Benefit of having a mascot character
Having a mascot for the companies is not a brand new marketing method. There are numbers of mascots that took a big part in leading a brands to be well known.
Famous brand mascots
Above image (from sporcle.com) shows some famous mascots.
Aren’t they recognisable?
Don’t they recall you the product that what they represent?
That is the power of mascots.
1, Mascots get attention
2, Increased brand awareness
3, A friendly image
4, Mass appeal
5, Lucrative licensing opportunities
Having a mascot for the companies is beneficial for many reasons.
First of all, having a mascot makes it easier to draw attention than just having letters and it can be noticed instantly by the viewers.
Secondly, people listen more when a mascot speaks. Since mascots are memorable; if you see it you will instantly remember what it represents.
A mascot can give a friendly impression to people and create more opportunities to be liked and accepted. It also appeals to people with different ages/genders/background.
And finally, mascot can be profitable; selling license of using a mascot or producing goods for multiple fields such as toy and fashion (cedricstudio, 2008).
Mascots as web marketing tool in Japan
Mascots are effective and kawaii.
If it is effective and also kawaii, there are no reasons for Japanese to ignore using mascots for web marketing; this is a simple logic and widely used solution in Japan.
Rakuten and Bokete are popular web services in Japan. Both of them created such kawaii mascot characters that brought positive impact on their services.
Rakuten Online Market
Shopping Panda is a PR character for Rakten, the biggest online market in Japan. This cute panda tweets about daily life of its own, seasonal events and deals of the day.
Shopping Panda’s tweet
I wore a rooster hood.
I’m still in the New Year mood.
By Shopping Panda
The topic of panda’s tweets stay general rather than appealing about the company. It also focus on selling panda’s cuteness in order to be loved by the users.
This indirect approaches have gradually built positive impression about the company as popularity of panda rose.
It appealed to the people who don’t use Rakuten shopping market but those who love kawaii mascots; using a kawaii mascot for the PR widen business opportunity as a result (SATORI Inc, 2016).
Dr. Wheel Man & Funny Dog
Bokete is a SNS where people share photos with a funny comment which is known as “boke”. Boke is a parson who takes a part of the funny man in a Japanese double act comedy called “manzai”.
The word that is used for the service “Boke-te” is a word that asks someone to act like a funny man; in this case, it is asking users to make a funny comment on photos.
A dog-shaped robot that is developed to collect funny comments by Dr. Wheel Man. Funny dog cannot make facial expressions due to having insufficient developing cost (Koichi, 2014).
Dr. Wheel Man
Dr. Wheel Man is a mad scientist who loves closed space and wears a wheel to keep him in that environment (Koichi, 2014).
These characters represent the nature of the service that their website is providing by having funny designs and background.
Mascots decides a front face
A design for the mascot is very important for the effective web marketing. A mascot has to represent a front face of the company as they desire to be recognized.
Shopping Panda and Dr. Wheel Man & Funny Dog are good examples of well-designed mascots. These mascots were designed to represent a company’s front face as they desired; Shopping Panda represents friendliness and tempting user to do the shopping by its cute and lovable appearance, while Dr. Wheel Man & Funny Dog represent their service as a funny entertainments by having strange background.
It is also important that the mascots are lovable and attractive to the target users, because if the mascot is not acceptable, the company that they represent is unlikely to be loved too.