The Moving Picture Company releases in-depth research that demonstrates that advertising with characters has long term effectiveness, stronger brand engagement, can increase profit and share of voice and create a deeper emotional connection with consumers.

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Using sources from scholars, analysts, market researchers, advertising agencies and industry peers, MPC explores recent evidence on the impact of characters on profit, share of voice, and brand engagement. The research analyses, in detail, some of the most effective brand characters of the past decade including John Lewis’ Monty the Penguin, GEICO’s Gecko, Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot and Samsung’s Ostrich (‘Do What You Can’t’ campaign) and O2’s new mascot Bubl.

Embarking on initial research we found mounting evidence to demonstrate that advertising with characters and brand mascots not only has a long-term effectiveness, but can facilitate stronger brand engagement, increase profit and share of voice and create a deeper emotional connection with consumers.

– A long-term campaign featuring a character fluent device will, on average, increase Market Share Gain by 41%, compared to 29.7% for campaigns not featuring a character.

– Similarly, long-term campaigns featuring a character fluent device will increase Profit Gain by 34.1%, compared to 26.2% for campaigns without.

– Long-term campaigns featuring a fluent device will on average increase new customer gain by 40.9%, compared to 32% for campaigns without.

– In 2018, ads in the US featuring a character fluent device generated 8% more Share of Voice than campaigns without one.

– Even brands with a fluent device aren’t using it much. Of these brands, 63% use their character in TV ads. On Facebook, that drops to 25% on average, and just 21% use it on Twitter.

– Emotionally-led campaigns will generate almost double the profit of non-emotionally-led campaigns over the course of three years.

– In 1992, 41% of campaigns used a fluent device (a character or running theme[1]). However today the number has plummeted to 12%.

– In the UK, just 7% of ads feature a character fluent device. In the US, that falls to 4%.

Mark Benson, CEO comments: “Over the past twenty years, MPC has become one of the world leaders in CG character and creature development. We have always believed that characters and creatures can move people emotionally, not only in entertainment but in advertising. This research was commissioned to put that hypothesis to the test. We are living through a time in which brands are struggling to cut through ever-crowded media spaces with their advertising. As the global pandemic unfolded in 2020, marketers were presented with some of the biggest challenges yet. We wanted to provide brands with practical information that could help them decide on their next campaign.”

Sign up to download the full whitepaper here.