Topic: Incorporating Vernacular Element into Mascot Design
What is mascot? Mascot can be defined as an animal, person, or thing adopted by a group as its representative symbol and supposed to bring luck (Collins English Dictionary, 2009). The origin of the mascots dates back to ancient times, based on the belief of indigenous people that mascot would bring good luck. They believed dress up in the likeness of animal will incite goodwill from them and this would help with successful hunts and bountiful harvest. (Figure1&2)
Figure 1 & 2: Indigenous Mayan groups would dress up in masks or animal like figures for the traditional dance like “Toritos” (the little Bulls) and “El Venado” (the deer). They dance in the “mascot” like costume for purpose of fertility, yield a good harvest or scare away evil spirits.
As the time goes on, there was a gradual evolution of the mascot, from the traditional animal-like mascot slowly developed into more typical cartoon form. Instead of enact a mythical story into particular mascot, using of cartoon character in mascot can be more memorable and captured the attention of the new generation. It is increasing familiar to people by using cartoon character in mascot as the cartoon character integrated into our daily product likes comics, movie and so on. (Figure 3&4)
Figure 3 & 4: Cartoon characters are all around us, appeared from comics to movies, it increasing popular and acceptance around the world.
It was successful that coalesce cartoon character into mascot, consequently, it become a powerful and versatile marketing tool for various brand companies. Many companies using mascot as part of a marketing strategy to distinguish the brand from others competitive companies by creating brand awareness for building up a relationship to the consumer. Brand awareness involved brand recognition and in the sense of ‘getting to know you’ phase (Temporal, 2000). A mascot can help branding and leaving a lasting impression in the minds of consumers, as we know nowadays, consumers are buy “the brand” instead of the product, consumer will not buy anything which they are not familiar with.
As (Kapferer, 1995) claimed, ‘Having an identity means being who you are, following your own, determined, but individual path’. Therefore, creating a mascot with personalities can enhance the brand identity and create a powerful impact. For example, M&M’s brand creates a distinct personalities or character for each M&M’s color (Figure 5). Furthermore, besides the brand communication, it also managed to reinforce the brand identity by tagged character with names that indicate gender and/or certain attributes (Figure 6).
Figure 5: The M&M’s characters have caught the public imagination to such an extent that the personality traits of outspoken Red, feisty Green, naive Yellow and confident Blue are clearly identified,