Who doesn’t love a Russian Meerkat? Clever Marketing using Fictional Characters

Choosing a character or a mascot to represent your brand or product can be a very clever marketing strategy. Think of some of the big brand ads you see on TV or YouTube and how they use a mascot or a character consistently throughout their advertising. Before we share our top picks for brands that have successfully chosen a persona to showcase their product, there are a few key points to remember before you start mocking up cute animal characters for your company’s video animation.

Points to consider

  1. If you choose to create a character for your brand, be certain the character embodies all of the key personality traits that you want to represent in terms of your branding and style and your company culture and values – as they will be the voice of your company, so they need to maintain the integrity of your organisation.
  2. Use the character consistently. Developing a strong and memorable advertising campaign requires consistency and continuity. Using this character in all of your marketing tools (not just once or twice in a series of 10 videos) will build brand awareness and familiarity with the audience.
  3. Developing a character, or characters, requires brainstorming, planning and research. Think about how your current and your target audience will relate to this character and decide if the choice of character – whether it be a fictional person, an animal, or other; is the right face for your product.
  4. Be clever – when done correctly, your brand will stay in the consumers mind as they will associate it with your mascot. You may be in competition with many other organisations, so this can be one important advantage you have to stand out from the rest.

Here are our top 3 best branded campaigns brands that use character representation effectively.

Compare the Meerkat, or Compare the Market

Compare the Market was a fairy unknown insurance comparison website until in 2009 they introduced Aleksandr Orlov, an animated meerkat. The initial pitch of the meerkat creation, Aleksandr was described as “a loveable but complex character” and that he was desperately frustrated by the confusion between ComparetheMarket.com and ComparetheMeerkat.com.

Compare the Market was initially just another comparison insurance website until the campaign took off. The website Compare the Meerkat was based solely on fictional meerkats – which in 2009 alone had more than 5 million visits -that is 5 million views in year 1 to look just at meerkats: www.comparethemeerkat.com.au. This success has led to hundreds of videos, films, merchandise, personalised content and even an autobiography of Aleksandr.

Through animated storytelling, clever merchandising and advanced social media engagement, Compare the Market have achieved a huge following and a genuine affection for an insurance comparison brand through the birth and storytelling of Aleksandr and his sidekick Sergei. This is definitely the most successful ongoing campaign we have seen in a long time.

M’ & M’s

One of the world’s leading chocolate brands create characters out of each type of chocolate and colour – with the core characters based on the lovable but dopey Yellow (Peanut) and his more knowledgeable friend Red (milk chocolate). They have been on hundreds of adventures and have a YouTube channel devoted to the travels and stories of the ‘spokescandies.’ www.youtube.com/user/MandMsCommercials

Energizer Bunny

Since 1989, Energizer batteries have used a pink toy bunny to represent their product, with the Bunny fast becoming a symbol not only for the brand and their long-lasting batteries, but as a mascot to represent power, longevity and perseverance. The bunny is one of the most iconic branded mascots recognised around the globe, and the Energizer website devotes the Bunny his own page, sharing his biography, timeline and achievements for the past 26 years. http://www.energizer.com/energizer-bunny

 

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