It’s All In The Story – Why Wenlock And Mandeville Were Chosen

For a mascot to be a hit, it is not enough for it to merely have an appealing design.

Even if that design converts into a cute and cuddly toy and other essential merchandising, this alone is not sufficient to ensure success.

What a winning mascot needs is so much more than an attractive gimmick … it must have a story.

When you think about it, it really is rather obvious. However sophisticated and adult we might feel (and I am not referring to children here, although the same applies) we all – whatever our age – are suckers for a good story.

The original story behind Wenlock and Mandeville has been written by the Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo. It relates quite charmingly how a retired worker on the Olympic site fashions the two figures out of left over steel discs. They are later brought to life by a rainbow (there is an excellent animated film at ).

Careful examination of the two characters shows the significance of what at first might appear to be some rather odd design features.

Mandeville’s helmet – like head is in the Paralympic colours while Wenlock’s head shape represents the three medals to be won in each event. Both mascots have a light on the top which has been inspired by London’s black cabs. Their overall shape effortlessly converts in to various sports disciplines … but why do they only have one eye?

Actually the eye-like shape in the front of the head isn’t an eye at all – it’s a camera.

Via this camera, the characters are able to record and assimilate everything that happens around them. They begin life as a blank sheet of steel but I expect, as their stories unfold, both will become quick learners and undoubtedly proficient in the whole range of Olympic sports.

Just for the record, my opinion is that – like a winning tune – the 2012 mascots will grow on us. As we get to know and understand them better, we will appreciate them more. They have already won me over – not only for being fresh and clever designs, but also for the story line which I predict – like Wenlock and Madeville (and the Olympic Torch) – will run and run.

Image Source: