It’s purported animal mascots are one of the best branding techniques for a company's product and services. It’s known to leave a much more lasting impression with customers than other promotional approaches. This is particularly true, when one's competition lacks a similar type of imagination. Creativity is the key. Converting a mascot into a branded cartoon spokesperson motivates sales and produces results. Just ask an old standard like the Geico’s Gecko or a 'brand' new one, such as Cap’n Ameridog.
Geico’s marketing strategies have broken a lot of marketing norms over the years. While the old adage of ‘lather, rinse, repeat,’ holds true in most advertising campaigns, Geico’s ads toy around with several different advertising approaches at one time. TV viewers will attest that each is unique and different. The one common denominator is they're all humorous. The company's goal is to bring a smile to prospective customers’ faces. However, from Cavemen to Maxwell the pig and Dollar Bills with two Googly Eyes, you must admit, none have been as successful as Geico’s animated cartoon character, the Gecko.
Since 1999, his British Cockney accent and self-effacing humor hit the mark each time. While ever- entertaining, the Gecko ad copy is never distracting. The message is always on point. The goal is to prompt auto insurance buyers to switch carriers, and it's been highly successful over the years in doing just that.
In 2015, rating Geico against its competitors, Gecko has proven to be one the highest-rated mascot in the market. In a Q&A’s survey [a full-service rating system] it scored highest in the categories important to insurance companies: recognition, brand attribution, appeal . . . and that which influences the buyting decision.
Gecko also does an excellent job in reinforcing the company's brand messaging. Consumer Reports lauded Geico’s famous gecko and its memorabvle catchphrase “15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance”. CR noted consumers know the tagline so well, they can say it in their sleep.
The Dogs of Habersham's Cap’n Ameridog
Cap’n Ameridog has a long way to go to before it’s any where's near as recognizable as Gecko.
The ‘Dogs of Habersham' was kick-started this past summer in the bucolic South Carolinian community of Habersham. Just minutes from historic Beaufort, I launched this start-up to celebrate "dogs" as an integral part of South Carolina’s ‘Lowcountry life-style living.”
Beaufortonians are passionate about their canines, whether they are pedigrees from years' of hereditary lineage, or rescues they offer “forever homes.”
Initially launched as a ‘pet project’ literally, the ‘Dogs of Habershams’ photographs dogs on a traditional 19th Century-style Southern porch. The goal of DOH is to publish a comprehensive portfolio of dogs in coffee-table books and calendars. To date, DOH has photographed over 100 dogs, including dozens of breed and cross-breeds.
From photos to re-imagined portraits, DOH creates and sells ‘Art/Photo’ packages. They feature hi-rez glossy 8 x10” photos, "re-imagined art" and a coloring book page of each dog.
The re-imaginings of these dogs is created by DOH's award-winning illustrator Jack Pittman. It positions each canine in classic iconic art portraits by artists such as Raphael, Goya, Norman Rockwell, by hundreds of other memorable artists. Or for the more whimsical of heart, dogs can be illustrated in cartoons such as Peanuts, Popeye, or even Super heroes such as Wonder Dog, Mighty Mouse, or The Avengers.
This winter season, the company’s mascot, Cap’n Ameridog is busy promoting these unique packages as holiday gifts -- and happy to say, sales are brisk, as a result.
Here's hoping this black lab parody becomes as super-recognizable as the Gecko, in years to come.
Does your firm have a animal mascot?
Have these two animal branded cartoon character provided you with inspiration, or food for thought?
Designing a animal mascot might be just what you need to reinforce your brand. Love to hear what you’re doing with your brands in this regard, particularly if you’re a start-up and are testing the waters? Feel free to post your success stories below in comments.
Primary Source: List of Advertising Mascots