What makes a good brand mascot in 2019?
Some mascots seem like an inseparable part of the brands they promote. Others are quickly consigned to the commercials and cereal boxes of advertising history. A recent survey set out to find which brand mascots stuck in consumers’ memories most strongly, and discovered some interesting trends in the process.
The survey, conducted by Crestline, found that the most memorable mascot among the 1,630 U.S. residents polled was the Starbucks mermaid. Col. Sanders from KFC, the Geico Gecko, M&M’s talking candies and Ronald McDonald all scored within a few percentage points.
The least memorable were Coco the Monkey from Coco Pops, the Duracell bunny (not to be confused with the Energizer bunny), the bear from Golden Crisp cereal, the Chicken of the Sea mermaid and Erin from Esurance. The survey further explored a number of other characteristics of how the public perceives brand mascots. Among its findings were that:
- Restaurants and food brands tend to have the strongest mascot recognition;
- Human mascots do not tend to be recognized as easily as cartoon mascots;
- The generation of the audience plays a significant role, with far more Baby Boomers being able to connect the mascot with the brand for Blue Bonnet and Keebler, and far more Gen Zers being able to do the same with Chuck E. Cheese and the Honey Nut Cheerios bee.
- Today, nearly all speaking mascots have social media accounts.
The majority of the most recognizable mascots on the list were launched numerous generations ago, with the most recognizable newer introduction being the Geico Gecko, which the brand started using in 1999.
Recent attempts from major brands to roll out mascots with the same appeal as the classic ones have been met with mixed responses.
In 2014, for instance, McDonald’s began using an anthropomorphic happy meal box named Happy to promote the product. Customers reacted negatively, saying that the character looked frightening.
More successfully, Target reintroduced its mascot dog, Bullseye, into its advertising campaigns in 2015, and even went as far as to release a Funko POP figure based on the character.
- Brand Mascots and Logo Designs That Work – Crestline
- McD’s gets pushback on new Happy Meal food and mascot – RetailWire
- Target’s mascot makes a comeback – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is it more or less important for a brand or retailer to have a mascot in 2019 than it was in the past? What advice would you have for creating a mascot that is both memorable and audience-appropriate?