What It Takes To Create An Iconic Mascot

Launch Indy Mascot on blue jersey

What It Takes To Create An Iconic Mascot

Captain Crunch, Toucan Sam, Tony the Tiger. We all know who these characters are and what brands they represent. A good mascot transforms a brand from a product to a story with characters, adventure, and more emotional connection than a box of peanut butter flavored corn nuggets. These mascots are iconic and they blazed the trail for mascots in marketing, but let’s take a look back at where mascots originated.

Where Does The Mascot Come From?

“The word ‘mascot’ comes from the French term ‘mascotte’ meaning lucky charm. Sports organizations started using animals as mascots to provide some extra entertainment for spectators. At first, sports teams brought along real live animals to the games. Most of these animals were predators expected to roar and strike fear into the hearts of their opponents.

The transformation of live animals and two-dimensional fantasy mascots into the modern three-dimensional variety was triggered by the invention of the Muppets in the late 1960s. These larger-than-life puppets represented a new medium in mascot development and utility: cute and touchable corporate ambassadors.”

– International University Sports Federation

It’s pretty incredible (and somewhat disturbing) to see how far mascots have come since their early days. These mascots stood the test of time because they have the makeup of a powerful brand mascot.

What Makes A Good Mascot?

First and foremost, a good mascot fits the brand to a tee. You have to start with a deep understanding of what your brand is and how it would manifest into a living, breathing entity. One of our favorite mascots is for the Toledo Walleyes. How do you make a walleye look menacing you ask? Well the Raymond Entertainment Group of Delaware pulled it off. With a missing tooth and his game face on, Spike looks ready to take down the competition. Spike is perfect for a hockey team. He looks fierce, but approachable. He clearly resembles a fish, and his colors compliment the Walleye team colors.

How Do I Create a Good Mascot?

A good mascot needs to serve a purpose for your brand. Is it to appeal to kids, like the mascots on cereal boxes, or to rally a crowd at a game like Spike the Walleye? Knowing the purpose of your mascot guides you in how the mascot will connect with the world. 

Often, mascots are great for brand recognition and branding material. Maybe your mascot provides help. If you’re familiar with Mailchimp, you know their mascot Freddie helps users put together email campaigns with tips along the way. Think of ways your mascot could be helpful to your audience or users. It’s more engaging to interact with a brand ‘representative’ when learning how to use a product or service than following written step by step instructions.

Launch Indy Event Mascot

Launch Indy Mascot on blue jersey

One of our favorite mascot projects landed on our desk from Launch Indy. Launch Indy is a coworking space in the heart of Indianapolis. For their grand opening, they wanted to bring the community together to see the new space and get to know the Launch team. They needed a mascot to help promote their community event. The idea was to introduce Launch Indy to the community with a friendly H.O.R.S.E. competition.

Teams came together to participate in a few rounds of basketball, got to know the space, and became familiar with the Launch brand. For the mascot, we brought in the colors from the Launch logo treatment. The horse represents the event (obviously) and served as a fun character to get people in the mood for fun, friendly, competition. The horse has the same color blue as the logo for its mane and is shown dunking a basketball. The basketball and background tie in the other colors of the Launch Indy logo to create a harmonious, on-brand mascot, perfect for bringing people together for the launch of the new community work space.

How to Make a Mascot Versatile

Mascots have to be versatile. A good mascot has to appear in promotional material, on websites, banners, and often in an over-sized fuzzy suit. When designing a good mascot, it’s important to keep in mind all of the ways your mascot will be used. Versatility in a mascot keeps design aspects like negative color, scalability and movement in the forefront of the concept. Remember, mascots do serve a purpose, and if yours is to strike fear in the hearts of your competitors, a fighting pickle, or artichoke might not be the way to do it.

Is your brand ready to come to life? A mascot could be the next step in strengthening your brand. Give us a call or drop us an email to get started!

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Leisha

Leisha is Iconic's content writer and brand storyteller. She makes it her mission to tell engaging stories and create memorable brand experiences.