Posted by Abe Sauer on June 4, 2010 09:00 AM
It's a truth of the modern era: anything and everything must have a mascot. Sports team? Pick a mascot. An event? Of course, get a mascot. Government agency? Mascot. Promoting your city? Mascot. How about just a section of a city?
The Chinatown in Vancouver says it will be the world's first such designated neighborhood to adopt a mascot. Canada's National Post reports this news with the less-than-encouraging headline, "Tattooed pandas to be mascots for Vancouver’s Chinatown."
Vancouver Chinatown business improvement association has slimmed the possible winning designs down to two panda bears. One, Punkie, is "a teen panda with a flaming mohawk and rimless sunglasses who is pictured sucking coolly on a bamboo sprig."
The other, named Muse, is "a smaller panda with a huge paintbrush slung over its back."
Muse and Punkie "sport vibrant spiral tattoos." Both mascots come replete with deep biographies connecting them with China and its culture.
Muse, the cuter panda design appears to be winning so far. The designers say that “a panda just seemed like the best fit to all the goals we’ve established.”
However, and the Post piece acknowledges that the designers were aware of this, when it comes to mascots, the pandas is already a busy bear.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics adopted the cuddly critter. The World Wildlife Fund has sported one for years. There is Lee Kum Kee's Panda Brand sauce. Panda coins. The Panda Express Chinese restaurant. Just to confuse Vancouverites further, there was a Little Panda Chinese restaurant (but it's now closed).
Sure, a panda is a safe mascot (though not advised for music videos). But is the ubiquitous panda, let alone a tattooed slacker version (named Punkie, no less), the best mascot for a place that wants to stand out and attract anyone above the age of 10?