Who is your favourite brand character?

The Michelin Man? The Cadbury Bunny? Designers tell us about their favourite brand characters.


‘The vast majority of brand characters are pretty trite (Tony the Tiger, Snap/Crackle/Pop and the Haribo bear survive because they are the best of a bad bunch). Too many characters are just downright creepy. Think about it for a second. Would you ever leave your kids with a Captain with a winking problem, a stripy yellow clown or a green giant that keeps laughing to himself? Yet we are meant to trust and embrace these characters as the face of the brand and invite them into our lives. However, I will happily collect the Michelin Bibendum character. Why? Well, quite simply, because he is honest and simple. He is made of the product (even the colour white was a product truth in 1894), he’s charming and simple. He never speaks, looks great in black line work and even better on a shelf!’

Greg Quinton, executive creative director, The Partners




‘My favourite brand character is the Peperami Animal. It’s a psychopathic, masochistic meat stick, voiced by Ade Edmonson, and it does nothing to make the product any more appealing. For years, the Peperami Animal has done nothing to avoid the grim reality of reconstituted meat slurry, and it rejoices in probably the best line from any ad: “Peperami. It’s a bit of an animal.”’

Noel Lyons, partner, Kent Lyons




‘My favourite brand character is an entire family of characters: the Oxo Family. Over the years, each of the characters developed wonderfully. It was more than a series of commercials – it was a soap opera, a drama, a British institution. Kids growing up, moving out, coming back, family dynamics, innuendo and seasonal festivities – it was all there – around the family dinner table. Nick’s flatmate (the vegetarian) paying a visit was a classic example of great scriptwriting: “how’s your pulse, Alison?” As was “the last supper” – the very final (and emotional) ad. I think it’s fair to say the Oxo family characters brought a lot more to the table than gravy granules.’

Bobby Burrage, creative director, The Click Design

Oxo Family



‘Mrs Beattie Bellman. She’s my favourite. BT’s ‘Beattie’ TV campaign was created by the brilliant Richard Phillips of JWT. It was launched in 1987 and starred Maureen Lipman as a Jewish grannie. Beattie took the nation by storm. She was bloody funny. There were 32 commercials including the legendary “Ology” in which her grandson, Anthony, tells her he’s flunked his exams and has only passed in pottery and sociology. Beattie says, “He gets an ologyand he says he’s failed. You get an ology, you’re a scientist”. The campaign bombed in research, of course. But BT’s Adrian Hosford and Tim Evans bravely ignored that, and it became one of the most successful of all time.’

John Spencer, founder and creative director, Off the Top of My Head




‘The Famous Grouse is a great example of a character that confidently represents the whisky brand and has remained relevant both on and off pack for years. On the bottle, the grouse is proud and elegant. And it really comes alive in advertising, strutting its stuff with confidence, and showing a touch of humour. The grouse adds a depth and mystery to the brand, and doesn’t scream for attention in the same way as Tony the Tiger does.’

Nile Hope, designer, Elmwood




‘I think my favourite brand characters are Silentnight Beds’ Hippo and Duck. They were created by BDH in Manchester years and years ago as an advertising idea to demonstrate the brand’s core benefit of “no roll-together”. The Hippo and Duck are still going strong today as testimony of an idea that captures the brand so well. Although don’t think too hard about it – a hippo and duck – in bed together!’

Simon Farrell, managing director, Tayburn




‘Don’t tell my wife but there’s always been another lady in my life; her bright beautiful eyes and soft West Country lilt mellowed this working class lad from the wrong side of Hounslow. She is the infamous Cadbury’s bunny, and she shamelessly asked me to “take it easy” with her in a way that would make even Mrs Robinson blush. In a world full of frosted sugar loving tigers and monsters with a honey habit there’s only one character my heart belongs to.’

Gush Mundae, founder, Bulletproof



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  • Tom Sargent November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    It has to be Fred the flour grader – a classic!

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