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Do Characters Cause a Brand Identity Crisis?
By: Jessica MacKenzie
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When it comes to using a character or mascot to personify a company’s brand personality, the verdict is in: They’reeeee GREAT! ...when executed properly.

Having a "mascot," so to speak, allows companies to have a face that encapsulates their brand personality and can be an effective way to connect with consumers. There are some true success stories: Ronald McDonald. The Pillsbury Dough Boy. The AFLAC Duck. The GEICO Gecko. Wait, the Camel. Cavemen? …The Pig?!
 
GEICO has had several faces over the years, all of which have been incredibly successful. But is the ever-changing face of GEICO creating some brand confusion among consumers? At first, we all associated GEICO with that cute little gecko with the accent (British? Australian? Eh, who cares. It’s adorable). Friendly. Trustworthy. Likeable. A huge win for GEICO. Then they started toying with some other ideas like the money with the eyes showing up in random places (cue Rockwell? Kinda creepy.). GEICO moved on to the cavemen concept, and more recently the infamous "Hump Day" Camel and the pig.
 
Now, each of these characters has been featured in campaigns that have been wildly successful. They are entertaining, fun, and even get infiltrated into daily, or weekly, jargon (HUMP DAYYYYY!). But is GEICO experiencing a brand identity crisis by using so many different characters to represent the brand? The standing power of characters like Ronald McDonald and the Green Giant are insurmountable in their particular product categories. Though a reputation like Ronald McDonald takes years to build, anyone could see him and immediately associate him with McDonald's. And, to be fair, the Gecko is easily associated with GEICO. But the money? The pig? GEICO has used so many different characters to represent their brand and may be doing their company a disservice by convoluting their brand identity with too many different characters. Can anyone keep up with the madness?
 
Or is it not madness at all? It may be just pure genius. Instead of having one face to represent the brand, GEICO has created an ever-changing face to remain relevant to all consumers. Some people may love the cavemen, and some may think that particular campaign is complete idiocy. For all the unimpressed out there, fear not: the ever-changing face of GEICO is sure to please with its next character. Different characters and creative concepts appeal to different types of people, and GEICO just may be hitting the nail on the head when it comes to appealing to every consumer in every segment of their target audiences.
 
Pure madness or pure genius? Either way, GEICO, we have to hand it to you. You continue to come up with ground-breaking mascots that entertain, infiltrate pop-culture, and make consumers happier than a Camel on hump day.


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About the Author
Jessica MacKenzie is an Advertising Account Executive with five years of experience. She graduated from the University of Georiga with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism with a concentration in Advertising. 
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