In the year 2000, a world exposition will be held for the first time in Germany. It is Expo 2000 Hanover, an event organized to search for solutions to the global problems facing the next millennium. To date, 136 nations have already accepted the invitation to the Expo, which is expected to attract at least 40 million visitors from around the world.
In order to promote and market this event, a group of talented designers were asked to create a mascot that would incorporate the central themes of the event mankind, nature and technology into one character. Mariscal Javier, designer of Cobi, the mascot for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, won the jury over with Twipsy.
Twipsy is a unique mascot. It is neither male nor female, it has a constantly transforming body that can change colors and structure. It has no problem making itself understood in any medium or culture, and its name is virtually pronounceable in any language.
Applying Twipsy to merchandising products will be an interesting challenge for companies around the world. Creating a cuddly plush product will not be easy. Instead, completely new product and promotional ideas must evolve.
While working with a transformable character may prove difficult in some ways, in others, it is positive. Twipsy’s color palette is extensive, allowing it to take on the national colors of each country participating in the Expo. EM-Entertainment, which holds the international merchandising and licensing rights, on-site as well as off-site, is currently producing three- to five-minute animated shorts of Twipsy as he visits the heads of each nation dressed in the colors of their country.
The uniqueness of Twipsy and the planning of the licensing program surrounding it reflects the philosophy of the organizers of the event, who believe that in the year 2000, there will still be ‘lots of things for us to learn, to discover and to experience.’
Florian Haffa is managing director of EM-Entertainment, a Munich-based diversified communications company.