The commercial build-up to the next World Cup took another major step forward today with the launch of the Official Mascot. This is a full two years ahead of the tournament which takes place in June 1998 in France.

The mascot was created and designed in France and it comes as no surprise to the French at least that it is that most truly Gallic bird - the cockerel. But it took months of work before the final character was perfected and approved.

Six competing agencies were asked to design the mascot and produce a character which would be universally acceptable and likeable but at the same time essentially French.

A panel consisting of representatives from FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), football's world governing body, the CFO (Comité Français d'Organisation), the local organising committee, and ISL Worldwide, FIFA's exclusive marketing partner for the World Cup, had the difficult and lengthy task of choosing the final design.

The successful agency is Dragon Rouge, based in Paris and London. They commissioned Fabrice Pialot, a freelance graphic designer well-known for character creation, for this task and he came up with the winning design of a friendly, smiling little cock with red and blue plumage and a yellow beak. He is full of typical French "joie de vivre" and is expected to appeal to young and old alike.


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The cockerel, the bird which announces the dawn, is a mascot which will be a perfect complement to the official logo for France 98 which shows a football rising like the sun from behind the earth. The official slogan is "C'est beau le Monde qui joue" or "The world at play is beautiful."

As yet the mascot has no name. The general public will be invited to vote for a name for the cock this autumn.

The World Cup is the world's biggest sporting event. The qualifying rounds involving 172 countries began in March 1996 and will be completed in November 1997 and will eventually be reduced to 32 Finalists, including hosts France and Champions Brazil. The competition takes place between June 10 and July 12, 1998 in ten stadiums throughout France with the Final at the "Stade de France," currently being constructed in Saint-Denis, Paris. Two and a half million tickets will be sold for live games. However, a projected cumulative audience of 37 billion viewers will watch the 64 matches on TV, the biggest-ever audience for any event.

It is this massive interest in the World Cup which makes the launch of the mascot so commercially important. The resulting demand for souvenirs such as T-shirts, caps, pins, toys and a multitude of other items will involve the world's biggest-ever licensing programme. ISL has appointed Sony Signatures and Sony Creative as the exclusive licensing agents for France 98. Only licensed companies will be able to manufacture and sell products featuring the mascot or the logo and a substantial number from all over the world have signed already.



The Frence World Cup organising committee contacted the best French design agencies to create the France 98 official mascot. After accepting the brief, each of the six competing agencies had to put forward the team selected for the project and to create a series of representations of the mascot, both moving and still, and in colour and black and white. Each of these agencies presented their work to a selection board which included representatives from FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), football's world governing body, the CFO (Comité Français d'Organisation), the local organising committee, and ISL Worldwide, FIFA's exclusive marketing partner for the World Cup.

At the end of this selection process, two versions of the mascot were short-listed and submitted to qualitative and quantitative tests. The mascot finally chosen - the cock - emerged as the favourite with a very clear lead ahead of its rival.

The role of the mascot is to personify the World Cup and its ethos throughout the world and to appeal to people's emotions, imagination and dreams.

In order to appeal to the greatest number of people, the mascot had to possess a strong and distinctive personality. This is why the objectives assigned were so clearly defined:

The cockerel has a positive and significant image in all cultures and religions throughout the world. It has a strong image and is a solar symbol since it announces the sunrise. In fact, France 98 has already used this connection since the official emblem features the football sun emblem rising behind the earth.

It is also typically French. The Latin word "Gallus" means both a cock and a Gaul. The cock was even featured on many Gaulish coins of the Gallo-Roman period.

In the 15th century, the French began to use the term 'Gaul' to define their nation. Since then, the cock has been used constantly as a symbol of French national identity. It has now invariably been associated abroad with France and the character of its people.

So the cock was the obvious choice to represent the 1998 World Cup in France. All that remained to be done was to give the cock a personality worthy of the event.

A pre-promotional survey carried out in France by the sampling institute BVA showed that nearly 80% of those questioned agreed with the choice of the cock as the official mascot.

Not only did they agree that immediately it evoked the 1998 World Cup, but 91% associated it with France in general and 76% with the World Cup in particular.

According to 83% of the 12-15 year-olds asked, the cock is very appealing. They see him as radiating contentment and satisfaction and he comes over as a warm and affectionate character who inspires confidence.

The French are very pleased with their mascot and see themselves in him.

The France 98 emblem was launched in September 1994 but the launch of the official mascot now takes the programme of France 98 commercial activities into higher gear.

The cock will make it possible to develop a wide range of souvenirs and commemorative items. It will be a natural complement to the emblem and makes it possible for the commercial products to penetrate into new areas of activity.

The best French, European and international companies have already begun developing products such as T-shirts, footballs, toys, pins, household items and sports goods.

A wide range of products manufactured under the France 98 license will soon be on sale and numerous product lines will be developed over the next two years, long before the start of the 1998 World Cup.

As the event draws near, consumers will find the mascot in department stores, toy shops and sports shops as well as in hypermarket and supermarket chains, not only in France but throughout the world.

Like its predecessors in previous World Cups, the mascot will play an essential role in the build up to France 98 by captivating fans all over the world.

The French public will be able to choose the name for the mascot in a competition due to take place at the end of 1996.

A list of suitable names will be drawn up by a specialised agency with the brief that the name should not only be evocative of France 98 and the cockerel, but also that it can be pronounced and understood by non-French speaking people.

One of Europe's leading design agencies, Dragon Rouge, was chosen to create the official mascot of the XVI World Cup.

Dragon Rouge specialises in creating emblems and designing packaging for consumer products. It also designs signage, shop fronts and display systems for retail outlets and is recognised for its work with many global enterprises in varied fields of design.

The agency was set up 12 years ago and is managed by Pierre Cazaux and Patrick Veyssière. It employs 110 people - 90 in Paris and 20 in London.

Red Dragon commissioned Fabrice Pialot, a freelance graphic designer, to create the mascot.

Born in 1957 in Montpellier, Fabrice Pialot worked as a professional musician until 1985 following his studies at Berkeley College of Music in Boston, USA. He composes for the saxophone.

Since then, he has created many characters for international mass-market brands.

The French candidacy for the 1998 World Cup organisation was announced as far back as 1983 and officially confirmed by the Fédération Française de Football in 1987 and has been supported since the beginning by the highest state authorities.

2 July 1992: The FIFA Executive Committee chooses France for the 1998 World Cup.
12 December 1995: Draw for the preliminary stages of the World Cup at the Carousel du Louvre in Paris.
4 May 1996: Launching of ticket sales to the French Football 'Family' (club members/licensees).
18 May 1996: Unveiling of the France 98 official mascot.
November 1996: Launching of the ticket sales to the general public.
December 1997: Draw for the Finals.
10 June 1998: Opening match at Stade de France at Saint-Denis.
12 July 1998: Final at the Stade de France at Saint-Denis.
33 days of competition and 64 matches.
172 registered countries for the preliminary stages and 32 qualifying countries for the final stage.
10 stadiums and 2.5 million tickets.
37 billion viewers in a projected cumulative audience of which 1.7 billion is for the final.

The Comité Français d'Organisation, the French Organising Committee for the World Cup, has set itself two objectives - full stadiums for every match and the chance for the maximum number of people to watch the event.

2,500,000 TICKETS
With 2,500,000 tickets for sale (compared to the 900,000 for the Albertville Olympic Games), France 98 has put together the biggest ticket distribution operation ever mounted in France. This involves a huge logistical challenge for the French organising committee because ticket sales must secure at least 40% of its takings. Two out of three tickets will be sold in France itself.

Three seat categories will be available at the World Cup stadiums (four at Saint-Denis), ensuring maximum comfort and the security of a numbered seat for each spectator. Moreover, with every other ticket priced at 250 francs or less, France 98 promises to be a festive spectacle accessible to all.

The France 98 Pass has been conceived for faithful football fans as well as the local and regional public. In the ten venue towns of the World Cup, the France 98 Pass allows the holder to attend five or six matches of the opening round (except the opening match in Saint-Denis) and one of the second round matches (with the exception of Lyon and Nantes which will not be hosting this phase of the competition).

Starting at FF725 and payable in six monthly installments, the owner of a France 98 Pass will be able to watch a minimum of nine to 12 different teams including two of the eight best teams in the world. In fact, for the first time in World Cup history, each team will play its three first-leg matches in three different towns, two teams of which are amongst the eight best in the world. Also, for the first time in the World Cup's history, every team will play their three games of the first round in different stadiums.

From 4 May 1996, all licensees for the Fédération Français de Football, and from 15 July, all members of Division 1 and Division 2 clubs, will be able to have priority to reserve a France 98 Pass at a preferential rate with a limit of four passes per person. This benefit lasts until 30 September 1996, just before the opening of ticket reservation to the general public in November. Further details on the France 98 ticket arrangements are available on Minitel (3615 FRANCE 98) or telephone 36 68 22 24.

The sale of tickets abroad will mainly be handled through the different football federations for which FIFA has reserved 20% of the tickets, but also through tour operators approved by the CFO. These will be rigorously selected and will not have the advantage of territorial exclusivity.

Please note that the FIFA and the World Cup logo as well as all other emblems on these pages are protected by copyrights. Please contact the rights holding agency ISL at fax +41 (41) 228-9797 (Lucerne, Switzerland).

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