Corporate Mascot Costumes

We are the heart and soul of the corporation, the carrier of its banners, the lovable face to the masses. Just repeat that whenever you feel silly.  
— Mascoting 101: Taking Yourself Seriously As An Antrophomorphic Shoe
  Just because they are soulless monuments to greed and excess, fueled by misery and crushing dehumanization, doesn't mean corporations can't be fun. And what's more fun than a mascot? At least, that's been the theory of marketing campaigns for as long as there's been marketing departments. Corporate mascots are cheerfully costumed entertainers, dressed in some facsimile of whatever they're trying to sell or promote, no matter how grim that happens to be. From mercenaries to cigarettes, from children's toys to bio-weapons, if it needs to be sold, there's a mascot made to sell it.   Thousands of costumes have been invented throughout the ages, from Joe Camel to Rex the Raffleraptor, and thousands more have been abandoned to the gutters.  

Mascoting 101

Hey kids! Don't forget - more is better, so always go for full auto!  
— Benny the Bullet, Centurion Arms & Armor Mascot, Ammo Division
  Corporate mascots vary wildly in appearance, depending on what they're trying to sell and who they're selling it to, but there are some trends. The most common form is some sort of anthropomorphic version of a product or logo, which is occasionally awkward, with exaggerated, friendly feature and bright colors. Good mascots have clear and ironic silhouettes, making them easy to recognize even at a distance or in poor conditions, and the best mascots make sure no one else has a silhouette anywhere near their likeness.  
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Some aren't bad... by Scott Evans (Unsplash)
Like their appearance, the materials used vary, depending on the wealth of the corporation and the importance of the brand. Mascots of important brands with a history of profit are made from the latest polymers, smart-fabric, and whatever else R&D can dream up. Others might have to make do with cardboard and foam, held together by duct tape and sweaty desperation.   Some few are forged from the very stuff of life itself, brewed up in the genetic-vats of corporations like Best Friends Forge. These clones are made from birth to look like the mascot, sometimes with some surgery to help things along the way. More budget-conscious corporations skip the middle man and just alter an existing employee until they look the part. Sometimes without even asking, but it was all in the EULA.
 
Of course, corps often make employees pay for the costume or surgery, deducted directly from their salary.   And there's no getting off mascot duty until it's paid.
 
Though the decision of creating a new mascot lies almost entirely in the hands of a corporation's marketing department, it can envelop much of a corporation in a particularly mean-spirited hell. The more important the brand is, the more people need to sign off on its design and presentation until there's finally enough red tape to strangle the entire city.   Everyone involved wants to put their own mark on the damn things, and every time someone changes their mind, or a detail doesn't work, the entire thing needs to be signed off by the entire chain again. Inevitably, the budget gets cut, or the CEO changes their mind somewhere along the line, and they have to do the whole thing over again... And again.   Such a process can take years, but feels significantly longer for the poor bastards stuck with it.
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Others... by Owen Vangioni (Unsplash)
 
Some managers only consider the process truly complete after at least one suicide or murder.
  The why of a new mascot usually comes down to some new marketing push. If a brand has gotten stale, can't seem to reach 'the kids', or whatever the marketing department needs to look like they're doing something, that's a good excuse to create a new mascot. Though the design principles of creating a memorable mascot have long been enshrined into the mascoteers lore, there's always that guy who thinks he knows better and can think of something totally new. Every time, the wheel gets reinvented.   With all that, both corporations and people tend to get attached to their creations.  

Mascots & Megacorpolis

Hate all you like. Hate is better than apathy. It means you're paying attention.  
— Mae Rose, Villainous Marketing Inc
  The average citizen is split on mascots. Many recognize them as little more than cynical marketing ploys at best to the manifestation of everything wrong with the world at worst... But on the other hand, that one mascot is pretty funny and did do those cool ads that one time. Corporate drones are, by their employment contract, expected to love and cherish any and all mascots created by the corporation, and have little choice. This has been known to lead to particularly severe cases of Stockholm Syndrome, especially among workers directly involved mascot design process.  
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by Daniel Bernard (Unsplash)
  Every now and then, a mascot design clicks with the public and becomes icons of their own rights. Fandoms spring up around these lucky few, obsessively cataloging every little thing about them and every appearance they've ever made in any product or engage in petty feuds about the same. Fanfic authors sharpen their pens and duel it out across the internet, while glory and promotion go to the designer of such a success - or more likely, their manager. Corps often try to 'seed' these sorts of reactions with employees or bots faking the same sort of enthusiasm, but that never goes well.  
Popular mascots can become brands all of their own, fronting lucrative computer games, TV shows, sponsored products, and the rest - everything from clothes to bullets comes with a mascot's face plastered over it.
  On the other hand, malcontents, rebels, and anti-corpers of all types almost universally hate mascots with a passion forged from a thousand pop-up ads. Any time there's any sort of attack or terrorist action, mascots know they better hide.  

Behind the Mask

I hate, hate, hate my job.  
— Mascot Employee
  Behind the foam and forced smiles, the life of a mascot employee is a stressful one. They're almost always in contact with potential consumers as a public symbol of a brand or corporation. Their presence invites the attention of everything from live-streaming trouble-makers to the rabid fans of a rival mascot. Even on a good day, they're surrounded by people who are at best indifferent, stuck in a suffocating suit, and on their feet for most of the day. And those are the lucky ones.  
Every scrape and bump to a costume comes right out of the employee's paycheck, too.
 
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by Maxim Tolchinskiy (Unsplash)
To add to their misery, many corps seem to at once care nothing for supporting their mascots yet micromanage everything about them. Others care too much, to the point where some mascot-wearing employees have been known to just freeze on the spot rather than risk doing something that 'the mascot character wouldn't do'. Some citizens like to make a game of it, poking and prodding at a mascot just to see how they'll break... And how bad.
Incidentally, many mascot employees carry firearms.
Most come to loath the mascot they play, or even all mascots in general. Turn-over, when allowed by their corporate overlords, is furious and dropping out of mascot work can remain a black mark on a worker's resume for years.
  At the same time, corporations have managed to foster an atmosphere of intense competition within their mascot marketing divisions. There's not a lot of scraps on the mascot table, so every little crumb is fought over with a ferocity usually reserved for the most bitter of rivalries. When it's time to see who gets promoted out of Mascot work, no tactic is too dirty. Those mascots with real prestige and power lord it over their lessors in an almost feudal manner and are more than willing to murder to keep their position as top mascot-dog.
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by Jem Sahagun (Unsplash)
 

Mascot Training

While most employees suit up with little more than a pamphlet and a vague idea of what they're supposed to do, others go through a grueling training regiment by corps that obsess over their mascots every detail. These sorts of courses are typical for mascots with a long history (or a pushy CEO with 'a vision'), where a template has been set and perfected across decades. The corps know exactly what they want and how to beat into any employees strapping on the suit for the first time.  
'Adding your own flair' is grounds for immediate termination, sometimes literally.
  Survivors often display quirks and ticks of their mascot persona even off-duty, and sometimes for years after they've been assigned to other work.  
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by Sophie Louisnard (Unsplash)
 

Corpers & Mascotry

Among all of Megacorpolis many self-destructive amalgamations, none might be quite as bad as Corper and mascot costumes. Born and bred in corporate colors, Corper families of mascot-wearers take their obsessive loyalty to their corporate-parent and pour it whole-heartedly into their craft.   They live and breathe their mascot every minute of every day, blurring the line between themselves and the role they play. It's been compared to a cult, but that sort of devotion is something a cult could only dream of.  
Corper
Ethnicity | Jun 6, 2020

Bloodlines made out of franchise management.

 

Mascotphilia

If it exists, there's money to be made by making porn of it. Corporations have known for decades, seeing what happens to popular video game or movie characters on the internet, and have stopped pretending they are any better.   Everything from your own personal suit for 'recreational use' to pornography animated or real is for sale in the small but fervent fandoms. Sinners Syndicated even operates brothels staffed exclusively by mascot-suit wearing employees. The corps whose mascots are being impersonated are less than pleased about it, if only because they weren't first.  
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by Dalelan Anderson (Unsplash)
 
As with all things mascot, good taste and quality are optional.
 

Happiness Is Mandatory

Sometimes the Mascot isn't there for the consumer, but for the workers. When the workdays get long and the fourth month of overtime rolls around, tempers start to flare, and some genius thought the best way to fix that was an inspiration mascot. Yes, there's nothing workers like more after another grueling 16-hour shift spent chained to their desk or slowly suffocating in meetings than a bunch of singing mascots.   For this reason, many mascots work in "mobile motivation platforms", known better as Mandatory Happiness Mobiles. These vehicles travel between corporate sites to spread cheer, corporate jingles, and motivational posters to encourage workers. Should that fail, they also carry an arsenal of potent chemicals.  
Mandatory Happiness Mobile
Vehicle | Nov 14, 2020

Mandatory Happiness Mobiles bring joy to the working force, whether they like it or not.

 

Going Rogue

Not every mascot stands the test of time. Many age poorly or never really got traction, while others fall victim to the sharp daggers of office politics and get cut. But not every mascot takes it lying down (even if the foam would let them).   Some go rogue, taking their costumes and disappearing into the streets of Megacorpolis to become something... Different. These rogues live their lives as if they were the mascot, traces of their past life bleeding through in moments of lunacy.  
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by Uta Scholl (Unsplash)
 

Management By Chemicals

With all the troubles and stress of the job, some employees fail to live up to corporate standards. For times when a mascot might need some more pep in their step, corporations have created suits that come with an automatic injection system, controlled remotely by a middle-manager who probably hates them.   With the press of a button, the chemical cocktail goes right in. Overdoses, either by malfunction or malevolence, just means the employee can really give it a 110% before their heart explodes.
For some corporations, the mascot becomes a source of prestige. When the mascot becomes so entwined with the corporation that the two are virtually indistinguishable, the corp will do whatever it takes to make sure theirs is the superior mascot.   The sniping and backstabbing between corporation loses none of its lethality even when everyone involved is dressed as a sentient shampoo bottle or furry dinosaur, though.


Cover image: by Major Tom Agency (Unsplash)

Comments

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17 May, 2021 16:37

OMG!!! i think this is your funnier article yet!! I lost it so many times, but I think this line is the best: "Some managers only consider the process truly complete after at least one suicide or murder" Insert standing ovation gif here. AMAZING.

Am I writing or procastinating? Take a guess and visit my galaxy
25 May, 2021 08:38

Awww thank you :D   That is based in part from a true story about crunch in the game industry, which makes it painfully familiar to some readers, I am sure. :D   Thank you <3


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
17 May, 2021 17:54

I just love this world so much, every article you write for it is so much fun :D   The start is great, I love the quotes and the first sentence "Just because they are soulless monuments to greed and excess, fueled by misery and crushing dehumanization, doesn't mean corporations can't be fun." The header image is nice, but I especially love the small sad cardbox mascot you have at the top of the sidebar ;D   "and the best mascots make sure no one else has a silhouette anywhere near their likeness." I can guess how they make sure of that XD   "More budget-conscious corporations skip the middle man and just alter an existing employee until they look the part. Sometimes without even asking, but it was all in the EULA." That sound a lot more efficient and very reasonable XD   "Of course, corps often make employees pay for the costume or surgery, deducted directly from their salary." Even better!   "and they have to do the whole thing over again... And again." I love the tooltiip :D   "Some managers only consider the process truly complete after at least one suicide or murder." XD Talking about the design side and the red tape around it is a great idea!   "Hate all you like. Hate is better than apathy. It means you're paying attention." This is an especially interesting POV for marketing to have :D   "Incidentally, many mascot employees carry firearms." Ooooh nice! I was starting to wonder how any of them are still alive XD   "The corps whose mascots are being impersonated are less than pleased about it, if only because they weren't first." XD     "As with all things mascot, good taste and quality are optional." Love that too   "When the workdays get long and the fourth month of overtime rolls around, tempers start to flare, and some genius thought the best way to fix that was an inspiration mascot." We obviously need a covid mascot. Why hasn't anyone thought of that?   "These vehicles travel between corporate sites to spread cheer, corporate jingles, and motivational posters to encourage workers. Should that fail, they also carry an arsenal of potent chemicals." This is amazing. I'm just imagining those things going around my work place XD   Really love that article :D It's really fun and unique (like all of yours) and stand out among all the others in the challenge :D

17 May, 2021 18:05

I adore Megacorpolis. This is a great article, and it honestly calls to mind some of the tales my sister used to tell of her time as a mascot manager at an amusement park. (Some were scary, others absolutely hilarious). Awesome job, as always.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities, and Vazdimet, its darker spacefaring future.
25 May, 2021 08:41

Thank you <3 And I feel sorry for your sister after doing some of the research for this article :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
17 May, 2021 20:01

Awesome work Q, this was a real blast to read :D   Now the most important question of all...is there a Fancy Ben mascot (and is it radioactive)?

Author of Cenorad ; a bleak-dark sandbox of creativity.
25 May, 2021 08:46

Thank you :D   And... Yes, to both. :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
25 May, 2021 10:05

Step aside viral marketing...we now have radioactive marketing :D

Author of Cenorad ; a bleak-dark sandbox of creativity.
18 May, 2021 00:52

This is just bloody brilliant and I love it so much!

25 May, 2021 08:44

Oh, thank you very much! :D I am humbled


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
Journeyman Monkos
Andrew Booth
18 May, 2021 08:07

Glorious. On a surface level, whimsical and amusing, but when you read it again the real impact kinda hits. Very well-written and well-done (although I'll point out a typo: "freeze on the stop" instead of "spot")

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
25 May, 2021 08:47

I sometimes describe Megacorpolis as a light-hearted or whimsical dystopia, and I think it fits the voice it has found for itself :)   Thank you :D (and thanks, whoops, fixed it!)


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
18 May, 2021 11:30

Once again a fantastic article! Really like the complete dystoptian corporate vibe I am getting here. To even have them be cloned or changed surgically to fit the role is so over the top greed.   Loved the quotes throughout but most of all the start of your article. 'Just because they are soulless monuments to greed and excess, fueled by misery and crushing dehumanization, doesn't mean corporations can't be fun.' just fantastic xp Great job!

Feel free to check out my costume entry. :)
18 May, 2021 18:20

Oh man, this is so freakin goooooood! The intro paragraph is absolutely fantastic, and hooks me immediately, it's so well written!   The ideas on display throughout here are terrific, terrible, hilarious and horrifying. Mascots made through surgery and genetics?? I love the way you've woven in some common feelings toward mascots and turned them into enhanced versions of themselves, too. Also those quotes sprinkled through absolutely kill me.   Are there any mascots that have become so popular that they enter common myth?   Really, really fantastic article on mascots here. I love that you touched on how they're made, what it's like wearing the costumes, and the corporate culture surrounding it all.

Cathedris, the world of God-Husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
19 May, 2021 20:46

As someone in Retail and part of a company that tried to put me in a Mascot Outfit, this article speaks to me, indeed.

25 May, 2021 08:50

My condolences :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
20 May, 2021 03:57

Your ability to combine dystopian and comedy will never cease to amaze me. I absolutely love this article, and just the way it gives me the best belly giggles. 10 out of 10 article

Please check out my article for the Costume Challenge!
25 May, 2021 08:52

Thank you very much :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
20 May, 2021 17:14

Hello, all of my nightmares are in one place and it's this article. O.O   Really great dystopian twist on mascots. You somehow made them even more awful to me. :D

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
25 May, 2021 08:41

I'm sorry but also not too sorry :D   Thank you for pushing through your nightmares and reading it anyway, I appreciate it :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
20 May, 2021 18:29

Oh, what beautiful madness this is. Hilarious, yet horrifying.

25 May, 2021 08:39

Thank you very much <3 :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
22 May, 2021 12:13

By the Java! Now this is an enlightening bit of information for the board! *adds more thumbtacks and string*   But! With the Mandatory Happiness Mobile nearby with the optional Management Serum ... this has elements of ...   TASK FORCE MONDAY   Just digitally painted all over it!   The rise of Rogue Mascots ... could there be a Raffleraptor Prime plot behind it? Another ploy by Marketing of the Raffleomatic Corporation ( but REALLY engineered by TASK FORCE MONDAY ) to gather the Rogue Mascots in an attempt to bring about a resurgence of the Dinomania in 2070? Just to boost sales of Beanie Raffleraptors which are in turn just a weaponized means of combating MONDAYS?????   *takes another drink of Java*   Great Java! It all connects!   -----   Ok, Q, really. This was GREAT! As is Megacorpolis. I'd say there was one best part but I can't choose!   However! I'm now wondering if there are any Malcontents that actively TRY to corrupt mascots to make them go rogue! You know, since the mascot has such a strong tie to the company, use the mascots against the company, another malcontent group or rival company?   In a way... try and bring about ... The Mascot Wars! :D

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
25 May, 2021 12:15

ahahah, thank you so much <3 :D   And that's a good question... Probably? I imagine that's something the Morrigan would definitely get up to. And... The Mascot War is definitely going to be an article now t oo. You really get the setting XD


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
26 May, 2021 02:29

The fact that there's a subculture of mascoteers makes me very, very happy. :D

26 May, 2021 08:16

An article in the making ;)


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
26 May, 2021 03:48

Nice. And I thought mascots in our world were bad enough. This article was a lot of fun to read!

26 May, 2021 08:16

I'm glad you enjoyed the read! :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
3 Jun, 2021 13:41

This is a great article. Normally I try to avoid the Megacorpolis due to its terrifying nature but I think you made this a very fun article, suicide and murder not withstanding. I think I am going to need to read more of the articles. I love the fact that the cover photo is is of Canadian mascots. Especially the Vanoucer 2010 winter Olympics Sasquatch.

5 Jun, 2021 10:53

Megacorpolis can definitely hit too close to home, sometimes. :)   But I'm glad you enjoyed the read, despite that. I hope you find the other Megacorpolis as entertaining and lovely. It's not all darkness, and it's all firmly tongue in cheek, promise.   Thanks :)


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
6 Jun, 2021 04:40

Let me go sharpen my pen :) Another great article, this time with rogue mascots! Which is a truly frightening thought.

- Hello from Valayo! Are you ready for Summer Camp 2021?
6 Jun, 2021 08:24

Thank you :D   Just imagine, a seedy bar, full of run-down mascots!


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!
Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
10 Jun, 2021 12:10

There's something wonderfully sinister about the line "the best mascots make sure no one else has a silhouette anywhere near their likeness." From that line, on through "Fanfic authors sharpen their pens and duel it out across the internet" and into the really effective (and affecting) "Behind the Mask" section, this is all just great stuff. Bravo!

15 Jun, 2021 13:42

Thank you very much :)


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Corporate Mascot Costumes!