How five classic brand mascots have evolved (or not) over time

Posted on Fri Dec 18 2009


Times have been tough for marketers lately, so it makes sense that brand mascots have made something of a comeback. Whether it's to evoke nostalgia or to refresh a brand's image, mascots are often the answer. At least, that's what many companies think. David Altschul, president and founder of Character, a firm that creates story frameworks for brands and their characters, isn't so sure. When mascots are featured in logos, it's one thing, he says. When brands bring them to life, there's a danger there. "The characters are so visible and widely known that they become an easy tool for storytelling, but don't necessarily make a real connection with the brand," Altschul says. After the jump, check out our short list of mascots that have resurfaced in the past year or so, and how they've evolved—or haven't. If you think we left any out, please add to the list in comments.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

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9 brands that would be glad to have Tiger Woods as an endorser

Posted on Mon Dec 7 2009


The eyes of the world are on Tiger Woods. The eyes of the branding world are really on Tiger Woods. The cuts and scrapes he suffered on Nov. 27, when crashed his 2009 Caddy SUV (hey, we thought he drove a Buick!) into a fire hydrant and a tree outside his Orlando manse, will heal. Less certain is the extent of the injuries to Tiger the brand endorser. Starting with the $40 million contract Wood inked with Nike back in 1996, the world's No. 1 golfer today has an endorsement value pegged at $105 million. Well, until that fender bender and the subsequent airing of his dirty laundry, anyway. Just in case the big-name brands do drop the world's richest athlete, we've cooked up a list of brands that might be happy to have Tiger pitch for them.

—Posted by Robert Klara

THEN: Tag Heuer watches
NOW: Gentex rear-view mirrors

THEN: Nike Golf
NOW: AFX helmets

THEN: Gillette razors
NOW: Aamco transmissions

THEN: Gatorade
NOW: Band-Aid

NOW: OnStar

THEN: Upper Deck sports cards
NOW: Hallmark sympathy cards

THEN: Accenture
NOW: Ashley Madison

THEN: NetJets corporate jets
NOW: Artis driver training

THEN: TLC Laser Eye Centers
NOW: Streetglo reflective driveway tape

8 product categories that were fun to advertise, while they lasted

Posted on Mon Nov 16 2009

A couple of years ago, GPS units were the hot Christmas gift, and the category looked like it had some staying power. But that growth trajectory has taken a detour, thanks to smart phones like Motorola's Droid and Apple's iPhone, which contain GPS navigation functions. That's not the first time that technology has turned a category on its head. Below are eight cases of product categories that used to receive substantial advertising but are now mostly or totally obsolete.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Seatbelt   1. Seat belts. Before the Highway Safety Act and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act were passed in 1966, seat belts weren't standard in cars. As a result, an advertising market existed both for makers of seat belts and for repair shops, which made money installing them. There were several makers of seat belts, as well as an American Seat Belt Council, which bestowed its blessing on those that fit the highest safety standard. Hence, this 1962 ad for Irvin Seat Belts pointed out that the belts exceed all standards for strength and safety and "not all seat belts do."


  2. Typewriters. Typewriter sales peaked in the mid-1950s, when Smith-Corona sold 12 million of the machines in the last quarter of 1953. Since then, of course, devices like the one on which you're reading this now have made them a relic. Still, about 400,000 or so typewriters are sold per year these days, not enough to support much advertising.


  3. Long-distance telephone calling. Between the time the first long-distance call was made, in 1951, until roughly 2000, long distance was a thriving business, supporting hundreds of millions in advertising dollars. Then, wireless came in and no longer distinguished between local and long distance. Landline service providers soon dropped it as well. These days, you see lots of ads for wireless service, but none for landlines, unless they're also providing DSL service.

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10 ad campaigns that actually make you want to leave the house

Posted on Thu Jul 2 2009


Somehow, "Gettin' lucky in Kentucky" didn't make the list of the all-time top-10 travel campaigns, as chosen by Forbes. What kind of crazy oversight is that? Oh well, it was always more of an unofficial slogan for my home state anyway, better suited for cheap T-shirts than ads aimed at selling the Bluegrass State to the world. Forbes went with the iconic for the most part, with some new ads thrown in, picked by a panel of media and travel experts. They decided, not surprisingly, that the recently re-launched Las Vegas tagline, "What happens here stays here," is the best of the best. The rest? There's some nostalgia like, "Virginia is for lovers," which was obviously a much better choice than the original idea, "Virginia is for history lovers." Booooring. Also included: Paul Hogan's pre-Crocodile Dundee commercials for Australia telling us to "Put another shrimp on the barbie"; Alaska's bucket-list-inspired tagline, "B4UDIE," and the current music-infused "Incredible India." The piece includes a story about how desperately the travel industry is trying to court us for our scarce vacation dollars.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley



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