- In order to stand out, today’s brand mascots use sex appeal to stay engaging and memorable.
- A recent survey from marketing company Crestline found the sexiest brand mascots of all time. The winner was Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.
- According to Allen Adamson, professor of marketing at NYU, creating a sexier Mr. Clean makes him more human, more relatable, and therefore, more marketable.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Today’s mascots need to do a lot for their brands – and experts say nothing helps them stay engaging and memorable more than sex appeal.
A recent survey from marketing company Crestline asked Americans what they thought was the sexiest brand mascots of all time. The survey was conducted online, with over 1,600 participants who were asked to rate mascots on a scale of 1 to 10 for attractiveness. Some of the top mascots included the Brawny Man, Erin from Esurance, and Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.
“Cute doesn’t cut it,” Allen Adamson, adjunct professor of marketing at NYU Stern and cofounder of marketing company Metaforce, told Business Insider. “The challenge is when you create an icon that you burn into someone’s head, whether it’s the Laughing Cow or the Trix Rabbit, then the trick is, how do you have it do more?”
Mascots had their heyday back in the 1960s, says Adamson. Back then, brand mascots were just a way to remember a brand. But Americans have changed since then, so mascots and jingles are no longer enough to get their attention.
According to Adamson, modern-day brands “have to work harder than just saying, ‘Hey, remember me?’ but ‘Hey, I’ve got something to tell you, and you should listen.'” One way to get consumers’ attention, he says, is through sex appeal.
Apart from memorability, today’s mascots need to be relatable, says Adamson. “Once you make them more human, they become more engaging, and having some sex appeal becomes an important part of making something more engaging,” he said.
Here are the 10 brand mascots that online users have labelled the “sexiest”:
The Man Your Man Could Smell Like: 6.24
Brand: Old Spice
Year introduced: 2010
To advertise Old Spice body wash, actor Isaiah Mustafa portrayed The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. The campaign took off during Super Bowl weekend, and by July 2010, six months after the ad debuted, sales for Old Spice’s body wash had doubled.
Brawny Man: 5.99
Year introduced: 1974
The Brawny Man has gone through a handful of makeovers in the last 40 years, including the removal of both his ax and mustache. In March 2017, the Brawny Man was temporarily shelved to make way for an ad campaign featuring women in his characteristic red plaid shirt, along with the hashtag #StrengthHasNoGender.
The Most Interesting Man in the World: 5.74
Brand: Dos Equis
Year introduced: 2006
“Stay thirsty, my friends.” With those words at the end of every Dos Equis commercial, The Most Interesting Man in the World became nationally known. He caught marlin, drank beer with beautiful women, and gave his own father “the talk” in an ad campaign that ran from 2006 to 2018. And as it turns out, the man behind the myth, actor Jonathan Goldsmith, is every bit as interesting as his TV role.
Captain Morgan: 5.21
Brand: Captain Morgan
Year introduced: Unlike the other mascots on this list, Captain Morgan was real. Sir Henry Morgan was a 17th-century Welsh pirate who plundered Spanish ships in the Caribbean. Although the rum company bears his name, there’s no direct connection.
Mr. Clean: 5.09
Brand: Mr. Clean
Year introduced: 1958
Mr. Clean was initially created as a sort of clean-freak genie in the late 1950s, according to Adweek.
In 2013, Mr. Clean posted an origin story – in the form of a short film – on YouTube.
“I’m super proud of this film about my history and the Mr. Clean brand,” Mr. Clean wrote in the post’s description. “It was too legendary to put on TV. It’s also the only biopic you’ll ever watch that doesn’t have a lot of crying in it.”
Despite having a wholesome image for the last six decades, Clean got a sudden dose of sexiness for a 2017 Super Bowl TV ad.
Year introduced: 2010
Mayhem, the embodiment of all that can go wrong without a good insurance company, was originally inspired by a character called Mr. White in Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 film “Reservoir Dogs.” Mr. White, played by Harvey Keitel, causes trouble while wearing a black suit. Mayhem, played by Dean Winters, does the same.
Miss Chiquita: 4.83
Year introduced: 1944
Miss Chiquita, the mascot for the Chiquita banana company,was once herself a banana. But, in 1987, she was transformed into a human by Oscar Grillo, the same cartoonist who drew the Pink Panther.
St. Pauli Girl: 4.73
Brand: St. Pauli Girl
Year introduced: N/A
St. Pauli Girl, as suggested by its mascot’s outfit, hails from Germany. The original brewery was built on the site of St. Paul’s Monastery in the 17th century in Bremen, Germany. Today, St. Pauli Girl is better known for its supermodel spokeswomen – which include a handful of Playboy models – than its beer.
Erin Esurance: 4.71
Year introduced: 2004
Erin from Esurance was a popular cartoon secret agent who happened to sell insurance on the side. As the Crestline survey notes, Erin was pulled from Esurance ads in 2010 due to her growing reputation online in X-rated cartoons.
Chicken of the Sea Mermaid: 4.70
Brand: Chicken of the Sea
Year introduced: 1952
In over 60 years, the Chicken of the Sea Mermaid has hardly changed – except that instead of remaining a hand-drawn cartoon in commercials, she’s all CGI now.