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Brand Mascots: The Caskets of Brand Values?

ET Cases, 15 pages
AUTHOR(S) : Vijay Kumar Tangirala and Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary

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Brand Mascots: The Caskets of Brand Values?


“A well-crafted mascot can give your business a tangible and recognizable personality, increasing exposure, memorability and loyalty…if they (mascots) capture the hearts of the public, can become an iconic part of your company heritage.”1

– The Energy Cell2

Have mascots ever attracted your attention? Do they not resonate with you? Have they influenced your buying decisions? While critics argue that mascots are simple mnemonical exercises, a few marketing gurus bat for their consumer connect power. Over the years, Maharaja, Air India’s3 mascot, effectively communicated to its passengers that they could look forward to a royal treatment onboard. For around 50 years, Amul4 and its brand, Amul Butter, have enjoyed significant brand recall on account of its mascot a polka dot-dressed girl. The mascot’s popularity emanated from its humorous oneliner takes on current issues that caught the attention of the citizens of the country. Since the creation of its mascot, Gattu, in 1954, Asian Paints5 was inextricably linked with it. Gattu, a boy in shorts, that had endowed upon the brand a down-to-earth image was however phased out in 2002 as the company wanted for itself a more premium image. During early 1980s, a devil was introduced as a mascot for the Onida6 brand of television, along with the tagline ‘neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride’. According to observers, the mascot and the tagline were an important reason for the rise in sales that ensued as they effectively communicated the message that owning an Onida television would be envied by one’s neighbors. However, in 2009 the mascot and the tagline were phased out as they were no longer in sync with the changing times................


Exhibit I: The Fourth Estate Singing Paeans for Child Mascots

Exhibit II: Air India's Maharaja

Exhibit III: Air India’s Inflight Magazine Featuring the Maharaja

Exhibit IV: Some of the Ads Featuring the Amul Girl

Exhibit V: Asian Paints's Mascot/Logos Over a Period of Time

Exhibit VI: Onida's Devil

Exhibit VII: Vodafone Ads Featuring Zoozoos

Exhibit VIII: McDonald's Ronald McDonald

Exhibit IX: Tony the Tiger

1 “Mascots in Marketing: Is a Mascot Right for Your Business?”,, October 22nd 2013
2 The Energy Cell is a marketing and brand consulting enterprise located in Lincoln, UK
3 Air India is an airline carrier owned by Air India Limited which is owned by the Indian government. It flies to various domestic as well as international locations.
4 Amul or AMUL, in popular parlance, refers to the dairy cooperatives started in 1946 by Dr .Verghese Kurien. As of June 2014, there were over 17,000 village milk cooperative societies forming a part of this set-up. The dairy products processed with the milk procured from these societies are primarily sold under the brand name Amul.
5 Asian Paints is India’s largest paint company, started in 1942.
6 The Onida brand is owned by Mirc Electronics. Onida brand had its


Teaching Note Preview

Brand Mascots: The Caskets of Brand Values?


Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding

This case study presupposes an understanding of the concept of brand positioning. This would enable an effective discussion leading to practical solutions. The participants were asked to read the following chapter from 14th edition of Marketing Management textbook to help them better connect the concepts:

  • • Philip Kotler, et al., “Chapter 9: “Crafting the Brand Positioning”, Marketing Management, 14th Edition, Pearson Education, Inc., 2013 – To understand the concepts of points-of-parity and points-of-difference and emotional branding
  • • Jennifer L. Aaker, “Dimensions of Brand Personality”, Journal of Marketing Research, Volume XXXIV, August 1997, pages 347-356 – To understand how five dimensions would influence a brand personality



This case study enables a discussion on how mascots help in brand positioning and what goes into sustaining good mascots. Mascots such as Amul Butter, Air India and McDonald’s have succeeded in creating immediate recall for their respective brands, playing an important role in the popularity of these brands.

Mascots primarily create an emotional bonding between brands and their consumers. They also help in conveying the key attributes or the value proposition of brands. Some of the Indian brands that continue to derive considerable mileage from their mascots are Amul Butter and Air India. Amul Butter managed to maintain and increase the popularity of its mascot, the girl, by frequently coming up with ads featuring it and that put the spotlight on issues that captured the imagination of the nation. Air India’s mascot effectively conveyed the message that travellers could look forward to good hospitality on board. Some companies such as Asian Paints and Mirc Electronics, the owner of the Onida brand of television, also created mascots that made their brands immensely popular. However, these companies, over a period of time, phased out these mascots as they were of the opinion that, due to the changing times, they no longer effectively conveyed what their brands stood for. The case analyses how some of the popular Indian mascots have effectively conveyed their respective brands’ positioning. It also focuses on some global companies such as McDonald’s and Kellogg Company that have created mascots which contributed considerably to their businesses. McDonald’s also ensured that its mascot’s look was in tune with the modern times. What is it that companies such as McDonald’s and Kellogg Company have accomplished vis-a-vis their mascots which could have been emulated by companies such as Asian Paints and Mirc Electronics?

Expected Learning Outcomes

An effective classroom analysis and discussion of this case study should result in the following learning outcomes:

  • • What is the strategic importance of mascots? How do they, if at all, aid in building a brand through effective brand positioning?
  • • The industries/companies from industries and product categories where mascots can be used
  • • The factors that should be considered before deciding to adopt mascots as a part of brand architecture


Positioning/Case Setting

This case study can be used in either of the following courses/modules:

  • • Introductory Marketing Management Course – Brand Positioning Module (as outlined under PCU) – To understand how mascots can be used as one of the brand architecture components to position the brand
  • • Brand Management Course


Assignment Questions

  • I. What is the importance, if any, of mascots in Brand Building, Marketing and Consumer Connect? What purposes do mascots serve in a company’s DNA? Do mascots actually help in brand positioning? And, what should companies do to effectively use mascots on social media such as Facebook and Twitter?
  • II. In light of the brands discussed in the case study, why is it that only a few brands build and nurture their mascots? What kind of companies/companies from industries should build their brands around mascots? Also, how can companies sustain their mascots? Furthermore, should mascots be structured around a parent brand or should they be nurtured for sub-brands?
  • III. ........................



Exhibit (TN)-I: Board Plan

Exhibit (TN)-II: Case Discussion Summary


Exhibit (TN)-IV: Mascots’ Resonance

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Product code: MKTG-1-0028, MKTG-1-0028A


This case study enables a discussion on how mascots can be deployed for effective brand positioning. Air India's mascot indicated the royal treatment that customers would receive or experience on board. Amul Butter's mascot, through the ads featuring it, gave the message that the brand cared about the issues affecting Indians. Asian Paints' mascot helped the company to be etched in the minds of consumers at large. Onida's mascot drove home the point that the Onida television was a valuable possession that would be envied by others. McDonald's mascot indicated the fun that one could have at the company's restaurants.
The mascot of Kellogg's frosted flakes brand indicated the energy obtained by consuming the food. How did entities such as Air India, Amul, McDonald's and Kellogg Company ensure that the afore mentioned mascots continued to serve their brands? What could companies such as Asian Paints and Mirc Electronics (the owner of the Onida brand) have done to prevent their mascots from being phased out?

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand the reasons or the benefits of using mascots in building a brand
  • To analyze and examine when it would make sense for companies to opt for and nurture mascots in their brand-building efforts in the light of evidence presented in case study through the examples of Amul, Air India, Asian Paints, Mirc Electronics and McDonald's
  • To discuss and debate whether mascots would act as intended and preferred metaphors aiding brand recall

This Case Pack Includes:
 - Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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