Elliot Marcell Tan
Co-founder of Start Something Studios
30 May 2022·7 min read
One of the most important characteristics of a successful brand is its ability to connect effectively with its target audience. But how can brands do that? This is where brand mascots come in to help!
What is a mascot?
A mascot is a fictional character or figure intended to represent a brand. There are many forms of figures that a mascot can take shape in, including an animated human-like character, animal, symbols or just anything that helps consumers to recognise and resonate with the brand.
However, brand mascots are more than just designing characters, they should be created to make the brand more engaging for its target audience. Brand mascots may strike the right chord with the target audience and make a lasting impact if they are well-designed and instil the brand’s value.
What are the benefits of using mascots?
Well, the most obvious value-adding quality of a well-designed mascot is it grabs attention as they are often distinctively eye-catching and hard to overlook. Mascots are an excellent choice for brands who are looking to increase brand awareness, and brand recognition and differentiate from their competitors. Mascots are one of the most accessible and agile instruments for brands to communicate their brand values clearly to their audience as it serves as a middleman (with a loudspeaker) to talk with your customers on your behalf. This is especially useful for brands in the service industry that have no physical product to serve as a representation for the brand.
Moreover, the humanistic element of a mascot when well thought out can amplify likeability and contribute to the creation of a brand image. With brand values and human-like elements in mascots, it can create an emotional bond with the audience which can encourage behaviours from the audience.
As a bonus, it is less problematic as compared to human ambassadors!
Let’s look at some examples of brands using Mascots.
1. Duracell’s Hyperactive Bunny
One of the most classic examples of brands using a mascot is Duracell’s Hyperactive Bunny. Duracell is a company that sells batteries and these kinds of products are often difficult for consumers to feel any type of connection with. However, Duracell broke through the norm with the use of their Hyperactive bunny mascot to develop a connection between the brand and the customers.
The hyperactive bunny is a cute, funny and pink cartoon bunny. You may wonder, why bunny? The reason why Duracell chose a bunny as their mascot is because these animals are quite energetic creatures with a reputation for being hyperactive. The hyperactive bunny is especially depicted as having a lot of stamina in several advertising and marketing materials from Duracell. Duracell seeks to market itself on the premise that its batteries last longer than its competitors, and the mascot allows the brand to personify this idea.
One of their advertisements portrayed two different bunnies in a race and one of the bunnies is the hyperactive bunny. It exhibits the speed, strength and long-lasting characteristics of Duracell’s battery.
The screenshot is taken from Duracell Nigeria’s “Duracell Running Bunny”
The video was published on 24 Apr 2018 and has more than 6.8 million views currently. Not only does it communicate the brand’s features, but it also demonstrates that individuals choose to be exposed to advertisements because they are interested in the mascot, which helps to increase the brand's exposure and awareness.
If you didn’t already know, Jollibee is a popular Filipino multinational fast-food chain that sells mainly fried chicken, burgers and pies. Jollibee had created multiple mascots for its menu items throughout the years and here's what the mascots look like:
When coming up with the designs for their mascots, Jollibee drew inspiration from Disney characters like Donald duck and created their mascots to have strong resonance with their audiences. They manage to do so by incorporating their brand values like “Spirit of Family and Fun” and espouses Filipino pride to connect with their customers to make them feel like they are all part of a big fun family.
Since Filipinos are reputed to be among the world's happiest people and they are like bees, diligent by nature, Jollibee cleverly designed their main mascot to look like a bee (the cute red and yellow bee in the middle) and named it exactly like their brand’s name. As the brand’s mascot, Jollibee's cheeky grin is now associated with a true Filipino success story (happy and hardworking) that is a source of patriotic pride.
Jollibee became a symbol of nostalgia. They were more than just a brand, they created a shared childhood experience for every Filipino.
3. Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s Stand up Stacey
One of Singapore’s very own success stories of brand mascots comes from the LTA. A set of mascots was rolled out to foster a culture of graciousness on public transport in 2014. The five mascots personify the desired acts on public transport and they are known as the thoughtful bunch. The five thoughtful mascots are:
Stand-Up Stacey: Who gives up a seat for those who need it more
Give-Way Glenda: Who queues to enter the transport and give way for others to alight first
Move-In Martin: Who moves in so that others can board
Hush-Hush Hannah: Who talks in a softer volume so that others can enjoy a more peaceful journey
Bag-Down Benny: Who puts his bag down to create space for others
These mascots are just like us, the everyday commuter. They are simply trying to do the right thing to make public transportation trips more enjoyable.
LTA worked with students to help makeover the mascots and designed new fashionable costumes for each of the characters that embody each of their respective gracious acts. Besides that, to resonate with their mascots with Singaporeans, they also mimic outfits that are close to what typical Singaporeans would wear. Their ideas are not only stylish, but they are also accessible to the general public.
The goal of this style concept is to express that everyone may be a Stand-Up Stacey or a Move-In Martin, in hopes to encourage the general public to emulate the right behaviour in public transport. These mascots resonate with the general public by giving off a sense of familiarity as they are anthropomorphic, so it’d be very easy for people in Singapore to see themselves and their human attributes in things that may not look very human.
According to the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) Commuter Graciousness Index, graciousness levels have risen from 42% in 2013 to 61.3% in 2014 and the mascots were deemed to be a huge success.
4. Food Panda “Pau-Pau”
One of the latest adoptions of mascots in the 2020s is Foodpanda’s pink panda “Pau-Pau”. Foodpanda group is one of the global leading food delivery marketplace, active in 40 countries over five continents. In 2022, they launched a new Mascot named Pau-Pau in celebration of their 10th anniversary.
The cutest pink panda Pau-Pau is designed to be a fun-loving and free-spirited original ambassador. The mascot embodies Foodpanda’s principles of sustainability and champions empowerment across the region. Pau-Pau speaks its language and has its own comprehensive set of values, including environmental stewardship, empowerment, and the conviction to live life on one's terms.
The intention behind Foodpanda’s creation of Pau-Pau was to evoke love for Foodpanda among customers. Just like how Powerpuff girls were created by Professor Utonium with Chemical X, Foodpanda mixes in its very own formula to create a mascot with a personality that the audience can relate to and develop an emotional connection with as the brands become a part of their daily lives. Assisting communities in reimagining delivery services and thereby bringing life and excitement to their lives with Pau-Pau.
Brand mascots elicit strong emotions and memories that can last a lifetime. Whether a large or small firm, most successful organisations recognise the benefits of having these characters in their advertisements and embodying their values and vision in the mascots.
Interested in exploring the possibilities of how your brand might look, humanised? Have a free coffee and chat with us here!