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 www.london2012.com/mascots ).
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: london2012.com