First Businesses To Have Mascots Maintain Image And Move Forward
Some of the First Businesses to Have Mascots
The concept of mascots to help promote businesses and drive up profit margins is as old as businesses themselves. In the United States some of the first mascots to be used by businesses were:
– The Quaker Oats Man (The Oldest Dating back to 1877)
– Aunt Jemima
– Uncle Rastus (Cream of Wheat)
– Uncle Ben (Rice)
– The Campbell Soup Kids
– The Morton Salt Girl
– The Sunmaid Raisin Girl
– Sailor Jack and Bingo (Cracker Jacks)
– Mr. Peanut (Planter’s)
– Betty Crocker
– Elsie the Cow (Borden)
Historical Business Mascots and Controversies
Many of these icons have become household names and are easily identified by Americans and many people from around the world. Historically, some of the mascots listed above became very controversial and had to undergo a transformation. Aunt Jemima became associated with slavery and a negative connotation of a subservient role of female African Americans. The company removed the headscarf and dressed Aunt Jemima in more fashionable clothing. Uncle Ben and Uncle Rastus (Cream of Wheat) underwent some revamping, but none as drastic as Aunt Jemima. Uncle Rastus was originally a woodcut likeness and evolved into that of an unnamed waiter from Chicago. Many people had issues with the term Aunt and Uncle being used for the African American mascots. This was used often to refer to mature African Americans by whites and held a negative connotation for several years.
Mascot Transformations to Keep Up With the Times
Not all mascot transformations by businesses are due to controversial reasons. Betty Crocker has been through eight transformations over the years. Largely the transformation is to keep her looking fashionable and resembling women of today. Also, her current incarnation is such that it is almost impossible to tell what race or nationality she is.
The Sunmaid Raisin Girl had her inception back around 1915. She was based off of a young girl in California. It originally was a picture drawn of her. The updated version is a computer graphic of the original with a few differences, but it is still based upon the original girl.
Mr. Peanut has pretty much maintained his identity over the years. He’s underwent three transformations. Also, he has maintained the monocle, cane, and white spats.
Modern-Day Business Mascots
They may not be the first businesses to have mascots, but they are certainly some of the most popular. The Pillsbury Dough Boy came of the scene in 1965. He has become synonymous with warmth, happiness, and good feelings about baking. Over the years has likeness has been replicated into: banks, cookie jars, salt and pepper shakers, stuffed toys, greeting cards, keychains, and kitchen utensils to name a few.
Cereals, especially those targeted at children, have many well-known mascots. Snap, Crackle, and Pop, Tony the Tiger, Lucky, and Captain Crunch are all household names children and parents are familiar with. These mascots have also undergone transformations over the years with generally an updated drawing of the cartoon mascot.
Some of the most well-loved business mascots have been the brain child of Geico car insurance. The Gecko has been running for several years on and off as their signature mascot. Also, the cavemen they featured became so widely popular that a sitcom featuring them was started.
Where Business Mascots are Heading
As technology changes the way business is conducted and marketed, so will the need for changes in mascots. Mascots are now on the Internet to help promote products, services, and political campaigns to name a few. The Internet mascots may have a virtual reality feel to them or resemble people. Often they are computer generated characters that have a cartoon or anime quality to them. Many are designed to be thought of as cute and instill positive feelings about products.