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Opencaching.com changes again; Mysterious mascot introduced

December 2, 2010

The mysterious, Garmin owned Opencaching.com site has changed it’s index page again. The new page now shows the same opencaching.com logo with a brownish textured background. The slogan has changed somewhat and you’ll either need to remember back to third form German (thanks Frau Stark!) or pay a visit to google translate. The new slogan is:

Bald auch unter einem Baumstumpf in deiner Nähe:

Kostenlos, offen, in deiner Sprache!

which translated means:

Soon, under a tree stump near you:
Free, open, in your language!

Which really tells us nothing new other than the obvious language option.

Opencaching Ninja Squirrel

However they have also introduced what appears to be a new mascot for the site. A screen shot of the little critter shows a multi-shade of blue squirrel type cartoon character. To this comic fan-boy from way back he looks like a lean, mean fighting machine, no holds barred type of dude. A stalk you in the darkness and steal all your acorns squirrel. He has instant appeal with this whilst still maintaining a level of quirkiness that makes him a little loveable.

However, its appearance immediately made me draw a comparison with the movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (you know, the very mediocre one with Ben Stiller and that guy who blew it with Jennifer Aniston). The synopsis of the movie is somewhat like the Garmin/Groundspeak showdown:

Story revolves around amiable underachiever Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn), whose rundown gym, Average Joe’s, is populated by a less-than-average clientele including a self-styled pirate, an ultra-obscure sports aficionado, and a pining high school nerd. Despite Average Joe’s posing little threat to Globo Gym, a fitness Goliath owned by White Goodman (Ben Stiller), Peter’s humble recreation center becomes a subject of much controversy when Goodman learns of his competition’s less than meticulous bookkeeping. Determined to expand his empire, Goodman hires attorney Kate Veach (Christine Taylor) to initiate a hostile takeover of the gym. Peter’s ragtag group of regulars, however, are less than thrilled with the prospects, and mobilize a showdown, winner-takes-all Dodgeball tournament against Globo Gym.

Substitute Peter and Average Joe’s for Groundspeak and White Goodman/Globo gym for Garmin. Hopefully, like the movie, this will all come down to a dodgeball tournament. But I think there are even some similarities between the main characters. Peter LaFleur (Vince Vaughn) is a little like Signal the Frog – friendly and cute but not too bright, athletic but not fit enough to win the race.

Signal the Frog

Peter LaFleur

But the similarities between White Goodman and the Opencaching.com Ninja Squirrel are even more uncanny…

Opencaching Ninja Squirrel

White Goodman

Only time will tell whether the cherished current home of Geocaching can overcome the onslaught of the corporate GPS behemoth.

Stay tuned for an update on kjwx’s opencaching.com poll results. It’s still not too late to have your two cents worth but visiting the poll (click the link on the right hand menu bar).

For those who can’t be bothered visiting the opencaching.com site here is a screenshot:

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