stephen brown ulster

The story of Schmoozy Fox to be published in a forthcoming marketing book

 

I am happy to announce that a case study about Schmoozy Fox will appear as part of the forthcoming book, Brand Mascots: and other marketing animals, to be published by Routledge in the summer 2014.

The chapter called Schmoozy Fox: standing out from the pack was co-written by yours truly and Dr. Adriana Campelo Santana, Professor of Marketing at Cardiff Business School. I'm very happy to have worked together with Professor Campelo on this rewarding project.

The book Brand Mascots: and other marketing animals has been edited by Dr. Stephen Brown, Professor of Marketing Research at University of Ulster, and Dr. Sharon Ponsonby-McCabe, Professor of Marketing Communications at University of Ulster. My thanks go to both Dr. Brown and Dr. Ponsonby-McCabe for proposing to include the story of Schmoozy Fox in this book, and for doing great editing work on the chapter.

"The eminent anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss once observed that “animals are good to think with”.  They’re also good to brand with, as this book reveals. It shoots the breeze with Smokey Bear; dances the logo-motion with Hello Kitty; plays along with Cadbury’s drumming gorilla; gambols with the garrulous GEICO gecko; gets down and dirty with the peerless Peppa Pig; runs amok with the honking AFLAC duck; and compares the meerkat to monkeys, marsupials, Martians and more.  It goes wild and crazy with Tony the Tiger, Churchill the Bulldog and the Michelin Man for good measure.  Brand Mascots contains contributions from some of the world’s leading academic authorities on anthropomorphic marketing, including Russell Belk, Morris Holbrook and Barbara Phillips, as well as prominent practitioners of brand animal breeding, training and nurturance." (Stephen Brown & Sharon Ponsonby-McCabe)

If you'd like to learn more about the role brand mascots can play in your marketing strategies, please have a look at some of the previous posts I've written on this blog:

Brand mascots: shiny happy creatures

Kipling customizes its brand mascot

How Google keeps its Doodle funky

Brand mascots in action: Travelocity Roaming Gnome

Online brand mascots

Why meerkats help markets

 

 

Beastly branding

The owl of hootsuite.com

In my previous post, I talked about brand mascots: when to use them to boost your brand, and when to avoid them.

After the blog post was published, one of my blog readers pointed out that the majority of brand mascots are, in fact, animals.

This prompted me to do a bit more digging into the subject, and here’s what I found: a very interesting paper by Professor Stephen Brown from Ulster Business School: Where the wild brands are: some thoughts on anthropomorphic marketing. (( Brown, Stephen., Marketing Review, Fall 2010, Vol. 10, issue 3, pp. 209-224 ))

The paper gives many examples of companies using animals as brand mascots, and discusses which beasts are most popular.

Ronald McDonald

Throughout history, humankind has had a love-hate relationship with wild animals. On the one hand, we fear and detest powerful predators, especially those that destroy our crops and kill our livestock. On the other hand, we envy and admire their speed and grace, adorn ourselves in their fur and feathers, and worship them as totemic deities who symbolise our tribes, our teams, our territories. (( ibid. ))

In branding, mascots became popular a century ago in France, when almost every company adorned its products with friendly looking cats, dogs and insects. Interestingly, fictional people’s characters have also been used quite successfully in branding. For example, the 116-year old Michelin man is still alive and well-known.

Brown concludes that fictional human characters are most popular brand mascots, followed by birds, domestic animals, and wild animals (so, SCHMOOZY FOX is still doing okay here!). Insects, aquatic creatures, vegetables and body parts (!) have much less popularity, although I would imagine that some friendly insects such as bees and lady birds are okay to use!

The main rule of thumb is that “Brand animal popularity is directly related to the species’ physiological and psychological distance from humankind.” (( ibid. )) The closer the species to the human kind, the easier it is for people to “process” a brand mascot.

In terms of animals, domestic and wild, it’s interesting to see that different countries might attribute different qualities to the same animal. So, study the character of your brand beast well before you go global!

burts_bees