The History (and Power) of Mascots

The word “mascot,” (or rather, mascotte) was first recorded in 1867 by a French composer, and described anything that brought good luck into a home. These “lucky charms” were often trinkets such as locks of hair— it was a different time. From there, the meaning of the word “mascot” slowly morphed into the one we know today – characters or famous animals that represent an event or organization.

Today’s best mascots are key parts of companies’ brand identities. Consider the wily Trix rabbit, the bombastic Kool-Aid Man or Mr. Clean, who gets everyone excited for cleaning.

There’s a reason these figures continue to stick with us; these seemingly-innocuous figureheads have more power than you may think.

Mascots Create Recognition

A unique and memorable mascot stands out in the crowded marketplace, making the brand more recognizable. While many of us think of a brand’s color palette or typography as a way to convey their identity, mascots are also a consistent element worth considering. Audiences may be more receptive to branding changes like website design or brand voice if there is a stable visual element throughout.

The best mascots provide not only a visual calling card, but “they’re grrrrreat” at cementing taglines and slogans in the minds of their target audience. 

Mascots Humanize a Brand

In marketing, nothing is more important than building lasting relationships with audiences. Consumers want to feel a personal connection with the brands they choose. Characters like the M&Ms crew and Ronald McDonald build that emotional bond while imparting key information about the products and services they represent. 

What’s more, people get attached to mascots. Remember when Mr. Peanut “died” in 2020? The internet was awash with sadness, shock and plenty of theories about what really happened. When they gave the Green M&M shorter heels, it made national news. 

This organic engagement puts brands top of mind, boosting awareness and driving consumer interactions. 

Mascots Have Staying Power

Mascots can evoke nostalgia and foster emotional connections, which translates to customer loyalty and repeat business. One of the first commercial mascots was none other than The Quaker Oats Quaker Man. Introduced in 1877, The Quaker Man’s jovial grin and rounded cheeks have been synonymous with nutritious rolled oats for nearly 150 years. 

Today, Quaker owns a whopping 58% of the hot cereal market. Even if you don’t like the consistency of oatmeal, you can’t argue with Quaker’s brand consistency. Easily identifiable, memorable and pleasant, the Quaker Man is a quintessential mascot success story. 

Harness the Power of Mascots and Visual Branding with Bullseye

If you’re looking to create a lasting symbol for your brand or breathe new life into an existing brand identity, let’s connect and craft something that embodies your brand’s spirit and engages your audience like never before. 

Connect with our team today to meet your new good luck charm.