Top 20 Most Famous Company Mascots of All Time
Mascots are friendly characters that represent a company. Their job is to promote the company brand. When a mascot is introduced, a new product, or the company itself, they often become the face of the company for that period.
Who are some of the most famous company mascots of all time? In today's world, where corporate sponsorships and branding play a massive part in companies marketing efforts, you must develop a relationship with your customers.
As a business owner, you already understand that brand awareness is a huge factor in increasing your customer base. Read on if you want to know about one of the most critical aspects of your company's marketing plan.
The most famous company mascots have made their mark on our society. They are some of the most well-known figures in the world, and they are the face of some of the most influential brands. Some are household names; others are legendary.
From a child's favourite character to a beloved community icon, here are the 20 most famous mascots.
1 – Mickey Mouse
The Walt Disney Company was first established in 1923. Mickey Mouse was introduced in 1928 and became a hit with audiences worldwide. Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse, decided that the character should continue appearing in movies. The Walt Disney Company went on to establish an animation studio and produce animated films.
In 1935, the Walt Disney Company sold the rights to Mickey Mouse and other characters to Universal Pictures for $100,000. At that time, the company also acquired the rights to Felix the Cat, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and other characters.
Universal Pictures released its first Mickey Mouse film in 1937. In 1940, Universal Pictures received permission to release more films with Mickey Mouse and continues to produce Mickey Mouse-related media.
2 – Ronald McDonald
Ronald McDonald looks very similar to how he looked when he first appeared on television in the 1960s. However, his hair has been changed multiple times, and he's aged and changed his hairstyle more than once.
In the 1960s, McDonald's was working to promote the brand and create a positive image for the company. The character was intended to be friendly and helpful, not frightening or scary like the Grim Reaper.
When McDonald's first introduced Ronald to the public, Ronald's first appearance was on a television program called “Happy Days.” Ronald made his first appearance on the TV show in 1964.
The show was broadcasted on ABC, the American Broadcasting Company, from September 18, 1962, to June 23, 1971. The show's original title was “Garden Variety, Happy Days,” until it became a hit.
After Ronald's debut on the show, the McDonald's Corporation made Ronald a household name, even outside the United States. Ronald appeared on the covers of magazines and newspapers around the world. He appeared on the stamps of many countries and is often featured on posters and advertisements.
3 – Michelin Man
He's the mascot of the Michelin Tire Company, a French company that gives out awards for tires. In the early 1900s, it was common practice for companies to give out awards, using mascots to advertise them.
Michelin Man is based on the French industrialist and tiremaker Émile Gaston Dieudonné Michelin, who founded the company in 1833. In 1897, he adopted the image of a “human mountain” with a crown. They designed the image to reflect his high status and the idea of royalty. Since then, he has been the official mascot of the company.
4 – Mr Peanut
Mr Peanut was born in 1928 as a cartoon character created by a group of artists in California named the McClure Syndicate. He was first called “Nutripan”, then “Peanuts”, then “Oodles of Nuts”, and finally, “Mr Peanut.”
It was in 1950 that they chose the name Mr Peanut for the mascot. The original design was a blue and white mascot with a red nose, but they made the current design after Mr Peanut began receiving fan mail.
Dick Powell initially voiced Mr Peanut, and his voice is still recognisable to many today and was the same voice used by actor Mel Blanc until 1965. Today, the voice is shared by actors Frank Welker, Paul Frees, and Charlie Adler.
5 – Colonel Sanders
Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, was born Harland David Sanders in Henryville, Indiana. As a young man, he worked at a restaurant in Kentucky, where he developed a fried chicken recipe that became a staple at the eatery.
He then sold his recipe for $1,000, which he used to travel to Chicago, where he founded a franchise restaurant called Colonel Sanders' Kentucky Fried Chicken. He died at 90 in 1980, after years of poor health.
The Colonel is often depicted as white with a moustache and a bow tie, although his actual appearance may have been different. A bronze statue of him stands in the front yard of the KFC headquarters.
6 – Geico Gecko
Geico gecko is well-loved by Geico customers. The company mascot has been named one of the top 25 mascots in the world. The Geico gecko is one of the most popular mascots in the world and one of the most recognisable mascots.
The Geico gecko is also one of the most unusual mascots for those who don't know. According to the Geico gecko, the company mascot is a reptile. However, he's often mistaken for a librarian. This explains why the Geico gecko can get away with all sorts of shenanigans.
7 – Jolly Green Giant
The Jolly Green Giant is the name of a fictional character created in 1953 by Louisville advertising agency The Martin-Marietta Company. The character was initially named the “Lone Green Vegetable.” When the company introduced the jolly mascot, it gave the Green Giant his new name.
In the first advertisements for the mascot, he was dressed in a green and yellow striped suit, sporting a green felt hat and a red nose. His catchphrase was, “Be sure and try the new Lone Green Vegetable!”
In 1955, the Green Giant began appearing in national advertising. At the time, the company was working to create a new image, so the Green Giant's catchphrase was changed to “Try the new Lone Green Vegetable — it's Good.”
When the company's owner, Paul Deenen, died in 1968, the Green Giant lost his personality and became a faceless corporate symbol. The Green Giant had previously been featured on the front page of the Louisville Courier-Journal in its “Adventures in Advertising” series.
Today, the Green Giant's personality lives on through the mascot costumes and the Green Giant-themed toys sold by the company. The company has created hundreds of products for the Green Giant, including children's books, games, puzzles, and plush toys.
8 – Rich Uncle Pennybags
The story of Rich Uncle Pennybags is related to the story of the original Monopoly game and why a fictional character was used instead of an actual person.
The story behind Mr Monopoly goes back to when Parker Brothers created the game in 1935. In the late 1920s, you played the game with a “Rich Uncle” character portrayed by William Hickey, an actor in the early silent films. The character wasn't based on anyone, but he was popular with the game's fans.
When Parker Brothers changed the rules to make it a winner-take-all game in 1935, the Monopoly company wanted a character that reflected this change.
Mr Monopoly was born and became the new face of the company. For decades, he's been the face of the Monopoly brand, and he's been a pop culture icon for decades.
Rich Uncle Pennybags has become iconic, and the Monopoly company couldn't be more thankful.
9 – Tony the Tiger
He's a cartoon tiger. He's been the mascot of the Kellogg Company since he debuted in 1930. He's been featured in advertisements for nearly 80 years. And he even made his debut in comic strips in the late 1920s before appearing in animated short films.
It's still being determined precisely when he became associated with the company's Frosted Flakes cereal, but that was well before they became famous. It's more likely that the association came later when the company started using him in advertisements.
George Baker, a commercial artist, created Tony the Tiger. He was inspired by a photo of a tiger cub that he saw while travelling through India. He wanted to draw a more sophisticated version of the cub, which he did by combining a Bengal tiger with the features of a tabby cat.
Baker named the drawing “Tony” and gave it to a friend, who suggested changing the name to “Tiger.”
The original sketch was found among Baker's artwork, sold at auction in 2016.
10 – Kool-Aid Man
The Kool-Aid Man is the primary marketing mascot for the beverage brand. He is depicted as a 6′ tall pitcher of Kool-Aid with a smiley face. In commercials, he is usually shown shouting the catchphrase, “Oh yeah!”.
The Kool-Aid Man is a fictional character that originated in the 1980s, and Mark Waldron created him. He is a red-clad humanoid with a large head that appears full of brightly coloured fluid, which can be seen through the head and comes out of the eyes and mouth.
He is the mascot of the company which makes the product he is supposed to represent. He is the only character that remains a company trademark, even though a CGI-generated depiction of the original Kool-Aid Man has replaced the character.
11 – Mr Clean
Mr Clean was first introduced to the public by his creators, the Johnson & Johnson Company, in 1981. The late artist George Tully, a former advertising executive, created his face.
Mr Clean was originally just a cartoon character until a young boy named Robert J. Ruppel got a job as an animator at the “Mr Magoo” studio. Ruppel was asked to animate Mr Clean. Ruppel had never seen the original drawing of Mr Clean, but he sketched out a cartoon that would later be used as the basis for the real Mr Clean.
In 1985, Ruppel was asked to bring Mr Clean to life in a television commercial. Ruppel agreed and voiced the character himself.
They aired Mr Clean's commercials worldwide, and he's appeared for various products, including Tide, Coca-Cola, and McDonald's.
12 – Coco the Monkey
First introduced as the CocoPops mascot in the 1960s, he had a raspy voice in a commercial from 1969. Coco didn't make another appearance on television until 1980 when he looked much more realistic without any clothes and was seen swinging on a vine.
They used this ad for six years with different lyrics in the song. Until 1986, when they first showed the modern Coco on television. He is shown swinging on vines through the jungle.
They used Coco in more animated ads throughout the 80s, where he met Shorty: a giraffe, Ozmelda: an ostrich and Alan: an anteater and Crafty Croc.
13 – The Pillsbury Doughboy
The Pillsbury Doughboy was created by the creative director at Leo Burnett, Rudolph Perz. He was prepping the dough for the Crescent Rolls and decided to punch a hole in the canister near the edge of the table. This became the iconic Pillsbury Doughboy.
Poppin' Fresh may be the iconic advertising icon that has graced Thanksgiving Day parades for decades. However, the company has yet to announce whether Poppin' Fresh will retire.
The private equity firm Brynwood Partners has owned the company since 2005. The company operates in the snack foods industry. It manufactures popcorn, tortilla chips and pretzels and sells them at retail outlets and through distributors to grocery stores.
14 – The Energizer Bunny
This bunny is the mascot for the battery company, Energizer. He's a friendly, energetic creature who loves running around and jumping. He's the inspiration for the company's famous slogan: “It just runs and runs and runs.”
The Energizer Bunny made his television debut in a 1949 commercial for Energizer batteries. His image has been used for over 75 years on everything from shirts and toys to cereal boxes and toothpaste containers. The first Energizer Bunny, the one in the first television commercial, still appears in television ads.
15 – Snap, Crackle, and Pop
The classic “Snap, Crackle, and Pop” Rice Krispies commercials have been around for a long time, and they've become one of the most recognisable brands in the world. It's rare for a slogan to stay the same with time, but “Snap, Crackle, and Pop” is still very popular among cereal manufacturers.
Plenty of other animals have served as mascots in commercials, but the Rice Krispies elves have become the most famous.
Despite the changes to elf attire, today's Elves show little changes to their costumes. These changes have been in place for generations, which gives them a practical design to keep children interested.
16 – Julius Pringles
The early history of Pringles is a bit foggy, but there are some key players in the story. The first key contributor is science fiction writer Gene Wolfe, who invented the can that makes Pringles.
Another key player was Fred Baur, who developed the can after trying to find a way to store chips so they wouldn't break. And Alexander Liepa, from Montgomery, Ohio, helped bring the flavour to the crisps and is the person who gets credit for the invention.
While we don't know who came up with Julius Pringle, the people behind the product could have been the inspiration for some of its creators.
When Julius Pringle was born, he was known to have a heavy black moustache, and black hair parted down the middle. The Pringles logo appears inside his bowtie. The business altered the design of the logo to remove the red eyes and tweak the smile in 1979.
A few years later, in 1986, the business removed the apostrophe from “Pringles,” altering the eyes' design and removing the rosy cheeks that the young man wore.
You likely recognise the 2000s logo the best. You can see they dropped the “Pringles” logo from the bowtie, and he was given a more stylish red one and floppy brown hair that finally sits on top of his round head instead of in it. If you look closely, you can even see the “i” is dotted with a chip in the newer logo.
17 – Mario
Mario is an iconic character for the Nintendo company. He is a plumber who lives in the Mushroom Kingdom. He first appeared in Donkey Kong (1981) under Jumpman. They changed Jumpman's name to Mario with the release of Donkey Kong Jr. (1982) in the arcade. Mario is an easily recognisable character in video game history. He is often called “the king of all video games.”
The red plumber has a whole franchise dedicated to him.
18 – Captain Morgan
Captain Morgan is a fictional character, and the historical accuracy of his character is only based loosely on the real-life privateer, Henry Morgan. However, Captain Morgan does share many similarities with the historical figure. Both men were born in Wales, raised in poverty, and became pirates.
Morgan became a privateer defending Britain's interests and rocked the Caribbean. Morgan left Wales in 1654 and rose to fame as a pirate, defending British interests and rocking the Caribbean.
Captain Morgan's first advertising campaign featured a man in his early 20s dressed in a uniform reminiscent of the 19th-century British navy. The ads were successful enough that the company introduced a second character, a female, to help sell the rum.
Over time, the company shifted its focus to the idea of a rumbustious pirate who would sell the rum and then go on a voyage of plunder. The pirate was a larger, more muscular, and more fashionable version of the first character, and he became the face of the brand.
19 – Chester Cheetah
The Chester Cheetah first came to the general public's attention in the 1980s when the DDB Needham Worldwide advertising agency created a series of TV commercials for Cheetos.
Chester was created by the ad agency hired by Frito-Lay, the producer of Cheetos, to develop a fresh, new brand mascot.
Chester was an instant hit and has become closely associated with the snack. Over the years, Chester has become responsible for introducing several catchphrases into the language.
20 – Mr Muscle
Mr Muscle is a tough, muscular guy who can clean up a messy room within minutes. The S.C. Johnson Company created him; most people remember him for his fantastic cleaning abilities. They call him a superhero because he does all the work, and the consumer watches.
With the help of a powerful weapon (detergent), Mr Muscle's team managed to clean up any mess in the house. And with this strategy, the brand has achieved the greatest of all successes. No one remembers Mr Muscle when he comes to cleaning a house anymore.
The brand is known to have the best detergents. People love to buy products that are created with the best technology and the best ingredients. They're also known to be the fastest in the market. And they have the best prices.
Are Company Mascots Necessary?
It's difficult to say whether company mascots are necessary. While they bring much joy to work, many companies have tried to cut them down and found they generate little interest or revenue. The truth is that most people enjoy a friendly face, whether they're a mascot or a friendly colleague.
However, the presence of a mascot does add some value to a company's culture. Some research indicates that mascots enhance a company's image, while others point to the importance of a mascot in building positive feelings and relationships among coworkers.
Mascots aren't just for children's cartoons and sports teams. Companies, large and small, use mascots to connect with customers and employees. Companies with mascots often promote their goodwill by donating to charities, sponsoring events, or providing charitable donations through a mascot's name.
There's no doubt that a mascot helps to build positive employee relations and customer satisfaction. But it isn't necessary. Some companies have tried to cut down on the number of mascots and still maintain a positive corporate identity.
It's hard to believe that mascots have been around for over 100 years.
We all know how vital mascots are to a company. They represent their brand and its values. They create a positive impression of the company in the minds of its customers.
A mascot is a great way to generate excitement, bring in new fans, and encourage repeat business.
There are many other factors to consider when choosing a mascot. A good mascot should be able to embody the personality of a company. It should be memorable and relatable. It should also be fun.
So, in conclusion, mascots are an essential part of your brand identity. And it's just as important to choose a good one as it is to choose a great one.
Want to learn more about company mascots? Check out this article about how mascots can help your brand!