In the past couple of years, companies and ad agencies have begun to revitalize the roles of mascots that they once popularized in the early ’60s (i.e. Charlie The Tuna and Mr. Peanut). In the 1960s, the beginning of television created a new medium for these characters to develop their character arcs. In this same light, today ad agencies are utilizing social media to develop the mascots and develop their clients’ brands.
Social media provides a viral entry into the consumer marketplace. The open forum of these social media sites gives the mascots a louder voice. Mr. Peanut uses Facebook to talk to his followers (over 400k). As brands use these social media platforms to develop character narratives, they couple it with radio and television spots, which encourage watchers to learn more about their favorite mascot online.
A prime example of brand mascots using this type of dual-medium integration is the newest M&M character in their cavalcade of stars, Ms. Brown. Introduced in her own television spot during the Super Bowl, the witty Ms. Brown has used her celebrity from television to develop herself virally online. M&M Mars has developed Ms. Brown into a budding business professional and Chief Chocolate Officer who likes to use her Twitter account to expound on her business acumen.
Mascots provide a voice and face for brands. They make products more enjoyable and accessible by humanizing their products. Social media provides the perfect forum for mascot branding. Innovative developments like Facebook’s Timeline add a rich narrative for the mascot. It also makes it easy for marketers to introduce and try out new characters. As the medium for developing these mascots’ character arcs increases, so will different brands’ adaptations of this marketing scheme, which has not been utilized and disseminated so widely since the ’60s.
What do you think of the revival and evolution of brand mascots? Will you follow @mmsbrown on Twitter?