Stories Behind The Most Iconic Brand Mascots

8 mins read

Growing up we’ve met and made friends with many fictional characters, whose names and styles are still ingrained in our minds. Taking a trip down memory lane, here are some famous mascots – and their journey.

KFC

Source: Zigya

How often have you seen the founder serving as the mascot for the company? The upright man dressed in a white suit with his favorite black string tie and goatee is just the real thing. Harland David Sanders started with selling fried chicken and biscuits among other things in a service station in North Corbin, Kentucky. After a series of hardships and failures, Sanders revolutionized the fast-food industry with his original secret recipe of ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken, with already over 600 restaurants across the US. It was around that time, Sanders took the role of the mascot, and the honorary achievement of Colonel became the drive for his dapper in white suit and goatee. Today, he is a face the world cannot forget.

Amul

Source: India Today

In the sixties, when companies ran after celebrities to give their brand a face, Amul decided to take the alter-route. The round-eyed, chubby-cheeked little girl draped in a white dress with red polka-dots, has always remained buzzworthy in the marketing arena, and the subject of discussion every now and then. Abstracted by Dr. Verghese Kurien, the father of the White Revolution and Founder-Chairman of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, the Amul girl is the face of Amul’s prime product – Amul butter. Little did people know the abstraction was created as a response to the rival brand Polson’s girl.

Captain Morgan

Source: Wikipedia

Here comes another real-life character. Not a founder though, neither did he make rum at his time. Honestly, he was a ruthless person backed by law, to protect the British interests in Jamaica from Spanish Empire. He was the face of disaster for the Spanish Empire. The President of the Seagram Company, Samuel Bronfman purchased a distillery from the Jamaican government, and from among many of its buyers, the Levy brothers bought raw rum and added mixed herbs and spices, and bottled them. Samuel was fond of the idea and bought the rights to the spiced rum. In 1944, the ruthless pirate of the Caribbean, Henry Morgan became the happy-go-lucky mascot and the name for the spiced rum.

Quaker Oats

Source: Pinterest

The man looking at you from the box, donning the blue suit and hat with a soothing smile on his face. The question that still haunts most people – is he real? Well, no. His birth as the mascot for the company was a random one – thanks to the cofounder Henry Seymour’s binge reading an article on the ‘Quakers’. The name implied purity, honesty, and integrity – the characteristics the founders wanted to give to their brand. There have been gossips about the image being inspired by the famous Quaker William Penn, and the resemblance is quite large. The company’s trademark application, however, echoed the man to be a generic ‘Quaker Garb’. The Quaker guy grew up with various artists over the years, and finally achieved his own name – Larry.

Mr. Clean

Source: Adweek

If you have used their wide range of cleaning products, you must be acquainted with the strong muscular man with a bald head and tight white shirt, and the single hoop earring on the left ear. Mr. Clean is the face of a variety of cleaning products from Proctor and Gamble. In 2013 the Company released an ad showing the origins of Mr. Clean. The ad shows a farmer couple, who one day, found a bald baby in front of their house cleaning the porch. They adopted the baby and it turns out the baby is inclined towards cleaning up the mess. As the baby grows into an adult, he goes out to explore the mysteries of the world and making it a better place through cleaning. Mr. Clean’s origin, however, roots back to the 1950s when two employees of an ad agency created the bald muscular man, the image of whom was inspired by a bald sailor from Pensacola, Florida. Mr. clean was introduced to the public through animated commercials in the late 1950s.

Mc Donald’s

Source: Wallpaper Flare

For many of you must be acquainted with Ronald Mc Donald, the red-haired clown who has been selling the best cheap cheeseburgers in town since the sixties. The man replaced the previous mascot, Speedee in the early 1960s and has since helped the fast-food station escalate worldwide. Willard Scott, the one who appeared as television’s Bozo the clown, was asked to help market a local location of a hamburger chain. When he stepped in, McDonald’s asked him to create a new character for the chain, and thus, Ronald McDonald was born.

Cheetos

Source: Wikipedia

The frisky feline cheetah has been one of the most popular mascots among kids and adults. He was not the first mascot for the crispy snacks but had replaced the Cheetos mouse in the 1980s. He first appeared in TV commercials in 1986 as an animated cartoon character. His wide popularity earned him the official title of Cheestos’ mascot and goes by the name Chester Cheetos. He has been responsible for the most cheesy slogans like ‘It ain’t easy bein’ cheesy”, “The cheese that goes crunch!”, and “Dangerously Cheesy!”. That’s a lot of cheese (but who cares, we love cheese)

Pillsbury

Source: Pillsbury

The Pillsbury doughboy has been the kids’ favorite ever since his debut in 1965. A brand mascot who would pop out of a can of refrigerated dough – an idea struck by Rusy Perz, a copywriter from Leo Burnett working on the Pillsbury account, while testing out Pillsbury dough in his kitchen. Perz’s idea was designed by Milt Schaffer who also worked for Disney, and the mascot was brought into life using stop-action clay animation. The mascot got his own name – Poppin’ Fresh, a kick to the product’s quality and freshness. His popularity exploded with an 87% recognition factor among consumers within 3 years from his debut. He even received more than 200 fan letters a week and 1500 requests for autographed photos.

Yes, there are many more to be included (we heard that loud.) Give us the names and we shall bring them for you!

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