Most iconic brand mascots of Indian advertising and the stories behind them
Mascots have been endearing brands to consumers over the years, creating a strong recall and connect beyond advertising and marketing drives. While the Amul Girl has been giving her witty takes on current happenings, Ronald McDonald has been enticing kids across generations.
There are some mascots that are no longer in use, but have remained in the minds of consumers – Asian Paints’ Gattu, Murphy Baby, Onida Devil and more.
In an age of rapid digital adoption and social media influencers, some mascots have endured and still create a strong recall for their respective brands, being an integral part of the company’s visual imagery. They have been as much a part of the brand as the logo. Brand ambassadors may come and go, with some celebs endorsing multiple brands, thus creating confusion.
Adgully takes a look at some of the brand mascots that have remained fresh in our minds long after the brand has moved on from them and they are no longer in use.
The ‘Amul Girl’
GattuRK Laxman, Gattu struck a chord with the middle class population of the country and was used primarily in print advertisements and packaging till the 1970s. It hit the TV screens only in 1990s in TVCs. Gattu helped in bringing the commodity-led business of painters to the actual end users of home-owners. Ogilvy & Mather, the advertising agency associated with Asian Paints, launched a marketing strategy by focusing on festive occasions in 1980s with their tag line ‘Har Ghar Kuch Kehta Hai’ (Every home says something about its owner). Asian Paints’ advertisements created a strong emotional connect for the brand with festivals and important life events like marriages and child birth. The company revamped its corporate identity in 2006 and sadly axed Gattu as their brand mascot.
Ronald McDonaldMcDonaldland and has adventures with his friends. Since 2003, McDonaldland has been largely phased out, and Ronald is instead shown interacting with children in their everyday lives. The origin of Ronald McDonald involves Willard Scott (at the time, a local radio personality who also played Bozo the Clown on WRC-TV in Washington, DC from 1959 until 1962), who performed using the moniker, ‘Ronald McDonald, the Hamburger-Happy Clown’ in 1963 on three separate television spots. These were the first three television ads featuring the character, as per the Wikipedia.
Scott claims to have ‘created Ronald McDonald’ as is mentioned in his book, ‘Joy of Living’. At the time, Scott was working for Oscar Goldstein, the Washington DC area McDonald’s franchisee, and numerous sources describe Scott’s role as only playing the part of Ronald McDonald, while giving credit for the creation of the mascot to Goldstein and his ad agency.
Krishnamurthy Sriram, Vice-President (marketing, sales and service) at Mirc Electronics Ltd that owns the Onida brand, as quoted by The Mint, estimated that the devil single-handedly pumped Onida’s market share in televisions up from 5-6 per cent in 1981 to 19-20 per cent at the campaign’s peak – which came just before 1995. Till today, the mascot generates an instant brand recall.
Vodafone ZooZoosVodafone. The ads were shot by Bangalore-based Nirvana Films in Cape Town, South Africa. The ZooZoos were introduced just after the company underwent a rebranding exercise from Hutch to Vodafone in 2008. The ads featuring ZooZoos became a rage among the masses and were an instant hit, followed by huge fan following on their social networking pages. They made a comeback in 2015, wherein the company used them to market their revamped property, ‘My Vodafone App’.
Air India’s Maharajah
Nirma underwent another makeover in its advertisements when it brought on board actor Hrithik Roshan in 2016 for a TVC to endorse its advanced range of detergent. The ad was conceptualised and executed by Boing Advertising. It was the first time that the brand took the ‘celebrity-route’ for its TVCs.
In January this year, the heritage brand launched its latest campaign, ‘Bharat KaApna Biscuit’ conceptualised by Samir Chonkar of Everest Brand Solutions featuring its age-old mascot on the product packaging.