Pan Am Games: From 4,130 Submissions, Mascot selection Down to 108 Finalists

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Streetcars, an ice cream cone, a bottle of maple syrup, even a piece of Canadian bacon. These were a few of the submissions made for the 2015 Pan Am Games mascot. And while these were the wackiest of the 4,130 entries the Pan Am organizing team has narrowed the field down to 108.

Lining the walls of a small office at the Pan Am Games headquarters were the 108 drawings selected for the next step in choosing a mascot to represent the games in 2015. A number of kids and Toronto sports team mascots were at the Pan Am Games office day Thursday afternoon to celebrate the selections.

“We want to make sure people aren’t scared of it,” said Carlene Siopis, spokesperson for TO2015. “We want to make it likable and lovable.” Submissions were made by groups of two to six youth, and along with at least one adult, the total number of people involved was approximately 15,000. The most popular characters are representative of what young Canadians think best suits showcasing their country: birds, bears, maple leafs, moose, and of course, Canada’s national animal, the beaver.

“The beaver really represents Canada,’ said 10-year-old Geneva Fuina as she scanned the colourful and unique drawings.” And while it was an arduous process to narrow it down to just 108, the real work begins, said Siopis. “We got a majority of the submissions in the last week, so that’s been fun,” Siopis said. “Everyday we’ve been getting the mail we’ve been narrowing it down.”

Using a number of committees assembled by the Pan Am organizing committee, the plan is to narrow down the field to 16 final entries. The final 16 will be selected using internal groups within TO2015, like marketing, communications and community outreach. “This is by far the best part of my job,” Siopis said.

The committees involved touch on a variety of expertise: supplier diversity, community engagement, employee engagement, arts and culture and aboriginal and Francophone leadership. The judging panel will look at whether the mascot design embodies the spirit and values of the games; if the design is original and representative of the TO2015 brand; if the design has a strong kid’s appeal; if the design is reflective of Toronto and Canada; and if the mascot is acceptable for commercial reproduction.

The heaviest weight in the 100-point total score for each design is given to whether it represents the spirit and values of the games. “We’re trying to get to 16 so we can get them to focus groups and talk it to the public,” Siopis said. “The feedback is going to take into consideration families, parents and children.” Once the final 16 are put through focus group testing by Angus-Reid, the final six will be presented to the public for a two week, cross-Canada online vote. “We want to make it inclusive,” Siopis said of the online vote. “We want to make sure people feel like they are part of the games.”

While 30 per cent of submissions were made online, snail mail and hand delivery accounted for 70 per cent of submissions.

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