brand mascots

Air New Zealand Kills Off Sleazy Mascot Rico

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 2, 2011 05:02 PM

Air New Zealand isn’t above doing something a little scandalous to bring in customers and publicity. Two years ago, it painted uniforms onto the skin of supposed members of a ANZ flight crew for an ad campaign, raising more than a few eyebrows.

Then a year ago, the airline introduced a brand mascot: a raunchy puppet named Rico, who starred in an online-only ad campaign in which he used “sexual innuendo and chats with B-grade celebrities,” such as David Hasselhoff, Richard Simmons, Snoop Dogg and Lindsay Lohan, to help sell the airline, according to New Zealand’s Stuff.

Rico found some success, collecting 4.5 million YouTube viewers and more than 48,000 Facebook fans along the way. ANZ is likely the only major airline that had a series of online ads starring a puppet that all opened with the text, “The following video contains language and themes of a sensitive nature. Viewer discretion is advised.”Continue reading...

brand mascots

The Original Lady in Red, Betty Crocker, Goes Digital on her 90th Birthday

Posted by Dale Buss on November 21, 2011 11:01 AM

Yes, she's had a few cosmetic makeovers through the decades, to make sure she doesn't look school-marmish or like June Cleaver on the cake-mix boxes. But now that she's just turned 90 years old, Betty Crocker is undergoing one of the biggest changes ever: She's going digital. And that may be the best way for General Mills' baking-brand spokeswoman (a persona created in 1921 to answer home bakers' questions) to make it comfortably into the next century.

Betty's birthday celebration has been at the center of a new campaign by the brand that has included new cupcake recipes (Red Velvet Triple Stack and Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Caramel varieties sound particularly enticing), a promotional trip to the birthday "bash" at Betty Crocker Kitchens in Minneapolis attended by a 24-year-old Arizonan who won a contest, and a new version of the iconic Betty Crocker "Big Red" cookbook. Betty was already on Twitter and Facebook, but now she's got a new online destination that includes 1,500 recipes, 1,100 all-new photographs, an expanded store, and access to 85 videos and 400 additional recipes.Continue reading...

brand mascots

Kellogg Backs Off in Toucan Trademark Tussle with Nonprofit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 16, 2011 11:31 AM

Feathers ruffled, Kellogg had contacted the tiny nonprofit Maya Archaeology Initiative back in August to tell it to stop using its toucan logo because it supposedly too closely resembled Toucan Sam of Froot Loops cereal fame. As the president of the nonprofit, Dr. Francisco Estrada-Belli, commented, “This is a bit like the Washington Redskins claiming trademark infringement against the National Congress of American Indians."

Kellogg has apparently unruffled its feathers as the two sides resolved the trademark flap “amicably,” according to the Detroit Free Press. In fact, the little bit of stress for the people involved in MAI may have paid off big-time for the organization.

"After conversations with MAI to better understand how they intend to use this design, we worked with them to identify an approach to revise their trademark application that will enable them to continue using their logo for their not-for-profit fundraising efforts," stated Kris Charles, Kellogg's vice president for global communications and philanthropy, in an email to the Battle Creek Enquirer.

What's more, Kellogg “is contributing $100,000 to help launch one of the MAI's priority projects to improve the lives of the Maya people in Central America,” the Free Press reports, and the company “will also be featuring major Mayan accomplishments and a link to MAI's website on Kellogg's Froot Loops cereal boxes next year.”Continue reading...

brand mascots

Angry Birds Flips the Bird to Hockey Fans

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 14, 2011 04:06 PM

The Angry Birds game may have hit half a billion downloads recently, but the characters have yet to have their own animated show or appear in advertisements or actually represent anything other than the nice slingshotted birds they are.

But that’s all about to change. In the last month came the news of an Angry Birds TV channel and an Angry Birds movie in the works. And now a real, live, skating Angry Bird – with a stick. More precisely, a Hockey Bird. 

Toni Kysenius at Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish-based developer of the game, has created the new bird to be the mascot of next year’s Hockey World Championships in Finland and Sweden, according to the International Ice Hockey Federation’s website.Continue reading...

brand mascots

Progressive Launches "Dress Like Flo" Halloween How-To Tips

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 25, 2011 07:03 PM

Sure, there'll be plenty of Nicki Minaj, Angry Birds and Black Swan costumes floating around this Halloween. Brands with strong, identifiable and popular spokespeople also will find themselves, as ever, the subject for costumes. Last year we ran not one, but two lists of branded Halloween costumes.

One of the more popular is sure to be Progressive Insurance spokesgal Flo, so to jump out ahead of those looking for DIY costume ideas based on Progressive insurance's Flo spokeswoman, the brand has put together a comprehensive guide on how to "Dress Like Fo."Continue reading...

brand mascots

RIP, Doug: Ford Sends Focus Spokespuppet Packing

Posted by Dale Buss on September 28, 2011 05:57 PM

It was only last week that we asked, "Has Ford's Focus Spokespuppet Doug Jumped the Shark?" Turns out, he has jumped ship entirely.

Ford has decided to shelve Doug, the orange spokespuppet for the Focus, after a six-month run that did wonders for consumer interest in the car, exceeding the company's initial expectations.

Brandchannel has learned that the denouement of Doug's story will be told on Thursday with the release of the last new video in a series of many.

Ford released the penultimate chapter today, a Doug-less video that featured only "John," the human handler for the smart-alecky mascot, bemoaning the departure of his friend after Doug drove off himself in a 2012 Focus.

"The video today tipped it off," Scott Monty, Ford's head of social media, told brandchannel. "Tomorrow we'll have the concluding video."Continue reading...

brand mascots

Should Progressive's Flo Win a Spot on Madison Avenue Walk of Fame?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 13, 2011 10:06 AM

“Can Progressive's perky Flo make mincemeat out of the Jolly Green Giant? For that matter, can the Old Spice dude clean Mr. Clean's clock?” That’s the question being crowdsourced via social media to determine winners in the eighth annual online competition for the top two U.S. ad icons and slogans. 

Voting kicks off this week on event sponsor Buzzfeed.com, and runs through September 30.

The winners will be permanently installed on New York's Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame, located between 42nd and 50th Streets and already adorned with the likes of Juan Valdez, Orville Redenbacher, Mr. Peanut, the M&Ms, Tony the Tiger and the Budweiser Clydesdales. 

Leveraging Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, 20 icons are in the running, but only two will be immortalized during Advertising Week 2011 in New York, October 3-7.

2011 icon contenders include General Mills' Jolly Green Giant, the Kia Hamsters, P&G's Mr. Clean, the Energizer Bunny, Old Spice Man (aka The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, or Isaiah Mustafa), and Flo, Progressive’s perky/pesky insurance clerk.

"It's the ultimate seal of approval from consumers," comments Matt Scheckner, executive director of sponsor Advertising Week, to USA Today. "This will become viral," he says, fully (and ambitiously) expecting at least one million consumers to vote.Continue reading...

brand mascots

Tony the Tiger Now Grrreat! with Dads

Posted by Dale Buss on September 9, 2011 09:48 AM

Tony the Tiger is changing roles with the times, and so is advertising for the Kellogg's Frosted Flakes that he has so distinctively represented for 60 years. The cereal giant is asking its venerable mascot to play offense instead of defense in a new approach to advertising its so-non-PC sugary cereal.

Kellogg's TV ad features an athletic Tony clowning around in the back yard with a father, his young son, and playing baseball.

With the noose tightening around Kellogg's freedom to advertise Frosted Flakes to kids, because regulators and activists are trying to further throttle promotion of suspect foods directly to children, the company has decided to try some new tactics.

Instead of targeting moms, Kellogg's is aiming directly at fathers. As Ad Age notes, more dads are buying groceries these days, and more fathers say they're eating Frosted Flakes along with their children.Continue reading...

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