Brand Mascots Still Catch Consumers’ Attention

Mascots have given a face and personality to brands for decades and continue to connect with consumers today. Crestline, a division of Lewiston, Maine, distributor Geiger, surveyed more than 1,600 U.S. residents to find out what mascots have proven the most memorable and why. It’s maybe no surprise that Starbucks’ near-ubiquitous mermaid led the pack, with 95.6 percent of respondents connecting the mascot with the brand.

Starbucks’ mermaid edged out KFC’s Colonel Sanders (95.1 percent), the GEICO gecko (93 percent), M&M’s spokescandies (92.7 percent) and—in what could be considered a huge upset—Ronald McDonald (91.6 percent). What were least memorable in the survey? Coco Pops’ Coco the Monkey (5.9 percent), the Duracell bunny—not to be confused with the much more popular Energizer bunny (11 percent)—Golden Crisp’s Sugar Bear (19.3 percent), the Chicken of the Sea mermaid (21.4 percent) and Erin from Esurance (22.5 percent).

Among the field of 82 mascots Crestline asked consumers to identify, food products and restaurants generally enjoyed the strongest mascot recognition, trailed by insurance companies and household products. Also, the survey found that human mascots aren’t nearly as recognizable as animated ones.

Crestline suggests that if there was a golden age of product mascots, it might have been the 1950s and 1960s, as the media landscape was much simpler then and more brand characters were introduced during that era than in any other. Among the top 20 mascots in the survey, 1964 was the average year of introduction. However, the company notes that social media has revived interest in this type of branding and many modern mascots have large followings on Twitter and Instagram.

For a deep dive into Crestline’s findings on mascots, including the most and least likeable—Poppin’ Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Mr. Mucus from Mucinex, respectively—and the sexiest—“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” from Old Spice among male mascots, and Ms. Chiquita, among female mascots—click here.

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