Make Icons Likable, Not Weird.

Apr 17, 2013

There are few devices better than an icon, or mascot, to help build personality and awareness for a brand.   And creating a successful icon is not a terribly difficult process.   But Burger King managed to screw it up.

As for personal tastes, I have always thought a Burger King hamburger was the best-tasting among fast-foot burgers. But the weird-looking, and weirder-acting, speechless, and spooky king that’s driven Burger King advertising for years is a dud.

Thankfully, new Burger King owners think so, too, because he’s being dethroned.

In the second quarter this year both McDonald’s and Wendy’s same-U.S.-store sales were up.   The king’s were down.

First of all, a brand icon should be likable. While that doesn’t, necessarily, require speech – Ronald McDonald doesn’t talk much – a voice helps.   I never knew exactly what I should think of burger’s king.   I kinda felt sorry for him as he wandered aimlessly through advertising life never seeming to know exactly who or what he was or should be doing.

It’s really not easy to screw up a brand icon, but Burger King and its advertising agency managed. It’s good now that new owners of the brand will, quote, phase him out.

The briefer the phase, the better for Burger King.

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