The natural defense of the mascots is that they are not designed for adults, but for the children who will convince adults to buy them a bunch of merchandise with said mascots. Pandering to children isn’t an excuse for an uninspired design. The aforementioned Pixar caters to kids, yet its films still resonate with the older set.
The very first Olympic mascot was created for the 1972 Munich games. Design legend Otl Aicher's cherished identity for the games used variations on Olympic colors but specifically did not use red or black because of their Nazi connotations. Waldi, a Dachshund, became a symbol of pride for Germans, who hoped to show the world a new, violence-free Germany. But the Munich games themselves were overshadowed by the horrific hostage crisis.
The Beijing mascots for the 2008 games were named the Fuwa, five anime-like creatures meant to be rendered in traditional Chinese folk art style, but were just creepy reminders that China's mascot population is five times that of the rest of the world. The jury is still out on the Beijing games it will take a few years to see its true economic impact, as well as how it affected China's larger issues like censorship and human rights. The 72 year old suffered two heart attacks during the process and became so frustrated with the project he has since refused credit for them.
Wenlock is named after Much Wenlock, a village in Shropshire which held an event in the 19th century which inspired the modern Games. Mandeville is named after the hospital at which the Paralympics Games were founded. Though both sound like Tolkien characters, the names are quite good and are the only thing that makes the mascots distinctly British. They only have one pair of eyes between them and look like Sonic the Hedgehog crossed with a character from the Disney film Monsters Inc. But you had better get used to these strange blobs like creatures because Wenlock and Mandeville, as they are known, are the mascots for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics respectively, and will be all over Britain for the next two years.
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