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London unveils Olympic mascots

Two one-eyed, cyclops-like creatures -- with a modern twist -- have been unveiled as the mascots for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics.

These futuristic creatures will be seen on everything from mugs to toys when they go on sale this year, as the countdown to the Games begins.

Organizers of the Games are counting on the mascots to raise at least 15 million pounds of the 70 million pounds they need to generate from licensed merchandising.

That's Wenlock, the Olympic mascot, and Mandeville (in blue), the Paralympic mascot, posing for pics in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

View a slideshow of all Olympic mascots -- past and present -- here.

Organizers decided not to go with animated tea-pots, giant Trafalgar Square pigeons, fluffy lions or a Big Ben with arms and legs. Instead, they opted for the futuristic, magical beings.

Olympic mascots have typically been cuddly, cute animals -- think Sam the Eagle in the 1984 Games in Los Angeles or the kookaburra, platypus and echidnabut of the 2000 Sydney Games -- but perhaps in keeping up with the digital world, the London organizers have gone for something more futuristic.

From the New York Times:

In keeping with this digital theme, Wenlock and Mandeville will exist as virtual characters on Facebook and Twitter pages. Children will be able to create their own narratives for the characters. If one of the characters is introduced virtually to one of the Queen's guards, its head will morph into a bear-skin hat and its body will wear a uniform. In this way, the characters are more than static dolls or chirpy animal images slapped on every imaginable piece of merchandise (though there is plenty of merchandise for sale), but chameleon-like, multi-tasking mascots.

"Kids now expect to interact and make things their own," said Grant Hunter, the creative director at Iris London, the agency hired to dream up Wenlock and Mandeville. "The possibilities are endless."

What do you think of the mascots? Scary or kinda cool? Where would you rank it among all Olympic mascots? See a slideshow of every Olympic mascot.

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.
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AGH! Of all misérable things I havé seen In my lifetime, these games will be the worst in terms of imagination (but innovative in terms of wasting pounds down the loo...). They failed in Logo design and now the Mascot, Paris would have done a better job! Heck, times like these make me want to slap some decent sense of taste to these imbiciles! The 80's passed with Thatcher 20yrs. ago! Boy George would agree! It's shambolic and a crime, I hope Londoners have better imagination than hawking idiot chavs for designers. There is no Visual Fluency here. Twitter and Facebook? Tell that to my 8yr. Niece, who wants a Zakumi doll for FIFA 2010.

WOW. I thought the 1996 Atlana Olympic mascot was bad. You remember Izzy, the giant blue sperm with eyes, right? Yeah, probably not. It was the worst selling mascott in the history of the Olympic Games. Cost over a million dollars and was designed TWICE...the second time they gave him bigger eyes to make him "more friendly." Blaze, the Paralympics mascot which was an phoenix with wings of fire made of the Olympic colors only cost 50K and out sold Izzy something like 10 to 1.

Congratulations London...you have found a way to give Izzy a run for the money for the worst mascot ever.

Awesome.

Wow. The Olympic mascots this year are graffitied, anthropomorphic parking meters, one of which has wet its pants.

They expect people to <i>buy</i> these things?

I really dislike the blue one, emphasizing the pubic area. Good Lord--no one thought about that?
One-eyed Cyclops, indeed!

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