20 Powerful Brand Mascots Consumers Love

These mas­cots have tran­scend­ed their ini­tial mar­ket­ing roles and become pop cul­ture icons.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 1 comment

The Aflac Duck has rubbed elbows with Yogi Berra, Wayne New­ton and Chevy Chase. 9Lives’ Mor­ris the cat was in a movie with Burt Reynolds, had his own per­son­al sec­re­tary and received mar­riage pro­pos­als from felines and humans. And the Pills­bury Dough­boy has moon­light­ed as an opera singer, rap artist, rock star, poet, painter, bal­let dancer, sky­div­er and skate­board­er. That’s because these fig­ures are more than just brand assets. So how and why have they accom­plished this feat and remained rel­e­vant to con­sumers? And what can oth­er brands learn from them?

In Sep­tem­ber, Skip­py Peanut But­ter launched its Skip­py Yippee mar­ket­ing cam­paign to “spread yippee to peanut but­ter lovers every­where,” includ­ing inter­ac­tive com­po­nents on peanutbutter.com, an online Fun But­ton and a 30-sec­ond Fun Fac­to­ry TV spot high­light­ing how fun gets into Skip­py peanut but­ter, along with The Fun Nut, a hap­py peanut on Twit­ter that the brand says extends its yippee mes­sag­ing and, as of Decem­ber 11, has 12,000 fol­low­ers – which is near­ly quadru­ple that of @Skippy’s 3,200.

Whether the Fun Nut becomes a beloved cul­tur­al icon remains to be seen, but the fact remains that the most suc­cess­ful mas­cots become house­hold names and incred­i­bly pow­er­ful brand assets.

Or, as Pro­fes­sor Bernd Schmitt, direc­tor of the Cen­ter on Glob­al Brand Lead­er­ship at Colum­bia Busi­ness School, puts it: “Mas­cots are so pow­er­ful because they pro­vide an emo­tion­al con­nec­tion with the con­sumer and cre­ate a human face for the brand.”

Here’s a look at 20 of the most pow­er­ful brand mas­cots and how and why they have endured with con­sumers.

Flo (Progressive Insurance)

Progressive Flo

TWITTER: @itsflo – 30,500 fol­low­ers (Pro­gres­sive has 35,000 fol­low­ers)

FACEBOOK: 5.4 mil­lion likes

HISTORY: Flo first appeared in 2008, in a com­mer­cial called “Check­out.”

WHY THE BRAND CHOSE THIS MASCOT: “Our goal was to cre­ate a ‘store’ that made shop­ping for insur­ance a pleas­ant expe­ri­ence for the cus­tomer,” says Pro­gres­sive rep Steve Kaczyn­s­ki. “Flo was the ide­al clerk to staff the store. She’s quirky, fun and engag­ing. She’s the type of per­son you’d want to work with if you were pur­chas­ing insur­ance.”

MILESTONES: Flo recent­ly starred in her 100th ad, as well as in a spot with Cleve­land Cav­a­liers star LeBron James.

UPDATES: “Flo just hit her 100th ad, a huge accom­plish­ment in the adver­tis­ing indus­try. That doesn’t hap­pen unless you evolve the cam­paign,” Kaczyn­s­ki says. “Ear­ly on our ads just fea­tured Flo and a cus­tomer, with a quick joke. We piv­ot­ed our strat­e­gy in the last few years to treat these com­mer­cials like a hit net­work show, rather than an adver­tis­ing cam­paign. By intro­duc­ing dif­fer­ent ele­ments you’d see in a show – like flash­backs, foil char­ac­ters, set changes and spin­offs – we’ve been able to keep the cam­paign strong.”

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: “The beau­ti­ful part about Flo is she con­nects to all kinds of audi­ences. Our num­bers show she has an appeal across all demo­graph­ics,” Kaczyn­s­ki says. “Peo­ple like Flo because they can relate to her. She’s a nor­mal per­son, not some larg­er-than-life glam­orous celebri­ty. She’s helped us extend our brand reach to places where it nev­er used to play – she’s become a pop cul­ture icon.”

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS TO HELP THE BRAND ENGAGE CONSUMERS: The Pro­gres­sive site fea­tures a Dress Like Flo guide for Hal­loween.

Morris the Cat (9Lives)

Morris the Cat

TWITTER: @MorrisApproved – 1,600 fol­low­ers

FACEBOOK: 245,000 likes

HISTORY: Per the Hins­dale, Illi­nois Humane Soci­ety, Mor­ris, pre­vi­ous­ly named Lucky, was adopt­ed in 1968. Staff mem­bers noticed his “charm­ing” per­son­al­i­ty and con­tact­ed an ani­mal train­er who worked for Leo Bur­nett. When Mor­ris went to the cast­ing call for the 9Lives com­mer­cial, “He jumped on the table… and he walked right up to the art direc­tor, the big cheese, and bumped him in the head. And then Mor­ris just sat back,” the train­er said in 1995. “The art direc­tor said, ‘This is the Clark Gable of cats.’” And, from 1969 to 1978, Mor­ris com­plet­ed 58 com­mer­cials.

MILESTONES: Also per Hins­dale, Mor­ris received so much fan mail, he had his own per­son­al sec­re­tary. And, odd­ly enough, he received mar­riage pro­pos­als from “felines and humans alike.” He also starred in the movie “Shamus” with Burt Reynolds and won the Pat­sy, or the ani­mal equiv­a­lent of the Oscar, in 1972 and 1973. Mor­ris wrote three books and was also report­ed­ly was the pro­to­type for Garfield the cat, which was cre­at­ed by artist Jim Davis. Upon his death in July 1978, Mor­ris’ obit­u­ary appeared in news­pa­pers world­wide.

UPDATE/FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS: 9Lives recent­ly brought Mor­ris back in its Cat’s Eye View cam­paign, a series of videos from the cat’s per­spec­tive thanks to the inclu­sion of wear­able tech­nol­o­gy. The brand says it is “reboot­ing him as a pop cul­ture pun­dit and ‘charm­ing­ly choosy’ foil to famous Inter­net felines like Grumpy Cat and Lil’ Bub.” The brand also launched pro­files for Mor­ris on Twit­ter and Insta­gram, where, the brand says, “Mor­ris com­ments on trend­ing top­ics like Tay­lor Swift’s new album release.”

The GEICO Gecko

Geico Gecko

TWITTER: @TheGEICOGecko – 20,4oo fol­low­ers (ver­sus @Geico’s 34,000)

FACEBOOK: 314,000 likes

HISTORY: Per Geico, the idea for the Gecko came from a brain­storm­ing ses­sion with the brand’s ad agency, the Mar­tin Agency, because “Geico” was often mis­pro­nounced “Gecko.” From there, the Geico Gecko made his debut dur­ing the 1999 to 2000 tele­vi­sion sea­son.

WHY THE BRAND CHOSE THIS MASCOT: Per Geico, suc­cess­ful ad cam­paigns from the past have proven ani­mals cre­ate a strong con­nec­tion between cus­tomers and com­pa­nies. In addi­tion, Geico says the Gecko’s “con­stant good cheer, insa­tiable need to meet peo­ple and nat­ur­al tenac­i­ty all make him per­fect­ly suit­ed to help peo­ple find out­stand­ing val­ues on insur­ance.”

BRAND COMMENT: A Geico rep says: You should know that deep down the Gecko is a very hum­ble crea­ture and real­ly doesn’t try to pub­li­cize him­self or his appar­ent suc­cess.

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS: Con­sumers can access down­load­able ring­tones and Gecko mer­chan­dise on the Geico site.

The Aflac Duck

Aflac Duck

TWITTER: @aflacduck – 62,000 fol­low­ers (ver­sus 21,000 for @Aflac)

FACEBOOK: 531,000 likes

HISTORY: Per Aflac, the Aflac Duck debuted on Jan­u­ary 1, 2000, with the tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial “Park Bench.”

BRAND COMMENT: “When a lit­tle white duck with lit­tle to say, but a lot of per­son­al­i­ty, stormed upon the scene, it made adver­tis­ing his­to­ry and trans­formed Aflac into an inter­na­tion­al pow­er­house,” Aflac says. “Aflac’s name recog­ni­tion soared from 11 per­cent to 94 per­cent where it remains today.”

MILESTONES: The Aflac Duck has starred in com­mer­cials with Yogi Berra, Wayne New­ton, Chevy Chase, Mela­nia Trump, and Carl Edwards. The Duck also appeared in the movie Lemo­ny Snicket’s A Series of Unfor­tu­nate Events. And, in 2011, the Aflac Duck made his debut in the Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Parade.

UPDATES: In 2011, come­di­an Gilbert Got­tfried was fired as the voice of the Duck and the brand launched a nation­wide cast­ing call to find a new voice.

Cap’n Crunch

Cap'n Crunch

TWITTER: @RealCapnCrunch – 36,000 fol­low­ers

FACEBOOK: 342,000 likes

HISTORY: First appear­ing in Sep­tem­ber 1963, a Cap’n Crunch rep says his full name is Hor­a­tio Mag­el­lan Crunch and he lives on a boat, the S.S Gup­py. The Cap’n was tem­porar­i­ly removed from pack­ag­ing as part of the “Where’s the Cap’n?” pro­mo­tion in 1985 and in 2000.

BRAND COMMENT: “We found that our con­sumer tar­get [adults] have a strong affin­i­ty for the Cap’n mas­cot,” the rep says. “As a result, we’ve engaged with con­sumers at places like SXSW, through a late-night talk show on YouTube and even lever­aged the mas­cot to gen­er­ate buzz and media atten­tion by bring­ing him to media out­lets and hav­ing him min­gle with celebri­ties.”

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS: He is the host of The Cap’n Crunch Show on YouTube.

Charlie the Tuna (Starkist)

Starkist Charlie the Tuna

TWITTER: @StarKistCharlie – 3,100 fol­low­ers

HISTORY: Per the StarK­ist web­site, StarKist’s Char­lie the Tuna was cre­at­ed in 1961 and was the “brain-fish” of “char­ac­ter cre­ators” and the Leo Bur­nett agency. Ini­tial char­ac­ter design for ani­ma­tion was done by the cre­ative ani­ma­tion stu­dio behind the Pink Pan­ther. Char­lie went on to star in more than 80 com­mer­cials. A rep says Char­lie is based off a real hip­ster char­ac­ter named Hen­ry Nemo, who is thought to be respon­si­ble for invent­ing jive talk.

MILESTONES: Per a time­line on the web­site, in 1991, Char­lie met a love inter­est, Pre­mia, to help intro­duce StarKist’s pre­mi­um Chunk Light Tuna, but “the rela­tion­ship is short lived.”

UPDATES: A rep says “Char­lie the Tuna has been part of the StarK­ist brand” for more than five decades, but reports say Char­lie returned to TV ads after a 30-year hia­tus in Jan­u­ary 2014 “as a clas­sic hip­ster with a fresh new look.” The “jive-talk­ing tuna” returned with “mod­ern 3D ani­ma­tion that still harkens back to the clas­sic char­ac­ter that was devel­oped more than 50 years ago,” and still includes his icon­ic catch­phrase: ‘Tell ’em Char­lie sent ya!’” a release said.

BRAND COMMENT: “Since Char­lie’s debut in 1961, his red hat, trendy glass­es and cool man­ner­isms have made him a true pop cul­ture icon, and now for the first time in more than a decade, Char­lie is reclaim­ing his star­ring role in our adver­tis­ing cam­paign in a big way,” said Mike Brookhart, direc­tor of mar­ket­ing at StarK­ist, in the release.

FUN FACTS: Char­lie has a lot mem­o­ra­bil­ia – phones, cam­eras, pres­i­den­tial decals and more, the rep says.

Mr. Peanut (Planters)

Planters Mr. Peanut

TWITTER: @MrPeanut – 3,300 fol­low­ers

FACEBOOK: Near­ly 700,000 likes

HISTORY: Mr. Peanut made his first appear­ance in 1916.

MILESTONES: In 2010, Mr. Peanut spoke for the first time in 94 years in a series of stop-motion ani­ma­tion com­mer­cials, which debuted on his Face­book page. He has since been voiced by Robert Downey Jr. and Bill Had­er.

FUN EXTRAS: In 2011, Planters launched the Nut­mo­bile, a peanut-shaped vehi­cle fueled by biodiesel and pow­ered with solar ener­gy.

Green Giant

Green Giant

TWITTER: @GreenGiant – 24,000 fol­low­ers

FACEBOOK: 1.1 mil­lion likes

HISTORY: The Green Giant made his first appear­ance in the 1920s.

WHY THE BRAND CHOSE THIS MASCOT: He was named after a par­tic­u­lar­ly large vari­ety of pea har­vest­ed and sold by the com­pa­ny, per the Green Giant web­site.

MILESTONES: In 1950, he became the sym­bol for the entire com­pa­ny, when the Min­neso­ta Val­ley Com­pa­ny changed its name to the Green Giant Com­pa­ny.

UPDATES: Also per the web­site, the Green Giant has “evolved into a friend­lier – and green­er – char­ac­ter,” over the years.

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS: The brand has been involved in an anti-bul­ly­ing ini­tia­tive called Raise a Giant. 

Mr. Clean

Mr. Clean copy

TWITTER: @RealMrClean – 19,000 fol­low­ers

FACEBOOK: Near­ly 1 mil­lion likes

HISTORY: Per the Mr. Clean web­site, Mr. Clean first appeared in 1957 as “a mus­cu­lar, tan, bald man who cleans things very well” and his jin­gle lat­er went on to become the longest-run­ning in tele­vi­sion his­to­ry.

RECENT MILESTONES: Thanks to the “Give Mr. Clean a First Name” pro­mo­tion in 1962, he was dubbed “Ver­i­ta­bly.” In 2004, he appeared both at P. Diddy’s annu­al White Par­ty in the Hamp­tons and the Video Music Awards. Two years lat­er, he gath­ered an army of looka­likes to clean up after the Guin­ness record-set­ting World’s Largest Gin­ger­bread House in the Mall of Amer­i­ca.

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS: Mr. Clean is a guest cura­tor for music stream­ing ser­vice Songza. He also par­o­died Kim Kardashian’s #Break­theIn­ter­net image.

Pillsbury Doughboy

Pillsbury Dough Boy

TWITTER: @Pillsbury – 102,000 fol­low­ers

FACEBOOK: 3 mil­lion likes

MASCOT HISTORY: Per Gen­er­al Mills, the Pills­bury Dough­boy was cre­at­ed in 1965 by a copy­writer at Leo Bur­nett who opened a can of refrig­er­at­ed dough and “envi­sioned an image of a dough­boy pop­ping out.” From the begin­ning, he has been dressed in a chef’s hat bear­ing the Pills­bury logo as well as a white neck­er­chief. The ini­tial doll cost $16,000 to devel­op and had five bod­ies and 15 heads to cre­ate numer­ous looks and posi­tions. Pri­or to com­put­er­i­za­tion, it took 24 indi­vid­ual shots for every one sec­ond of com­mer­cial for the Doughboy’s stop-motion ani­ma­tion, Gen­er­al Mills says.

WHY THE BRAND CHOSE THIS MASCOT: He was named “Pop­pin’ Fresh,” which Gen­er­al Mills says “[per­son­i­fies] the product’s fresh­ness and qual­i­ty.” With­in three years of his debut in 1965 in a cres­cent roll com­mer­cial, the Dough­boy had an 87 per­cent recog­ni­tion fac­tor among con­sumers, Gen­er­al Mills says.

FUN FACTS: Paul Frees, the voice of Boris Bade­n­ov in “The Adven­tures of Rocky and Bull­win­kle” was tapped as the first voice. His first words were, “Hi! I’m Pop­pin’ Fresh, the Pills­bury Dough­boy,” which was fol­lowed by, “Noth­in’ says lovin’ like bakin’ in the oven, and Pills­bury says it best.” When Frees died in 1986, Jeff Bergman, the voice of Char­lie the Tuna, took over. And, cur­rent­ly, JoBe Cerny por­trays the Dough­boy.

MILESTONES: As of 1998, Gen­er­al Mills says the Dough­boy received 200 fan let­ters a week, and Pills­bury received 1,500 requests for auto­graphed pho­tos. He has also been in the Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day Parade.

UPDATES: In the late 1960s and ear­ly 1970s, he was seen as a helper, friend and instruc­tor to fam­i­ly cooks, but he has since been fea­tured as an opera singer, a rap artist, a rock star, a poet, a painter, a bal­let dancer, a sky­div­er and skate­board­er. He has also been seen play­ing the har­mon­i­ca, accor­dion, bugle, elec­tric gui­tar and vio­lin, Gen­er­al Mills says.

Tony the Tiger (Frosted Flakes)

Tony the Tiger

TWITTER: @realtonytiger – 17,500 fol­low­ers.

FACEBOOK: Frost­ed Flakes has 1.1 mil­lion likes

MASCOT HISTORY: In 1952, the char­ac­ter of Tony was vot­ed the favorite placed on pack­ages for a new cere­al, Kellogg’s Sug­ar Frost­ed Flakes of Corn, a brand rep says. Three oth­er char­ac­ters – Katy the Kan­ga­roo, Elmo the Ele­phant and Newt the Gnu – also appeared. In 1953, Leo Bur­nett fur­ther devel­oped Tony for a four-col­or ad in the August issue of Life mag­a­zine.

RECENT MILESTONES: Tony made head­lines in Novem­ber when an ad tied to Atlanta Pride telling con­sumers to “wear your stripes with pride,” received crit­i­cism from some groups.

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS THE BRAND USES TO ENGAGE: Tony posts GIFs such as this and this, as well as #TBT mes­sag­ing. The brand also sells per­son­al­ized box­es of Frost­ed Flakes.

Ronald McDonald (McDonald’s)

vintage interior

TWITTER: @McDonalds, which encour­ages users to tweet #RonaldM­c­Don­ald

MASCOT HISTORY: Ronald McDon­ald made his first appear­ance in 1963 in a region­al tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial. And, begin­ning in 1966, he offi­cial­ly became the “smil­ing, friend­ly face and spokesman of McDonald’s,” says McDonald’s rep Steve Mazei­ka.

WHY THE BRAND CHOSE THIS MASCOT: “Ronald brings to life the fun of the McDonald’s brand. In addi­tion to being the smil­ing, friend­ly face of McDonald’s, he embod­ies the company’s ded­i­ca­tion to the hap­pi­ness and well-being of peo­ple world­wide,” Mazei­ka says.

MILESTONES: Over the last year, Ronald has brought indoor snow sled­ding to a Malaysian mall, bro­ken world records at the Inter­na­tion­al Red­head Fes­ti­val, and clowned around in Rio dur­ing the World Cup, the rep says.

UPDATES: Ronald’s attire has evolved over the years, includ­ing an update in 2014 in which he swapped out his yel­low one-piece jump­suit for yel­low car­go pants, accom­pa­nied by a red-and-white striped rug­by shirt, a red blaz­er with an “M” on the front pock­et, and his sig­na­ture on the back. To roll with the times, his tra­di­tion­al bowtie and his new red blaz­er will be reserved for spe­cial occa­sions, McDonald’s says. His red shoes and red-and-white striped socks remain the same. For every­day occa­sions, Ronald wears a new yel­low vest to match his yel­low car­go pants and rug­by shirt. “The lat­est cloth­ing reflects the new role and chang­ing times,” the brand says.

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS: Ronald just launched his own Insta­gram account, which, the brand says, “is per­fect for shar­ing all of his fun adven­tures around the world with friends and fol­low­ers on social media.” He also jumped out of an air­plane in a recent Insta­gram video stunt.

Energizer Bunny

Energizer Bunny

TWITTER: @EnergizerBunny – 8,900 fol­low­ers

FACEBOOK: 377,000 likes

MASCOT HISTORY: Per Ener­giz­er, the Bun­ny first appeared in a TV spot in 1989.

MILESTONES: In 2006, “ener­giz­er bun­ny” was added to the Oxford Eng­lish Dic­tio­nary as “a per­sis­tent or inde­fati­ga­ble per­son or phe­nom­e­non.” In 2009, the Bun­ny appeared in the Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day Parade.

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS: The Ener­giz­er Bun­ny tweets #TBT images and did the Ice Buck­et Chal­lenge. He also shares stop-motion videos.

Maytag Repairman

Maytag Man

TWITTER: @TheMaytagMan – 12,600 fol­low­ers

FACEBOOK: 131,000 likes

MASCOT HISTORY: Per the Globe and Mail, May­tag intro­duced the Repair­man as “the loneli­est guy in town” in 1967 in yet anoth­er cam­paign cre­at­ed by Leo Bur­nett. Jesse White played the role for more than two decades, film­ing 68 com­mer­cials. He was sub­se­quent­ly played by three oth­er actors until his most recent update ear­li­er this year.

UPDATES: In Jan­u­ary, May­tag launched a cam­paign in which it trans­formed the May­tag Repair­man into the May­tag Man, a younger, slim­mer, hunki­er ver­sion who plays the role of the machine and the “human embod­i­ment of the brand’s core val­ues of reli­a­bil­i­ty, dura­bil­i­ty and pow­er.”

WHY THE BRAND CHOSE THIS MASCOT: “The May­tag Man is a cre­ative inter­pre­ta­tion of our mot­to, ‘What’s Inside Mat­ters,’ illus­trat­ing all the human and relat­able virtues that exist inside appli­ances – per­for­mance, depend­abil­i­ty, pow­er,” said Beck. “We want to rec­og­nize and draw a con­nec­tion to indi­vid­u­als who work with strength, resilience and per­sis­tence, just like our appli­ances, to get the job done.”

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS THE BRAND USES TO ENGAGE: The brand launched a new Twit­ter pres­ence, @TheMaytagMan after the revamp. He has been known to tweet memes, GIFs and even for Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Morton Salt Girl

Morton Salt Girl

TWITTER: @mortonsalt – 1,100 fol­low­ers

FACEBOOK: 183,000

MASCOT HISTORY: In 1914, Mor­ton hired adver­tis­ing agency N.W. Ayer and Com­pa­ny to devel­op a mar­ket­ing cam­paign that would pro­mote the anti-cak­ing prop­er­ties of their salt.

WHY THE BRAND CHOSE THIS MASCOT: The Mor­ton Salt Girl and the brand’s “When It Rains It Pours” slo­gan were cre­at­ed to illus­trate that Mor­ton Salt could flow freely even in damp weath­er. Accord­ing to a press release, the lit­tle girl with the umbrel­la was intro­duced on the famil­iar blue round pack­age of Mor­ton Salt and in a print ad in the Octo­ber issue of Good House­keep­ing.

MILESTONES: The Mor­ton Salt Girl recent­ly cel­e­brat­ed her 100th birth­day.

UPDATES: Her look has changed over the years to include the col­or yel­low in 1941 and a short­er dress in 1968. To coin­cide with her 100th birth­day in 2014, she was updat­ed again with “clean­er, sim­pli­fied linework,” the brand says.

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS: The Mor­ton Salt Girl has her own Pin­ter­est board and the brand pushed a label design con­test ear­li­er this year.

Kool-Aid Man

Kool-Aid Man

FACEBOOK: 123,000 likes

MASCOT HISTORY: Per the Hast­ings Muse­um in Kool-Aid’s birth­place of Hast­ings, Nebras­ka, a Smil­ing Face Pitch­er was intro­duced short­ly after the brand was sold to Gen­er­al Foods in 1953 and when Kraft Foods acquired Gen­er­al Foods, they “refined the Kool-Aid pitch­er into Kool-Aid Man.”

FUN FACTS: Kool-Aid is the offi­cial soft drink of Nebras­ka.

ANY UPDATES: In 2013, Kool-Aid Man got “a brand new mod­ern look and dis­tinc­tive voice,” a press release said. He also became CGI-gen­er­at­ed and was giv­en “his own char­ac­ter­is­tic sound, expand­ed vocab­u­lary and devel­oped per­son­al­i­ty.”

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS: In June, Kool-Aid launched an Android- and iOS-enabled Kool-Aid Man Pho­to­Bomb app, which enables fans to super­im­pose dif­fer­ent images of Kool-Aid Man into their per­son­al pho­tos. Per Google Play, the app has between 10,000 and 50,000 down­loads.

Brawny Man

Brawny Man

TWITTER: @Brawny – 17,500 fol­low­ers

FACEBOOK: 863,000 likes

MASCOT HISTORY: Per a press release, the Brawny Man first made his debut in 1974.

WHY THE BRAND CHOSE THIS MASCOT: “Through last year’s con­test and oth­er con­sumer feed­back, we dis­cov­ered how clear­ly our core con­sumers iden­ti­fy the Brawny Man as some­one who is strong in body and char­ac­ter, yet very sen­si­tive,” said Michael Burandt, Geor­gia-Pacif­ic exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and pres­i­dent of North Amer­i­can con­sumer prod­ucts, in a press release.

UPDATES: A 2003 press release says the Brawny Man was trans­formed from blonde and mus­tached to dark-haired, dim­pled and clean-shaven, but his plaid shirt remained.

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS: The Brawny Man shares memes, such as this and this. He also has a Dress like the Brawny Man pro­mo­tion on Tum­blr and worked with the Movem­ber Foun­da­tion by mod­el­ing new mus­tach­es each week in order to raise aware­ness about men’s can­cers.

Gorton’s Fisherman

Gorton Fisherman

TWITTER: @gortonsseafood – 6,100 fol­low­ers.

FACEBOOK: 162,000 likes

MASCOT HISTORY: In 1975, the Gorton’s Fish­er­man appeared on TV for the first time.

WHY THE BRAND CHOSE THIS MASCOT: Accord­ing to Gorton’s, the Fish­er­man rep­re­sents “the unwa­ver­ing ded­i­ca­tion of hun­dreds of fish­er­men past and present whose lives have cen­tered around a pas­sion for great seafood and who have been proud to call the rugged and beau­ti­ful town of Glouces­ter their home­port.”

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS: The brand is active on Pin­ter­est, includ­ing a Trust the Gorton’s Fish­er­man board.

Captain Morgan

Captain Morgan

TWITTER: @CaptainMorganUS – 16,500 fol­low­ers

MASCOT HISTORY: Accord­ing to a brand rep, Cap­tain Hen­ry Mor­gan has been on the brand’s bot­tle since the ear­ly 1970s. He was a real-life char­ac­ter who one of the most infa­mous buc­ca­neers of the 17th cen­tu­ry, a rep says. “From his real-life adven­tures on the high seas to achiev­ing knight­hood and becom­ing the Gov­er­nor of Jamaica, it is his life that con­tin­ues to inspire the Cap­tain Mor­gan Rum Com­pa­ny, which was estab­lished in 1945,” the rep adds.

WHY THE BRAND CHOSE THIS MASCOT: Cap­tain Mor­gan “pos­sessed an adven­tur­ous spir­it that was unmatched and his lega­cy con­tin­ues to inspire the Cap­tain Mor­gan Rum Com­pa­ny, its inno­va­tion and pas­sion for adven­ture,” the rep says.

FUN DIGITAL EXTRAS THE BRAND USES TO ENGAGE: The Cap­tain tweets #One­Sen­tenceBed­timeSto­ries and memes. He is also active on Insta­gram and Pin­ter­est.

The Most Interesting Man in the World (Dos Equis)

Dos Equis Most Interesting Man

TWITTER: @DosEquis – 64,500 fol­low­ers

FACEBOOK: 370,000 likes

MASCOT HISTORY: In 2006, Dos Equis debuted the Most Inter­est­ing Man in the World.

WHY THE BRAND CHOSE THIS MASCOT: Accord­ing to a press release, the cam­paign seeks to “help pre­mi­um beer and spir­its drinkers in their quest to live more inter­est­ing lives, rein­forced by his catch­phrase: ‘Stay thirsty my friends.’” And, Dos Equis says, the Most Inter­est­ing Man “appeals to the key Dos Equis con­sumer — adult men who live or aspire to live ‘inter­est­ing’ lives” with his “unmatched suave and dis­tin­guished charis­ma.”

Or, as a rep puts it, “When we set out to cre­ate the cam­paign, we decid­ed to nev­er use a mas­cot or a spokesman. Rather, we want­ed to cre­ate a man who was inter­est­ing, who just so hap­pened to have an affin­i­ty for our brand.” T

he Most Inter­est­ing Man allows young men to see not a com­peti­tor to them­selves, but rather a man that they could be at some point in the future. Some­one they could aspire to be like, if they made the right choic­es in life, the rep adds.

In addi­tion, the rep says, “We knew that in order to stand out in the crowd­ed beer cat­e­go­ry that we need­ed to be dif­fer­ent and more inter­est­ing. When cast­ing, we had a gen­er­al sense of what we were look­ing for. But we didn’t real­ly know what he’d look like until our actor walked through the door. He just had ‘it.’ And there he was.”

BRAND COMMENT: The rep says the brand defines its tar­get as social explor­ers, or men 21 to 34, who have a nat­ur­al sense of adven­ture and a healthy appetite for nov­el­ty and exper­i­men­ta­tion.

Our guy enjoys doing things that are a bit “off the beat­en path,” has a lot of friends but tends to be a leader, rather than a fol­low­er,” the rep says. “There’s a fun­ny thing about our tar­get: They like inter­est­ing guys who are doing amaz­ing things, but they don’t want to be com­pared to peo­ple their age who are doing inter­est­ing and amaz­ing things. Because instead of look­ing at their peers who are good look­ing and suc­cess­ful in awe, they look at them with dis­dain: a bet­ter-than-them­selves-mir­ror-image that will steal their thun­der and their girl­friend.”

Which brand mas­cots do you think are the most pow­er­ful, and why?

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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