The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

woof, glug glug
Mug Root Beer is getting a new mascot: a bulldog named--get ready--Dog. An advertising column in the New York Times went at length about how Pepsi, the parent company of Mug, is pumping some money into the promotion of the brand after years of neglecting it. Giving it a character is the first step toward building it up; Dog's going to be featured in commercials, print ads and online comic strips on the Mug website.

Here are a few words from the ad agency's creative director on the development of this pooch:

"We went through some wild animals, some mythical creatures, but kept coming back to a bulldog. The bulldog represents what Mug is about, what the brand stands for and what root beer is," Mr. Hardison explains. "Root beer is exotic but familiar. There's a powerful quality to the drink, but it's mellow, laid back. It's old-fashioned, but still compelling. It's wild, but safe, and attractive, but not really a leading-man type." All those qualities are epitomized by the bulldog, he adds, and especially fit Mug because the breed is known by its face — yes, its mug. The plain name, Dog, also evokes the down-to-earth qualities of root beer as well as echoing the brand name.

Hmmm... correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't a signature character have, you know, a real name? Dog? I don't think so. You can have a laugh by thinking about how many thousands Pepsi Co. paid this agency to come up with such a distinctive moniker. Did anyone consider the name Mugsy, maybe? Hello??

That said, I do like the logo above. Nice artwork.