Ay, matey, Pirate's Booty hopes mascot sells snacks
The pirate on Robert's American Gourmet puffs looks 'fun without being threatening,' says an expert.
(Fortune Small Business Magazine) -- According to the pros at Character product mascots succeed when they embody a brand's inherent conflict. In the case of Robert's, founded in 1986 by ex-commodities trader Robert Ehrlich, with about $50 million a year in sales, the conflict is snack food that's fun to eat but is also good for you. (Its all-natural ingredients include spinach and kale.) Even the product names' Veggie Booty, Smart Puffs, and Nude Food combine these traits: healthy food that feels indulgent.
Robert's uses dozens of mascots, including a pilot, Sigmund Freud, and a mischievous-looking pirate on its signature product, Pirate's Booty. "These are characters who refused to accept the standard way of doing things, either by pioneering revolutionary approaches or by living outside the normal rules of society," explains Jim Hardison, creative director at Character.
The drawings are based on Ehrlich (except the Einstein-ish character on Smart Puffs, inspired by his father, Mel), but Hardison says the style of drawing is irreverent, fun is more important than the specific individuals shown. Here, Hardison's analysis of the pirate:
Which commercial mascots have been the most memorable ones for you? Have any influenced the way you think about marketing your own product or service? And do you have a mascot for your company? If so, how did you choose it? Let us know by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org here.