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Brand Mascots: Creating And Examples Of Famous Characters

Discover the power of brand mascots! Explore famous characters & their impact on brands. Read now for insights!

Written by RamotionAug 31, 202311 min read

Last updated: Feb 12, 2024

Entrepreneur Henrey Seymour struck gold when he named his oatmeal business Quaker. He thought, why not? Quaker sounds like the name of someone you would invite over for a cup of coffee.

In a jiff, the brand came up with a design of a man in a hat and a suit with a friendly smile to match the name, embodying the excellent quality and honest value that the brand stands for. The iconic Quaker Oats man came to be one of the oldest mascots most recognizable to this day!

An old man with white hair is dressed in a dark blue suit and a hat

Just like Mona Lisa's smile, the Quaker man is one of the oldest and most recognizable brand mascots to this day via Facebook

What are Brand Mascots?

Think of brand mascots as a tangible visual representation of a business. Different from logos, it is something that people can touch, talk to, wave at, or even hug and have the ability to make instant connections, evoke warmth and playfulness, and leave a lasting impression.

With a character customers can directly engage with, communicating what your brand does or offers becomes easier to grasp.

The Walt Disney's iconic Mickey Mouse mascot via Unsplash

Picture this: Hustling to work, lost in the daily grind, you suddenly spot Mickey Mouse eagerly waving at you across the road, and nostalgia takes over you. Mickey Mouse, the beloved famous character of Disney, has an undeniable influence to bring a sense of magic and happiness to your mundane morning routine.

Perfectly encapsulating what brands stand for, companies that leverage mascots are proven to have a 37 percent higher chance of increasing their market share. With the ever-evolving technology, they come to life virtually in different forms and platforms. They allow branding and marketing professionals to personalize them effectively to align with the changing preferences and consumer behaviors.

Discover the secrets behind the most famous mascots, explore innovative and imaginative ideas, and learn from awe-inspiring iconic companies that have withstood the test of time.

3 Essential Steps to Creating a Successful Brand Mascot

Much of your decision to have a brand mascot depends on the overall image you want to convey. And if you do decide to have one, here are three essential steps to consider when developing a brand mascot:

Step 1: Identify Your Company's Unique Brand Character Traits

Think of brand mascots as living entities with beliefs, emotions, and values. By understanding and articulating your character traits, you can effectively communicate your essence to your customers and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Take a company that makes lightweight and trendy professional cameras, for instance. Say, its purpose revolves around providing innovative solutions with unique designs that help realize and further the creativity of photographers—amateurs and pros—who use their products.

Therefore, its attributes could include a strong sense of adventure and connection, dependability, smartness, and innovativeness.

Step 2: Shape the Brand Persona

Humanize your brand mascot with a refined brand persona via Unsplash

Adding physical attributes, we can make it a more concrete character to represent your brand. For starters, how would you visualize your brand mascot?

You may opt for an anthropomorphic one, an animal, or even an inanimate object with distinct human attributes. You could also delve into its temperament, whether it has a calm or active demeanor.

We could personify the camera brand with a hip, fun-loving brown bear called Gabby. Imagine Gabby confidently sporting a pair of trendy sunglasses while holding a camera.

And a couple more attributes here and there, from clothes and facial expressions to tone of voice, Gabby conveys playfulness, fearlessness, and a sense of adventure—all of which align with the camera's target audience. Staying true to the bear's brown fur symbolizes the great outdoors, while the sunglasses allude to youth and modernity.

By carefully considering these physical attributes, you can ensure that a good mascot effectively communicates your values, creativity, and authenticity.

Step 3: Develop the Personality of Your Brand Mascot

To feel and express emotions is to be human. But how do we access and inject these emotions into them?

In addition to their human-like expressions, they are excellent storytellers—whether relaying the origin or narrating relevant stories that reflect the lives of your target market. This is where listening and understanding your audience play a huge role. And with consistency in portraying these emotions through marketing channels, you can strengthen the bond between your customers.

Take your cue from auto insurance company Geico. Nothing was exciting about the company until the gecko with a British accent took the spotlight. With its quick wit and flair for delivering obnoxious yet inoffensive jokes, the gecko has captivated the hearts of many customers. More than twenty years later, the mascot is as popular as ever.

Examples of the Great Brand Mascots in History

Ready to be inspired? Look at some of the world's favorite brand mascots and discover what makes them work.

1. Michelin Man "Bibendum" by Michelin

How the Michelin Man, also known as Bibendum, came to being is fascinating. One of the Michelin brothers pondered how piling up tires resembles the torso of a man. Further inspired by an old comic book character, it took shape as a mummy-like white figure indulging in booze and cigarettes.

Over the years, the Michelin Man has evolved into a friendly, cuddly, and white puffy figure with round eyes and an inviting smile that we know today, a change influenced by the company's product expansion to automobile tires.

The transformation of the Michelin Man or Bibendum via Logo My Way

2. KFC and The Colonel

Unlike other famous mascots rooted in fictional characters and inanimate objects, Kentucky Fried Chicken's (KFC) beloved character is based on the founder, Colonel Harland Sanders. The Colonel has gone through a harrowing life before finding success in the food industry in his 40s.

From enlisting in the military and taking one odd job after the other to receiving thousands of rejections over his now-famous chicken recipe, the Colonel is the epitome of undying hope and perseverance. And so, sporting a white suit with a white goatee, the Sanders effectively embodies KFC's strong commitment to bringing something new to the table and a memorable dining experience.

KFC keeps its founder, Colonel Harland Sanders, as the brand mascot. Image via KFC

In an interview with Fast Company during the company's rebranding campaign, KFC US President Kevin Hochman explains, "When we're at our best, the Colonel is at the center of everything. When he passed, we started losing our way a little bit, so the idea is that we're going back to the Colonel and to his beliefs about treating guests and ensuring that we offer the highest quality and service in our stores."

3. The M&M's Talking Candies

M&M's creates different personalities with its charming candy mascots. Image via M&M's

It's almost impossible not to grab a bag of M&M's when its charming candy mascots stare at you on the grocery aisles! Round, colorful, and cheerful, they are ever-present, often interacting with consumers in commercials and in-person appearances. Each candy color has a look and personality that speaks to every M&M lover. Which one are you?

  • Red is smart and charismatic.
  • Yellow is ever the optimist.
  • Orange is constantly anxious and cautious.
  • Purple is confidently beautiful.
  • Green is known as sassy, supportive, and an adventure-lover.
  • Brown is, without a doubt, a natural-born leader.
  • Blue reminds everyone to take a chill pill and bask in happiness.

4. Captain Morgan

Captain Morgan, loosely based on a notorious pirate, Henry Morgan, is crucial in establishing and maintaining the rum identity. With a distinctive red coat, a pirate hat, and a sword, he reflects adventure, charisma, and quality.

These traits are what real rum drinkers appreciate. Through witty and entertaining content, the pirate mascot continues to have a following and maintains relevance in the digital age.

Ever the charmer, Captain Morgan remains a unique hero among rum lovers. Image via Twitter

5. Tux: Linux's Iconic Penguin

A penguin may differ from your first guess for a computer brand mascot. But Linux has successfully made Tux, a loveable penguin with its charm and simplicity, a perfect brand representation.

With his beaming smile and outstretched wings, this memorable animal character welcomes every user from diverse backgrounds to commune and create something exciting and different. Tux is best for a free, open-source operating system that encourages inclusivity and openness.

The Tux represents Linux's simplicity and openness via 1000logos

6. Mr. Clean

With a long streak in the market since the 1950s, Mr. Clean has become a widely recognizable brand character.

Wearing a crisp white shirt, his iconic bald head, muscular physique, and clean appearance stand out in advertisements and product packaging. His strong personality and efficacy resonate with consumers looking for reliable cleaning products.

Over the years, Mr. Clean has become a cultural figure, often referenced in pop culture and further solidifying the status of this iconic character among many generations.

7. Duracell's Bunny Powers On

Duracell cements its brand as the world's leading battery manufacturer with the help of Duracell Bunny. Image via Duracell

The Duracell Bunny is a tiny, mischievous, and playful pink bunny, symbolizing the long-lasting power and energy of Duracell batteries. Ever present in advertisements and packaging, the quick and energetic bunny is well-known for its endurance and love for showcasing the battery's capabilities—whether that's powering a toy or a camera.

With consistency, the Duracell Bunny creates positive associations in the minds of consumers who appreciate reliable, innovative, and durable products.

8. McDonald's Famous Clown

Yellow clown suit. Huge red lips stretched to a wide smile. And a pair of red shoes. Sounds familiar?

McDonald's has mastered the art of brand mascots with its unforgettable clown, Ronald McDonald. Image via Unsplash

Ronald McDonald's is the most popular fast-food chain mascot known across the globe. Known for his boundless energy or his knack for crafting balloon animals like magic, Ronald has an innate talent for connecting with people—adults and kids—and bringing them together.

Indeed, it epitomizes fun and laughter that people can't seem to get enough of. Taking its cue from the success of the clown, McDonald's has added friendly characters to the group, like Grimace, Hamburglar, and Birdie the Early Bird.

9. Cheetos' Chester the Cheetah

Meet Chester, the hippest cheetah in the block, courtesy of Cheetos via Instagram

Before you can even read the label on the packaging, a quick glimpse of a grinning cheetah may already have you gunning for a cheezy snack!

With Chester the Cheetah's vibrant orange fur and cool sunglasses, he exudes confidence and playfulness that lets you know you're in for a bag of sumptuous chips and a little mischief.

It also helps that he appears in humorous and relatable advertisements, effectively promoting the brand and its products among millennials and younger generations.

10. Pringles

Known for its thin, crisp, and flavorful slices of chips that taste oh-so-good, Pringles' stackable chips have remained a snack favorite, just like Cheetos.

And with such unique attributes, the brand has aptly crafted a geometrically accurate character with a short and cartoonish figure.

After several iterations—change in colors, hairstyle, and even removing its hair in 2020's rebranding for a minimalist look— it remains consistent in evoking fun and joy to anyone who comes across it. These are emotions that the brand hopes consumers feel as they reach down the tube for a bite or two.

Pringles' brand mascot via Facebook

11. Haribo's Cheerful Goldbears

In the world of gummy bears, the crown goes to the Haribo. Known for its flavorful and chewy gummy candies, the brand has taken a stronghold in many countries with its wide range of flavors in different shapes.

But what made Haribo remarkable in the market is its character, the Goldbears. Round, soft, and inviting, Haribo's animal mascot imbibes creativity and innovativeness, encouraging consumers to have fun, experiment, and incorporate them in ice cream, cakes, and whatever!

Haribo's lead Goldenbears mascot via Instagram

12. Duolingo

Filled with mischief and tricks to get you to learn a foreign language, Duo—Duolingo's mascot—is like no other. Duo has transformed from this amiable owl that pops up on your notification into a lurking language instructor who loves puns and friendly threats.

So, what makes Duo so effective?

Duolingo's famous green owl takes flight across the globe via Duolingo

Duo incorporates (sometimes aggressive) humor and playfulness in a way that catches users' attention. And the brand has been consistent in showcasing its personality in its push notifications and social media posts, delivered by the infamous green owl, like:

  • Your Japanese lessons won't take themselves.
  • It's simple, Spanish or vanish.

With Duolingo going mainstream, it inspired people on social media to create memes, furthering the app's popularity.

13. Olympic Mascots

The international sporting organization introduced mascots in every event to revolutionize the experience for viewers and athletes worldwide. This decision has allowed host countries to showcase their unique sporting spirit and cultural heritage.

For instance, Canada chose mythical animals Quatchi the sasquatch and Miga the sea bear. Meanwhile, China selected its popular panda as its famous mascot and named it Bing Dwen Dwen. Bing signifies purity, while Dwen Dwen translates to robust and lively. The use of mascots in the Olympics is so effective that fans eagerly await the reveal of these iconic figures and are willing to purchase mascot merchandise for keepsakes.

Canada introduced its fabled mascots via Olympics

China reveals its loveable panda, Bing Dwen Dwen, via Olympics

14. Vault Boy

Vault Boy brings excitement and nostalgia for gamers familiar with the role-playing game Fallout. This cartoon character in a blue and yellow jumpsuit, grinning from ear to ear, is easily recognizable because of his friendly grin and jovial presence.

Vault Boy encourages gamers to not give up via Screenrant

He communicates important gameplay mechanics and attributes to players through various poses and expressions. From demonstrating the effects of different perks and skills to providing warnings about potential dangers, Vault Boy is an invaluable guide in the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout.

To Wrap Up

Whether you're a business looking to enhance your brand image or a content creator seeking to engage your audience, having recognizable mascots offers endless possibilities. From animated cartoon characters to augmented reality experiences, they can capture the attention and imagination of your target audience.

Tap your possibilities and discover how yours can become iconic, which everyone will love with our brand designers at the helm.