Do Brand Mascots Ever Truly Retire?

April 7, 2008

It is interesting to see how some brand mascots fade into obscurity while others return decades later in triumph. This recurring phenomenon gives companies the encouragement to build and maintain brand mascots for both current and future generations. However, just as a favorable current or retired mascot can illuminate brand reputation, so can a flawed mascot tarnish brand respectability.

It is vital for a brand mascot to embody the brand it represents because when the time comes for it to “retire” from the media, the mascot should exit on good terms. If not, the mascot taints the endorsements and the brand itself. Consequently, a business must devote significant energy into conceiving a mascot since this symbol’s initial impact, no matter the future modifications, will last interminably.

A prime example of an effective regenerated mascot is Speedy Alka-Seltzer, the ‘50’s creation with its appealing one-line pitches like “Relief is just a swallow away.” The present gnome-like creation focuses on younger adults whose excessive living prompts the need for this effervescent product. With Alka-Seltzer’s shrewd targeting of a key demographic, it has slightly altered its mascot’s personality from that of a sympathetically responsible comforter for those with indigestion to a “wing man” for those who party hard but still need to wake up in the morning for work - an interesting strategy that looks to be beneficial as the product and brand reputations merge brilliantly.

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