“A good mascot with a strong marketing strategy behind him or her, can be a big win.”

Last year, on a post-event email survey for a client’s sport-related conference, an event attendee suggested that the event was in need of a mascot. My initial reaction was complete hilarity.

A mascot? For a conference?

I had so many questions… Who would wear the costume? Would it be an animal or a personified object? What would we name it?

As someone who used to manage the mascot program for a professional sports team (a lifetime ago), I’ve lived and breathed (literally) the ins and outs of leveraging mascots for promotion of a brand.

When I think back to my mascot management days, the thing that stands out most for me is the time I fished a pair of dirty, sweaty underwear and socks out of the bag we stored the costume in. So gross.

Mascot Fun Facts

tired mascot

Mascot Fun Fact #1: Those costumes are warm so the wearer sweats a lot.

I also recall one particular stern ‘talk’ with the mascots when one of them attempted to wrangle a drunken crazed fan who had made his way onto the football field. It made the newspaper the next day (UGH).

Mascot Fun Fact #2: The costumes are cumbersome. It’s hard to see properly (peripheral vision is basically nil). This is why many mascots appear a bit clumsy and you usually see a ‘handler’ accompanying them in crowds.

Mascots – Hit or Miss?

Lately there have been some news stories about weird, scary and off-brand mascots taking teams and brands by storm. You have to wonder about how the concepts for these mascots even ended up seeing the light of day. Focus group anyone?

Check out this article on SportsCasting.com on the worst professional sports team mascots of all time. Number 2 is my personal favorite from this list.

Why Mascots?

There are some great things that a mascot program can bring to your brand, team or event:

1- They liven things up.

2- They help to define your brand personality.

3- They differentiate you from the competition.

4- They keep your brand top of mind.

5- They build an emotional connection with your audience and engage them.

6- They bring a whole new element to your social media strategy.

sport mascot

If you take a minute to think about your favorite mascot (or the ones that stand out most in your mind), you’ll realize that a good mascot with a strong marketing strategy behind him or her, can be a big win.

Disney has made a gazillion dollars off of mascots. Just sayin’.

michelin man

I’m personally still on the fence about whether or not I want to create a mascot for my client’s annual event or not. I have to admit that I’m warming up to the idea. Tell me what you think in the comments below! And while, you’re at it, I’d love to know which mascot tops your list of favs (I love the Michelin Man).

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