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Mascots' Impact on Children Sends Strong Messages

Jul 29, 2008
Children and Mascot Mental Images

Mascots hold a strong mental image for most people that come in contact with one. But mascots impact on children is much stronger and profound than with any other age group. Children often react with fondness to mascots that display positive characteristics. A child may be delighted by the way a mascot dances or any funny physical action the mascot engages in. This is especially true if a mascot is the embodiment of a product that a child wants his or her parents to buy for them. Parents are often vulnerable to the marketing industry. This is true since many products such as toys, games, and food items are purchased by parents on behalf of their children. Children may be very persistent in ensuring that their parents purchase the latest cereal or toy because a mascot said it was great. In addition, children that are not yet literate may really gravitate towards a mascot. Children at this stage of development look for pictures or symbols that represent familiar things to them.

Mascots as Strong Symbols

Children may be the most sensitive of all age groups to mascots and their symbology. An adult may be able to discern if a product or image that a mascot is portraying is worthless, while a child may see something completely different. Before language skills are strongly formed, children tend to remember events and people in snapshots like pictures in their memories. Mascots may be able to grab a place in a child's mind that will be vivid and hold meaning into adulthood for the child.

Good Vibrations

The positive feelings that mascots elicit from children are often associated with what a mascot does and not just a product itself. In the case of sporting teams the mascots impact on children may be to excite or enthuse them about the team or a game taking place. Not to mention once again, children may be drawn to the mascot on a personal level. Instead of wanting a product lauded by a mascot, children may want something that represents the mascot such as a: stuffed animal, shirt, pennant flag, or pin. Mascots in of themselves can be easily marketed to children to promote team sales. Also, the mascot may encourage a new generation of fans to be realized by the team.

Mascots, Schools, and Self-Image

Elementary schools up to college campuses heavily use mascots to convey team image and help in promoting team spirit. Mascots impact on children may be very strong when dealing with school mascots. Children are exposed to the image usually on a daily basis. The school mascot may be present on the schools' outside sign or on the wall or floor of the gymnasium. Also, children who play sports may wear uniforms that have the mascot proudly placed upon them. Children may come to see themselves as having many of the same characteristics as the mascot if they participate in team sports. This is why mascots that promote a positive image are very important for school aged children. Negative mascots impact on children may promote negative images of the school or perhaps even affect a child's self-image.

Responsible Rendering of Mascots

Since mascots impact on children is deeply profound adults have a responsibility to create mascots that send out a warm and positive message. They need to keep the best interest of children in mind when designing the costume for the mascot. Also, the actions of the mascot are very important. The person portraying the mascot has an obligation to act fun and upbeat, while not engaging in any behavior that could have a negative or detrimental connotation. This will only help to paint the team or product in a positive light with not only children, but adults as well.
About the Author
Loonie Times is a custom manufacturer and provider of mascots and mascot accessories for all of your branding efforts.
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