You can’t get a better guarantee of soft, formless mediocrity than to assign a creative project to a committee – especially those expressly designed to avoid controversy.

In this case, we’re confronted with the Power of The Group to Do The Wrong Thing in the form the 2012 Olympic Mascots (apparently, if you can’t create one good mascot, make two really, really bad ones).

Brilliant design move? Or shocking example of England’s Growing Drug Problem?

Reaction has not been positive; even AdAge opened fire with:

Graphic designers continue to weep openly in the streets. Schools have brought in crisis counselors to comfort frightened youngsters. Many Webkinz have reportedly formed suicide pacts as fears spread that — what were their names again? Warlock and Mandible? whatever — the monsters are part of a robot master race that has come from Planet Focus Group to stamp out cuddliness and cuteness on Earth.

Those in the fetish community are simply scratching their heads (as a commenter who goes by Murray Hewitt noted on the Deadspin blog, “The blue guy put his assless chaps on backwards”). And at Advertising Age headquarters in New York, those of us who didn’t go home sick yesterday ended up forming an impromptu prayer circle in the conference room — and that includes the atheists among us. Afterward, I manned the internet barricades, carefully recording reactions on Twitter to the attack of Warlord and Matlock. Click through the slide show below for the voice of the Tweeple.

What happened?

For those with little experience, committees often deliver results like the above; the unwanted byproduct of an illicit three-way love triangle featuring a drunken alien, a fetishist politician, and a foam pillow.

Welcome to the power of the committee.

Obviously, this is not the first time this has happened.

I once sat in a room filled with intelligent people brainstorming their company’s new tagline.

A truly spellbinding idea was circulating (not mine), and was within seconds of acceptance – when another writer (we all take the hit for this one) fired off an idea so convoluted and potentially damaging to the brand that I knew immediately it was destined for acceptance.

Later, the company happily “unleashed” (actual tagline verb [shudder]) their new tagline – which largely equated their product to the family pet – and I could only shake my head in wonder.

Six months later, it was quietly killed in a much smaller meeting.

To see such a thing happen before your eyes is like watching a train wreck, only in slow motion and slathered with the highly flammable, sickly syrup of good intentions.

Good creative work can die a painful a death a hundred different ways, yet the “committee” has to feature at the top of the list.

At least that’s what Wenlock and Mandeville keep telling me.

Keep writing, Tom Chandler.