Launching The Commonwealth Games Mascot Is A “Poisoned Chalice”

Launching The Commonwealth Games Mascot Is A “Poisoned Chalice”
SHARE
THIS



While many eagerly anticipate new characters for illustrious brands and events to see what’s been created, Brad Doble, managing director of branding agency Designworks, says the launch of mascots is a “poisoned chalice”.

Yesterday Australia met blue koala Borobi who is the mascot for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

Social media reacted with mixed messages. While some loved the concept of Borobi the koala – who shared his story on YouTube, his blue colouring coming from too many dunks from waves – others weren’t quite as keen.

Too, Borobi’s not doing anything for Ant Donovan, creative director at design agency Frost*Collective.

“A mascot is part of every major sporting event’s identity. I can’t remember one ever being good. Borobi is on par with the games’ identity – and, perhaps unfortunately, it’s what you’d expect. Bland,” he said.

“I think it’s the story that’s missing. We fall in love with Pixar’s characters overnight. They are part of a story first, merchandise second.

“It feels mascots need to be this way around too. ”

For Designworks’ Doble though, the reactions tell a lot about Australia’s passion for the Games.

“The development and launch of the Games mascot feels like a bit of a poisoned chalice – it’s an opportunity to tell a great part of the Commonwealth Games and Australian stories, but it’s always going to bring a lot of negative comments and critique with it,” he told B&T.

“The positive aspect of this criticism is that it reflects the depth of feeling people have for the Games’ mascots.”

Aside from building awareness and engagement of the Games, Borobi is designed to be commercially marketable.

“The Games mascot works as an instant form of branded entertainment that can be promoted, merchandised and form the platform for content,” said Doble.

“Will Borobi succeed on this front?  I think so. Borobi’s cute enough, he’s marketable, he’s got an engaging, if somewhat questionable, backstory.”

Too, Drew Fellows, senior designer at branding and design agency Toast Creative, sees the commercial potential in Borobi.

“It’s exactly what you’d expect for a mascot for these latest games Down Under,” he said.

“Dripping in Australian symbolism and commercially viable for merchandising targeted at a younger market. And, as a marketing device, it will work extremely well cross-platform – ideal for the modern omni-channel world.”

Mascots are always open for scrutiny when unveiled. When McDonald’s launched its Happy Mascot in 2015, social media was quick to vilify the wide-mouthed red box.

mcdonald's happy mascot

In the Borobi instance, Doble likens the reactions to the launch of the London Olympic Games mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville (pictured below).

wenlock-008

Yes, The Guardian branded the duo “offensively terrible, anthropomorphic characters”, however Doble reckoned from a commercial standpoint they did okay.

“Wenlock and Mandeville might have looked a bit strange and copped some flak at first, but what they successfully provided was an opportunity to tell the story of the origins of the Paralympics and Great Britain’s role in the first Modern Olympics,” he said.

Still, it all comes down to the target audience, of which Doble said he is not.

“Whether I like him or not is somewhat inconsequential – I’m not really the target audience,” he said.

“After the athletes have excelled and enthralled us and headed home, you can be sure there will be more than a few Borobis sitting on children’s shelves and on keyrings to help keep the memories alive.”

 

Latest News

Sydney Uni & JWT China Connect Human And Machine Learning With Creativity
  • Media
  • Technology

Sydney Uni & JWT China Connect Human And Machine Learning With Creativity

How will the future of work look for creative agencies?  How can technology be applied to the creative process – can it be automated? These are the key questions to be grappled with by University of Sydney academic experts and students in a new partnership with international advertising agency J. Walter Thompson China, in Shanghai. […]

Suncorp Appoints OMD As Master Media Agency
  • Media

Suncorp Appoints OMD As Master Media Agency

OMD Australia has been appointed Suncorp’s Master Media Agency to manage the media planning and buying for the group’s network of brands including Suncorp, AAMI, GIO and Apia. The appointment supports Suncorp’s move to a network of brands model with Suncorp as the national Masterbrand. Suncorp executive general manager of brand and marketing Mim Haysom said it […]

ABC Unveils Its Lineup For 2019
  • Media

ABC Unveils Its Lineup For 2019

The ABC has put recent management turmoil behind it to unveil its 2019 schedule. Highlights include the return of fan favourites Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery and Anh’s Brush with Fame. David Anderson, ABC acting managing director, said: “The ABC tells the story of Australia and in 2019 we have many great […]

Seven Ways To Apply Speech Analytics In Marketing
  • Opinion

Seven Ways To Apply Speech Analytics In Marketing

In this guest post, CEO of Delacon, Michael Center (pictured below), says speech analytics has a myriad of useful applications for any business and here he outlines seven applications to improve your marketing… Speech analytics data collected from calls made by potential new customers allows businesses to drive greater personalisation in the online environment and create […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Stockland Unveils “Give A Little Christmas” Via CX Lavender
  • Campaigns

Stockland Unveils “Give A Little Christmas” Via CX Lavender

Stockland has unveiled its 2018 Christmas Campaign, launching across its national social and owned media channels. Titled ‘Give a Little Christmas’ the ad is by creative agency CX Lavender and celebrates the spontaneous, unplanned and unexpected moments that make Christmas special and can bring a community closer. Ben Allen, general manager marketing at Stockland, said: “At Stockland, we believe […]

Harper’s BAZAAR Devotes December Issue To Conservation
  • Media

Harper’s BAZAAR Devotes December Issue To Conservation

The December issue of Harper’s BAZAAR, on sale today, celebrates a unique collaboration between the luxury lifestyle title and Australia’s iconic Taronga Zoo. Fronted by Australian supermodel and mother of two, Gemma Ward, the December issue is devoted to raising awareness to the work Taronga Zoo, and the newly established Taronga Institute of Science and […]

The $400,000 Problem Of Storing Media Assets
  • Opinion

The $400,000 Problem Of Storing Media Assets

In this gust post, Collaboro CEO Warwick Boulter (pictured below), says too many marketers aren’t taking care of their very expensive media assets and offers his tips to ensure you safeguard yours… A business’ digital media assets form a significant part of its overall asset portfolio. Maximising the use of these assets and protecting them against loss is […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine