In light of the less than successful mascots for the 2012 London Olympics, increasing attention is being paid to the role of mascots in marketing the Olympic Games. With preparation for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia underway, we take a look at the mascots for the next iteration of the Games.
Why Mascots Matter
There is no official Olympic mascot, unless perhaps you want to count the torch. Instead, each Olympic locale designs its own mascot, that it considers to be a friendly representation of the spirit of the games. The London games’ mascots were Wenlock and Mandeville, who were described by their designers as representing drops of steel from the creation of the Olympic stadium. These anthropomorphized steel drops each feature one large single, staring eye as their only facial feature. Needless to say, Wenlock and Mandeville were dubbed the worst Olympics mascots since the inception of the games.
Olympic mascots matter because they are a big part of how this worldwide sporting event is marketed to children. Children are supposed to beg their parents to buy stuffed representations of the mascots. They are supposed to pose with them for pictures and hug them when they attend the games. This works well when the mascot is some variety of friendly animal, but even in today’s technological era, children don’t want to hug the cartoon version of a steel droplet.
How Do Sochi’s Mascots Fare?
Sochi’s mascots are sure to please children and adults alike. There are actually five mascots for this round of the games. They include two children and three animals – a leopard, a hare, and a polar bear. The two childlike figures each represent a different planet – one where it is always warm and sunny, and one where it is always winter. Unlike Wenlock and Mandeville, The Snowflake and The Ray Of Light, along with their animal companions, were chosen by a public vote, and there has been a central website for interacting with the mascots running for months already. With pleasing faces and cute costumes, the Sochi mascots promise to engage children much more readily than their predecessors.
What lessons can your business learn from the failure of London’s Olympic mascots? And the success of Sochi’s? How can things like logos and mascots affect your branding?
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