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Halloween Brings Back Memories of Dressing up as Brand Mascots

Krystin a.k.a. Stringster with reporter Kimberly King
We’re not playing dress up in the office today (it’d be rather difficult to get a client to take you seriously when giving crisis communications strategies dressed as a vampire), but nevertheless, we want to reflect back on some times NST team members donned costumes on behalf of client work or in past positions. Nothing says dedication like stepping into a full-body suit and embracing the identity of a brand, so we tip our hats to Krystin, Derek, Becky and Michelle for sharing their experiences with us.

Krystin – a.k.a. The Stringster
A former client of mine, Precious Cheese, sponsored a number of community events in highly concentrated Italian communities across the country. You may be familiar with the San Diego event, FESTA, which still takes place in the Little Italy neighborhood today. Precious Cheese’s string cheese product is called “Stringsters,” and yes, there is a Stringster character on every package and a life-size costume that travels the county making appearances to promote the product. The Friday before FESTA, our client team booked a segment with Kimberly King on NBC’s old show Streetside San Diego. I wore the costume in support of Precious Cheese in the segment featuring all the elements of FESTA. My favorite part was moon walking in front of Horton Plaza! I was very intrigued by the fact that the company mandated anyone wearing the costume wear a vest filled with frozen ice packs and have the fan running inside the Stringster’s head. I was also under very strict rules to not speak, which apparently is a common rule for mascots or characters.

Derek – a.k.a. Shamu
During a previous job at SeaWorld, I was an assistant manager of the Education Department. Although dressing as Shamu for children’s parties was not part of my daily job description, on one occasion, I filled in for someone by wearing the costume at a birthday party. My favorite part was realizing, after taking a few photos, that inside the costume I didn’t necessarily need to smile for photos, but instead could make some funny faces that nobody would ever see. It was a blast!

Becky – a.k.a. The Moose
I dressed up as the Moose for Denali Flavors, the creator of Moose Tracks Ice Cream – yummy goodness consisting of vanilla ice cream with peanut butter cups and fudge. When I was an intern, I had many fun-filled, Moose adventures, including trips to the local ice cream shops in Grand Rapids, Mich., an outing to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital to visit patients, and walking in parades (I’d like to think seeing the Moose was the highlight for parade spectators). The costume was unbearably hot! Especially since when I had to wear it during the summer in Michigan, when the weather was usually 90-plus degrees. Even though you do feel a little silly being dressed as a moose, the reactions from children and adults were priceless. Yes, some kids did cry and run away (and I thought to myself, “I am really not scary – I promise.”), most people smiled, wanted a high-five and to take a picture (lots and lots of pictures). Advice to future character costume wearers: embrace the experience and have fun! But, hope for a cold and cloudy day.

Michelle – a.k.a. The Crocodile
While I was in high school, I took a summer job working at the local mall. My job was to dress up like a crocodile – which looked more like a chocolate covered Twinkie with a big cowboy hat – to promote Chocolate Crocodile candy. I handed out chocolate treats to people walking around the mall and tried not to pass out from the heat of the costume.

Although I haven’t had to dress up in the past, I’m sure it would be a fun experience and with current NST clients like Chicken of the Sea, McDonald’s and WD-40, my future may still hold an occasion to dress up in an iconic brand costume. Until then, we’ll just have to hope that one day Natalie’s work with Ocean Mist Farms will present her with an opportunity to transform into Arti the Artichoke. Happy Halloween, everyone!

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