2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

brand mascots

Happy Birthday, Sonic the Hedgehog!

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 23, 2011 12:30 PM

Twenty years ago, Sega launched a game with a blue hedgehog named Sonic taking out robots. You never know what’s going to stick.

As PC World notes, Sonic has since then “starred in four different cartoon shows, (its) own long-running comic book, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 separate Sonic games.”

For Sega, Sonic has become a steady company mascot that has stuck around as the video-game industry has changed dramatically. The hedgehog and archrival Nintendo’s Mario Bros. are some of the most recognizable figures in the gaming world.

Sonic identity is so strong that Sega Europe actually has a Sonic Brand Director, David Corless, who is always trying to figure out what the next step for Sonic should be.

"What we want to do in coming years is push Sonic further," said Corless, according to the Guardian. "How do we make Sonic even more relevant for 12-, 13-year-olds but still deliver the nostalgia to the older market? It's a challenge but quite a luxury.”Continue reading...

brand mascots

Using Zombie Pitchmen Doesn't Take Braiiiiiiiinssss

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 7, 2011 12:00 PM

A few weeks ago, the Web was abuzz with news of the Center for Disease Control's "zombie apocalypse preparedness" marketing stunt to promote hurricane preparation in an amusing fashion. The stunt went so viral that it crashed the servers, revealing just how unprepared the CDC itself was.

Now, a fast-on-the-uptake author is using the CDC's zombie viral marketing to do a bit of zombie guerrilla marketing of his own.Continue reading...

brand mascots

Offensive Mascots May Get to Stick Around in Wisconsin

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 6, 2011 03:30 PM

The NFL has its Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins. Major League Baseball has its Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians. And the state of Wisconsin has the Osseo-Fairchild High School Chieftains.

Team names that have been deemed offensive have been finding protests against them  in many forms over the years, many have stuck by their brands. While those professional sports teams pack some powerful brandage, high school sports have their own special power on a local level, and Chieftains past and present are feeling it a little extra these days.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Burger King Rebrands: New Colors, More Quality, Less King

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 3, 2011 10:00 AM

Last week, McDonald’s basically told activists against childhood obesity to go jump in a burning hot Fryolater if they thought they were going to get rid of Ronald McDonald. This week, Burger King and its new ad agency are telling its mascot to take a vacation.

In fact, Burger King is getting a much bigger change than giving the guy with beard and crown a rest. The Miami Herald reports that the chain’s advertising, menu, and even stores are getting revamped.

Don’t worry, Whopper fans. The burger isn’t going anywhere, but the restaurant will try to go healthier with its menu choices and add such things as mango and mixed-berry smoothies with 100% all-natural fruit purees and Asian chicken salad with baby edamame, red cabbage and sesame lime vinaigrette, among a slew of others.

As for its visual branding, red and black will become the new dominant colors of the restaurants, the Herald notes.Continue reading...

no kidding around

Are Advergames Fair Game for Kids?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 2, 2011 04:00 PM

Chex Quest, from General Mills, was the first video game to ever be included in cereal boxes as a prize back in 1996. Fast forward 15 years to Create a Comic, General Mills' latest digital advergame designed to engage kids with the Honey Nut Cheerios cereal brand. 

In that brief span of 15 years, the playbook on marketing to children has been rewritten by all things digital, and marketers are increasingly using games, quizzes and mobile apps to woo kids into a social web where they essentially act as marketers themselves.Continue reading...

chew on this

Quaker, in a Slump, Needs to Wake Up for PepsiCo

Posted by Dale Buss on May 31, 2011 04:00 PM

Over the last year, PepsiCo appears to have turned around the biggest part of its acquisition of Quaker Oats from a decade ago. Gatorade, on the back of its new three-part product line, has revived its domination of the sports-drink market.

But PepsiCo can’t be nearly as happy with the rump end of its deal for Gatorade: the Quaker brand itself.

Despite a flurry of new products, repositionings and marketing campaigns, the oatmeal-heavy brand remains an apparent afterthought for PepsiCo, with first-quarter sales having dropped. Some in and around the CPG industry are even talking about Quaker as a possible sale property, as Ad Age notes.

A number of obstacles stand in the way of Quaker’s really taking off after years of efforts to ignite growth.Continue reading...

brand mascots

Debate: McDonald's Goes to Bat for Ronald. Should They?

Posted by Dale Buss on May 20, 2011 03:00 PM

In the end, it’s probably not as much about defending Ronald McDonald as it is about not allowing activists to tell the company what to do when executives believe they’re being entirely responsible in their actions.

McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner flatly told both activists and shareholders on Thursday that, rumors to the contrary, the chain has no intention of retiring the red-nosed clown mascot who has helped the company market its food and brand to kids for nearly a half-century.Continue reading...

quote unquote

McDonald's CEO: The Clown Stays in the Picture

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 19, 2011 06:15 PM

"Ronald McDonald is an ambassador to McDonald's and he is an ambassador for good. Ronald McDonald is going nowhere."

— McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner defends the chain's brand mascot at today's annual general meeting and confirms Ronald isn't being retired. The news prompted cheers and the majority of shareholders rejected a proposal (following an ad campaign by an obesity watchdog group including Dr. Andrew Weil, among other physicians and health advocates) pressuring the chain to revamp its kids marketing tactics in light of America's rising childhood obesity numbers.

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