By Siena Walsh
Every day we’re bombarded by advertisers trying to grab our attention in any way possible. One method is through using easily recognizable symbols that we begin to associate with their brands. If I asked you what friendly character represented Frosted Flakes, you’d be quick to spit out “Tony the Tiger” or if I asked you to whom Ronald McDonald is loyally employed, you could easily name McDonalds. However, if I were to bring to mind Cricket Wireless, you’d be hard pressed to identify their representative. They’re not crickets. They’re happy, oddly shaped things with arms and legs. I had the opportunity to spend some time around pictures of those smiling little creatures when I worked as a brand ambassador for Cricket this weekend, and even after hours of contemplation, I still can’t tell you what they’re supposed to be.
Brand recognition is vital for a companies’ survival. Whether it be via logo or trade character (mascot), companies want to be memorable and they want consumers to make the connection between their representatives and their companies right away. In this manner, Cricket Wireless has really missed the mark. Nothing about a ball of blue fuzz says cellphone company. Aside from their occasional posing with cellphones they only serve as a tool to reinforce Cricket’s new slogan “Something to Smile About”. Commercials featuring these happy characters are geared towards showing consumers how ecstatic they’ll be if they switch to Cricket Wireless, but are these things relatable?
On a more positive note, Cricket uses these animated figures to differentiate themselves from other companies like Verizon or AT&T. Also, the amusing little blobs could attract younger viewers since they’re similar to cartoons that they might watch. The cellphone industry has targeted middle-school and high-school age kids in their ads more recently drawing on the power of pestering. Instead of going directly for the parents, cellphone companies hope to entice younger viewers who will beg their parents to buy the product. This is a good technique, but their methods are very basic. As a growing company trying to be a real competitor, Cricket needs to be more creative than that.