Seth Godin famously called marketing telling a story your audience wants to hear. And who better to star in your story than a monster. Or maybe a squirrel? A chocolate candy?

Don’t look at me like that.

If you haven’t heard, brand mascots are making a comeback.  From the Geico Gecko to Twitter’s little blue bird, mascots humanize your brand while bringing it to life.

In some ways brand characters also give you the opportunity to engage with consumers, while ever-so-slightly keeping your distance.  The social media explosion has made consumers increasingly vocal about wanting to know not only what your business does, but why you do it, how you do it, and the things that keep you up at night. Not all brands are comfortable with this type of consumer voyeurism.

Mascots personify your brand without stringing up your CEO in his underwear for all to see.

Brand characters are something we’re more than a little passionate about here at Overit. If you’ve seen any of our motion design work, you know that we love bringing brands to life in innovative, multi-dimensional ways. Since it’s Friday, I thought it may be fun to take a look at some of the monsters and mascots that exist out there, including some we’ve had a hand in creating.

Meet Stu

Stu is a beloved member of the Overit team. Like all good brand characters, Stu represents what Overit is about. He’s agile, whimsical, and, if we’re being honest, kind of badass. We’ve previously let Stu star in his own motion video but we thought he deserved more.

After some internal conversation between Dan (Overit’s President) and Lawrence (Overit’s Motion Design Director), we decided we needed to have an army of life-sized Stus produced for the office. To do so we hooked up with a company called Distortions Unlimited to make it happen. The result of their effort was recently captured by The Travel Channel on their show Making Monsters.

Take a look at what they produced.

Soon we will have a gang of Stus to watch over the OveritHQ. I have a feeling we’ll be having a lot of fun with these little guys in the future.

Old Spice

Old Spice took the Internet by storm releasing Old Spice Guy into the masses in 2010. Thought of as one of the most successful social media campaigns of all time, Old Spice’s shirtless mascot didn’t just steal the Internet’s attention, he also took its money, generating a  107 percent increase in sales and a 300 percent increase in site traffic during the month following the campaign.

Why did the campaign work? Because it presented us with unexpected surprises (like videos directed  at average Twitter users) and something we could all engage with, in real-time.  We talked to the Old Spice Man and he talked back.  It was a different level of brand engagement and users ate it up.

Today, Old Spice Guy continues to represent the company, still tweets to more than 220,000 followers, and gives us all something to smile about.

Catseye

Another fun example of a company using brand characters is our client Catseye. We’ve done a lot of motion design work for Catseye and one of the most fun parts of project has been the ability to create new characters and build upon existing ones, giving them personalities, physical attributes and even friends!

Below is the most recent TV commercial we produced for Catseye featuring two animated characters and some other 3D work.

Creating these character-based commercials has given fans something to communicate with, brought a new voice to the brand, and helped the brand become more memorable. It’s also opened new doors for marketing potential in the future. Catch a few of these commercials and you’re going to have a hard time forgetting those faces.

M&Ms

Another company using brand mascots in awesome ways is M&Ms. They’ve launched a series of branded character commercials, put their characters front and center on the company Facebook Page, and you can even find individual Twitter accounts for characters like Ms Brown, Ms Green and Ms. Red. The coolest thing about the Twitter accounts? Not only do they engage with fans, but they have sassy conversations amongst themselves, poking at one another and cracking jokes. If you’re a lover of M&Ms, you’re able to eavesdrop on these conversations and add a giggle to your day.  Your favorite chocolate candies now walk, go on dates, and have their very own mannerisms.

And who doesn’t love the commercials?

No one. No one doesn’t like the commercials.

Your brand should inspire these types of reactions. Brand characters may not have been created as part of the social media revolution, but they’re certainly being fueled by it, blowing open the doors for all kinds of social and motion-based content.

It also leads to an interesting question — If you were to personify your own brand: What would an embodiment of your brand look like?

What form would it take?

What would it wear?

How would it act?

What would its message or tagline be?

Whether it’s for character creation or a social media presence, these are questions you should be asking yourself. The answers will reveal who you become to customers. They bring your brand to life.

We’d love to hear what you think a personification of your brand would look like.