Mascots Generate More Social Media Buzz for Brands Than Celebrities, Study Reveals

Fictional characters might be better spokespeople for brands than celebrities on social media sites, according to analysts at the global social media monitoring software company Synthesio.

“On social media, you get answers to questions you didn’t ask,” said Loic Moisand, co-founder and CEO of Synthesio, in a recent interview.

Because brands are only a small part of the online dialogue between consumers and celebrities, their celebrity endorsement efforts are much more scattered than they would be on television or in print.

When consumers Tweet about Alec Baldwin, for example, they could be talking about him as the celebrity endorser of Capital One, but they could also be talking about one of his other acting roles. With the Pillsbury Doughboy, there is no way to separate the Doughboy from the name of the brand he sells.

More than half of the celebrities Synthesio monitored generated less than 1 percent of all social media mentions about the brands they were paid to endorse. Meanwhile, mascots like the Pillsbury Doughboy and the Aflac duck captured as much as 22 percent of the conversations about their respective brands.

In the tables below, Synthesio has ranked the top celebrity spokespeople and brand mascots by the amount of social media buzz they produced in connection with their brands.

Celebrities

Rank

Brand

Celebrity Endorser

% of Total Brand’s Social Media Buzz

1.

GoDaddy

Danica Patrick

12.72%

2.

Cover Girl

Rihanna

3.19%

3.

Nike

LeBron James

1.73%

4.

Capital One

Alec Baldwin

1.36%

5.

Smart Water

Jennifer Aniston

0.32%

6.

Subway

Michael Phelps

0.29%

7.

Bud Light

Justin Timberlake

0.21%

8.

Blackberry

Alicia Keys

0.16%

9.

Pepsi

Sofia Vergara

0.04%

10.

Nikon

Ashton Kutcher

0.02%

 

Mascots

Rank

Brand

Mascot Endorser

% of Total Brand’s Social Media Buzz

1.

Pillsbury

Doughboy

22.14%

2.

Aflac

Duck

11.82%

3.

Progressive

Flo

6.85%

4.

Geico

Gecko

6.15%

5.

Frosted Flakes

Tony the Tiger

0.59%

Race car driver Danica Patrick has been successful at endorsing a brand on social media, Synthesio found, because she often mentions GoDaddy in her Tweets from her personal handle. Celebrities who leave it to their followers to mention them and the brand are less effective.

Unlike mascots, celebrities also have to balance their endorsement duties with promoting their other projects and talking to fans on social media.

While inventing a mascot arguably poses a greater risk than latching on to a famous person, the cost of hiring creative professionals to build campaigns around them might pay for itself over time. Just look at Tony the Tiger, who has been selling cereal since the 1950′s. He gets more brand mentions than Ashton Kutcher, Sofia Vergara, Alicia Keys, and Justin Timberlake combined.

“As these brand mascots are basically the brand, they don’t have another job so all of their efforts can be spent promoting the brand and engaging with its online community,” Moisand said in a statement. “In traditional marketing, celebrity endorsements are extremely valuable, but for social media purposes, they don’t appear to be. Our research seems to confirm that mascots are the way to go online: they are popular, have no competing agendas and they work for free.”

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