Chinese-style cartoon characters, designed by illustrator Jamie Hewlett and Gorillaz co-star Damon Albarn, have been created to promote the start of the BBC’s Beijing Olympics coverage.
Contemporary versions of Monkey, Sandy and Pigsy, best known as the heroes of the cult Chinese TV series, will be splashed across the cover of tomorrow’s Radio Times in three alternative cover designs.
The three are to be reborn as the new stars of the BBC’s animated Olympics trailer, and are based upon the traditional Chinese folk tale Journey to the West, which is about ‘an epic quest for enlightenment’.
Hewlett and Albarn worked alongside Red Bee Media and the BBC in adapting the 16th century epic to create three animated characters that use Olympic sports, such as gymnastics, hammer, sprinting and diving, to reach to Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest stadium.
The creative duo, responsible for the high-concept animated band Gorillaz, has also exclusively produced the music for the BBC Olympic trail.
The Beijing Olympics marketing campaign is being rolled out across TV, radio, online, mobile and interactive media. It will also play throughout the Olympics programming through title sequences, graphics and set design.
Red Bee produced the cutting-edge trails and title sequence with Zombie Flesheaters and Passion Pictures, aimed at targeting the younger Facebook and Bebo networking generations.