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July 30th, 2012

by Emily Burgett

Many of us have a memory of a mascot that takes us back to a certain time, place or feeling. It may remind you of the first professional baseball game you attended as a kid. Or it could be the one that has you hysterically laughing every time it appears in a commercial. In some cases, it could be that one mascot that gives you the heebie jeebies.

Some brands do it well. Others, not so much.

Many companies have a mascot, created as a representation of the brand. Geico has gotten plenty of mileage from its mascot, the cute gecko with the British accent. Aflac is synonymous with a slightly obnoxious duck mascot (I know you can’t hear Aflac without that quack). And those of us in the SEO industry are all familiar with SEOmoz’s Roger bot. But there are other mascots that maybe you wish you’d never seen, like the Burger King. Apparently, Burger King agreed that its mascot’s creepy plastic stare was a bit too much: The mega fast-food franchise retired the King last year.

In today’s highly connected global world, mascots provide a huge opportunity for brands to engage their audiences. According to AdAge, “social media is giving marketers a whole new playground to test and nurture mascots.” For example, Coca-Cola scored big with its Polar Bears during the 2012 Super Bowl. The polar bears were seen throughout the evening hosting their own Super Bowl party and reacting in real time to other commercials, big moments in the game and consumer tweets. This ad campaign proved to be a huge success — more than 9 million users on different forms of social media engaged in what was happening with the polar bears.

When used effectively, mascots can represent the face of the brand among different mediums, such as social media. They can be lovable and relatable—providing a huge opportunity for brands to develop a personality that engages consumers.

And with that, meet Fritz. Slingshot SEO’s very own #SEOMonkey. You may have seen him at one of the many conferences we’ve attended, like Blog World earlier this summer. Maybe you’ve envied your co-worker’s flying desktop friend (yes, Fritz flies), or even seen his face on Twitter. He’s cute. He’s lovable. And he is a great way to break the ice. His presence has made it easy for us to start conversations at events.

Want a success story? ModCloth, one of my personal favorite online retailers, recently launched an Instagram competition for the geekiest office space: #officegeekoff. Of course, we couldn’t resist. We’re an SEO company. Geeky is easy for us. So one of my co-workers and I set off to get Fritz front and center. After sharing a photo of Fritz “working hard” in the office, we squealed with delight when ModCloth reps responded, saying we had made their day. With that simple move, Fritz provided an avenue to further expose the Slingshot SEO brand to other companies.

Still not convinced that you should adopt a mascot? Well I’ve got more. Fritz travels to all the conferences we attend. As an exhibitor, you want to drive the most traffic to your booth. Fritz does that effortlessly.

Everyone wants one to take back to his or her office to show off or give to his or her kids. During SMX Advanced, we gave an employee of Care.com a monkey, which she took back to her office. Her co-workers immediately fell in love and we just couldn’t say no to her request to send another monkey.

 

Fritz is definitely a mascot that works on Slingshot SEO’s behalf.

Who is your favorite brand mascot? What other ways have you seen companies use social media to utilize their mascots well, or not so well?

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