media can be bullish. And I hope they will be kind to London in 2012. But, they won't. It's starting already. Shame really.

    I wish London nothing but the best.

  • Comment number 61.

    I'm a Vancouverite and a big fan of the Olympics. I spent a small fortune on our 2010 merchandise, especially those highly addictive "trader pins". You may have seen that Simpson's episode. Beware the pins.

    We had mascots, they were pretty popular, but Olympic merchandise does not sell based on mascots alone. Also a big seller was the "look of the games" design, with those iconic blue and green waves embedded with West Coast nature motifs. Another line of merchandise was the gorgeous Native-art inspired "Four Host First Nations" collection. Merchandise featuring the Inukshuk logo also caught on (not popular at first, but it kind of grew on people I guess). Oh.. and any tacky thing that said "Canada" on it sold like nuts. Or anything red.

    The London Olympic Committee should just have enough types of merchandise to cater to different tastes and they should be OK. And remember, it's not too late for Wenlock and Mandeville to meet a cute sidekick. Look what happened with MukMuk. He was introduced as the mascots' sidekick (someone to cheer for them as they took part in sports) and I swear to you, people took to the streets with protest signs to demand that MukMuk be endowed with "official" mascot status alongside the others. Really! Cute sells.

  • Comment number 62.

    Commissioner in #60: good - we agree. I think the point is that individual columnists will express views because that's what they're employed to do. So Lawrence Donegan of The Guardian was entitled to describe Vancouver as shaping up to be the worst Games ever. But that absolutely doesn't mean that the rest of the media let alone the British government and nation agree with that - and the London 2012 people emphatically distanced themselves from any criticism.

    Mukmuk: I confess that I have a Sumi in the kitchen as a souvenir from my visit to Vancouver, and I also have a Vancouver 2010 green and blue coffee mug. For Canadians here, and there seem to be a fair few, I outed myself as a lover of Canada at the end of last year:

    Llwyllynn in #59: I think you may be on to something...

  • Comment number 63.

    I guess one interesting thing would be to look and see if the IP addresses of those hating the mascots are as different as the names of the bloggers.

    It's quite possible they are. But the first rule of dirty tricks departments is to create 200 pseudonyms and create 'resistance' by just writing 200 entries by fictitious people.

    Hope that's not the case here.

    It may well not be.

  • Comment number 64.

    berlino the bear as a mascot was the most boring and predictable, what made it good is the personality of the person inside it, thats all any mascot needs to be successful.

    everyones logos and mascots are so predictable, im glad we did it differently, it shows we are not scared to try new things and im 100% sure they'll be a hit, we are still talking about the logo so something must be right.

    and for all you saying kids dont watch the olympics as much as adults are totally missing the point, thats what our olympics are trying to change by bringing something kids like to the games.

    also think its good they have no expression on the faces, this way it can interact with both winners and losers, no loser wants a smiley bear looking at them! and since there will be more losers than winners this is another masterstroke.

    and to the canadian saying the rest of the world is laughing at us, i'll think you'll find the rest of the world is learning how to market the goods! i spent 5 pounds on a 2012 logo pin badge purely because it was controversial, i sold it for 25 pounds on ebay so im buying 5 more, do me a favour and keep laughing at us wont you :)

  • Comment number 65.

    I would suggest to those in charge to keep true to what was seen on Video (brilliant!). Dress your mascots in its fluid metalic video form (foil like substance), complete with thick colored bracelets (representing olympic rings) and I believe people will be sold on them. Why not even let one or both of them wear a british olympic ring and earrings to boot (those might be your best selling canadian mittens right there). It was a mistake to dress them in whitish background as they represent something reproductive and even phallic (worse as something found in sex store). People want them to be brilliant, let them shine! I meant that literally. I believe if you do this, you have a seller, something quite unique and may outsell any of their predecessors. People change dresses, why not mascots? Wish you the best of luck with the olympics... from Canadians.

  • Comment number 66.

    And there was me thinking that Jedward had been voted off.

  • Comment number 67.

    Dear Roger Mosey,
    I think you are getting nervous about the fact that British media called the Vancouver Games at an early stage - after the first weekend - the "worst Games ever". This judgement seems actually to be a bit unfair. You interrupt this blog for several times to play down that criticism of the British media - in German media this apparently unfair judgement - call it "British humour" or anything like that - has also been percepted as too strong.
    I can tell you that in this context the recent comparison in an English newspaper between the German football team and Michael Ballack and a German dictator is not an appropiate issue to joke about - I think you don´t want to understand that you are hurting the feelings of many people, also the Canadians.
    I would have wish your opinion would have been a bit more self-critical.
    Thank you.

  • Comment number 68.

    Voice-Germany in #67: I'm not nervous. I just think it's odd to portray "the British media" as some sort of homogenous entity. What we're actually talking about is a handful of UK journalists who took a view; and then, as I said, it was validated to some degree by parts of the Canadian media. But to expand that into a kind of UK-Canadian war would be wrong - especially since London 2012 organisers disassociated themselves from the criticisms.

    There will always be times when British newspapers say controversial things. That's the right of a free press. Many Britons will disagree with them passionately, though, in the same way that I know many Germans disagree with their own tabloid newspapers.

  • Comment number 69.

    Roger, I agree that you should not have to justify or condemn the opinions of other British journalists.

    Still I will attempt to put into context what you have called the "tart** response from Canada, still smarting from British criticism of Vancouver". I can not speak for Canada as a whole, or how deeply the other provinces have been affected by the 2010 Olympics, but since many of our medalists were from back east, I'd say that there was considerable interest. But I can speak of firsthand of Vancouver.

    In Vancouver, your mascots made front page news. Olympic news sells here, and if it's controversial, even better (just like anywhere else in the world!) The experience is so fresh, we haven't even taken down our 2010 banners from the lampposts. I believe that your mascots' unveiling would have made front page news here, whether or not British tabloids had been unkind to our Games. And I also believe that the local reaction to the 2012 mascots would have been the same. Honestly, the animated version of the mascots should have been their introduction to the press. Not the costumed versions, which evoke all sorts of unwholesome images that one wouldn't normally associate with kids.

    Anyway, the mascots have grabbed attention, which is what they are meant to do, and I'm sure they will sell if they are marketed properly. Being an Olympics fan, I'll certainly buy some 2012 merchandise... probably pins. I do hope to make it out to London for your Games- never been before, but Olympics are great fun.

    By the way, I'm enjoying your blog and everyone's comments... thank you for keeping the Olympic "flame" burning!

    **I wouldn't say "tart", more like something between WTF and LOL.

  • Comment number 70.

    This is just ridiculous:
    Just look at the BBC houserules, for example posts that offend to attack or offend others, fail - this is why they are moderated.
    I agree with you that the freedom of the press is a very important value in a democracy, but your understanding of the term of the "free press" is wrong because you think that freedom is unlimited and allows you everything, so why does the BBC fail posts that offend others?
    I would be a little more cautious, in some countries the protection of personal rights and integrity is more emphasised in relation to the freedom of the press, for example in France.
    Even in UK legal action in extreme cases at courts is possible when the freedom of the press is abused.

  • Comment number 71.

    Voice_Germany in #70: there's a world of difference between offensive personal, libellous attacks and free speech about the big issues of the day. Everyone on these posts is at liberty to say whether they love or loathe the mascots, just as they could say whether Vancouver was brilliant or terrible. Newspapers can, of course, be sued if they libel anyone - but apart from that, comment is free. And the moment you start thinking of regulating what newspapers write about the Winter Olympics, we might as well all give up.

  • Comment number 72.

    If you read my comment nr. 67 it is clear that I don´t firstly refer to the Winter Games if they are good or bad, but to an article published at the British "Daily Star" with the title "The return of the black shirts" -it is about the launch of the new black shirts of the German football team ahead of the World Cup 2010 that is supposed to be a tribute to the criminal black outfit of the socalled "SS" Nazi organisation and the statement that it is intended to continue a tradition from the "Third Reich" with that - the face of Adolf Hitler aside the face of Michael Ballack - in your words this is just "controversial", for me this is not controversial.

  • Comment number 73.

    What annoys me about this whole topic of disscussion, is adults commenting about how these mascots are inkeeping with the 'younger generation'. Just because something is shiny and technological does not instantly endear two poorly designed toys, worthy of a McDonald's Happy meal to us.

  • Comment number 74.

    #72. It's a BBC blog about the mascots for the 2012 olympics. The British media is, as Roger was at pains to point out, not one entity. If you want to complain about the Daily Star, try Ofcom.

  • Comment number 75.

    This is the first comment I have made in response to a blog or article; in which I was moved by an overwhelming desire to communicate among the flood of responses.

    I thought perhaps that the Locog of LDN2012 would have taken the opportunity available to them, to create a mascot that knows its place in history. One that respects understands the connection (of mascots) and the examples that preceded its own.

    Every example of a mascot (apart from from Izzy perhaps) has some connection with its own Country and therefore its people. Mandeville and Wenlock should have therefore served as a representation and symbol of what Britain is and what emotions and traits it wishes viewers and visitors to see.

    These things (Mandeville and Wedlock) are unfortunately misguided and ill-created mascots that have been adopted by Locog. They also seem to be a misplaced extension of China’s Fuwa, which did have a connection to their Country.

    The mascots (we have) would seem however to be somewhat off-form which will and has resulted in this reaction of bewilderment and indifference; as they do seem (personally speaking) as alien to me as they appear.

    Could the designers and Locog not have looked to examples such as a…
    The Red Squirrel;
    Red Fox;
    Common Buzzard;
    Field Mouse or
    Stoat … a representative symbol that would have brought us good luck.

  • Comment number 76.

    Co. 74: I did say something about the mascots, but you don´t! So don´t teach me this is a blog about the mascots.

  • Comment number 77.

    I don't think the Canadian reaction has anything to do with hurt feelings (sorry guys). It's just Canadians love to joke....and the comments attached to that CTV news story are hilarious. And I hate to tell you but the 2012 mascots are ripe for being made fun of! I think kids do like cuddly mascots with some basis in reality (for instance Quatchi was based on the mythical Canadian sasquatch (like the Lochness monster) but no one here in Canada is sure what one eyed guys have to do with the "modern" Britain. Don't take the mascots too seriously.

    We're laughing with you, not at you. Just wait till the Olympics bills roll'll need something to smile about.

  • Comment number 78.

    My opinion of these metal creatures is firstly that they are a copy of an american animation series (in terms of body/head shaping) but most importantly they reiterate to the world our position as the most 'watched' society! We have cctv everywhere irrespective of its proven achievements and these creatures say 2012 - CCTV Britain!

  • Comment number 79.

    Whilst I think the honing from the building of Olympic stadium is a good idea, to produce a metal (cold in anyone's world) is a difficult creature in which to place empathy. I do not think sales will be great (except with the Japanese - see their gold coloured metal waving luck bear).

    Also I do not think it appropriate to wait until after an event to evaluate its success; it is a one-time only opportunity. In advertising world, the product would be tested for response; why are the 2012 team NOT listening to the public of this country? DO they think they are marketing geniuses? They are public servants without a good deal of knowledge - why not consult for free in the interests of Great Britain? On another note, we are a rare country which not only is the centre of a cultural empire, but also has 4 'nations' within it - namely scottish, welsh, irish and english. Why not use that defined mix in the characterisations? A great opportunity to sell 4 characters in a collection rather than 2!

  • Comment number 80.

    well i think they are brother designed them and as he has 3 neices and 2 nephews and they all love them infact all of the kids we have spoken to love them.they are fun and the best mascots that the uk has ever had.most of the comments of people that dont like them are from adults and i think they are jealous comments.they are new aged funky animations for the new generations and considering how many people he went against and won they have been along way already.they have are support and are already doing really well brother is a fantastic designer and has done an amazing job with this.we are so proud of what he came up long wenlock and manderville.and the comments that some people have said makes me laugh.they arent copied from any american characters they were thought up from everyday things we really have no clue atal when you say things like that! we love them


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