Will the Real Spokesperson Please Stand Up?
Posted: October 22, 2014, 4:10 p.m.
by Mary Kathryn Woods.
Since 1951, Tony the Tiger has been growling “They’re grrr-eat.” The GEICO Gecko is insistent that “15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.” Ms. Brown and Ms. Green M&M’s always show their sassy attitude. Proctor & Gamble’s Mr. Clean has been scrubbing since 1958, and the Energizer Bunny has been drumming since 1989.
With their unforgettable taglines and catchy theme songs, these brand mascots and many more will forever be etched into our memories. Brand mascots are still doing what they do best, but now they’re using a new tool to do it better — social media.
Though brand mascots continue to appear on TV commercials, billboards and other advertisements, social media provides mascots with an outlet to say more than taglines.
They may not all be butterflies, but they’re all pretty social. According to Synthesio, brand mascots on social media generate positive buzz, spark conversation and establish a favorable fan base. A few of Digiday’sfavorites include Mr. Peanut, Ms. Green M&M, Tony the Tiger, Chester Cheetah and the Energizer Bunny.
Take Tony the Tiger, for example. He’s grrr-eat at chatting with fans on Twitter. The Kellog’s Frosted Flakes mascot sniffs around Twitter for mentions of himself or Frosted Flakes, so that he can respond accordingly. Tony also routinely shares his witty musings on his two favorite topics: sports and cereal.
Social media allows mascots to literally be the voice of their brands, and these animated characters have notably strong voices. The Social Times emphasized that mascots produce more social media buzz than celebrity endorsements.
Brands use mascots to animate the brands’ personalities and allow consumers to make personal connections to their brands. Mascots have the power to make something as dull as insurance entertaining. Who doesn’t love GEICO’s little green, British gecko? Consumers prefer to interact with the chatty lizard on social media, rather than an unknown GEICO executive.
The same goes for the Aflac Duck and Flo, the Progressive girl. Though Flo isn’t a talking animal like many brand mascots, she establishes herself as a consumer-friendly brand icon. According to SimplyMeasured, Flo is particularly popular on Facebook — probably way more popular than the CEO of Progressive Insurance.
Social media is all about the content. If a brand can create content that its followers will share, it wins. According to a study, brand mascots increase the shareability of posts on social media. So, in addition to being talkative and approachable, a brand mascot and its personality play a significant role in a content creation.
For instance, M&M’s spokescandy content is especially shareable. The M&M’s USA Facebook page and Twitter account frequently post photos and videos of the colorful candy characters. Many of the photos and videos earned more than a thousand shares along with numerous likes and comments.
Whether they’re posting witty remarks, starring in videos or promoting products, mascots will always be America’s favorite spokescharacters.