Mascots fill the world

Book publication: a researcher from the Business Academy Aarhus has published a book on character design and branding.

Cute animals and wide smiles are depicted in advertising and on packaging as not previously witnessed.

But what encourages companies and brands to use the Matilde girl, Hello Kitty and singing Oysters and their marketing campaigns?

On Thursday, 31 August 2017, Marlene Ahlgreen’s book Character Design & Branding was finally released.

In it you can find the answers to questions such as: why branding is making increasing use of mascots, and how does adding a face to your brand actually increase awareness? 

The book is based on a two-year research project at Business Academy Aarhus.

Marlene Ahlgreen has an MA in art history and multimedia and also has many years of teaching experience in the field of visual communication.

Fills a void

Character Design & Branding provides companies and designers with an overview of research, procedures, guidelines, inspiration and examples in this area.

By using known mascots from around the world, the book gives an overview as well as providing specific instructions on how to create a brand character.

A character can build a bridge and create a relationship, which is a prerequisite for trusting a product, and thus it helps increase the brand value or product distribution.

‘As consumers, we need this relationship more than ever, since we are in many cases distanced from human contact in the buying and production process,’ explains Marlene Ahlgreen.

Marlene Ahlgreen got the idea for the book as she couldn’t find any relevant literature on the topic.

‘It is a widespread practice to supplement a visual identity and market brands with a character, but there is very limited literature in the field covering character design and branding,’ says Marlene Ahlgreen.

Singing oysters

OiSTER (a Danish low-price mobile company) has managed to create a strong position with high recognition throughout Denmark by means of an animated oyster, which sings about the mobile company’s benefits to the tune of old favourites.

‘We’re in an extreme market with tons of providers, so we’re trying to stand out in the crowd,’ says marketing manager Majken Dahl Steenfat from OiSTER.

Since the singing oysters were introduced in 2012, brand awareness has increased significantly.

‘For us, it’s important to have a little edge. We have grown a lot, and now we’re going even further to get more edge and attitude,’ says Majken Dahl Steenfat.

The singing oyster has now crossed genres and is in several new films about a little oyster with a big ego.

Video from the author: This is what mascots do (video in English)

Character Design & Branding

The book is in English and costs DKK 299.

For more information about buying the book, contact Marlene at

10 good reasons to use brand characters in marketing:

With a brand character, you will find that your brand ...

  • stands out in the crowd
  • gets a personality
  • is easier to remember
  • gets a more exciting story
  • builds credibility and a sense of loyalty with the consumer
  • forms an emotional bond with your customers – they’ll love you even more
  • will be more fun
  • will be impossible to ignore
  • increases its brand value
  • can generate economic growth for the company.