What is a mascot? What do they do? Many people might mistakenly think of a mascot as only being a costumed figure that appears at a sports game, however, there are mascots that represent a host of different schools, sports teams, societies, brand names and even military units. These figures, be they an object, an animal or a person, are thought to bring luck to their respective organization through their presence or participation. Even a logo, an animated or an inanimate object can become a mascot.
Sometimes a mascot can be a good luck charm for a team. Sometimes they are a corporate brand that is created to generate good will for a company. They can be used to reach out to the community and perform a public service. Smokey Bear, for example represents the United States Forest Service. Meanwhile, McGruff the Crime Dog represents the National Crime Prevention Council and Vince and Larry, the Crash Test Dummies, represent the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
No matter which game you play, you will be sure to see some pretty outrageous team mascots. Billy Buffalo is the mascot for the Buffalo Bills. When they come out to play, so does their eight foot tall mascot! When the Dallas Cowboys come to town, you can be sure to spot Rowdy the cowboy stirring up the crowd into a frenzy. Miles the white horse follows the Denver Broncos where ever they go. When the Indiana Pacers play, Boomer and Bowser come out too. When the Florida Marlins take the to field, so does Billy the Marlin. All sorts of sports teams have an animal as a good luck charm.
Some of these good luck figures, unfortunately, have met with controversy. Many of these are linked to previous images of Native North American which portrayed them as fierce of primitive. Teams such as the Redskins and the Chiefs have had to re-examine their names, their mascots and their fan based paraphernalia in order to be culturally sensitive. Restaurants, especially Mexican ones, have had to get rid of figures which perpetuated the image of the “lazy Mexican”.
Who can forget the mascots of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics? The mythical characters of Quatchi, Miga, Sumi and Mukmuk were mobbed by adoring fans everywhere they went during the Olympic events. These popular figures did more than generate good will for the Olympics, they also generated a lot of income to support the building of the Olympic venues in Canada!
Even political groups have their own political banners that they rally behind. In the United States alone, you can choose from the Republican Party and its Elephant, the Democratic party and its Donkey, the Prohibition party and its Camel or the New Whig Party and its Owl.
Some mascots have faded over time, they have been forgotten and left behind. The California Raisins were a great tool for the promotion of California raisins in the nineteen eighties. However, those advertisements with their claymation animation have been relegated to the past. Sometimes, company mascots have simply been dropped like a serving of hot fries, characters like the Hamburgler or The Grimace.
Creating your own mascot is something that should take time and a lot of thought and planning. Make sure you spend time studying what has worked in the past for others in your line of business. Make sure that it is something that reflects your business values and will appeal to your public.