When we heard that the special guest at the final Evening Standard Business Connections event was Jacqueline Gold, the CEO of Ann Summers and Knickerbox, we couldn’t resist having a bit of fun with it.
Introducing Buzz the Bunny, KashFlow’s newest employee/mascot! (He’s also in charge of HR. ) We’ve long joked about creating a mascot for KashFlow to use in our in-trial process, on our website etc, with the piggy bank on one of our error pages as the closest thing to one we’ve had to date. A bit of ‘I bet you wouldn’t wear this!’ and an impromptu trip to the costume shop later, we were ready for action!
However, from what was meant to be a bit of fun actually sprang an interesting sociological experiment. No, really, bear with me…
To mascot or not to mascot…?
As we expected, some people* loved the KashFlow bunny hopping around and wanted their picture taken with it. However, it was equally apparent that some people weren’t a fan of the bunny! Professional sports teams and children’s cereal boxes aside, few companies actively use mascots these days. Ronald McDonald, Spuds McKenzie and the Marlboro Man are nostalgic memories occasionally alluded to by The Simpsons or Family Guy, which suggests that the benefits of mascots don’t outweigh the negative aspects.
*This number increased significantly once the wine had been brought out.
Of course, there are some risks associated with mascots –
- Inappropriate – Uncle Ben’s, Aunt Jemima and the Cleveland Indians are relics of a time when attitudes towards race were very different. However, their brand identities are so closely tied to their ‘mascots’ that changing them would be very difficult.
- Outdated – As times change, so do attitudes. Mr Peanut and the Starbucks mermaid are two mascots who have been modernised in recent years, with the former now being voiced by comedian Bill Hader and the design of the latter being increasingly ‘minimalised’.
- Unsustainable – After a stint as the Marlboro Man, Wayne McLaren contracted lung cancer and became a vehement anti-smoking campaigner…not ideal for Marlboro!
For all the customers you win over for being approachable, friendly and fun, you’re just as likely to lose some for seeming childish or unprofessional. So with all of that said, it’s pretty unlikely Buzz the Bunny will make it through probation to be a permanent member of the KashFlow team. Still, we enjoyed having a mascot for one night!