HE’S the gallus, Glaswegian face of the 2014 Commonwealth Games – complete with spiky purple haircut and cheeky grin.
• Clyde the thistle unveiled as Glasgow 2014 mascot
• Mascot designed by 12-year-old Cumbernauld schoolgirl Beth Gilmour
Clyde, a “patriotic and adventurous” thistle, was unveiled yesterday as the official mascot.
But unlike the Games’ logo, which was derided when it was launched two years ago, the Clyde character is no marketing creation but the work of a 12-year-old girl from Cumbernauld.
Beth Gilmour said she wanted to make him “instantly Scottish” but admitted to being nervous about whether other Commonwealth nations would like him.
Encouraged by her older sister to enter the mascot design competition, the keen swimmer and badminton player said she took her inspiration from the need for the character to be “sporty, Scottish and friendly”.
Beth’s original drawing has been fleshed out by designers to a full-size figure, who embarks on a two-month tour of Scotland tomorrow, with merchandise to follow by Christmas.
The character has even been given his own “back story”, told in an animated film narrated by Glasgow 2014 ambassador Billy Connolly, involving a sea captain planting thistles across the Commonwealth as a reminder of Glasgow.
Clyde marks a departure from the Commonwealth Games’ tradition of animal mascots, such as Shera the tiger for Delhi in 2010, Manchester’s Kit the Kat in 2002, and Mac the Scottie dog in Edinburgh in 1986.
The Glasgow 2014 organising committee said Beth’s design had been chosen from among 4,000 entries for its “Scottish symbolism and Glaswegian charm and likeability”.
Rebecca Adlington, Britain’s most successful Olympic swimmer and another Glasgow 2014 ambassador, who helped launch the mascot, said: “He was an instant hit and his cheeky character was clear for all to see.”
Glasgow-born Olympic swimming medallist Michael Jamieson, who joined her at the launch, said: “He’s a true Glaswegian”.
Design experts were generally more positive about Clyde than the Glasgow 2014 logo – or the London 2012 Olympic mascots, aliens Mandeville and Wenlock.
Steve Creamer, creative director at the Peek Creative agency, who described the logo as “confused”, said: “Like the best mascots, Clyde is a fun and a likeable character that transcends cultures, language and age groups.
“He has a real personality, back story and charm that will give the one-eyed mascots of the Olympic Games a run for their money. It seems he has been designed to appeal and engage with the younger audience to build the same legacy as the Olympics had done – making the Games more tangible to a younger audience before they start.”
Paul Hitchens, brand consultant at the Verve agency, said: “The thistle is an instantly recognisable symbol of Scotland and remains relevant today as a symbol of both natural countryside and urban grit.”
However, Charlie Robertson, a Glasgow-based brand consultant at the Red Spider agency, was less impressed. He said: “I hope kids in Glasgow love the wee fella and get excited, but I find this clichéd and parochial, tired and old fashioned at a time when Glasgow is welcoming the world in the wake of the London Olympics effect.”