Brand mascots live forever, never ask for a raise and never get arrested for lewd and/or lascivious behavior. David Ranii’s recent article in the News & Observer (6/13/06, Business Section) exposed the pitfalls of using real people or even actors as brand spokespeople or icons such as the Maytag repairman.
As the article stated, people as actors have real problems with their lives that can bleed into public view. They age, get sick or want to move on to other things.
In our experience, rather than real people, the brand mascot sometimes works best for the long haul. If you think back you can easily remember the Energizer Bunny, Tony the Tiger, Ronald McDonald, Mr. Peanut and the M&M Characters. All of these are recognized in association with their brands. They tend to be friendly, engaging and positive messengers. They can take on any personality you wish and even be problem solvers if the marketing strategy requires it. Further, you can dress them up or down, evolve them over time to current looks and dress or give them flaws if necessary. The Geico gecko is the most popular of the current animated characters that have changed its look and demeanor since its inception a few years ago. Two years ago 26 ad icons were nominated to the Advertising Walk of Fame in New York City. Of that group there was only one human, Juan Valdez of Columbian coffee fame. 22 of the 26 were animated.
That’s strong evidence that this type of tactic works. Check out some of our brand mascot work–all over our website.