As companies compete in an increasingly crowded marketplace, creating a memorable brand identity has never been more crucial.
One of the most effective ways to do that is through the use of a brand mascot, a character that represents your company and tells its story. A good mascot makes your brand recognizable, relatable, and memorable.
In this article, we will explore the most iconic and famous brand mascots of all time and provide tips on how to create your own.
What Are Brand Mascots?
A brand mascot is a character that is used to represent a company, product, or service. They can take many different forms, from a human-like character to an animal or object.
A brand mascot is designed to create an emotional connection with the target audience. They serve as the face of the company and are supposed to embody its values, personality, and mission statement.
Why Are Brand Mascots Important in Advertising?
Brand mascots are important in advertising because they help companies stand out in a crowded marketplace. They also help to create a unique brand identity that is easily recognizable by consumers.
People tend to be drawn to characters and stories, so a well-designed brand mascot can help forge an emotional connection with potential customers.
A great brand mascot can also make a product or service memorable, which is crucial to creating brand loyalty.
What Makes a Good Brand Mascot?
A good brand mascot should be memorable, recognizable, and relatable. Ideally, it should reflect the brand’s personality, values, and mission statement.
The mascot should be simple enough to be easily recognizable, but also unique enough to stand out. Finally, the mascot should be versatile, lending itself to various media formats such as print, television, digital advertising, and packaging.
Iconic Brand Mascots of All Time
1. Coca-Cola’s Santa Claus
Coca-Cola‘s Santa Claus is one of the most recognizable brand mascots in the world. The character of Santa Claus has been around since the 1800s, but the Coca-Cola Company is largely credited with shaping the modern-day image of Santa Claus.
In a series of illustrations created in 1931 by Haddon Sundblom, Santa Claus was depicted as a jolly, rotund man with a red and white suit.
This image has endured for almost a century and has become synonymous with Christmas and holiday celebrations worldwide.
2. Tony the Tiger by Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes
Tony the Tiger first appeared in 1952 as the mascot for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, a brand of breakfast cereal.
The character was created by a team of designers and marketers who came up with the concept of a friendly, upbeat tiger who embodied the energy and enthusiasm of the brand.
Tony’s signature catchphrase, “They’re grrreat!”, has become so famous that it is now a part of popular culture.
3. Colonel Sanders from KFC
Colonel Sanders is the fictional founder and brand mascot of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Harland Sanders, the company’s real-life founder, created the character in the early 1950s.
The Colonel is depicted as a jolly, elderly Southern gentleman with a white suit and string tie.
Today, the character remains one of the most recognizable brand mascots in the world, and his likeness is featured prominently in KFC’s branding and advertising.
4. Planter’s Mr. Peanut
Planter’s Mr. Peanut is one of the oldest and most recognizable mascots in the world. The character first appeared in 1916 and has remained a beloved advertising icon ever since.
Mr. Peanut is depicted as a well-dressed, anthropomorphic peanut with a top hat, monocle, and cane.
5. Pringles’ Julius Pringles
Julius Pringles is the brand mascot for Pringles, a brand of potato chips. A group of designers and marketers created the character in the late 1960s, and it features a cartoon man with a very distinctive mustache.
The character’s likeness has become so famous that it is now synonymous with the brand itself.
6. Chester Cheetah from Cheetos
Chester Cheetah is the brand mascot for Cheetos, a brand of cheese-flavored snacks. The character was created in the late 1980s to promote the brand’s new cheetah-shaped snacks.
Chester is depicted as a cool, suave cheetah with sunglasses and a laid-back attitude. His catchphrase, “It ain’t easy bein’ cheesy”, has become one of the most famous in advertising.
7. Michelin Man’s Evolution Over the Years
The Michelin Man, also known as Bibendum, is the brand mascot for Michelin, a tire company. The character was created in 1898 and has undergone several transformations over the years.
Originally depicted as a man made of tires, the Michelin Man has evolved into a more anthropomorphic figure with a bulbous body and a jolly demeanor. Today, he remains one of the most recognizable brand mascots in the world.
8. Pillsbury Doughboy: The Making of An Icon
The Pillsbury Doughboy, also known as Poppin’ Fresh, is the brand mascot for Pillsbury, a brand of baking goods.
A group of designers and marketers created the character in 1965, depicting it as an anthropomorphic ball of dough wearing a chef’s hat and apron.
The character’s characteristic “hee-hee!” laugh has become one of the most recognizable in advertising.
9. Kool-Aid Man: How He Became the Mascot of Kool-Aid
The Kool-Aid Man is the brand mascot for Kool-Aid, a powdered drink mix. The character was created in 1954 and is depicted as a large, anthropomorphic pitcher with a smiley face and arms and legs.
The character became famous for breaking through walls and exclaiming “Oh yeah!”, a catchphrase that has become synonymous with the brand.
Criticism of Brand Mascots
Are Some Mascots Culturally Insensitive?
One of the main criticisms of brand mascots is that some can be seen as culturally insensitive.
For example, Native American mascots have been controversial for decades, with many people seeing them as perpetuating stereotypes and promoting cultural appropriation.
Similarly, some mascot designs can be seen as perpetuating racist imagery or caricatures.
Do Mascots Promote Unhealthy Eating Habits?
Another criticism of brand mascots is that they promote unhealthy eating habits, particularly among children.
Many fast food chains have come under fire for using mascots like Ronald McDonald to target young children, a practice that some believe is unethical.
Critics argue that these mascots encourage children to consume unhealthy food and can contribute to the childhood obesity epidemic.
Should Mascots Be Used to Advertise to Children?
There is an ongoing debate about the ethics of using brand mascots to advertise to children.
While some argue that the use of mascots makes advertising more fun and engaging for kids, others believe that it creates an unfair advantage for companies targeting young children.
Some critics even argue that mascots exploit children’s emotions and increase their susceptibility to advertising.
Creating Your Brand Mascot Design
Factors to Consider when Designing a Brand Mascot
When designing a brand mascot, there are several factors to consider:
- First, you should think about your brand’s personality and values, and aim to create a mascot that embodies them.
- You should also consider your target audience and think about what kind of character will resonate with them.
- Finally, you should think about the context in which your mascot will be used, and design a character that is versatile and can be used across various media formats and platforms.
Best Practices for Bringing Your Brand Mascot to Life
1. Establish a Clear Brand Identity: Before creating a brand mascot, it’s important to establish a clear brand identity that accurately reflects your values, mission, and personality. This will help guide the design and personality of the mascot.
2. Brainstorm Ideas and Concepts: Brainstorming ideas and concepts for your mascot can help you determine what kind of character and personality you want to create. Consider your audience, brand voice, and the message you want to convey.
3. Hire a Skilled Illustrator or Animator: Creating an effective brand mascot requires the skills of a professional illustrator or animator. Look for someone with experience in creating characters who can bring your ideas to life.
4. Develop a Backstory: A strong backstory can help bring depth and dimension to your character. Consider what motivates your mascot and how their personality and traits align with your brand message.
5. Test and Refine Your Mascot: Once you have your mascot created, test it with your audience to see if it resonates with them and accurately reflects your brand. Make adjustments as necessary based on feedback and data.
6. Use the Mascot Consistently: To achieve maximum impact, use your mascot consistently across all of your marketing channels, including social media, your website, and your packaging. This will help build brand recognition and loyalty.
7. Keep the Mascot Relevant: Stay up-to-date with industry trends and consumer preferences to ensure your mascot remains relevant and resonates with your target audience over time.
Top Brand Mascot Design Trends and Examples
Brand mascot designs are constantly evolving, with new trends emerging all the time.
Some of the top trends in brand mascot design today include using animal characters, creating characters that are based on real people, and using animation and interactive media to bring mascots to life.
Some Examples of Successful Brand Mascots that Embody These Trends
1. The Geico Gecko
It is a beloved brand mascot known for his witty remarks, charming demeanor, and relatable personality. He embodies the trend of brands creating mascots that appeal to consumers’ emotions and establish a personal connection with them.
The Gecko’s clever one-liners and humorous antics make him an iconic and lovable character that people look forward to seeing in their advertisements.
2. The Energizer Bunny
It is a mascot that took the world by storm with his never-ending energy and endurance. He represents the trend of brands creating mascots that embody the qualities of their products.
The bunny represents the Energizer brand’s batteries’ power and staying power, making him an effective and memorable character.
3. The Jolly Green Giant
It is a mascot that has been around since the 1920s and has stood the test of time. He represents the trend of brands creating mascots that promote health and wellness.
The Jolly Green Giant is a symbol of wholesome goodness and healthy eating. He is also a memorable character that people associate with the brand and its products.
Well, well, well.
It looks like we’ve reached the end of our little chat about brand mascots. And what a journey it’s been!
We’ve talked about the good, the bad, and the downright cringe-worthy. But at the end of the day, there’s no denying the power of a well-designed mascot.
They’re like the icing on the cake—sure, the cake itself might be delicious, but it’s that extra bit of sweetness that really makes it memorable.
A strong mascot can do wonders for your brand:
- It can help you stand out in a crowded market, create a sense of trust and familiarity with your customers.
- It can give your brand a unique personality that people will remember long after they’ve left your website.
So don’t underestimate the power of a great mascot. They might not be able to solve all your problems, but they can definitely give you a leg up in the branding game.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find my own mascot. I hear llamas are all the rage these days…