Creativity by Committee: The 2020 Olympic Emblem and the Rio Olympic Mascots?

Vinicius and Tom, the Mascots for the 2016 Rio Olympics
Vinicius and Tom, the Mascots for the 2016 Rio Olympics

When I first looked at the emblem that was selected to market the Tokyo Games in 2020, my initial impression was that a committee had created it.

“We need to emphasize teamwork.” tokyo emblem dropped
“Don’t forget Japan – how about a red circle?”
“Needs to be modern looking.”

When I look at the mascots for the Rio Olympics, which were recently unveiled, I get the sense these creations too smack of a committee’s touch. Vinicius (named after a Brazilian poet) and Tom (named after a Brazilian musician) are imaginary creatures. On the rio2016 website, there is an audio explaining what Vinicius is:

…a magical being was created – a mixture of different Brazilian animals, blessed with their many qualities: the agility of the cat, the sway of the monkeys, the grace of the birds. With his keen sense of smell, he can sniff out exciting adventures and discover the clues to solve great mysteries. His incredible hearing allows him to find the most enthusiastic fans. He can imitate the voice of any animal, increasing his powers of communication.

I can hear the words of the committee:

“It needs to be an animal – kids love animals!”
“Which one? Jaguar, parakeet, monkey?”
“All of them!”
“Don’t forget Brazilian music.”
“Bossa Nova!”

Did you ever see the Jim Carrey movie, The Majestic? Carey plays a Hollywood screenwriter in the early 1950s, and the movie opens up in just such a committee meeting – a brainstorming session with studio executives on a possible movie storyline. How many of the voices in this clip can you recognize? They are all big-time Hollywood directors. Scroll down for answers.

Personal Note: Apologies to the designers of the Rio Olympic mascot if I have in any way misunderstood the design process involved.

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Answers: Garry Marshall, Paul Mazursky, Sydney Pollack, Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner