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Vancouver 2010 Mascots Cute, But Need Some Explanation

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Children love the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games mascots unveiled Tuesday by Vancouver 2010, but according to Lindsay Meredith, professor of marketing at Simon Fraser University, its difficult to sell something that needs explaining. He said the sea bear, sasquatch and spirit animal all need explaining.

Meredith says going with mythical creatures was a marketing mistake. “They’re going to have to spend a bucket of more money to make this catch than if they had gone a little more mainstream. I had to look at (Miga) and say ‘what the hell is it’. It’s got a cowlick stuck up on the top of this head”. He was referring to the mascot sea bear that has an orca whale in its head.

As for the sasquatch, he said it is known in British Columbia and Washington State, but few others in North America know that big foot and sasquatch are the same.

CP reports Meredith called the mascots “Pokemon modern” for their Japanese style. But he gave the Vancouver 2010 organizers full marks for the media splash - getting the word out about the trio, and said the other sales pitch is the Olympic connection. “These things have Olympic rings plastered on their chest – trust me they will sell”.

VANOC creative services director Ali Gardner said, “we tested (the names) internationally to make sure they were easy to pronounce and they didn’t mean anything that we wouldn’t want them to in other languages”.

Dave Copp, Vancouver 2010 vice president of revenues, and marketing, said he hopes they’ll reach the $45-million target in royalty sales for licensed merchandise. He said, “to generate that we’ll need gross at retail about $500 million to $800 million so it’s a very aggressive number”. He was optimistic it can be done, reports CP, given the reaction the children displayed during the unveiling. “We’ll probably go home today a little bit more confident we’ll hit those numbers”.

Joy Jennison, a spokesperson with the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton told CTV British Columbia, “traditionally the mascot has been about the country, it’s been about the history, the culture, so there’s a lot at stake there”. Write or read comments about this article

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