Who would win in a fight between a gecko and an A-List Celebrity?

In the real world, the celebrity would be having a feast (as far as feasting on geckos can go)! However, in the branding world, the gecko could easily usurp the reign of the mighty star.

Mascots have been a marketing tool for at least a hundred years now. And whoever the first person was to utilize a friendly character to personify their brand probably had no idea of the genius he/she was partaking in.

But we’ve noticed something strange here at the bullet: Of the many iconic mascots we recognize, from the Michelin Man to Mr. Peanut, only a handful (even less) were actually birthed in the 21st Century. (Check out 50 of the most iconic mascots)

This may be because we consider mascots to be an obsolete marketing tool that has no place in today’s generation. But with closer inspection, we’ll notice that we are gravely, gravely mistaken.

A recent study conducted by Synthesio, a global social media monitoring Software Company, revealed that mascots generate more social media buzz than celebrities.

The highest performing celebrity endorser goes to Danica Patrick for GoDaddy, amassing a total of 12.72% of the brand’s total social media buzz. In comparison, the Pillsbury Doughboy takes away 22.14% of the Pillsbury brand’s total social media buzz.

Mascots are effective in the digital realm because, first, users prefer a fleshed out fictional character over a faceless, nameless PR representative. And secondly, mascots offer a softer way to sell your products. Blatant self-promotion is a turn off to consumers, but when this self-promotion comes from a mascot, the story becomes endearing.

So are you intrigued on creating a mascot for your brand? Here are some clear-cut benefits that you will gain from having a mascot present in your social media campaign rather than a brand ambassador.

1.    Your Brand Is Perfectly Personified

We always say that your brand is a personality. What better way to sell your personality than to personify him/her through a mascot? Brands often try this with celebrities but they always fall short because celebrities have their own personalities that you can’t control. Which takes us to our second benefit!

2.    Mascots Are Easier To Monitor

Carol Phillips, president of consulting group Brand Amplitude said that mascots “never get in trouble with the law. They don’t up their fees. You can use them for a long long time.”  Brand ambassadors don’t offer the same kind of consistency. Tiger Woods, for example, was a seemingly perfect candidate as an ambassador until, of course, he was embroiled in a scandal that has affected his career until today. Tony The Tiger, on the other hand, can’t do no wrong because he’ll always stick to the script. Plus, mascots come at a much cheaper rate than Mr. Woods.

3.    Mascots Are Less Saturated

When your mascot tweets, the conversation is ALWAYS about your brand. When a celebrity tweets, the conversation could be about your brand, or it could be about her new shoes, or maybe about his latest flick? Celebrities come with baggage. The only baggage Mr. Peanuts is lugging around is a jar of Planters Peanut Butter.

4.    Mascots Are More Engaging

For some strange reason, netizens prefer to engage with a duck rather than a human. We’re not too sure why, but statistics seem to point in the duck’s favour (by duck, we mean mascots in general). Maybe it’s because we are more ready to suspend disbelief with a fictional character than we are with a possibly insincere human. Whatever it is, I want to see whom The Aflac Duck is going to be hanging out with next.

Of course, with all this said, celebrity endorsements bring other forms of benefits like a larger fan-base, more media eyeballs, and a realistic aspiration to work towards. It would be ridiculous if Rolex decided to put their watch on an anthromorphic meerkat. But if it fits your brand, statistically speaking, mascots do a better job than ambassadors in the digital realm.

So the next time you’re fleshing out your digital campaign, ask yourself, could your brand use a mascot?

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How would your brand participate in the golden age of the geek?

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