diamond geezer

 Friday, November 11, 2022

Meet Roger the Crocodile.

Roger the Crocodile is the new mascot for the London tram network. No, I'd never heard of him either.

I saw him out of the window on a poster while I was riding from Wimbledon to Croydon. Wtf, I thought.

I was so intrigued I got off the tram to have a closer look.

His tail is the line up to Wimbledon, his jaws stretch to Beckenham Junction and Elmers End, his front leg is the New Addington branch and the loop around central Croydon forms his eye. His back leg is currently tramless but could be reserved for a potential extension to Sutton. That is very cleverly done.

And he's the result of a competition. Well done to Mariah for her winning idea.

I was still intrigued so I fired up Google on my phone. Nothing. Roger appeared to have emerged to no publicity and no explanation, which for a mascot designed in a TfL competition seemed very unusual.

I kept my eyes peeled for further sightings of Roger as I continued my tram journey. Nothing. Perhaps he'd been covered over by more important posters about tube strikes. Perhaps he wasn't there at all.

Nine stops later I finally spotted another poster - Rogerless this time - which explained more.

A competition has taken place in schools to design a mascot for the tram network, and these were some of the non-winning entries. They include a squirrel, a robot, two caterpillars, a selection of aliens, a frankly terrifying half-tram half-leopard hybrid, a parrot, a motorbike and a teddy bear with a tube map. Best of this selection, I'd say, was a dinosaur called Tommy the Tramosaurus because at least he was memorable. But you can see why Mariah won. As soon as her crocodile crossed the judges' radar they'll have thought "stop everything, this design's unbeatable, we have a winner."

I Googled more carefully when I got home and finally found two further references to the mascot design competition. One was in the newsletter from a primary school in East Croydon which confirmed that the competition took place this time last year. And the second was on TfL social media but not where you'd expect like Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, nor on their community blog... only on LinkedIn.
Say hello to Roger, our new Trams mascot!
Children were invited to think of a design for the mascot, with the winning entry being designed by young student Mariah, who beat off competition from more than 70 other entries.
Roger and friends will be making an appearance at Tram stops over the next few weeks, make sure to keep an eye out!
I got excited there that we might be seeing a giant mascot-sized crocodile doing public appearances at tram stops, but I think what they meant by 'Roger and friends' was the two posters I'd already seen.

TfL have past form on mascots for modes of transport, most recently with Doris and Dave, the two mascots for the DLR.

Doris is the smart one because she operates the trains, whereas Dave's cap confirms him to be a 'Safety Officer' so he's the sanctimonious fingerwagging creep. They pop up on marketing collateral, they appeared on several posters during the pandemic promoting the use of hand sanitiser and occasionally they make public appearances waddling around on platforms.

I wouldn't like to be the employees charged with meeting and greeting five year-olds dressed like that.

The Night Tube has a mascot, an owl who's either called Becky or Tooting depending on what you read. But why stop there. How about introducing a mole called Tubby for the Underground, or an orange octopus called Ollie for the Overground, or a cartoon version of the Queen for Crossrail, or a mangy pigeon called Scabby for the cablecar? I'm sure you can think of better.

In the meantime poor old Roger the Crocodile, who is excellent, exists only on a few posters at tram stops, a single LinkedIn post from three weeks ago and now here on this blog. He deserves much better.

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