FIFA World Cup™ Mascots in History

The Official Mascots have come to play an increasingly important role in the FIFA World Cup™, representing the fun side of the event. Cast as a variety of animals, fruit, vegetables and children (plus one or two abstract characters), their infectiously positive attitudes have added to the atmosphere of each competition in their own unique ways. 

Official Mascots not only serve to promote the event and entertain the crowd in the stadium, but also become ambassadors of their country and worldwide “celebrities” through their extensive use by the Commercial Affiliates of the FIFA World Cup™, and through the licensing and merchandising programmes. 

The first Official Mascot was introduced at the 1966 FIFA World Cup England™ – “Willie”, a lion decked out in the Union Jack flag. As well as being a “live” mascot, he appeared as a cartoon design that was used to promote the competition and was the subject of the Official Song. As well as sparking the interest of the host nation, the mascot also showed the rest of the world that the event was fun for everyone. Below is a list of the Official Mascots to date: 

1966 England: World Cup Willie (lion)
1970 Mexico: Juanito (boy)
1974 West Germany: Tip and Tap (two boys)
1978 Argentina: Gauchito (footballer)
1982 Spain: Naranjito (orange)
1986 Mexico: Pique (hot pepper)
1990 Italy: Ciao (stick figure player)
1994 United States: Striker (dog)
1998 France: Footix (cockerel)
2002 Korea/Japan: Spheriks (energy)
2006 Germany: Goleo VI (lion)
2010 South Africa: Zakumi (leopard)
2014 Brazil: Fuleco™ (three-banded armadillo)


Fuleco™ – A mascot without precedent

Eventually named Fuleco™, and destined to become one of the stars of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, the Official Mascot was the result of an initial tender process involving six Brazilian design agencies.

These six agencies were responsible for the creation of 47 different design proposals, which were then analysed taking into account factors such as representation of Brazil, intellectual property and the feasibility of the mascot as a live costume. A shortlist of six designs was then further analysed with focus group research carried out within the Official Mascot’s primary target group – children, aged 5-12 years.

The three-banded Brazilian armadillo was very popular in all stages of analysis and was therefore chosen to be the Official Mascot for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™.  The choice of colours in his design provided a clear link to the Brazilian national flag and referred to three of the strongest features of life in Brazil. The green shorts represent the lush tropical landscape, the yellow body tones illustrated the sunny climate and beautiful beaches, and the blue tints in the shell portrayed the sky and clear waters.

After a three-month voting campaign and 1.7 million votes, the name Fuleco™ – a fusion of the words “futebol” and “ecologia” – was chosen by the Brazilian public and finally announced as the official name. Fuleco™ quickly became one of the most high-profile ambassadors of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, with a 97% awareness recorded in the Brazilian market prior to the tournament – rising to 99%   in the post tournament research, an unprecedented figure for a FIFA World Cup™ Mascot.

Fuleco™ was present in all 64 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and in many FIFA Fan Fests across Brazil, entertaining the fans on and off the pitch. He was the ambassador voice of the Waste Management campaign in all 12 stadia which collected 416 tonnes of waste. Fuleco™ has also been very active on social media since he was first introduced to the world, reaching over 1.3 million online fans.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Official Mascot was the one of the strongest selling assets of FIFA’s Licensing Programme, covering a great range of product categories, loved by kids and adults alike. Fuleco™ had several TV appearances in Brazil in the build-up to the tournament and reached international TV audiences when he joined the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2012 award show and the Final Draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ arm in arm with the Brazilian football legends Marta and Bebeto.

He made a lot of friends on the way, from fans from all over the world – he actually travelled through 90 countries along with the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola – to famous footballers, music artists and top models.