Russia 2018: Mascot Quest



When Partick Thistle unveiled its nightmarish vision of a mascot, it seemed that we had reached Peak Mascot Freakiness.

(This was after the trip to the Uncanny Valley with the mascot for the 2016 Euros.)

Russia has announced the ten finalists for its mascot for the 2018 World Cup, all of which will strike fear into the heart of the western world.

Amur Tiger – the Amur tiger slinks about the Sikhote Alin mountain region, wearing matching orange t-shirt and shorts, presumably to show solidarity with the prisoners on the tiger’s favourite TV show “Orange is the new black”. Or maybe he ate one of the kids and put on his clothes, like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. Putting on the clothes of your victims is only one step away from wearing their skin. Think about that.

Bogatyr – Bogatyr is a character of legend. A bit like Robin Friday, but with a horse. He has a fondness for patting three-headed dragons.

Wolf – is this another excuse for a Little Red Riding Hood reference? No, but we will ask why on earth is the wolf wearing a white t-shirt? Perhaps as a tribute to the Jason Priestley’s character in Beverly Hills 90210? Or was it Luke Perry’s character that always wore the white t-shirt?

Far-eastern leopard – which one’s the leopard?

Firebird – wasn’t that a car? Good luck making it into a mascot.

Mind-reading babushka doll – not actually one of the ten finalists, but in this writer’s opinion would be the standout contender. A metaphor for the KGB.

An alien – this, believe it or not, is on the list. But which alien? Here’s a list of suggested aliens to be the 2018 World Cup mascot:

  1. Mork.
  2. E.T.
  3. An immigrant worker.
  4. Zoltar.
  5. Bronwyn Bishop’s hair.

Cosmonaut – imagine if, instead of being a ball boy, Cosmo Kramer had become an astronaut?

Cat – the official press release says “a cat”, however we can only assume that they meant “Cat” from Red Dwarf.

A bear – another typo, should have been “a beer”.

A robot – may we nominate Bender?

About now you’re probably wondering: how many drugs the creatives did in order to come up with this loopy list?

Let FIFA answer.

What should the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Official Mascot be? In the first step of what will be a long creative journey, Russians are being invited to access an online platform and let their imagination run free as they submit their preferences in terms of the character type, as well as personal attributes and even a suggestion for a name.

According to the fans, the mascot should be “sporty” (32% of the survey participants), “competitive” (31%), a “team player” (29%), “smart” (26%) and 23% favoured “honourable”.

It’s now up to an army of design students (we’re not making this up) to design the mascots, which will be whittled down to a list of three. Then all three will fight to the death. Well, fingers crossed one of them will survive long enough to be the mascot for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™! Yay FIFA! Yay mascots! Yay!