Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 | 8 min read
We all grew up with a favorite brand mascot that appeared on cereal boxes or in TV commercials. Tony the Tiger made eating Frosted Flakes even more fun, and Snuggle Bear made even little kids want to buy fabric softener.
Brand mascots have been around as long as advertising has been a thing. They provide brands an opportunity to humanize their messaging with an easily digestible, endearing character. Conventionally, brand mascots act as in-real-life brand ambassadors when heavy-handed advertising is not allowed, such as at nonprofit events. They are also used to make brands more appealing to children, or to inject some wit into an otherwise boring, grown-up industry (like insurance).
Given their omnipresence and their personable nature, it was only a matter of time before brand mascots took on a digital identity of their own – and they found the perfect home on social media.
Naturally, brands want to claim every account remotely associated with their identity (so something like this doesn’t happen), and this includes variations of the name of their brand mascot. But what do you do once the account exists? Many brands aren’t sure which kinds of content should be published via the high-level brand account and what should be relegated to the brand mascot.
Brand mascot social accounts can easily feel spammy or frivolous, so brands should tread carefully. Smart copywriting is an absolute necessity; these accounts must be manned by someone who has a complete understanding of the mascot’s personality and voice.
Those poor brand mascots. It can be hard to prove their worth in the social space.
Here are five techniques employed by famous brand mascots to connect with consumers on Twitter.
Brand mascot accounts are perfect for sharing the user-generated content your brand receives, especially since followers of brand-level accounts are typically less forgiving of noisiness or an influx of retweets than followers of brand mascot accounts.
When you have a brand mascot as recognizable and loved as Flo here, it’s natural to receive a lot of mascot-inspired content. Progressive does a great job of promoting customers who show their brand love through social, like in the tweet below.
— Flo from Progressive (@ItsFlo) July 19, 2015
Meanwhile, brands like StarKist are bound to inspire scrumptious food pictures, which nearly everyone loves to share on social.
— StarKist (@StarKistCharlie) July 11, 2015
When acting on behalf of a brand mascot, companies have a lot more flexibility to be funny and let their personality shine. As an added perk, a sense of humor will get you far with the millennial audience. Once again, Flo takes the cake with her eccentric humor.
— Flo from Progressive (@ItsFlo) May 22, 2015
The Aflac Duck, Chester Cheetah, and Red (of M&M’S fame) get honorable mention for their fun, witty content that displays the mascot in entertaining situations, such as preparing for a date or enjoying the product they represent.
For many brands, getting followers to interact with their content is like pulling teeth. But when you sport a fun personality through a brand mascot account, engagement comes much easier. The M&M’S candy mascots’ collective Twitter account is a great example of how followers will gladly interact with a brand’s content if it’s presented in a light, conversational, clever way.
I’m sick of women treating me like I’m a piece of meat. Any advice for a guy like me? – Red
— M&M’S® Brand (@mmschocolate) July 22, 2015
Fabulous M&M’S Fans: Share a pic of your M&M’S gear! – Ms. Green
— M&M’S® Brand (@mmschocolate) July 21, 2015
Brand mascot accounts are ripe for topical hashtags and content themes that embody the mascot’s personality. If your brand deals with the travel sector, for example, your brand mascot can share tips, tricks, and memes using a unique hashtag.
Travelocity’s Roaming Gnome account gets a lot of traction with its #GnomeWisdom content.
— Travelocity Gnome (@RoamingGnome) July 22, 2015
And the GEICO Gecko’s #GeckoPhilosophy posts always offer entertaining quips.
Life is like cereal. Some bits are sweeter than others, but together it’s all delicious. #GeckoPhilosophy
— The GEICO Gecko (@TheGEICOGecko) July 11, 2015
At the very least, this approach creates an easy way to brainstorm content for your content calendar, since there’s a predetermined hashtag to help guide the post topics.
As most marketers already know, it can be difficult to get traction around a unique hashtag. You want to start by creating high-quality, unique content that uses the hashtag. If you’re new to this, Adweek has a good beginner’s guide to creating hashtags.
Just remember that it’s especially important to have social listening set up so you’re aware of any and all posts that go out using your hashtag. It’s critical that you engage with those followers, because they are much more likely to be valuable brand advocates.
It can be challenging to find the right balance between providing value to your followers while also promoting your product or brand. Cap’n Crunch and Snuggle Bear do a good job of tapping into their followers’ passion points with a subtle brand tie-in.
Crunch Dust… or the building blocks of the best cereal ever? You be the judge. pic.twitter.com/tKtj2xA0HX
— Cap’n Crunch (@RealCapnCrunch) June 1, 2015
— Snuggle Bear (@Snuggle_Bear) July 8, 2015
There’s also the option of posting brand mascot content on the main brand account, which is what Dos Equis has elected to do with their Most Interesting Man in the World campaign. When you have a brand mascot as beloved as him, it only makes sense to put it front and center.
Those are some of our favorite brand mascot Twitter accounts – and what we think they’re doing right. Do you have any to add? Leave a comment and let us know why you love them!
About the Author: Becca Frasier is the Senior Content Manager at Sprinklr, where she combines the eye of a digital native with the mind of a business strategist to develop world-class experiences. She lives in Austin with her husband, their daughter, and four miniature dachshunds.