The most successful animated commercial characters or why you can sell better with a mascotte
The idea of animated spokes-character advertisements is highly admired in today’s advertising industries. You can hear a voice in all terms of this word: a personal voice, a specific tone, an attitude. When the values of a company are embedded in person that can speak for your brand, it is easier to get people interested in whatever you want to convey.
To use a character for a brand believed to be one of the most effective and valuable marketing strategies nowadays.
But this is not very convincing. Is it? Well, hear this:
According to the studies, children can recognize brands at 18 months’ age, draw them when they are 2 years old, develop consumer preference when they turn 4 years and purchase products when they grow as old as 5 years. The use of dazzling cartoon characters is useful for increased product recognition as well as product liking among kids.
Now, do you realize how important animated characters are?
What is vital to know is that anything here not strated yesterday: this is not another hype that could fade away very soon.
Animated characters as a way to work with the youngest audience
Kids are innocent and to an average person outside of the marketing world they never may be called “consumers”. However, we may surprise you — actually kids are a very important consumer segment. Even you in childhood was an important part of this audience.
First, as kids, but later as adults. Adults that remember how it felt to be kids who were crazy about animated stuff. Especially animated characters.
The trend of making commercials targeted at kids is increasing. The concept of content marketing in this digital era is increasing, and children find animations
more attractive and entertaining, as always, but maybe even more than a decade ago due to the fact that information is much easier to get.
These brand characters have been found to attract children’s attention, improve product recognition and create positive brand attitudes.
Children seem to be in love with the animations and they usually imitate such cartoon characters from which they are inspired.
“It is noticeable that when children wake up in the morning, they are usually seen wearing their favorite Disney character pajamas, their bed sheet containing cartoon pictures, toothbrushes with full of lively
cartoon character designs and in many cases their breakfast cereals packed in cute cartoon
boxes and then heading towards their respective schools wearing their favorite cartoon
character school bags. The emotional bond of
children with their favorite brand characters shows that commercialization of animated
spokes-character has entered the school boundaries”
Journal of Marketing Management and Consumer Behavior
Five characteristics of an animated character
As any other type of animated content, characters have something they consist of, building blocks, if you like such a definition.
In one of its studies of animated characters – a litle bit old, but still extremely interesting to look at – Journal of Marketing Management and Consumer Behavior claims that there are five characteristics of animated characters:
- “The first characteristic of animated characters is their physical appearance. Advertisers prefer such spokes-characters in their advertisements which are pleasant, lovely, attractive in appearance and physically more appealing to the children (Hassan & Daniyal, 2013; Singer, 1983). Children are usually attracted towards the colors, appearances, gestures/postures, logo and designs of these sparkling characters in the advertisements (Shah, Khan, & Habib, 2015).
- The second characteristic is the element of humor. Adding humor refers to putting in ‘silly behaviors’, ‘attractive voices’, and ‘unusual faces’. This significantly contributes to the spokes-character ‘likability factor’ (Callcott & Phillips, 1996). These humor techniques facilitate the consumers to keep in their mind the character for a long time (Chiu, Lin, & Liu, 2009). In addition to it, adding humor serves as a fun-seeking element.
- The third characteristic is the attention seeking element. This can be done by adding various features within the advertisements such as ‘action & movement’; ‘rapid pacing in the images’, ‘effective sound & attention-grabbing music effects’ (Calvert, 2008).
- The fourth characteristic is the use of voice. The research shows that children are more attracted to ‘audio’ and ‘sound systems’ in the advertisements as compared to the images, because ‘interesting sound effects’ grab instant attention of children to television screen (Calvert, 2008) but it doesn’t have major effects on encoding storage on the long term basis in the minds of children(Schwartz, 2003).The effects of ‘voice’ in the advertisements shown on television have a considerable effect on the learning; and it increases the motivational level in children’s attitude and behavior (Baylor, Ryu, & Shen, 2003). Children feel more motivated when human voices in animated spokes-characters are used as compared to that of computer machines generated voices (Baylor, Ryu, & Shen, 2003).
- The fifth characteristic is the connection between the distinctive product features and animated spokes-character that the consumers are to be familiar with (Garretson Ja, 2004). These lovely animations form a direct link between the product features, its packaging and advertising in the minds of consumers (Phillips, 1996). These incredible brand characters are made and designed for brands by marketing companies to be served as professional experts in terms of explaining and demonstrating the products to children through advertisement (Garretson Ja, 2004). These lively cartoon characters win more confidence and respect (Callot & Lee-Na-Lee, 1994) from kids compared to other non-animated spokes-characters.”
It is also reported that the children’s liking of the animated spokes-characters issignificantly correlated with recognition of product. If the character is remembered in childhood – sense the power of marketing – it will be remembered though the person’s life anyway, and recognised in adulthood.
A curious case of The Simpsons
The most famous characters come from animated series anyway. Just put some of the characters in the video, on the street ad, and you’ll see the results. However, the most interesting case for us is how animated characters advertise a mass of different products inside the… animated series.
The Simpsons has many advertising campaigns inside various episodes. Let’s take a look on what a family of Simpsons managed to advertised over years:
- Burger King ads for both Simpsons-themed kids meals as well as The Simpsons Movie
- Butterfinger campaign -the most well-known Simpsons advertising campaign.
- Many channel bumpers and promos for Fox, BBC, Channel 4 and others
- Multiple CC-Lemon commercials for Japan.
- Multiple CC’s crisps commercials for Australia
- Two Church’s Chicken commercials
- Domino’s Pizza
- Frito Lay
- Universal Studios
- A couple of Canadian KFC commercials
- Toyota, which like the KFC ads, were made for the Canadian market
- Vizir Detergent, made for France
- Toy Commercials from Mattel and Playmates Toys
- Ramada Hotels
- TGI Fridays
- De Toditos crisps for Latin America
- Mister Donut, also for the Japan market
- Wonderful Pistachios
This is not a unique case, native advertising in the movies is very old. But Simpsons’ satirical approach to, well, everything, plays a curious role in the effect of their mentions.
Mascottes in advertising
Animated characters are also another name for mascots. These guys usually represent certain campaigns that may be lasting not only for years, but even decades. Let’s take a look at most distinguished of them.
Kinder Pingui at the time was incredibly popular and its commercials became extremely popular. A kid’s dessert was associated with a happy-hoppy, cute , and funny penguin.
Old Speckled Hen or a gentleman fox is a character from England. He usually is seen around the pubs, always involved in conversation with bartenders or customers. Talking about drinks. A wonderful, well-known character.
Charmin Bear is a star — more than 70 commercials for Charmin products in the 20 century. This one appeared after 2000th in Britain, and stayed as a main animated character for years.
Coca-cola polar bears – have you ever heard about that one? All of the ads that involved these white guys have a happy ending, where the main character finally enjoys a long swig of Coca-Cola, while the surrounding bears who helped out also have a time of enjoying a sparkling beverage. Nice.
“The advent of mass production led to a host of brand ambassadors in the early twentieth century that still appear today, including Planters’ Mr. Peanut (1918), the Minnesota Valley Canning Company’s Jolly Green Giant (1928), and Borden’s Elsie the Cow (1936). But during the post-war television age, advertisers launched an unprecedented variety of mascots to distinguish their products and provide someone or something with which to identify. While many of the television programs may have faded from our collective memory, we vividly recall the commercials and a world of colorful characters selling breakfast cereals, fast food, cleaning products, and even offering public service announcements.”
San Francisco Museum
Why do characters work?
Characters draw viewers in emotionally. Sounds a bit obvious, but actually characters really “speak” on an emotional level.
This emotion is changing, even if we talk about commercials. But stories developed around a character are helping to provide a better, bigger narrative for the whole campaign.
Storytelling opportunities due to that become much better and more complete.
If you create a memorable character, it will be associated with the brand for years. Just remember the famous McDonald’s clown. Ronald McDonald might have scared some people, but it didn’t affect his popularity much. Thanks to the character and its look, a guy behind it continues to visit thousands of children a year through the company’s nonprofit organization, Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Okay, more complex, multidimensional even, example.
Barbie. Barbie was not only its literal product, but the character that brought millions of little girls and their parents into toy stores around the world. Barbie is a special case: it is a character that is also a type. What didn’t we see with her (them)? Movies, famous people, cartoons, etc.
The cartoon characters in the advertisements is highly admired by viewers; these lively creatures are being adopted by an increasing number of companies to grab our attention instantly.
We learned that besides adults a big part of the audience are children.
The kids who liked the animated brand characters recognized the product better as compared to those kids who didn’t like the brand character.
Obviously, animated characters works amazingly well in different ways and a variety of shapes: from classic ones to mascotts.
Don’t forget to check out the portfolio — there are plenty of character animations. If you’d like to make yourself a character that would be representing your brand, you can contact us right away.