Tony the Tiger, the Alfac Duck, Mr. Clean, the Energizer Bunny… the list of legendary mascots goes on and on. Companies spend tons of money and resources developing the next super mascot because they know that if it resonates, they’ll be able to rely on it to make money for them for years to come!
The right mascot can pull heartstrings, capture imaginations and propel a brand to the status of cultural icon.
But the wrong mascot (or logo) can make people run the other way!
Creating a mascot isn’t as easy as it might sound… and sometimes things can go awry. In an attempt to create a beloved character, sometimes a creepy one is cooked up – one that repels folks instead of drawing them in.
Sure, these mascots that go wrong are still highly memorable… and there’s something to the adage that all publicity is good publicity… but a mascot can damage a brand as much as it can save one.
Lets take a look at some of the more “interesting” mascots of the last few decades.
The Burger King
Making his eerie debut in 2004, the Burger King started showing up in people’s beds, stalking customers and generally evoking the kinds of feelings associated with horror movies.
Burger King recently ended their royal mascot’s reign due to sluggish sales and a realization that creepy doesn’t whet the appetite.
The Original Hamburglar
Before the red-headed kid, the original “Hamburglar” was an old man with a pointy nose, an orange cape, straggly grey hair, a clown tie and a mask… not exactly the kind of person you’d let near your kids at a burger joint… or anywhere else, for that matter.
These rat-like, floating creatures had a really short shelf life. They spoke in weird voices about the virtues of Quizno’s sandwiches. However, weird voices, bulgy eyes, repulsive mouths and rodent qualities don’t inspire people to flood their local Quiznos to buy sandwiches. More likely, customers were scrambling over each other to get away.
Overall, if you’re considering a mascot or a cartoon character logo for your practice, it’s a good idea to learn from the identity blunders these companies made. For example, when a dentist uses pulled or cracked molars for their dental office’s mascot or logo, this can be a little off-putting (to say the least).
Many people experience enough fear and anxiety when they need to see a dentist.
So if you’re brainstorming and developing your practice’s image, it’s best to stick to things that bring on a warm, fuzzy feeling.
For example, try to avoid ripped out molars with cracks or roots… because generally, patients are coming to you to keep their teeth.