Has anyone shown this to their kids for their reactions?
One of the articles made a good point--the target consumer isn't adults but children, so financially they're better off making something kids like and everyone else hates than the other way around.
ETA: On second thought, I think this will be a mascot I remember, just like I remember Izzy. Is it better to be remembered in a bad way or to be totally forgotten?
Also, have the companies who wanted licenses to make stuff with the mascots on it already been contracted? If so, they should get a major refund if for nothing else than the risk.