One more year and World Expo 2010 Shanghai will open it’s doors to the public. ‘Better city, better life’ is the official claim and almost 200 countries are expected to make their contributions (Germany sends Hamburg, partner city of Shanghai and Bremen. US is not confirmed yet.).
Such a major event needs not only a visual and a claim but also – a mascot!
And mascot for Expo 2010 is… : Haibao! a blue grinning creature with some retarded Elvis-bad-hair-a-do.
The picture shows Haibao at the offical Expo store (Nanying Xi Lu) in it’s spring attire. If you think Haibao looks like a Father Christmas going berserk you are wrong: this is Haibao in traditional China costume with fire crackers (fire works is what Chinese REALLY love!).
So why is it that a bunch of old guys chose this childish, somewhat-80ties, trivial and not at all future-headed creature for such a remarkable event? I don’t no either. But note that lots of Chinese love puppets with hudge Betty-Boop-innocent-eyes and big-headed-Hello-Kitties or baby-ape-Monchichis. And Haibao has it all. And hey, like it or not – city streets are massively cluttered with Haibao… you better get used to it….
Others point out the stunning resemblance to Gumby, an American Kid-TV character of the 50ties. Blue big-eyed Izzy Olympic mascot might also been an inspiration… Or is it just a funny blue dancing condom? May be a dollop of spit?
Wu Yongjian, a professor at the College of Digital Arts with Shanghai University, is the creator of Haibao, which literally means the treasure of the sea (hai). According to Shanghai Daily, the professor wanted something new… “A large number of mascot designs to express Chinese culture were inspired by images of pandas, monkeys and dragons, etc,” says Wu. “What I did was try to find another way to interpret China, a more abstract way.” It says he draw the Chinese character 大 dà (big) on a napkin in his favorite café… and basically put some eyes on it… Later, the story was changed and the character 人 ren (person or people) is mentioned from than on.