Logos brought to life through animation, or puppets enlisted for a particular advertising campaign; brand mascots are a special breed of identity device. Here is a list of memorable ones; did we miss any of your favourites?
Digital 3D Animation
The flexibility of 3D modelling and animation has led to its widespread use for advertising campaigns. The popular Meerkats of Meerkova have gone on to spawn collectable toys, and apparently Fox's Vinnie the Panda has more fans on Facebook than Wayne Rooney!
Traditional 2D Cell Style Animation
This year sees the return of the Tetley Tea Folk after a decade away from our screens. The traditional style animation will surely please fans, as Tetley Tea fights to catch up with the popularity of PG Tips.
Cara, Confused.com's figurehead, is another example of 2D animation. This choice of style helps set Confused.com apart in an overcrowded marketplace.
Puppets & Soft Toys
Puppets offer a quirky, touchy-feely element to advertising campaigns. Both Flat Eric and Monkey are notable; built by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, they each went on to star in multiple advertising campaigns for various products.
Classic Logos Brought To Life
Some logos cry out to be brought to life through animation, and whilst the the current manifestation of Bibendum (AKA the Michelin Man) might not have the same classic appeal, the enduring, friendly nature of these characters ensures their longevity.
Live action campaigns have the power to become incredibly popular, despite having the potential to cause intense irritation! Customer services rep Howard Brown went on to become the face of Halifax and reached pop-star-like status. Sadly, the banking crisis wiped the smile off Howard's cheery face, and the campaign is no longer deemed suitable.
Wallace & Gromit, possibly inspired by their Aardman colleagues from the Creature Comfort ads, have gone on to star in a recent nPower campaign. As an animation technique, stop motion is less common now due to the popularity of digital 3D modelling, but some brands are still using it to great effect.
For children's breakfast cereals, mascots are a must, and there are numerous enduring examples in this sub-genre. Hopefully the rumour that Jedward are to replace Coco Monkey as the Coco Pop's mascot will prove to be false!
Mascots are often used to promote sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games, as well as individual teams around the world. Wenlock and Mandeville, the London 2012 Olympic mascots, have caused a stir with their bold design style.
Where Are They Now?
For one reason or another, many mascots are eventually put out to pasture, or re-designed beyond recognition. If the character becomes misaligned with the values of the brand, or feels at odds with popular culture, they can do more harm than good. Take Ronald MacDonald; he did McDonald's proud for many years, but has no place within the revitilised identity.
Similarly, the chimps who played a huge part in the rise of PG Tips have been replaced by the current sock monkey, due to a shift in attitudes towards animal rights.
By creating an emotional connection with their audiences, successful mascots have the power to propel a brand to the heights of popularity.
9 years ago