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Remember the Mascots

Trix-rabbit Do you remember the days of mascots? What happened to them, where did they go and why have we been left behind? Did they all get picked up by aliens and taken to a better place? Perhaps! Then again, perhaps the mascots simply died off in some kind of mascot holocaust.

Man, I remember the days of mascots so fondly.  I can't be alone in that. I mean, there used to be monsters selling me food, animals selling me booze and everything else. Those were the days, but have they gone away?

And yes, of course, some of them were annoying. I've never gotten over my pathological hatred of that fucking Noid thing, for example. I hated that stupid thing.



But I still remember it, and that's the key. Now what does Domino's use when they try to convince us they don't suck? They spin tales about their taste. Sure, whatever. Look I remember when if you wanted bad pizza you had to choose, mentally, between the Noid and that Caesar Ceasar guy. That was how you chose! Which mascot you liked more. We weren't bothered by things like taste and look - we wanted the better mascot!

For the record, I grew up in NY and we wanted no part of either, because we had real pizza. Like people in Chicago, we mock these things, but the point stands.

But now? Well, when was the last time Ronald and his creepy friends like Grimace sold you a fake hamburger, or the Colonel told you that his fried chicken was so awesome it was a secret how much crack they laced it with?



Advertising seems to have moved on, for the most part. Except for that lizard. You know the one.



And I wonder why. Do they think we don't enjoy a good mascot? I think they're amazing things that become part of the culture when done right. Spuds Mackenzie, the Quik Rabbit, the non-creepy-as-hell Burger King,  those potatoes that shilled for Rice-A-Roni: these are all characters that have been woven into the popular mind. And they still recall their products. But now that we have less and less of them, what is there to associate with products? How well they work or how good they taste?

Yes, that will, in the short term, sell more products I suppose. But in the long term will it bring brand identity the way the mascots did?  I can't help but feel that we've lost something with this current shift. Advertising doesn't work as well these days and the so-called experts like to claim it's because we can skip them and the average consumer is too savvy to fall for the normal tricks. To which I say they're simply boring us with their ads!

Everyone knows the Gieco ads. We like a mascot. You want your ads to work? Invent a character and enjoy it! Except that Taco Bell dog. Bleh.



I, personally, always loved the cereal mascots. The idea that Trix was so good it drove a rabbit neurotic appealed to me. What were some of your favorite mascots and commercials?







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Comments

Jen O.

I like the Lucky Charms leprechaun. "They're magically delicious" sung in a thick Irish brogue while dancing a jig, dressed in green? Now that's the way to shill a bowl full of high-fructose corn syrup.

ThePeachy1

Thanks so much for poking me in this wound I have worked to suppress. Americans do love mascots, and the lizard and the spelling disadvantaged cows ( see how pc I was there) are proof. I morn for my children who are forced to make decisions on commercials for the quality and taste not the creativeness of the marketing team and a pack of sharpies. OH bring back Count Chocula and Frankinberry... sniff..

Danielle

Hands down: Count Chocula and Franken Berry.

Angela

We were just lamenting the loss of the mcdonald's mascots the other day. Although seriously, why was Grimace the milkshake rep again? Ice cream headache made flesh? But the Hamburglar? Awesome! Now the mcD playgrounds are just generic ball-pit germ-fests or heat-stroke inducing plastic tunnels. No giant characters. Kind of a bummer really. Although undoubtedly they were all covered in lead paint in our day.

Lynn

I think DIggem the Sugar Smacks frog was my favorite, although I must say I love that damn Trix rabbit. I felt so bad for him and I wanted to shoot those mean kids in the face. GIVE THE BUNNY THE DAMN CEREAL, YOU RACIST RABBIT HATERS!

bella

Actually, I think all the mascots moved to Japan. Seriously, EVERYTHING has a mascot in Japan. EVERYTHING.

Adam P. Knave

Jen O: Yes! Though we used to call him the Leper-Chaun. "My lucky arms!"

Peachv1: You're very welcome. *smirk*

Danielle: Ditto. Which is why I wrote a novel starring them (I'm not kidding, you know)

Angela: I had never thought of him as ice cream headache made flesh but that is wonderful!

Lynn: They really had it out for that rabbit, didn't they?

Bella: Hmm. It is possible. It is.

Becca

Two words: California Raisins. And I'm through.

Adam P. Knave

Hahahahaaha!

Bears

I work for a company that has awesome mascots. Some mentioned above. While I'm not in marketing I know there has been a push in advertising "standards" to limit these types of characters as they might be seen as targeting directly towards children. Lots of big name manufacturers are also following this standard. I suppose you can say that targeting a child directly vs. the parent could be seen as unethical -- therefore the loss of the equity character. Sad, I know.

Adam P. Knave

Because adults don't enjoy stupid characters? Hrmp! We do, too!




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