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An enduring mascot in a world of flakes

Friday, November 02, 2012 - 02:16

Nov. 2 - As the marketing character Tony The Tiger celebrates sixty years as the face of Kellogg's Frosties, Reuters talks to brand historian Robert Opie about what makes a successful brand ambassador. Hayley Platt reports.

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A famous catchphrase from one of the most enduring brand characters of all time. Tony the Tiger first appeared on boxes of Kelloggs cereals in the early 50s. Sixty years later he's still the face of Frosties. Pete Harrison, marketing director at Kelloggs, says though consumer tastes have changed dramatically, there's still great value in the familiar. SOUNDBITE: Pete Harrison, marketing director, Kelloggs saying (English): "Brands that have endured, characters that have endured are really special, but it's almost as much about the fact that you ate it when you were a kid and therefore it's still good and why couldn't your kids have it too and enjoy what you enjoyed and grow up the way you grew up and I think that's what really works for us." Brand historian Robert Opie specialises in understanding the transitory business of marketing. He's collected more than half a million items over the past 40 years. Many are on display at the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising in London. SOUNDBITE: Robert Opie, Brand Historian, Founder of the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising, saying (English): "Brand characters have been vital to a lot of brands and their survival. Characters that are animals are particularly strong. A smiling Tony the Tiger is something that every child connects with at the breakfast table and the next generation will remember this. It's like have a friend always there when you wake up." It takes a distinctive character to stand the test of time. America's Pillsbury Doughboy appeared in television commercial's for more than 40 years, before retiring for good last year. The Bisto kids were also given the chop after appearing on gravy packs for 80 years. And the Guinness Toucan helped advertise the famous Irish brew for decades. Bertie Bassett, is also still going strong 80 years on. SOUNDBITE:Robert Opie, Brand Historian, Founder of the Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising, saying (English): "He has a very specific role because he's created out of the product unlike virtually every other character I can think of." Bertie and Tony have survived the swinging sixties, several recessions and the digital age. And Kelloggs say it has no plans to retire Tony any time soon.

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An enduring mascot in a world of flakes

Friday, November 02, 2012 - 02:16