10 Most Recognizable Business Mascots

Monday, January 16, 2012 at 4:28am by Site Administrator

Used to be that a mascot for a business, be it a cartoon character, member of the animal kingdom, or human stand-in, existed only in two-dimensional form on signage and print advertising. These days, with more outlets for advertising than ever before, advertising mascots appear on Facebook pages, tweet on Twitter, and even star in their own sitcoms. Some mascots are so entertaining on their own, you might not know or care about the product they’re trying to sell. Here are 10 of today’s the most recognizable business mascots, mascots designed to brand a service as opposed to a product such as breakfast cereal or pancake syrup.

  1. The GEICO Gecko

    Most recently voiced with a Cockney London accent by actor Jake Wood, this charming and earnest reptile maintains his own blog, sharing updates and photos from his travels around the world.

  2. The GEICO Cavemen

    The joke just doesn’t get old. Articulate quasi-metrosexual Neanderthals repeatedly find themselves the butt of GEICO’s "So easy, a caveman could do it…" tag line. (Honorary mascot mention: Kash aka the stack of cash with googly eyes identified as the money a person saves when using GEICO. Kash’s recurring music cue is also a hoot.)

  3. The AFLAC Duck

    The ad agency responsible for this mascot credits the ducks in the ponds of New York’s Central Park for demonstrating how much "AFLAC" sounds like a quack. That team of creative ducks received payment for their help in the form of several loaves of white bread. Gilbert Gottfried voiced the character for more than a decade, but he was fired in spring 2011 when he made jokes about the recent tsunami and earthquake that company officials deemed "lacking in humor."

  4. The AOL Running Man

    Back in 2009, AOL tried its best to replace the Running Man with a variety of new branding images, including a goldfish, all of which seem to be gone now in 2012. That little yellow guy is still their best icon.

  5. Juan Valdez

    Created in 1959 by a New York ad agency, this fictional character, wearing the traditional dress of an arriero, or mule driver, is directly inspired by Colombia’s real-life coffee farmers. In addition to being the brand symbol for the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, Juan Valdez is a national folk hero, representing the very real demographic of rural coffee farmers that help make Colombia the world’s third-largest producer of coffee.

  6. The Twitter Blue Bird

    Perhaps it’s not surprising given the nature of the Internet, crowd-sourcing, and out-of-date copyright laws, that Twitter paid the designer less than $6 for this now ubiquitous image of a blue bird. That’s just a couple bucks less than what the designer of the Nike swoosh received.

  7. Mayhem

    If fate is a hunter, than Allstate’s Mayhem is looking to mount your head on his wall. He is one of the most frightening and funny mascots in current advertising culture, and very much a product of our uncertain times.

  8. Flo the Progressive Girl

    In television commercial after television commercial, the incessantly bubbly and, well, kinda sexy Flo the Progressive Girl for all of her oddball quirkiness, somehow delivers a consistent message regarding credibility and customer service. And her 2.4 million fans on Facebook can’t all be stalkers, right?

  9. Reddy Kilowatt

    Those of you born later than 1930 may have no idea who this freaky character is. The lightning bolt limbed Reddy was once the super-charged mascot of more than 200 electric power companies promoting electricity as a safe utility for homes and businesses.

  10. William Shatner

    There are no second acts in American lives. Unless your name is William Shatner, who has experienced at least four or five. In addition to starring in two different hit television shows after playing the iconic Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series, Shatner has enjoyed a lucrative career as less of a spokesman and more of a mascot — albeit a very butch, post-modern, self-aware mascot — for a variety of companies, including DirectTV, Smith & Hassler Attorneys at Law, and perhaps most famously, Priceline.com.

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