Here it is shown how the leprechauns are first flayed and then pulped to be turned into the marshmallows. Off to the side are waist-high piles of abandoned little green hats that will be shipped back to Ireland under international treaty."That's insane," I say. "I can't masturbate to a picture of myself. Where are the Mary Lou Retton boxes?"
"Am I the only one who finds this a little bit creepy?" I ask aloud. Elayne ignores me.
"You can have your picture taken and put on a box of Wheaties," she says.
—The Areas of My Expertise, by "the PC".
A character, animal or animate object (see Everything Talks) which theoretically represents all that is good and attractive about a product, and which may act as a spokesman for it. Sometimes it may be an anthropomorphized version of the product itself, or of some primary component in it.
Mascots were almost mandatory in the early days of advertising on radio and television, but are far less common today, probably because of the growing sophistication of the audience coupled with the perception that they are, really, rather silly. Outside of advertising aimed at children and/or breakfast foods, a Mascot in a modern commercial is as likely to be a subversion as not.
An exception would be Japan, where everything has a cute mascot nowadays. EVERYTHING.
See Series Mascot for when a character serves as the mascot for a fictional universe rather than a commercial product.
- Buster Brown shoes had the early 20th century comic strip character Buster Brown and his dog Tige.
- The four guys dressed as the fruit from the Fruit of the Loom logo.
Electronics and Software
- Apple's "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" ads featured Justin Long and John Hodgman representing the two computers. Their effectiveness was questionable; viewers across OS lines fell in love with the idea (even to the point of Shipping the two characters), but among those who didn't adore it the general consensus seemed to be that the "Mac" character is vastly less appealing than his "out of date" rival. Not to mention that Mac is never invited to a LAN party...
- It probably didn't help matters much that in real life, John Hodgman is actually a very friendly, charismatic man.
- The Apple adverts in Britain featured David Mitchell and Robert Webb as the PC and the Mac respectively. They have been quite unpopular, and have raised questions about the duo's credibility. Not least because, like the US adverts, while Webb is the ostentatiously cool character, Mitchell generally comes across as the more down-to-earth and likeable (this is despite him often playing the role of an unapologetic quasi-intellectual). While hosting Have I Got News for You, Webb explained to Ian that he had played the smug unbearable one whose product you were meant to buy, while Mitchell had all the fun lines and he was meant to be despised. He described it as a 'confused campaign'.
- Most video game companies use a character from one of their franchises as a mascot; Nintendo has Mario, SEGA has Sonic the Hedgehog, Capcom has Mega Man, SNK has Terry Bogard, etc.
- Before 1991, SNK had the now pretty much unknown G-Mantle.
- In Japan, Sega actually had a second mascot specifically for the Saturn: Segata Sanshiro, a Badass martial artist who would beat up people for not playing the Saturn. He eventually got his own video game, which was the last first-party game released for the Saturn.
- Atlus uses Jack Frost and his brothers from Shin Megami Tensei.
- Fictional example: "Vault Boy", the wavy-haired boy in the vault-dweller jumpsuit who serves as the smiling figurehead for Vault-Tec in Fallout. Fans call him "Fallout Boy" (no relation to the band or The Simpsons), and he's come to serve as a mascot for the game series, as well.
- Not to be confused (although he often have been, even the developers of Fallout Tactics made this mistake) with "Pip-Boy", who is the redheaded pixie in the yellow and orange spacesuit, visible on the logo of the Pipboy 2000.
- The Companion Cube for Portal. Portal 2 uses Atlas and P-Body, the robots from the game's co-op mode.
- Valve have also used other characters as mascots, with the Heavy Weapons Guy or the Soldier representing Team Fortress 2. The announcement for the Steam platform coming to the Mac used one of Portal's iPod-esque turrets to resemble the Mac and the Engineer's solidly mechanical turret from TF2 for the PC.
- Free Software Mascots are listed here. the best-known are OS mascots:
- Linux (kernel) - Tux the yellow-beaked penguin.
- GNU - GNU (not as much Gnu, as Wildebeest or Ibex, but whatever), usually only the horned head is shown.
- BSD - Beastie (be-es-di, see?), a little red daemon with pitchfork.
- OpenBSD - Puffy the pufferfish.
- Representing the web browser Firefox, Mozilla has the icon of a fox (name unknown) with the flaming tail curled around a globe, and Foxkeh is the mascot of Firefox Promotions. The Ridiculously Cute Critter doesn't come much cuter. There are also a few unofficial ones.
- Pikachu, appearing in nearly every episode of the Pokémon anime, and appearing in every game of the Pokémon series.
Food and Drink
- One of the most famous and longest-lived is Miss Chiquita Banana, for the United Fruit Company (Later United Brands, and now Chiquita Brands Intl.). Based loosely on Carmen Miranda, she dates back to 1945.
- Morris the Cat for 9 Lives cat food.
- Mrs. Butterworth, formerly a borderline racist Southern Mammy, is now always presented as an animated humanoid syrup bottle.
- Parodied on Clone High with Racist Mammy Products.
- Elsie the Cow for Borden (And Elmer the Bull, the mascot of Elmer's Glue, which is manufactured by a different part of the same conglomerate).
- Charlie the Tuna for Starkist.
- Possibly the earliest subverted mascot would be Big Fig for Nabisco's Fig Newton cookies in the 1970s.
- Aunt Jemima, back in the early 20th century, was an African-American slave with a kerchief on her head. After the Black Rights movement in the 1960s, she was transformed into a middle-class African-American housewife.
- But Uncle Ben, on the rice packages, still looks pretty much the way he did at the beginning. So does Rastus, the waiter on the Cream of Wheat box.
- Colonel Sanders, for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Mind you, Harland Sanders was a real person, the founder of KFC (though he served in the military, having received the title from the state of Kentucky for his achievements as a restaurateur and kept it as a means of self-promotion), and at times attained quasi-heroic status in Kentucky. Opinions on his animated, wise-cracking, dancing doppleganger are mixed.
- Companies like General Mills and Kellogg's tend to have a mascot for each of their brands of breakfast cereals, some of whom spend their lives chasing a Cereal Vice Reward. A few examples:
- The Trix Rabbit, who had to put up with almost 40 years of punk kids denying him Trix Cereal. "Silly Rabbit, Trix are for Kids"
- Funny thing: The one time the rabbit actually tries to purchase trix legally, we get this.
- Given their shape and color, it's a good thing the Rabbit wasn't the mascot for Cocoa Puffs....
- Tony the Tiger for Frosted Flakes (Frosties in the UK). "They're Grrreat!"
- Coco the Monkey for Cocoa Krispies (Has become an outreach of the Rice Krispies franchise, so its mascot(s) have become...)
- Snap, Crackle, and Pop for Rice Krispies.
- Though Coco still lives on in some countries like Japan, where he's the mascot for Coco's Chokowa (basically a cocoa version of Froot Loops).
- Lucky the Leprechaun, who desperately tries to keep his Lucky Charms out of the hands of his relentless pursuers.
- Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, a recovering Cocoa Puffs addict who's always being tempted by cruel kids to give in to his addiction.
- Toucan Sam for Froot Loops.
- Buzzbee the Honey Nut Cheerios bee.
- Cap'n Crunch for the cereal of the same name.
- For a while, the various Cap'n Crunch cereals had their own mascots: Smedley the Elephant for Cap'n Crunch's Peanut Butter Cereal (now Peanut Butter Crunch), the Crunchberry Beast for Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries, Wilma the Winsome White Whale for Vanilly Crunch, and the pirate Jean LaFoote for Cinnamon Crunch.
- Loopy the Bee for Honey Loops.
- Officer Crumb, the Cookie Crook, and Chip for Cookie Crisp. Their shtick was that the Cookie Crook tried to steal the cereal, but his dog Chip for whatever reason was trained to howl "Coooooookie Crisp!" when he smelled the stuff, alerting Officer Crumb in the process. (Only Chip is still around, and he's changed from a dog into a wolf. Not sure if he even howls anymore.)
- There was also Jarvis the Wizard who got replaced by Cookie Crook & Officer Crumb, and Jarvis even had one commercial alongside Cookie Crook so there is a linear progression from Jarvis to Cookie Crook & Officer Crumb to Chip the Dog to Chip the Wolf. That said Cookie Crisp seems to Brother Chuck their mascots on a regular basis.
- Bob, Quienno, and Wendell for Cinnamon Toast Crunch (Only Wendell is still around).
- The competitive Apple and Cinnamon Stick for Apple Jacks.
- Fred and Barney from The Flintstones for Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles (Also, Snagglepuss was the Cocoa Krispies mascot at one time).
- Sugar Bear for Super Sugar Crisp (now called Super Golden Crisp). At the end of The Seventies, sugar gained a reputation not unlike arsenic or Zyklon B, so the word "sugar" was dropped from the names of all major cereal brands in the United States (Sugar Frosted Flakes became Frosted Flakes, Sugar Smacks became Honey Smacks, Sugar Pops became Sugar Corn Pops and then Corn Pops, etc.). But what do you do when your mascot has "Sugar" for his first name? Why, you emphasize the "Super" in the cereal's name instead, by having him transform into Super Bear—a full sized grizzly bear with an angry expression and teeth and claws. Needless to say, this wasn't the best image to associate with a product aimed at young easily-frightened children, and Super Bear quickly regained Sugar Bear's teddy-bear-like face before being dropped entirely.
- In the earliest years (and still is in Canada), the cereal was just called "Sugar Crisp". It got the "Super" added to its name when they added vitamin fortification.
- And who can ever forget Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Fruit Brute et al. from their namesake cereals?
- Fruit Brute was later replaced by Fruity Yummy Mummy, perhaps because General Mills thought a decaying Egyptian corpse coming to life to fulfill an ancient curse is less intimidating than a werewolf.
- All of these characters have been given their own webcomic, Breakfast of the Gods. Be warned: it's pretty violent.
- The knock-off brand Malt-o-Meal has the kangaroos Blue and Lil' Oaty.
- The slightly terrifying Hunger used to be the mascot for Shreddies, on the basis that it "kept hunger locked up...till lunch". Nowadays they use a group of old ladies who are knitting the cereal.
- The Trix Rabbit, who had to put up with almost 40 years of punk kids denying him Trix Cereal. "Silly Rabbit, Trix are for Kids"
- Slightly creepily, Felix (cat) for Felix (cat food). Slogan: "Cats like Felix... like Felix."
- The creepy, silent Burger King, who shows up in the most random places (like your bed) to give people BK food (Actually a subversion of an earlier version of the King, who was played straight as a cheerful kids' mascot a la Ronald McDonald). He talked, too.
- Applebee's had a talking apple voiced by Wanda Sykes Hall. The character was discontinued after new owners took over.
- Fast food chain Jack in the Box has Jack, a man with a clown-head who is both mascot and Kayfabe CEO of the company. Like the King, Jack is a subversion of an earlier mascot, a clown-head which stood atop the original Jack in the Box restaurant and which appeared on their drive-thru menus for many years. The ad campaign featuring Jack has run continuously since 1995, making it one of the longest-running in history.
- Kool-Aid Man. Ooohhh yeeeeeaaaaaahh!
- Round Table, a pizza place, has a knight in full-body armour, complete with pointy face-guard.
- There was a brand of cat food called "Kattomeat" and they started advertising it with a white tomcat called "Arthur"...became such a good mascot that not many months later they had to rename the catfood "Arthur's".
- Ronald McDonald has gone pretty much un-subverted to this day thanks to becoming part of the greater American pop-cultural landscape.
- Save for a brief period in the mid '90s where he was depicted engaging in such activities as clubbing and playing golf as part of the ad campaign for the execrable "Arch Deluxe" burger (a "sandwich for 'adults'," as demonstrated by ads showing kids recoiling in disgust; surely the best way to convince someone to eat one).
- In The Seventies and part of The Eighties, McDonalds had a whole army of mascots in McDonaldland. There was Mayor McCheese, the Grimace (who, like Godzilla, started as a bad guy but quickly became a good guy), the Hamburglar, Big Mac (the cop who chased the Hamburglar down), the French Fry Goblins (who bear an eerie resemblance to the ghosts in Pac-Man, although the French Fry Goblins came earlier), an orange juice tree, Birdie the bird, and a host of other minor players.
- Weight Watchers has Hungry, an furry orange monster that constantly tempts you to eat junk food and thus ruin your diet.
- Little Caesars.
- The Chik-fil-A cows, exhorting people to "Eet Mor Chikin".
- Captain Birdseye, face of Birdseye frozen foods.
- Similarly, the Jolly Green Giant for Green Giant frozen and canned vegetables. Ho ho ho!
- Quizno's submarine sandwich restaurant had horribly animated, screechy voiced rat thingies from the that sang about loving their subs, that they are toasted, and that they have a pepper bar.
- Twinkie the Kid for Hostess Twinkies (duh), before he was relegated to package duty only.
- They also had Captain Cupcake for Hostess Cupcakes and Fruit Pie The Magician for Hostess Fruit Pies.
- In Japan, Pepsi had an Iron Butt Monkey mascot in form of PEPSI-MAAAAAANNNN!!!!
- Milky Bar had The Milky Bar Kid, who was actually played by a number of children over the years. "The Milky Bars are on me!"
- The M&M's Spokescandies. Oddly enough, since 1999 there were only five of them (Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, and Orange) when the standard color mix includes six (with brown being the sixth color). They have finally rectified this in 2012, so the spokescandies finally match up with the color mix.
- Though this happened because each of the five was one of the M&M's types (Red is milk chocolate, Yellow is peanut, Blue is almond, Green is peanut butter, and Orange is crispy and pretzel)... meaning Brown is only there to complete the set.
- Never Say No to Panda: The Panda in the Panda Cheese commercials.
- Mister Clean for the cleaner of the same name. Bonus points if you can identify the piece of jewelry he wears and where on his body: The answer he wears an earring on his left ear.
- The Energizer Bunny, and his cousin in the UK, who works for Duracell.
- The Scrubbing Bubbles, for Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner (originally named Dow Bathroom Cleaner).
- Probably before anyone's time here, Alka-Seltzer was represented by a walking, talking antacid (in black and white, no less) named "Speedy Alka-Seltzer." (The voice was reminiscent of Beany in the Beany and Cecil cartoons from the 1940s & 1950s.) An author on the subject of commercials, in a book called "Down the Tube" noted that Speedy was so gay, that the new ad company who got rid of him did it so fast it must have been because he was caught soliciting a cop in a bus station mens' room.
- Michelin tires are hawked by Bibendum, a strange white bulbous fellow who looks like a cross between the Mummy and the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man.
- GEICO has three mascots:
- Their British-accented gecko, who began with commercials stressing the difference pronunciations of "GEICO" and "gecko."
- A bunch of pissed off Neanderthals who didn't like the slogan, "So easy, a caveman can do it!" The writers of the ads attempted to create a sitcom from those Neanderthals. Thankfully, it bombed. Especially thankful is Geico, which could not run ads with the characters during the series' run.
- Kash, the pile of money with googly eyes and his own theme song has also been slowly adapted into a third(!) mascot for Geico.
- The duck that quacks, "AFLAC!"
- Flo the checkout girl in the Progressive Insurance commercials.
- Erin Esurance, a pink-haired Action Girl in a Spy Catsuit, who hawked Esurance. Now retired due to becoming a magnet for cheesecake pictures and fanporn. Also made a guest appearance on Who Wants to Be a Superhero?!
- Churchill, the little nodding dog mascot of Churchill Insurance. All together now: "OH YES!!"
- The General, for The General Car Insurance.
- Eastwood Insurance had a gunslinger mascot imitating Clint Eastwood.
- Alexander Orlov, spokesmeerkat for Compare The Market dot com. From this original spot, a vast merchandising empire was spawned...
- Fuzzy and Acro of Central City Tower.
- Buster from MythBusters.
- Disney has two: Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell.
- Bugs Bunny, for Looney Tunes, as well as Warner Bros.' entire animation division.
- Nickelodeon has SpongeBob SquarePants, formerly Henry and June and Tommy Pickles.
- The former WB Network had Michigan J. Frog from the Looney Tunes short, "One Froggy Evening".
- In the early days of the official Cirque Du Soleil website (1996–97), the Baron from Saltimbanco served as the "host". From 1998 to 2001 or so, the Great Chamberlain from the retired show Nouvelle Experience took on this duty.
- Kermit was the mascot of The Jim Henson Company back when they owned the Muppet franchise.
- A few metal groups have mascots, the best known example is probably Iron Maiden's undead Evil Albino "Eddie".
- Motörhead has Snaggletooth the War-pig.
- Megadeth has Vic Rattlehead.
- Not man of Anthrax.
- Face Bones of Dethklok.
- Disturbed's The Guy.
- Gamma Ray has Fangface.
- Jack O. Lantern from Helloween.
- Set Abominae, main character of Iced Earth's Something Wicked Saga.
- Captain Adrian of Running Wild (a werewolf Pirate thing).
- Grim Reaper from Grave Digger, Children of Bodom, Artillery and Grim Reaper.
- Soundchaser from Rage.
- ACDC kind of have a big blow-up Rosie that appears during performances of "Whole Lotta Rosie".
- Dio's Murray the horn-throwing demon, who actually has a rather interesting story behind his creation.
- Thrash band Sodom has Knarrenheinz.
- Overkill has Chaly.
- Avenged Sevenfold have the exceedingly similar Death Bat.
- Sergeant D. for the Stormtroopers Of Death
- Korpiklaani has Vaari, a forest spirit depicted as an old man with antlers.
- Hammerfall has Hector, a Knight Templar with a hammer.
- An obscure example: Skelteria has St. Trinity, a barefoot demon woman with bat-like wings.
- Demon Hunter has...well, what the fuck is it even called? You'd recognize it if you saw it.
- Riot has Johnny, a rather infamous mascot that seems to have human form with a weasel/rat/owl/seal-head. More information can be found here
- Knucklehead of Five Finger Death Punch, who has appeared on every one of their album covers. He once punched a man in the soul.
- In Flames' Jesterhead, who first appeared on the cover of The Jester Race and has undergone many transformations since. He's most known for his distinctive spiky jester-hat.
- Punk bands aren't too far behind in the mascot department:
- The Dictators might be unique in that their mascot is a real live human being, Handsome Dick Manitoba, who was the band's roadie/occasional vocalist and "Secret Weapon".
- The Crimson Ghost from the 1946 film of the same name has probably become better known for being The Misfits official mascot/IconicLogo.
- The boy on fire that appeared on Bad Religion album "Suffer" has appeared on several t-shirts.
- Fire Skull of The Offspring, though it may be closer to a symbol than a full-fledged character.
- Skelly, created by Social Distortion.
- The Mighty Mighty Bosstones have Otis the Bulldog.
- Monkey's Face from The Adicts.
- Blink-182 have both a deranged smiley face and a deranged rabbit.
- Hatchet Man for the Psychopathic Records label.
- Booji Boy for Devo.
- Radiohead has that Bear.
- Kanye West has Dropout Bear.
- Raubtier's pervasive logo is a snarling canine head with gatling guns sticking out of both eye sockets, though so far the beast's name and/or connections to any of the dogs mentioned in their songs are unknown.
- The San Diego Chicken was originally a mascot for a local radio station. He single handedly created the profession of sports mascots. He is now the patron saint of all sports mascots.
- The Army mule and the Navy goat. These sports mascots date back at least 100 years, and other college teams had mascots as well, such as the Yale bulldog and "Bucky Badger".
- Pro teams with mascots, however, were more or less unheard of until the Famous Chicken (as he's now known, presumably because he's no longer tied to San Diego and has become a freelance mascot...I think he appeared in a Gymboree tape I had as a toddler) came about.
- Several colleges use live animals as mascots in addition to the fake ones:
- Uga the bulldog at U of Georgia.
- Tusk the pig at U of Arkansas.
- Bevo the Texas longhorn at U of Texas.
- Smokey the coonhound at U of Tennessee.
- Jack the Bulldog at Georgetown U.
- Peruna the pony at SMU.
- The University of Oregon managed to work a deal with Disney to use Donald Duck as their mascot.
- Major League Baseball has a bunch of mascots but the most famous are The Phillie Phanatic, Wally the Green Monster (Red Sox), Mariner Moose, the Racing Sausages (Milwaukee), the Racing Presidents (Washington), Mr. Met, Billy the Marlin, and the Pirate Parrot. And then there was also once Youppi! the Expos mascot who is now currently a mascot for the Canadiens.
- Gainer the gopher, the riders mascot!
- Scottish association football has a few. Most of them are ignored except Broxi Bear for Glasgow Rangers and Hoopy the Huddle Hound for Celtic.
- High school football in Texas -where it is a major religion- gives us mascots such as the Hamlin Pied Pipers (yes, as in the German folk tale) and the Winters Blizzards.
- Honda has Mr. Opportunity (voiced by Rob Paulsen) for their yearly Clearance.
- The Pep Boys, Manny, Moe and Jack, for the automotive parts retailer of the same name (including the character names).