A few days ago, the new mascots for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Wenlock and Mandeville, were officially unveiled. Below are the two mascots in their animated form, with Wenlock on the left and Mandeville on the right.
Appearance wise, I think both of the mascots resemble the two aliens from the Simpsons, featuring as they do, just one eye each. Other notable features are lights on each or their heads representing the lights on London taxis and Wenlock’s friendship bracelets representing the five Olympic rings. As the story goes, both Wenlock, the mascot for the Olympic Games, and Mandeville, the mascot for the Paralympic Games were created from the last two drops of steel used to create the Olympic stadium. It is around this story (the first part of which can be seen below) that the two mascots will revolve during the countdown to the Olympics.
It seems as if the team behind the mascots will use this story as a vehicle by which people can interact with Wenlock and Mandeville and hopefully in turn, the Olympics themselves. I think it is anticipated that, over time, the two mascots will evolve, allowing people to add their own interpretations to the theme. Already on the official website, there are alternative designs for the two mascots and polls allowing people to decide what sport Wenlock and Mandeville should ‘learn next’. This approach echoes the themes of change and involvement seen in other aspects of the Olympic brand.
The initial reaction to the two mascots has been mixed to say the least. Just the first few comments on one BBC blog included the following:
“Absolutely bleeping awful.”
“I think the Mascots are very funky, modern and stylish.”
“These mascots are the most hideous things ever. Congratulations London 2012! You have now officially become a global laughing-stock!”
So what do I think of Wenlock and Mandeville? I actually like them! Sure they are a little weird, but at least they are new and exciting. If they, along with their story and associated paraphernalia, can get kids interested in the Olympic Games then they have done their job, no matter what anyone thinks of them. Whilst I have my reservations about the physical embodiment of Wenlock and Mandeville at the Olympic Games themselves (from the picture below, they don’t seem very agile to me). Their role is not on the track, like it was for Berlino the Bear, but on the internet and in the imagination of future sports fans.
What do you think of Wenlock and Mandeville?