Brand mascots: the good and the GRRREAT! By @DKelly1504
By Daniel Kelly
Brand mascots: the good and the GRRREAT!
Why personify a brand? Why is a kind-eyed old man in a white suit an effective image for selling chicken by the bucket? Perhaps an image of a person or creature with whom we could interact is more relatable than a cold corporate logo. A being who is answerable if the brand ever betrays the prospect. One reason could be to extend your appeal to the consumer’s children like in the case of Flat Eric or those Russian Meer Kats.
All I can say is brand mascots are as old as brands themselves and show no signs of becoming quaint or ineffective.
I’m sure in the coming months we’ll have many scintillating discussions on topics like this and I’m not going to bore you with my meditations on the subject now. Instead I’m offering you a personal perspective on four brand mascots and why they’re interesting to me.
Tony the Tiger – Kid’s cereal has a wealth of colourful characters. They’re often hyper-active and appear as infused with sugar as the products they sell. The most well known is Tony the Tiger. Tony is an aspirational figure. He is unapologetically masculine. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that Tony is a sex symbol. An internet subculture known as ‘Furry Fandom’ is more or less concerned with anthropomorphised animals. It often includes a sexual element and on the 27th of January 2016 Tony the Tiger’s Twitter account begged people to stop sending him pornographic fan art. How GRRREAT! Is that?
Barry Scott – Martin Heidegger has a term: unheimlich. It describes a state of being where one experiences a phenomenon so odd it forces one to be suspicious of the working patterns of familiarity used to function within their world. Such a phenomenon was experienced by me in 2005 when Cillit Bang’s Barry Scott burst on to my TV. I could barely hear him shouting about pennies and lime scale over the sound of my universe imploding.
The Monopoly Man – Or ‘Rich Uncle Pennybags’ according to Wikipedia, sits at number 10 on the Forbes list of richest fictional characters just missing out to Forest Gump. According to Forbes he has a net worth of $2.5 billion. Forbes reported in 2011 he had a net worth of $7.1 billion so he must be doing something really wrong. He also doesn’t even wear a monocle. Seriously Google it.
Donald J Trump – 45th President of the US and ketchup enjoyer Donald Trump has not only represented products released under his own brand, but appeared in ads for Pizza Hut, Visa and co-starred with Grimace for McDonalds. I can’t help but believe The Donald when he looks into the camera and declares steak to be his favourite food. I have to say, I much prefer Goofy-Tat-Peddling-Trump to Always-on-the-Verge-of-Inciting-Race-War-Trump.
So there are some brand mascots which interest me. There are a great many more and I look forward to dissecting them with you. Not long now!
What are your favourites?