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Domino’s Noid has returned to the company’s advertising. The nemesis mascot’s return provides Domino’s with a villain for its brand story, but also is scoring high with Gen Xers and millennials.

There is a way to give your rather blah brand some real personality and pizazz — simply add a mascot. According to an Ad Age-Harris poll, 79% enjoy brand characters. Why? Plainly it is because they are more human than the company or organization.

airbnb Oscar Mayer WienermobileCharacters don’t always have to be animated. One of the most popular characters is the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. It was introduced in 1936 and is still a major hit today. Oscar Mayer has found a way to increase the brand value by offering overnight stays in the iconic “mobile.” It’s $136 per night, and you just have to be in the city that the promotional character is traveling to.

Madison Avenue created most of the iconic characters we all remember. In fact, there is a Madison Avenue Walk of Fame every year in which advertising characters are recognized. (The advertising industry loves awards.)

Characters humanize an organization, product or service. It is a great way to build the personality of your brand and have people like you. Every insurance company has realized they have boring personalities, so now you see all the aggressive insurance companies with some kind of character icon to hang their personality hat on.

See if you can name the advertiser for each of these characters. I’ve also included the year they were first introduced to the public.

  1. Mayhem Guy 2010
  2. Flo 2008
  3. Mr. Peanut 1916
  4. Doughboy 1965
  5. Juan Valdez 1959
  6. Gecko 1999
  7. Colonel Sanders 1952
  8. Tire Man 1898
  9. White Duck 2000
  10. Salt Girl 1914
  11. Tiger 1952
  12. Bunny 1989
  13. King 1955
  14. The Hall of Claims

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle.

With that kind of experience, after working at KWWL for 12 years, Mark became one of the founding partners of ME&V and, subsequently, AMPERAGE. Today, he leads the AMPERAGE creative teams, including video production, graphic design, public relations, writing and web development.

He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.”

Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.”

One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board.

Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.