Shift ENGAGE | Purpose Built Creative | Brand Mascots in Zimbabwean Advertising
Brand mascots give your brand a human face — a face that your customers can remember and connect with, even beyond the life of a product.
brand, mascots, characters, advertising
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We’ve got Character!

Character (n/ adj.):

  • the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.
  • one such feature or trait; characteristic.

 

We’re looking at brand mascots as a vessel to carry brand and campaign messages. The mascot is a tool to demonstrate the brand’s values, and a focal point for customers to know your company, like it, and trust it. Whether animals, foodstuffs, aliens, products or pieces of equipment or actual people in costume, mascots develop a personality, especially by emphasizing distinctive traits, aligned to values or qualities of a brand or company.

These endearing characters have inherent appeal in that they let you get away with being playful, if your organization or brand has a serious personality. They are also great in helping distill a complex message into something simpler and easy to understand. They often help to persuade resistant audiences by playing on humour or entertainment.

 

You look familiar…

The most famous mascots in the world have managed to become icons in themselves, outside of the products they are associated with. A few that come top of mind are:

  • The Energizer Bunny
  • The Pillsbury Doughboy
  • Tony the Tiger
  • The Geicko Gecko
  • The hippo.co.za Hippo
  • Compare the Market Meerkat
  • Ronald McDonald

Why they’ve managed to develop such unique personalities is that the teams have put in work into making them 3-dimensional. Like people, the Geicko Gecko loves tea…the Pillsbury Doughboy has a distinct laugh – traits such as this make the characters even more relatable.

Once they become more recognized, it is important to translate this on to social media by allowing them to organically relate with their social fan bases. This involves places them in pics and letting them be the ‘voice’ for online contests and feedback.

 

Why Use A Brand Mascot?

Companies that grow iconic brand mascots breathe life into themselves. The mascot is a brand spokesperson, and its reputation and likability creates a halo effect for the brand it represents. It endorses products and makes them more appealing. Brand mascots evoke powerful memories that can stick for a lifetime by giving your brand a human face — a face that your customers can connect with at a deep, personal level.

The mascot isn’t just a drawing or a spokesperson, it’s a character. Knowing this requires developing its personality, its likes and dislikes, how it interacts with others, its story, and what it stands for, and ultimately tying this back to product and their benefits to consumers.

By deliberately incorporating the mascot into your brand strategy and drawing on it again and again, you can connect the mascot with your desired brand attributes. These characters have longevity, and that’s where their real value is derived. The better a mascot can personify a brand, the more consumers will embrace it.

Most importantly, brand mascots lead to sales because when you can connect with your customers at a human level they’ll choose your brand first.

 

One size doesn’t fit all…

As per most strategies in advertising, it is NOT FOR EVERY BRAND. For example, a cute character, no matter how amiable, will not be very well received if the company behind it is a Funeral Home (okay maybe an angel may do but that’s stretching creative licence – we don’t advise it though unless you want your brand to RIP).

The more unexpected the character, say a grasshopper for a financial firm, the more likely the intention may not land. There are a few exceptions of course, but these need carefully set up back stories to help them pull interest, and most importantly, know your audience and its cultural sensitivities.

 

Like we said, WE have got some character…

We’ve created or developed upon certain brand characters such as Bruce the Big Brother Chicken, the ZOL Cheetah and our beloved Angus the Short whose epic tale, The Hunt of the Scotsman, takes the audience on his journey from Scotland to Bulawayo in search of the original Lobels Shortbread Biscuit. You can watch his story here.