It is no secret that mascots are a brand’s best friend when it comes to customer loyalty and instilling trust. In fact, more and more companies are seriously looking into creating a mascot to build brand identity and recognition effectively. But what happens when a mascot doesn’t perform the way he, she, or it should? Let’s look at some brand mascots that may not have had the desired effect on customers:
1. Jolly Green Giant (General Mills’ Green Giant)
We all know just how much most kids loathe eating peas, and this Jolly Green Giant makes it even harder to stomach. The mascot’s debut in 1928 didn’t have the intended effect on the general public – who would dare to wrest green peas from a scowling, caveman-like giant? Not me, thank you very much. Then, a young ad exec named Leo Burnett (yes, THAT Leo Burnett) transformed the giant into a friendlier version of his former self. The transformation process continued and eventually the giant became a more approachable brand mascot that we know today.
Unfortunately, most kids associate eating peas with the Jolly Green Giant, and vehemently refuse to take another bite lest they turn green like the giant.
2. BK’s Burger King (Burger King)
When the not-so-beloved Burger King mascot was unveiled, it got everyone across the globe thinking: “What’s the deal with a guy wearing a plastic-faced mask?” There were ad campaigns centered around the King, one infamous one being a TV ad of an average Joe waking up next to the King in his bed, and ending with several moments of awkwardness (not to be confused with male bonding). BK finally axed the King in 2011 and placed the focus on its food. What else can I say, except “Long live burgers!”
3. Mr. Mucus (Mucinex)
Being gross is one thing, but being rude will get you listed in the “Brand Mascots America Hates the Most” list. Mr. Mucus is slimy, yucky and disgusting – the perfect combination to send shivers down your spine when you see an image of him plastered on posters in pharmacies or health magazines.
Fortunately, besides being creepy, Mr. Mucus is a very effective brand mascot for Mucinex – the company achieved $160 million in sales after it was introduced in the year 2004.
4. Spongmonkey (Quinos)
Fine, so they’re a viral Internet phenomenon, but that doesn’t help lower the creepiness factor. Spongmonkeys are not creepy-looking chinchillas suffering from rabies, they’re actually graphically-edited tarsiers with human mouths that LOOK like they’re suffering from rabies. The name spongmonkeys was coined on the B3ta website, and is based on the practice of adding huge googly eyes to an image of an animal or human.
Whatever its origin, we can pretty much discount the fact that looking at Quinos’ spongmonkeys enhanced our appetite for their subs, because it doesn’t, really. Not. A. Single. Bit.
5. Jack I. Box (Jack in the Box)
While Jack isn’t quite as creepy as The Burger King, he does bear some resemblance to His Royal Highness. The mascot features an ordinary guy, dressed in a neat suit. An average Joe? I don’t think so. Replace his head with a ping pong ball and a plastic ice cream cone on top of that, and you’ve arrived at CreepyVille.
So, something that’s so disturbing ought to be blown up, right? Yes and no. Two or three decades back, Jack in the Box literally blew up their mascot in a TV ad, but the mascot miraculously survived the blast and lived on to terrorize, I mean, amuse, people in commercials till today.
6. Noid (Domino’s Pizza)
No one really knew where the Noid came from, except that it’s now back in the void where it came from. Yep, the not-so-lovable gremlin clad in red spandex has been retired. And good riddance too. Sources say, in 1989 a mentally-disturbed man named Kenneth Noid held up a Domino’s store to show how displeased he was for being likened to Domino’s mascot. No one was harmed in the hold-up, thankfully.
7. Ronald McDonald (McDonald’s)
Surprise, surprise! Who would consider this red-and-yellow iconic mascot creepy? Almost half of the global population, that’s who. Coulrophobia, or fear of clowns, is a serious matter. One out of seven people suffer from this condition, and perhaps it is due to this fear that caused poor Ronald to be included in this list. The original Ronald McDonald, played by Willard Scott, was perhaps even more disturbing than the Ronald we’re so used to today. Take your pick, and choose your favorite clown.