We are soon going to enter into a time when you will have robotic assistants and holographic companions. And that time will come faster than we imagine. Makes me wonder if we will get to see robotic Ronald McDonalds ushering us into an outlet. Probably will. After all, some mascots are very much a part of our lives that we have-knowingly or not developed an affinity for them. We would trust a robotic Ronald McDonald more than a random stranger opening the door for us. So, which are the most iconic mascots that are part of every Indian’s life? Here you go.
1. The dog, for RCA
Probably the only time that one would mistake a dog for a horse’s head. The mascot of RCA records is based on a painting from 1899. No prizes for guessing the name of the painting-it was called “His Master’s Voice.” In fact it was inspired by that name that the HMV stores came into being in the U.K. Unfortunately though, the real-life canine that inspired the painting- Nipper didn’t live till 1901- the year in which RCA was founded.
2. The Twitter bird
One of the most recognisable mascots in the present world, the Twitter bird has become representative of all our wishes and opinions that can be expressed in 140 characters or less. Initially, the team that built the social media platform considered naming the platform ether Jitter or Twitch. But when one of the team members, Noah Glass suggested the name Twitter which means either a short inconsequential burst of information or chirps from birds,having a bird as the mascot turned out to be a natural evolution of that idea.
3. The fox, for Firefox
Not sure if the company would have had a bird for its mascot- after all, the browser’s original name was Firebird. However, the company apparently believe in the power of the fox as they associated the animal with speed. And you can easily imagine that when a fox is on fire it’ll run even faster. Another reason the company chose the name-and the mascot that went with it is that there weren’t any other project or company name at the time which even remotely resembled the Firefox.
4. Gattu, for Asian Paints
The dude stands there with a brush in hand from which drips paint, a look of surprise on his face- and also assuming a defiant bodily posture. Altogether, a mascot you simply can’t ignore. The character was created by the legendary Indian cartoonist, RK Laxman.
5. The Amul girl
The girl in the red polka dots appeared for the first time in 1967, on a hoarding in Mumbai. Since then she has been consistently featured in ads that are always about a recent Indian headline, soaked not in butter but in humour. And the love for the utterly butterly girl has never diminished in the Indian heart, generation after generation.
6. Ronald McDonlad
Not sure what’s the more iconic- the Mcburgers or the company’s clown mascot. Ronald was apparently the creation of Willard Scott who was a radio personality who also acted as Bozo the Clown on WRC-TV in Washington D.C. He played the role from 1959 to 1962. But it was in 1963 that he played with the moniker, Ronald McDonald, the Hamburger-Happy Clown for three television spots. However, McDonalds doesn’t consider Scott as the character’s creator.
7. The Doughboy, for Pillsbury
The Pillsbury Doughboy is one of the most adorable mascots in the food category. It’s surprising that for a category in which being delectable falls within the product equation, most of the brand mascots are stale at best. But not the Pillsbury Doughboy. And neither is the it the brand mascot in India, it’s their global icon, seen on the packages of all their products whether it be cookies, pancake mix, flours or something else.
8. Leo The Lion, for MGM
Not terribly imaginative when it comes to naming the lion, are we? Nonetheless, the lion’s head inside a golden ring and the beast’s mighty roar has been the prelude to many a Bond film, and is something which we can’t forget-even if you abstain from watching MGM films for a long time. The name of the first lion used for the icon is Slats- used as a mascot from 1924 to 1928. The current lion is the Leo of the title.
9. The Parle G Girl
Parle G started making and selling biscuits in India way back in 1939. But the Parle G Girl on the packet began to appear not until the 1960s. The cool thing is that the company has maintained the character’s basic look throughout these years. And over the decades the girl has become one of the most recognized icons in India. In fact, interest in the character reached such heights that people began to make up stories about who the girl actually is- a recent one appeared in Quora in which it’s claimed that the photo is that of a person from Nagpur, taken when she was three or four months old. The company eventually did divulge about the girl, putting a stop to all the wild speculations. It turns out that the girl is not a real person at all but an illustration created by an artist.
10. Zoozoos, for Vodafone
These little white men and women became an overnight sensation in the country and no one saw it coming. The characters were more attuned in persona to children than to adults- kinda strange considering Vodafone primarily targets adults and young adults. Also the characters aren’t cute in the conventional sense. All this made the appreciation these white ones got all the more thrilling. But, can’t help but say that they did it to death.
11. Lijjat Papad Rabbit
Kids who grew up in India in the 1990s would be more familiar with the rabbit of Lijjat Papad than The Muppets. And what a cool ad it was, one which never fails to evoke memories. And the way the rabbit says “Lijjat Papad ha ha ha!”- there were quite a few children back in the time who would repeat it like a chant.
There are a few mascots from the older eras which are awesome in their own right. Like the Air India Maharaj and Onida’s Devil. But they didn’t make the cut as only the ones that are widely in current use are included here. But we haven’t forgotten those old mascots. Not by a long shot. And that’s the sign of enduring icons, isn’t it?