Friday, August 26, 2011

Branded for life by MASCOTS

Despite their popularity, I have never really been a fan of sports, school, or corporation mascots. Beyond the obvious lingering trauma I suffered through college as an ‘Anteater’, I just have never embraced the whole clowny circus, noisy ‘branding’ thing anyway. I mean what reputable organization really wants the image of a nightmarish, A.D.D. riddled, oversized hunk of dryer lint, dancing PANTS-LESS pantomime - right?

I guess I can understand the big, lithe jungle cats like Jaguars, Panthers, Lions and Tigers as mascots to help promote a tough and graceful global corporate or sports image. However for a folksy local feel, I’ve never understood why domesticated feline breeds like the ‘brown shorthairs’, ‘Maine Coons’, or the ‘Puddy Tats’ haven’t caught on? You’d think dog names would be good mascot monikers as well but other than the Greyhound and Bulldog, I can’t recall any company or sports team marketing themselves in the image of the everyday ‘Schnauzer’ ‘Shih-tzu’ or ‘Shnoodle’?

Oh sure a mammoth Clydesdale mascot is a shoe-in to help define a brand fan-base if all your customers are constantly marinating in vats of Nyquil brew while rubbing elbows and foam fingers in sweaty stadium seats. Sadly I too am not immune to the mighty power of the Madison Avenue mascots as they have a death-grip on my beady brain as well as my busting beltline. More than once I’ve sat with a mouth-watering Whopper, donning a paper crown, only to succumb to prison-guilt from the hypnotic lure of the curiously creepy burger KING. Clearly you know I’m weak if that evil balloon-headed Jack in the Box ‘dude-cot’ has hooked me with a toxic affinity for his fragrantly fried n’ flat tacos.

Except for cow boys & girls, as well as the chap-hardened folk who herd ‘em hard, branding is a fairly difficult concept to burn into ones … uh - Memory. So organizations naturally turn to these stupid obnoxious mascots and other TOOLS to help me, the lowly consumer, remember them more easily. My real problem though is that I am SO simple-minded that it doesn’t matter if is the Santa Cruz Banana Slugs or Chik Fil-A’s Jersey cow, I try to remember only ONE IMPORTANT THING from mascots – my PANTS!!