Izzy, the WTF Mascot of the Atlanta Olympics

Izzy, described variously as a tear, a glob of toothpaste, and road kill, was originally called Whatizit. The Olympic mascot is intended to remind people of the host city or region. Given a chance to define Atlanta, the host committee came up with a fat blue zero. The marketing and branding blunder was mitigated somewhat through a public campaign to remake Izzy with a focus on youth appeal. Billy Payne, the glad-handling wizard who brought the Olympics to Atlanta over Athens, Toronto and Melbourne, chose the design after looking at the ten finalists for a few minutes, and before his staff had arrived for the day. Here is the behind-the-scenes story of what happened after that fateful decision.

What is it? An oral history of Izzy, the mascot marketing snafu of Olympic proportions

AtlantaMagazine.com, July, 2016