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Tales from mascot kingdom
An approach in determination of an eCS mascot

by Thomas Klein, © May 2007

The eCS e-ball logo

Figure 1. The e-ball

eComStation needs a mascot. Seriously! We seem to have neglected the importance of something that we can identify with (and even more important: something “we” can be identified by). And to me, despite it's neatness, the techie e-Ball logo of eCS is hard to identify with, compared to the well-known cute little penguin for example.

Just recently, I came across a thread on os2world that dealt with a possible mascot to be chosen for eComStation. I must admit that my first thought was, Don't these guys have any serious problems they could care of instead? But while browsing the thread I noticed that there's a lot more involved in it than one might think at first: Mascots are logos, and sometimes vice-versa. They help us in associating loads of information to a single name, company, or product, whether positive or negative, whether based upon personal experiences or (very important for advertising and marketing) attributes which someone else links to it.


Tux, the linux mascot

Figure 2. Tux, the Linux mascot

To show the importance of a “mascot,” let's suppose you don't have the faintest idea about Linux. In this case, the friendly-looking, cuddly little penguin gives you the impression that it's something very nice to have, which doesn't consume a lot of time and brings you nothing but joy and fun (and that at no cost). True, this only is the case until you have gained experience with Linux… you will then certainly make up your mind based upon these experiences—which could be just opposite to what you expected—but who cares? If that Linux was for sale, it would have been the penguin who “sold” it to you in the end (along with the teenage nerds in your neighborhood that kept telling you, “All other OSes are crap!”).

An approach

To start somewhere for determining eComStation's new “mascot,” let’s have a look at a list of animals that are already chosen by someone and that we almost immediately recognize and link to a company or a product. As mentioned above, we know that penguin of Linux, maybe the dolphin of MySQL, surely the seagulls shape of OpenOffice.org and of course some among you (if not all) remember Art, the tap-dancing elephant. And these are only examples from the IT world! Now add John Deere's deer, the Jaguar car's logo and Puma sportswear just to mention a few. The same is true for non-animal logos in IT world (the Apple fruit, the Sun's steaming cup of Java, or the Apache's feather) - you name it. But let's stick with the animals for now.

If you were to decide—which animal's shape or picture would you prefer to be associated with ecomstation? I'm pretty sure everyone of us can come up with a proposal. Here's my list along with pros and (almost only) cons.

Note that the following list does not claim to be complete, correct, or ordered (either zoologically or alphabetically).

A different approach

This hasn't lead us anywhere. We should use a different approach.

First, we need a different product name, because—come on—“eComStation” doesn't really link to any known animal I'm afraid. On the other hand: What the heck does “Linux” link to if we weren't to know the penguin?

Okay then, let's keep “eCS” and see what we can do about it:

eCS is from Serenity Systems, and they're a Texas-based company. Hm. I must admit that I haven't been to the US (much less Texas). Thus the first things that come to my mind when thinking about “animals” and “Texas” are:

Cattle and rattlesnakes—Howdy!

Okay, just kidding, you Texas folks—put those guns away… Anyway, as I said above, snakes are not the best choice. Cows are already in use in IT logos. Darn. The last opportunity from that approach: Serenity has a swan in their logo, and… (BZZT!) yeah. We can't take also a swan for eCS then, plus, we have some “swans cons” mentioned above.


Considering all of the above, in the end there can be only one mascot:

The ugly duckling!

Let me telly you why:

The ugly duckling

Figure 10. The ugly duckling

In Andersen's famous tale, no one loved the little ugly duckling at first: He didn't look like his siblings (that's the WPS desktop), he sounded different (thanks to MMPM), no one wanted to play with him (no drivers from device manufacturers) and even his supposed parents (hello IBM) didn't like him. He was very, very sad (see shrinking community). But then, he found out that he actually is a swan (and that makes the link back to Serenity) and in the end he was admired and loved by everyone (well, we'll see…).


The funny thing is that the tale matches perfectly with eCS's current situation and that there's a matching role for everyone involved: IBM is the bad (wrong) parents, Serenity is likely to act as the wooden duck on the pond (which the duckling felt at least cozy with until he found out that it wasn't a real duck) and Mensys, netlabs and ecosoft.ru can take the roles of the farmer and his family who saved the duckling from starving and cared of him until he had grown into a swan.

Yes, I believe that there can be nothing but an ugly duckling to be the eCS mascot. The moral of the tale however is that once the ugly duckling has grown, he'll be a swan—and now all the “cons with swans” mentioned above will apply. This means that you musk ask yourself:

Not quite easy, huh? Think about it for a while.

Naming issues

In the meanwhile, let's not forget about the “name” issue: A mascot needs a name—but what name could one give to an ugly duckling? “Igor” or “Quasimodo” ? Or would you prefer a well-known name from the eCS world like “Bob” (because Serenity Systems gave us eCS)?

And finally, to completely drive you mad and to care for equal opportunities, why shouldn't we give the duckling a female name? See, regardless of the riches we might be given along with it, some of us are simply born as ugly ducklings and we only can become swans by marriage—thus, if it's a “she”, why not call it “Camilla” then?

Forgot something?

Hence, there's two roles in this tale that are left unassigned, namely yours and mine… but that's easy as duck(ling) soup:

I'm the narrator. You're the audience. Cheers and happy new year!

Editing: James Moe

OS/2 world forums: http://www.os2world.com/cgi-bin/forum/UltraBoard.cgi