brand trainwrecks

McDonald's New Mascot is All Teeth, Eyeballs and Terror

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 20, 2014 12:38 PM

McDonald's just wants things to go back to being happy, but the QSR brand's latest marketing move has done everything but. In an effort to boost sales and promote healthy additions to its Happy Meal product, the company introduced a new mascot, "Happy," an anthropomorphized Happy Meal box that proceeded to scare the bejesus out of everyone on social media. 

As the official Happy Meal brand ambassador, Happy is tasked with encouraging kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy like McDonald's new Go-Gurt Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt, but the character's online antics have distracted consumers from the new product launch. The character was first introduced in 2009 in France and has since traveled throughout Latin America and Europe, only to wash up on US shores with little fanfare. 

The reveal follows the makeover of McDonald's other (unsettling) mascot, Ronald McDonald, who was outfitted with some new attire last month. Surprisingly, the fast-food chain has chosen to ignore the cries of critics who fault McDonald's with selling less-than-healthy food to kids via cartoon characters.Continue reading...

brand mascots

NFL's Oakland Raiders Debut Odd Looking Kid-Friendly Mascot

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 24, 2013 05:39 PM

When fans think of sports team mascots, most envision furry, feathery or friendly figures hell-bent on making game-goers smile, laugh, or stare in amazement at their silly stunts. From Kansas City Chiefs’ K.C. Wolf to Atlanta’s Freddie Falcon, mascots are supposed to be lovable, huggable figures... right?

But the latest plush fan to enter the fray might actually scare fans—and that's saying something when it comes to the black-and-silver clad Oakland Raider fanatics. 

The NFL team known for its costume wearing fans and gang-related jerseys is debuting a new mascot, Raider Rusher, meant to draw in a more youthful fanbase, but the big-headed, cartoonish figure might send mini Raider fans running. The new mascot may look familiar though, as it stems from a Nickelodeon TV show, NFL Rush Zone, that is co-produced by the NFL and the TV network to gain the attention of young fans.Continue reading...

brand mascots

Marine Corps Best Friend and Mascot Gets Day of Honor

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 29, 2013 07:12 PM

In World War I, the Germans nicknamed the US Marines as Devil Dogs, a term the Americans adopted with glee. On Wednesday, one of those dogs stepped down from its lofty place in the Corp., making way for a spunky new recruit. 

Sgt. Chesty XIII, the English bulldog mascot of the Marines for the last five years, has stepped down from his post and been replaced by Chesty XIV. The mascots get their name from Lt. Gen. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller Jr., who served in both World War II and the Korean War and is one of the most decorated Marines, according to the Washington Times.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Milwaukee Brewers Sausages Establish Mascot Legacy After 20 Years

Posted by Dale Buss on July 8, 2013 10:42 AM

The Milwaukee Brewers are mired in the basement of their division in Major League Baseball. They were recently swept by the division-leading Pittsburgh Pirates, their former dormat; are beset by injuries and shaky starting pitching; and are nervously awaiting the outcome of the sport's investigation of the Brewers' Ryan Braun and other baseball stars in the sport's growth-hormone scandal—all while former Brewers star Prince Fielder helps lead a resurgent Detroit Tigers team.

But as the Milwaukee baseball franchise heads into the All-Star break this week, there are some things that no one can take away from the Brewers: They came up with the idea of "sausage races" to entertain Milwaukee fans 20 years ago—a ballpark-entertainment tradition that is stronger than ever and has been emulated by lots of other teams ranging from the Washington Nationals to the Texas Rangers. The 20th anniversary of the torrid tubes has been a highlight of the baseball season in Milwaukee this year.Continue reading...

brand makeovers

Chuck E. Cheese Slims Down Mascot to Help Grow Bottom Line

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 1, 2013 03:50 PM

For decades, the eponymous mascot of Chuck E. Cheese has appeared to the general public as an extremely sizeable mouse that’s eaten a little too much of the famed restaurant’s pizza. For a time, the guy even carried a cigar around with him. But in a world that has heard a steady drumbeat against child obesity, it hasn’t exactly looked good to have a mascot who looked like he could lose a few pounds.

On Tuesday, Chuck E. Cheese execs and shareholders at the CEC Entertainment’s annual meeting in Texas met a slimmed-down version of Mr. Cheese, whose transformation began last year when his illustrated form changed shape in advertising and signage to become a lot more rock star than his past version.

With the change came the disappearance of the man who was his longtime voice, Duncan Brannan, and the introduction of Jaret Reddick as the new voice of Cheese, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Reddick, of course, is the lead singer of pop-punk band Bowling for Soup, which has a few albums Cheese execs probably wouldn’t want their mascot singing on, such as “Drunk Enough to Dance” and “A Hangover You Don’t Deserve.”

Changing the mascot may be the simplest thing CEC does this year. The 36-year-old company announced in February that its profits fell 20.7 percent to $43.6 million in fiscal year 2012. That’s a little surprising for a brand that was just named the No. 1 kid-friendly restaurant by Technomic's Consumer Restaurants Brand Metrics, based on customer surveys over the last two years.Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Coca-Cola Gives Iconic Polar Bears a Starring Role With Ridley Scott Film

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 3, 2013 04:43 PM

Coca-Cola apparently doesn’t hold a grudge against famed director Ridley Scott. The perennial Best Global Brand's logo appeared in his 1982 film, Blade Runner, and then the brand suffered the so-called "Blade Runner curse" with the disastrous introduction of New Coke in 1985. That "curse" saw other brands that popped up in the film (Atari, Bell, Pan-Am) suffer serious financial difficulties soon after the movie debuted.

Since those days, Coke and Scott, who got his directing start in London's advertising world in the early ’70s before decamping to Hollywood, have paired up a few times. In 1986, he directed the brand's famed Max Headroom commercials. Now, the beverage giant has released a short film about its iconic Polar Bears that was directed by Scott and produced by him and his recently deceased brother, Tony Scott.

"The Polar Bears," as the short is called (watch it below), tells the story of the bear family that has appeared in Coke commercials since the company’s “Always Coca-Cola” campaign kicked off in 1993. While polar bears have been part of the print-advertising mix for Coke since 1922, the campaign put the polar bears front and center in consumers’ eyes. Now those who have been curious about just who these bears are will finally have their questions answered.Continue reading...


China Panda Ambassadors (and a Little Gangnam) Put Chengdu on the Map

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 29, 2012 12:14 PM

Looking to boost its profile globally, one city deep in China's interior turned to its most famous resident: The Panda.

Earlier this year, the “Pambassador” campaign was born, a project aimed at reinventing Chengdu as an economically sustainable, friendly city open to the world. Pambassador stunts have managed to spoof the royal family (upsetting a few Brits in the process), dance Gangnam in London, and "go wild" in Hong Kong while racking up over 404,000 fans on Facebook, hundreds of thousands of YouTube views and 60,000 commitments  worldwide from people looking to live in Chengdu.Continue reading...

Not Looking Good for Twinkie the Kid: Hostess, Bakers Union Mediation Fails

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 20, 2012 05:02 PM

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the president of the bakers union in court-ordered mediation with Hostess Brands said he's "not too optimistic" that a settlement will be reached or the company's liquidation plan (now adjourned to 11 a.m. EST on Wednesday) reversed:

In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union President Frank Hurt, who’s not attending the mediation being held in New York Tuesday afternoon, said he’s heard "not a word" about how the talks are going. But he doesn’t think a deal will be reached to head off the Twinkie maker’s liquidation because his members aren’t prepared to take the labor concessions Hostess says it needs to survive.

Will brand loyalists have more success convincing President Obama to nationalize Twinkies — or will Pabst ride to the rescue and save Twinkie the Kid? Stay tuned.

Update: The announcement that mediation failed came at 7:08 p.m. ET: "Hostess Brands Inc. announced today that a mediation today with the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union was unsuccessful. The Company will have no further comment until a hearing scheduled for tomorrow at 11 a.m., EST, before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York"

[Image via]

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