Did you see the real-life camel parked outside Xtreme Juice on South Dale Mabry in Tampa Wednesday? It was part of a "hump day" promotion by the company, to get customers to try their wheatgrass shot special on Wednesdays.
By now, you've probably seen the super-popular GEICO Insurance commercial, the one with the camel cheering that it's hump day? It's a hot share on social media!
"Mike! Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, what day is it Mike? " laughs the camel as he strolls through the office. "Leslie, guess what today is?," he asks an annoyed employee. "It's hump day," she quietly responds. "Woo woo!," the camel cheers.
Xtreme Juice hoped to piggyback off GEICO's success, so they brought in their own camel -- a rented one from Orlando, for hump day. And it was a hit!
The commercial, which launched in May, feeds into the pre-conceived notion that most Americans are unhappy at their jobs and are happy at any reason to look forward to the weekend.
Over the year, many successful animals have been used to plug products, like Elsie the Borden cow, since 1939.
Who's your favorite? Was it Spuds Mackenzie the Bud Light party dog? How about the "silly rabbit" in all those Trix cereal commercials? Or Geoffrey the Giraffe from Toys R Us, who's been around since 1960, or the Energizer bunny?
Remember "Gidget" the chihuahua? She helped Taco Bell sell billions of tacos. Newer icons like the Aflac duck and the GEICO Gecko" have done wonders for the insurance giants. And now, of course, GEICO's hump day camel has been a huge success.
"They stick to people's minds, and that's the name of the game in branding," said Karen Post, who's also known as the Branding Diva. "So if you can do something people can remember, and you do it consistently, Bingo! You've got a great brand!"
So how do advertisers pick an animal that works? Icons like the Budweiser Clydesdales have been around for a hundred years. They don't say anything, but they sure have helped endear viewers to their brand.
This kind of advertising really harkens back to the Vaudeville days, when you needed a catchy hook to reel people in, then hit 'em over the head with your product.
"Animals and brands, they're like peanut butter and jelly!," said Post. "They go together and they stick. And as a brand leader, you want to get attention and you want to be memorable."
She says there are many examples of animals that have beefed up brands.
"Charlie the Tuna, Morris, the cat, Budweiser frogs, the Clydesdales. tTe Clydesdales don't even talk and they've been a huge deal. Animals are loveable, you can infuse humor in your messaging."
Post said branding is all about an emotional connection with the viewer. And re-branding can be even tougher. But a real success story is the Sugar Bear. Remember him in the late 60's and all through the 70's and 80's? He had his own cartoon and started out as Sugar Crisp.
He was re-branded as Super Sugar Bear, but then when sugar became taboo, the cereal was changed to Super Golden Crisp, still featuring the bear, and still selling today!
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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