Olympic Games 1996 Atlanta
In late 1991, ACOG organized a design competition that included prospective mascot submissions from 20 designers and also reviewed suggestions gathered from the public as a result of a local newspaper promotion.
WHATIZIT - a computer-animated mascot created by a local design firm, DESIGNefx-was chosen as the most innovative concept because of its ability to change in appearance to represent different athletes and sports; hence its name, "What is it?" Selection of the mascot was announced in 1992. However, a major challenge was presented, as implementation of its computer image into printed images, costumes, and merchandise had not yet been fully developed at this time.
Initial reaction to WHATIZIT was not favorable among adults, but children were attracted to it. Their overwhelmingly positive reaction to the mascot confirmed ACOG`s belief that its audience was youth.
ACOP Licensing began resarching the mascot`s appeal to children. As
a result of studies from multiple focus groups, youth contests, and an
animation studio, a number of adaptations were made to the mascot. For
example, its name was changed to IZZY, and its appearance was altered to
make it more adaptable to licensed products and animation.
(Text from Official Report 1996, vols. I, page 130)