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Mascot
Here it is shown how the leprechauns are first flayed and then pulped to be turned into the marshmallows. Off to the side are waist-high piles of abandoned little green hats that will be shipped back to Ireland under international treaty.
"Am I the only one who finds this a little bit creepy?" I ask aloud. Elayne ignores me.
"You can have your picture taken and put on a box of Wheaties," she says.
"That's insane," I say. "I can't masturbate to a picture of myself. Where are the Mary Lou Retton boxes?"

If you were looking for our lovable mascot, please see Trope-tan.

A character, animal or animate object (see Everything Talks) which theoretically represents all that is good and attractive about a product, and which may act as a spokesman for it. Sometimes it may be an anthropomorphized version of the product itself, or of some primary component in it.

Mascots were almost mandatory in the early days of advertising on radio and television, but are far less common today, probably because of the growing sophistication (or cynicism if you prefer) of the audience coupled with the perception that they are, really, rather silly. Outside of advertising aimed at children and/or breakfast foods, a Mascot in a modern commercial is as likely to be a subversion as not.

An exception would be Japan, where everything has a cute mascot nowadays. EVERYTHING.

See Series Mascot for when a character serves as the mascot for a fictional universe rather than a commercial product.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Clothes 
  • Buster Brown shoes had the early 20th century comic strip character Buster Brown and his dog Tige.
  • The four guys dressed as the fruit from the Fruit of the Loom logo.

    Electronics 
  • Apple's new "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" ads feature Justin Long and John Hodgman representing the two computers. Their effectiveness is questionable; viewers across OS lines have fallen in love with the idea (even to the point of Shipping the two characters), but among those who don't adore it the general consensus seems to be that the "Mac" character is vastly less appealing than his "out of date" rival. Not to mention that Mac is never invited to a LAN party...
    • It probably didn't help matters much that in real life, John Hodgman is actually a very friendly, charismatic man.
    • The Apple adverts in Britain featured David Mitchell and Robert Webb as the PC and the Mac respectively. They have been quite unpopular, and have raised questions about the duo's credibility. Not least because, like the US adverts, while Webb is the ostentatiously cool character, Mitchell generally comes across as the more down-to-earth and likeable (this is despite him often playing the role of an unapologetic quasi-intellectual). While hosting Have I Got News for You, Webb explained to Ian that he had played the smug unbearable one whose product you were meant to buy, while Mitchell had all the fun lines and he was meant to be despised. He described it as a 'confused campaign'.
  • Most video game companies use a character from one of their franchises as a mascot; Nintendo has Mario, SEGA has Sonic the Hedgehog, Capcom has Ryu, SNK has Terry Bogard, etc.
    • Before 1991, SNK had the now pretty much unknown G-Mantle.
    • In North America, the Playstation was originally going to have a mascot named Polygon Man who appeared in the marketing of the console, but Ken Kutaragi was disappointed with his design so he's absent in the final release and fell to obscurity. He returned unexpectedly in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale as the final boss in Arcade Mode.
    • In Japan, Sega actually had a second mascot specifically for the Saturn: Segata Sanshiro, a Bad Ass martial artist who would beat up people for not playing the Saturn. He eventually got his own video game, which was the last first-party game released for the Saturn.
      • Capcom and Sega's former mascots include Captain Commando and Alex Kidd, respectively. Mega Man used to be considered a mascot for Capcom due to being quite recognizable and appearing in almost all of their crossover games (but Ryu predates him by a few months), but he's been Out of Focus ever since Keiji Inafune left.
    • Atlus uses Jack Frost and his brothers from Shin Megami Tensei.
  • Fictional example: "Vault Boy", the wavy-haired boy in the vault-dweller jumpsuit who serves as the smiling figurehead for Vault-Tec in Fallout. Fans call him "Fallout Boy" (no relation to the band or The Simpsons), and he's come to serve as a mascot for the game series, as well.
    • Not to be confused (although he often have been, even the developers of Fallout Tactics made this mistake) with "Pip-Boy", who is the redheaded pixie in the yellow and orange spacesuit, visible on the logo of the Pipboy 2000.
  • The Companion Cube for Portal. Portal 2 uses Atlas and P-Body, the robots from the game's co-op mode.
    • Valve have also used other characters as mascots, with the Heavy Weapons Guy or the Soldier representing Team Fortress 2. The announcement for the Steam platform coming to the Mac used one of Portal's iPod-esque turrets to resemble the Mac and the Engineer's solidly mechanical turret from TF2 for the PC.
  • Representing the web browser Firefox, Mozilla has the icon with the fox with the flaming tail curled around a globe, and Mozilla Japan has Foxkeh. The Ridiculously Cute Critter doesn't come much cuter.
  • Pikachu, appearing in nearly every episode of the Pokémon anime, and appearing in every game of the Pokémon series. Pikachu recently also became Japan's Official Mascot for Brazil 2014 World Cup.
    • Let's take a survey: ask anyone of the street if 1. They play Pokemon & 2. If so, which is their favorite. If the answer to 1 is "yes", see how many answer "Pikachu" to #2. The results may surprise you.

     Food and Drink 
  • One of the most famous and longest-lived is Miss Chiquita Banana, for the United Fruit Company (Later United Brands, and now Chiquita Brands Intl.). Based loosely on Carmen Miranda, she dates back to 1945.
  • Morris the Cat for 9 Lives cat food.
  • Mrs. Butterworth, formerly a borderline racist Southern Mammy, is now always presented as an animated humanoid syrup bottle.
    • Parodied on Clone High with Racist Mammy Products.
  • Elsie the Cow for Borden (And Elmer the Bull, the mascot of Elmer's Glue, which is manufactured by a different part of the same conglomerate).
  • Charlie the Tuna for Starkist.
  • Possibly the earliest subverted mascot would be Big Fig for Nabisco's Fig Newton cookies in the 1970s.
  • Aunt Jemima, back in the early 20th century, was an African-American slave with a kerchief on her head. After the Black Rights movement in the 1960s, she was transformed into a middle-class African-American housewife.
    • But Uncle Ben, on the rice packages, still looks pretty much the way he did at the beginning. So does Rastus, the waiter on the Cream of Wheat box.
  • Colonel Sanders, for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Mind you, Harland Sanders was a real person, the founder of KFC (though he served in the military, having received the title from the state of Kentucky for his achievements as a restaurateur and kept it as a means of self-promotion), and at times attained quasi-heroic status in Kentucky. Opinions on his animated, wise-cracking, dancing doppleganger are mixed.
    • Pepsico commercials in the 1990s gave him a light saber and teamed him up with Wendy from Wendy's (armed with a blaster) and the Taco Bell chihuahua. When they found themselves surrounded by enemy combat droids, the chihuahua turned to Colonel Sanders and said, "You're a real colonel, right?"
  • Companies like General Mills and Kellogg's tend to have a mascot for each of their brands of breakfast cereals, some of whom spend their lives chasing a Cereal Vice Reward. A few examples:
    • The Trix Rabbit, who had to put up with almost 40 years of punk kids denying him Trix Cereal. "Silly Rabbit, Trix are for Kids"
      • Funny thing: The one time the rabbit actually tries to purchase trix legally, we get this.
      • Given their shape and color, it's a good thing the Rabbit wasn't the mascot for Cocoa Puffs....
    • Tony the Tiger for Frosted Flakes (Frosties in the UK). "They're Grrreat!"
    • Coco the Monkey for Cocoa Krispies (Has become an outreach of the Rice Krispies franchise, so its mascot(s) have become...)
    • Snap, Crackle, and Pop for Rice Krispies.
      • Though Coco still lives on in some countries like Japan, where he's the mascot for Coco's Chokowa (basically a cocoa version of Froot Loops), and the UK (where Cocoa Krispies are Coco Pops, despite a brief attempt to rename them Choco Krispies).
    • Lucky the Leprechaun, who desperately tries to keep his Lucky Charms out of the hands of his relentless pursuers.
    • Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, a recovering Cocoa Puffs addict who's always being tempted by cruel kids to give in to his addiction.
    • Toucan Sam for Froot Loops.
    • Buzzbee the Honey Nut Cheerios bee.
    • Cap'n Crunch for the cereal of the same name.
      • For a while, the various Cap'n Crunch cereals had their own mascots: Smedley the Elephant for Cap'n Crunch's Peanut Butter Cereal (now Peanut Butter Crunch), the Crunchberry Beast for Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries, Wilma the Winsome White Whale for Vanilly Crunch, and the pirate Jean LaFoote for Cinnamon Crunch.
    • Loopy the Bee for Honey Loops.
    • Officer Crumb, the Cookie Crook, and Chip for Cookie Crisp. Their shtick was that the Cookie Crook tried to steal the cereal, but his dog Chip for whatever reason was trained to howl "Coooooookie Crisp!" when he smelled the stuff, alerting Officer Crumb in the process. (Only Chip is still around, and he's changed from a dog into a wolf. Not sure if he even howls anymore.)
      • There was also Jarvis the Wizard who got replaced by Cookie Crook & Officer Crumb, and Jarvis even had one commercial alongside Cookie Crook so there is a linear progression from Jarvis to Cookie Crook & Officer Crumb to Chip the Dog to Chip the Wolf. That said Cookie Crisp seems to Brother Chuck their mascots on a regular basis.
    • Bob, Quienno, and Wendell for Cinnamon Toast Crunch (Only Wendell is still around).
    • The competitive Apple and Cinnamon Stick for Apple Jacks.
    • Fred and Barney from The Flintstones for Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles (Also, Snagglepuss was the Cocoa Krispies mascot at one time).
    • Sugar Bear for Super Sugar Crisp (now called Super Golden Crisp). At the end of The Seventies, sugar gained a reputation not unlike arsenic or Zyklon B, so the word "sugar" was dropped from the names of all major cereal brands in the United States (Sugar Frosted Flakes became Frosted Flakes, Sugar Smacks became Honey Smacks, Sugar Pops became Sugar Corn Pops and then Corn Pops, etc.). But what do you do when your mascot has "Sugar" for his first name? Why, you emphasize the "Super" in the cereal's name instead, by having him transform into Super Bear — a full sized grizzly bear with an angry expression and teeth and claws. Needless to say, this wasn't the best image to associate with a product aimed at young easily-frightened children, and Super Bear quickly regained Sugar Bear's teddy-bear-like face before being dropped entirely.
      • In the earliest years (and still is in Canada), the cereal was just called "Sugar Crisp". It got the "Super" added to its name when they added vitamin fortification.
    • And who can ever forget Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Fruit Brute et al. from their namesake cereals?
      • Fruit Brute was later replaced by Fruity Yummy Mummy, perhaps because General Mills thought a decaying Egyptian corpse coming to life to fulfill an ancient curse is less intimidating than a werewolf.
    • All of these characters have been given their own webcomic, Breakfast of the Gods. Be warned: it's pretty violent.
      • The knock-off brand Malt-o-Meal has the kangaroos Blue and Lil' Oaty.
    • The slightly terrifying Hunger used to be the mascot for Shreddies, on the basis that it "kept hunger locked up...till lunch". Nowadays they use a group of old ladies who are knitting the cereal.
  • Slightly creepily, Felix (cat) for Felix (cat food). Slogan: "Cats like Felix... like Felix."
  • The creepy, silent Burger King, who shows up in the most random places (like your bed) to give people BK food (Actually a subversion of an earlier version of the King, who was played straight as a cheerful kids' mascot a la Ronald McDonald). He talked, too.
  • Applebee's had a talking apple voiced by Wanda Sykes Hall. The character was discontinued after new owners took over.
  • Fast food chain Jack in the Box has Jack, a man with a clown-head who is both mascot and Kayfabe CEO of the company. Like the King, Jack is a subversion of an earlier mascot, a clown-head which stood atop the original Jack in the Box restaurant and which appeared on their drive-thru menus for many years. The ad campaign featuring Jack has run continuously since 1995, making it one of the longest-running in history.
  • Kool-Aid Man. Ooohhh yeeeeeaaaaaahh!
  • Round Table, a pizza place, has a knight in full-body armour, complete with pointy face-guard.
  • There was a brand of cat food called "Kattomeat" and they started advertising it with a white tomcat called "Arthur"...became such a good mascot that not many months later they had to rename the catfood "Arthur's".
  • Ronald McDonald has gone pretty much un-subverted to this day thanks to becoming part of the greater American pop-cultural landscape.
    • Save for a brief period in the mid '90s where he was depicted engaging in such activities as clubbing and playing golf as part of the ad campaign for the execrable "Arch Deluxe" burger (a "sandwich for 'adults'," as demonstrated by ads showing kids recoiling in disgust; surely the best way to convince someone to eat one).
    • In The Seventies, The Eighties, and part of The Nineties, McDonalds had a whole army of mascots in McDonaldland. There was Mayor McCheese, the Grimace (who, like Godzilla, started as a bad guy but quickly became a good guy), the Hamburglar, Big Mac (the cop who chased the Hamburglar down), the French Fry Goblins (who bear an eerie resemblance to the ghosts in Pac-Man, although the French Fry Goblins came earlier), an orange juice tree, Birdie the bird, and a host of other minor players.
    • They also had Mac Tonight in the late 80s, a cheesy moon-faced (literally) lounge singer character intended to promote the idea of eating dinner (as opposed to lunch) at McDonald's.
  • Weight Watchers has Hungry, an furry orange monster that constantly tempts you to eat junk food and thus ruin your diet.
  • Little Caesars.
  • The Chik-fil-A cows, exhorting people to "Eet Mor Chikin".
  • Captain Birdseye, face of Birdseye frozen foods.
  • Similarly, the Jolly Green Giant for Green Giant frozen and canned vegetables. Ho ho ho!
  • Quizno's submarine sandwich restaurant had horribly animated, screechy voiced rat thingies from the that sang about loving their subs, that they are toasted, and that they have a pepper bar.
    • They're sponge monkeys.
  • Twinkie the Kid for Hostess Twinkies (duh), before he was relegated to package duty only.
    • They also had Captain Cupcake for Hostess Cupcakes and Fruit Pie The Magician for Hostess Fruit Pies.
  • In Japan, Pepsi had an Iron Butt Monkey mascot in form of PEPSI-MAAAAAANNNN!!!!
  • Milky Bar had The Milky Bar Kid, who was actually played by a number of children over the years. "The Milky Bars are on me!"
  • The M&M's Spokescandies. Oddly enough, since 1999 there were only five of them (Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, and Orange) when the standard color mix includes six (with brown being the sixth color). They have finally rectified this in 2012, so the spokescandies finally match up with the color mix.
    • Though this happened because each of the five was one of the M&M's types (Red is milk chocolate, Yellow is peanut, Blue is almond, Green is peanut butter, and Orange is crispy and pretzel)... meaning Brown is only there to complete the set.
  • The California Raisins.

     Household Products 
  • Mister Clean for the cleaner of the same name. Bonus points if you can identify the piece of jewelry he wears and where on his body: The answer he wears an earring on his left ear.
  • The Energizer Bunny, and his cousin in the UK, who works for Duracell.
  • The Scrubbing Bubbles, for Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner (originally named Dow Bathroom Cleaner).
  • Probably before anyone's time here, Alka-Seltzer was represented by a walking, talking antacid (in black and white, no less) named "Speedy Alka-Seltzer." (The voice was reminiscent of Beany in the Beany and Cecil cartoons from the 1940s & 1950s.) An author on the subject of commercials, in a book called "Down the Tube" noted that Speedy was so gay, that the new ad company who got rid of him did it so fast it must have been because he was caught soliciting a cop in a bus station mens' room.
    • The voice of Speedy Alka-Seltzer was Dick Beals, a little person who dubbed kids voices and worked in voice-overs in cartoons.
    • They have recently (very recently) brought him back, this time played by Debi Derryberry from Zatch Bell! and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
  • Michelin tires are hawked by Bibendum, a strange white bulbous fellow who looks like a cross between the Mummy and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
    • In the original ads, crank down the cute and crank up the creepy to at least eleven. Also, bibendum is Latin for "drink". "Strange" is putting it mildly.
      • It's an extended metaphor: The idea was that Michelin's tires could "drink in" road hazards such as broken glass and pieces of metal without harm.
      • Also, the company publishes a line of restaurant guides for travelers: http://www.michelintravel.com/michelin-guides/
  • The Pink Panther has been one of these for Owens Corning fiberglass insulation for many years.

     Insurance Companies 
  • GEICO has four mascots:
    • Their British-accented gecko, who began with commercials stressing the difference pronunciations of "GEICO" and "gecko."
    • A bunch of pissed off Neanderthals who didn't like the slogan, "So easy, a caveman can do it!" The writers of the ads attempted to create a sitcom from those Neanderthals. Thankfully, it bombed. Especially thankful is Geico, which could not run ads with the characters during the series' run.
    • Kash, the pile of money with googly eyes and his own theme song has also been slowly adapted into a third(!) mascot for Geico.
    • The "stupid questions" man, who opened every commercial with, "Does switching to GEICO save you 15% or more on car insurance? Does the question inserted here have an obvious answer?" One of his ads even references the still-pissed-off Neanderthals.
  • The duck that quacks, "AFLAC!"
  • Flo the checkout girl in the Progressive Insurance commercials.
  • Erin Esurance, a pink-haired Action Girl in a Spy Catsuit, who hawked Esurance. Now retired due to becoming a magnet for cheesecake pictures and fanporn. Also made a guest appearance on Who Wants to Be a Superhero?!
  • Churchill, the little nodding dog mascot of Churchill Insurance. All together now: "OH YES!!"
  • The General, for The General Car Insurance.
  • Eastwood Insurance had a gunslinger mascot imitating Clint Eastwood.
  • Alexander Orlov, spokesmeerkat for Compare The Market dot com. From this original spot, a vast merchandising empire was spawned...

    Media 

    Music 

    Pinball 

    Sports 
  • The San Diego Chicken was originally a mascot for a local radio station. He single handedly created the profession of sports mascots. He is now the patron saint of all sports mascots.
    • The Army mule and the Navy goat. These sports mascots date back at least 100 years, and other college teams had mascots as well, such as the Yale bulldog and "Bucky Badger".
    • Pro teams with mascots, however, were more or less unheard of until the Famous Chicken (as he's now known, presumably because he's no longer tied to San Diego and has become a freelance mascot...I think he appeared in a Gymboree tape I had as a toddler) came about.
  • Several colleges use live animals as mascots in addition to the fake ones:
    • Uga the bulldog at U of Georgia.
    • Tusk the pig at U of Arkansas.
    • Bevo the Texas longhorn at U of Texas.
    • Smokey the coonhound at U of Tennessee.
    • Jack the Bulldog at Georgetown U.
    • Peruna the pony at SMU.
    • Lions Leo and Una at U of North Alabama.
  • The University of Oregon managed to work a deal with Disney to use Donald Duck as their mascot.
  • Major League Baseball has a bunch of mascots but the most famous are The Phillie Phanatic, Wally the Green Monster (Red Sox), Mariner Moose, the Racing Sausages (Milwaukee), the Racing Presidents (Washington), Mr. Met, Billy the Marlin, and the Pirate Parrot. And then there was also once Youppi! the Expos mascot who is now currently a mascot for the Canadiens.
  • Gainer the gopher, the riders mascot!
  • Scottish association football has a few. Most of them are ignored except Broxi Bear for Glasgow Rangers and Hoopy the Huddle Hound for Celtic.
  • High school football in Texas -where it is a major religion- gives us mascots such as the Hamlin Pied Pipers (yes, as in the German folk tale) and the Winters Blizzards.
  • Small Midwestern college Missouri Western State University had, in the late 80s, a mascot that strongly resembled a golden aardvark. It was supposed to be a Griffon (the actual name of the sports teams), but the school had recently changed their logo and the mascot was intended to suggest the new, inferior-in-every-possible-way version.
  • Not only do most English football league clubs have a mascot, but they've taken mascot racing to amazing lengths - there's not only an official FA Cup Mascot Race, but also an even bigger Mascot Grand National - these aren't half-time entertainment at football matches, but special events held at racecourses.
  • The World Cup and the Olympic Games have pretty much always had mascots.

    Other 
  • Honda has Mr. Opportunity (voiced by Rob Paulsen) for their yearly Clearance.
  • The Pep Boys, Manny, Moe and Jack, for the automotive parts retailer of the same name (including the character names).
  • The Car Fox, a puppet used in CarFax.com commercials, is something of a Heel-Face Turn example: it first appeared as a deceptive knock-off competitor of CarFax, but was cute and popular enough that it now promotes their used-car-information service directly.

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