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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