A Question of Character - Best Practice in Managing Mascots

05/02/2012

Brand mascots, brand ambassadors, brand icons, brand characters – whatever your preferred moniker, these special types of mark imbue brands with personality and enable companies to generate traction with consumers. Mr Clean, Ronald McDonald, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, Travelocity’s Roaming Gnome, the Energizer Bunny, Aunt Jemima, Geico’s Gecko, the Maytag Repairman and Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World are all well-known brand mascots. These types of fictional human or anthropomorphic character, generally costumed or animated in nature, enable companies to humanise and promote their brands, and are most commonly used in connection with household or commoditised products and services.

For a time, with the upsurge of celebrity endorsements, it seemed as if mascots were falling out of vogue – but with the advent of social media and viral marketing, brand icons – both nostalgic in nature (eg, Betty Crocker or the Jolly Green Giant) and new (eg, Allstate Insurance’s Mr Mayhem) – seem to be more popular than ever. Their growing prevalence, particularly in this new online world, underscores the need for a holistic approach when it comes to clearing, protecting, enforcing and defending this unique type of intangible asset.

Excerpted from World Trademark Review, June/July 2012. To read the full article, click here.

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