I could say more, but only if you sign a non-disclosure agreement (LOL).
The mascots are one of the 20 most important projects in the Organising Committee this year. It has been a lengthy and complex procedure. We have created two characters that will have their own personalities. They will interact with the public, with warmth and spontaneity. They will form one of our most powerful ways of interacting with the public, and be the main channel of communication with children (and many adults).
Those of you who enjoyed seeing the Brazil 2014 World Cup mascot, Fuleco, know what we are talking about. We spent time with him to see and learn about how mascots behave. We discovered how he interacted with children, the operations involved in each visit, his official poses for photos, how long each appearance was, how important the costume was, and so forth.
But our story begins way back in September 2012, when we initiated the selection process for the company that would create our mascots. From the onset, we were sure that we wanted a Brazilian-flavoured design, and that is why participation was restricted to Brazilian companies and individuals. We have some incredible professionals working in design, advertising, illustration and animation, and this gave us an opportunity to boost the creative market in Brazil. The major Brazilian firms took part in the process and we were very, very happy with the end result.
The challenge we gave them was not easy. We sent a checklist of 17 items to the agencies, with guidelines such as: the mascots need to reflect the local culture, but must also be universally understood; they should be aligned with the brand direction of the Rio 2016 logos and with the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements; they must represent universal values, such as friendship, respect and fair play; they must speak to children in particular, but also resonate with adults.
To assess the designs submitted, we got together brand management and design professionals, with consultancy from AnimaMundi, one of the biggest animation festivals in the world, who helped us transpose the mascots to the world of animation.
We then selected three proposals and ran a perception survey involving children aged six to 12 years old in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. It was a very interesting experience! We stood behind the two-way mirrors and watched as children were introduced to the characters. They were not told that they were mascots for the Rio 2016 Games. We just told them about the background of each one, what they like to do, and outlined a few personality traits.
Children are always very intuitive and they gave us some very sincere and spontaneous responses, including "This is my friend", "This one seems stuck-up", "This one has cool hair "; and "That one looks silly". We could immediately see the adjustments we needed to make!
In August 2013, the mascots for the Rio 2016 Games were chosen unanimously by a multidisciplinary panel of judges, formed by representatives of the International Olympic Committee, Brazilian Olympic Committee, Brazilian Paralympic Committee and Rio 2016, as well as professionals from the animation, illustration, advertising and market research sectors.
Having made our choice, we conducted a search for existing intellectual property rights to check that they were as unprecedented as holding the Olympic and Paralympic Games in South America.
It all worked out and we obtained final approval. Phew!
Since that time, we have been developing content, and interacting with other departments inside the committee, with the company that won the tender and other suppliers, licensees and sponsors. All this work was stored in over 500 files of illustrations and manuals, as well as preparations for launching the mascots - which will happen in the next few days!
Revealing the mascots is one of the most eagerly awaited events for fans of the Games around the world. For ourselves in the brand management teams, this is an enormous moment. The mascots are the result of a lot of work by a passionate team who have dedicated themselves to giving these characters a life of their own.
Can't wait? Nor can we. Keep your eyes peeled, because more news is coming soon!
Born in Rio, Tânia's first contact with sports came when she worked on the Rio 2007 Pan-American Games - and she was swept away. When the chance to become Rio 2016 Brand Manager arose, she jumped at it. In her spare time she is passionate about trail walking, diving, travelling and getting to know new places. This blog first appeared on the official Rio 2016 website.