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Branding a Kids Playground Using a Mascot
When launching a new kids’ entertainment venue, a fun and colourful mascot is an essential part of the brand: it gives the venue a personality, and the cuter the mascot, the more recognition it will gain. A cheeky character can be designed to appeal to children and to capture the essence of the venue: fun at every turn. A mascot that is professionally designed subconsciously suggests to parents that the place is also well organised: run by competent staff and safe for little ones.
Company mascots are no new thing. Nintendo’s Mario has been around for aeons and the Geico Gecko, with his British accent, really caught the attention of the public. When a company was setting up an indoor playground in Vaughan, Ontario, they planned to convert a huge 10,000 sq. ft area into the biggest, the best and most fun kids’ play area for miles around. Keen to launch the venture with a bang, they hired New Design Group, branding specialists with a strong portfolio of designs for kids’ industries. And a fundamental part of the new brand was the creation of a unique and memorable mascot which had to fulfil a number of criteria:
- It had to be an animal or human-like character – nothing too abstract or people wouldn’t associate it with a childrens’ venue
- It had to be cute or funny in bright colours to attract the attention of children who would then want to know more about the place
- It had to be flexible so that it could be designed taking part in the host of different activities on offer
- It had to be timeless so that it wouldn’t date easily
- It had to be scalable so it would look just as good as part of the logo as splashed across a billboard advert
- It had to be simple so that it could be reproduced as a soft toy – ideal for giveaways to further spread the word about the venue and get people talking about it
New Design Group came across a hurdle at the beginning of the project. The owners were planning to name the indoor playground ‘Daddy’s Camp’. Now this doesn’t automatically suggest a children’s entertainment venue. However the owners were willing to be guided by the professionals and after discussing different options, the final name - Koala Kidz – was chosen.
The Logo: the Koala Kidz mascots are cute, timeless, easy to remember and easily scalable. Here they are shown as part of the main logo.
The Venue: the walls and interior decoration shows the koala mascots in all manner of places. There is even a giant koala head affixed to one of the slides – now that’s something the children and parents won’t forget in a hurry.
Website: this fun looking website is fully branded with those cheerful mascots. It is also well organised with all the information a parent may need to know about the venue, from opening times and prices to how to host a birthday party.
Facebook: this social media website is great for sharing photos and updating fans quickly on current news. The top banner shows the koala mascots and the brand identity is identical to that of the website and all other marketing materials.
Party invitations: no kids’ indoor playground will be taken seriously if it can’t provide the birthday boy or girl with great looking invitations to hand out to friends. These invitations look fun and here the mascots are seen getting into the party spirit with their dressing-up clothes. For parents, the invitations also include the venue address, phone number and website address.
Class promotions: when Koala Kidz decided to introduce yoga, music and dance classes at the venue, there was no better way to promote them than by using designs of the koala mascots with a paintbrush, next to musical notes and striking yoga poses.
Car Livery: nothing like spreading the word via a car travelling round town. This great design shows the mascots, company name and website details clearly and is bound to be recognised time and time again.
Soft toys: here are the cute koala mascots ‘in the flesh’. Clearly recognizable as the Koala Kidz mascots and all fluffy and cute. Kids will love to get their hands on one of these beauties – and then their friends will be clamouring to know where they got it!
All in all, this branding project was a complete success. The owners of Koala Kidz loved the new venue name; the mascots and associated marketing materials were all professionally and beautifully designed; and the Facebook advertising campaign was so successful that 30 birthday parties were booked before Koala Kidz had even opened its doors!
This amazing branding project was completed in just 6 short months. But the Koala Kidz brand and its cute koala mascots are destined to last a whole lot longer.
Copyright 2013 Michelle Collins. New Design Group Inc.