Modhesh vs Orry
The yellow, squiggly, smiling Modhesh from Dubai takes on Orry the Oryx from Qatar. Which mascot wins the battle?
It is impossible to miss either one of the two. While Orry the Oryx, which was created for the Doha Asian Games in 2006, has become a permanent resident of the city’s corniche, Dubai Summer Surprises’ (DSS) Modhesh, makes a loud appearance in the city every summer. Over time, both have grown to become mascots for their respective countries. But which character do the people love/hate the most?
Modhesh, the so-called ‘Ambassador of Smiles’, was created in 2000, originally in a TV advertisement for the annual DSS. The advertisement showed him as a jack-in-the-box, screaming ‘surprise’ as he popped up from gift boxes. In 2001, Modhesh took his current form with a full body and two feet, and has become a well-known figure.
Orry is not as fictional. A Qatari Oryx, he was born to promote the Doha Asian Games in 2006. According to the games’ officials, he was chosen because the Oryx is believed to be the friendliest of all Qatari animals. As much as any mascot can, he represents peace, commitment and fun, and is supposed to be a great sports lover.
“I was chosen because I have lots of energy and really enjoy sport, but what’s most important is that I don’t give up easily,” Orry explained in an interview with the Games Committee. “I always go out and try my hardest and that’s what matters. I’m also incredibly proud of my country and I want people from all over Asia to feel welcome here and to see what a great place Doha is and how much we have to offer.”
Brand Modhesh has grown rapidly over the last seven years. Modhesh Fun City, an indoor edutainment center, opens every DSS in Dubai and provides lots of activities for children. In 2007, the DSS office spent nearly AED25 million to promote Modhesh as a brand. From gifts and merchandise to having a dedicated website (which currently refuses to work), the yellow mascot has been promoted in every possible way.
“Modhesh is our ambassador who does a great job despite the summer getting too hot for him. He carries a simple message: Big fun for little ones,” Laila Suhail, the CEO of the Dubai Shopping Festival Office, who spearheaded the brand, told The Business Weekly in an earlier interview.
Orry the Oryx worked tirelessly in 2006 to promote the Doha Asian Games; he appeared on buildings, in malls and stamps as different sporting personalities. His fans could also send out more than 10 Orry e-cards, and stare at him on their desktop wallpapers.
Orry went “hobnobbing from one stadium to another” during the 15-day schedule of the Games, said the organizers, adding that he provided “special enthusiasm” to kids who wanted to touch him and play with him.
A huge statue of the mascot was erected at the Doha Corniche before the event, which was reportedly built over 40 days using 400 liters of paint, nearly eight tonnes of steel and 40 blocks of 2 x 8 x 16 foot polystyrene. There was a huge clock behind the statue, counting the days up to the event. Though the clock stopped ticking, Orry continues to hold the Doha’s flame high.
But Modhesh’s luck seems to be flying higher; while there have been talks of a Modhesh theme park, in 2006, there were also reports from the then Emirates Today paper claiming that the yellow mascot was getting several offers from Hollywood animation studios.
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