Often our conversations with friends revolve around whatever show we are watching, and we are so engrossed in it that we want everyone around us to watch it too. We all have favorite heroes and even anti-heroes. Creating characters that viewers can admire and relate to, scenes they will retell, phrases they will utter in society, sounds like one of the more exciting and interesting jobs. It’s kind of the same with creating mascots for companies, products, or brands. A Mascot is a character, an imaginary creature that is modeled after an animal, a person, or an object. And this character, even if it is an object, has some qualities, physical and character, to consider. The mascot embodies a certain brand, it is the face of the brand, and as a kind of ambassador it communicates with the public on behalf of the company, and therefore its careful creation is extremely important. Of course, it is not only the face of the brand, but it also communicates the values of the company. If you plan all the steps wisely today, you will avoid possible problems in the future.
An animal, a person, an object – everything is possible
First, consider which character best embodies what a company, product, or brand is all about. Next on the to-do list is to choose the right character for the figure, characteristics that also best embody the values they want to represent. It’s also important to consider where the mascot will be used, how its character can be applied to digital and print marketing materials, or how it will work in other media. Once all of these steps are figured out, it’s time for the candy at the end – the Design.
Animal characters are often used as mascots precisely because we give animals some archetypal characteristics that we want people to associate with the product (brave, fast, fearless, strong, …) or say “graceful like a cat”, “playful and loyal like a dog”, but also because the connection is simply logical, as the cow mascot in the production of milk and other dairy products. One of the most famous mascots in the form of animals with human-like features is certainly the pink rabbit, the ambassador of the famous batteries. Americans are very active when it comes to mascots, so it is quite normal that every high school, college, and sports club has its own mascot, and animal characters are most often used there. UCLA College has a Brown Bear and a Bear mascot – Joe and Josephine Bruin – and they also have their own Twitter profiles. Not only can the mascot be an attraction at events, but it can also communicate with fans on social media. So it’s good to design a mascot character because then we have a better idea of how the mascot communicates.
The fact that mascots did not just arrive yesterday is also shown by the fact that the first mascots were created in the late 19th century, including the humanoid figure of the Michelin Man, made of stacked car tires. Since then, the world has had a number of globally accepted and recognizable mascots.
From authentic personality to recognition value
Finding the right personality of a mascot is not the easiest task, but we can think of it as a gathering where several people invent the characteristics of a mascot and have a good time. The character can be irresistibly cute, the one who has infinite patience and can be photographed for hours with the kids while giggling cheekily, it can also be a classic entertainer, but it can also be a bit inclined to sarcasm and rough humor. The latter can be raunchy territory, but whatever you choose, the character should be consistent in her traits. One of the examples of mascots that are not only extremely adorable are the mascots of the famous M & M’s chocolates, who not only talk, but also go to the movies, have a social life, and even make cute jokes. Or the lizard Geico Gecko, which at first glance does not look attractive, but has the X-factor, and he has character. This famous mascot was created in the late 90s of the last century out of sheer necessity. That year, a strike by the film actors’ guild prevented advertisers from using actors in their commercials. The company was forced to find another solution and thus the Lizard was born.
If the character is an animal or an object, you have to see what human characteristics it will have, whether it will wear clothes and what kind of clothes, whether it will have several outfits (sporting events, festive events?), whether it will speak or not. The mix of human and animal characteristics and objects makes the character more specific, more interesting, and possibly more memorable. Also, mascots can be put in a variety of funny situations, as a form of physical comedy, and the character can also evolve over time. This makes the mascot brand more attractive and memorable. For success, you have to mix the ingredients of character, figure, and marketing strategy well. There is no magic formula, but these are some useful starting points to think about. In any case, the mascot should stand out as an ambassador by its appearance and best express what it wants to say or present.
And once you have come up with a solution for what that mascot should look like, it’s time for your heroine or hero to embark on an adventure. And this adventure can take place on the web, on the blog, in the role, in aces and banners, on social networks, on YouTube, or in short – everywhere, in addition to events and various live events. Designing more outfits for your character will make him look more alive, you can design a real little life for him, send him skiing or on a summer vacation, to your favorite restaurant. Did we mention that it is possible to work and have fun?