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The London Olympics 2012 – Now With Added Mascots

May 21, 2010

We’ve been all a flutter, here in Londinium. Why would that be, you ask? Well, let me tell you, dear reader. The mascots for the 2012 Olympics made their debut on BBC1’s early evening magazine programme The One Show (why?!) on Wednesday night and, rather predictably, many people went mad for it, and not in a good way. Let me cut to the chase and just show you.

London Olympics 2012 mascots metallic version

They’re called Wenlock and Mandeville. Wenlock is named after Much Wenlock, the Shropshire town that inspired Pierre de Coubertin to launch the modern Olympics. Mandeville is named after the town of Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire where the Paralympics were founded. They were created by an agency called Iris, where I’m sure they had focus groups to help them fine tune the designs, inspired by the last drops of steel used to build the Olympic stadium. These characters are supposed to appeal to kids (which is probably why many adults can’t stand them). There is a video showing how they came to create these mascots if you want to have a look here http://www.ourlondon2012.com/mascots/. This is not just an agency’s flight of fancy (well, not entirely). There is meaning behind it. The light at the top of their heads was inspired by the lights on our black cabs, the friendship bracelets worn by Wenlock are the five Olympic rings, the tag on Mandeville is a personal best timer. The head shape on Wenlock represents the three medals won in each Olympic event and the head shape on Mandeville is aerodynamic and features the three Paralympic colours. The single eye on both characters is a camera that captures everything as they go along. How appropriate for surveillance Britain in the 21st century. Here are some more pics.

London Olympic 2012 mascots British version

The Brit ones are good

London Olympics 2012. Wenlock and Mandeville live mascots

These, sadly are not

Personally, I don’t think they’re as bad as has been made out (the oversized costumes aside). They’re certainly better than the logo, which quite frankly is a travesty and will forever be our shame. £400,000 for that shit. They really saw us coming.

London Olympics 2012 logo in magenta

I also happen to think they’re better than the mascot(s) for the 2004 games in Athens. I didn’t even know it existed, until the papers started comparing mascots of Olympics past. I mean, what is that?

Athens Olympics 2004 mascots

And the Atlanta Olympics? America, hang your head in shame.

Atlanta Olympic 1996 mascot Izzy

I’d better get used to Wenlock and Mandeville because they will be on everything very soon. They’ll need a better version of those costumes by the time we get to 2012, otherwise it will be an embarrassment. Mind you, not as much of an embarrassment as it will be for the poor out of work actors who’ll be wearing them to earn their crust. Well, you’ve got to start somewhere.

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30 comments

  1. The names sound cute and very English, like Charters and Caldicott or Morecambe and Wise. I had no idea the Olympics used cartoon-alien mascots at all. They must get very little media coverage.

    The American one is accurate. A cartoon alien from Georgia would look like he was saying “HEY, Y’ALL!”


    • Well our alien cartoon mascot has only just been released. Trust me, they’ll be haunting my dreams by the time 2012 comes around, because they will be on everything and will be everywhere.

      As you mentioned Morecambe and Wise, you may be interested in this http://www.b3ta.com/board/10057899. It would appear someone has been playing with photoshop to come up with that image, in fact there’s a whole section on the b3ta site full of parodies of our mascots. Some of them are very cruel, but there are some funny ones if you want to have a look.


  2. the mascots aren’t too bad. The logo though is utter crap. I would get a refund.


    • I wish we could get a refund, really I do.


  3. That logo is awful! I do personally like the mascots though. If they are supposed to appeal mostly to children, that’s great. Maybe it will get the younger generations a bit more active!


    • Hello, Sarah. Nice to see you again. I know I need to pay you a visit ‘cos you have lots of goodies like the Tea Party and the immigration in Arizona to read.

      I hope the mascots do get children to be more active, but I must admit, I’ve never known a mascot to encourage that kind of thing. Have you?


      • Why, thank you! I honestly have not, but it is a nice thought. A good bet may be to put them in to a specialized Wii Fit game. I’ll admit it, I use that thing all the time and know young people, and grown adults that use it to. Then maybe, in the grand scheme of things, that will translate to REAL working out. Or, is that just my young self being too optimistic?


        • Sarah, they may well be planning to put them in Wii fit somehow. Watch this space.


  4. Out of work actors? They’re going to be played by Judi Dench and Helen Mirren in the opening ceremony.


    • Only the best, my good man. Only the best 😉

      At least they won’t be playing villains in a Hollywood movie. We have much to be grateful for.


  5. Erh. They look a bit like stream-lined teletubbies? But yes, compared to those other mascots, they rock. And at least there’s thought behind it.

    The logo reminds me of those japanese puzzles where you have to combine a limited number of geometric forms into new figures.


    • I wonder if that’s where they got the idea from? If so, it fails, absolutely.


  6. The one on the left looks like a spanner. My immediate reaction was the usual wonderment at how we Brits always get it wrong / design by committee boils down to compromised rubbish, but then I see the photos of previous mascots and suddenly the 2012 ones don’t look so bad. I guess the excuse is they’re for kids, not us. Still, the logo is just sheer crap.

    Talking of how we get it so wrong, do you remember the Olympic flag hand-over-to-London ceremony at the end of the Beijing Olympics,with ‘stereotypical British’ dancers in suits and bowler hats carrying umbrellas and newspapers and that ‘London bus’ that opened up to reveal a private hedge topiary of the London skyline and then Leona Lewis rising up on a pole to sing a duet of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ with Jimmy Page…

    I’ve been too embarrassed to go abroad since!


    • You forgot to mention the really embarrassing bit about that hand-over ceremony – Boris Johnson.


      • I’ve been trying to erase from my brain since then. We can only hope that Boris scrubs up better by 2012, or if he’s deposed as Mayor, his successor doesn’t let us down.


    • How could I possibly forget about our handover at Beijing? That was embarrassment par exellence. I can’t add anything to what you’ve put down so well here, but I will say this: imagine the hordes of tourists descending on East London and scratching their heads because they haven’t seen any chirpy cockney chimney sweeps (gawd luvva duck. Give me a penny for me ‘ard work, guv), or bowler hatted gentlemen in the City of London (rarrr, rarrr, rarrr). Perhaps Leona Lewis can pole dance at our opening ceremony. I think that would go down very well.


      • Being from east London you must tire of being surrounded by chirpy cockney chimney sweep. Of course, how could I forget the dishevelled mess that was Boris?!

        By the way, I meant privet hedge, not private hedge…


  7. God, the Atlanta one was horrible. I kept wishing they’d close his mouth. Can’t anyone just have a nice cute little animal mascot?


    • There were a couple of cute animal mascots as I remember them. There was Kobi the dog for the Barcelona Olympics and Micha the bear for the Moscow Olympics. Some of the mascots for the winter Olympics are even worse.


  8. If robots went to the toilet… this is what would come out.

    The “Cyplops” welcome you to Britain!

    They also look a bit like showerheads without the spray holes punched out.

    And the pink 2012 Olympics logo … is it just me or does it look a bit like buildings falling down in an earthquake? Inspiring. John Cusack should be driving/flying through it on his way to the “arks”.


    • Yes, I imagine disaster movies were part of the brainstorming sessions a la ‘Independence Day’ and ‘2012.’ Unfortunately, it looks like they stuck with it.


  9. If we have spent £ 400 k on the crappy logo I hate to think what they spent on the mascots…

    Glen


    • Don’t ask, Glen, ‘cos you might find out!


  10. that logo is horrific. it looks like an underachiever’s GCSE graphics project.

    the mascots are marginally better, pretty much every mascot in history is tacky, but they’re a bit soulless. the British flag ones are OK, and at least relevant. the other two look like mascots for a garage chain or something, I can imagine them on a sign next to the Michelin man


    • “an underachiever’s GCSE graphics project” – that’s funny. These mascots are not going down well at all, are they?


  11. Too abstract for me to understand.

    I was thinking that maybe the British would be using a bulldog as a mascot. A bulldog dressed in the colours of the Union Jack would look right.


    • You’d think we’d be using something like that, but perhaps they didn’t want to go with clichés (it didn’t stop them putting together our handover effort in Beijing though. That was replete with almost every cliché under the sun). I don’t expect a British Bulldog to chime with the ‘yoof’ these days. That’s what this Olympics is all about.


  12. I saw the News about the 2012 mascot here in The Netherlands the other day and the first thing I did was turn to Himslf and say “Do you have any idea why they put Japanese writing on them?” then we got a closer look and realised .. Opps, …it was the logo.
    If it doesn’t even look remotely recognisable even at a short distance then surely that’s a “FAIL” for the design brief?


    • Instant fail (rolls eyes and shakes head).



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